I blew out a breath, directing it upwards to flutter my bangs across my forehead. This wasn’t going to work out. I pushed away from my desk, the carefully aligned row of Erlenmeyer flasks and the murky deformity that lay within the last one to the right.
“What’s for dinner, babe?” I hollered down the hall. My partner was in his own office, proofreading college essays. A thankless job, but it brought in enough extra money that we could afford a fancy dress date night once a month.
He didn’t respond. This wasn’t entirely unusual; sometimes he got super engrossed in whatever cockamamie theory some student was proposing and tuned out the rest of the world.
I tiptoed down the hall to the door of his office, where I paused to listen quietly. Sometimes a soft chuckle would escape the confines of his office, but I didn’t hear the occasional paper shuffle that usually accompanied it.
I lifted a finger and tapped gently on the door, then more insistently when he didn’t answer me. Maybe he had his headphones on again, but he hardly ever turned the volume up loud enough to not be able to hear me yell if I needed something, which was pretty dang often.
I’m pretty accident prone, and in spite of a ton of safety equipment, I’ve been known to stab myself with a needle. Once I even got a tiny droplet of extremely corrosive acid up and over my safety goggles. I still have the little scar right next to my left eye. Man oh man, that was a scary day, let me tell you.
I dropped my still-gloved hand to the knob and turned it as I pushed on the door. And there he was, the man of my dreams, kicked back in his recliner and watching YouTube videos on his phone.
“Instead of working like a responsible adult!” I hoped that I raised my voice enough for him to hear me over whatever garbage he was watching. I had.
He slammed the footrest of the recliner down and closed and quickly snatched the headphone cord out of the jack in his phone. “Oh, hey, babe, I didn’t hear you knock. You did knock, didn’t you?” He raised an eyebrow at me.
“You’re not gonna get off that easy, mister. I know we have our rules to leave each other alone while we’re working, but you didn’t answer when I did knock, loudly, and besides, it sure looks like you’re not actually working anyway. Are you? Is this some new sort of research that you’ve embarked upon?” I was pretty upset that he’d accused me of being a jerk when he was the one being a jerk. The jerk.
He raised his palms in submission. “Okay, okay, you’re right. I”m not working. But I’m just taking a quick break from working, so I might as well be. Jeez, calm down.” He turned his wrist to check his watch. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t realize it was so late. Let’s go get something for dinner, shall we?” He rose and gave me a kiss on my cheek as he passed by, towards our bedroom where I’m sure he was going to get a fresh pair of socks from the dresser.
How can I stay mad at that? I can’t. “Did you have something in mind for dinner?” I whined as I followed him to the bedroom, where sure enough, he was digging furiously through the sock drawer, brows knit in fierce concentration.
“Have you seen my green socks? They’re not in here.” He trailed off, pouting his lower lip out the tiniest bit. “I could have sworn I washed them when I did laundry last weekend. I specifically remember folding them and tucking them back into the sock drawer.” He looked up at me. “Have you seen them?”
I hung my head, abashed. “See, you were sleeping so good this morning that I didn’t want to turn the light on wand wake you up, so I just grabbed the first pair that my hand touched when I went in the sock drawer, and well,” I grasped my pant legs and slowly raised them. “Sorry.”
He laughed and gave me a kiss. “But where’s the other one, silly goose?”