Clean Serene

Some days always seemed to drag on forever, but for both Nina and Henry Cumberland today had been the longest.

Not only was it an early, rainy Monday morning, but Henry had been greeted with giants stacks of papers to look through from clients and a cold mug of coffee. And to make matters worse, his boss had asked him to be the one to let Artie go. The guy that was late to work every once and a while, but had six kids at home and always had a smile on his face. A smile that Henry had been ordered to wipe off.

Nina’s own day hadn’t been much better. Baby Katrina had woken up from teething and the whole family knew it at six in the morning with her pipes. Little Ian tried to help Nina with Katrina, but only seemed to lengthen each process. Nina had even managed to dye all of the whites pink because of a red striped sock, a howling baby girl, and a toddler begging to watch Star Wars. The few minutes Katrina was napping and Ian was preoccupied, Nina managed to finagle a meal from the food they had, hoping it’d satisfy her husband.

With the baby snoring softly and Henry reading to Ian, Nina finally found time to herself. Walking through the bedroom door, she stepped on the toe of her sock and pulled it off, yanking the other one with it. Turning towards the bathroom, she opened the door and sighed. Her bare feet padded across the tile and her hand twisted the bathtub’s knob, which released warm water from the nozzle.

As she watched the room swirl with lazy curls of steam, Nina added lavender bath salts to the water. The smell flirted with her nose and she smiled. She pulled her shirt over her head and kicked off her pants to join it. Dipping her feet into the bubbles, her body flooded with warmth. Nina sank into the water, hoping that as she immersed herself it would wash away the buildup in her mind.

“Baby?” she heard, making her eyes flutter open from the sudden voice.

“Hm?” she turned towards Henry lazily. He was shirtless, her eyes grazing along his taut muscles.

Henry bit his lip, stretching his arms over his head, “Don’t mean to bother you, but-”

“Get in,” Nina sighed with an exaggerated eye roll. She scooted forward in the tub, letting him settle in behind her. Henry’s legs engulfed her svelte body and Nina leaned back into him.

Henry combed his fingers through her hair and then reached into the suds, rubbing them into her soft skin. Kissing along her neck, he felt her tense body relax in his arms. Leaning back, Nina’s lips met his own.

In the suds and skin, they let themselves forget.


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