It too Adrian two weeks to decide. Sara tried, during those two weeks, to let him have all the breathing room he needed to decide. She made the most of crock-pot and one-dish recipes, shortcuts and take-out, to make sure he didn’t have to feel like meals were waiting on him; she did cursory cleaning every day, and she tried to get enough work done that it didn’t feel like she was waiting on his decision.
That last Friday, he didn’t make it home until past ten in the evening. His eyes were bloodshot, his hands were shaking, and his skin was ashen. He let Sara chivy him into a bathrobe and slippers without even a pretense of an argument, and sipped the doctored hot cocoa, thick with rum, until his cheeks began to get some color.
“Would… would you tell me what to do? If I agreed to be your housewife?”
Sara hesitated. He was so twitchy right now, it seemed like everything might send him over the edge. “I don’t want to boss you around…”
“But I liked it! When you told me to do things, before, I liked that. My job.. they never tell me, they just yell at me when it’s not done!”
Ah. “Ah. I can do that. I can give you direction.” She found herself smiling. “I can even reward you when you get it all done. right.”
“When? Not if?”
“Hey, I’ve seen what you can do. I might have to up the ante, start giving you bonus round tasks.”
“And you’re really okay with – with supporting me?”
“If you’re really okay with being my housewife. Yeah.”
“I…” He was quiet for a few minutes. Then Adrian nodded. “I’ll quit tomorrow.”
Sara gave Adrian a nice manly apron the day he left his job, and a ruffled one with pink polka-dots the next day. They sat down the next night to the best-tasting meal either of them had had in weeks, months, really; it took them less than a week to fall back into a comfortable routine.
And it was great. He’d ask her what he should do, and she’d tell him. He’d go above and beyond, and she’d do something special for him. Sara went back to getting work done, and Adrian was happy again.
“So, are you happy, being her bitch?” It was game night, and Ellery had been drinking, but that didn’t excuse it.
“When is he going to stop mooching off of you? I can’t believe he quit his job and you’re okay with him staying here!” Rachael wasn’t the best of Sara’s friends, not by far, but she was a shopping-and-coffee-on-Tuesdays sort of friend. Not that it made her opinion okay, but it definitely made it heard.
“Dude, are you just going to let her tell you what to do? What are you, her housewife?” Sara hadn’t even been telling Adrian what to do – they were watching movies with friends, and he’d asked her what wine she thought was good – when Craig came out with that one.
But it gave Adrian something to answer that he could actually answer. When he came back in from the kitchen, he was wearing his apron. The one with the pink polka dots, even. And somewhere he’d gotten a string of costume pearls.
Sara watched him pull himself up straight and hand Craig a glass of wine. “Yes.”
Their so-called friend had already forgotten. “Yes, what?”
Adrian was smiling. Grinning, really. Sara found that she was, too.
“Yes,” she filled in. “He is my housewife. And a damned good one at that.”
“Well, then.” Ellery was clearly trying to make up for his Game Night slip. “Where are you two registered?”
“Cook’s World,” Adrian answered promptly. And thus the idea for their nonwedding was born.
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