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|Valentine(On Dublin Street #5.5)(13) by Samantha Young|
Olivia and Nate
“Liv, have you seen my fisheye lens?” Nate yelled from his office at the back of the house.
I gently brushed January’s soft hair into pigtails. “Why do you need your fisheye lens?”
“Mummy, can I have some gummy bears?” Lily asked from the kitchen.
“Because I’m doing that magazine shoot this morning! We’ll be experimenting with shots and the fisheye lens might come in handy!” Nate shouted, sounding exasperated.
He was late.
He hated being late.
“Well the lens should be with your equipment.” I kissed the top of January’s head and she hopped off the arm of the sofa and hurried off into the kitchen to be with her big sister.
“Mummy? Gummy bears?”
“No, Lily.” I followed Jan into the kitchen to find Lily clutching a mini bag of chewy fruity bears. “Sweetheart, those are for recess. Eat your banana and yoghurt.”
“It’s called playtime not recess and I’ve already eaten my banana and yoghurt.” Lily pouted.
I gritted my teeth at Nate’s yelling as I plucked a banana from the fruit bowl and handed it to Lily. “Have another and watch your sister while I help your dad.”
Hurrying toward his office I thrust open the door to find him rummaging manically through a drawer. “Why isn’t it with the rest of your stuff?”
“How the fuck should I know?” He snapped. “Every time you put something down in this house it takes a walk.”
“Okay, calm down and think. When was the last time you used the fisheye?”
He ran a hand through his dark hair, hair that was starting to show sprinklings of grey in the edges. That and the wrinkles around his eyes that had appeared from his (usually) excessive smiling did nothing to detract from his masculine beauty.
Often, when taking time to admire how gorgeous my husband was, I got tingles between my legs and a sudden switch to an amorous attitude. Not today, however. Today was Valentine’s Day and as much as Nate and I enjoyed mocking the commercialism and general hokeyness of the day, he always acknowledged it by giving me flowers in the morning.
Except he was uncharacteristically grumpy.
“I don’t know.” He shrugged. “It’s been a while.”
“Was it for that article you did for the paper… I remember it being distorted… you know the picture of Portobello Beach. The history piec—”
“You’re a genius!” He pointed at me. “I gave the bloody lens to Mikael that day and he didn’t give me the fucker back.”
“Nate the girls are just down the hall,” I reminded him.
“Sorry,” he mumbled. “I’ve got to go. I’ll call Mikael and get him to bring the lens.”
I had no idea who Mikael was but I nodded since it was getting my husband out of the house. The girls were due at school and I was due at work and I just needed him and his bad mood gone.
He grabbed his equipment and gave me a peck on the lips as he passed. “See you later.”
Following him out into the hall I watched as he dumped his equipment and hurried into the kitchen. Standing in the doorway I looked on as he lifted January up into the air making her giggle and squeal before he peppered her face with kisses that made her laugh harder. Once she was safely on her feet he turned to Lily and enfolded her in his arms, chasing her cheeks with kisses as she squirmed and laughed at him to get off of her.
The sight made my chest ache with its beauty.
“Bye girls. See you later.” He flashed me a quick smile as he passed me and I tried to ignore the way the ache in my chest suddenly turned into a painful knot.
The door slammed shut behind him and I clapped my hands and grinned at the girls, covering my dour mood. “Time for school. First one to the door with their shoes, coat and schoolbag gets an extra bag of gummy bears.”
The girls giggled and started hurrying to get ready.
I stormed through the security gate at the main campus library of the University of Edinburgh where I worked as head librarian for the User Services department. I was promoted to Librarian three years ago when my boss Angus took early retirement and high-tailed it to Greece with his civil partner.
“Olivia, there you are,” Ronan, my longest serving colleague hurried toward me as I dashed behind the help desks toward the staff room. “The reserve section self-service check in check out system crashed this morning but we just got it up and running five minutes ago. I’ve left a few frantic messages for you.”
“Sorry.” I shrugged out of my coat and threw it over my chair. “Bad start to the day. It’s running you say?”
“Yeah, it’s fixed.”
“Good. So why are you still looking at me like the roof of the building is on fire?”
He frowned at me. “Because I didn’t know what to expect. Irritations such as system failures tend to make you very depressed lately.”
“I’m not depressed.” I grabbed a hold of the weekly schedule to remind myself what I was doing this morning. I was on reshelving. Great. Alone time. “I’m fine.” Ronan snorted at my back but I ignored him and made my way to the carts that were loaded with the books for reshelving. “If I’m needed, page me.”
As I rode the elevator up to the second floor, I mused over Ronan’s comment. I hadn’t been myself lately. I hadn’t been myself lately because Nate hadn’t been himself lately.
It wasn’t the sex, I thought as I started working. Sex with us was always easy and great so it wasn’t the sex. It was just… lately I felt like we were drifting a little. We both had work and the girls so the only time we really had alone was at night in bed and well… we had sex instead of talking.
And Nate and I did great banter.
I missed the banter.
Don’t get me wrong I loved our girls and I loved the four of us hanging out because we had great fun. I was probably being a spoiled child even thinking of complaining about what we had.
But this morning… well that was new and I didn’t like it. Nate didn’t wake me up with a kiss and a cuddle like he usually did. And there were no flowers and there were always flowers on Valentine’s Day. In fact he hadn’t even mentioned the day, even not to make a crack at it.
This morning he just rolled out of bed and hurried into the shower. He barely said two words to me as I walked into the bathroom as he was coming out. He just said something about needing to be fast because he had an early start and that he would make his own coffee.