Chapter Twenty-Four

"I hear they've passed the final marriage laws in Oregon. Congratulations for your friend Jessica, by the way"

"Goodie for Oregon. Bunch of hippies, you know?"

He laughs. "Don't I know it. Christ, I grew up there, I should know it better than either of us. You want any of this coffee?"

"No, I'm okay." I tick at the keys and tug at my hair a little.

"What are you working on?"

"I have no idea. Just writing, I guess. It's relaxing."

"Hm." I can tell he's laughing at me. "Hey." He touches my shoulder, points at the screen. "Hey, you spelled that wrong."

"That's what spell check is for." His hands slide down my back and around my waist as he chuckles and kisses my neck and I can't help but whine a little. "C'mon, Jay, I've only got a few more days left, and I want to finish this."

"Oh, yeah. You're doing that novel writing thinger, aren't you?"

I roll my eyes. "Fifty thousand words in thirty days. I'm making the kids in my class do it, I might as well do it myself. Set a good example."

"Hm." He kisses a path up from my collar to the skin just behind my ear. "I don't think writing about your sundry sex life is going to inspire too many of these kids."

"Meh. You never know."

"True." After a second, he pulled away and yawned and picked up his coffee mug again. "Mind if I turn on the radio while I clean?"

"Go ahead. The music's nice to listen to. Just don't put it on, like, NPR or something. Talking heads are boring."

He turned and grinned at me. "Your face is boring."

"Oh, that was real mature, Jay. I'm so proud of you."

I clack at my keys for a minute, then scroll up and check how I'd phrased something before. He watches me from the other side of the breakfast bar, organizing papers, then sighs and just smiles and watches me without trying to busy himself.

After a second, he asks, "Is your sister coming by this weekend?"

"Which one?"

"Uh," he stumbles, then scratches his head. "The older, married one. Ilka?"

"Oh. Yeah, her and Leo and the kids are coming up to see us." I look over at him, move my ring around on my finger. "Is that okay? We didn't have plans, did we?"

"No, no, it's fine. Just making sure." He comes back over to me and kisses me on the mouth and cards his fingers through my hair. "I'll have to magically learn how to cook. Or I'll have to drag you away from that damn laptop of yours."

"You love Christine."

He laughs. "I think it's weird that your laptop has a name. And that she's named for a Stephen King character."

"You still love her."

"Whatever, Tam," he laughs, and smiles, and I smile at him too. "Whatever."