“Good morning...Angel Face.”
Sasha snorted loudly as she sat down at the kitchen table. Rhys was smiling at her sweetly. “Angel Face? What is that?”
Rhys smiled into his coffee. “I’m trying out some new pet names.”
Sasha groaned. “Why. My name is just fine.”
“Pet names are fun! And cute.” Rhys waggled his eyebrows at her.
She sighed. “It’s too early for this.”
Rhys stood up, his chair scraping on the floor loudly. “Sorry,” he said sheepishly as they both winced a little at the noise. She laid her head down on her crossed arms on the table, listening as Rhys moved around the tiny kitchen.
“Here.” She lifted her head a little to see the fresh mug of coffee he had set in front of her.
“Mm, thanks.” She wrapped her palm around the mug, enjoying the warmth it provided. She smirked when Rhys bent down to kiss her hair gently.
“Anything for you, Apple of my Eye,” Rhys said sincerely.
Sasha sighed again, more loudly this time for effect.
She tried to tell herself Rhys would stop with the pet names soon. He would get tired of it pretty quick, especially if she didn’t even provide a verbal response to them. This time tomorrow, Sasha thought to herself, he’ll have forgotten all about it.
Unfortunately, Sasha seemed to have underestimated Rhys’ dedication to finding a pet name she would allow him to call her. Or his dedication to torturing her slowly. Either seemed applicable here.
“Can you pass me the pepper, Buttercup?”
“Buttercup?” Sasha asked, immediately ruining her plan to just ignore it until it went away.
“Yeah, I need some for my pasta. Button.” Rhys grinned at her, smarmy in that way she hated.
“Ugh,” she said as she handed it to him.
“Thanks, Cutie Pie.”
Sasha stabbed her fork into her spaghetti viciously.
It was sort of incredible. The names just didn’t stop. They were both having a drink after work, Rhys having exhausted many of the options already, when Sasha narrowed her eyes suspiciously at him over her beer. “Where are you even getting all of these?”
Rhys laughed. “Maybe I’m just that creative.”
“Mm, no, I don’t think so.”
“I’m hurt, Sasha,” Rhys said, putting a hand to his heart dramatically.
“Seriously. How are you coming up with all of these?”
Rhys smiled slyly. “I have a list.”
Sasha raised her eyebrows. “A list?”
Rhys nodded. “Yep! It’s great. Sorted by alphabetical order and everything.”
Sasha thought it over and realized that, yes, all of the names so far had been in that order. “So you’re just going down the list?”
“Yeah,” Rhys said excitedly. “And think--we’re only on F.”
Sasha raised the beer to her lips and drained half in one go. “I think I’m going to need another one.”
“I’m just running out to the store, Fruit Loop, need anything?” Rhys called to her from the front door as she was cleaning out the fridge.
“You’re the fucking Fruit Loop, Rhys.” she said in exasperation.
“You just want the bread I forgot last time? Got it!” he said agreeably.
She thunked her head against the fridge door.
“Hey, Heartthrob,” Rhys yelled as he walked through the door.
“Try again,” Sasha yelled back.
“Honeybunch? No, wait. Honeybunches of Oats. Way better.” He waltzed in with a bag of groceries tucked under one arm.
“What’s with all the cereal names. Is cereal supposed to be sexy or something?” Sasha sighed.
He smiled to himself as he began tucking things away into cupboards. “What do you think, Honeybunches of Oats?”
“I think if you want to find anyone who responds to that name you’re just going to have to go back to the store,” she grouched.
“The box of cereal will respond to me? Really?”
“Ugh, Rhys, you--you know what I mean.”
“Yeah, I’m just being an ass.” Rhys said. It almost sounded apologetic.
“Hey, Hot Stuff.”
Sasha waved at him tiredly as he entered the room from where she sat on the sofa.
Rhys grinned in her direction. “My little Jelly Bean.”
No, Sasha mouthed at him. It was hard trying to concentrate on what Fiona was saying when Rhys was flashing that shit-eating grin and trying out even more pet names.
“Sorry, Kit Kat, didn’t see you were on the phone,” he said blithely. He strode over to kiss her cheek.
“Hi Fiona,” he said close to the phone.
Sasha could imagine Fiona rolling her eyes. “Hi, Rhys.”
“She says hi,” Sasha informed him. Rhys stood there as Fiona moved on. She smiled slightly at Rhys, waving a hand dismissively in his direction.
“I’ll talk to you when I’m done,” she whispered.
“You got it, Knockout.” Rhys winked at her and left.
“What did he call you? Knockout?” Fiona asked.
“Yeah,” Sasha said.
“Why, that his new nickname for you or something?”
Sasha sighed. “He’s been trying to find one we both like and he’s got a friggin’ list with, like, hundreds of these things.”
“That’s rough, buddy,” Fiona said sympathetically.
“He’s driving me crazy,” Sasha hissed.
“Yeah, you never did like pet names much,” Fiona observed. “I’ve only ever heard you use ‘babe’.”
“That’s because that’s the only one I do use. Everything else feels...silly.”
“Well, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but Rhys? He’s kind of silly.”
“Oh haha, thank you,” Sasha said, sarcasm thick.
Fiona snorted. “Look, I’m sure he’ll drop it eventually.”
Sasha sighed. “I live in hope.”
She stuck her head out from behind the shower curtain to glare at Rhys, who was busy shaving at the bathroom mirror.
He paused to smile at her fondly, half his face covered in shaving cream. “What?”
“You’re calling me a piece of dead meat,” she informed him.
He frowned. “It’s...not. No. Sasha, it’s...it’s cute, okay.” He seemed genuinely offended.
She laughed, moving back past the shower curtain. “Whatever you say, babe.”
He just huffed. “I’m trying to shave here.”
“I’m not stopping you,” she said sotto voce.
“Ugh,” he grumbled. “And that one is actually cute. You’ll regret axing that one later,” he called, furrowing his eyebrows to look threatening.
Sasha just snorted. “How much worse can they get?”
Rhys turned back to the mirror. “You’ll see.”
“Main Squeeze!” This pet name was accompanied by an actual physical squeeze. Rhys looked ecstatic. Sasha was...less so.
"Who's your other squeeze, huh?"
"Wha-what? I don't--you're it, Sasha, I don't have any other squeezes I swear." She smirked at how flustered he got, and so fast. "You're the main one, you know, because you're the only one."
“Rhys. Please. Stop.”
“Why is it so annoying? You really don’t like them?” She huffed as he kissed her temple. “None of them were cute at all?”
“No. I really, truly, hate all of them,” she complained.
“But Sasha,” he pled. “I’m just trying to find one that works for both of us.”
“I’m going to tell you right now that a pet name we can agree on will not be found on that list,” she argued, doing her very best to sound firm.
“Well, I’m not done trying,” Rhys answered. His little determined frown might have been adorable if she hadn’t wanted him to give up so badly.
“Fine,” she groaned. “But if I don’t like any of these then you aren’t allowed to call me anything but my name.”
“Deal,” Rhys said eagerly. She smiled wryly as he leant down to kiss her.
Sasha slapped his hand where it had been resting on her hip. “Anything else and I swear, Rhys, you’re sleeping on the couch.”
Rhys tried to control his gleeful expression. “Aw, alright. Nothing else tonight, I promise.”
Sasha rolled onto her back, huffing out a noisy sigh. “I just--ugh. Why can’t you just use ‘babe’, like a normal person?”
"Babe?" He wrinkled his nose. "Do I look like some kind of bro to you?"
"Yes," Sasha said. She snorted at his frown. "You say bro a lot, anyway. Especially when you're with Vaughn."
"That's because he is my bro." He determinedly ignored Sasha rolling her eyes at him. "But I mean. You know. That's not really my style. It's kind of boring,” he said easily. He frowned at her exasperated look. “Hey, I’m sorry.”
Sasha sighed but allowed him to give her a deep, enthusiastic kiss. “Maybe you can make it up to me,” she told him.
Rhys kissed her again, propped up on his elbow so he could lean over her. After s few smooches, Rhys eventually kissed her collarbone, sucking a wet mark there. He moved lower until he was gently gripping her tank top in one hand. “I love you, Sasha,” he whispered.
Sasha smiled. It was so refreshing, just to hear her name instead of something so sugary sweet and ridiculous it could never actually apply to her. “You too babe,” she said softly, rubbing a thumb across his cheek gently. “Even though you’re possibly the most annoying guy in the world.”
He just laughed. He nuzzled at her stomach. “God, you’re so hot,” he mumbled, sounding as starstruck and awkward as he had when they’d first met.
“You’re not so bad yourself,” Sasha laughed, feeling pretty silly and smitten herself. She sat up to kiss him again. She moved one hand towards the waistband of his pajamas, snaking her hand past his boxers.
“Yeah,” he whispered. She ran a finger through his pubic hair, tantalizingly close to his dick.
“Yeah that’s it, touch me,” Rhys moaned.
“Yeah?” she asked him, skating fingers across the base of his dick.
“Yeah,” he affirmed. “Right there.” He leaned in to nuzzle her cheek, his lips gently pressing against her ear. Sasha felt herself get goosebumps as she felt his hot breath there. She shivered as he moaned again. She could feel his intake of breath, heard him lick his lips as he prepared to say something, to whisper something sweet in her ear.
“You feel so good, Schmookie Pookie Poo.”
Sasha had never moved her hand away from a penis so fast.
“Are you kidding me,” she barked, whipping her hand out of his pants. Rhys started laughing so hard he fell over. “I cannot believe you.” She whacked his dick, lightly, with her hand.
Rhys still squeaked. “Ow. Sasha.”
“You deserve it,” she snapped.
“I’m sorry,” he wheezed. “Babe.”
She just rolled away from him, yanking at the blankets as she went. “Too late.”
Even being made to sleep on the couch did nothing to dampen Rhys’ enthusiasm.
“My Beloved,” he greeted her the next morning. “My One and Only. My--” here he paused slightly, bringing up a hand to point at her suavely. “Special Star.”
She didn't even say anything for a good thirty seconds. She simply did not have the words.
Finally she just shook her head. "Wow, Rhys. You did it. You rendered me speechless."
Rhys grinned, faux suave look sliding off his face like butter. "Is that the one, do you think?"
Someday, she thought to herself somewhat desperately. Someday soon, he will be tired of this. Or the list will run out of names. I hope.
It had been several days and Rhys was still going strong. Sasha was currently trying to perfect the art of ignoring him, something she really should have done in the first place.
She couldn’t help herself, though. Some of these--most of them, honestly--were so bad she had to comment on them. To make sure Rhys understood that they were not cute or adorable, they were atrocious. Rhys kept on throwing them out to her, much like an enthusiastic dog repeatedly throwing its toys at the feet of its master, hoping that surely they would pick one of them up.
Here Sasha stopped ignoring him. She whirled around, hands planted on her hips. “Pickle? How is that even cute?”
Rhys laughed. “It’s cuter than what’s actually on the list.”
Sasha knew she would be happier not knowing, but curiosity got the better of her. “What’s actually on the list?” she asked reluctantly.
Rhys giggled. “Pickle Head.”
Sasha just stood there, expression frozen in something between disgust and disbelief. “People...people actually call their significant others Pickle Head.”
“Looks like it,” Rhys said cheerfully, walking over to draw her close in a fond embrace.
She huffed loudly but accepted the hug. “Some people are idiots.”
“I couldn’t agree more,” Rhys said seriously. “Pineapple Chunk.”
She whacked the arm he’d wound around her shoulders away from her. He just cackled.
“Hey, Precious.” Sasha just rolled her eyes as he looked at her. “Pudding.”
“Okay, I think you’ve been on P for a while now,” Sasha sighed.
Rhys nodded. “I guess I have.”
“And they’re all...foods.” Sasha wrinkled her nose.
Rhys nodded. “Not working for ya? Got it.”
Sasha eyed him distrustfully as he chewed his banana. He leaned back against the counter.
“Hmmm,” he hummed through a mouthful.
“All out?” Sasha asked him hopefully.
Rhys chuckled after a big swallow. “Nah. Not even close.”
“Just checking,” Sasha returned glumly.
“Aw, it’s okay, these next ones are golden.”
Sasha walked over to where he was leaning against the counter.
“Lay ‘em on me,” she said reluctantly.
“Ah, what a good sport.” Rhys pinched her side. She swatted him but did allow him to wrap an arm around her, drawing her close. “Sport. Hm.”
“What are you, Jay Gatsby?” Sasha snorted.
Rhys laughed. “Yeah, I don’t think so. Let’s see.” Sasha dragged her nails in a light scratch on Rhys’ back as she waited.
Sasha pinched his side hard. “Ow. Okay, nope. Smookums?”
“Oh god,” Sasha muttered.
“Alright, here we go. What about--Snuggle Bunny?”
Sasha buried her head into Rhys’ side and just answered with a long groan. “What, whats’a matter? You don’t wanna be my little snuggle bunny?” His voice had gotten that higher-pitched tone that suggested he was trying to be cutesy. It was utterly childish and stupid, and it had no effect on Sasha whatsoever. Nevermind that she was currently still snuggling into him instead of hitting him like he deserved. That wasn't relevant.
“Seems like you wanna be a snuggle bunny to me,” Rhys teased, taking her elbows gently and pulling her in front of him. She wrapped her arms around his waist and stood on her tiptoes for a kiss.
“For the next five minutes only,” she said warningly.
“Seems fair,” Rhys said lightly. “But.” Sasha got some warning when Rhys’ hands tightened on her sides, so she just laughed when he lifted her and spun her around to sit on the counter. “We might have more fun if it was more like ten. Or twenty.”
“Fine,” Sasha agreed good-naturedly. “But no other--I swear, Rhys--no other pet names or I will kill you.”
“I can probably manage that for twenty minutes.”
Rhs managed to hold off for the entire afternoon, which made for a nice evening for the both of them. Until, of course, he started up again.
"Shorty,” Rhys tried as she was brushing her teeth.
Sasha stomped out of the bathroom, toothpaste smeared on her lips. “Uh, no. Do not use that.”
She looked furious, which stopped Rhys short (ha) pretty fast. “Uh. message received.”
She stood there for a moment, shaking her head. “I’m not short,” she said mutinously. “Vaughn is short. But I’m not. You’re, you’re just freakishly tall, alright?”
“You’re probably right,” he agreed hurriedly.
“You’re all...legs.” She gestured to him with a scowl.
“Yeah, I get that a lot.”
“Well. Good. Just making sure you know.”
“Yep, got it. Babe.” He smiled weakly at her at she stomped back into the bathroom.
“Stud” actually made Sasha laugh. Rhys seemed pleasantly surprised. “So does that mean you--”
“Try again. Or don’t, actually, that’s fine.”
“That one doesn’t work for you? Okay,” Rhys said. “How about Sugar Muffin?”
“I’m leaving,” she returned, deadpan.
“Sugar Plum?” He called.
She slammed the front door closed.
Even when they were all hanging out with their friends as a group, Rhys didn’t quit. Sasha had hoped that maybe Vaughn and Yvette could be a kind of good influence on him, but no such luck. It seemed like nothing would dissuade him from his quest.
“You want a beer Sun Beam?” Fiona bumped Sasha’s shoulder as she sat next to her on the grass.
“He’s...still at it. Wow.”
“I know,” Sasha sighed.
She rolled her eyes. Fiona just giggled. “Yes, Rhys, I would.”
“You got it!” She hid a smile at his chipper tone. What a complete fool.
Yvette came to sit by them, shaking her head. “I figured he would have given up by now.”
“Yeah, I was really hoping he would have too,” Sasha admitted.
“You almost have to admire his persistence,” Fiona said teasingly.
“Sure,” Sasha grumbled. “If you don’t have to live with him.
“It’s...a little cute,” Yvette tried.
Sasha just raised an eyebrow.
“No, you’re right, It’s obnoxious. That’s why I came over here. Vaughn can deal with him and his list.”
Suddenly Rhys, still over by the cooler with Vaughn, hunched over slightly, hand pressed to his chest.
“Rhys?” Sasha called, a little concerned.
Vaughn huffed a small laugh. “Don’t bother. He’s fine.”
Rhys turned slightly and suddenly she could see his face, big stupid smile and his eyes squeezed shut--he was just laughing.
“Oh no,” Fiona said wryly. “This one must be truly horrible.
Sasha frowned. “I can’t even imagine what ‘truly horrible’ is compared to all the other ones he’s tried.” She turned back to Rhys, who was still laughing so hard he could not get the words out.
She laughed. “That bad, huh? Can’t even say it.”
Rhys’ face was bright red and he was wheezing. He bent forward, hands on his knees as he attempted to control himself.
“C’mon, Rhys,” she teased. “If it’s this good, I gotta know what it is.”
Rhys managed finally to stop. “Sweet--Sweetie--” he broke into laughter once more.
Vaughn shook his head. “I saw it, it’s pretty bad.”
Yvette and Fiona rolled their eyes, almost in unison.
Rhys wiped tears away from his eyes, taking a deep breath to calm himself.
“Sweetiepie Facecake.” He immediately lost it as soon as he got it out of his mouth.
Sasha made a show of considering this one.
“Aw. I mean, I dunno. I kind of like this one.”
Rhys’ laughter abruptly stopped. “Seriously? You--you like--that one?? I mean. Sasha.” He looked truly uncomfortable. His ears and cheeks had stayed red from the laughter and were now staying red due to his embarrassment. “I--I don’t think I can call you that.”
Sasha contorted her face into a frown, slightly exaggerated. “What, that one’s too sweet for you? The only one I like you and you can’t work with me?”
Fiona snorted. She was well aware Sasha wasn’t serious, though Rhys seemed not to notice.
Rhys frowned. “Well--uhm--I mean.” He swallowed. “Okay. Sure. Sweetiepie...Face….Cake?”
Sasha waited until he had finished struggling through the endearment before she let out a cackle. “Rhys--c’mon, babe. I’m fucking with you. I can’t stand that.”
Vaughn and Yvette started cackling too, and Rhys walked over towards the girls, sitting down heavily.. “I...Sasha, that--that was--”
“Hilarious,” she finished for him. She scooted over and leaned against him, smiling up at his red face. “You okay there?”
He sighed. “I feel like I should really hate you right now. But mostly I’m just relieved. I don’t think I could handle that one.”
“You bit off a little more than you can chew with that one, huh? Maybe now you can admit it.”
Rhys scowled, defiant. “I’ll never admit that.”
“Of course not,” Sasha sighed. She hadn’t meant for it to sound quite so fond, but there you go. If Rhys was a fool, that probably made her one too for liking him so much.
“Again, with the food names?”
“That’s like the same thing.
“But smaller and cuter!”
“How about Toots.”
Sasha slapped his thigh weakly. “I’ll call you Toots.”
“No, not really.” She kind of liked it though. For Rhys. It made her smile a little, anyway.
“You sure? I think you like it.”
“Mmmmm we are not having this conversation.”
Sasha climbed on his lap and kissed his mouth. “Now will you shut up? Toots?”
Rhys grinned. “Yeah, shutting up. Now.”
“You wanna go to the movies this week? That action movie actually looked pretty good.”
“Yeah?” Rhys looked up from his coffee. He looked pretty bleary-eyed that morning. Sasha thought it was cute, and she knew he knew she thought so because his eyes looked softer and he would look away and smile into his coffee whenever he saw her smirking at him.
“Yeah,” she said enthusiastically. “There are actually a bunch of chicks in it and not all of them are white! And Fiona said Vaughn said it was good.”
Rhys laughed. “That’s a friendship I never would have thought would work out.”
“And yet.” Sasha smiled. “So, Tuesday night work for ya?”
“Anything your heart desires, Treasure.” Rhys gently booped her nose. Sasha didn’t even bother to sigh. It wasn’t like that would deter Rhys.
Sasha was surprised when Rhys did not immediately greet her with some ridiculous name as he had done for the past two weeks, give or take. She figured she shouldn’t count her chickens before they hatched, however, so she sat down next to Rhys after giving him a quick kiss on his stubbly cheek.
“Morning,” she said softly.
“Morning,” he echoed back at her.
She frowned slightly, sipping at her coffee. “You need to shave.”
“I know,” he said tiredly. “I will tomorrow. Unless we had plans today I should shave for?” He squinted at her.
She shook her head. “Nah.” He nodded.
Sasha could only take the silence for so long before she snapped.
“Okay, what’s up, Rhys.”
“What’s up?” he asked, confused.
“Yeah,” Sasha answered him. “Why aren’t you--you’re not using the pet names.”
“I ran out of names,” he informed her matter-of-factly.
“Oh.” She felt a little...disappointed? Oh god, no. She shouldn’t be disappointed. That was ridiculous. She had been waiting, eagerly, for him to run out of names. But...
“Thought you’d be happy,” Rhys cut into her thoughts. She looked up. He was smiling but it didn’t quite reach his eyes.
She sighed. “Look, I dunno, Rhys.”
“I could start another list if you like--”
“No.” She shuddered at the thought.
Rhys snorted. “I mean, I just can’t believe you didn’t like...any of them. None at all.”
Sasha frowned a little more deeply. She felt bad looking at his kicked-puppy face. “You gotta admit, Rhys, most of them were god-awful.”
Rhys sighed. “Yeah. Most of them were.”
Sasha hesitated before opening her mouth again to speak. “Rhys…” she reached over the table and gently took his hand. His gaze flicked up to her in surprise. “Look. Maybe I didn’t hate...everysingleone.” He brightened visibly.
“I knew you couldn’t have hated all of them! So can I call you--”
“I get veto power if I don’t like it,” she warned him. He probably wouldn’t take the threat too seriously, though, not when she was rubbing his palm with her thumb like that.
Sasha sighed. “Really?”
“I really like that one,” Rhys confessed.
Sasha rolled her eyes. “Alright. Lambchop. That’s it. But not too often, or anything.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Rhys promised her. Sasha giggled when he brought her hand closer to his lips so he could kiss it.
“And I guess it’s only fair you get a silly pet name too,” she informed him loftily. “You know.”
“Yeah, of course,” Rhys said seriously, playing along. “To be fair.”
“Yeah,” Sasha said firmly. “You’re gonna be...Toots.”
Rhys threw his head back in laughter. “I knew you liked it.”
Sasha squeezed his hand. “Yeah, yeah. Maybe sometimes you’re right.”
“I just like to think maybe I know you well, is all.”
Sasha smiled, looking away as her face grew warm with a blush. “Alright. Don’t get too cocky now.”
“How can I help it?” he asked rhetorically. “Ah, you love it. You love the pet names.”
Sasha grimaced. “I didn’t like all of them. They were too silly.”
“Exactly! Silly is good.”
She just scoffed. “You’ll miss all these pet names someday, Lambchop.”
She looked up to raise an eyebrow at his insufferable grin.
“I doubt it.”
He got up to fetch them both more coffee. “What’re you gonna do when I’m not around to call you Lambchop anymore, huh?”
“Thank the universe for its intervention,” Sasha fired back. “Toots.”
Rhys’ smile was just about blinding. Normally she hated those kinds of comparisons--much too sappy--but Rhys was rubbing off on her. She found herself hoping, as he delivered her coffee mug to her with a kiss, that he’d be around to call her Lambchop for a while yet.