Gale strode into the house slowly, peeling off his cap and hanging it by the door. Madge, cooking in the kitchen, turned to him with a scowl.
“Gale Hawthorne!” she jumped when the door slammed shut. “I’ve been worried out of my mind, where have you been?”
“Out?” he shrugged, kicking his boots off by the door just like she liked it. Madge would scold him if he didn’t, and he was already in trouble with her. “I was thinking.”
“Well next time you go thinking can you do me a favor and let me know?” she sighed, wiping at her forehead. He crossed the small room in front of him and pressed his lips quickly to hers. “You can’t just do that, you know,” she stood on her tiptoes to kiss him again. “Show up late for dinner and then be all romantic…”
“Why?” he smiled slightly at her. “It always works with you.” Gale rolled his shoulders and slunk into the chair by the table.
“Maybe so,” she returned to the pot she was brewing, “but it’ll get old real quick if you keep it up.” There was a pause as he cracked his neck. “What were you thinking about?” Another pause ensued and she turned to face him.
“Nothing,” he waved her off. “You’d get mad.”
“I’ll get mad if you don’t tell me,” she mumbled, walking over and wrapping her arms around his neck from behind. She leaned forward over him. “Hm?”
“Don’t, Madge,” he sighed, shaking her off gently. “I just don’t want to talk about it, alright?”
“You never do,” she replied angrily, sulking back to the dinner she was preparing. “You work all day and then run off at night and never tell me what’s on your mind,” she muttered more to herself than to him. “Then you expect everything to just be dandelions and sunshine…”
“Maybe you should’ve just married someone from town then,” he snapped at her. Madge dropped the ladle in the pot and turned around to him quickly. “It’d obviously be a hell of a lot better than here.”
Her eyebrows knit, “Is that what this is about?” She tried meeting his eyes. “Gale, look at me,” she walked back to him and leaned over him, trying to grab his chin and make him look at her. “Gale,”
“Why would you choose me out of all those other guys?” he asked quietly, his eyes not meeting hers. “I don’t get it. You could live in a nice house with a husband that’s always there and you wouldn’t be covered in soot and…”
She cut him off, pressing her lips to his lightly. “Stop that,” she pulled herself onto his lap. “I chose you because I love you.”
“This isn’t how you deserve to be living,” he frowned as she wrapped her arms around his neck. “You deserve a mansion like the one you had…”
“I think I’ll decide what I deserve, Gale,” she whispered. “I don’t need a fancy home or lots of money. I just need you. With you I’m home.” He leaned down to her and kissed her forcefully, his hand wrapping around her waist. “I just wish you’d talk to me about these sorts of things, okay?”
He nodded, “Okay.” He kissed her again and she sighed. “You just deserve so much better than me,” he mumbled against her lips. “I love you, Madge. I’m sorry I…”
“Stop,” she said again, a smile tugging her lips upward. “Did you hear that? You love me, and I love you. That’s all that matters to me.”