AN: I went back and forth over the date of the Quintis wedding. The actual episode aired on May 1st, but 1) It was supposed to be several weeks after the events of 'Strife on Mars' which aired April 17 two weeks prior. 2) May 1st was on a Monday and most people get married on the weekend. If Toby's family was there from NYC, it probably was over a weekend at some point. But for the sake of my story, I'm keeping the anniversary on May the first because it works better. That makes the actual anniversary on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. Yes, my mind goes round and round with details like that. If you haven't noticed, I'm more than a little OCD. Or CDO because that's in alphabetical order...
"Does it have to be this weekend? When I agreed, I thought it started on a different day."
Paige stood by Walter's desk waiting for him as he gathered his belongings. They were about to go grab some dinner with Ralph after another long, rather eventful Monday at work.
"NASA will hardly change the schedule of their rocketry and aeronautical engineering symposium based on our preferences alone. And it was an honor for Scorpion to be included in the first place since it's by invitation only. They gave us two free tickets. It's all set and Ralph is very excited to go. Besides, I don't understand why this particular weekend would be significant." Walter frowned and blinked at her, all sincere confusion.
It was hard for Paige to admit she was feeling slightly jealous of her thirteen year old son. No one was more delighted for her and Walter to be together than Ralph and normally she would be thrilled for the two of them to go on a road trip. But more and more in recent days, the pair of geniuses would go places and plan activities without her. And when the three of them were together, she frequently had to remind them to dumb down the conversation so the 'normal' in the room could keep up.
Dating Walter over the last year had been challenging and they'd had their share of issues of course, but at the end of the day, she loved him quirks and all. She reminded herself of that fact sharply. After all, she knew from the outset he didn't place any special relevance on dates, but did he have to spend the weekend before their first anniversary with her son five hours away at a NASA nerd convention she had no interest in attending?
She would absolutely not turn into a needy, clingy girlfriend. It was not going to happen. And she didn't want to be an annoying whiner either. Throughout their relationship she'd often been obligated to point out when Walter did something she didn't like or times when he was inappropriate. Like the time he'd discussed his calculations regarding her menstrual cycle in front of Sylvester. Or when she had to remind him to ask first before giving Ralph permission to do things. Paige had to tell him she was still the parent and she had the ultimate say in what Ralph was allowed to do.
Walter had asked her to tell him those things and give him boundaries, saying he simply didn't have a frame of reference and he really wanted to be a good partner. He wanted her to be happy. So, she didn't have the heart to give him another long litany of her romantic expectations as well.
Paige tried not to pout but she knew there was a dejected note to her voice in spite of her efforts. "It's just been a while since we've had a few days to ourselves, that's all. And I thought with Happy and Toby out of the picture celebrating their anniversary, it might be a good time for us to be alone for a few days too. I was going to see if Ralph could stay with Cabe or Sly."
"Ohhh, I see," He breathed, then he leaned closer and inquired in a loud whisper, "Is Mama feeling a little…pent up again?" His facial expression was the combination of shyness with a hint of a leer that was unique to him.
He was so damn cute she couldn't help but smile and shove his shoulder playfully. "I think you took care of that pretty effectively for me last night. No complaints here. How about you just pencil in a date with me on your calendar for next weekend, okay?"
Still tidying his desk and placing his things in neat stacks, he answered absently, "No. That won't work either. Don't forget we have the Forestry Braves Awards Ceremony next Saturday. Ralph is getting a number of badges and he's supposed to do a presentation. I promised I would help him, remember?"
Paige sighed and shuffled slowly back over to her workstation. She reminded herself again she was glad Walter and Ralph were close, but she couldn't help but feel left out and a tad rejected. She hated herself a little for being so petty and selfish and for wishing Walter was just a bit more sentimental.
"I'm doing something wrong again, aren't I?" Walter's hesitant, quiet words pierced her like a dart.
She sat down in her chair, facing him. She forced her lips to curve up into a smile. "No, it's okay. We'll get in some couple time soon. When we get a free weekend."
Paige meant it. She really did. But she still couldn't help feeling somewhat disappointed.
The other couple in the garage wasn't helping in the slightest even though she knew better than to compare Walter's and her relationship with theirs.
'Be determined it doesn't bother you, and it won't.' Paige squeezed her eyes shut and gave herself a modified version of her advice to Ralph about school back when he was balking at going. She really did try to suck it up and ignore it on Tuesday when Toby presented Happy with 365 pieces of the mechanic's favorite candies saying it was 'one for each day she had made his life sweeter by being his wife'. After all, Walter did fix Paige's wifi connection for her earlier that day. He was sweet too.
It was a little harder to tamp down the resentment on Wednesday when Happy came in and found her desk covered with 52 heart-shaped post-its. 'I love you' was written boldly across each in Toby's distinctive doctor's scrawl. When Happy pretended to be annoyed, the shrink explained it was one note for each week she'd made him the happiest man on Earth by becoming his bride. Well, Walter refilled Paige's gas tank that morning. He was awfully considerate. He was!
On Thursday, Toby presented Happy with a dozen of the most perfect red roses Paige had ever seen. When he gushed to his wife about one for each of the 12 wonderful months of married bliss, Happy pretended to vomit into her trash can, but couldn't hide her wide grin. Paige tried to swallow around the massive lump in her throat as she looked across at Walter's beautiful, oblivious face. She shot up from her seat and darted into the kitchen trying to hide the tears of stupid envy. Her boyfriend was really very nice if a little clueless about women. He was trying his best, wasn't he?
On Friday, Toby came in toting an enormous costume trunk with a big, red bow on top. No one asked about the contents because no one really wanted to know. Toby just said it was for celebrating one whole year of marital frisky business. The couple spent the whole day smirking at each other and left early carrying the trunk between them on the way to their romantic weekend getaway.
Not long after, Walter loaded his and Ralph's duffle bags into the back of his car, brushed a hurried kiss on Paige's lips and sent her a wave as he drove off with her son. Four days before they would have been officially together for a year. After three long years of back and forth, of elation and heartbreak, wasn't their anniversary worth celebrating too?
Paige went back into the garage, threw herself heavily onto the couch, broke down and bawled. She was acting like a miserable, spoiled baby and she knew it. But she was damned it she could help it.