For those of you following my other stuff, I promise to update in a week after all grad stuff is in. Two more weeks and I officially have my master's – wah-hoo!

This was just a one-shot I wrote between the thesis revision and a final paper. I'm in love with White Collar. I adore everything about that yummy show. This story is not connected to any episode, and I thought it was an interesting take on the characters. Hope you all enjoy.

Warning: Corporal punishment (spanking) of an adult. You have been warned.


Peter is clueless. I swear that man doesn't have an idea about how things really work. He doesn't know how to dress right, relate to others, or relax at all. His idea of a good time is going home to his wife. Now, granted, Elizabeth is a beautiful woman, but he's gotten old before his time, so domesticated and tame like an old bulldog. And that's another thing I have against the man – he's really too old.

I've been freaking out ever since I hit thirty a few years ago, but Peter doesn't even try. Youth is a state of mind and attitude, but Peter doesn't care, and he slouches around in his boring suit like he's eighty.

So against all that, I don't really see how I can be at fault for any of this.

We were working a burglary case on a Wednesday afternoon – a lot of antique boxes had been stolen from this 5th-Avenue mansion. I had shown up, on time and well-dressed, ready to offer my best help to the very nice FBI in exchange for them not sending me back to prison, but Peter had to start in on me, suggesting I might have taken the boxes.

"Where were you the last three nights?" he grilled me, right in front of Lauren, like I was a teenager who had missed curfew.

I gave him by most charming smile, determined to be polite. "I was at June's, like I always am."

"Uh-uh, no, I read the report. Your tracker said you went out night before last."

I kept smiling though I wanted to make some mean cut about men who had plenty of time to read trackers obviously didn't have anything better to do at home with their wives. "All right, I went out for coffee with Moz. I didn't go outside the radius, and I was back before midnight. These boxes were stolen last night after midnight, and I didn't go out at all last night."

"You could have gotten Moz to do it."

"Moz isn't good at stealing things on the job – he's better behind the scenes. And he was at June's last night. June even came up to have some wine with us around ten."

"Still sounds like something you would do," Peter muttered. He turned away to talk to a policeman, and I stood there, fuming.

Not even an apology. No "Sorry, Neal, for doubting you." No "Just had to check, but I believe you because you've been such a big help to me." No "Ah, Neal, I'm all frustrated at this case and taking it out on you, buddy. Don't mind me and my grumpiness. You just look so good in your suit and hat, I'm a little jealous."

Okay, maybe the last one was my wishful thinking, but he was probably thinking that anyway.

Lauren smirked at me, so self-absorbed and satisfied with herself, and she went to stand beside Peter, which made it even worse. I belonged beside Peter, not that irritating (though hot) woman.

I went to try to wedge myself between the two of them, inching forward to hear what the policeman was saying.

"We're thinking an inside job," the cop confirmed. "Because they were insured for over three million, we decided to call in the FBI. My precinct can't handle something that valuable, especially with the insurance company watching every move and waiting for us to screw up so they don't have to pay."

I leaned forward to ask a question, but Peter grabbed my arm.

"Good grief, stop crowding us. No sense of personal space." He pulled me to stand on his other side, still letting Lauren stay right where she had planted herself.

"Who's this?" the cop asked, running his eyes up and down over me and looking unimpressed.

"A nuisance," Peter answered. "Go on about the insurance. Did the owner tell you they were insured for that much, or did you ask directly?"

I did my best to look casual and cool, but his words stung. A nuisance? A nuisance! I had done more to help him in the last month than anyone had ever done, but he always found a way to cut me down. A day didn't go by without him nettling me about my past; jeez, you forge a few pieces of art and make a few million dollars, and suddenly everyone paints you as this awful criminal.

I might have let it go by and have done my job, like the good consultant I am, except as we were going into the house, Peter told me, "I want your hands in your pockets the whole time. There's some nice stuff in there, and the last thing we need is you grabbing it. Hands in your pocket and I'm making you turn your pockets out when we leave."

That was really the last straw. I smiled though I wanted to strangle him, and I went into the house, hungry for revenge. Twenty minutes later, I pretended to trip over a rug and bumped into him.

"Watch where you're going," he chided me as I stood back up. Automatically, he put his hand over his front pocket and felt for his wallet. Feeling it there, he frowned at me.

"Behave yourself," he pointed a finger at me.

I gave him an angelic smile and tucked my hands back into my pockets, his car keys now deep into my right pocket.

I slipped away half an hour later, casually walking out the door. Another cop was placed there, and I excused myself saying, "Got to grab a smoke."

I held my coat open to show him I hadn't take anything, and I emptied my pockets, showing him the keys and saying, "Just got my house keys and car keys. Left my smokes in the car."

The cop nodded and motioned me out. Peter was three rooms over, so I could take the time to casual stroll to his car, get in the driver seat, and start the car. As I drove off, I grinned widely. Peter the clueless and the idiot cops were once again fooled by the great Neal Caffrey. I'm such a badass – awesome, cool badass who takes want he wants and doesn't carry about what anyone thinks.

I should have used the time to get information on Kate, but it had been a while since I got to drive a car. Not surprisingly, Peter never ever lets me drive his car, so I pushed the speed limit a little.

My tracker beeped as I passed the two-miles radius, but it didn't squeal like it does when I step past the line during non-working hours. I'm pretty sure it gets turned off on the days I'm working, but I didn't care. I drove a little faster, now zipping around taxis.

If I had been really brave, I would have cut off the tracker altogether and thrown it out the window, but I wasn't stupid enough to think I was really free now. I knew that after a few hours I would return back to mansion and face an irate Peter. I would turn over the keys, he would blast me for a few seconds and threaten to thrown my ass back in prison, and then I would get driven home in reproving silence. And tomorrow he would forget about it when he admitted that he needed my help for a case he couldn't solve. Same old song and dance.

I was on the Brooklyn Bridge when a slight hitch came in my plan in the shape of flashing blue lights in my rearview mirror.

I glanced down at the speedometer – eighteen miles over the speed limit.

I faced a bit of a dilemma right there. You see, because I've had a few unpleasant encounters with the law and went to live in their uncomfortable house of concrete and bars for a few years, I don't exactly have a driver's license. I've been meaning to get one, but I've been so busy helping the FBI (and Peter said I didn't need a license because that would encourage me to steal a car, the bastard) that I haven't gotten around to it yet.

I considered running for my freedom, but I've seen highway chases before, and horrible things happen to the poor driver while the cops chase him down, and I had no desire to crash my car into a wall or get flipped over in ditch or (horrors!) get shot at. Peter wouldn't like anything happening to his car though I doubted he would worry about my health and safety quite as much. So I pulled my car over to the side like a good citizen and waited for the porky pig to get out of his own vehicle and come talk to me.

I won't bore you with the details, but the cop didn't buy the story about borrowing a Fed's car, and I got bent against the car while he frisked me. He found the tracker which led to me explaining even more than I wanted to, and he decided the best thing was for me to accompany him back to the station for a little chat. The handcuffs were unnecessary in my opinion, but I've found it is better not argue with a cop while he's putting you in the backseat. I did say I worked for the FBI, but he promised me we would sort out the whole mess at the police station.

I got handcuffed to a chair in the station, talking to a policewoman who had no appreciation for my charms and was taking down my information between short, rude questions. I was by far the best-dressed person there and of course the smartest, but no one seemed to care about that. The state of this country is really going to the dogs.

I felt ready to tell the woman to shove it, all with a sweet smile on my face, when I saw Peter come into room. I meant to look all cool and badass, handcuffed to the car like a real threat to the station, but that fled my mind when I saw his face.

The blood drained from my own face, and I felt dizzy and sick. I had seen him angry before, especially when he couldn't catch a criminal that needed to be behind bars, but I had never seen him that mad. Rage – he looked a second away from erupting into loud, white-hot rage that would blow apart the whole police station.

As he came up, I found the voice to whisper, "Peter, I can expla-"

"Quiet," he ordered. "You sit right there, Caffrey, while I talk to the police and decide if your ass would be better off left to rot in here."

That stung, too. I swallowed hard. The policewoman must have decided that Peter was more important than me because she got up from the chair and followed Peter to a back office. I twisted in the chair – I didn't dare get up – and I could see both of them talking to the chief through the glass. Peter was moving his hands as he talked, short movements that matched the frown on his face.

At one point he caught me looking. He pointed at me to look straight ahead, and I turned in my chair to stare at the opposite wall.

Other criminals were in chairs, talking to police officers, but whole area hushed a little as most of the cops were interested in what was going on in the office. One guy, a huge tattooed dude twice my side and also cuffed to the chair, smiled at me, delighted in my misery.

"Pretty boy's going to get the chair," he chuckled.

I wanted to make a smart comeback, but I had learned it was best not to rile people when you might have to share a cell with them later. I had gotten beat up in prison a few times, and I had narrowly escaped being raped twice, and I hadn't even been locked up with the worst criminals since I had committed all white collar crimes.

After what felt like hours, Peter finally came out of the room. The policewoman unlocked my hands, and Peter clamped down on my shoulder with that iron grip of his.

"So sorry to bother you good people," he forced a smile. "I'm going to take Mr. Caffrey here, but I promise we won't be back any time soon, will we?"

I took the cue. "No, no, sorry about that."

With his hand on my shoulder, Peter marched me outside, down the steps, and to the sidewalk just as his car came driving up, driven by a young policeman.

"Thanks so much for this," Peter smiled at the cop. "Good luck with FBI test. Hope you make it in."

The kid cop grinned at him as he handed over the keys.

I didn't even try to guess how he knew the kid, nor did I ask. Rather than fight the system like all conscientious Americans should, Peter had this way of going along with all the rules because they worked for him and people went out of their way to make sure he got everything he needed so he didn't have to break rules. It was enough to make me sick.

He didn't say a word as we drove off. I put one hand over my wrist, trying to rub the soreness out from the handcuffs. They always bite into my skin.

"Don't," Peter barked out.

Startled, I dropped my hands to my lap. "What? I was just –"

"Don't even start to feel sorry for yourself," Peter growled. "You haven't began to feel sorry yet."

I slid down in the seat, wondering what awful punishment he would devise for me. Probably shorten my tracker leash to twenty feet so I couldn't leave my bedroom, or move me to live in a roach-infested motel, or make me wear his clothes to work, the same four suits over and over again. Peter was always creative when he wanted to torture me, though I didn't understand why he didn't put some of that creativity into his own life and buy better clothes.

I realized that he was driving to his own house, but I didn't ask why. He was hoping I would ask just so he could tell me to shut up. Well, I wouldn't give him the satisfaction.

He parked and got out, but I stayed where I was, wondering if he meant for me to come with him. He yanked my car door open and ordered, "Out!" without even a please. Peter and his appalling lack of manners.

We went in the front door, and Satchmo greeted us in the living room, yipping and nuzzling at my hand.

"Honey?" Elizabeth called from the kitchen. "Is that you? Dinner won't be ready for another half hour because I thought –" she paused at the doorway. Apparently Elizabeth is good at reading her husband's moods because she immediately asked, "What's wrong?"

"El, take Satchmo into the guest room and shut the door," Peter asked, his tone less curt with his wife than it had been with me.

"Okay," she passed us to take the dog.

Peter grabbed me by the collar and marched me into the dining room. Roughly, he pulled my expensive coat off – I'm suing him for any loose buttons! – and flung the coat over a chair.

"Hands down on the table," he barked out.

Confused, I touched the edge of the table.

Shaking his head, he grabbed my wrists and slapped my palms down, further up on the table about two feet from the edge. I had to bend over to reach.

"Do not move,' he commanded.

I watched him disappear into the kitchen, and then I twisted my head the other way to see Elizabeth standing in the middle of the living room, looking just as worried as me.

"What did you do?" she whispered.

"Took his car for ride," I admitted in a hushed tone.

"Oh, Neal," she shook her head.

Peter came out of the kitchen, holding what looked like a wooden cutting board. It was a dark wood, crooked to look like it was made in the woods, and the top part was shaped long as a handle to pick it up. It hung in the kitchen as decoration; there was a hole in the handle to hang on a nail or hook.

I blinked, wondering what Peter was going to do with it – maybe use it for cutting my fingers off to bake into a pie?

"Stay still," Peter said as he moved behind him. "I don't want you moving at all."

"I'm not moving," I assured him. "I just –"

Bam! Something slammed into my rear end so hard I tumbled forward on the table.

"Peter," Elizabeth objected.

"No, El," Peter said sternly, 'it's this or shipping him back to prison. You can stay, but I want you quiet while I deal with him."

I recovered enough to straighten and face him. "You hit me!"

"I'm about to give you the whuping you've been asking for, for years," Peter pointed the cutting board at me. It did look just like a paddle. "You've going to turn right back around, bend over, and take this, or we're done – for good."

"That's not fair – you can't beat a consultant," I stammered, my face bright red. This was absolutely humiliating, worst than anything I had endured before, and believe me, I've been embarrassed pretty bad.

"No, but I can discipline you. You're a brat, Caffrey. You're a punk-assed, self-centered, smart-mouthed, egoistical brat who doesn't know when he's got it good or when he's caught a break. In the station, they wanted to send you back to prison straight away, and I had to lie to the cop and explain that you were out on an errand for me. I had to make a statement that is false just to bail you out. He wanted to put this on your record, and believe me, if my superiors saw that, you really would be screwed. Did you really like prison that much?"

"No, Peter, but can't you –"

"No, I can't. Turn around and take this like man. Put that bratty side away long enough to accept your mistakes and take the punishment you've had coming for a long time."

I looked past Peter to Elizabeth, silently entreating her to deal with her husband who had clearly lost his mind. She dropped her gaze to the face.

I straightened, wishing I was taller than Peter, and turned back to the table. I bent back down and put my hands on the table, furiously scrambling for some kind of idea to get out of this.

He took another swat at me, and I struggled to keep from falling over again. I pressed my lips together and concentrated on breathing through my nose. How many times would he do this? Two swats seemed like more than enough to me.

He swung again, and I hissed at the pain that one silly-looking cutting board could deliver. This had to fall under the whole cruel and unusual punishment thing. Didn't I have rights? Didn't anyone ever care about my rights?

I thought about voicing that to Peter, but he kept swinging, and I was too busy keeping from hollering to make a coherent objection.

I have no high pain threshold at all, I admit that quite freely. I do not handle pain well, and I despise people who take it with a grim smile and determination to brave it out. As a kid, I hated going to the doctor's to get shots, and now as an adult, I haven't had a check-up in years for fear they'll bring a needle out. I've never gotten a tattoo or a piercing because I just can't imagine deliberately causing myself pain.

I don't like watching other people in pain, either. I once had a sadistic cellmate who told me the plot of those awful Saw movies, one gory detail after another, and I felt sick. I couldn't sleep for two nights, and I shudder at the idea of someone forcing me to hack off my body parts. I don't even like to watch Kill Bill or 300, and the violence in those is all stylized and over the top.

If someone ever tried to torture me, I would give up whatever I knew the moment they showed me the car battery or water tub or bamboo shoots. I can't endure pain, and as I laid there getting brutally paddled, I thought Peter was taking an unfair advantage of my sensitivity. He could have taken the pain, I felt quite certain, and would have shrugged off the agony just like he shrugged everything else off. He wasn't human. This punishment wasn't human.

And to add insult to traumatic injury, Peter started lecturing, not missing a beat on my poor rear as he scolded.

Swat, swat. "You stole my car." Swat, swat. "You went on joyride." Swat, swat. "You wasted my time and the cops' time because of this stupid, thoughtless prank." Swat, swat.

To my horror, my eyes stung, and I knew that tears weren't far behind. Please, oh, please, don't let him see me cry.

"You have anything to say for yourself?" He gave me a particularly rough smack.

"Ow, Peter," I wailed. "Ow, stop. Just stop. I'm sorry, but it's not fair."

"Don't start on what's fair," Peter resumed his assault on my backside, sounding like he enjoyed every second of it. "It wasn't fair for me to go outside and realized that my consultant and my car were gone. I was going to have to ask Lauren to give me ride back to the office, and then I would have to explain what happened. Then as I'm making excuses to police for why I can't finish the investigation at the mansion, I get a call from the police who have looked up your records and are very concerned. Do you have any idea how bad this could have been?"

He had been swinging the paddle at the end of each sentence so when he stopped, I dragged air into my lungs and declared, "I didn't mean for it to be."

"Then why –"


"– would you do something –"


"– so stupid?"

Enormous swat!!

"Because I was mad at you," tears filled my eyes. I seriously could not take the pain now, let alone anymore he might dish out. The man does not have an ounce of mercy in his body or he would know how much getting paddled hurt.

"You were mad at me?" a pause in the spanking.

I sniffed. "Yeah, you kept treating me like a criminal –"

"You are a criminal."

"– and you thought I had stolen the stuff –"

"You might have."

" – and then you called me a nuisance!" I stomped one foot on the floor, desperate to shake off the heat radiating from my bottom.

"You are a nuisance!"

"Peter," Elizabeth reproved gently.

"Well, he is," Peter sounded defensive. "He doesn't listen and he always goofs off and gets into trouble and he doesn't stay still when he should."

"He's not your dog," Elizabeth protested.

"I know. My dog doesn't cause me half the grief he does. Where are you going?"

I had tried to stand up, but Peter pushed me back down on the table.

"Try that again, and I'll double what you've got coming."

"No, that's enough," I cried. I felt two huge tears spill down my cheeks. "It really hurts. It's burning now."

"Well, that's the idea," Peter said, but he seemed to be losing steam. "You've been asking for someone to take you in hand for years, Caffrey, years! I thought prison would have been punishment enough, but nothing gets through your thick head. You were almost free, but then you had to run."

"But Kate –"

"Women are nothing but trouble," Peter popped the paddle against my bottom. "Trouble, trouble, trouble!"

"Hey," Elizabeth objected as I choked on more sobs.

"All right, certain women are trouble," Peter amended. "Women who get you to commit a crime for them are trouble. You stay away from women like that. My woman never caused me to commit a crime – she loves me enough to want the best for me."

"I'll let the 'my woman' slide by this time," Elizabeth said, her voice partially displeased. "But sweetie, don't you think he's had enough?"

"This little stunt today could have landed him back in prison if I hadn't stepped in," Peter said. "He could have been back in for longer than four years, maybe ten."

"Just a few more, then," Elizabeth was reluctant.

"No!" I pleaded, but Peter started in again.

That man must have arms like iron. He swung that paddle with such force I lost my breath. And then it went on and on, one blazing swat followed by another, my entire bottom and some of my upper thighs, too. I didn't even worry about holding back – I let my tears go and I started shouting things that would have embarrassed me to no end under normal circumstances.

"No, Peter – ow! Please, stop. This isn't right – ow! I'm begging you – ah, ah! You've got to stop. It's too – for God's sake, hit me somewhere else! You've hit there three times alre – ow! I can't take it any longer. I'm not a kid – ugh! Okay, okay, I promise I'll behave from now on – ow!"

"Settle down, Caffrey," Peter's stern voice came from above. He delivered four more hard swats – I bawled with each one – and then he grabbed me by the upper arms and stood me up straight. Still gripping my arms from behind, he turned me to face the living room, and through a blur of tears, I saw Elizabeth's concerned face. But he marched me forward, and I thought he was going to throw me out the front door, but he stopped and let go.

He moved a chair and lamp out of his way and then he grabbed my arms again and maneuvered me forward, right into a corner.

"You stand here ten minutes and calm down," Peter ordered.

I was so distressed I couldn't even speak. I leaned my head forward under it rested between the two intersecting walls, and I kept crying. This was worse than anything I had ever endured. I couldn't stand the pain, and I couldn't stand what I had done, and I hated being treated like a child, and I hated getting into trouble, and I hated having Peter mad at me.

I wept for a few minutes, free and vocal about my misery, until I felt Peter's hand on my shoulder.

"You're supposed to be calming down, not working yourself up."

I meant to tell him "That's easy for you to say after you chewed up my ass like a meat grinder." What I actually said was, "I (gasp) am t-trying."

"You had to know this would be bad before you did it."

Again, I wanted to say "I didn't think you would hit me which is completely against the law in every single way, spirit and letter, and is not FBI practice for handling consultants who do not obey your every single word." I managed to get out, "Not this b-bad."

"I understand if you were upset that I suspected you," Peter went on, "but I'm going by your track record. You stole and forged and went to prison."

"You're going to prison after I report this. You're going to be sorry for assaulting me, and I'll be gloating the whole way as they drag you off in handcuffs. Let's see if you like the way they bite into your wrists." "Still not fair," I shook from all the crying. "Not fair – at all."

"I didn't want to report this because I need you on the case. You're a good consultant, Neal. But sometimes you're a disobedient, annoying, self-centered man. I can't let that behavior go, not under my guidance."

"You might have said something about it earlier. We could have held a conversation like two adults, instead of you treating me like a child. I hate being treated like a child, and you enjoying doing it, Peter, you do!" "Could have told me," I hiccupped. The tears were disappearing even if I still had trouble getting words out.

"With you, actions speak louder than words. I've been letting you have a pretty free rein, considering you should be in prison, but you do not steal from me and you do not put yourself into situations that could lead back to prison for you. I have worked too long and hard to let you throw all of this away in a tantrum against me."

"Okay, I understand your side of it, and though I think your response was overboard and extreme, I accept your apology and will not report you to the police. But you should remember my generosity and work to adjust your behavior accordingly." "Okay, I get it," I sniffed.

"Two more minutes," Peter patted my shoulder and left me standing in the corner.

I spent the time trying to get my breathing under control and swallowing hard. My ass blazed, but I would not give Peter the satisfaction of rubbing it. For one, it would give him too much power, and then he would probably tell me not to rub which would ignite my temper all over again and then I really would tell him what I thought instead of just thinking it.

"Okay," Peter finally said, "that's enough."

I turned to see him leaning against the bookshelves, arms crossed. Elizabeth had disappeared into the kitchen.

"El wants you to stay for dinner," Peter said in a voice that brooked no arguing. "Why don't you go down the hall and wash up? It'll be ready in about five minutes."

I fled down the hall and locked myself in the bathroom. The mirror confirmed my fears. I looked awful. My face was all splotchy and streaked with tears, and my eyes were red, and I looked absolutely pathetic. Nothing is worse than seeing your reflection after you've been crying for a long time. Even my hair looked limp and defeated.

I splashed cold water on my face which felt really good. I dried off my face with the light-blue hand towels, and then I looked over the long mirror that stretched all the way down to the sink. Stepping back, I unbuttoned my pants and slipped them down to my knees. I pulled down my underwear and half-turned to survey the damage in the mirror.

My bottom was a dark, angry pink. In a few places, it was closer to a blackish red, but the whole impression of my rear was deep pink and sore looking. It made me hurt to see what the brute had done to my usually pale bottom. It would have made me wince to see it on someone else, and it was awful to have that be my bottom in the mirror, my bottom that had been soundly spanked. Trust Peter to do a through job. That man should be doing manual labor to work off all that strength and energy.

I began to rub and it felt so good I put both hands over the hot skin and rubbed in circles. I had no idea how I would leave the bathroom to face my disciplinarian and his wife, but I continued to rub, wishing I could fill the sink up with cold water and sat down in it.

I had a nagging thought at the back of my mind that I might have deserved this, but I hastily pushed it away. I couldn't turn into Peter, not yet.

"Neal?" Peter knocked against the door, and I jumped. "Dinner's ready."

I pulled my underwear and pants back up and washed my hands. Peter was standing in hall when I opened the door. I followed him silently into the dining room where Elizabeth was putting food on the table. I wondered which of the three set places I should sit at, and I dreaded the hard chairs when suddenly Elizabeth turned around and wrapped her arms around me.

I blinked in surprise, and then Peter was beside me and put an arm around me and his other arm around his wife.

"Be careful next time, okay?" Elizabeth told me, and Peter squeezed my shoulder warmly.

I wanted to dissolve into tears again, but I nodded as I gulped them back. Elizabeth smiled at me and she drew back to pull a chair out for me. Peter kept his arm around my shoulder, like a guy might do with his best friend who he hadn't seen in while, as he led me to my seat.

It hurt when I sat down, and I winced, but didn't say anything. I wasn't leaving their house for anything now.

The food was really good – I hadn't stopped for lunch so I devoured it down. At one point, I reached for another roll, and my bottom twinged as I sat back down. I made a face.

Peter gave a short chuckle, and I turned to glare at him, instantly furious again, but I saw that he had tipped his glass over and splashed some water on the table. He laughed at his own clumsiness.

"You're such a slob," Elizabeth laughed. "Satchmo has more manners."

"I have manners," Peter half-rose, but Elizabeth motioned for him to sit back down.

"No, I'll go get a dish towel," she went into the kitchen. "You'd destroy the kitchen if I let you in there. You nearly set the house on fire every time you make toast. Neal, I want you to have second helpings of everything. You're too thin."

"Lucky," Peter scowled. "She's always after me to eat less. Family history of high-cholesterol, which I don't have yet."

"But you might," Elizabeth came back into the dining room and dabbed at the spilt water with a dishcloth. "It's my job as your wife to keep you healthy, isn't that right?"

"Yes, dear," Peter answered dutiful. Behind her back, he made a disgruntled face at me, but when she turned back he was the smiling, grateful husband.

Elizabeth swooped to give him a kiss on the forehead before sitting. "Okay, what can you tell me about the case?"

As Peter began to restructure the case, I reached for the bowls to take a second helping of food. After all, I didn't want to face the wrath of more than one Burke in a day.

Elizabeth looked on attentively, listening to the case and interjecting ideas, completely in support of her man. Peter had no idea how lucky he was to have such an incredible wife who loved him back just as much. Like I said, he's clueless.