It was cold that morning, but it's always cold in December in Ohio. Now it was downright freezing as the tiny blonde scuttled across the floor, questioning why she didn't slip on her robe and slippers when she snuck quietly out of the room to make the coffee. She felt like she was freezing to death, her toes about to be bit off by winter's sharp teeth, but she couldn't walk too fast. Walk slowly and maybe freeze to death, or speed up and spill hot liquid on herself? It was a dilemma, and one she quickly forgot about as she entered the room, set the two mugs down on the end table, and practically dove under the covers.
"Oh my god, you're freezing. Get away," came a very unamused voice from the body lying next to her. She smiled for a second before taking a sip of her coffee, which consisted more of milk and sugar than anything else. Her eyes rolled back in pleasure at the feeling of the hot liquid working its way through her system, warming her from the inside out. She had never been much of a coffee drinker until she moved in with Rachel ten years ago, and now she was hooked on the stuff like crack.
"You always say the sweetest things to me. How did I get so lucky?" she asked, and just to be a pain, pressed her ice cold goes up against a warm calf. The body lying next to hers almost jumped out of the bed. The brunette sat up, eyes burning, and trained her annoyed gaze on her wife. Quinn smiled. Her mother always said she was an instigator. Her sister had locked her in their bedroom closet just to put an end to the torment too many times to count, to prove this to be true.
"You might want to be nice to me today," Rachel informed her, and laid her head back down on the pillow. She valued her sleep almost as much as she valued life itself, and being woken up in such an awful way was not a good way to start the day. When her mind could function properly she would have to come up with some clever way to get her wife back for this. "My dad still doesn't like you. If he thinks we're fighting, dinner tonight is going to be hell for you." Large green eyes widened further in fear.
"Right, good point," she said, and her eyebrows furrowed slightly. "We've been together for twelve years, how does he still not like me?" Her only reply was silence, which did not surprise her one bit. She threw the covers, the saviors from the cold, away from her body, and shivered at the sudden change in temperature on her skin. "I better get ready. I have that stupid speech I have to give tonight." She got out of bed and went to the closet, pulling out various dry clean only outfits still safe in the sheaths of plastic.
"It's not stupid," her wife's voice now had a very familiar bite to it. The blonde's habit of trying to make important things seem small and insignificant was a sore spot in their marriage that she always seemed to step on. "You're being honored for doing...that one thing that one time." The brunette tried to remember, but it was still too early for higher levels of cognitive thought. And why did she smell coffee, but wasn't offered any? Life could be so cruel.
"Exactly. It's not that big of a deal. I don't know why I have to do this if not even my wife can remember what I did," she said, figuratively poking the sleeping bear. She tried to sound defensive and like she was making a really good point, but the smile that was on her face could be heard in her tone, and she hated that she wasn't better at covering that up. She was an instigator. This is just what they do.
"I know what it is, it's just too early for me to remember," she said, and snuggled deeper into the covers sheltering her from the cold. "Don't you have a busy schedule today? Or did you cancel all of your appointments so you could stay home and pick on your wife like a petulant child?" Quinn rolled her eyes as she finally decided on an outfit, and laid it over the back of the vanity chair. She decided it was time to make peace. She didn't want to leave the house with her wife irritated with her. That would lead to nothing but bad things.
She grabbed the untouched cup of coffee, one teaspoon of sugar and only a touch of soy milk, and walked over to the left side of the bed (house left, not stage left), and sat down next to the body almost lost amongst the ridiculous amount of blankets. Three comforters and two throws seemed like a lot, but since their heating had gone out last night it was just enough to keep them warm. The cold wasn't stopping them from continuing their normal routine. This action occurs every morning, and the ritual they've unconsciously created usually goes differently.
Normally when the not very tall, but still taller than her wife, blonde sits on the edge of the bed, the other woman rolls over onto her back, and sits up just enough to drink her coffee without spilling or choking. Then the two spend the next thirty minutes talking about nothing in particular. But this was not a normal morning. Rachel didn't move from her comfy spot when she felt the mattress next to her depress. She laid there, silently defiant, and justifiably agitated, and ignored her wife.
"Here, baby," the blonde said, and set the mug down on the nightstand as a peace offering. She waited for signs of a reaction, and when she received none she let out a small sigh. A quick glance at the clock told her if she didn't get ready and leave the house soon she would be late for her first appointment, which would leave her rushing to complete the rest of her tasks on the long list. She groaned internally and let out another sigh. She really didn't want to leave things on a bad note, but it looked like it would have to be that way.
She went about getting ready. She downed the rest of warm liquid from her own mug before brushing her teeth, gagging the whole time at the contradicting tastes of French vanilla flavoring and toothpaste. She put on the warmest clothes she could find, and carefully applied her makeup. Applying eyeliner while tired and severely under caffeinated could prove to be dangerous.
She did all of this in silence, all the while stealing glances at the lump on the bed. Her wife still hadn't moved. From the lack of snoring she obviously hadn't drifted back to sleep, but she also hadn't accepted the peace offering. She hadn't been that much of an ass that morning, had she? Their entire relationship she had been playful, in her words, sarcastic in the words of her significant other. Either way, this was nothing new.
With her hair and makeup now done it was time to leave. She anxiously picked at her wedding ring with her thumb, a nervous habit she acquired a couple years ago when their marriage hit a rough patch, and she wasn't sure if the relationship would last. Just thinking about those dark days made her want to take the other woman in her arms and spend the rest of the day apologizing. But instead, she walked over to the bed again, pulled back the covers just enough to reveal dark hair with a severe case of bed-head. She leaned down, and left a gentle kiss on her wife's cheek, right where her dimple would be if she were smiling.
"Your coffee is getting cold, sweetheart," she said, and walked over to the dresser to retrieve her purse and car keys. She took one last look at the bed, and an uncomfortable feeling settled in her stomach when she saw that her wife still had yet to move. She finally accepted the fact that somewhere, hidden deep within her playful banter and harmless joking, she had royally fucked up. She headed for the door, sulking like an unhappy child, and dreading the day she was about to have once she left the confines on her home, her sanctuary.
"Babe, drive safe. It's supposed to snow again today," she heard, and a small smile tugged at the corner of her lips. It wasn't much, but enough to make the guilt go away. Hopefully her offering and parting words would be enough to keep the peace. The last thing she needed this turning into was an all out Cold War. Those always started out so innocent. A simple prank here, and payback for it there, but they always ended exactly the same: Quinn taking it too far and sleeping on the couch for about a week.
"Are you still coming to the award ceremony tonight?" she couldn't help but ask, and she cringed as soon as the words came out. She needed their morning conversation about nothing in particular just as much as she needed the caffeine now flowing through her veins. However, that question could be misinterpreted, and the consequences of it were not favorable for her if it was. She held her breath, her body tense with anticipation as she waited for her wife to respond.
"No, I thought I'd just lie in bed all day and watch television while my favorite wife is honored for being the most successful child psychiatrist this city has ever seen." Sarcasm with a hint of annoyance, it was the best thing she could have heard at that moment. She was so relieved to hear the sound that she didn't pay much attention to the words. That is until her brain took a moment to process them, and what Rachel said made her smirk.
"Favorite wife?" she asked, one perfectly sculpted eyebrow raised. "What do you mean favorite wife? I'm your only wife." One hand went to her hip, while the other remained on the doorknob. It was cold as ice, but starting to warm under her grip. She had to keep holding on. It was the only thing stopping her from crawling back into bed and following through with their morning routine. If that happened she would never make it to any of her appointments.
"Wouldn't you like to know?" the brunette said, her voice sounded light and playful. That tone was rare for this time of the morning, and it made leaving the house that much harder for now all Quinn wanted to do was stand here and keep saying things so she could keep hearing that sound in response. Why did her work have to be recognized publicly? Sure, she rehabilitated abused, traumatized, and sometimes even suicidal children, and the majority of them went on to live fully functional lives, but why couldn't they just mail her the award with a nice letter of congratulations?
"Well, as long as I'm the prettiest I guess I'm ok with that," she replied, and shifted her weight from one foot to the other. She glanced at the clock, and tried really hard to forget what she just saw. If she left now she would only be five minutes late. As long as the meeting with her boss didn't run too long she would make it on time to the salon.
"I didn't say 'prettiest' I said 'favorite', there's a difference," Rachel threw back, and Quinn could not stop herself from laughing. All of the tension and anxiety that was building released in that moment. She could leave the house at ease now knowing that things were back to normal, and she didn't have to worry about being put out on the couch. Bill was going to be pissed because he hated tardiness, but she could just blame that on being nervous about tonight, which if she were being completely honest, was not a total lie.
"From now on your prettiest wife can come over and make your coffee," she said, and opened the door. The cold air that rushed into the room felt like a punch to the face, and she let out a huge sigh. Why oh why did she have to leave the house this early? "I need to leave, sweetheart. Hurry and drink your coffee before it gets cold." She barely registered the reply before she was out the door. Her wife was killing her with cuteness that morning. Any more of it and she wouldn't be leaving the house, which was only a problem because her father-in-law didn't like her enough as it was without her skipping the benefit he had promised to be at. Sometimes life could be so cruel.