by Kass

Written for halfamoon 2009.

When Eric walked into the kitchen, his eyebrows went up.

"Mornin'," Tami said brightly, and tossed a handful of diced onions into the pot. They sizzled pleasingly.

She watched his eyes take in what-all was on the counter: garlic, onions, ground chuck, chili powder. Sixpack of Pearl Lite, condensation already beading on the cans.

"Little early to be drinking, don't you think?"

Tami stuck out her tongue at him. "You," she said, "should go get the paper. And coffee filters, 'cause we're out of 'em."

"You want me to pick up breakfast while I'm out?"

"Sure! You want to drive through Taco Cabana? I'll take two bean-and-cheese, pico on the side."

Eric pulled on his cap and grabbed his keys. "I was going to do that later today," he said, gesturing to the chaos all over the kitchen, but Tami just grinned.

"Believe it or not," she said, mincing a handful of garlic cloves, "I do know how to make chili."

"I wouldn't doubt it," Eric said, and pressed a kiss to her shoulder in passing. "I figure you can do just about anything."

"Flattery will get you everywhere," she called as the screen door banged shut behind him. She could hear him laughing as he walked out to the truck.

Tami finished the onions and garlic and added the beef to brown. Cumin. Most of a jar of chili powder, because there was no point in making chili if it didn't have a kick. A few jalapeƱos, diced fine.

Men don't cook much, she remembered her mama saying. They grill and they make chili. Maybe gazpacho if they're adventuresome. You figure out what Eric cooks, and you don't step on his toes, hear?

But her marriage wasn't gonna be like her mama's. So what if Eric made chili? Tami made it too, and hers was different from his but every bit as good. And he didn't mind one bit.

The beef and spices were starting to smell seriously good. Tami's stomach growled. She added the beer, can by foamy can, and then put a lid on the pot, sweeping skins and stems into a grocery bag and throwing it away.

She turned on the radio: some country song she didn't know. She danced a little around the kitchen anyway, because she could.

Because it was her kitchen. Because they'd made love last night (she felt a rush of heat, remembering.) Because Eric was going to be an amazing coach, and even though they didn't know where they'd be next year, wherever it was, would be good. She just knew it.

And someday they'd have a child. A little girl, maybe. Or a boy -- she'd be happy either way, and she knew Eric would, too. But it was easier to imagine them with a baby girl, somehow. Not that Tami felt ready for motherhood, but hell: she hadn't felt ready for marriage, either, and so far, so good. Really good.

Tami danced, and the world held still.

The End