Book Club

Rodney claims that reading fiction is a waste of his time, but sometimes, if he's tired of correcting papers ("This entire generation is doomed! We should just get rid of them and start over!"), or if he ate too much at dinner, or on those days he just doesn't feel like getting out of bed and putting on pants, those times, he'll pull John's book off the nightstand, open it up to where John's dogeared the page, and just start reading.

At first it worried John. Rodney doesn't read for fun, doesn't lounge around in bed. Rodney's not a quiet man. Even when alone, he tends to mumble to himself, to his laptop, to the cat. So to find him quiet, stretched out on top of the covers, one hand resting on his belly, reading -- it was weird. John wanted to ask if he was okay, but there was no way to say that without actually saying it, so John went downstairs and hid in the garage instead.

Now John finds him like that at least once a month. It's not weird anymore; it's just Rodney needing to be quiet, to put down his life and pick up someone else's for a while. He'll frown or smile, one hand on his stomach while he reads. His bare toes wiggle sometimes, or reach over to scratch at the opposite ankle. John makes sure Rodney has a fresh cup of coffee at the ready, and if it's raining, or there's nothing good on tv, or John just doesn't feel like getting out of bed and putting on pants, John will quietly slide down the bed until his head is even with Rodney's stomach. The rain will drip from the eaves, and Rodney will take a sip of his coffee, turn the page in John's book, and move his hand to cup the back of John's head, and with Rodney's fingers combing carefully through his hair, John will cuddle close and drift, one hand resting on Rodney's belly.