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Simply There

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You pull into the drive and cut the engine, letting out a heavy sigh. Fucking hell. You rest your forehead against the arch of the wheel. You’d like to hit your head considerably harder against the wheel to get out some of the frustration but you don’t want to accidentally deploy the airbag.
Today has been the longest day of the longest week of your life and you’re tired. Bone-deep, soul-deep tried. Work just doesn’t seem to be getting any better, and you don’t know what to do. You know you’re lucky to be working. But it’s difficult to feel grateful after the week you’ve had. You sigh, turning your head slightly to rest your cheek against the cool expanse of the wheel.

It’s dark already and the nights are getting shorter; the long nights are weighing on you. And it feels like the cold has seeped into you recently. It's not just work. It’s lots of things. Lots and lots of little things, but today it feels like they’re piling up until you’re nearly squashed flat.

You force yourself to move. At least inside it’s warmer and Vinny might be back from the studio already. You slip from the car and close the door with a satisfying crunch. You smile a little to yourself at the twinkling lights Vinny had strung up around the porch and in the trees outside last weekend.

You open the door calling out to Vinny on the off-chance he’s back as you pull the door closed behind you. You get no response and Vinny’s nowhere in sight but then you hear the tell-tale rumbling beneath your feet.

You make your way down to the basement. You’ve been renting together for about a year and you’d both agreed to make the basement the music room, with Vinny’s kit set up in one corner (a blanket in the bass drum to mute the sound) and the guitar rack against the other wall.

You come down the stairs into the basement, wondering if Vinny’s in the mood for a jamming session. You could do with hitting the shit out of something. You pause, taking in the sight of your boyfriend. He’s flushed and mussed. He’s got his hair back with curly strands coming loose here and there, and you can see his t-shirt is dark under his armpits where he’s been sweating. You smile; he’s obviously been practicing hard.

He hasn't spotted you yet. His head’s nodding in time to the metronome being pumped through his headphones as he reaches the end of the track. He groans, stretching his back, and finally turns his head enough to see where you’ve sat on the beat-up couch you’d put down here next to the washer and dryer.

‘Hey,’ you say, smiling as Vinny grins wide back at you.

‘Hey, baby girl,’ Vinny says. ‘You wanna come over here?’ He wriggles his hips on the spinny stool invitingly and you laugh.

‘No way,’ you say, wrinkling your nose. ‘—I can smell you from here.’

‘That’s just my natural musk,’ he tells you as you laugh, ‘ —it’s powerful stuff y’know.’

‘Oh?’ you ask.

‘Oh yeah,’ he says, ‘panties drop for miles around.’

‘Is that right?’ you say, amused. Vinny nods, grinning at you more as he spins his sticks. You laugh as he stops suddenly, sticks pointed right at you, and arches an eyebrow.

‘So how was work?’ He says, scratching the back of his head. You groan.

‘Don’t ask,’ you say, rubbing a hand over your face. Vinny chuckles softly.

‘You wanna work it out?’ he says, offering you the sticks. You huff but then, shrugging, you get up and trot over. He loves watching you play. You’re not completely sure why but the only time you’d asked him about it he’d blushed and mumbled. And looking at him now, you can sort of see the attraction.

‘Yeah, c’mon,’ Vinny says, grinning and hopping up as you reach him. You pause when you’re almost chest to chest, squashed into the space between the kit and the wall, and he kisses you on the lips.

You kiss back, feeling yourself relax for the first time that day. You put your arms around his neck, and Vinny loops his arms around your waist, pulling you up against him. You don’t mind the smell of his sweat; it’s weirdly comforting. You lean your forehead against his shoulder, feeling unexpectedly emotional.

Mm,’ you say as Vinny lifts a hand to stroke your hair. ‘I don’t know what to do, Vin. Work’s just so—’ you groan.

‘You’ll work it out, baby,’ he says gently. ‘You always do.’ You sigh, nuzzling further into his neck. Vinny sways slightly until you're both moving from one foot to the other. You laugh — your bad mood is beginning to lighten a little.

‘C’mon,’ Vinny says, handing over the sticks. You sit and he takes up position behind you, hands on your shoulders. He digs his thumb into your shoulder muscles, massaging, and you groan letting your head drop forwards.

‘That’s it, baby,’ he says again, and you can imagine him smiling. ‘Let it all out.’

So you start a slow fill. You get faster — hit harder — until you’re sweating too. Until you’re consumed by the noise and the rhythm of it. The resistance of the drum as you hit the skin is unexpectedly cathartic.

After another couple of minutes, you slow then stop. You’re breathing hard and your arms are aching but it’s a good kind of ache.

‘Better?’ Vinny asks. He’s still standing at your back so that when you lean back you can feel the warm bulk of him. You nod, tipping your head up to look at him.

‘Much better, thanks,’ you say and Vinny grins down at you, reaching to brush your hair back off your face. You snort as he puts his hands on your cheeks and presses to squish them.

You start laughing so Vinny does too and lets you go, moving back enough so you can dodge around his kit. He pulls you in to kiss again, harder this time. Needy. You kiss back, hands on his chest, stepping into him until you both nearly overbalance.

Mm,’ Vinny says, breaking the kiss, ‘c’mon, I’ll cook.’

‘You’ll cook?’ you say, in mock shock, and he laughs, slipping his hand into yours and pulling a little as he moves towards the stairs. You let him lead you, warm hand folded tightly around yours.