“What a fucking day!” Jodie ranted as she threw a torn shopping bag on the kitchen counter. Shuichi looked up from where he was sitting on the couch, taking in her exhaustion.
“Don’t tell me you let the bag ruin your day, darling,” he sent her a teasing grin.
“Ha ha… The bag’s not the problem. That was just the tip of the iceberg.” She closed her eyes, sat down and let her head fall on the kitchen table.
With his left hand, Shuichi righted his glasses, frowning. Usually, Jodie didn’t let some minor mishaps get her down. He waited to see if she would start ranting again. It would help her get it out of the system. They were similar in that regard but normally it was him that needed coaxing.
He gently laid a hand on top of her golden hair. As expected, she followed his silent prompt. She lifted her head, then rose and engulfed him in a tight hug.
“Want to talk about that horrible day of yours?” he prompted again.
He looked straight into her eyes and raised an eyebrow.
“Alright, alright. I know you’re right - I just don’t want to think about it.” She sighed. “It’s nothing really bad, I promise. It’s just an annoying series of unfortunate events really…” She trailed off. “I didn’t hear my alarm clock, which made me late for work, and on the way there the heel of my ankle boot broke, making me even later thank you very much. Then they demanded I hand in all the paperwork today despite it being due the day after tomorrow originally. Then your mother called me to tell you she’ll be spending Christmas with those of her children who didn’t make her think they were dead - she did apologise to me though, mind you, so I don’t think she dislikes the idea of us? Anyway, right after that Conan turned up and you know how that usually goes. Then James told me we needed to be able to show some results soon or the FBI will be shelving this case - apparently the government doesn’t want to spend money on its forces and don’t even get me started on the news! Believe me, you don’t want to see what they did this time! So now we’re short on money regarding the case or worse they’ll call us back to the States. Then that damn bag broke and now I don’t have enough eggs to prepare dinner and then here you are wearing that damn masquerade.”
She took a deep breath, obviously trying not to break into tears. “I know it’s too risky for you to take it off. But sometimes I just wish we could…”
He pressed her close to his chest. “I know.”
“I love it when you hold me like this.”
He grinned. “I know.”
“Don’t give me cheek.”
“I believe you love that too.”
Jodie snorted, her lips curving into a fond smile. “Maybe.”
“And I have good news,” he said. “You see, Masumi thought mother would do something like this. And my annoying little sister is fonder of me than I probably deserve and so she sent us an invitation anyway. She said since they’re celebrating at Shuukichi’s place, mum can’t do anything about it. But we are expected to bring Christmas biscuits.”
“Cookies,” Jodie corrected automatically.
“Biscuits,” he grinned, “look at the recipe - it’s biscuits!” He showed her a picture of it on his phone.
“Your sister doesn’t trust your new-found skills in the kitchen, it seems. That recipe is foolproof.”
“That’s why I bought everything for a proper Christmas baking session. We’ll show her.”
Jodie laughed. “Admit it. You just want to get back into everyone’s good graces by doing something special.”
“I don’t need to. I do have an invitation for Christmas.”
It was Jodie’s turn to raise an eyebrow.
“If by ‘everyone’ you mean my mother, you might have a point.”
She got on her tiptoes and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. “Thanks for making me feel better, Shu.”
Before she could move away, he reeled her in for a proper kiss.
“I love you.”