Lavender straightened her desk at least twenty times a day. She’d wake up in the morning, drink her coffee, and fix her desk before starting her work as a freelance editor. On the good days, her husband, David, would kiss her before leaving for his law firm. Today, the front door opened and closed without a word. Lavender adjusted her papers again before reading another chapter of the manuscript she was editing. She highlighted at least five paragraphs in red and typed a detailed note to the author about how to fix it. He probably wouldn’t do it. She’d sent his manuscript back at least seven times already, which meant more pay but less new customers.

She moved onto the next manuscript, eyes roving over the electronic words until her head throbbed. Breaking for lunch, she reorganized her pens then popped a frozen pizza in the oven. Cooking was usually up to David.

Lavender burned her mouth on the cheese when her phone started ringing. “Hello?”

“Oh, so now you’re okay with talking? Are you even working right now?” David must’ve went to lunch early.

“I’m eating. What’s wrong?”

“It doesn’t matter.”

Should she even go there? “Please, talk to me.”

“I said I’m fine.”

“I’m probably going to have to work late. One of my authors needs to send me another draft.”

“If you keep working late, your dinner will get cold.”

“Then it gets cold.”

“But I work all day and then I don’t even get to see you.”

The same old fight. Lavender threw the rest of her pizza away. “You didn’t kiss me this morning. That’s on you.”

“I’m sorry. I’m just having a really bad day.”

“It’s okay. I love you.”

He hung up.

***

Lavender stopped editing every few minutes to adjust and readjust her desk. One second her papers would be angled too much to the left. The next second they would be stacked too high, and she’d have to organize them differently. As the garage door opened, she took David’s picture, positioned between her computer and printer, and put it face down. She tried to finish the chapter she was on, but David’s briefcase thumped onto the floor of her office. Loosening his tie, he kissed her cheek. She kept her eyes on the screen. “How was work?”

“Exhausting. Everyone always wants to sue everyone.”

“Welcome to America.”

“Why are you so mad?”

“I’m not. I’m just working.”

David crossed his arms. “I see. I’m not important enough. I just feed you. I’ll go cook dinner.” He left his briefcase by the door, and Lavender moved it out to focus.

The crappy author from earlier finally emailed her back just as the timer in the kitchen went off. She left the email unopened and powered down her computer hoping that would appease David. But fish wrapped in bacon with a side of green beans met her at the dinner table and all of it was cold. David sat next to her. “I’m sorry that it’s not your favorite, but we don’t have anything else in the freezer. You should go grocery shopping tomorrow.”

She attempted to eat a little bit of the salmon, but it was too fishy. “I don’t have time.”

David’s fork hit the plate. “But I cook. You don’t even try.”

“I’m not your mom.”

“No, but you’re your dad. Every opinion he has, you have. Why do we have to spend so much time with your parents?”

They didn’t. They saw her parents for Thanksgiving every other year and his parents for every damn holiday including President’s Day. She shoved her plate away. “Screw this. I’m going to live with my sister.”

“Fine. I paid for most of this house anyway.”

Her suitcase was packed in twenty minutes. As she started to roll out of the driveway, David ran out to stop her. “Baby, wait. I love you. Let’s talk about this.” It was like a movie. A movie that replayed at least twice a month, and Lavender didn’t think she’d ever get sick of it.

Fiction

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