After a long day at the office, all Eliot Travers wants is a much needed nap before dinner. Which his husband Ben is supposed to make.
But when he gets home, Ben is playing a game on his phone and Eliot doesn’t smell anything cooking in the kitchen. As Eliot’s temper starts to rise, he wants to know what exactly Ben’s been doing all day long.
Ben tells him to look on the table by the stairs, where Eliot finds a note he missed when he came in. A note that reads The Reasons Why I Love YOU.
A second note on the steps leads upstairs. Then Eliot finds a third, and a fourth.
Note: This short story was originally published in the charity collection, Love Is Proud.
It’d been a long day at the office, and when Eliot Travers pulled into the driveway, all he wanted was a tall glass of cold iced tea and enough aspirin to knock out the headache that had started in his shoulders sometime after lunch and had slowly crept into his temples by late afternoon. As the clock had counted down to five thirty, the only thing that got Eliot through to the end of the day was the thought of stretching out on the couch for a quick, much needed nap before dinner.
Which Ben said he’d make.
A smile flickered across Eliot’s face at the thought of his lover, Ben Hartley. Husband, he mentally corrected. The moment the state legalized same-sex marriage, Ben had wasted no time popping the question. The man wrote erotic ebooks for a living; he was romantic to a fault, Eliot had to admit. If only he could keep house as well as he made love ...
He’s working on it, Eliot reminded himself.
It was a familiar argument between them. Ben was a self-employed author and worked from home, while Eliot spent eight hours or more every weekday at the accounting firm where he was a senior auditor. Eliot didn’t have the time or energy to put in a full day behind a desk only to come home and cook and clean, too. Ben, on the other hand, slept in well after Eliot’s alarm went off in the mornings, spent his days playing around on social media, and had plenty of opportunity to straighten the place up before Eliot got home. Why he didn’t was beginning to become a point of contention between them.
As Eliot got out of the car, he noticed the grass needed to be cut. The evening newspaper was on the steps leading up to the porch, where it had been carelessly tossed by the paperboy and Ben hadn’t yet come out to pick it up. Even the mail was still in the box, sitting there since it’d been delivered earlier in the day.
Seriously? Eliot tried to tamp down his anger, but how hard was it to open the door and step outside at some point before he got home? The grass he could overlook, but the mail? Hell, Ben didn’t even need to get dressed to bring that in.
Once inside, he paused in the foyer to drop the mail onto what used to be the phone table by the stairs leading to the second floor. Now that both he and Ben had cell phones, the table was a catch-all covered with all sorts of crap. One of these days Eliot would sit down and go through everything, though he’d lost count of how many times he had asked Ben to do it. Unopened mail, loose change, old receipts, dried out pens, expired coupons ... most of it could be thrown away.
“Ben?” Eliot called out. He couldn’t smell anything cooking yet. Better not be planning on ordering takeout. Heading down the hallway towards the kitchen, he tried again. “Ben, where --”
His lover’s voice came from the living room.