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The Doghouse

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***

 

“How could you do that? It’s meant to be our thing”, Terese said as she met her husband with a steely gaze.

 

“It is our thing”, Paul responded, slightly puzzled, as he reached for her hand.

 

The matriarch's voice turned from hurt to anger, “Well, evidently not!”, she countered, pulling away and darting for the stairs.

 

“Darling, please let me explain. This is–”

 

“Save it! I’m going to bed and don’t even think about joining me”

 

“Terese?!” Paul stopped himself from saying anymore, knowing all too well he was in the doghouse. Sigh.

 

 

***

 

Paul awoke from his sleep – if it could even be classified as that – on a squeaky leather couch and to Roxy’s teasing chide, “Look at that … Paulie’s in the doghouse again!”.

 

This was a rude contrast to the blissful morning awakening he had gotten used to ... Terese’s adoring brown eyes meeting his gaze, lingering lips upon his cheek, the persistent scent of fruity shampoo–

 

“What have you done this time, Grandad?”, Harlow chimed in as she noticed Paul sprawled across the sofa, still in his work clothes from yesterday, half of his body dangling off the edge.

 

The businessman sighed and saved a reply, knowing it was a statement more than a question.

 

As he recounted the events of last night, Paul still struggled to make sense of what had landed him here. Regardless, he hated that Terese was upset. Although he just wanted a chance to explain, he figured he’d wait for when she was ready to talk about it.

 

However, there was something he could do in the meantime.

 

 

***

 

“Where’s Paul?” Terese asked as she emerged in the kitchen.

 

“He dashed out earlier … he didn’t even stop for his morning coffee”, Harlow replied, gesturing at the full coffee pitcher. “Did you two have an argument last night?”

 

“I don’t want to worry you, sweetie … and you better get going to school. Do you need a lift?”

 

“Well, I actually have a free period this morning, so I'm all yours ... there’s obviously something bothering you and I’m a good listener”, Harlow insisted, gesturing to the chair next to her.

 

Terese joined her Granddaughter at the kitchen island, but not before pouring herself a much-needed cup of coffee. She’d barely slept a wink. “Okay … your Grandfather and I were meant to watch the new Glugga movie together last night, but he didn’t wait for me”. Harlow met her with a confused expression.

 

“I know, I know it’s just a movie, but Glugga is meant to be our thing and I thought he got that! I mean, we always wait to watch every episode together ... but this time, he couldn’t even do that”.

 

Terese caught her breath before continuing, “The most frustrating part is that when I confronted him about it, he kept trying to deny it! The evidence was right there on the computer screen and he still–”



“–Wait … I may have something to confess”, Harlow interrupted sheepishly.

 

This time, it was Terese’s turn to sport a look of confusion.



“Hendrix and I, we watched the Glugga movie yesterday after school on Grandad’s account … that’s why it must’ve said he’d watched it”.



The change of expression on Terese’s face reflected her conflicted state. “I’m really sorry Terese, I didn’t know it would cause this much trouble”, Harlow said sincerely.

 

“Wait, since when do you two watch Glugga?”

 

“When you mentioned it to me the other day, we decided to check it out. It’s actually pretty good”.

 

“Oh. Right …”. Terese sipped her coffee in embarrassment as she took in all the new information Harlow had presented. 

 

Harlow offered a sympathetic smile, “It was clearly a misunderstanding. I know you two will sort it out”.

 

As if on cue, the front door opened, “Ah, perfect timing … I better head to school”.

 

“See you darling”, the businesswoman said, as she also made her way to the lounge area.

 

Approaching Paul, Terese could tell he’d barely slept, just like her. She felt horrible for acting the way she had last night. Yes, it was a small misunderstanding and argument like Harlow had said, but Terese knew from experience that it took just a few of those to expose a big crack–

 

Paul’s voice interrupted the thoughts swirling in Terese’s mind, “I’m sorry about last night”. At that, he pulled out a gorgeous bouquet of flowers and Terese’s favourite chocolates from behind his back.

 

Terese smiled softly, “Why are you doing this?”

 

“Because I hate when I’m in your bad books. I hate when I’ve made you upset and when I wake up on this darn couch instead of next to you … I just want to make things better”, he replied earnestly.

 

At that, any insecurities left Terese’s mind as quickly as they had entered. “So much so, that you’d take responsibility for something you didn’t do”, Terese said matter-of-factly as her husband's eyes lit up. “Harlow explained everything … her and Hendrix watched the movie yesterday afternoon on your account and I-”

 

“-Since when do they watch Glugga?” Paul interjected, surprised.

 

Terese laughed to herself, knowing she had wondered the exact same. “It’s a recent thing … but I’m the one who owes an apology. I- I should’ve listened. I should’ve let you explain. You always own up to your mistakes to me and I should’ve given you a chance”.

 

Paul gave her a soft assuring smile, as if to indicate he was listening. He knew there was something else on her mind.

 

“I’ve just been so snappy lately … with this whole PR mess that won’t seem to go away! But that’s no excuse”, Terese continued.

 

“Aw, come here darling”, Paul said gently, as he pulled his wife into one of those warm snuggly embraces that made everything feel better, even if just for a moment. The ones where they were wrapped up so tight in each other's arms that they couldn't set apart their own heartbeats.

 

“The PR drama will blow over soon enough”, Paul reassured once they were eventually parted, but still holding onto each other’s hands. He gently rubbed his thumb over hers.

 

“Why don’t we take the morning off?”, he suggested with a smile that made Terese’s heart flutter. “Chloe and Pierce can hold the fort and the PR team can deal with that stuff today. That’s why we hired them isn’t it?”

 

Terese hated taking days off but she knew a break from work, even for just a day, was needed before it negatively affected her and her relationship any more than it already had.

 

“Me and you … that sounds perfect”, Terese said, caressing her husband’s cheek. “I think I know what we should do first”.

 

“Glugga?”

 

“Mmhm! We really have to watch it before Karl spoils it for us”. At that, they both chuckled.

 

And … we’ve already got the chocolate sorted”, Paul added, as the couple grinned knowingly.

 

***

FIN