River was crying. That stupid man had made her cry.
She half-wished that she hadn’t told her brother to butt out of her business, so he could exact revenge. Probably with some surgical instrument… He’d love it. But she had told him, and now he said he wasn’t getting into lovers’ squabbles. Heaven knew he had enough of those himself. Mal often said Serenity was getting to be a regular soap opera, with all these couples kissin’ and fightin’ everywhere.
Big boots stomped along the metal grating, coming closer and closer. Finally they stopped, right outside the cargo hideaway that they used for “sensitive” items. The metal cover was removed, and River knew she was discovered. She turned her head away sulkily. Her husband crouched at the opening, peering in with a sheepish face.
“Aw, girl, come on out of there. Let’s talk about this.”
She ignored him.
“Well, if you won’t come out, I guess I’ll have to come in.” He squeezed through the opening with difficulty.
Baby, why you wanna cry? You really oughtta know that I just have to walk away sometimes.
“You been cryin’?” He sounded surprised, which was natural, given that she’d come close to beating the feihua out of him before she stormed off. Anger was a more usual reaction with River than tears.
“Duibuqi.” He said, more softly than he usually spoke.
She sniffled, still looking away from him. Not enough. He was going to have to try harder than that.
We’re gonna do what lovers do. We’re gonna have a fight or two. But I ain’t ever changing my mind.
“We both said a lotta things we didn’t mean back there.”
“You said the girl was troublesome!”
“Don’t talk about yourself like that. You’re my wife, River, not ‘the girl’.”
“You said the wife was troublesome.”
She could be downright aggravating when she tried. He sighed and dropped his head for a moment. He was really going to pay for those words. Every last one.
“You weren’t exactly guiltless, you know.”
“Soup was boring. Needed more color.”
“So you wasted two cans of peaches and a box of pink sugar flakes (which is cargo and don’t belong to us!) trying to make it… prettier.”
“Not wasted. It’s edible.”
“Well it tastes like zaogao.”
She crossed her arms and humphed. “Then tell Inara to make something for you. She’s a good cook.”
“I don’t care about the soup, okay? Just because I lost my temper doesn’t mean I don’t love you. I’d be nothin’ without you. You made a home outta this ship, and I ain’t never regretted tying the knot with you.”
I wouldn’t last a single day; I’d prob’ly just fade away. Without you, I’d lose my mind.
Before you ever came along, I was living life all wrong. The smartest thing I ever did was make you all mine.
“I ain’t ever leaving. I know you’re mad at me, but I take this here ring serious, and I aim to fix whatever’s wrong between us. No matter how long it takes.”
Crazy girl, don’t you know that I love you? I wouldn’t dream of going nowhere.
She relented. With a sniffle, she turned her red, watery eyes to him. He opened his arms as wide as they would go in the tight space. “Duibuqi, River, I really am sorry. Forgive me, baobei?”
Silly woman, come here, let me hold you.
She hiccupped and buried herself in his shirt.
He murmured into her hair. “Love you, crazy girl.”
Have I told you lately, I love you like crazy, girl?