Sunday Morning Pancakes
Monica smiled as she entered the kitchen. The figure bent over the bench was busy at work and very focused. "You know that I don't expect you to do this every Sunday, right?"
The figure straightened up and turned. John faked a pout and gestured at the pot of pancake mixture next to him. "You mean to say I've gone to all this work for no reason?"
"Of course not," Monica said. "I only meant that you don't have to do it. Unless you want to, that is." She walked up behind him and wrapped her arms around his waist. She rested her chin on his back and closed her eyes. "It smells good."
"It's just the mixture so far, Mon. I haven't even started cooking."
"I know." She grinned against his shirt.
"So I guess you want pancakes after all?" John teased. He stirred the pancake mixture a little more, getting rid of the pockets of flour that were still in the bowl.
"I'd love some."
"Very well then. Step back and let this ol' man get to work."
"You're not old," she said quickly and then she stood back, watching as John retrieved a saucepan and put it on the stove. She pulled at the shirt she had pulled on after getting out of bed. It was one of John's, white and a little worn. It sat just above her knees.
"I'm ancient," he quipped back. His hair spiked up at odd angles, and in the looney tunes boxer shorts he wore, he looked the opposite of how something or someone ancient should look.
Monica kissed him on the cheek. "You're not, John. Though if you give it another few years-"
She laughed. "What? It's true."
Shaking his head, he replied, "You are evil. You know that, yeah?"
"I try my best," she replied in as serious a tone as she could muster, smirking when he rolled his eyes. "So, pancakes?"
John nodded and set about pouring the mixture into the now heated pan. He placed the bowl down and it clinked against the tabletop. The batter sizzled for a few seconds and then hummed softly while the room filled up with the scent of cooking pancake.
"We should do this every weekend we have off."
"Let's not rule it out," he agreed. "Though if you insult me every time we do this I may think differently."
"I was joking, John. You know that." She hugged him and pressed her lips to his forehead. "You're not that old. And even if you were, I'd still love you. Are we good?"
John didn't answer immediately; he grabbed the egg flipper from the counter and turned over the first pancake. It was a soft brown colour with some white patches; the first pancake was always the worst cooked.
"You're worrying me," she said.
John was silent for another three seconds – a very long three seconds – as he poured more mixture into the pan and then turned to her and grinned. He leaned forward and kissed her quickly, pulling back to tell her, "Of course we're good."
She exaggerated her relief. "Good. Because you really had me worried there. I thought maybe you'd never want to see me again after that."
"Always overly dramatic, you are." He scoffed and returned to the pancake, flipping it over and watching the steam hiss up from where the pancake batter touches the pan. He put the flipper down; it clanged on the table top and some white flecks of pancake mix sprayed over the surface.
She grabbed two glasses from the cupboard and then retrieved some orange juice from the fridge. Filling the two glasses, she placed one in front of him and too k the other for herself. She put the bottle of remaining juice away. "If you're all right here, I might go and put some washing on."
She let out a gasp when he unexpectedly leaped at her, taking the glass from her hand and putting it safely on the table and then holding her in place so she couldn't go anywhere. "What are you doing?"
"I'm holding you hostage," he said.
"You're not going anywhere that involves doing work this morning, Mon. Promise me that. This morning is for us."
"And pancakes," she added, smirking.
"Okay," she said. "I promise. No work this morning."
"Glad to hear that," he said. A satisfied look in his features, he got back to his cooking, and she stayed close by, obeying his request not to do any work. "So, how long do you think til we break the Jefferson's case?"
"If I'm not allowed to do housework, you're not allowed to bring up our actual work," she said firmly.
"Fair enough, I guess. What do you want to talk about?" He took out another pancake, added more butter to the pan and poured in more mixture. It sizzled loudly, crackled, like a resurgence of its former state, before its heat became mundane.
"We can talk about your birthday," she suggested. "It's coming up again soon."
"Ugh. Don't remind me."
"Ancient?" she teased.
"Yeah. That. I don't need any more reminders of how old I'm gettin'."
"I was thinking we could do something for it. Just us," she added before he could argue. "It wouldn't be anything big, but it would be something to celebrate that you've been alive for another year. Which is definitely a thing we should celebrate, John."
"Something small?" he asked. "What did you have in mind?"
"Skydiving?" She was certain her smile gave away that she was joking, but his answer made her unsure he noticed.
"Joking," she said. "How about dinner? Something simple. Your favourite restaurant. We can order and then bring it back here and watch TV."
John studied her for a moment, expressionless. And then a smile broke out on his face. "Sounds great, Mon."
"Great," she beamed. "How're the pancakes?"
"They're just about done." He gestured toward the table. "In fact, if you sit down and get comfortable, I'll bring them to you in a moment."
She ignored his request to sit and instead hovered as he finished up the last pancake and divided them all onto two plates. Taking the plates, she headed for the table, leaving John to get knives and forks and the icing sugar, butter and maple syrup to drench the pancakes with.
In minutes, they were set up and ready for breakfast. "I'm glad you thought to make pancakes," she said, smiling at him across the table. "It's nice. Sitting here, sunlight filtering in through the window, seeing you smile. Thank you, John."
His mouth half full, he mumbled, "Any time."