Hyacinth lifted a brow. “You couldn’t do this out of the goodness of your heart?”
He gave her a regal nod. “I could. And in fact, I am. But one never knows when one-”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake,” Hyacinth muttered. “You do live to torture me, don’t you?”
“It keeps the mind sharp,” he said affably. “Very well. Shall we have at it?”
“On my count,” he said, bracing his shoulders. “One, two…Three.”
With a heave and a groan, they both put all of their weight into the task, and the tub slid recalcitrantly across the floor. The noise was horrible, all scraping and squeaking, and when Hyacinth looked down she saw unattractive white marks arcing across the tile. “Oh, dear,” she murmured.
Gareth twisted around, his face creasing into a peeved expression when he saw that they’d moved the tub a mere four inches. “I would have thought we’d have made a bit more progress than that,” he said.
“It’s heavy,” she said, rather unnecessarily.
For a moment he did nothing but blink at the small sliver of floor they’d uncovered. “What do you plan to do now?” he asked.
Her mouth twisted slightly in a somewhat stumped expression. “I’m not sure,” she admitted. “Check the floor, I imagine.”
“You haven’t done so already?” And then, when she didn’t answer in, oh, half a second, he added, “In the fifteen years since you moved here?”
“I’ve felt along the floor, of course,” she said quickly, since it was quite obvious that her arm fit under the tub. “But it’s just not the same as a visual inspection, and-”
“Good luck,” he cut in, rising to his feet.
“Did you wish for me to stay?”
She hadn’t expected him to stay, but now that he was here…“Yes,” she said, surprised by her own answer. “Why not?”
He smiled at her then, and the expression was so warm, and loving, and best of all, familiar. “I could buy you a diamond necklace,” he said softly, sitting back down.
She reached out, placed her hand on his. “I know you could.”
They sat in silence for a minute, and then Hyac
inth scooted herself closer to her husband, letting out a comfortable exhale as she eased against his side, letting her head rest on his shoulder. “Do you know why I love you?” she said softly.
His fingers laced through hers. “Why?”
“You could have bought me a necklace,” she said. “And you could have hidden it.” She turned her head so that she could kiss the curve of his neck. “Just so that I could have found it, you could have hidden it. But you didn’t.”
“And don’t say you never thought of it,” she said, turning back so that she was once again facing the wall, just a few inches away. But her head was on his shoulder, and he was facing the same wall, and even though they weren’t looking at each other, their hands were still entwined, and somehow the position was everything a marriage should be.
“Because I know you,” she said, feeling a smile growing inside. “I know you, and you know me, and it’s just the loveliest thing.”
He squeezed her hand, then kissed the top of her head. “If it’s here, you’ll find it.”
She sighed. “Or die trying.”
“That shouldn’t be funny,” she informed him.