Bad Days and Bubble Baths
Tina Jameson-Mitchell growled under her breath, slamming a stack of folders down on her desk. She glared daggers at a passing intern as she sat down, before she rested her head in her hands, and resisted the urge to sob.
Being a social worker wasn’t a glamorous job, but Tina hadn’t chosen it for that reason. She’d chosen it because she wanted to make a living by helping others. Unfortunately, nothing had prepared her for the horrors she’d see, the horror stories she’d hear, and the battles she’d lose in court, once she became a part of Child Protective Services.
Today had been court day. Today, she’d lost a case very near to her heart, and the child she’d been working with was forced to go back into the hell that Tina had rescued her from just a few weeks earlier. What stung the most was that she’d presented, in her opinion, an overwhelming amount of evidence to show the court that it was in the best interest of her current charge to be permanently removed from her parent’s custody. Unfortunately, the judge had disagreed. The poor child had struggled and screeched at the top of her lungs when the bailiff returned her to her parents, and for the life of her, Tina couldn’t stop her heart from shattering at the sight.
To top it all off, today was the 12th. She had met her husband on the 12th of March two years earlier, and since then, every month on the 12th, he insisted on doing something special. Once again, however, her plans had been thwarted. Patrick was on the road this month. Which meant their usual date would have to be postponed. She understood, of course, but still, she missed him.
“Today is quite obviously not my day,” she sighed.
Inside her purse, her phone began to buzz obnoxiously.
“Robin Janine, you’d better be offering a girl’s night with this text, or I may have to kill you, best friend or not,” Tina mumbled, extracting the device.
It wasn’t her best friend, however, who’d sent her the text; it was Patrick, once again going out of his way to be romantic.
Just got to the room. Love you, Sugarbabe. How’s your day been?
With a heavy sigh, Tina raked a hand through her wavy chestnut locks, before replying.
Horrible. Absolutely horrible. Love you too, Shocker. Miss you.
Tina glanced up to see her boss dropping another stack of folders on her desk.
“Your caseload for next week, and I want the updated files from this week on my desk first thing Monday morning.”
The brunette nodded in acknowledgment of the statement.
“Also, chin up. You did your best out there today. We can’t save them all, you know.”
“I know, but…seeing Jackie’s face when they made her go back…”
“I know. It’s heartbreaking. Tell you what, go on home. You do good work, Mitchell, I know I can trust you to have this done for me.”
Tina gave her boss a grateful smile, and kept it plastered in place until the woman disappeared from view. From there, her eyes darted to the clock. Two hours before her normal quitting time.
“Damn. I must look worse than I feel if she’s letting me go that early. Oh well, I’m not gonna question it. I can be more productive at home right now than I can here,” she sighed.
Without another word, the brunette stuffed the files into her briefcase, extracted her car keys, and then threw her purse onto her shoulder.
“To hell with this place,” she thought, “home sweet home, here I come!”
“Okay, this is odd…”
Tina’s eyes narrowed as she pulled her SUV into the driveway of the home that she shared with Patrick. There was a pink post-it note on the front door, and she knew for a fact that it hadn’t been there when she left this morning.
She cautiously approached the door, keeping the can of mace that she carried on her keychain at the ready, just in case someone was waiting inside. She let out a sigh of relief as she read the note, recognizing the writing instantly.
“Open the door, and come inside. See next note for more instructions,” she murmured.
Smiling, she followed the instructions. Another post-it was hanging on the coat rack, just behind the front door.
“Hang up your things, and follow the rose petals,” she read aloud. “Okay, can do.”
Her jacket, briefcase and purse were quickly placed on their normal peg, before she looked down, and spotted a trail of pink rose petals. Tina did as the note instructed, following them diligently.
One final post-it note was affixed to the bathroom door. It read simply “turn around”.
When she did, Tina found herself nose to nose with her husband, who was grinning like a Cheshire cat because of the look on her face.
“Fancy meeting you here, Christina…”
“Patrick, what are you doing here? I thought you had a show tonight! And why are you naked…?”
“It’s our anniversary, I swore I had a family emergency and got out of the show. As for why I’m naked, why don’t you open the door over there and find out?”
Tina narrowed her eyes suspiciously, but did as he’d asked. Tears welled up in her eyes, and she smiled widely, as she took in the sight inside.
There were candles on every surface that could accommodate them, all lit. Soft music was playing from a CD player in the corner, and a bubble bath was being run, just waiting for the two of them.
“Robin called earlier, said you’d lost your case this morning, and that you looked really upset. She was going to pick you up at work and insist on a girl’s night, until I told her I was on my way home. I figured you needed to relax, and I thought I might be able to help you do that,” he stated, wrapping his arms around her waist and hugging her tightly.
“Happy anniversary, Sugarbabe.”
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