Chapter Fourteen - Elena

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September 9th, Saturday

"I called your brother." Elena spat her toothpaste into the sink and waited for Joshua's response.

     "You what?" Right on cue.

     "I called your brother," Elena repeated, dropping her toothbrush into the little cup by the sink.

     Joshua was shaving, half his face smeared with cream. He craned his neck to look at her. "Why?"

     "To invite him to dinner."

     "Elena, if this is some ploy to get--"

     "It is not a ploy to get Neil and your mother to speak. I know that's a lost cause," Elena said, cutting him off. She forced herself to look him in the eye. She always looked down when she was lying, it was why they could never play poker.

     Joshua stared levelly at her. Satisfied, he turned back to the mirror, dragging the razor from cheekbone to chin. "Great then. What'd he say?"

     Elena breathed a sigh of relief. "He said he and Gordon can come by next Friday. They're actually going to be in the city for a conference."

     "Oh yeah, Neil mentioned something about that."

     Elena raised her eyebrows at his reflection. "If you knew he was coming into the city, why didn't you ask if they wanted to get together?"

     Joshua shrugged. "It didn't come up."

     She desperately hoped that their boys would grow up to have a bit more sense than their father.

     Elena watched as tiny hairs and speckled cream filled the sink. She shuddered. The dual vanity had been the selling point on the apartment. When they had first moved in together in a cramped Bushwick brownstone, Elena had almost been driven crazy by the sheer man-ness of it all--the dirty sink, the unwashed clothes, the bottles of beer, the smell... But then Joshua would go and do something so sweet and unexpected, and Elena would find herself falling in love with him all over again.

     Today was not one of those days.

     "Please clean that when you're done," she said, nodding toward the sink.

     "Are you telling me what to do with my side of the sink?"

     "No, not telling, asking."

     Joshua finished shaving and rinsed his face. A devilish smile spread across his lips. He picked up the can of shaving cream and sprayed a careful line directly down the center of the marble countertop, right between the two sinks.

     "I declare this half for Joshua Margova. You, madam, have no authority over here." Joshua gave her a mocking bow.

     "Are you being serious right now?" Elena asked, feeling irritated. She hadn't yet had her coffee, and a part of her felt ashamed for lying to Joshua about inviting Neil over for dinner. Well, not lying exactly, just withholding the truth.

     In answer, Joshua spritzed some shaving cream on his finger and flung it at Elena. It landed square in her face.

     Without thinking, she grabbed her can of foaming hair cream and filled her palm with it, throwing it at Joshua's chest.

     He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close, smearing more shaving cream in her face.

     "Stop, stop!" Elena said, laughing. She could feel her chest fluttering. It was that simple to fall in love.

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