This Year's Yule King
It had to be during his Wednesday night Ethics of Political Systems class, a three-hour lecture conveniently on the one night that week I didn't have practice. It was pretty much the only time I'd have our apartment to myself. Even so, I knew better than to be anywhere but in the kitchen, up to my elbows in spaghetti, when he arrived home. He knew better than to kill me when I was fixing his dinner.
I swear, he knew how to open the door in such a way that even the sleigh bells tacked to the inside jingled angrily. Next came the sounds of heavy backpack and shoes divested by the front door, and then a silence that was exactly long enough to count to ten in both English and Chinese. "What did you do?" His voice was soft and menacing.
"I'm in here!" I hollered, as though I had no idea what on earth he might be upset about.
"What the fuck did y--" And the rest of his sentence was lost in a mechanical roar as I pressed chop on the Cuisinart, turning several organic vegetables loudly into the base for a spaghetti sauce. Canned sauces were all right, but too salty for my taste, and once I'd learned how easy it was to dice vegetables, I'd never gone back. And since Tristan's idea of cooking was heating up whatever Amy's meal was in the freezer, I had taken upon myself the task of keeping us both from dying from malnutrition.
When the vegetables were hacked up to my liking, I turned the blades off. "--commercialist bullshit, and I don't even celebrate--" Well, maybe they could stand to be a little more finely chopped. "--looks like the inside of that awful mall in--" Heck, some things you just couldn't chop enough.
This time, he reached over and yanked the plug from the wall, effectively silencing the machine beyond my immediate control. "Don't even try to play innocent," he said, poking me hard between my shoulder blades. "I know you did it, unless it was some kind of reverse break-in, in which case I really wish you'd offered them your stereo or something to make them go away before they put lights and wreaths on everything."
I turned around and pointed up to the ceiling fan; he followed my line of sight, then proceeded to stare so long I considered the possibility that he'd never seen anything like it before. He opened his mouth, closed it, opened it again, closed it one more time, then tilted his head downward the few degrees necessary to look me in the eye. "...How much of this stupid decorating did you do just so you could make me kiss you under the mistletoe?"
"Depends." I shrugged, hooking my thumbs in the pockets of my jeans. "Did it work?"
"No," he growled, grabbing the front of my t-shirt and pulling me down toward him until the melting snow pooled on his peacoat soaked my bare arms and I tasted smoke and winter on his tongue.
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