The tension in the SUV is so thick you could cut it with a knife; it’s a cliché, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
Ianto is starting to think he might actually suffocate from it, when Jack finally speaks. “Are we going to sit here in silence all the way back to the Hub or are you going to tell me what’s bothering you?”
Of course Jack doesn’t get it. Why would he? By his standards he’s probably done nothing wrong. In the fifty-first century, such behaviour at weddings is no doubt encouraged, Ianto thinks sarcastically.
“Nothing’s bothering me. Why should it be?” he snaps. It’s almost gratifying to see the way Jack winces as if he’s been struck.
“Ouch! Okay, clearly it’s not nothing, or you wouldn’t have just practically bitten my head off. Out with it.”
Ianto debates whether or not they should get into this now, or at all, but it’s not as if he can escape from a moving car in the middle of nowhere. It would be a hell of a long walk back to Cardiff from way out here anyway.
“I know. We were just at her wedding.”
“Just thought I should point out that little detail since from the way you were dancing with her so cosily earlier, you seem to be a little unclear on what that means.”
“You’re upset because I danced with Gwen?”
“Of course not! It’s traditional to dance with the bride at her wedding!”
“Then what’s got you so bent out of shape?”
“It’s not the dance itself that’s the problem so much as the way you were dancing with her, like the pair of you were the bride and groom. I saw the expression on Rhys’s face, looked like he was about to start spitting nails. I had to cut in to make sure he wouldn’t take a swing at you. Didn’t need a brawl to add more drama to proceedings.”
Jack hits the brakes, bringing the car to a halt by the side of the deserted road. “I didn’t… I wasn’t… That’s not…”
“Well, that’s certainly enlightening, I’m so glad we got that cleared up. Can we go home now? I’d like to get some sleep and put today behind me. Maybe I should’ve sampled the champagne and just forgotten about it completely.”
Jack sighs heavily, folding his arms on the steering wheel and resting his head on them. “I had no idea that was how it looked, Ianto. I certainly didn’t mean it to come across that way.” He straightens up and looks at Ianto through the darkness. “Did you know I have a daughter? Her name’s Alice, she’s a few years older than Gwen but… Gwen reminds me of her, same stubborn streak, same fiery temper. She got that from her mother. When Alice was getting married, she didn’t tell me. I wasn’t there for her wedding, didn’t get to give my little girl away, but seeing Gwen married… For a little while I felt like the father of the bride.” Jack gives a watery smile. “I’ll probably never get another chance and… it felt good.”
“Why didn’t you tell me all this before?”
“Because my daughter is older than my boyfriend. It makes me look like a cradle-snatcher.”
Ianto snorts. “You are a cradle snatcher twpsyn. You’re over a century and a half old, it’s not as if you can date someone in your own age bracket. You don’t look bad for your age though.”
“Thanks a lot,” Jack grumbles.
“You’re welcome. C’mon, let’s go home, I’m tired. You can tell me all about your daughter tomorrow.”
The tension in the car has evaporated and as they drive on through the night, fingers entwined, this time the silence is comfortable.