The dishwasher was broken.
Shea eyed it, then nudged the door with his foot in a half-hearted effort to get it working again. Sighing, he turned to the sink full of dishes crusted-over with the remains of dinner and lunch and resigned himself to the inevitable. “Gross.”
From the television in the living room, music piped in, a song Shea recognized from a recent movie but couldn’t quite remember. Determined to get the chore out of the way, he plugged the drain and turned on the hot water, then hummed along as he sought out a sponge
“Love,” he sang, distracted as he tried to follow the lyrics. “….together, for us…” He couldn’t remember the chorus and interspersed his singing with humming, swaying at the sink to the guitar as he plunged his hands into soapy water. When the first song segued into another he did his best to follow along. “…together…something always, and…”
The driving beat of the third song brightened his mood and sped up his progress; he attacked the last pan with vigor as another ballad started. “You and I …” His off-key singing echoed in the empty kitchen as he dried off the pan. “You and I are….something…” Waltzing the pan to its proper place in the cupboard, he rubbed his damp hands on his jeans – and then fell mute when he saw Jamie leaning against the wall watching, arms folded and eyebrow arched.
Shea’s cheeks flamed. “How long have you been there?”
Jamie’s lip twitched as he tried mightily to contain his laughter. “Long enough for a serenade,” he replied. “Long enough to hear the greatest artist of our era sing to his pans.”
Mortified and with nothing to say in his own defense, Shea preoccupied himself with rinsing out the sink. He picked up the soaked sponge and scrubbed at the basin. “Oh, shut up,” he muttered in a failed effort to sound indignant. He tried to change the subject. “It’s not like you’re offering to help, anyway.”
“Why would I?” Jamie asked, amused. “I got to attend a free concert instead.”
It was too much. A mischievous smile tugged at Shea’s lips as he turned and launched the sponge at Jamie, who ducked its arc with a quick sidestep. With a wet smack, the soapy missile hit the wall and then slid down to rest in a puddle on the floor. Jamie’s laughter filled the kitchen. “You know, your aim is almost as bad as your singing, but—”
He broke off and fled for the living room when Shea darted after him, both of them slipping on the slick floor as they ran. Their momentum sent them tumbling to the couch together, and Jamie’s eyes tightened around Shea as Shea huffed a helpless laugh against the worn fabric of his t-shirt. “You’re being unfair,” Shea protested, and waited for the blush to cool. “My singing’s not that bad, is it?”
“Oh, it’s terrible,” Jamie laughed. “But I like it anyway.”
Throw a sponge at Jamie. Hits the wall wet and heavy, then slides down to sit in a soapy puddle on the floor. Jamie ducks the missile and darts back out of the kitchen, laughter echoing. “
Shea hesitated, turning his attention back to the dishes and the soapy water—and then runs after him laughing to make him pay.
Available at: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=97&products_id=4362