Four days later, Hannah and Aedan rolled into the parking garage of Aedan’s apartment building – a boxy sort of place that couldn’t possibly have been more than twenty minutes away from his base. It was the early hours of the morning when they arrived, so they stayed quiet as they entered his apartment and flipped on the lights.
“Well, welcome to my place,” Aedan said with a yawn. “I’ll give you the grand tour tomorrow, but the bedroom’s over there, you’re welcome to it. I’ll take the couch. Night, Darlin.” He clapped her on the shoulder and headed for the couch.
“Aedan, I’m not taking your bed. It’s yours. I’ll take the couch.”
"What do you mean? You're the guest. The guest gets the bed."
"Aedan, you live here. It's your damn bed, you sleep in it. I've slept on much less comfortable surfaces than a couch."
"I want you to get the bed. I don't want you to be uncomfortable."
“I’ll be very uncomfortable knowing that you’re sleeping on your couch because of some outdated chivalry nonsense.”
Aedan shrugged, pulling off his shirt and laying down on the couch. “Suit yourself,” he answered, “But I’m sleeping here and you can’t move me.”
Hannah shrugged back, moving to a comfortable-looking corner and curling up on the floor. “Carpet,” she mused. “Very comfortable. I’m serious, Aedan. You take the bed, I take the couch. If you don’t, I call dibs on the floor.”
Within half an hour, Aedan had vacated the couch.
The next morning, Hannah awoke to the scent of frying bacon and eggs. She looked towards the open wall of the kitchen to see Aedan at the stove, making breakfast.
“Bacon,” she moaned incoherently, leaning against the counter (there was no table, as far as she could see) as Aedan set a plate down in front of her.
“Knew you’d want this,” he answered.
Hannah grinned as Aedan stood next to her, munching on his own breakfast. “You eat like this every day?” she asked.
Aedan chuckled wryly. “Nah,” he answered. “Don’t I wish. Today’s special, you get a treat. Usually, I don’t really bother with breakfast.”
"I feel so special," Hannah said with a grin.
Aedan raised an eyebrow. “Is that sarcasm I detect, Rosie?” he asked.
“Could be,” she answered. “How come you don’t have a dog? That’s a nice, all-American thing to have, right?”
Aedan chuckled. “I’ve got one back on the Ranch, but I can’t keep one on my own, when I’m only home three months a year. You got any pets?”
“I’d rather like a cat,” she answered with a shrug. “But of course, I wouldn’t get one. Wish I had something furry to sit on my lap and purr, though.”
“We could get a cat,” Aedan conceded.
Hannah chuckled. “What, is this a permanent arrangement?” she answered. “Yeesh, buy me a drink first, won’t you?”
Aedan rolled his eyes. “And after I shared my bacon with you,” he answered in mock-offense.
“I’m sure you’re devastated,” she answered.
"It can be permanent if you want, that way you always have a place to stay," he said seriously.
She shrugged. “We’ll see,” she said. “I’m not sure you can handle me for that long.”
“You can’t be that bad,” Aedan teased.
She paused, looking over his shoulder at a picture on the wall. “Aedan, is that you?” she asked, pointing at the small, black-haired boy holding a fish at least as big as he was.
Aedan groaned. “That’s not my fault,” he muttered. “My ma put it up there and she’ll be offended if I take it down.”
It was a small collage of various members of Aedan’s family, along with shots of him and his siblings as they’d grown up. Hannah chuckled as she looked at the grinning boy, maybe nine or ten years old, who had his red-headed younger brother in a rather impressive headlock.
"You close with your siblings?" She asked.
"Well, two parents in the Navy tends to bring siblings together. We were all we had, growing up with both parents overseas more often than not."
Hannah nodded, even though she didn’t know. “You were a pretty cute kid,” she said.
Aedan shrugged. “I guess,” he said uncomfortably. “How about you? What did you look like as a kid?”
Hannah froze for a moment, just long enough for Aedan to realize that he shouldn’t have asked.
“I don’t know,” she said softly. “I don’t… there are no pictures of me from back then.”
“Come on,” he said doubtfully. “Someone must have a picture.”
"No one does. My parents disowned me so they most likely don't."
“Why’d they disown you?”
“I joined the Army,” she answered with a shrug. “They didn’t approve.”
“They didn’t take any pictures before then?”
Hannah sighed. “I spent most of my childhood in a boarding school in Russia, remember?” she shook her head. “Any pictures of me were purely medical in nature. There was an ID photo, somewhere in my file. I was nine. I’ve never seen it.”
"Well, how about we take one now, that way, a few years from now, you'll have a photo of yourself to see."
Hannah rolled her eyes. "I'm fine," she mumbled.
She raised an eyebrow. “I’m good,” she said firmly. “Let’s go for a run.”
Aedan chuckled and obeyed.