She opened the door wearing only a coy look and a towel, her hair still dripping wet.
He smiled and pulled her close to kiss her. She returned the kiss and put her arms around his neck, then squealed and pulled away from him as her towel started to fall off.
"The neighbors will see," she said. She retreated back into her apartment, holding the towel across her chest with one hand, holding it together in the back with the other.
"You're early.” She went into the bathroom, leaving the door ajar.
He followed her to the bathroom and leaned against the doorframe. She still held the towel to her chest, but the other hand was now pulling her wet hair back from her face, leaving her round bottom bare. "Not early enough," he said.
She was laughing and sexy and scandalized all at once as she turned to face him, and to put the towel between them. She shooed him away the door. "You can wait in there," she said. "I'll be ready in a few minutes."
He laughed and sat down in the small apartment's "dining room", the corner formed between the kitchen and one wall of the bathroom.
"You are early," she said, talking loudly enough to be heard through the mostly-closed door. "You said you would be here at seven."
"I said we needed to be there at seven," he said. "Takes us about fifteen minutes to get there. Longer," he added, "if you answer the door naked ..."
"You hush," she called back. "And I'll be ready in just a few minutes."
"I'm going to be late to my own birthday party," he said.
"It's not like they can start without you."
He chuckled, amused, slightly annoyed, and more than a little bit aroused. But he waited.
* * *
He came back into the house, looking for her.
"Did you forget your ring?" she asked. She stood in front of the vanity mirror, brush in one hand, hair mousse in the other, examining her hair from one angle, then another.
"No," he said. "You have yours?"
She gestured at him with the hair mousse, showing the gold ring on her finger. "Just thought that was what you were looking for." Then she stopped and looked at him. "Am I being slow again?" she asked.
He tried to keep the annoyance he felt off his face. "Yeah. We're all ready to go."
"I'll be done in just a few minutes." She applied the brush to her hair again, sweeping it from one side to another.
"We're already in the car," he said. "The baby is in her car seat. Ryan's watching her," he added, replying to the sharp look she gave him. "She's not alone in the car."
"It'll just be a couple more minutes."
"Yes," he said. "You said that ten minutes ago."
She stopped, hands frozen in mid-style, and looked at him with cold eyes. "It hasn't been ten minutes," she said.
He looked at his watch again. "Twelve, now."
"Fine," she said. She threw the mousse and the brush into the sink, where they clattered off each other and the porcelain. "Let's go then." She pushed past him, one hand flicking the lights off, leaving him in the dark.
"Why are you upset?" he asked, following her. "You're not the one who's been waiting."
"Just ... just ... be quiet," she said. In the living room, she pointed to the clock on the wall. "It's not even eleven yet. We don't have to be there until twelve."
He struggled to remain calm. "It takes us two hours to drive there. We're going to be an hour late."
"Fine," she said. "We'll be late."
The car trip was a mostly quiet one. As quiet as any car trip can be with two children sharing the back seat.
* * *
She woke him when she climbed over him into bed. "You're asleep," she said, giving him an accusing poke.
"Of course," he said. "It's--" He paused and lifted his head enough to see the red numbers of the clock. "It's two o'clock in the morning."
She got under the comforter with him and snuggled close. "I thought you were going to wait up for me."
"You fell asleep."
"Yeah," he said. "About an hour ago."
"Sleepy head," she said, and turned over and pulled away from him.
He laughed and pulled her close again. Then went back to sleep, spooning her. They would both be awake in the morning.
* * *
"I'm sorry," she said. "I made us late again."
"Nope," he said, starting the engine.
"I thought we had to be there at one o'clock."
He just grinned at her.
She stuck her tongue out at him.
"What?" asked the children from the back seat, no longer in either car seats or booster seats.
"Nothing," he said, laughing.
* * *
Twenty years? You outlived me by twenty years?
Hush! I found you didn't I?
You said you wouldn't live more than a few years without me.
I finally had so much free time ... I got so many quilts finished. I did some writing ...
You have no concept of time.
You going to bring that up again?
Nope. Who needs time? Especially now?
I'm glad you waited for me.
What else was I going to do? I love you.