Arrangements, a continuation of Live-In

Written to [personal profile] perfectworry‘s commissioned continuation of Live-In

Adrian was home late for the fourth time in a week. Sara ordered pizza, washed the dishes from last night’s dinner, gathered all of her dirty clothes and his into a pile, and tried not to swear at the mess.

This was his third week of his job, and they’d held him late almost every day. He was new, he wanted the money, and he “didn’t have anyone at home.” Not, at least, the way his bosses understood having someone at home. Roommates didn’t count.

Sara got the wash in and sat down with her budget book. Adrian had insisted on paying rent the minute he’d gotten a paycheck, but the thing was, somehow it wasn’t making her balance any bigger.

She opened a document – and swore as the pizza arrived. How had she gotten any work done before Adrian moved in? How had she had any time at all to think?

She put the pizza in a warm oven, snatching just one piece, and managed to get a couple hundred words scribbled before the laundry was done. That finished, she was just about to sit down to work again when Adrian stumbled in the door.

He looked like shit. Pretty eyes sunken, complexion sallow, hands wrinkled. His work clothes were just as wrinkled, and his tie was twisted at the bottom, as if he’d been fiddling with it.

“Clothes off,” she demanded, like she had the right. “Into the tub, right now.

“But dinner…”

“I ordered pizza, and you can eat in the tub. Come on, boy. Clothes.”

Like a good obedient boy, he stripped off his clothes.

“In the tub, come on with you.” She started the tub, coaxing him every step of the way, putting in some of her favorite bath oil and setting up the silly little caddy that she never used. “Here, in.”

She took a moment to look at his bare butt, purely out of aesthetics, and then she was setting a plate of pizza on the caddy and fussing at him until he was up to his shoulders in hot water.

Since they’d come this far, it seemed reasonable to sit down on the toilet, lid closed, and eat her own pizza while Adrian, slowly, so slowly, relaxed. “What happened?”

“June called off. I think she quit, actually, but nobody tells me anything. And then everything she screwed up was suddenly my fault, and I had to stay late to fix all of her mistakes, and then later to do my own work.” He thumped his head against the back of the tub.

“Stop that.” She slid a folded towel behind his head. “I gotta ask… is it worth it?”

He opened his eyes, two dark pools studying her. “I don’t want to mooch off you.”

She took a breath. “Adrian… you weren’t. You were doing all the housework and more than half the errands. You were… you were pretty much being my housewife.”

He didn’t say anything for a minute. He bit his pizza, so she bit her pizza. He took another bite. She took another bite.

He swallowed, sipped the soda she’d brought him, swallowed again. She’d never watched his throat so intently. “Can I have a floral apron?”

Sara’s laugh was half because of the joke, but it was half sheer relief. “You can have as many aprons as you want. The minute you quit this job.”

If you’d like to see more of this story, I bet there’s more to be written. Just drop a tip in the the tip handcuffs:

Next: Agreed.

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