"Seriously?" Imogen asked as her wife turned into the parking lot. "It's our anniversary and we're going… furniture shopping?"
"Buying a new bed has been on our to-do list for like a year! I promise I have fancy dinner reservations and presents for after, but we already had the sitter for the evening, so I figured we should take advantage of that…" Fiona parked the car and turned nervously to face Imogen, who was dressed up for the occasion. "Are you mad at me?"
Admittedly, it wasn't a bad idea. They desperately needed a new bed and purchasing it would be much easier if it was just the two of them. Their kids, though she loved them more than anything, were a handful. And that was putting it mildly.
Imogen used to laugh at people who put their kids on those kiddie leashes, and before she was a mother, she had sworn up and down that she would never use them. Now, with four kids under the age of five, she completely understood. She and Fiona owned four – one for each child. Because even between the two of them, one of their kids always seemed to make a break for it. Imogen shuddered to think how many times those leashes had saved their kids' lives.
"I'm not mad at you," Imogen rolled her eyes at her wife's dramatic tendencies. "All I really want on our anniversary is to spend some time alone with you, anyway. So it might as well be semi-productive."
"Good," Fiona sighed in relief as she opened her door. "Because can you imagine bringing the kids to a bed store? Do you remember buying the patio furniture?"
Imogen chuckled to herself, remembering how both sets of twins insisted on testing every single furniture set, irrespective of their mothers' interest in them. Maxine and Chloe had been too little to climb up by themselves with any speed, so Fiona and Imogen had spent the majority of their time lifting the girls onto the chairs before listening to four very vocal and very high-pitched opinions about each patio set. And to top it off, one of their four year olds, James, pushed his siblings too hard on one of the patio swings and broke it, ending in tears from everyone (including Imogen and Fiona once they learned how much it was going to cost them). It was really a minor miracle nobody got hurt.
Imogen snapped back to reality when Fiona opened her car door and offered Imogen her hand. A smile broke out on Imogen's face and she pretended to be incredibly impressed by her wife's gallantry. "Wooow. They taught you well at charm school, Mrs. Moreno-Coyne."
"They definitely did not teach me this at charm school," Fiona laughed as she shut the door behind Imogen. "But I promise I will always let you know which silverware to use and how to ballroom dance like a lady."
"I knew there was a reason I married you," Imogen teased as they walked towards the store, hand in hand.
"Yep. You just like me 'cause I'm good in bed," Fiona shot back boastfully. "It's okay. Tell the truth."
"That would explain all the kids…" Imogen pondered jokingly as they walked through the doors. "Okay. Where do we start?"
"Well," Fiona began, surveying the rows and rows of mattresses and bed sets. "What size bed do we want?"
"King?" Imogen suggested as they began to browse the mattresses. "Go big or go home?"
They flopped down side by side on a king-sized mattress.
"Comfy," Imogen commented. "Not too hard, not too soft."
Fiona nodded in agreement and rolled around a bit. When Fiona reached out and her fingers barely grazed Imogen, she got up. "But vetoed. It's too big. You're too far away. I want my snuggles to come easy."
"So demanding," teased Imogen. She propped herself up on her elbows and watched appreciatively as Fiona walked around to her side of the bed.
"What size is our bed now?" Fiona asked as she pulled Imogen up off the mattress. "Full?"
"I think so. Is full the same as double?" Imogen wondered before something caught her eye and she ran over to a bed and threw herself on it. "Oh my god, Fiones! Waterbed!"
Completely unimpressed, Fiona walked over to where her wife was bobbing up and down and looking up at her with excitement all over her face. "Imogen, need I remind you of the disaster that was our honeymoon?"
"Aw, Fiones, it wasn't that bad!" Imogen insisted as she shifted around, fascinated with how the water in the mattress made the bed move.
"Um, if I may jog your memory," began Fiona, ready to lay out all her points. "The first night I threw up. Twice. And one of those times was on the captain at the meet-and-greet. Then I spent the entire second and third days in bed – and not in the fun normal honeymoon way, I might add."
"Okay, so it wasn't perfect…" Imogen conceded.
"Immy, I was so seasick that we had to get off the cruise ship a week early and we were stranded on Mykonos for five days!"
"But we had a lot of fun on Mykonos," Imogen smirked and waggled her eyebrows at her wife.
Fiona couldn't help but smile even as she blushed and rolled her eyes. "Be that as it may, do you see why a water bed might not be my first choice?"
"I guess," Imogen pouted in disappointment before a horrific thought occurred to her. "Oh my god, can you imagine the kids with a waterbed? It would probably be popped within a week."
"Try a day," Fiona laughed, pulling Imogen to her feet. "Ugh, we'd have to redo the floors again, and probably the living room ceiling… I don't even want to think about it. No waterbeds!"
"Fiiine," Imogen sighed, walking down the row of mattresses. "Hey, since the king was too big for you, maybe you'd prefer a twin?"
"I already have a twin," Fiona quipped before she reconsidered and amended her statement. "Actually, I guess I have five."
"Don't remind me. Who knew it was freaking genetic?" Imogen moaned jokingly. "My next spouse is going to be a singleton."
"Um, excuse me, but you carried James and Alistair," Fiona pointed out as she checked out the tags on a fancy mattress. "That was not my fault. The girls, maybe, but the boys were your doing."
"So… what you're telling me is no twin bed?" Imogen cocked her head in mock confusion.
Fiona glared at her but returned a smile. "I think four years of sleeping in each other's dorm rooms was enough twin beds to last us a lifetime. Don't you, Immy?"
"It was kind of squishy…" Imogen admitted. "Remember when you knocked like four snow globes off your bedside table?"
"Ugh, don't remind me," Fiona grumbled. "I still can't believe you didn't notice until the next morning."
"Hey, I hadn't seen you in two months! I had, ahem, other things on my mind," Imogen maintained, defending herself. "And I don't recall you stopping to clean them up in the moment, either…"
"In hindsight, I should have," Fiona acknowledged as they lay down on a new mattress to test it. "Then I wouldn't have that stupid scar on the bottom of my foot."
"And we probably wouldn't have spent the entire Saturday of our only weekend together for our whole last semester in the emergency room," added Imogen.
With Fiona off in Montreal attending Concordia and Imogen staying in Toronto to be close to her dad, it had been difficult finding times to see each other that worked for both of them, particularly as they progressed through their degrees. Now, they jokingly referred to the winter semester of their fourth year as The Great Drought. It hadn't been so funny at the time.
As Imogen rolled around on the mattress to test the firmness, she commented, "I mean, not that we definitely wouldn't have ended up in the ER, but just that we probably wouldn't have."
"You think you're funny," Fiona pouted. Even now, years later, it was still a little bit of a sore spot for her. "But I told you I was sorry like a million times."
"I know. I love you." Imogen leaned over to kiss her wife in reassurance. "Queen?"
Fiona feigned confusion. "I didn't think I was being that much of a diva?"
"I meant as a bed size, doofus," Imogen shoved Fiona playfully. "I like it. Roomy, but I know you're there. Does it pass your snuggle test?"
"Hmmm…" Fiona rolled over to the edge of the bed and reached out for Imogen. Finding her wife well within reach, she tugged Imogen over to her side of the bed. "Yep. Queen it is."
"We should get up. We're in the middle of a store," Imogen commented, not making any move to rise out of Fiona's arms.
"But I'm so tired, Immy," complained Fiona. "And this mattress is so comfy."
"When did we get so old, Fiones?" asked Imogen, closing her eyes for a long moment.
"December 3, 2025," came Fiona's voice from beside her. "Pretty sure December 2 was the last time I got a good night's sleep."
"Speak for yourself. I wasn't sleeping well months before that," Imogen remarked before taking a deep breath, opening her eyes, and getting up. "Okay, we still need a bedframe and then you promised me a fancy anniversary dinner."
Fiona groaned but allowed Imogen to pull her up.
"Buck up, Fiones! Let's do this!" Imogen said with as much enthusiasm as she could muster. She scanned the showroom. "Oh! How about that one? It's beautiful."
Fiona considered the bed Imogen was pointing at. It was a tall, elegant four poster bed with a canopy. As they walked closer, she could see that the dark wooden posts were intricately carved and the canopy was deep blue with silver embroidery.
"It's nice," Fiona replied cautiously. "But you don't think it's a little… much?"
"I thought it would appeal to your Coyne sensibilities," Imogen mused as she trailed her fingers along the carvings. "Refined and sophisticated and decadent and all that."
Fiona examined the canopy. It really was lovely. "Yeah, that's kind of the problem. I… are we this kind of people?"
"We could be." Imogen reflected and then added "I can be classy, you know."
"I have no doubt at all, dear," Fiona replied teasingly. She shrugged. "I dunno. It just reminds me of growing up and of the stuffy bedrooms in my grandmother's estate in New Hampshire. But, I mean, it's gorgeous and if you're in love with it, we can get it."
"I'm in love with you, doofus," Imogen responded as she took Fiona's arm and led them away from the canopy bed. "And I don't want you thinking of your grandmother when you're in our bed. Although I'm sure she was a lovely woman, in her own way."
Fiona scrunched her face up and shook her head as they wandered through the store. "She really wasn't. Probably why I have an aversion to things that remind me of her."
"Pity your middle name is Celestine, then," Imogen teased, knowing Fiona wasn't a fan of being named after her paternal grandmother. "Hey! How about this?"
Fiona looked over at the bed Imogen was referring to and gave her wife a look. "I can tell you right now that bed is definitely not going to pass the snuggle test."
"How much do these things cost, anyway?" wondered Imogen as she examined the bunk bed. "You know the boys are going to want them. And probably Max and Clo, too, because you know they want to do everything their brothers do…"
"What, and have them fight over who gets the top bunk every night? No thank you," said Fiona resolutely. "Declan and I begged our parents for bunk beds when we were six, but we couldn't decide who got the top bunk, so our parents had to buy another set. Declan and I soon discovered that it was super fun to jump across between them. Then one day Declan lost his balance and fell and broke his arm in three places. Needless to say, there were no more bunk beds after that."
"Why are all your childhood stories somehow depressing?" Imogen marveled, only half jokingly.
"Just lucky, I guess," Fiona said wryly. "Woah! Cool, Immy! What about this?"
Imogen watched as her wife lay down and grabbed the remote that was next to the bed. The head and foot of the bed raised and lowered as Fiona toyed with the settings. She couldn't help but smile. Fiona had developed a love of technology and gadgets after Drew bought the 3D television when they were in high school. And Imogen secretly loved that Fiona was such a kid about it sometimes.
"We'd have to hide the remote, but how neat is this?" Fiona exclaimed with a huge grin on her face.
"You're such a geek," Imogen rolled her eyes. "And we are so not getting that."
"But why, Immy? It's so cool! Please?"
Imogen took a deep breath and she shrugged. "It just reminds me of my dad. In the home – in the end – you know."
"Oh yeah," Fiona said seriously, putting down the remote. "It didn't even occur to me."
"It's okay, Fiones," Imogen assured her sincerely. "It's just… too hospital-y for me or something. 'kay?"
"Of course, Im," Fiona said as she got up and looked around until she spotted something she liked. "How about something more traditional?"
"Oooh! I like it," Imogen said when Fiona stopped them in front of a sleigh bed. "Maybe a darker colour, though?"
They wandered through the store, examining a few different sleigh beds.
"I always loved beds like this," Fiona remarked as they stopped in front of a dark reddish wood one with a curved footboard. "There's something about their simple elegance that makes me happy."
"I guess this is a bad time to bring up a problem, then?" Imogen cringed as she turned to her wife.
"You don't like it?" asked Fiona, surprised. It seemed right up Imogen's alley.
"No, I like it a lot. It's just…" Imogen blushed and glanced around, making sure nobody else was within earshot.
Fiona looked at her wife with confusion. "It's just what?"
Imogen sighed. "It's just… there's not a lot of places for, you know… attaching things."
"Huh?" Fiona asked, still not understanding.
"There aren't really any places for tying something or, um, locking something."
It took her a moment to realize what Imogen was saying. Their bedside table contained handcuffs, rope, and a few silk ties. Neither of them was into anything more hardcore than casual restraints, but it was still something they both rather enjoyed. "Oh. Oh. You know, I am suddenly liking sleigh beds a whole lot less."
Imogen laughed at Fiona's reaction. "It's kind of too bad, though. I really like this one."
"We can find something better," Fiona insisted, grabbing Imogen's arm and dragging her away towards some beds with posts and slats. "But we've got to do it quickly because our reservation is in 45 minutes."
"Make it zippy," Imogen stated, nodding once. "Got it. What about this one?"
Fiona examined the simple maple bed in front of her. "Okay, I know I didn't want that fancy four poster canopy bed, but I'm not exactly looking for Little House on the Prairie, either."
"Aaand there's the Coyne girl I fell in love with." Imogen laughed at her wife and gave her a gentle poke in the side. "But seriously, Fiones, we've looked at pretty much every bed in this place."
"Not that one over there," Fiona joked, pointing at a wrought iron bed that was disassembled and leaning against the back wall of the showroom.
Imogen glanced over to the wall, ready to dismiss the broken bed her wife was joking about, but something about it made her do a double take. It was painted cream and intentionally distressed and there were spots in the metalwork where something was clearly meant to fit. But whatever was supposed to hang there was missing, leaving three big holes in the bed's headboard and three smaller ones in the footboard. She figured that was likely why it was being taken off the floor. Imogen kind of liked it.
"What about that one ov – " Fiona stopped mid-sentence when she looked back at her wife. "Immy, no! I know that look."
"What look?" Imogen asked innocently, her mind reeling with all the things she could do with that bed frame.
"That look," Fiona sighed, partly amused. "Your I-have-an-amazing-and-creative-idea-for-a-project-and-won't-stop-until-you-let-me-do-it look."
Imogen just gave Fiona a hopeful smile, and when that didn't seem to have any effect on her wife, she opened her eyes wide and pulled her face into a pout.
"You're just going to stare at me like that until I say yes, aren't you?"
Imogen nodded, a smile making its way over her features because she knew Fiona was going to agree. She bit her lip, trying to contain her excitement. "I have such a good idea, Fiones! I promise you'll love it when I'm done with it!"
Fiona studied her wife for a moment before giving a resigned sigh. "How come I still can't say no to you?"
"Must be my charm," teased Imogen as she kissed Fiona's cheek. "Or my feminine wiles."
"Definitely the wiles," Fiona laughed, allowing herself to be pulled towards the store clerk to sort out the sale. "Which I hope to be seeing more of later tonight. The kids should be asleep by the time we get back from dinner."
"Dunno, Fiona," Imogen said casually, leading them to the counter. "I just feel like throwing myself into this bed project when we get home. Gotta prep the design and figure out materials!"
"Imogen." Fiona stopped in her tracks, completely unamused.
"Kidding, Fiones!" Imogen reassured Fiona as she turned to give her wife a kiss that promised more later. Imogen grinned. "Just kidding."