Rosa frowned. The thought had slithered into her mind suddenly and unwanted, a shadow skulking out of the darkness. It weighed on her like a demon perched on her chest, a recurring nightmare.
It’d been popping up more and more of late.
She shook her head, as if the thought were something she could physically dislodge. Forget the “surprise.” Think about something positive. “Anyway. Hey, babe! Didn’t you have a follow-up interview today? How’d that go?”
Steve’s grin grew wider, but there was no joy in it. That was a bad sign, something he did when he knew he was about to disappoint her but was trying to be nonchalant about it in hopes of allaying her concerns and fears.
Or avoiding a lecture.
Here it comes. “Oh, I don’t think I’m going to get it. But it’s okay, y’know? There will be other–”
“I didn’t go.”
Her brains couldn’t process the words in any meaningful way. They were just noise. And then suddenly, painfully they snapped into focus. “You what?”
Steve flinched. The grin slipped away from bravado and back into sheepishness. He wouldn’t hold her eyes, suddenly a shamed little puppy. “I didn’t go. So, like, I thought about it, and I decided, y’know, that isn’t the right environment for me. Like, too corporate. I wouldn’t be happy there. So I’m going to keep looking.”
Silence hung heavy in the air between them. Rosa was the first to break it. “We need money,” she said. Her voice was flat. It wasn’t angry, it wasn’t an accusation. It was a simple statement of fact.
Steve recoiled like he’d been slapped. He became a kicked dog.
I don’t want to date a dog.