They’re having dinner with the Garritys. He’s protested and complained, he even tried to fake a fever by aiming the hairdryer at his face. Now he’s sitting sullenly on the bed like a little boy, slouched against the headboard and fiddling with the remote.
“Will you quit changin’ the channel?” she yells from the bathroom. “You’re givin’ me a headache.”
“Well, Buddy Garrity gives me a headache, you ever think of that before you agreed to this?” She ignores him and he turns the volume up a couple of clicks in retaliation. “It’s bad enough that I have to deal with him every time he tries to hijack my team, now I have to have dinner with the guy.”
“Oh, shush,” Tami tells him as she walks into the bedroom, fastening a gold hoop into her earlobe. She’s wearing some clingy black thing that crisscrosses over her breasts and makes his mouth dry up. “It’s one night, you’re not gonna die if you have to be civil to Buddy Garrity for an entire hour.” She notices him staring at her and she stops.
“What?” she asks, brushing down her skirt. “Do I have somethin’ in my teeth?”
“No.” His voice sounds rough and he clears his throat. “No, you look real nice, that’s all.” She tilts her head and smiles at him, that smile that says you’re gettin’ lucky tonight, mister.
“Well, thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” he tells her, almost defiantly, and then pushes off the bed. When he holds out his arm she takes it, settling her hand into the crook of his elbow. “All right,” he sighs. “Let’s get this over with.”
Somehow he never seems to be on time anymore. He remembers back when he didn’t have a wife or a daughter or crazy football parents assaulting him on the sidewalk to draw up plays and he was always on time back then. Now it seems like he’s perpetually five minutes late.
“Julie!” he bellows as he snags his jacket from the back of a kitchen chair. “Come on, shake a leg.”
“Coming!” she calls from down the hall, just like she did ten minutes ago.
“At least we’re all goin’ the same place,” he mutters and then stops short at the sight of his wife bending over to pick up the eggshells that have spilled from the overflowing trash can.
“Mmhmm,” he says appreciatively, lateness forgotten.
“I know you’re not lookin’ at my ass when I’m bent over a trash can with my hands full of egg,” she says, her voice flat.
“No ma’am,” he responds and smiles boyishly when she straightens up and gives him a warning look.
“Why are you two standing around when we’re already running late?” Julie asks as she sails between them and out the front door.
“Why did we want to have a kid again?” he asks as he holds the door open and gestures for Tami to precede him.
“Temporary insanity?” She tosses him the car keys. He snags them out of the air and winks at her.
“That sounds about right.”
“Eric! Come here for a second.”
“Tam, can it wait? I’m watchin’ the highlights.”
“I need you to come here and show me how to do this thing.” He sighs and pauses the game tape, pushing to his feet. She’s sitting at the computer, peering intently at the screen and tapping tentatively at the keyboard.
“You know I don’t know anything about internet stuff.”
“It’s not internet, I’m trying to attach this video file thinger to send to my sister. But it’s…” she clicks at the mouse. “Not…” The little hourglass appears and she sighs, “…working.”
“Hell, I don’t know, ask Julie.” He braces his hand against the back of her chair, his thumb against the warmth of her back.
“She’s out with Matt.” She leans back in frustration and he shifts his hand to the nape of her neck, squeezing gently. Her muscles are tense under his fingers and she moans in appreciation. He looks at the screen, trying to make sense of what it’s saying. Fatal error? What the hell is that?
“Out with Matt again, huh?” His voice is disgruntled and he feels her chuckle through the palm of his hand.
“He’s a nice boy, you know that.” He glances down at her to make a face and notices the deep vee of her shirt. She smiles and nudges his hip with her shoulder.
“I wanted you to help with the computer, not stare at my tits.”
“I can multi-task,” he tells her.
She’s taken to keeping hard candies on her desk. It gives nervous students something to do with their hands, she says. He goes into her office on a Friday afternoon and she’s got one in her mouth, something yellow that he can see resting on her tongue when she opens her mouth to speak. It’s distracting and he keeps looking at her mouth instead of her eyes.
“…so we’ll do that, don’t you think?” she’s saying and he realizes he hasn’t paid one lick of attention. He weighs admitting he wasn’t listening against blindly agreeing to something unknown. In this case, discretion is not the better part of valor.
“I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening to a word you said,” he flat-out tells her. For a moment her brow knits, as if she’s considering being annoyed, but then she grins slyly at him and pushes the candy between her teeth with her tongue. The yellow makes her teeth look whiter, her tongue is a pink flash.
“Was somethin’ distractin’ you?” she asks innocently, moving the candy around in her mouth and smiling when his eyes follow it.
“I sure hope you don’t do that when you’ve got teenage boys in here,” is all he says.
“Ugh, I can’t take one more minute of football talk,” she says over the evening sports report. “Why don’t you turn that off for once?”
“’Cause it’s my job,” he tells her, but he dutifully hits the power button and chucks the remote onto the nightstand. “Now what do I do if I’m not watchin’ TV?” he asks.
“You could try going to sleep,” she suggests, peering at her book through her reading glasses.
“You know I can’t sleep with the lights on,” he answers, rolling onto his side to look at her. The glasses are perched towards the end of her nose. Her hair is up in a sloppy ponytail. She’s chewing absently on her lip and he watches as her tongue moves over the marks from her teeth. She looks like a sexy librarian.
“You sure look cute in those glasses,” he tells her. She shoots him a sour look.
“No, seriously,” he insists, reaching out to tap the tip of her nose with his finger. “Like a button or a kitten or somethin’ else that’s real cute.”
“You’re takin’ your life into your hands doin’ that,” she informs him as she turns back to her book. He just chuckles and traces his fingertip along her upper arm.
“Love you, Tam.”
“Love you back.” She doesn’t look over at him, just keeps reading her book, but she absently reaches one hand up to cover his on her arm.