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thousand island romance with a side of pickled beets

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The first thing he learns about her -- second, if you count how flexible she is, and third, if you count how impulsive she is -- is that she loves Miracle Whip.

Clint's never liked it. Too sweet with too much tang at the end. But Bobbi does. She likes it on Wonder Bread and she likes to roll the jar over it and smash it down flat and eat it with a glass of iced tea, her legs thrown into his lap reading a Harlequin. He watches her, stares in awe as she picks it apart, piece by piece, and plows through one trashy novel after another.

"Is that good?"

"Not really. The story's a bit weak. Dialogue could use some work. But the sex--"

"No. The sandwich." Bobbi blinks, looking at the plate in her hand and back at him.

"Oh. Yeah. It's good. Want some?" He pulls a face and she laughs. "Whatever you say, sport."

They are still in this strange place he looks at her and knows that he loves her, and knows that he will love her more as each week goes by -- but she is still a mystery to him that he isn't sure what to do with.

At night, she sleeps with the blankets caught between her legs, one always exposed, and she complains that she wakes up cold and tucks herself against him, until Clint can't tell their heartbeats apart. She walks her fingers up the length of his arm, tracing the outline of his face while he pretends to be asleep. He makes her read the trashiest bits of her books to him, and she throws her voice, gives everyone a Minnesotan accent until he can't stop laughing.

"What? You don't like my performance?"

Clint rolls her over, snagging the book from her fingers and tossing it over his shoulder. "No, I do." Pressing his lips against the crook of her neck, he breathes. She smells like his soap, which she won't stop stealing, and she smells a little bit like the beach, because that's where they go, when they need to get away from everyone else. "I just like this one better."




He's making a list in his head of all the weird shit she likes to eat.

"What the fuck is jello salad?" Clint leans over her shoulder, hands resting on her hips while she turns up the radio and continues mixing.

"Jello and cottage cheese."

"That's disgusting. And I say that as someone who ate funnel cakes for a week straight one time on a dare." Bobbi snorts and shakes her head. "No, but really."

"It is what it is." She angles her head back and kisses him. "You want some?"

"No, thanks. I like the lining of my stomach just the way it is."

She shrugs and sticks a spoonful in her mouth. "Suit yourself."




She likes chocolate ice cream in a glass with milk and saltines. She eats tuna on crackers straight from the can. She makes sun tea every morning and wakes him up with coffee and toast. She makes a vicious ambrosia salad and all her cakes are lopsided and covered in lemon frosting. She eats spoonfuls of peanut butter, but she detests jelly and jam. She orders burgers wherever they go, but only if she can have a milk shake with it. She only buys cheap wine and bad vodka, even when he whines about it.

And still, he doesn't know everything. He wonders if he could. If he will.

She naps in the afternoons, when they're not busy, and he watches, letting his hand drift into her hair. She can sleep through anything.

Clint goes into the kitchen and pulls her tea from the windowsill, pouring in two cups of sugar, the way he always watches her do. When she wakes up, he hands her a glass, watching her take a sip and looking pleased.


"Perfect," she murmurs, pressing her lips to his. "Like I made it myself."