HE HAD texted me around three in the afternoon, telling me he was going to be late. The text was short, too short. Somehow, I knew immediately something was amiss. If my Jared was anything, he was wordy, no matter the situation. Sure, he could look all shy and timid and cute, but he was a fan of words. Whenever he got quiet or there were fewer words in his emails or texts, I knew without a doubt that something was wrong.
After five years with someone, you just know.
So I was worried, knowing that the detective who was going to come home from a day in court would be tightly wound, volatile, and possibly even aggressive. Not that he’d ever hurt me, the aggression never got physical, but the edginess was there every time this happened. The sharp movements and harsh words, sleeping problems as he tossed and turned in our California-king-size bed… No, I wouldn’t take it, not tonight. It was too close to our anniversary to let him snap at me.
We had a deal: I could whine about my old sports injuries and the drunks I catered to at McCabe’s, the pub I’d inherited from my grandpa. In return, Jared could whine about the justice system, his slob of a new partner, and whatever other work-related things he could come up with. We knew each other well enough to know what in all the ranting we did was relevant and what wasn’t. It was a good system.
Today was my night off. I had done the end of the month inventory the previous night, so I was good for two days. I had left my staff to handle the pub and now I was just waiting for my man to get home. Not that he would be at home in time. So I changed plans—I wouldn’t be making dinner. Instead I’d be prepared in other ways….