Synopsis: Jason comes home after a bad day at work and seeks comfort in his partner.
Word Count: 1614
Date Written: February 2022
It’s been a terrible day.
To make a long story short, nothing has gone the way it’s supposed to since the moment he woke up this morning.
That’s a lie. The four minutes between waking up and hearing the alarm go off were utter bliss, watching the first rays of sun peak through the curtains and fall across the bedsheets. Casey’s hair lit up like spun gold, and the way her nose scrunches up just a little bit when she’s sleeping was enough to remind him this morning just how great of a life he has.
Until the alarm actually did go off, and everything went to hell.
There was no hot water in the shower this morning, his decade old coffee maker finally broke in the middle of the brew, and protesters in Lafayette Park detoured the detail an extra twenty minutes to get around it all, making him five minutes late to his staff meeting, just to name a few examples.
Work was even worse. Meeting after meeting, all on the Hill, all with political advisors who know a lot more about this stuff than he does, and all with a congressman who’s still finding his sea legs. The budget ended up not being all that bad, and there were (thankfully) no discrepancies, but the other meetings still had him reeling for the rest of the day just trying to play catch up.
And his staff… Well, they mostly avoided him today, for fear of incurring his wrath after hearing about all the ways they fucked up the healthcare bill negotiations.
Not to be redundant, but: it’s been a terrible day.
So, when he turns his key in the front door and stumbles in with a headache just starting to settle behind his eyes, the last thing he needs is a dead silent apartment.
The TV in the living room is off, and the light in their bedroom down the hall isn’t on. The bathroom door is open, and the kitchen table is empty.
Not good signs.
He drops his backpack on the floor—because, really, if he has to hold anything more than the weight of the world on his shoulders tonight, he might just lose it—and his coat follows close behind. His shoes are left by the door, and the knot in his tie is pulled loose just before he ditches his suit jacket on the couch and rolls up the sleeves of his shirt.
They have rules about this in their apartment, rules about cohabitating. Rules about leaving a mess in front of the door, and rules about leaving blazers crumpled on the couch, but the number one rule in their home—the one that trumps everything—is that work doesn’t come home with them.
The bad stuff, anyways. Keeping all of work at the office is physically impossible, and more often than not there’s meeting notes and briefing books littering the kitchen table. It’s the anger, the fights, the frustration about what’s being done in the House—whether it has to do with each other or completely separate third parties—has to be left at the door, or else they’d never get away from it.
It’s not an airtight rule, and they’re still learning with this whole cohabitation thing, but it works more often than it doesn’t, and it keeps them sane more often than not.
And, right now, the shoes, the jacket, the backpack, even the damn tie—all of it feels like work, like the bad day that kept getting worse, like the sound of his boss talking down to him, so if he leaves them in the hallway for the time being—fuck it.
If it helps him stop seeing red, he’ll ask for forgiveness later.
Jason pokes his head down the hall, takes one more sweeping look around the living room, does a double take at the table before stepping around the corner and into the kitchen where he finds: her.
The scarlet starts to melt into a pink that then fades out into a white, and suddenly the room is no longer burning red—it’s golden.
The moonlight streaming in from the kitchen window bounces off the mop of hair tied up on top of her head, and it’s a different shade of gold from what he saw this morning, but it’s still the same shimmer that is undeniably hers.
Casey’s sitting on the counter, the black skirt she had on this morning swapped out for a pair of old gray sweatpants, sock clad feet dangling above the floor. Her head is tipped back against the cabinets, eyes closed with a worry line etched deep between her eyebrows, and her shoulders try to drop another half inch on her deep breath exhale.
She has one arm wrapped around an open tub of cookie dough, held securely against her stomach, while the other arm holds a spoon in the air. With remnants of the batter stuck to the steel utensil, she finds her peace in a mixture of sugar, butter, and chocolate chips.
Jason leans against the doorway, letting the old wooden frame creak as his shoulder pushes into it. He doesn’t want to scare her, but he wants her to know he’s there.
The creak does its job, and she pops one eye open to look over at him from her perch on the counter. She doesn’t move to stand, just picks up her head and blinks once before pointing her spoon at him.
“Don’t judge me,” she warns, her eyes deadly, and the tension immediately returning to her shoulders.
He holds up his hands in a mock surrender, standing up straight and taking a few steps towards her. On any other day—on any other day—he’d be smiling, probably even laughing, at the sight before him and the absurdity that he just gets to see Casey like this now. Somewhat relaxed and definitely in her element, trying to find the space to just be herself and nothing else for a few minutes.
He loves it.
He loves her.
“Not judging,” he says carefully, the edge that’s been in his voice all day just—gone. He moves to stand between her legs, a small, almost sad smile holding all his emotions in check. His hands run gently up her thighs, and his fingers make soft circles over her hips before his palms lay flat on the countertop on either side of her. He leans onto his arms, shifting his weight forward until he’s fully in her space, and he says quietly: “Just—wondering if you’re gonna share.”
Casey cracks a smile at that, a piece of his favorite person coming back in full force as her grin starts to take over her face. She digs the utensil back into the container of cookie dough, scooping out a spoonful and holding it up to his face.
He takes a bite from the offered spoon and his mood immediately shifts.
“Oh yeah,” he moans dramatically, his eyes rolling back in his head, “that’s the good stuff.”
Casey laughs, her giggles filling their too-quiet kitchen, and the storm cloud that’s been presiding over both of them all day starts to ease up just a little.
She licks the rest of the batter off the spoon, leaning forward to rest her forehead against his for just a minute before pulling back with her smirk still intact.
“Rough day?” he asks around a mouthful of cookie dough.
Casey nods. “For the both of us, it seems.”
“Yeah,” he sighs, his shoulders dropping on the exhale. His hands skate over her ribs before circling back around to her hips, the warmth from his palms felt through the thin fabric of her t-shirt.
She puts the container and the spoon off to the side, reaching out to drape her arms loosely around his neck and pull him in close. Her knees bracket his hips, pulling together to wrap him in a full body hug, and her hand cradles the back of his head, her fingers getting tangled in his curls.
“Better now?” she asks, raising her eyebrows as her nails start to lightly scratch at his scalp.
He closes his eyes. “So much better now,” he mumbles, his voice losing almost all of its sound by the last word.
He kisses her softly, slowly, as the exhaustion starts to take over his entire being, bit by bit. He buries his face in her chest, his arms wrapping around to her back, and his thumbs soothing the tight muscles around the column of her spine.
She presses a kiss to his hair before resting her cheek against his head, content to just hold him and breathe for a little while.
The bad day slowly starts to get better, and even though most of their problems will likely still be there tomorrow, at least they have tonight.
And last night, and tomorrow night, and a hundred more nights to come that they get to spend together. A hundred more nights of coming home and calming hugs and absolutely losing themselves in each other because—well, because life is hard, but this…
This is easy.
“So…” she starts, dragging out the vowel. “Should we actually make the cookies, or just keep eating the dough?”
He shrugs against her. “Probably cookies,” he mumbles into her skin before turning his head to rest his cheek against her chest. “But can we eat a little more of the dough first?”
“Yeah,” she laughs lightly, wrapping her arms around his shoulders. “Yeah, we can do that.”
The bad days aren’t so bad when he gets to come home to chocolate chips—and her.