The Trouble With Towels

The room held the silence of a gunslinger's sunrise. Imagine two bitter rivals, backs turned against a red sky, quick fingers itching for the trigger. The typical short gust of desert air whistles over the town, creating a dramatic effect with the gunmen's clothing. Throw in a tumbleweed or two, just to keep with tradition. Townspeople have fled inside their homes, locked the shutters, but still peek through the cracks of their homes. They are waiting for the climax, the conclusion: one will stand, and the other will fall. Several moments of tense silence tick by, and the world forgets to breathe. Suddenly, the two duelers whirl around; the click of the trigger and the thunder of gunpowder explodes in the still desert air!

"Link! Get your hands off!" Zelda said, irritated, pulling the towel back toward her.

Link just grinned cheekily at her and held on all the tighter, managing to gain some ground on her. She looked at him, truly startled for a moment. Then that surprise bubbled fiercely into a simmering pot of determination, and she tugged the towel with a surprising amount of strength.

The struggle continued without evidence of a clear winner, as both combatants showed an equal amount of devoted (if not strange) purpose to rip the white terrycloth from the other.

Idly, Link noted, "You know, if we were smart like that King Solomon fellow, we'd just cut the towel in half and call it even."

Zelda muttered something under her breath that was basically on the lines of cutting something…else…in half.

"What was that?" Link asked teasingly, "You say you would cut the towel in half? Ah, bad choice. I would never do such a thing, which proves that I am the rightful mother of the towel. I win!" He said triumphantly.

Zelda rolled her eyes and sighed. "Please, Link, I have to take a shower before we meet Malon at the movies,"

"So do I, Zelda, which started this whole mess in the first place," Link pointed out in a matter-of-fact tone.

"Come on, Link, I had it first!" Zelda said stubbornly, gripping it tighter in her hands.

"But it's the last clean one!" Link protested.

"Well…you…you're a boy! You don't even care about hygiene!" Zelda retorted, an amused smile flickering on her lips at his mock-wounded expression.

"Why you…you…um…," he faltered for a moment, trying to come up with an appropriate term, "…un-chauvenist!" He finally declared with pride.

"…What?" Zelda asked, a giggle escaping from her and stopping her struggle with the towel for a moment.

"...Um…you heard me! Yeah…let's just put this aside for now," Link decided, tossing the towel onto the shelf it had come from. He pointed an accusing finger at Zelda. "Un-chauvinist! You are the opposite of a chauvinist man; you think all men are dirty slobs! Some of us are more refined," Link said defensively, putting on an air of insulted pride.

Zelda burst into laughter, clutching her sides helplessly. "I'm not even sure if that makes sense, but I like it," she gasped out between laughs. After getting herself under control, she grinned wryly at Link, "Oh, and "refined?" Uh-huh. This coming from the man who left a pizza box under the bed, with two slices still in the box, for a month."

"Well…I…I eventually took care of it," He said, believing that to be a perfectly acceptable explanation. He quickly moved on, "Anyway, that's not the issue! Now, let's settle this towel business like gentlemen."

"Okay," she said, crossing her arms, "So what's the plan?"

"You surrender the towel to me," Link stated plainly, as if this was the only course of action possible.

"And why should I do that?" Zelda asked airily.

"Because, otherwise," Link said threateningly, grinning widely at her, "THIS!" He rushed at her, stretching out his fingers and tickling her madly.

Peals of laughter leapt from Zelda's throat, and she tried feebly to push his hands away as he tickled her relentlessly. Link started laughing, too, more from Zelda's expression than anything else.

"Can't…can't breathe!..," Zelda eventually gasped out after several minutes of intense tickling, and Link stopped his attack.

"So, we have an agreement?" He asked her after she'd regained her breath.

"Absolutely not," she said simply, holding her sides protectively.

Link paused for a moment, his attack thwarted by the placement of her hands. "How do we settle this then?"

"Well," she started, a smirk tugging at her lips, "since I do all the laundry, I think the towel belongs to me."

"I've done laundry before," Link protested and then snapped his fingers with a victorious expression. "In fact, I did this very load of towels! It was last week. I remember because the shady guy that hangs around the Laundromat kept trying to sell me "detergent!" He finished, a grin of triumph crossing his features.

Zelda was at a loss for a moment, because she knew he was right: he had done this last load. "Well…I do the laundry about ninety percent of the time, so I don't think that counts," she said in rebuttal.

Link pondered this for a moment, and then a knowing smile crept across his face. "Zelda…" he said in a knowledgeable tone, walking closer to her, "I know what this is about."

"What?" Zelda blinked, confused.

"I know what this towel business is really about," Link reiterated.

"Oh really?" Zelda asked, amusement glittering in her eyes.

"This was never about you having the towel, you just didn't want me to have it," Link sighed, placing a hand on her shoulder, and said, "You don't have to be so coy, Zelda. You could have just asked."

Zelda decided to play along, "Alright, so tell me, Link: why don't I want you to have the towel?"

Link's hand abruptly snagged her by the waist, the one on her shoulder snaking down to her hip, and he pulled her as close as physically possible. His breath tickled her neck as he leaned in and whispered huskily in her ear, "You just want to see me walk around the house wet and naked."

Laughing, Zelda wrapped her arms loosely around his neck, her fingers playing with the collar of his shirt. "Tempting," she murmured, "but I have to admit that wasn't my plan."

"Well, that's why they call them "plans" and not "destiny," love: they can change," Link explained eagerly, leaning back a little to look into her eyes. As an afterthought, he added, "What was your plan anyway, now that you've admitted to having one?"

In answer, Zelda just smiled mischievously and ran one finger lightly down his spine. Link's body shuddered and he let out a convulsive laugh. He called out, "Hey! Not fair!" as Zelda darted toward the shelf, snagged the towel, and dashed out of the bathroom. After recovering from his spine-tickle, he ran after her. "Wait," he thought, and paused. He stood in the doorframe, watching Zelda dash into the kitchen, and smirked. "Sweetheart, unless you're planning on bathing in the sink, I think you're going the wrong way!" He leaned against the doorframe, deciding to play the waiting game.

"But I have…the tow-el!" Zelda sang victoriously from around the corner.

"And I have…the show-er!" Link sang back. After a moment, he decided to abandon his post and go on the offensive after all. Zelda was so caught up in her victory dance, she failed to notice as Link crept slowly into the kitchen. He almost didn't want to stop her, as her "I have…the tow-el!" dance was extremely cute, but there were more pressing matters at hand. Link snuck behind her and trapped her around the waist. She, in response, held the towel straight out, far enough so he couldn't reach it.

"Well," Link began, recognizing the deadlock, "…stalemate?"

Zelda thought for a moment and then nodded, "Agreed."

A smile spread across Link's face, and he said slowly, "If I might…suggest a solution?"

"You might," Zelda said, a giggle escaping her.

He spun her around. "Why don't we…share the towel?" He ventured, waggling his eyebrows suggestively.

Zelda pretended to weigh her options and finally nodded. "Hmm. I guess that could be acceptable," she murmured, leaning forward and kissing him deeply.

Any thoughts of movies, understandably, were driven quickly from their minds.

Malon checked her watch for a final time and sighed; they were officially thirty minutes late. She was just glad she hadn't bought her ticket yet, as she would have missed the beginning of the movie. After waiting another five minutes, she figured they probably weren't coming. She decided they'd all better just plan to watch the movie another time.

Had they been any two other people, she would have been mad that they blew her off. She could only laugh, though, as she started up her car. "Newlyweds," she muttered to herself, chuckling.