Rose knows that John is a keeper the moment she hears him asking:
“Rose, have you got winter boots for this season? Are you warm?”
Buying winter footwear makes a gap in Rose's savings usually. John must have noticed her struggling financially.
No man had ever cared about Rose enough to make sure she was safe and comfortable in such manner.
He always paid for their meals whenever they went out (and for that reason exactly Rose would only choose the non-expensive places), he paid for her taxi rides if he couldn't see her home safely himself, and he always treated her to some small souvenirs she'd never allow herself because of her meager earnings.
Rose honestly knows that John Smith is one of a kind, and she spent many a night wondering what on Earth he saw in her, council estate girl with no higher education, two jobs, a debt to pay, and a bad dating history in tow. Rose can't comprehend why a man like John chose to stand by her side. Why he though her good enough to be loved by him. Why he poured his sweet gestures and affection on her. Why he stared at Rose so, eyes hooded, warm, endlessly kind.
Why he made sure that she was never cold, or hungry, or unhappy.
It's not always rainbows and butterflies with them, oh no. John has his drawbacks, too. He dislikes her mother (the dislike is highly mutual, though, Rose has to admit begrudgingly), he doesn't do 'frippery movie romances' (his own words, really), he gets all sulky and jealous when boys her own age hit on her from time to time. John's never rude, or disrespectful, or angry when such 'pick-up incidents' happen, though, and Rose appreciates it like no other after surviving abusive relationship at the tender age of 16.
Not that there was or is a lot of tenderness in Rose.
John would disagree, of course.
Rose looks upward, surprised by the sudden onslaught of tears and the tell-tale tightness of her throat. Stupid man, Rose chuckles internally. Stupid, big-eared, thoughtful, affectionate man...
She swallows loudly and thanks heavens for talking on the phone at that moment. John won't see the pitiful state she found herself in after his considerate question.
He won't know just how deep she is in for him.
Rose wishes for John to know about the intensity of her feelings. Of how her being with him is not a temporarily dalliance of a young woman that fell for an older man who paid her special attention, that she won't run away after having enough of plain old him.
Not that there is anything plain or old about her John.
Rose just doesn't want to scare him away. It's a stupid notion stuck into her head by her older female friends and relatives. “Men flee from love, Rose dear! Why shoo them away with some silly words and confessions? No man loves like a woman does, remember my word!”
Rose knows John is not like that. By God, she knows it, but she's sent into a state of panic the moment she thinks about losing John.
Rose sighs and uncovers the microphone on her headphones.
“Yes, John, thank you,” and a sincere smile settles on her lips.
On the other side of the telephone cord, John narrows his eyes suspiciously yet decides to stay silent.
He'll make sure that Rose isn't cold this winter later, when he sees her in person. Heavens know he doesn't want to scare his...Rose away. He doesn't even call her 'precious' in his mind, afraid that she'll guess the old-fashioned endearment somehow and desert him, spooked by his feelings.
They end the phone call after a few awkward but tender wishes of a good day and a promise to meet for dinner. They vow, each to themselves, not to crowd each other during the day with the text messages.
They're still so fearful of the intensity of their emotions.
If only they knew how unfounded their fears were.