The apartment empty of furniture as if cleared for a realtor’s viewing, but it was enby because Tamara had cleared out every stick, every dust mote, anything that could be moved while Thom was stuck in that freeze in Houston.

‘I know you’ve got your big oil company presentation, but if you stay one extra night this time, I swear I’m leaving.’

One time, on one trip, Thom had hooked up with a colleague and ever since, Tamara had given him this spiel. And there was no winning. It’s not like he had even come home late, but that was Tammy’s fear – that any day he was away longer than planned, it was a day he was fucking around. So she hung this albatross on him that he always had to be back on his planned flight. When he got home as planned, she always tried to make it worth his while, but the threat hung over everything.

He was only supposed to be in Texas for four days, but curse everything, it was the week the whole state froze. He called as often as the power situation would enable him to and tried to calm her fears. 

‘The whole state’s frozen. There’s no way I can get back before the storm passes. No planes are going anywhere, and no one wants to see them try to take off in this condition. I’ll be back as soon as I’m able.’

‘Ted Cruz got down to Cancun, why can’t you get back to San Diego?’

‘Ted Cruz is a senator and has donors who will pull strings for him. I’m an advertising executive and I don’t have that kind of pull with anyone. Yet.’

‘Well, get it and get back here. I’ll make it worth it if you get back in time.’

He didn’t have to ask, ‘And if not?’ He knew. That combination of cajoling and demanding and promising made his head spin, but in this case, there really was nothing he could do.

He sat on the bed talking to her through his tablet and tried to make her see the logic of the situation. ‘The runways are frozen, there’s no way anyone’s taking off today from any airport in the state – or at least in the eighty percent of Texas that I’m in.’

He tapped the screen in an attempt to make their pictures the same size rather than one large image of himself and Tammy tiny in one corner of the screen. What happened was he tapped the camera button and suddenly heard Tammy screech, ‘Thomas Stone, who is in that room with you?’

‘Housekeeping. It’s just the cleaner.’ He frantically tapped the screen to focus the camera back on himself.

‘In a towel? You best be home on the next flight or you’ll be so sorry you got on a plane in the first place.You hear me?’ Tammy broke the connection and Thomas exhaled. 

‘Housekeeping, Tommy?’ Rod from Accounting slid into the bed next to him, and reaching under the cover said, ‘I’ll try to make this worth your while.’