Hannah tried to ignore the sound of the wind howling outside the window and focus on the screen in front of her. She absently twirled a lock of chestnut hair around her left finger as she reviewed the lines of code for her current project.
“It figures the vendor delivered a faulty program at the last minute and won’t fix it in time for the roll-out,” she muttered. “So who gets stuck implementing management’s grand vision? Me, and I’ll probably be up all night doing it, too.”
As Hannah finished speaking, the door opened and Paul stepped into the apartment, shedding snow.
“Hi, Honey,” he greeted her. “It’s getting worse out there; looks like winter’s finally arrived. Did you get the groceries home okay?”
The groceries. After being pulled into a late-afternoon meeting by her boss and receiving the unusable product that the vendor had delivered, Hannah had completely forgotten it was her turn to buy groceries and start dinner. She pulled her lips into a half-hearted smile.
“There are no groceries,” Paul stated as he took in the hat, mitts, coat and boots scattered from the entry to Hannah’s desk. “And no dinner, either,” he continued, peeking into the kitchen.
“You know what work can be like sometimes,” Hannah attempted to explain.
“I know, Love. But just because I understand doesn’t mean I have to like it.”
“We can order something in,” Hannah suggested. “I’m not that hungry yet, and by the time the food gets here I should be ready to test some part of this junk.” She waved a hand in the direction of her computer monitor.
“Alright,” Paul sighed, removing his own winter clothing and hanging it neatly on the hooks by the door. “Why don’t I fix us something to drink in the meantime?”
“That would be great,” Hannah replied absently, already re-focused on the task at hand.
Paul sighed again and flipped a pot onto the stove. The temperature was dropping rapidly outside, and with the gusts of wind blowing the snow around, he had been looking forward to a cozy dinner with his girlfriend. He deftly mixed milk, sugar and cocoa for hot chocolate while leafing through the take-out menus in the folder by the fridge. Anything they ordered would take hours to arrive in this weather, but it was better than the half-stick of butter, jar of pickles, and mustard in the fridge.
As he picked up the phone to dial the number of an Indian restaurant a few blocks away, the apartment went dark and silent.
“Aarrgh!” Hannah slammed her keyboard away from her on the desk.
Paul grabbed a candle from the pantry and lit it as he walked over to where she sat slumped in frustration.
“Hey, Hon,” he said, crouching down beside her chair, “just relax. I’m sure the power will come back on soon. I was going to make your favourite, hot chocolate, but it didn’t warm up enough.”
Hannah raised her head slightly. Looking down at Paul’s face in the flickering light, she realised why she loved this man so much.
“It doesn’t matter, Darling. You’re my hot chocolate.”