River and Guy talked late into the night about his new role in F.I.S.H. When he arrived home, Melody was already asleep. He was so engrossed in his meeting, he completely forgot to call or text her to tell her that he would be out later than he expected. The next morning, Melody was awake before him and whipped up some pancakes. He was awakened by the sweet smell of syrup and melted butter.
“Good morning! Those smell great, bae.”
“Your mom finally gave me her recipe.”
“Whaaat? Wow. She must really miss us.”
“She misses you.“
River sat down ready to dive into his stack of scrumptious buttermilk pancakes, but first, he had some ‘splaining to do.
“Where were you last night,” Melody asked.
River was like a deer in headlights. One would think he would have prepared alibis last night, but he didn’t.
“Ummm…I was…at the…the library.”
“You left me and your newborn son to go to the library?”
“I had to meet someone.”
Oh no, he thought. That totally did not come out right. Stop being weird, Riv!
“Meet who,” she asked with an askance look.
Just tell her.
“I had to meet with Guy.”
“The H.O.A. guy?”
“What in the world did he want?”
“He offered me a job.”
“With the neighborhood association?”
“Actually, no. When he saw that I was a fisherman, he looked me up and saw that I had some pretty good credentials. He told me about this fisherman’s league called F.I.S.H.”
“Does that stand for something?”
“Well…what does it stand for?”
“It stands for…the…fisherman’s, uhhh, institute for…smart…herrings?”
“Ok,” she chuckled. “What do they do there, and why do they want you?”
“It’s an organization for all fisherman beginners to pros. They offer a beginner’s fishing class at the university, and they want me to teach it. I start on Monday.”
“That’s fine and all, but what about your dream? You don’t want to spend your days fishing anymore?”
He looked at her, and it was almost painful. He wanted so badly to tell her the real story so she wouldn’t be disappointed in him, but he couldn’t, of course.
“Dreams change, bae. From the moment I held Stefan in my arms, I felt like I needed to do any and everything to protect him and give him what he needs.”
“And,” he continued, “I thought about it. I can make very good money fishing, but I would have to spend a lot of time away from home. You can’t even deal with me being in the backyard for half the day. This will be good for us. I’d have regular hours and consistent days off. It’ll take a while to get used to, but I think you’ll enjoy it after a while. You’ll be able to plan things around my schedule.”
“If you say so. Are you sure this is what you want?”
The rest of the day was typical. River went fishing, and Melody decided to continue resting after giving birth the previous day. She didn’t even bother to change out of her pajamas. Around early evening, she came to the kitchen to clean up and have more pancakes for an early dinner. Before she even had a chance to sit down, someone was knocking on the door.
She answered the door.
“H-hi. Can I help you,” she asked hesitantly.
“Are you looking for my husband?”
“Yes. As a matter of fact, I am. Oh…congrats on the baby, by the way. I hear he’s really special.”
“Oh, thanks. He is. Ummm, why don’t you come in. I’m expecting River back any minute now.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Pitts.”
What a strange guy!
“Have a seat, Mr…”
“Just call me Guy.”
“Ok, Guy. Have a seat. I’m just gonna go put on some clothes and check on the baby.”
“Take your time ma’am. Don’t mind me.”
River heard Guy’s voice and hurried back to the house.
“What do you want now? Why do you have to keep showing up? She’s already suspicious because I got in so late! Why don’t you ever call or text or something?”
“Duh, River. You don’t have your agency issued phone yet! Anyone could be listening on that thing.”
“Oh. Right. Well, what is it?”
“I meant to tell you what our secret code is going to be when you’re out in the field.”
“Yeah. This is how we’ll know when it’s safe to talk. If I want to talk to you–and vice versa–I’ll say, ‘It’s a great day for fishing.’ If the coast is clear and you know you’re not being watched or bugged, then you say, ‘Yessiree!'”
“Really,” River said flatly. “Yessiree? That’s the best you could come up with?”
“Hey, it’ll work. I bet you never say that, so it’s the best phrase so not to get confused with casual conversation.”
“If my wife hears me saying that, she’ll think I’m crazy.”
Melody finally emerged from the bedroom and decided to be a good host.
“Can I get you something to drink, Guy?”
“No, thank you.”
“Will you be staying for dinner?”
“No, he won’t,” River said. “He has to get home to his wife. Right, Guy?”
“Yes. Beatrice was quite upset that I got in so late…I’m sure you were too, Mrs. Pitts. I’m very sorry for keeping him out so late. It was such a last minute thing, we had to get the entire curriculum planned out before Monday morning. It shouldn’t happen again.”
“It’s ok. You can just call me Melody.”
“Ok, Melody. Sorry for the inconvenience. I know you’re still resting from the delivery. You folks have yourself a good weekend.”
Guy saw himself out. Melody made River some dinner, got the house cleaned, took care of Stefan, and then finally got some alone time with her man.
“You know, she said, “Stefan is taking a nap right now….”
River was always in favor of woo hooing with his wife, but ever since learning about his house being bugged, the idea freaked him out. He knew he would just need to get over it, but he wasn’t there yet. Until that day, he would just have to keep coming up with excuses to avoid it.
“Oh, he is? You know, we should probably try to keep him up during the day so he starts sleeping through the night, don’t you think?”
“Okaaaay…totally not what I meant, but that’s a good idea.”
“I read all about it. The books say that babies who are on a schedule tend to grow up to be very adjusted children.”
“Since when are you an expert on babies? I never see you reading!”
“I read…on my phone…when I’m…I’m…when I’m waiting for the fish to bite.”
“Yeah, right. Enough talk. Can we go now?”
“Uhhh…do you think it’s a good idea? I mean, you just had a baby yesterday.”
“I’m fine, Riv. Come on!”
“But, you should be resting. Don’t you need to, like…heal, or something?”
“Are you serious right now? What books have you been reading? You know…I’m beginning to think that you just don’t want to do it. Is that what it is?”
“Of course I want to. I just don’t think that right now is a good time. That’s all.”
“What better time is there, Riv? The house is clean, and the baby is asleep. I’m not seeing your logic here.”
“I just don’t want to do it right now!”
“Fine,” she said and walked away.
“Arrrrrrg! Stop being weird, Riv,” he yelled to himself.
That night was the coldest night ever, and it wasn’t even winter time. They slept on opposite ends of the bed, back to back with miles in between them. He hated this situation. He wasn’t expecting it to cause problems immediately. He thought about it all night. Finally, he decided that he would have to get over the weirdness of knowing that someone was listening. He very well couldn’t go on avoiding her without damaging their marriage. And, he needed to get into the mindset of being an SIA agent if he was going to do a good job. Afterall, he was doing this for her.
If she would let him, he would make it up to her. They didn’t see each other all day. They kept missing each other. When he was headed outside to fish, she was just getting up. When he came inside for lunch, she was in the bathroom. When he was playing with Stefan, she was taking a nap. Finally, just before dinner time, he found her relaxing in the living room with a book.
“Hello,” he said.
“Hey,” she said from her book.
“Are you still mad at me?”
“I’m not mad,” she said with her nose still in the book.
“Really? I couldn’t tell.”
She closed her book and looked up finally.
“I’m not mad! It’s just that…you’ve been acting kind of strange lately. It makes me feel like you’re hiding something…or someone….”
“I promise…I swear to the Watcher that there is no one.”
“And you’re not hiding anything?”
Don’t be weird, Riv. Just say it.
“I’m not hiding anything.”
“Now…m’lady,” he said as he sat down next to her, “I am going to show you just how sorry I am and how much I’m not hiding, and if you don’t let me…”
“AHHHH! PLEASE DON’T TICKLE ME!”
“You’re gonna let me apologize to you?”
“Yes! Just don’t tickle me, please!”
“As you wish! Follow me….”