I reluctantly set the laptop aside and came to the table. He’d made pasta and a salad, and he was pouring wine into glasses as I slid into my chair. “Looks good, babe.”
“Where are you in the process?”
“Looking at the changes AJ suggested. The more I get right now, the less work the editor has to do once it’s accepted by someone.”
“Do you have any doubts about it?” He handed me a slice of garlic bread.
“What, having it accepted? Always.” I’ve had six stories published and no rejections. That’s scary. It’s like waiting for the other shoe to drop. I peppered the pasta and started to eat. “AJ hates this one.”
His fork paused halfway to his mouth. “What?”
The look of shock on his face was priceless. I wished I had the camera so I could take a pic of it.
“Hates it. Despises it. Said it’s the worst piece of shit I’ve ever written.” I couldn’t look at him, or I’d break into laughter.
After a moment, his fork completed the journey to his mouth. After calmly chewing and swallowing, he said, “Not possible. That guy loves everything you do.”
Snorting, I sipped the wine. “Actually, he doesn’t. We disagree about plenty of things.”
“Right.” He twirled up another mouthful of pasta. “He loved it, didn’t he?”
“Well…sort of. Yeah.”
I grinned at him. “Sorry, couldn’t help it. He had lots of suggestions, if that makes you feel any better.”
“I wish you’d let me beta a story once.”
“Honey, you love everything I do, even when it really is shit. AJ isn’t afraid to tell me when things need work. I need that.”
He sighed and dived into his salad. He’d asked several times and I’d always deflected him, but he just wanted to help.
“Okay, you can beta this one. I need another opinion. Can you do it quickly? I’d like to submit it by the weekend.”
He looked up sharply. “Really?” Smiling, he popped a cherry tomato into his mouth. “I’ll do it after dinner.”
It was so easy to make him happy. I mentally kicked myself for denying this to him. He could be good or bad; what did it matter? Rising half out of my chair, I leaned over to give him a kiss.
“What was that for?” he asked, eyes sparkling.
Shrugging, I forked up crispy romaine. “Do I need a reason to smooch you?”
“…No.” He had the sweetest smile on his face.
The rest of dinner was exceedingly pleasant.