It wasn’t perfect.
Spencer stared out the faded glass window onto the skyline of New York. She liked this, being up high, above the rest of the world. Cities weren’t among her favorite places, but she loved New York. And Toby had found a decent apartment, for a very reasonable price. But, again, it wasn’t perfect.
It didn’t smell the best. The wallpaper was peeling back, revealing the cracked plaster beneath. The rusty pipes that snaked across the kitchen walls had a bad habit of leaking. The sink liked to shudder and convulse before giving up water. The electricity was temperamental. The air conditioner worked fine, but it made a horrible noise, one that made you wake up feeling like you just had a heart attack when it turned on in the middle of the night. The neighbors were nice enough. Mostly they kept to themselves and the music that was so loud it shook the walls was off at midnight, religiously, which she wasn’t complaining about. At least they turned it off at some point.
No, Spencer liked the neighbors. She liked them so much because she didn’t know them. Now that the whole “A” situation had ended, she didn’t have to worry about being followed, or the new couple that just moved in across the hall breaking in during the night. Little things like that made a big difference to her.
She felt safe with Toby. She knew that he would always be there to protect her. Even if the guilt of the anger she’d felt when she found out he was on the A team was still there. He didn’t blame her, though. He never really had.
Spencer lifted a wet rag to the grimy window and scrubbed. To no avail. Oh, well. They’d be living here for a while; she’d have plenty of chances to clean it.
As she turned away to look at the kitchen, she realized it wasn’t the only thing she’d have to clean.
The moving crew had gotten the big furniture in order, like the kitchen table and the couch in the living room, but there were the little things to do. She started in on one of the boxes, thinking that the kitchen was a good place to begin. As she lined the cups in the cabinet and stacked the cheap plastic plates, it finally hit her. Everything they had gone through, all the pain, the deaths, all of it was over now. She and Toby had finally started their life together, in a perfectly imperfect apartment that was theirs even if it smelled funny and the sink liked to convulse and the electricity needed to be coerced and coddled until it gave in.
She smiled to herself.
The door to the apartment creaked open and slammed shut. Spencer realized with a jolt that it was the first time in a long time she hadn’t been worried about someone she couldn’t trust opening that door. She knew who it was.
Toby didn’t say anything when he walked into the kitchen. He’d gotten a job working for some painter who did all the high-end penthouses, and it was quite obvious. His shirt was stained with several different colors, and his hands were practically covered in primer. He smiled a sort of tired smile; he looked relieved to be home.
He picked her up easily, as if she weighed nothing, and carried her to the bedroom. They collapsed in the bed, tangled up in each other, lost in lips and hands, kisses and caresses. The ancient floorboards creaked conspicuously under the weight of the bed, but Spencer didn't mind.
Toby pulled away stared at her for a long moment, brushing the hair out of her eyes, trying to still his pounding heart. "I'll fix that. One of these days."
Spencer pulled his face back down to hers, pressing their lips together. "Later."