I wiped the ink from my pen’s nib, set it down carefully, and regarded the page. The ink was still drying, but it seemed immaculate. I was especially smug about the diagrams of the Antikythera. That was a bit of engineering far ahead of its time. I had been giddy with anticipation for a week, given the chance to copy those schematics, and I felt like I had done it with precision. I carefully stoppered the ink and set the pen aside.
My parents had despaired of my education ever repaying the investment it required, but I was satisfied. Nobody else could do work this fine, and everybody knew it. Only Davuus of Broken Hills could match my technical diagrams. I had seen one bookbinding finer than what I could usually manage, but I didn’t know who did the binding, or how far away they might be. It was likely that their business was nothing but bindings. I smiled, sure that nobody I would ever meet could surpass my skill, not if I spent my career always growing.
Then the smell hit me. Fresh bread, garlic, parmesan. “Rouseaux! Did you even hear me calling? Dinner’s ready!” I rose, smiling, and went out into the kitchen as she yelled at me. “Get out here! I swear, you get so caught up in your work the house could be burning down and you–”
She let me silence her with a kiss, long and gentle. My arms slipped around her waist to draw her close, and I savored the taste of her. Her hair was an unremarkable brown, but beautiful and soft. Her face was freckled, but full of character. Her eyes were a rather dull blue, but laced with intricate threads of green and gold. “It smells delicious, Mauve.”
Her eyes turned up to mine, and she tapped my nose with a wooden spoon, threateningly. “Don’t you change the subject. Get cleaned up, mister.”
Though her words were harsh, the warmth in her voice gentled them. “You boss me around while you can, little woman.” My hands slid around her hips and over her bottom. With a gleam in my eye, I moved closer. “Tonight, I’ll be the one–OW!”
“Tonight, I’ll be the one–OW!” She had smacked my hand with the wooden spoon.
“Serves you right, holding up dinner with your pawing and groping.” She turned to the pot, stirring, giving me a sly wink as she spun away. “Get going, lummox.”
I smiled and turned away with a certain spring in my step, to wash up for dinner. As I washed my hands, scrubbing the ink away, I looked over at her, to catch her looking at me. She reddened, looking back at the pot she was stirring quickly. I liked that she would still blush for me. I smiled, drying my hands, and began setting the table for dinner with my wife.