“So,” said Jack, fairly beaming with enthusiasm. “What d’you think?”
“About what exactly?” Ianto was a bit confused over why Jack had brought him out here, over an hour’s drive from Cardiff, in the middle of the workday no less. At first he’d assumed they were going on a retrieval, but the further they’d travelled the less likely that had seemed. The Rift didn’t reach this far, or not that Ianto was aware. They’d followed the coast and come at last to a small village, which Jack had driven through before stopping about half a mile further on.
“The cottage!” Jack pointed at the quaint building, constructed of local stone, and nestled in a fold of the hills, sheltered by a nearby copse. A couple of hundred yards beyond the rustic dwelling, the dunes began, leading down to a windswept beach.
“What about the cottage? Are there aliens living in it?”
“What? No!” Jack frowned at his lover.
“Then why did you bring me out here?” Even after knowing him for so long, sometimes Jack just didn’t make sense.
From the expression on his face, Jack apparently found Ianto equally exasperating at times.
“The cottage!” Jack huffed, glaring at Ianto. “I thought you’d be a bit more enthusiastic about it. Weren’t you the one complaining the other week that we never get to take a holiday?”
“So you rented a cottage?”
“No, I bought a cottage. It’s not too far from Cardiff, so if we need to get back in a hurry we can, and since it’s ours we don’t have to spend ages trying to find a vacancy somewhere. Not only that, but we can let other members of the team use it when we’re not, so everyone can have a week away, or even just a weekend, every couple of months. There’s the beach, a couple of pubs in the village that serve food, and the nearest town is only about ten miles away, with restaurants, and a cinema. What d’you think?”
“You bought it?”
“Yes, as a holiday home. Wait until you see inside! I’ve had the wiring replaced, a new kitchen and bathroom fitted, and a new roof. There’s central heating, and a wood-burning stove for chilly evenings. Two bedrooms, so Rhiannon and the kids can use it too.” Jack paused, looking worriedly at Ianto, who was staring blankly towards the cottage. “Ianto? Are you alright? Say something!”
“Huh?” Ianto turned to Jack.
“Don’t you like it?” Jack’s disappointment was clear in his voice.
“Of course I do, I’m just… This is the last thing I was expecting. I don’t quite know what to say.”
“Why don’t we go inside? Tosh said the Rift should stay quiet until late tomorrow afternoon so I thought we could spend the night here, drive back after lunch tomorrow. I packed overnight bags for us, and Owen’s taking care of the Hub’s residents.”
Ianto smiled. “Lead on. This might be the best idea you’ve ever had.”