prompt: puzzle
word count: 467


Compromises


"Stop that! If it won't fit, it's the wrong one!"

"It'll go in if I just..."

"It won't! It's not!"

"One more good whack oughta—"

Angela grabbed Mary's hand before she slammed it down on the jigsaw puzzle on the dining table. "That's not how it works!" she scowled, releasing Mary's hand roughly.

Mary crossed her arms and sat back in her chair. "If you don't want my help, there's other things I could be doin'. Like... stickin' my head in the oven and settin' my hair on fire. Or...—"

"Oh, stop it," Angela said with disdain.

Mary stared at the table rather grouchily until an idea struck her. "What if we trimmed them down a bit? I'll get the scissors."

"No!"

"It'd be a lot quicker. Go on."

"For the last time," Angela spoke through gritted teeth, "we are not cutting anything, or gluing anything together, or smashing anything in where it won't fit."

"What's the point, then?"

Angela rolled her eyes, her patience reaching its limits. "Just try. It's supposed to be fun."

"Well it ain't."

"That's because you're not doing it properly."

"Fine." Mary pulled the box holding the pieces toward her and began to fish around in it. Angela watched suspiciously from the corner of her eye.

Gathering together a few blue pieces, Mary spread them on the table and tried to fit one into the other. When that failed, she tried the other ones. And when none of the blue pieces fit with the other blue pieces, she frowned deeply and narrowed her eyes at the offending objects, wishing all sorts of horrible torments upon them.

Taking pity on Mary, Angela moved around the table and swept a pile she'd sorted earlier toward her. "Look, you do the buildings, here. That part's easier. I'll do the sky." She pulled her chair next to Mary, who was looking rather sulky.

"Don't know what it is you find so excitin' about this, Ange."

Angela waved a hand over the mess on the table. "It's all very systematic. There's a right way to do it. First you do the edges, and then you work inward, starting with the easiest parts first."

"Still don't sound like no fun to me."

"Just give it a chance," she said gently.

"What if I do, eh? What'll you do for me?"

Angela sighed. "I'm going to regret this. What do you want?"

Mary grinned broadly. "Can we do what I wanted to do last night?"

Angela chewed her lip. "All right, I suppose it's only fair."

"You're gonna love it, Ange."

"You already know I don't."

Mary wasn't listening. She was sifting through the pile of jigsaw pieces in front of her. The quicker she got this stupid puzzle over with, the quicker they could get to playing Super Mario.