One of the best things about Saturday morning was the fact that she got up at 7 in the morning every week to go to her Pilates class because when she went to her Pilates class, it meant that she’d be wearing yoga pants.
Pouring the fruit smoothie out into a tall, slender glass, Lelouch neatly stuck a straw inside before passing it to his wife, who’d been sitting at the kitchen island while she waited for breakfast. Reaching, she took a sip before expressing her appreciation.
Pleased with himself, he busied himself with the eggs he’d been whisking.
“What do you want in your eggs?”
He glanced up at her.
“Are you sure?”
“Because if you want a surprise, you may have to wait a little longer than usual.”
She shrugged. “I have this. I can wait.”
As he set to work, she hummed to herself as she leisurely skimmed through a glossy magazine. It didn’t have much that interested her, but it was something to read, and it beat the newspaper. Why her husband read that cynical, pessimistic, and twisted print – and three publications too; The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal – she couldn’t really understand, but she supposed it was just the lawyer in him. He’d been trained since a child to be the most adult adult after all; it only made sense he’d take the time every morning to read 3 newspapers.
“What cup is that?” she murmured. She hadn’t even looked up from the article on lipstick; just the quiet running of coffee was enough to make her frown. When there was a slight pause, she looked up to see him guiltily take a sip from his mug.
“…So in other words, your last.”
He only stood there and took a noisy sip. Narrowing her eyes, she straightened up; when he didn’t put his cup down, she slid off the stool and started to move around the island, when he finally said, “Okay, I’m sorry, it’s my fifth.”
She crossly crossed her arms. They really had to do something about this addiction. It was getting to the point where if he didn’t drink a certain amount – a very large amount – he’d get migraines. Caffeine was a drug, which he knew and yet still gave into. She supposed she should be grateful that his vice wasn’t drinking or smoking or whatever, but addiction to caffeine was almost just as bad. Maybe even worse on some levels because this one was actually socially acceptable, which only served to discourage him from kicking the habit.
“What did I tell you about coffee?” She shook a finger at him as if she were his mother and he was only a five-year-old who’d swiped a cookie from the cookie jar. “How many times have we gone over this?”
“I’m sorry!” But he clearly wasn’t because he started inching towards the coffee mug again. Darting past him, she grabbed for the silver percolator. Swiftly pouring out the entire contents down the drain, she angrily looked at him.
“C.C. sweetie, I’m sorry. I really am. But for the love of God, don’t waste the coffee! Think of the all the time and money you’re throwing out!”
“I’m only doing this because I love you.”
He let out an exasperated groan.
“What do you mean you’re only doing this because you love me? How? Really, you should put more trust in your husband. I swear I was going to stop after the fifth!”
“No you weren’t. I saw you.”
Another nice thing about her husband was that he rarely lied – especially when he’d been cornered. Wilting, he leaned against the counter as if even he himself couldn’t believe his lack of control. Setting the pot down, she reached for his hand.
“…Do you want to see if there’s something you can take to help you sleep at night?” she asked softly. He loved coffee, but he didn’t love it enough to drink that much in that much time. If he were drinking it like water, it only meant he’d begun slipping out of bed after she’d fallen asleep like the sneaky devil he was. The realization broke her heart; she knew he was doing it to try and protect her, but she wanted to protect him too, and obviously she was failing if she couldn’t even help him with his insomnia.
He shook his head.
“You and your bullshit.”
He halted in protest before mumbling, “I will be fine.”
“I want you to be fine now. Not later, but now.”
“No, I’m sorry,” she sighed. “I haven’t been a very good wife, have I? I’ve just been ignoring your worries and problems while all I do is go on about my own.”
“No, this is important for you. I want you to focus all of your energy on the seminar.”
“Even now.” She quietly and cruelly laughed at herself. “This was supposed to be about you, but I’ve got it all turned around and upside down, and now it’s all about me.”
“For me to be happy, you have to be happy.”
She leaned on him, and he lightly wrapped his arms around her. Patting her on the back, he held her close as they stood quietly for some time until there was a bark from somewhere near their feet – when had Liesl wandered into the kitchen? – and the unforgettable scent of something burning wafted towards their noses.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake.”
“What were you making anyway?”
“Baked egg boats.”
“Burnt egg boats now.”
“Yes, thank you. As if the smell wasn’t enough to inform me.” Reaching back, he turned the oven off. Sighing, he glanced at her.
“Would you like to go out for brunch today?”
“What about Liesl?”
“Well, we would obviously air out the flat before leaving. What do you take me for, an irresponsible father?”
“I’m so sorry I bothered asking. It’s not like I care about the puppy because, you know, it’s not like she’s a goddamn baby.”
They blinked at one another before bursting into giggles. Liesl propped herself up against her father’s leg as she tried to reach for her parents. Her mother bent down to pick her up from the floor and shyly turned her face away as she eagerly kissed her.
“I think that café on 73rd street would be nice. We can sit outside with Liesl, and then we can go to the park afterwards. Liesl would like that, wouldn’t you, princess?”
Lelouch watched with amusement as his wife cooed at the Maltese, who was furiously wagging her tail as if she actually understood what her humans were saying in their unintelligible foreign language. Both girls looked up at him with wide, innocent eyes.
“You wouldn’t deny Liesl playtime, would you?”
“How could I, with such a sweet, adorable face?”
He grinned as the tips of her eyes flushed dark, and it was then that he decided that the other best thing about Saturday morning was this. All of this.
He never wanted to live his life any other way, and he’d do everything and anything to make sure he never had to.