“Caleb,” Molly murmurs, “come back to bed.”
Caleb pauses in pulling his sweater out of the closet. In the dimness of their bedroom, he can just barely see Molly’s head lift up from his pillow. He pads back to the bed and strokes Molly’s bedhead away from his face. “I offered to help Beau today,” he reminds him, speaking softly in the early morning hush. “I have to get going.”
Molly makes a sound that might, possibly, become words at some point in the day. A helpless smile steals across Caleb’s face at the ridiculous noise. He leans down and kisses Molly on the forehead, smoothing his hair back again. “You can go back to sleep, schatz.”
When he starts to get up, he meets resistance. Molly squints up at him in the dim light, his nose wrinkled up and his eyes barely open. His hand remains firmly tangled in Caleb's shirt. "Stay," he mumbles. He wiggles closer to Caleb, barely functioning even by the usual Molly-before-coffee standards. Caleb tries valiantly not to laugh. "Beau can wait."
Caleb grins down at him. He knows that Molly and Beau delight in making each other impatient and ornery, but he also knows that they would go to the mat for each other without a second’s hesitation. The image of Beau cold-cocking a half-orc in a bar for yanking Molly’s tail is one of the Mighty Nein’s favorite collective memories.
“This is for her Cobalt Soul exams, liebling, it is rather important to her.” He coaxes his shirt free of Molly’s clutches and brings Molly’s hand up to his mouth, laying apologetic kisses along each of his slender, calloused fingers. He traces his thumb along the fine bones of Molly’s fourth finger, and thinks about the ring inside the small velvet box in his desk drawer. Soon. Perhaps not today, but soon.
“Go back to sleep, schatz. I will be back soon enough.” He leans down and brushes his lips across Molly’s cheek, feeling the very tips of his long lashes flutter against his nose. “I promise to even bring you coffee.”
“Whipped cream,” Molly mutters, as if Caleb would ever forget. Caleb can’t help but laugh quietly as Molly drags him down for a brief kiss, warm and lazy.
“Love you,” Molly sighs, finally releasing him. He pats Caleb’s leg and snuggles back into the covers. “Flip Beau the bird for me, darling.”
Caleb gives him one last quick kiss goodbye, then slips out the bedroom door with a smile. He already can’t wait to come back home.