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Small Pretenses

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Shirley kicks off her shoes and sinks into the couch, sighing, letting the long day go. She runs a hand through her hair, disarranging its gelled perfection, and smiles as Carl shows up on the kitchen doorway with two cups of tea.

"Just so you know," says Carl, "I'm not wearing an apron."

Shirley laughs as he hands her a cup.

Carl's a good man, but even he needs managing. So she tells him she'll cook tomorrow, and leans against him, her arm around him, affecting need. Over the decades, such small pretences have become second nature.

His muscles relax.