Zoe does not want to be falling in love with this man. She’s kept her heart on a very short leash for a very long time,
and when she gives it the order to forget about somebody, she’s grown accustomed to being obeyed. Not this time, though.
Her heart’s rebelling.
It’s ridiculous. It’s unthinkable. He’s loud and he’s silly and he wears those shirts. He
plays with toy dinosaurs, and he tells rambling stories that don’t go anywhere, and he’s short.
He’s really quite short.
And if he would just do something stupid, like try to buy her flowers, or try to say something poetic about her distinctly
non-poetic attributes (her hair, her eyes...whatever), she’d be able to roll her eyes and laugh at him and get
her heart back in line. But he doesn’t. The infuriating creature just keeps looking at her, and making her
laugh when she doesn’t mean to, and turning up every time she needs an extra pair of hands.
She tried to convince herself he was just a chirpy positive-thinking idiot, but he kept foiling her there, too. One day she’d
asked him, in her most challenging voice, how he could stand looking on the bright side and expecting the best all the time.
And he’d looked at her with those clear, understanding, knowing eyes of his, and said “Seems to me that
if you expect the worst all the time, the ‘verse will be all too happy to play along. I try to hold things to a higher
How is she supposed to think he’s an idiot if he keeps saying things that make a weird kind of sense? It isn’t
fair. It isn’t how she wants things to be.
But Zoe is nothing if not practical, and she learned a long time ago that you can’t always expect things to fall in
the way you want. You just have to take things as they are.
So one night, when it’s their turn to clean up the dishes after dinner, she reaches across the table and kisses Wash
firmly on the mouth. There’s an element of tasting him, and an element of claiming him, but mostly it’s a test,
a chance for her heart to put up or shut up.
There’s no silence in her head when she pulls away, just something that a less practical or more religious woman might
think of as a chorus of angels singing approval.
“What was that for?” he asks, grinning at her. He already knows, she can tell; he just wants to hear her say
“It’s what you’ve been waiting for, isn’t it?” she asks, smiling back at him. He’s going
to have to work a hell of a lot harder if he wants to see her grin, though.
“Yeah,” he says, and this time he leans over and kisses her. “But I thought I was going to have to work
harder. I had whole routines planned. A week of mime, for one thing...”
“Good thing it never got that far,” she mutters, carrying plates to the sink, knowing he’s watching her
from behind and not minding at all. “You never would’ve survived.”
He laughs, and it turns out that he doesn’t have to work all that hard to make her grin. She hides it by bending her
head over the sink- no point in letting him know he’s won already.
Before she turns back to him again, she allows herself the briefest of moments to be thankful, for the first time in her life,
that her heart’s as rebellious as her mind ever was.