Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man a damn nuisance to live with. -- Anon Guest
If there is one thing more annoying than a morning person, it is a morning person who is at peak sunniness in the pre-dawn hours. Four in the morning becomes four in the fucking morning with extra singing.
To his credit, Barry knew that his fellow shipmates liked to lie in, especially the most wonderful woman in the multiverse - Lup. His main squeeze. His snuggle-buddy. His absolute light of his life and his reason to continue despite the better part of a century's worth of death, revivification, disappointment, and just... watching worlds die, year after year after year.
Therefore he at least tried to keep his volume down in the wee small hours. Tried being the operative word. There are some feelings that just cannot be contained and the joy of love is one among them. Another is abject terror, which he will be experiencing shortly.
The aimless tune he began with transformed into a tune he heard in a different world and some decades ago. One of those catchy ones that could never completely get out of the head. "...when she winks at me from across the room," he crooned. "It's the way she laughs and the way she cries/ It's the way her hand fits perfectly in mine..."
He started belting out the chorus as he put on the huge jug of coffee that half his crewmates seemed to live on, and looked up some of Lup's favourites from the cookbook Taako and Lucretia had titled, Don't Fuck This Up.
The kitchen was dark, and he operated by the light of a luminescent plant with interesting properties. Harvested from a planet two dimensions ago. So when two glowing lights appeared in the gloom, his reaction was predictable.
"Well it's the way she makes me feel ins--AAAAAAHH!"
Taako used Prestidigitation to light the kitchen lamps. "Pleased though I am that you're in the bloom of young love, Barold," he snarled. "Can you maybe keep it down to a dull roar before seven AM at the least?" He surveyed the mess-in-progress in the mess. "Especially if you're planning to fuck up my kitchen."
"Whose kitchen?" The sleepy second voice and equally alarming glowing eyes belonged to Lup, Taako's twin sister. Both the twins were equally as rumpled from stumbling out of bed at four in the morning, and only one was mildly pleased about this. "Last I checked, we were both signed on as chefs."
"Yes, but I'm the only one who takes it seriously, sister-dear." Taako checked the level of the coffee and found it insufficient, then checked the book. "Temptation pancakes? Seriously? With the last of our green apples?"
"Let him do it, babe. I want to see him try," goaded Lup.
"You're eating it, darling," snapped Taako.
Lup considered this. "Okay. Maybe you'd better cook it."
Barry wasn't insulted. He knew he had a tendency to wander off and do complicated math at random moments and therefore leave things to burn. It had taken two weeks, some industrial vinegar, and a month's worth of apologising to Taako to clean up after the last time he'd tried to cook.
"You can do some sunny-side-up eggs if you promise not to leave the kitchen while you're making them," Taako allowed. "And please don't sing about being in love with my sister when I'm in the room. You two are gross."
"Oh yes, don't offend my poor baby brother, babe. He's still tender of age and easily offended," added Lup.
"Forty five minutes..." growled Taako. "You're going to get uppity about three quarters of an hour..."
Barry checked the time. Five o'clock. The first family argument of the day was getting earlier and earlier. And it was all his fault.
Much, much later, at almost seven in the evening...
"Babe... Babe, get up," Lup nudged him. "Much though I love that you like napping on my rack, I need to pee."
"Mwnf?"" mumbled Barry. He'd been reading up on this planet's science just a minute ago. No. Make that half an hour ago. "...w's jus' restin' my eyes, I swear..."
"I know, babe. Sit up. I need to pee."
Barry sat up, and still blushed when Lup kissed him on the cheek and said, "Thanks, babe." He closed his eyes for just a second...
And woke up to dinner being waved under his nose. "Eat up, babe. You know how my dumb baby brother gets when people don't eat his cooking."
In the other comfy chair, Merle was dozing with a freshly-emptied plate on his lap. "D'd I miss d'nn'r again?"
"Almost. You're lucky I love feeding people."
Dinner was superb. Of course it was. Taako could cook hardtack and swill and make it turn out like gourmet fare. It was moments like this that he lived for. Delicious food and the love of his life by his side. Contentment and comfort and...
"Babe..." poke poke poke. "You dozed off again."
"This is what you get for dating a senior citizen," singsonged Taako from somewhere in the periphery. "Old men sleeping on couches..."
"Best stop singing or I'll zap you with ouches," sang Lup.
"This is the example you lead me?" Taako sniped. "No wonder I'm such a delinquent."
The last family argument of the evening was underway early, but from the looks of things, it could go into overtime.
[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / mflippo]
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