She had tied herself to the desk far too well.

“Well this has the potential to be very embarrassing.” she muttered under her breath. The knot in question was just far enough away to offer a challenge to teeth that would have pried it easily free. Working her left wrist in gentle circles with the hope of loosening it left her feeling frustrated. She sighed, loose strands of hair lifting softly in the light breeze from her pursed lips. In the excitement of his giving her an assignment that involved being tied to the desk, as he knew she couldn’t (wouldn’t?) sit still any other way, she had reefed a little too frantically on the soft rope.

She was in no physical discomfort, but figured it wouldn’t be long before the tea she’d been drinking made its presence known.

From outside, she could hear a familiar rumble creeping up the road, then turning into the dirt track driveway, which autumn rains had rendered into an obstacle course of a mud pit. She groaned as she heard the wheels of the truck slide to a squishy stop on the soft ground. Renewing her assault on the knot, while knowing it was futile, she found herself in equal measures amused and aggravated by the quiet smile that was steadily making a home for itself in the corners of her lips. She shook her head resignedly and reached up with her right hand, free of restraint to facilitate writing and pulled the band from her hair, tresses tumbling to shoulders and below. She sipped her drink, listened to the door open, and then close.

She felt, more than heard, him take in the measure of a quiet house, soft crackle of fire in the woodstove the only indication anyone was about. She was convinced she could hear his soft chuckle as he sat in one of the chairs near the fire to remove and drop first one, than the other boot onto the floor. She waited, breathless as he climbed the stairs slowly, methodically and came to stillness, framed in the doorway behind her.

She sat at the desk, feet firmly on the floor, back straight, staring out the window before her, but aware of nothing she looked at directly. She pushed the book away, dropped the pen beside it and took one last sip from the mug next to her.

Inhaling and exhaling fully, she swiveled on the stool as far as her binding would allow. He was crouched comfortably, hands scritching the dog’s head, though he stared directly at her.

“Is it done?” he asked, his smile contagious.

“Almost,” she responded, returning it easily. “It needs a good finish.”

“Don’t we all?” He stood and walked toward her. She stayed put, a slave to her predicament.

“Tied it too tight again, did you? Funny how that keeps happening.”

She smiled broadly and tilted her head back, her lips eager to finish writing the story. She could have easily done it on her own, but found collaborations to be more fun, and infinitely more satisfying.