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Rated: E · Short Story · Contest · #2135607
(Too) Late entry for the Zodiac contest: Virgo. Home scenery. No one was harmed!

Overly critical

Perfectionist/High standards

Gilbert stepped inside the house and took it all in; toys strewn across the hall leading up to the dining room, kitchen and living room, all of which filled with toys and most of all, sneaky little pieces of Lego. He let the swarm of children welcome him as he made eye contact with his wife Cathrina, a shy smile plastered on her weary face. She hadn't slept well last night because of the medicine giving her intense cramps, waking him up sporadically as well. He placed his business bag against the wall and spoke.
"Hey." He said to her with a mild smile.

"Hey there..." she replied, unsure. She was still in her PJs and her hair looked flat with frizzled ends.

He sat on the first steps of the staircase filled with dirty laundry that didn't make it to the laundry room yet, and removed his black leather shoes. He neatly folded their shiny laces inside and placed them on the shoe rack already overflowing with more shoes. He tried to straighten the mess up a bit and walked to the kitchen, noticing the dirty counters and the dining room table still filled with used dishes. He walked to the fridge to pour himself a glass of apple juice and sighed loudly at the feeling of his socks sticking to the floor. He closed the fridge's door a little loudly for his wife's taste and replied with a "What?" when she eyed him.
"Nothing." She said.
Was that the women's "Nothing.", or had she really meant it?

She was filling up the dishwasher as the kids were jumping around, a little too happy to see him. It had been raining so he knew they hadn't had a chance to spend that extra energy outside. He noticed the tv was still on. How much did they watch today?

He left his glass on the counter and went to turn off the tv set.
His eldest followed him, showing him a Lego plane he had made.

"Very nice." He said. "What did you do at school today? Was it fun?"
"No! The teacher sang those stupid songs again." His son replied.
"Have you told the teacher you want to hear different songs?"
"No. They always sing those stupid songs." He pouted.
"Well, what else did you do?"
"We watched the fish movie!" He exclaimed, beaming.

"No. I meant at school. What did you do?" he said a little impatiently.

"I played with Lego and made a BIG rocket ship with lasers! And I played with puzzles. I wanted to play more but the teacher made me put them away. I want to play with them everyday!" he said with an elongated emphasis on the last word.

Little Edmund came riding on his trunky, trying to make it past the limit of the hard wood floor onto the thick chocolate carpet with much difficulty.

"What a stupid day!" he said with frustration. His father advised him not to say that.

"It's a good day, Edmund! A good day!" added his mother.

"A good day?" said Edmund, looking at her.
"Yes!" she smiled.

"Really? Doesn't look like it to me." Said Gilbert turning to face her.
Don't go there. Thought his wife.

"... it was pretty busy today."

He looked around noticing leftovers and some dirty pans that would need to be hand washed. She picked up one and started to run the hot water while dropping a dollop of soap onto the scrubbing brush.
His tone was a mix of genuineness and bits of that condescending German tone. "What did you DO all day?" he asked.
She loudly dropped the brush and pan into the sink, flicking the water hand off in one swift motion, and turned around visibly irritated.
"DON'T YOU DARE. ASK. ME. THIS. QUESTION." She said accusing. "I'm exhausted, I didn't sleep well and you know it. I ran after trails of the kids' messes all day and had to deal with their antics too! Lucas has already been sent to the naughty corner twice, and he's not getting a story tonight."

Gilbert put up his hands defensively as if that would soften the verbal blow. He apologized explaining he really did want to know about her day. She hated that question as if he were questioning the time she had spend at home while he worked. She reminded him that unlike him, she didn't get to take a sick day and had to work with very ungrateful clients who were
very unreasonable today. Her eyes softened becoming moist with tears. What have I done? He thought. She was about to cry when the youngest came running with a handful of candy he had obviously stolen for the office that had been left unlocked.
"Edmund, no! No candies!" She yelled. Edmund dropped the gummy bears and gummy worms to the floor and ran to the living room, throwing himself face first onto the carpet and crying loudly, angry that he couldn't eat them.
Canthrina chuckled a little at the unfolding drama. Gilbert didn't say a word and turned on his heels, heading for the stairs up, leaving everyone as if he had not been there. Cathrina heard the telltale sound of the shower door open and close from above the kitchen's ceiling and sighed. Her hair was still itching.

Several minutes later, she heard fresh footstep strut down the stairs, pausing to pet the housecat, Marty, sleeping in a basket by the railings. She liked hearing him coo at the old cat, calling it cute names and saying nonsense. Who else would be a good cat??
She was scrubbing a pan that had long lost its Teflon coating and had obviously been instrumental in a botched-up experiment. She wondered whether or not she should simply throw the thing away or soak it again.

Two hands slightly bigger than hers and a sweet musky smell enveloped her.
"Leave it." Her husband said. "Go take a nap, I'll take over."
She leaned into him and lift up her head to kiss his neck. "Thanks, honey." She said. She eyed the kids, telling them to listen to their father and went up the stairs, closing the bedroom door behind her.

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