Audrey’s party left Dietre feeling as though he was in a sort of limbo. There was a lingering disappointment over his discovery of Hugh having a close lady friend. He knew he couldn’t compete with years of friendship, yet, a part of him saw her as some sort of rival. He was aware of this and it embarrassed him, it meant he was still holding on to some little sliver of hope even though hope had a way of tearing him apart every time it was allowed to grow. In the days since the housewarming, however, he eventually was able to somewhat convince himself that he could accept things as they were. Everything would be fine.
Then Hugh opened the door and everything was not fine. That smile and warm greeting was an attack on his defenses, and he knew he was defeated right then and there. He was forced to learn you can’t just reason a crush away. A hard pill to swallow.
Despite his inner turmoil, he smiled back. “Guten Tag.” Sieglinde was by Dietre’s side, he hadn’t been able to leave her behind, convinced she’d know where he was going and be sad that he didn’t bring her. She wagged her tail and gave Hugh a happy dog smile.
“Thank you for the pants, I do need them.” Dietre wore a dark blue-green sweater, plain enough to be acceptable to work out in. His hair was unstyled, falling softly across his forehead. Aside from the trousers he was wearing, Dietre was the most casual that Hugh would have ever seen him before. He almost looked like a different person this way, younger somehow. More approachable.
He stepped into the house and Sieglinde was released to go find Heart. “How are you? Has the play been going well?”