**Alex and Matt from Hero Worship make a reappearance. Click the books tab at the top to see where they got their start…and find the other shorts they appear in**
A bang. A clatter. A string of curses that made me smile. I pulled the t-shirt over my head, tossed my uniform at the basket, and then padded barefoot down the short hallway and into the living room. I crossed my arms and leaned against the far wall, taking in the chaos around me. The window was open. A box lay mutilated and discarded underneath Matt’s desk, and the man himself was leaning over to retrieve the screwdriver he dropped. Matt sat on the floor surrounded by pieces of wood. I smirked. I couldn’t help it and didn’t even try.
“Need a hand?”
Matt’s head jerked up, and he scowled at me. “No.”
I grinned and sauntered closer. He had the directions spread out on his lap. As I watched, he reached into the small plastic bag that contained the screws and fastenings, picked one out, and tried to match it up to the picture before him. He shook his head, set it aside, and tried again.
“Matt,” I said softly. He shook his head again, refusing to look at me.
“I can do this. It’s not that hard. I don’t need help.”
I nodded even though he wasn’t looking at me. When he’d come home with the shelving unit, he’d been so proud of himself. He told me how he saw it in the store and knew it would look just perfect tucked into the corner of the living room. He’d been amassing quite a collection of books–he had to have something to occupy him when I worked the night shift–and he needed a place to put them.
“I know you don’t need help. But it would go faster if we did it together, don’t you think?” I asked. He looked up to fix me with a glare, before returning his attention to the paper on his lap. The thing was, Matt wasn’t that mechanically inclined and I was worried that that the shelf would collapse in the middle of the night and scare the crap out of us. But I knew that look. He was determined to do this himself.
I crossed the room and knelt down behind him, wrapping my arms around his shoulders and tugging him back against my chest. He gave a soft sigh, the way he always did in my arms. He’d wanted to be there for so long, and I had missed it for years. But I wasn’t going to dwell on that. We were together now and had been for a while.
He still needed help, though, so I kissed his ear and played the trump card. “We’re married now. Partners. That means we do things together.”
Matt leaned sideways so he could see my face. “You know, ever since we said our vows, you’ve become a total sap. Where’s the grumpy man I fell in love with?” His tone was teasing, and I just smiled. He sighed heavily. “You’re just worried I’m not going to do it right and the whole thing will fall down.”
“Maybe,” I admitted with a smile.
He shook his head. “You just got off shift. You need to go to bed.”
“How am I going to sleep with you banging around in here?” I asked practically. When a guilty look crossed his face, I was quick to add, “Let’s do it together, get it done, and then you can come nap with me.”
He studied me for a long moment, then he gave a huff. “Fine! You can be my assistant then.” He handed me the directions, and then motioned toward the pile of boards and bag of screws. “You tell me what to do, and I’ll do all the work.”
I waggled my eyebrows. “That’s just how I like it.”
Matt snorted out a laugh. “No it’s not. You like it when I tell you what to do. When I hold you down. When I’m in charge.” The more he spoke, the more heated his gaze got. He licked his lips, and swallowed hard. “You know what? Let’s forget this for now. You really need to sleep. I better take you to bed and make sure you rest well.”
I could tell by his slow, salacious smile that once we got to bed, it would be a while before I did any sleeping, That was fine with me. With a flourish, I tossed the directions to the floor, and hauled him to his feet as I stood. He was quick to plaster himself to my back, nudging me with his groin at my ass down the hall. I went willingly because I got what I wanted; him in our bed and not putting the shelves together on his own. If I did my job right, he’d be zonked out for hours afterwards. And then I could sneak into the living room, and put the shelves together myself. Matt would be mad, but I’d blow him after he made dinner and he would forgive me.
I was really loving married life.