Don’t become the little birdy in the box.
I sit there, staring at the email, unsure what to do. Jordan walks into the room, and I pull my emails down, smiling at him. I really don’t want to worry him with this right now. This is the first time in days he’s really been smiling. The tension in his body has eased and he seems content. I don’t want that coming back on him right now.
“Hey,” I say, standing up. He looks at me a little funny.
“You ready to eat?” he asks.
I glance back at my computer, debating what to do. Jordan wraps his arms around me and nuzzles my neck.
“Let me feed you. Let me take care of you tonight like you did for me today.”
I run my hands into his hair like I always do and nod. I will give him what he wants, because it’s what I want, too.
“Sounds perfect,” I tell him. I’m not ruining this day with threatening emails. I’ll tell him about it tomorrow and let him take over. I won’t keep anything from him. But as long as I’m in his arms, there’s nothing that can touch me.
Tonight I’m falling into Jordan and forgetting everything else.
“Did you take the last wonton?” I ask, looking for it in the Chinese takeout box.
Looking up, I see Jay with her mouth full and her eyes wide.
“No,” she mumbles guiltily and looks away quickly.
I narrow my eyes playfully. “Jay, did you eat the last one and not even ask me if I wanted it?”
She looks up at the ceiling as she chews and then swallows. She shrugs and takes a sip of her beer. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“I can’t believe it. My little bird is a liar!” On the last word I lunge for her, and she squeals as she tries to get out of her seat.
I’ve caught her too quickly, and there’s no escape. I pull her in my lap and dip her low so she’s inches from the floor.
“Let me up! I’m going to fall!” she gasps between fits of laughter.
“Not until you admit that you stole the last wonton on the sneak!” I blow a raspberry on her neck, and she laughs so hard she has tears in her eyes. “Admit it. Admit it or else.”
“I did it!” she gasps, and I can’t help but laugh with her.
“I love you, but wontons are sacred.”
She sobers at my words, and I smile at her, trying to catch my breath. It takes me a second to catch up to her.
“You love me?” she whispers, but I don’t know why she suddenly looks so nervous.
I sit her up and place my hand on her chest, right over her heart. I didn’t realize what I was saying when I said it, but it’s exactly what I meant. “You know I do, Jay. I’ve never felt this way about anyone before. I love you.”
I say it again so that she knows it wasn’t a mistake. It wasn’t a slip that I didn’t mean. She’s the love I’ve been waiting for.
“I love you, too,” she says, and though her eyes are watery, she gives a small laugh and wraps her arms around me.
“Good. Now that that’s settled, let’s discuss your punishment for the food theft.”
She squeals and wiggles out of my lap, taking off for our bedroom. I could have stopped her, but why deny her the thrill of the hunt?
Instead of stalking after her right away, I clean up our plates and turn out all the lights, then make my way to that end of the house.
“I hope your hiding spot is good. When I find you, there’s gonna be hell to pay.”
I slowly walk to the bedroom, checking doors and closets as I go. When I get to the master, I close the door and lock it behind me. I stand there for just a moment when I hear a muffled giggle come from behind the curtains.
Long drapes cover the floor-to-ceiling windows that line the room, so she could easily hide behind them. But the fact that her toes are showing at the bottom is what’s truly adorable.
“I’m going to give you to the count of three. If you come out with your hands up, this will go much easier,” I say, trying my best to keep the laugh out of my voice.
There’s no response, only more muffled giggles. God, she’s trying so hard not to laugh. She gets a gold star for effort.
“One.” I begin to count, and I see the fabric twitch.
“Two.” I say it slowly, giving her plenty of time.
Just as I shout the last number, she bursts from the curtain and runs straight at me, taking me by surprise. She leaps into my arms, and I don’t catch her in time. We both go tumbling back on the bed, but I roll us over to soften her landing, and somehow I end up with her pinned under me.