Coming in June, the crew from Love and Other Things is back, with Nothing But Love!
— tara —
Chris was hiding something from me. I could just tell. It wasn’t that he was acting strange, or being distant, or anything like that. Well, not really. Okay, a little. Maybe I should explain.
On Tuesdays, I cook steaks. Not just any steaks either, thick, quality steaks that I get cut especially for me at the overpriced organic foods market. I seasoned and marinated those steaks to perfection, timed them on the grill just right so that they would be medium-well and waiting on Chris’s plate when he got home from work, because my husband loves a good steak, and he looks forward to it.
So what does that have to do anything? Well, it was a Tuesday, and he came home late. Not that he couldn’t come home when he wanted to, but it was steak day, and he didn’t even call. He always called when he was going to be late. And, he was picking at his food. Chris doesn’t pick at his food. He comes home, inhales it like he’s the smallest puppy in the pack and has to eat before someone steals it from him, and then he goes through the pots and pans on the stove looking for more.
Now, I don’t cook everyday or anything like that. Maybe two or three times a week, I would leave my office early, pick up the kids from daycare, and go home and make sure that my husband had a hot meal ready when he got home. He never asked me to, never required it, I did it because I loved him. And I didn’t even particularly enjoy cooking, I did it for him.
There he was, on a Tuesday, picking at his steak, after coming home late without letting me know. His ass was hiding something.
After dinner, I tucked Maya and Kendall (two and five years old) into bed, and I waited in the master bedroom until I heard the shower turn off. Standing in the doorway, I watched, as interested as ever, as Chris toweled himself off. Mostly because of the physical requirements of his job as an FBI agent, he kept himself in excellent physical shape. Very little, if any, had to do with vanity, but my husband looked damned good… if I do say so myself.
Skin the color of toasted almonds, poured over a tall, sinewy frame. Strong jaw, covered with neatly trimmed facial hair, surrounding sexy, masculine, full lips, underneath— okay, I’m doing too much, I get it, but I can’t help it. Chris was a handsome guy, and he usually would have noticed that I was standing there, looking at him like he was an open box of Sugar Babies, but he hadn’t, because his ass was hiding something.
“What’s going on with you, baby?” I asked, approaching him slowly as he straightened from drying off his legs. He gave me that lazy smile of his, that always made me a little weak in the knees.
“Nothing, babe. What makes you think something is wrong?”
/It’s Tuesday and I spent hours making sure you had a steak and you didn’t even freaking eat it— wow, crazy much?/
“You’re just a little quiet or something. Are you not feeling well?”
Chris shook his head, not meeting my eyes as he secured the towel around his waist. “Just tired, Tara.” He nudged me aside so that he could reach the sink and began brushing his teeth.
Ignoring the gentle rebuff, I sat on the counter, staring down at bright red polish on my toes until he finished. When he was done rinsing, I grabbed a handful of the towel at his waist, pulling him toward me. “Chris… I know you said you were tired, but this is the last day this month that we can—” I saw a flash of something in his eyes when he realized what I was about to ask. That little flash of whatever the hell it was made me wish I hadn’t even mentioned it. “Never mind. It can wait.” I released my hold on him, and started to slide down from the counter, but his hands against my shoulders stopped me as he positioned himself in front of me.
“Hey… don’t do that,” he said, placing a gentle kiss against my lips as I stared up at him.
“Don’t do what?”
He brought his hands down to my ankles, gently caressing the length of my legs on his way back up to, then under, the hem of the comfortable tee-shirt dress I wore. “Shut down on me like that. What’s going on?”
“Nothing with me. You’re the one whose acting funny.”
“Acting funny?” He lifted an eyebrow at me as he tugged my panties away from my waist, then down my thighs.
I twisted my mouth, biting the inside of my cheek before I answered. “You didn’t eat your steak.” I mumbled, barely above a whisper because I knew exactly how ridiculous it sounded. As expected, Chris chuckled, spreading my legs apart as he began teasing me with his thumb.
“I’m sorry, sweetheart. It won’t happen again,” he murmured against my ear. “I promise to eat my steak next time.”
I rolled my eyes as he lowered his mouth to my neck to place a kiss there. “Chris, I’m serious. I’ve known you long enough to know when there’s something you aren’t telling me.”
“If there was something you needed to know, I would tell you, Tara.” He cupped my chin, tilting my head back so that our gazes met again. “I don’t want you worrying about anything right now, okay? I need you focused on the task at hand. If this is the last day this month, we need to make it count, sweetheart.” He dropped his towel. “It can’t wait.”
Later that night, with him fast asleep, his arm draped protectively around my waist, I was wide awake. As I’d had to remind Chris, I knew him very, very well. He claimed that nothing was going on, but… I wasn’t convinced.