“Actually, I know a physical activity that we can both do on the sofa—”
“And that’s the only exercise you ever get! Not that I mind, of course.”
“God.” My husband pretended to yawn. “You East Coast types and your exercise. Life is too short.”
“It is this summer.” I laughed. “And now with an official state visit tomorrow, that means no rest tonight, if I want to show things off tomorrow.”
“Tell this Markham guy to take a flying leap. Tell him, ‘I got better things to do than to cater to the whims of overindulged academics who privilege the white, androcentric hegemony!’”
I snickered. “Now I know chemists don’t use that kind of language; you've been reading my books again.”
Brian ignored me, however, wrapped up in his monologue. “You tell him, ‘I got to get my work done so I can go home and play Warlord and the Slave Girl with my big, angry stud of a husband.’”
“Yeah, right!” The snicker was turning into a full-blown laugh now, and I tried to stifle it, hoping none of the students would pick just this moment to walk by. “I’ll be sure to pass that one on.”
Brian reverted to his normal voice, warm, with just a hint of the Valley. “And just so we’re clear, I want to be the warlord next time,” he said, mock petulantly.
“We’ll see,” I said. “He did actually call up and let me know, which is nice. He could have just dropped in and surprised me, you know.”
“I’m sure he’s a prince,” Brian observed. “So how’re things going? You got the fort yet?”
“Not yet.” I hated saying that, hated thinking what was riding on this project, but I knew that Brian had to ask and that I would have been hurt if he hadn’t. “It’s still early yet, but I think most everyone is down at least to the eighteenth century—”
“By most everyone, do you mean whatshisname is still lagging behind?”
“Alan’s not the best excavator in the world,” I admitted, my hand over the receiver, making sure I wouldn’t be overheard.
“Is he still drinking?” Brian asked.