He sat up straight as the bedroom light came on and she walked in.

“Hello baby,” he whispered, “did you have a good day?”

She didn’t even look up. Walking across the room to her dresser, she flung her handbag and coat onto the bed and gave a long sigh. Her shoulders drooped even further as she sat down after what one could have guessed was the day from hell. He could see it all over her face as he examined her in the mirror.

“I guess that answers that question. Don’t worry about it, honey, bad days happen. Whatever it was, leave it at the door. You’re home now. Why don’t you go soak in a nice bubble bath and then come tell me all about it? I can wait.”

She kept staring at her reflection silently. It was as if nothing he said had registered. Before he got the chance to say anything else she got up and walked into the en-suite. He could hear the water go on, and he smiled softly.

Even on her worst days he loved her. All he had to do was watch her handle life’s ups and downs to be amazed by her over and over again.

The water stopped.

He kept his eyes on the mirror where, through a small gap in the bathroom doorway, he could see her peeling off her clothes and pinning her hair up. “Patience, Hank. She needs to unwind. Give her all the time she needs.”

He felt around in his pockets for the packet of Whispers he had bought earlier and forgotten about in his rush to get here on time. Opening them as quietly as he could, he didn’t break his gaze. He could see the soft light caressing her neck and shoulders while she tilted her head against the back of the tub.

He waited.

He lived for the moments when he could be around her.

She finally emerged from the bathroom, watching the ground as she tied her robe on. The relaxation still slowly conquering her face. “Thaaaat’s better.” He smiled to himself, popping another Whisper into his mouth. The movement caught the corner of her eye, causing her to turn and for the first time look directly at him. The suddenness in her turn caused the sweet to lodge in his throat.

Both of them stared at one another for a startled, stunned moment before he began to choke.

He stumbled backwards as she ran towards him, a look of pure panic freezing her face. “Oh my god!” she screamed as the gravity of the moment washed over her. He opened his mouth, gasping for air, as he raised his hands, reaching for her. By this time she was scrambling through her bag for her phone. As she brought it up to her ear she ran back to him, tears streaming down her face. She was shaking so violently by now that it was a wonder she could still hold it properly.

“H-Hello?!” She cried, “My name is Christine Hamstead, I live at 564 Crescent Lane. There is a man outside my window. Please come quickly. I…. I think he is choking to death in my garden!!”