Perfect Balance

perfect balance december 4 2017

Perfect Balance

an Emery&Chris story

by avenger-nerd-mom

Warnings: real life, Hollywood, fluff, language

Word Count: 1362

Image from weheartit.com

Thanks @moncun for the drabble prompt!

December 2017

Looking to the back window, Chris puffs up his chest.  She’s been giving him the cold shoulder all afternoon, and he didn’t do anything wrong!  Her strong Southern pride got riled again, and he opened his mouth, inserting his foot before he realized it was too late to backtrack. The spitfire redhead must really be angry. She didn’t even crack a smile when he announced he was going out to chop wood for the evening fire, and he had on his gray SHIELD shirt.  

With a few days off from filming, he’s in tip top Steve Rogers mode.  Things have been so crazy this fall, he’d promised a few days in a secluded cabin in the Blue Ridge mountains.  Swinging the ax down, he takes out his frustrations.  Married life hasn’t been easy, especially dealing with her grandmother’s death and a miscarriage, all within the first six months of their marriage.  But things have been good lately.  It’s nice to work close to home, to be at the house in Savannah two or three nights a week.  

Celebrity gossip and politics are both topics they try to avoid.  News of another celebrity figure had splashed all over the TV that morning, starting another round of discussions… 

He knows and understands her fear; she’s nothing if she’s not vocal.  Even he has days when he wonders if some old story will come around about a flirtation taken the wrong way.  He can’t change his past, he shrugs. If something comes out, they’ll just have to deal with it.  He’s never crossed any lines, but everything is under scrutiny these days.  Even a playful tap on the ass to a cute waitress, can be —

The sound of the log splitting enters his spirits, grounding him, pulling him away from Hollywood thoughts.  It’s nice to feel like he could work with his hands if he ever needed to, if he ever decided to walk away.  He tosses the split pieces to the growing pile and balances another log on its end, bringing the ax down with a satisfying swish.  

Maybe that’s what he should do.  He wipes his arm across his brow, wiping away the building sweat.  Just walk away from it all for a while, let himself grow soft.  He sighs.  The play will be a challenge, and Emery is looking forward to a stint working with a select group of teachers in the NYC school system to better their math instruction.  Some promotional work next spring for Marvel, and then some much deserved time off.  Scripts are coming in, but he hasn’t had the time to devote to reading them like he’d hoped during down times on set.  There are just too many people around, friends to hang out with, making it seem more like play than work.  Emery finds a way to Atlanta at least two or three days a week if he can’t get home, depending on her speaking engagements.  But days like today make him feel like their careers are taking a toll on their marriage.  

Bringing the ax down again harshly, he leaves it stuck in the log, pissed at the thought.  How can a marriage be stale after barely a year?

“Easy, fucker,” he mumbles, scolding himself.  “You don’t work hard enough.  She makes it too easy for you to let everything slide.”

He reaches for his beer and takes a long draw, the cold liquid frosty, sliding down the back of his throat.  But that’s just her way.  She’s a goddess among women, the only one to tame his wild ways.  She’s sweet and gentle, with a hidden wild side only he sees.  The perfect balance of naughty and nice…

The door swings open.  “I made soup… if you eat that sort of thing,” she tersely jokes, the door closing behind her.

Wiping his hands on his pants, he picks up a few of the chopped wedges, placing them in the crook of his arm, and carrying in his beer.  Entering the toasty kitchen, the small one room cabin with a loft smells like heaven.  “Grilled cheese?” she offers, turning back to the stove as she flips the toast in the pan.  Chris walks over to the hearth to set the logs near the fireplace for later in the evening.

“Sure,” he replies, moving to wash up at the sink.  “Two slices, extra gooey like you make it?”

“Of course,” she says quietly, tilting her head to his when he tenderly kisses her temple.

The pair eat quietly, talking over holiday plans and sharing news from both sides of the family.  Nothing stressful.  Chris offers to clean up their mess so Emery can finish up some of her school work for the day.  Lost in her work, she doesn’t even hear him tell her he’s going to take shower.

After the shower, he pulls on an his plaid pajama bottoms and an old sweatshirt she packed.  He tugs it down, smiling at the metal knight warrior on the front, the mascot from her old school.  He rubs his hands over his face.  Although it’s still early, by the clock, the colder night air makes it feel later than it is.  He reaches in his travel bag, and pulls out a small present he’s hidden away, just for her.

Stepping from behind the room divide, the main room is empty.  He tilts his head, and listens.  The bathroom sink is running.  She’s getting ready for bed too.  Placing the small wrapped parcel on the couch, he takes a few steps to the fireplace, stoking the fire, trying to keep the cabin warm.  

His heart leaps when she steps from the room, his plaid pajama top reaching down to her knees.  Em smiles shyly.  “Want some hot chocolate?” she asks, stepping toward the kitchen.

He grabs her arm as she walks past, pulling her into his lap.  He wraps around her waist and pushes her curls back with his other hand.  “You look cute in my shirt.”  It swallows her up; way too big, and with the top button missing, he can see her pink bra covering the sloped curve over the top of her breast.  He leans forward, practically knocking her to the ground as he holds her tight, reaching over the coffee table for the small present.

Righting himself on the hearth, he bounces her in his lap and she rests her head against his shoulder.  “What’s this?  We said no presents, remember?”

She’s too beautiful, and if she doesn’t unwrap the gift soon, he’s going to want to unwrap her.  Which defeats the purpose of this gift.  He runs his thumb across her sweet freckles, and quietly says, “I saw it and knew you needed it.  Don’t think of it as a Christmas present.”

“Ok,” she giggles, untying the plaid ribbon and letting it fall to the ground.  The crisp paper has velvety flocking and she runs her hands over the beautifully wrapped gift.  “This is lovely.  Did you do this?”

“For you; I googled how to properly wrap a present,” he chuckles.  “No dollar store gift bag for my girl.”

She laughs, peeling back the tape.  Seeing just a glimpse, she lets out of a squeal of delight. “Oh, my god, Christopher!  You didn’t?”

“I did.”  He picks her up and carries her to the couch.  Snuggling her to his side, he reaches for the old quilt on the back of the couch and throws it over her legs, covering up her silly Christmas socks.  He takes the gift from her, and opens it.  In his rich, Boston accent, he reads aloud, ““Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.’”

As the wind begins to howl outside the cabin, the couple take turns reading from the book Emery has longed to share with him.  As the fire dies down, and her reactions grow further apart, her breathing changes and his voice lulls her to sleep, safe in the arms of the man she loves.  Intrigued by the story, Chris continues to read silently to himself, the story of the boy who lived.

Click here to Part Two of this story, Vacation Time

Copyright © 2017  avenger-nerd-mom. All rights reserved. Intellectual property of avenger-nerd-mom

 

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One thought on “Perfect Balance

  1. deathbyukmen December 14, 2017 / 8:49 am

    Oh my, that was so sweet!
    And every girls dream that the man/women in their lives really gets and understands them!

    Great Christmas story! and nice to see Emery and Chris again!

    Like

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