This scene takes place after Christopher has been posted, with his Regiment, to Afghanistan.
Gracey, darling, are you there?
The messenger box popped up as Grace finished studying the online form for the next day’s races. Her heart hammered against her ribs and her hands shook as she typed a response.
Yes, I’m here. What time is it there?
It’s nearly midnight. I stayed awake, hoping I’d catch you. I wanted to say goodnight.
I’m glad you’re awake. I’ve missed you.
I know, same here, baby. Miss you so much. Taking lots of cold showers.
ChristopherBeau1066 has invited you to view his webcam
She sent the same invitation back as Christopher appeared on the screen. She enlarged the picture and grinned foolishly as he waved.
“Can you see me?” The sound wasn’t great but, to hear his voice and to see him once more. She watched him lean forward and touch the keyboard. He grinned and blew her a kiss.
“God, Grace you look gorgeous.”
“So do you.” He was dressed for bed, in his shorts and nothing else. Grace looked at his chest and wanted to weep because she couldn’t touch him.
“You’re still dressed. I insist that from now on, we conduct these conversations in a state of undress.”
Grace giggled. “That wouldn’t do either of us any good. This house is too cold tonight for cold showers.”
“No, I don’t suppose it would. I don’t think I could bear the torment.” His smile was sad. “It’s bad enough as it is. I love you, Gracey.”
“I love you too.” She bit her lip.
“Is that a glass of wine I see in your other hand? Have you taken to drink now that I’ve gone?”
“This is my second bottle today. I had the first with lunch.” She tried to keep it bright. She didn’t want him going to bed with her sorrow on his mind.
He shook his head. “Disgusting. I’ve scarcely been gone two days and you’ve already fallen back into the gutter.”
“I couldn’t help it. Without you here, I had no choice. I have to take refuge in the demon drink.”
“Don’t drink it all. Save some for me.”
“I will, I promise.”
“If your liver hasn’t gone west by then.”
“Don’t worry. If I get really bad, I’ll just check into rehab.”
He laughed softly. “Did my boxes arrive yet?”
“No, not yet. I’ve had Harry keeping an eye out while I’m riding out. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know when they get here.”
“I don’t want to clutter up your spare room.”
“There’s nothing else in there. Just odds and sods. I like the idea that your things will be here. It’s not the same as having you here, but it’s better than nothing.”
“You can open the clothes box and have your pick of shirts to sleep with…kinky girl.”
“I like the blue and white one. It has good memories.”
“I wish I’d taken something of yours.”
“I can send you something, if you like.”
He grinned. “I want your old slapper tee shirt, because I know you are not sending me knickers.”
Grace laughed. “I’m definitely not sending you my manky old knickers. I’ll send the old slapper tee shirt. It’s my favorite but, because I love you, I’ll let you have it.”
His face was suddenly serious. “Will you sleep in it first, Gracey? I just want to be able to remember how you smell when you sleep.”
She nodded, unable to speak for a moment. “I’ll do that.”
“Don’t look so sad, Gracey.”
“I’ll miss that shirt, that’s all.”
“Liar.” He smothered a yawn. “Darling, I’d better go. I’ve just realized I’ve got to be up in five hours. I just wanted to see you and talk to you.”
“I’m glad you did. It’s lovely to see you and hear your voice.”
“Same here.” He blew her a kiss. “Goodnight, Grace, I love you.”
“Goodnight, Chris. I love you too.” She blew him a kiss back.
ChristopherBeau1066 has turned off his webcam
ChristopherBeau1066 is offlineGrace stared at the blank, white box for a long time before she switched the lap top off.