“Hanna. What’s the deal with the job hunt?” Bennett asked, in true drunk-Bennett proactive displeasure.
Hanna held up three fingers. “I have two more interviews.”
“Where?” Sara asked, pushing a glass of water closer to her.
My adorably drunk wife worked to focus on her fingers, ticking off, “Berkeley. Caltech.”
Chloe scowled. “If you move to the West Coast, I will make a gun out of this,” she said, drunkenly brandishing a tiny straw before searching the rest of the cluttered table, “and these peanuts and this glass and shoot you in the dick, Will.”
I winced at the visual. “Wow—” I began.
“In the dick, Will.”
“Okay, wow. That’s . . . vivid. I’m not the one with the job interviews.”
“But you have a say in it,” Max reminded me.
“It doesn’t matter.” I waved a drunken hand, feeling a quiet panic start to surge in me. “Hanna will basically live in the lab anyway.”
“Whoa.” Her head lolled to face me. “That’s not fair.”
“It’s true, though.” I leaned an elbow on the table, resting my cheek on my fist. It was as though I’d had a sheet over the pile of worries building in my mind, and the alcohol lifted it and tossed it to the side. “I want you to get a straightforward teaching job so I’ll actually see you. But you’re not looking at those.”
Her head jerked back, eyes narrowing. “I don’t want a ‘straightforward teaching job.’ I want to run a lab, too.”
“I know.” I shrugged. “I get it. It’s just the choice you’re making, though.”
The tiny part of my brain that wasn’t drunk sent up a warning flag. A small voice in the back of my head told me I was being a dick.
But I didn’t care. It was true, wasn’t it? The idea of Hanna taking a faculty position at a big research institution scared me. It was one of the reasons I hadn’t taken such a job myself: the pressure to publish in high-ranking journals is killer. It leaves time for nothing else.
Until she was tenured—for a matter of years—her entire life would have to be her lab.
Besides, she had interviews all over the damn place and still hadn’t given me any indication where she wanted to go. We could be uprooting our entire home in a matter of months to move across the country, and I had no idea of where yet.
We were married a week ago and already I was preparing myself to come second to her career.
“Let’s play more Truth or Dare,” George suggested, loudly redirecting us from an incoming argument.
“It was your turn,” Bennett said to Hanna.
“Fine,” Hanna said, glaring at me, “but we aren’t done discussing this.”
“Can you wait until we’re gone, though?” Bennett asked. “Christ, I’m sorry I asked.”
“Says the man who fight-fucks his wife in public every bleeding day,” Max said.
Hanna flapped her hands in front of her, bringing our attention back to the game. “Truth or dare, Mr. Sumner-Bergstrom.”
I leaned forward, smiling. “Oooh, dare.”
Hanna couldn’t hold in her delighted giggle. “I dare you to kiss George.”
We all turned to look at George, who had gone as white as a sheet.
“What?” he said. “Wait. What did she just say?”
“Come here,” I growled, playing it up for the crowd.
George shook his head in disbelief, chanting, “Oh my God, oh my God . . .”
Grabbing a rough handful of his hair, I leaned in, tilting his head to bring it closer to mine. His eyes went wide.
I nipped at his bottom lip with my teeth. “Breathe, George.”
“Are you going to ruin me?” he asked, voice thin and hoarse.
“I’m sure as fuck gonna try,” I told him, and then leaned forward, covering his mouth with mine, and—fuck it, I was drunk—sliding my tongue inside for a tiny little tease.
Against me, George seemed to melt, his mouth still open when I pulled away.
Everyone cheered loudly.
“You okay?” I asked him.
“I will be okay forever now,” he said, dazed.
I leaned back, glancing over at Hanna, who looked like she was going to fucking eat me. I moved close to her, kissing her once. “Was that okay?”
She nodded, attempting to look unaffected. “Not bad.”
Her neck was flushed, breaths short and choppy. My kinky little wife.
“Are you so wet right now?” I asked quietly.
She nodded again, mouth curling in a slow-growing smile.
“Still mad at me?” I asked.
Her eyes cooled as she remembered. “I don’t want to talk about it now. I’m too drunk.”
I hadn’t actually been that worried about the whole thing until she said this. Hanna and I argued in thirty-second bites. One of us would say something and the other would disagree and we would decide it was worth discussing, or not.
Because Hanna hated conflict more than anything.
We didn’t yell.
We didn’t ask to talk about something later.
We just didn’t fight, but part of me really wanted to.
My stomach felt sour and queasy.
What felt like hours of debauchery followed. Chloe and Sara had planned all manner of adolescent entertainments, including a boisterous game of Bullshit (Max won), a widely inaccurate game of Velcro darts (there was no clear winner there), and a game of Never Have I Ever that had us all worried Chloe or Bennett would draw blood on our new Persian rug.