It was rare Tom was able to surprise Carl with dinner.
He had spaghetti with turkey meatballs simmering on the stovetop, the dogs happily exiled to a different part of the house with a noise buffer, a message on his manual saying how he and Carl were having the night off, put out several literal fires already with Kit, and now he was trying to decide which CD to use. The stereo system was being mercifully silent about its usual opinions and instead had directed most of its annoyance toward Tom’s outfit.
(“This is why you don’t usually dress up,” it had wailed earlier. “You don’ even know how to knot a tie correctly!”)
“None of that Gilbert and Sullivan stuff,” Carl said, surprising Tom with a kiss on the back of his neck, a hand securely placed on Tom’s hip. “Not when you’ve ruined The Sorcerer for me.”
The stereo system made a barely audible tsk, tsk.
Tom rolled his eyes. “No, that was Peach.”
“You can’t blame our bird on everything that happens in this house.”
“Easy for you to say.” Tom put the CD back down on the table, “You don’t have Peach as your copy editor.” He turned around and tried to casually pose with one ankle crossed over the other, feigning a sense of relived stress he hadn’t known since his sophomore year of college. “Ready for our date, Romeo?”
“Only if you are,” Carl said, the hand on Tom’s hip immediately moving to the crooked tie. With a simple movement that was more practiced skill than magic, he tugged Tom closer, so they were chest-to-chest, their grins matching as they forgot about the dinner cooking on the stove. They moved with the ease of their partnership, mouths colliding and hands eagerly reaching out for each other.
Tom slid a knee between Carl’s thighs. “You know, there is a scene I want you to look over.”
“Really?” Carl’s mustache tickled the sensitive skin of Tom’s neck.
“A love scene—Peach!” Tom pushed Carl back suddenly and glared at the blue-red streak in the air. There was a crash as the spaghetti pot spilled on the kitchen floor.
“Oh, my name is John Wellington Wells
I'm a dealer in magic and spells
In blessings and curses—"
Their macaw reappeared with a spaghetti noodle dangling from her beak. She perched on the stereo system, tapping a claw to the unexpected melody.
“In prophecies, witches, and knells
If you want a proud foe to "make tracks"
If you'd melt a rich uncle in wax!”
Carl groaned and ran a hand over his face. “Why is it too late to return her to the pet store?”