Off to work
Mary smiled ruefully to herself as as the sound of her husband's voice boomed out,
"Do you know where my suit is? I can't find it in its usual place and I'll be late."
She slipped the clothes brush back into the pocket of her apron.
"I'm just brushing it now dear." Amusement glittered on each syllable.
The sound of embarrassed masculine grumblings bounced around the upper storey before the stairs complained under the onslaught of stockinged feet.
Men! She smiled. Nick claimed to have a 20/20 memory but the reality was so different. How he managed to get all his work done was a wonder in itself, though she supposed in fairness to him that he was a good manager and he certainly delegated work to his staff properly. She knew how stressful it was at this time of year, all those orders to process and everyone wanting their own one dispatched before Christmas as if they were the only clients.
He snuggled behind her and circled her waist, giving her a quick squeeze - Mary was sure he'd put on a bit of weight and Christmas wasn't over yet; there was plenty of time to add to that tummy. She knew he'd over-indulge as usual, mince pies were just too tempting.
"Thanks Mary. I don't know how I'd cope without you."
"Poppycock. You managed perfectly well before we were married and you're just as good at your job now. They won't be putting you out to grass just yet."
His lips squeezed in a tight line, tension darkening crow's feet around his eyes. It was always the same, but she knew he'd get by. He always did. She turned, lifted her head and kissed him, seeing when she opened her eyes his whole face bathed rosy in love-light.
"Away with you now. Go on, off you go." She turned to the kitchen, fussing with something as much to hide an incipient tear at his vulnerability as to encourage him to get dressed and out to work. In due course she heard the door close and his footsteps crunching outside.
She gave him a few minutes, then unable to resist she opened the door and felt the age-old rush of excitement as Nick flicked the reins making the reindeer explode into the night sky, Nick a scarlet blur on the sleigh behind them.
By Penny Dreadful