The Right Kind of Help

Author’s Note: I couldn’t help liking this bit I wrote earlier, so I thought… Time to share. These two have this habit of flipping back and forth who’s supporting who, which is just how it should be.

The Right Kind of Help

“I need your help with something.”

“You do?” He looked his wife over, unable to stop the smile his thoughts created. “I don’t suppose it involves taking off that teasing little dress of yours…?”

She blinked, looking down. “I guess I thought you hadn’t noticed what I was wearing today.”

He laughed. She never needed to doubt that he saw her. Her outfits were always something to see, whether it was to wonder how she managed to fit in them or where she might have gotten them or just to think about how much he wanted to get that particular dress off of her right then. “I was trained to observe every detail of my surroundings and the people around me. I always notice, heroine, but I don’t always get to do anything about it.”

She smiled, and he put his hands on her waist. She shook her head before he could get further. “The dress idea has to wait. I need you to help me get up those stairs.”

He frowned, giving a glance to the back of the store. “To the apartment?”


He didn’t understand. He knew that the stairs could support her weight—they’d held his and he was a lot heavier than she was. For a building as old as this one was, needing as much work as it did, the stairs were in good shape. “They’re sound. They’ll be fine. I tested them when I was working on the section wrecked by that roof collapse and—”

“I haven’t been able to go up them since Grandma had her heart attack at the top of them,” she said, lowering her head. “That’s almost… twenty years, damn it. I am such a coward.”

“You? Never.”

She laughed, but then she turned away, shaking her head. She put a hand in her hair, and he was worried that she might tear it out. “Sure I am. I didn’t face the disease until you made me. I didn’t drive at night until we had to go on the run for our lives. I can’t watch Citizen Kane. I can’t sleep when you’re not beside me. For someone who fixes things, I can’t fix any of my issues.”

He caught her before she could start pacing and cupped his hand on her cheek. “None of us are all that good at fixing our own problems. We need other people to see us through that.”

“Says the man whose idea of protection is leaving people behind.”

He frowned. “I’ll admit I made a few poor choices and said a lot of things I shouldn’t have, but have I ever really abandoned you?”


“Do you think I will?”


“Good,” he said, glad to have cleared that up, though knowing them, the issue would be raised again later. She might never let go of that fear of him losing her, and he couldn’t deny that part of him still thought it would be better if he did leave before more of his past came in to wreck their lives. “Now… Should I carry you up the stairs, or do you want to hold my hand?”

“Um…” She began, but he didn’t give her a chance to finish answering before he picked her up and started up the stairs. “You’re crazy.”

“May as well start making some good memories here, right?”

She snorted, wrapping her arms around his neck. “Not if you fall down the stairs. And don’t get any crazy ideas about seducing me up there. It’s got to be a mess after all this time.”

He knew that—he’d been up there and seen as much for himself—so he nodded. “Of course it’s a mess. Our lives are a mess most of the time. We can’t seem to stay out of trouble. We’ve got an express envelope at the house full of autopsy files and pictures of an accident we think is murder. We can either enjoy the few stolen moments of peace that we get or we can give up altogether because we won’t ever have calm, normal lives. It’s not who we are.”

“We wouldn’t want to be other people.”


“I love you.”

“I know that.”

She rolled her eyes. “You’re supposed to say it back, silly. You can put me down now. I think at this point, I’d like to hold your hand. You’re too young for a heart attack, that won’t happen to you, but I never thought it would happen to her…”

He set her down, keeping his arms wrapped around her. “It’s all right. You can let go of the memories now. You’re not alone. You can hold onto me.”

She buried her face in his shirt, and he rocked her, trying to keep everything gentle and soothing as she dealt with things she’d kept buried for so much longer than she’d realized. She was strong, this wife of his, but even she had her weaknesses. He didn’t know that they’d get anything else done tonight, but he didn’t care.

Being here with her was more important than the rest of it. That could wait.

4 thoughts on “The Right Kind of Help

  1. Liana Mir says:

    So many lovely moments in this and a great recap of life-as-they-experience-it without infodumping. And this:

    “Says the man whose idea of protection is leaving people behind.”

    Too many men share that misconception. :sigh:

    • kabobbles says:

      Well, I think I’m one of those series writers who expects you to have read the ones before the book you’re on because I didn’t explain any of that stuff, so no info-dumping. It being a series makes it easier to know the characters well and their lives are very much like this all the time. 😉

      Yeah, they do. I think most of my male characters had that reaction at one point or another. Not all of them, but plenty of them… :/

  2. Liana Mir says:

    Have you thought of submitting any of these to Friday Flash?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *