I was in a thoroughly bad mood as I descended the stairs, a dark nimbus swirling around my head with the occasional lightning bolt shooting out of it. And it didn’t get any better as I reached the bottom of the stairs, because sitting there in the kitchen, looking up at me, was my husband Tyrone, wearing his Innocent Face.
“So,” he said. “What’s for dinner?”
“I thought you said you hated my cooking,” I countered.
He shrugged. “I do. Doesn’t mean I’m not hungry.”
I gave him a long, long look, the kind my dad would call ‘the old hairy eyeball.’ “Because that’s definitely encouragement,” I snorted. “You get yourself something, fat boy. I’m too tired—you kept me up all last night complaining about how hard it is to find a new job.”
Tyrone’s Innocent Face switched to his Dignified Face. “You were the one who made me take two years off to take care of Joey when she was first born. Then I couldn’t get back into the pro Quidditch league. So, technically, it’s your fault I need to find another job.”
“Well, you made me go to Disney World on our honeymoon.”
“Well, you pinched my bum at the altar!”
“Well, you got me pregnant THREE TIMES. Worst twenty-seven months of my life!”
“Well, it’s not like you didn’t help with that!”
“Well, your feet always smell. And you leave your socks lying around.”
“Well, you swear in front of the kids!”
“Well, you play air-guitar in public!”
“Well, you peel off your lip skin and eat it!”
“Well, you’ve got a bald spot!”
Tyrone froze in his tracks. His mouth opened and closed soundlessly. It was as though I had just poured a bucket of cold water over him. Silently, he turned on his heel and raced out of the room in search of a mirror. I cackled to myself. The man’s hair was thriving as always, and, apparently, so was his vanity.
A few minutes later, having thoroughly inspected every millimeter of his scalp, Tyrone returned, looking rather bashful and defeated. “Listen,” he said. “I’m really, really, really sorry about Joey. And stuff. I was an idiot.”
“You can say that again,” I snapped, then my expression softened slightly in spite of myself. He was doing that thing with his eyebrows again. “Yeah, I know you’re sorry,” I sighed. “Why does this happen every day? I never mean to start yelling at you. It just happens.”
Tyrone stepped a little closer. “We both need to calm down,” he mumbled. “You’re a freak, but I love you anyway. That’s the big thing, I guess. That’s what matters.”
“And you are a total moron,” I informed him softly. “But you know I love you, too.”
“Sometimes, I’m not so sure if you do,” muttered Tyrone, looking at the floor.
Oh, no. Oh, no. Stupid, stupid irresistible Tyrone, making it impossible to stand my ground, making it impossible ever since we were teenagers. I couldn’t help myself. I grabbed that man and gave him a great big hug. And after a split second’s hesitation, he returned it. Tyrone may have devoted the last several years to growing a substantial belly, but his arms were still as strong as they’d ever been, his embrace just as warm.
“Mr. Thomas,” I informed him, “You should know that I love you just as much as I did when I got arrested for carving our initials on the Tree of Life in the Animal Kingdom when we were on our honeymoon.”
“We’re so weird,” Tyrone said, kissing me. “I don’t know how we stand each other.”
He was about to kiss me again when a plaintive little voice from the doorway said, “Oh, no, don’t do that!” It was Joey, hands on hips and expression profoundly disgruntled. “I’ve had a hard enough day as it is.”
Tyrone and I exchanged glances, then burst out laughing.
“Hey,” said Tyrone, kneeling down at Joey’s eye level. “Want to go play Cowboys and Dark Wizards in the backyard?”
“Not so fast, mister,” I interrupted, placing my hand firmly on my husband’s shoulder. An evil smile crawled across my face. “You’re doing the dishes.”