Laura glanced at Bill, peering over the top of the paper she'd been reading. Something was off about him. He was quieter than usual-if that were possible. She thought he looked sad too. It wasn't an expression he often wore, whatever it was.


He looked at her like he didn't really see her. That wasn't a good sign. "Yeah?"

Laura moved to his side of the desk, resting her left hand on his right shoulder. "What's wrong, Bill?"

He covered her hand with his left one and turned his head to face her. "Today was his birthday."


Bill nodded. "No matter how much we've lost since then..."

"It's that loss that hurts the most." Laura changed her position so she could touch his face with her right hand. "I can understand that."

"We should-"

"No. That can wait." She paused. "This is more important right now."

Bill stroked her face. She moved close enough so she could kiss his forehead. When he pulled her even closer, she ended up in his lap. They both laughed over the turn of events. Then she allowed herself to get lost in his embrace. She knew how important a simple hug could be even years after such a loss.

When they both felt better, a few moments later, they returned to work. And when Laura occasionally glanced at Bill, he didn't look so sad anymore. A few of those times, he was looking at her-and smiling.