Fandom: Keeping Up Appearances
Rating: G, I suppose.
Summary: Quick little look at Richard and Elizabeth as they pop away for a drive. Not a lot of plot, really.
Word count: 956
Disclaimer: I don't own them, they aren't making me any money.
Author's Notes: Written very quickly on a whim, but I rather liked the way it turned out and thought there'd be no harm in going ahead with posting. I can't think of a good title for the life of me, though, and am open to suggestion.
"It's only me," Richard called down the hallway as he let himself in.
"I'm in the kitchen," came the reply. Taking off his hat, Richard made his way down the hall.
"I'm only in for a moment," he said, coming round the doorway. Smiling, he leaned over to bestow a quick kiss on the woman who greeted him. "Emmett not here?"
"No, he's gone to rehearsal," Elizabeth replied, setting down the tea towel and wrapping her arms around Richard's midsection. "Why only for a moment?"
"I just told Hyacinth I'd pop round to see if you and Emmett needed anything from town. She's bound to notice if I stay too long. Shame, really, seeing as we've got the house to ourselves and all." Richard smiled an uncharacteristically naughty smile and leaned over to kiss the blonde woman's neck. She giggled in response, but pulled away after a moment.
"Better not risk anything like that at this time of morning. She'll be ringing me over for coffee anytime now," she said, then paused in thought. "You don't suppose I could ride into town with you? It'd look perfectly acceptable. Emmett's borrowed my car for his rehearsal."
"It certainly would get us BOTH away from Hyacinth for the morning," Richard replied with a chuckle. "Come on, we'd better get a move on if we're going. She was on the phone with Sheridan when I left, but their conversations are only as long as it takes him to get a promise for more money."
Elizabeth grinned and gave him a quick peck on the lips. "Just let me run get my coat."
It had all started with that kiss under the mistletoe. Richard had done it partly as a joke, partly because of tradition...and partly because he knew it was his one chance to get away with such an act. Not that he had any wild fantasies of himself and Elizabeth being together - they were both married, they were both incredibly honest people, and she was his wife's best friend. Yet something sparked in that kiss - at first, Richard was sure he had imagined it, but then Elizabeth had been just a little overeager to lean in for the second kiss before Hyacinth's shrill voice had stopped them.
After that, though, everything had simply fallen into place. It was easy to hide an affair from a woman who never listened to a word he said in the first place - he didn't even need to lie to her. He and Elizabeth had simply been smart about the whole thing. Emmett knew eventually, of course, and was surprisingly supportive of the whole thing, given that his own wife had cheated on him and he was rather sensitive about the subject. His intense dislike for Hyacinth made him a bit more sympathetic to their cause.
"Done!" Elizabeth called, her purse in one hand and keys in the other. "Let's go."
They made it to the car without being seen, and in a few quick turns (how nice it was to be able to drive without directions from Hyacinth!) they had decided against going to town and were headed out towards the country. As soon as they were out of recognizable area, Elizabeth leaned over onto Richard's shoulder. "We should have packed a picnic," she commented conversationally.
Richard smiled, moving so that one arm was wrapped around her shoulders. They drove in a comfortable silence down the road. That was one thing he really loved about Elizabeth: she didn't feel the need to prattle on all the time. They were very much alike in that respect. In fact, they were very much alike in a great many things. Their relationship was not a particularly passionate one, although they did have their occasional interludes - they were both really getting a bit too old for that, but their time together was pleasant and comforting. It was nice to be able to talk to someone who actually listened. Richard had a hard time thinking of their relationship as an affair, even though he knew that's what it really was - they seemed more like two very good friends who enjoyed being affectionate with each other. He supposed that's what marriage was supposed to feel like. Pity neither one of them had managed to find that companionship in their own marriages.
"Do you suppose Hyacinth has suspected anything yet?" Elizabeth asked suddenly, breaking the silence.
"I don't think Hyacinth notices either of us most of the time," Richard replied, smiling a little bit sadly at her. "I suppose if she did, we wouldn't have made it this long."
Elizabeth smiled and patted Richard on the knee; she didn't mind the sadness in his smile. She knew that a part of him really did love his wife, in spite of everything. For that matter, some part of her own heart still loved her husband, even if she did barely hear from him. She and Richard both knew that loving each other didn't mean they'd completely stopped loving their spouses - the problem was, they'd never been completely in love with their spouses to begin with. Both marriages had, in a way, been mistakes of youth. The two of them just hadn't met each other in time.
"I suppose you're right," she replied, laying her head back down on his shoulder as the road stretched before them.
Back at the Bucket residence, Hyacinth placed her white slimline telephone back on the cradle after waiting twenty rings for an answer from Elizabeth's house. It was really no use pretending, but it simply would not be acceptable to go to pieces about anything. She allowed her lip to twitch in a single tearful quiver before briskly continuing on with the dusting.
The Bouquet Residence
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