Create your established couple to work with for the next six weeks. They do not have to be married, but in a long-term relationship that already has some baggage we can work with. You have 1,000 words to play with for this assignment. Write from one character point of view ONLY, no head hopping. Here's your setup: One character has had a rough day at work and wants to unwind with their partner. Focus on TOUCH for this assignment. We are not taking them to bed yet, but rather using the intimacy of hugging, kissing, holding hands, what the slightest touch can do to a person, how it affects them and changes their mood, thinking, etc. Try to stay away from using the word FEEL as much as possible. If you start to write it, close your eyes and imagine it happening and write what the sensation feels like instead of using the word itself.
At the sound of a key in the apartment door, Morgan drifted towards awake. She became aware of the rough weave of the couch pillow against her cheek and the damp that indicated that she was probably drooling and the soft warmth of the throw she’d drawn over herself and the breeze of the air conditioning chilling her ears. She had fallen asleep on the couch. Again. This was getting to be a habit. The television was still a low murmur in the background.
The door opened and closed. Familiar footsteps crossed the room—the clatter of keys onto their place by the door, the sound of the fridge opening. She shifted and said, without opening her eyes, “I left your supper in the microwave.”
“Thank you.” She heard Dave move around the kitchen and then the microwave hummed as he crossed the room to stand over the couch. “Sorry I’m so late,” he said. A hand brushed her hair away from her face, and then the warmth of his lips against her cheek.
She turned and opened her eyes to look up at him. His face was a shadow against the flash of the television and the lights of the kitchen. “Busy day?” She sat up and straightened her shirt before grasping his hand to help her stand. It was dry and firm and warm. Standing, she brought it up to cradle against the cold of her cheek.
The microwave dinged. He murmured something under his breath that Morgan couldn’t quite hear and let go of her hand to turn to the kitchen. She followed him to grab something so she wouldn’t just be watching him eat. A few minutes of comfortable domesticity and she took a seat with a sandwich and cranberry juice. He moved his chair closer to her, so that their arms were in constant contact as he ate.
While Dave talked about his day, Morgan listened to his tone more than his words. He wasn’t allowed to talk in specifics because of the nature of his job, but she could tell he was tired and frustrated. His movements were slow and he kept stopping in mid sentence as though he wanted to say more but couldn’t. They were overworking him with this promotion, she could tell, but she didn’t know how to fix it. She wanted to.
As they finished, they stood together and went to the sink. “But enough about me,” he said. “How was your day?”
Instead of answering, she ran the water. She thought about the minor (and major) messes that had overtaken her and their two children. Logan was four, and had recently discovered that he could open the door to the apartment when it wasn’t dead bolted. That afternoon, while six-month old Ava was down for her nap, she had a frightening ten minutes when she couldn’t find him anywhere. But she had discovered him curled up on the top shelf of her closet, happily playing toy cars.
Some days she was so frustrated and bored with staying at home with the children, but then there were the moments like this afternoon, when Ava had pulled herself up to a stand for the first time—the moments she would never want to miss. She just wished that Dave had more time at home with the family as well.
The sink full, she shrugged. “We had a good day.” She twisted around to smile at him, noticing the shadows under his eyes. She couldn’t complain that he was working too hard. Not when they both had agreed that the promotion was too good to pass up. But . . .
He joined her at the sink, drying. As they followed the familiar dance (the smell of lemon soap, the slimy heat of washing up), she found herself noticing the way she hadn’t for a long time the way he stood so close that his arm brushed her shoulder, his jeans caught against the fabric of her sleep pants. He was so familiar, yet it was as though they’d been apart for weeks instead of just the day. She was so starved for contact. In the morning, she’d be busy with the kids while he rushed out the door.
Before the promotion, he’d made a point to be home for supper every night. Now, they had adult time together for barely ten minutes at midnight when he finally came home.
He reached over her shoulder to put up the last cup, and she leaned back against his chest. He was so strong and warm. A whisper of his breath stirred her hair as though he were breathing her in and she wanted to return the favor—sometimes, when she stole her shower, she spent long minutes smelling his shampoo. She straightened to let the water out of the sink. As he passed her the towel, their fingers met in a damp slide.
He yawned. She laughed and he joined in after a moment.
“I promise it isn’t the company,” he said.
“I don’t know—I always sleep better when you’re home,” she returned. It was true. Even when she wasn’t napping on the couch.
They headed back, stopping at the children’s room to hear them breathe and to retuck Logan’s blanket. He had somehow managed to wiggle around so that his feet were on his pillow. Ava’s fists were clenched by her chin and she’d rolled onto her side.
Getting ready for bed was more familiar choreography, but finally, Morgan was lying in bed, her head on the smooth chill of her pillow with the extra blanket on her side of the bed pulled to her chin. Dave settled in behind her, his right hand heavy on her stomach, his chest co close that in the stillness, she found his heart beating its familiar rhythm. Together, their breathing matched and slowed and they drifted together into sleep.
word count: 985