Uncharted Spring Week Day 3

12th/Wednesday - Sun-kissed, Baby animals, Gardening, Mauve, Nest - Nate/Elena

[was i the only one who loved their domestic chapter?]

Sometimes, driving home from Jamieson Marine after a long day of stamping forms - or alternatively, being submerged in the Mississippi River - Nate considered going straight to the airport and getting the hell out of New Orleans. On some particularly difficult days, the thought followed him all the way home on the I-10, right up to the front door. The small townhouse looked unremarkable from the outside, and it made him yearn for the scenery that covered the walls inside: photos and watercolour pictures from trips long taken.

Opening the door gently, Nate fought against the urge to say, “honey, I’m home” - they were domestic, but they weren’t quite that domestic. He could smell something tasty permeating from the kitchen, which meant Elena must have finished the report she was writing. Nate tried to remember what the article had been about, but couldn’t get beyond the subject matter: Vietnam, he thought. They’d been to Vietnam - a few years ago now - and he wondered if he’d be able to persuade her on a return visit. For research purposes, he’d claim.

“In here, Nate.” Her voice called out from the same origin as the smell, and he was lucky that he hadn’t been in his wetsuit that day - on those days he’d be in the shower for a good forty minutes before the smell of river water came out of his skin. Tonight he was clean enough to shuck his shoes at the door and go straight into the living room.

His wife was perched on the couch, her legs tucked underneath her as she perused a book in her lap. And God, she looked so gorgeous that he’d travel the world - or stay for eternity in New Orleans - just for her. Her hair was beginning to come down in places, and her skin was delightfully sun-kissed even in the spring.

Elena looked up when she sensed him enter, giving him the tired smile of a woman who’d been staring at a computer screen all day. Nate crossed the room and kissed her without preamble, buckling unceremoniously to his knees to remedy the height difference.

They parted after long minutes, cuddled up together on the couch with his sweatshirt discarded on the floor and their meal long forgotten.

“Hi,” she said, biting her lip. “What’s the occasion?”

He smiled at her, memorising the flush of her cheeks and the grin threatening to spread across her face.

“Just missed you.”