Shiny and New
Archer was enjoying his usual breakfast and reading the morning headlines when he heard Kimblee curse.
The exclamation was followed by an explosion. More cursing spewed out of the kitchen along with a small plume of smoke. Breakfast forgotten, Archer stood. "What are you doing in there?" He demanded as he marched into the kitchen.
Kimblee was standing in front of the counter where the toaster used to be. Now that area was a patch of smoldering metal and scorch marks.
"What did you do?" Archer shouted.
Kimblee turned. "There was a roach!" He waved his hands frantically.
"A roach...a roach that blew up the toaster?"
"No. I blew up the toaster," Kimblee admitted. "It was a reflex."
"Roaches make you blow up toasters,” Archer said flatly. The toaster and his coffee pot were essential parts of his morning routine. Every morning he had two slices of toast, one with butter and one with jam, two poached eggs, two strips of bacon, and one cup of coffee for breakfast. The lack of toaster would put a cramp in his morning.
“Yes. Yes they do,” Kimblee snapped, annoyed with Archer’s attitude. “I don’t like roaches ok?”
“They’re just bugs.” He didn’t understand why Kimblee had reacted so violently against an insect. While they were disgusting and he was not pleased to hear that he had one in his kitchen, blowing up the toaster was overkill.
Kimblee frowned. “You spend years in a filthy little cell with roaches crawling across you in your bed and see how you feel about them!” He turned and stomped towards the door.
"Where are you going?"
"Work," Kimblee snapped as tossed his hand out in something resembling a wave before escaping into the hallway.
"What about this mess?" Archer demanded, glancing at the remains of the toaster.
"I'll get it later," Kimblee's said before the front door slammed shut.
Archer sighed as he brought his hand up to squeeze the bridge of his nose. Today was not going to be a good day. He looked at the remains of his toaster and sighed again. It was best to clean it up before the whole apartment began to smell like smoke and burnt metal. He removed his jacket and rolled up his sleeves and got to work. After cleaning up the remains of the toaster, scrubbing scorch marks off of the counter and walls, and notifying the apartment manager that he needed an exterminator in to spray the apartment no later than 5pm, Archer was late for work. By the time he arrived, Kimblee had made himself scarce. He tried to take out his excess anger on his paperwork, but it was not nearly as effective as a good shout at Kimblee would have been.
Despite their marriage and long involvement, he hadn't known about Kimblee's aversion to roaches. It had never come up. But their relationship was anything but typical. They didn't sit around and discuss their likes and dislikes. They didn't talk about their feelings. They didn't discuss the past. They rarely spoke of the future. Despite that, they managed to learn a lot about each other and they made it work. Not today though. Today, they had hit a bump in the road. One of their flaws was exposed by their lack of communication. They were still strangers to each other at times. Archer didn't ask Kimblee about prison. Kimblee didn't ask unnecessary questions. He paused. That was wrong. Kimblee asked questions all the time. He rarely took the time to answer, so Kimblee didn't know where he received the oddly shaped scar on his calf or that he'd taken all of the photographs that decorated the walls of their apartment. Archer frowned. Perhaps it was less a flaw in the relationship overall and more of an error on his part. He did not communicate with Kimblee about such small matters of intimacy, nor did he ask. Unless Kimblee offered up the information or badgered it out of him, they did not share.
He frowned. He had never set out to be an ideal partner. In fact, he had never intended to be anything more than a co-worker to Kimblee. He had recruited Kimblee in order to further his career. That he ended up housing the man and sleeping with him was unexpected. That Kimblee's unpredictable nature had tricked him into a marriage had been a shock to him and a very unpleasant one at the time. Their “honeymoon” period had been stressful and peppered with frequent arguments. He'd ended up with ulcers at one point and frequent headaches from their clashes. They had settled down over the last year and they'd gotten closer in many way, but it seemed that they were still lacking in some areas.
Archer was not one to simply ignore his problems. Once he was aware of a situation, he worked on it and that was what he intended to do with this situation. He was sure that his lack of communication had been his last little piece of resistance. It had been the last thing he could hold back, but they'd come to the point where such actions were petty and troublesome. That didn't mean that he intended to sit down and share his feelings, but he would try to be more open to talking with Kimblee.
With that resolved, he glanced at the clock. It was time for lunch. With the little disaster this morning, neither of them had packed lunch. Archer went in search of Kimblee, hoping that they could eat together. Unfortunately, it looked like Kimblee had slipped past him once again.
He returned to his office to find a paper bag on his desk. Inside he found a styrofoam cup of spicy tomato soup, a grilled cheese sandwich and a bottle of iced tea. He immediately picked up the phone and called Kimblee's office, but got no response. Kimblee was definitely avoiding him, but was not angry enough to starve Archer. Frustrated, he sat down to eat his lunch alone.
Since he'd arrived late for work, Archer also left later than usual. He missed his carpool with Mustang and ended up walking the few blocks back to their apartment complex. Luckily, the weather was pleasant and it gave him time to cool his head. It would be stupid of him to arrive home and start a fight.
Once he arrived at the building, he checked the mail and then checked with the building manager to make sure that an exterminator had been out to spray their apartment. The manager showed him the logs of when the man arrived and when he let him into their apartment. He gave Archer an invoice with the company's number in case they had any further problems. Archer thanked him and headed upstairs.
As Archer entered the apartment, he noticed the lights on in the kitchen. “Kimblee?” He called.
“In the kitchen.”
Archer found Kimblee leaning over the counter and poking at a shining chrome box. “What is that?”
Kimblee turned around. “It's called a toaster oven,” he said, pointing to the box on the floor beside his feet.
“A toaster oven?” He set their mail on the counter and moved closer.
“Yes. They told me it was a must have appliance. A toaster deluxe. You can make toast and cook things in it. See there's this little temperature knob here,” he pointed to it. “You set that and use it like a regular oven and you can cook small things in here when you don't want to heat up the whole oven. There's a toast knob here. It came with instructions and some recipe suggestions.” He held up the booklets happily.
Archer looked down at the shiny new toaster oven and then up at Kimblee.
“Do you like it?” Kimblee asked, setting down the booklets.
Archer nodded. “Yes. I think it will be very useful.”
Kimblee grinned. “I saw the exterminator leaving. I didn't know you cared,” Kimblee teased.
Archer frowned. “I do care.”
Kimblee paused. “What?” He raised in eyebrow.
“I do care. I'm sorry if I let you think otherwise.”
“Did you hit your head? Maybe you're running a fever?” He pressed his hand to Archer's forehead.
Archer's brows knit in frustration. “No.” He grabbed Kimblee's hand, capturing it loosely between his own. “I'm trying to tell you something.”
“I know, but usually you're telling me to shut up. This is weird.” Kimblee continued to look at him oddly.
“Shut up,” Archer said flatly.
“Oh...” Kimblee looked bemused as he waited expectantly.
“I had time to think today. I know that we don't talk a lot, or rather, I don't often speak about myself, but I think we should change that. It's foolish to be together and still remain strangers.”
Kimblee tilted his head. “You think I'm a stranger?”
“Yes. Sometimes. As am I. Did you know that I was once engaged to a woman?” Archer asked.
Kimblee looked shocked. “What? You never said anything about that!”
“Exactly. And I wasn't aware of the fact that you hate roaches.”
Kimblee shook his head. “Oh no. You're not changing the subject now! Tell me,” he demanded.
Archer nodded. “I will. On one condition.”
Kimblee raised his eyebrow. “What's that?”
“Food and wine must be involved.”
Kimblee grinned. “I think that can be arranged.” He leaned in, pressing closer to Archer.
“I would appreciate it if it was,” Archer replied as he captured Kimblee's lips.
Kimblee let out a happy purr. “Anything for my beloved husband.”
Oh, sap! How do I keep getting them stuck in touchy feely situations? It's a talent I suppose. The next Newlywed theme will be Apron. I already had Kimblee do the whole naked apron schtick. No way in hell that Archer's going to do that. I have other plans. Until next time! *waves*
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