The central heating boiler ticks off, the pipes that feed the hot water tank begin to cool almost immediately.
The noise they make sounds like some kind of thermally-driven metronome as it ticks down through the centigrade scale.
Apart from that cooling/ticking, the house is silent.
Through the windows the late-spring evening is also closing down, but here and there shafts of ultra-bright sunlight – that haven’t yet been hidden behind the neighbouring roofs – burst through and illuminate the trees; picking out the lighter greenery and the fading blossom.
The house isn’t totally silent after all.
The man sits on the couch in the lounge, laptop before him.
Tappety tap tappety tippety tappety tap; his fingers dance across the keyboard with great speed and accuracy.
He’s unshaven, hair ruffled; he looks weary.
His white T-Shirt carries humorous cartoons of Greek cats.
He’s also wearing a beige pair of lycra jodhpurs.
His laptop is connected to an iPod; the display indicates it is recharging.
The man pauses from his typing and looks around with tired eyes.
The house is neat, smells clean, but there’s also an additional scent that overlays the freshness of a pristine house.
The scent of expensive perfume.
It’s been five minutes since she closed the front door behind her, got in the car and drove away.
A girls’ night out.
A boy’s night in.
He sits, planning.
First a shower.
Then a shave – face and body.
Dry and comb hair.
And then the moment he is looking forward to.
To slide, illicitly – yet deliciously – in to bed.
To feel the crisp white sheet beneath him; the cool cotton duvet cover over his body.
He reflects that he could do anything he pleases.
There’s money and credit cards in his wallet, his car stands outside with a full tank of fuel.
His boundaries are limitless, he could spread his wings and travel far and wide.
But tonight he is content with an early night.
And a mug of hot chocolate, a large glass of squash – and a DVD of pulp.
Tonight this is his Heaven.
He hopes that when she comes in she doesn’t wake him.
But he’s already looking forward to the cool press of her naked body against his.