“Nothing. I just can’t believe that you know how to tie all of those knots.”
I rolled my eyes. “How is it so hard to believe?”
“You’re a girl.”
It took everything not to slam on the breaks, undo my seat belt and call him out on his extremely sexist cliché. “Excuse me?”
“Don’t get upset with me, but honestly how many girls do you know who can do what you can do?”
He had me there. But still, “That sort of opinion is why people are afraid to break out of their gender roles and do what they want.”
“No. That wasn’t an opinion. That was a general observation.” He shook his head. “Now stop fighting me woman, or else the surprise at home won’t be yours.”
I am way too easily distracted. “Surprise?”
“Watch the road.”
Pouting, I turned the ute onto his street... I mean, my street. Our street. Whoa, that was a funny way of thinking about it. The smile pinched at the corners of my mouth as I had to grip the steering wheel tight to stop the tremor; a combination of nerves and happiness made me miss the turn off into his, my, our driveway.
Jai smacked the dashboard as he doubled over and laughed. “Where are you taking me?”
“To my other boyfriend’s house where these bookshelves will be not in the living room but in the bedroom,” I snapped.
“But books in the bedroom is a bad thing for a couple’s sex life.”
“How?” Swinging the ute around, carefully, I came back to the entrance and drove in with perfect ease.
“Because it means the passion has left the relationship. Instead of wanting to express things physically we go to bed early and I fall asleep while you read and we don’t touch each other with the intent of being intimate. It’s a distraction.”
I had to snort and jumped out of the cab. “You’re reaching there.”
“No, there is some evidence that having a distraction in the bedroom is bad for sex.” Jai closed the door.
“Isn’t that about having a television set in the bedroom?” I started to undo the straps and the ropes.
He sheepishly looked away as he dealt with the other side of the ute. “Maybe. But I think it still applies.”
Pointing my finger at him I glared. “There is evidence that men who do more household chores have more sex.”
He blinked. “I’ve heard that too.”
I leapt onto the tray and struggled to shift the first bookcase to the edge.
“Do you want a hand?” Jai didn’t wait as he leaned forward to grab a side of the bookcase.
“No, I’m fine, leave it be until I get it to you... ugh. You don’t take direction very well.”
He grinned. “We both know that is a lie.”
Yes, he did listen when told to do something in particular. “Shut up and lower this to the ground.” Huffing and puffing we got it down and its twin as well. “Don’t forget to lock the ute.” Jai offered his hand and helped me to jump down.
Ute locked, we struggled to get the first bookcase up the stairs.
“Fuck, Cecelia. Are you sure you have to have books in the flat?”
I puffed out my cheeks before blowing a chunk of hair out of my eyes. “Right this moment my answer is no. I can live without books. I am now converted. Please show me the way of the game console.”
Jai made a noise that sounded similar to laughing but could’ve been him taking his last breath of life and was about to drop his end of the bookcase.
“Don’t drop it!”
“I can’t, my fingers have become hooks and will grip this no matter what happens,” he said in a calm voice.
“What the?” We spun around the landing and started on the next set of stairs.
“I will get this into the flat.”
“Are you using the power of positive thinking?”
He snorted. “Well, it ain’t the power of the Jedi. If it was that, I would be using the Force and getting you to use the local library instead of bringing these things into our home.”
“I do use the library, also.”
I smiled as he groaned. I knew that he was joking, that even though this was hard work right at the moment to get just the first bookcase up, he wouldn’t really ask me to give up books. As we made it onto the straight and level of our corridor I looked down at the other bookcase. Maybe the second one was a little over kill.
Just as my fingers felt as if they were being ripped from my palms and my shoulders screamed to drop my hold, Jai placed his end down and shifted the weight of the bookcase so it stood alone. Without thinking I buried my head into his chest.
“Don’t ask me for sympathy.” His chest moved under my forehead. “We still have to get this one into position and the other one up the stairs.”
I lifted my head and pouted.
“No, you are not giving up Cecelia! I won’t allow you to.” Keys jangled as he shook his finger in my face. “You are a bookworm and need shelves in this flat for this to be your home.”
“But it hurts,” I blinked at this man.
He shoved the keys back into his pocket. “Come on, let’s get the other one up here before we move them in.”
“So we are through the worse of it,” Jai wrapped his arm around my shoulders and walked me back to the stairs.
Again, my arms strained and fingers turned red. This time we had to stop regularly before making it to the door. Sweat wetted my arm pits. I huffed and leaned against the wall.
Jai, his face was flushed, grinned as he slipped the key into the lock. “Almost there.”
Even with more pain to come, I grinned and couldn’t stop the joy gurgling up as I repeated his words back. “Almost there."