Old Flames Steele Burning Bright.
On the table, the candles were flickering and on the floor by the fireplace,
two smiling faces were lit with the reddish-gold light. Between them stood
two glasses. The wine was a delicious Cabernet from a certain monastic
establishment, because traditions had to be maintained.
"Moving on, yet?" said Laura.
Steele sipped his wine and smiled. "Oh, any day, I should think."
She nodded. "Well, I knew you would one day."
"As soon as I get tired of being here with you." he said.
"Is that happening yet?" she asked.
He looked at her closely, watching the light of the flames illuminating her
face. "No." he said at last "Still mesmerised."
"Perhaps your eyes aren't what they were."
"My eyes are perfect!" he said.
She kissed him. "Now, that, I can't deny. They always were. They just
don't notice grey hair, wrinkles ... "
"Oh, they notice." he said, touching her long hair, "Notice and approve.
"I've slowed down a lot." she said sadly.
"I told you old age had advantages. Speaking as the man who has to chase
you, I like you slow. I'm not exactly speedy myself, these days."
"We're old." she said.
"Yes." he agreed.
"It's probably time we grew up."
"Next year, eh? I'll be ready for it next year."
"You said that last year." she said.
"Nothing wrong with your memory, anyway." he said. He held his glass up and
watched the firelight reflected in the wine. "We have some great memories.
First case, first kiss ... "
"You old romantic!" he said.
Every year, we have more hap ... hap ... happy memories." she said and she
"Did you ever think you'd end up celebrating the anniversary of the 'worst
day of your life'?"
"Did I really call it that?"
"Yes, you really did."
"Were you hurt?"
"Yes." he said, "But I deserved to be. What do you want to do for the other
"Something new." she said.
"Quite an ambition!" he said, "Haven't we just about done it all?"
"You'll think of something." she said.
"I'm thinking of something now, but it's not new."
"Well, too much innovation gets as boring as too little. What did you have
"You're the detective, you work it out."
She kissed him. "You look wonderful by firelight."
"But better in the dark, these days."
She shook her head. "You're still gorgeous to me."
"Isn't it lucky we both became attracted to old people about the time we
both became old?" he said.
She kissed him. "A real stroke of luck!"
"Of course, we must make the most of the passion. I'm told it fades. We're
both thundering towards ninety."
"Speak for yourself! I don't thunder anywhere these days."
"Except in the Rabbit."
"Cars like to go fast."
He grinned. "You'd think that one would have packed up by now."
She took his hand and kissed it. "Some things are forever, Mr Steele."
"Firelight, candles and us." he replied.