Hack looked up at Rory’s library of books, sitting in her bookcase.
“What do you read?” He took a bite of a homemade chocolate chip cookie. They were on a break.
“Mysteries and romance. You?” She sipped her tea.
“Medical books and an occasional thriller.”
“Does Miss Skin and Bones read?”
“Just the fashion news.”
Rory nodded. “Aha, I see. A real intellectual.”
“She’s the best at what she does.”
“Hey, next time I have a shoe crisis or a dress emergency, I’ll be sure to call her.” Hack laughed in spite of himself.  “Okay, maybe it’s not of Earth-shattering importance…”
“She’s a dummy. Face it. You must be smart to have made it through vet school, though you hide it well.”
His face colored. “See here! I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Cornell!”
“Well, whoopee! That and a token will get you on the subway.”
“I’m not a dummy and neither is Felicia!”
“She isn’t? She doesn’t even get my jokes. She has no idea when
I’m laughing at her. She’s not a smart chickie, Hack. Face it. She must have…other charms.”


“Oh? She doesn’t satisfy you in the bedroom?” Oh my God! Rory, shut up!
“That’s none of your business!” Rory saw him sneak a peek at her cleavage, amply displayed in the lowest cut t-shirt she could find, simply to tease and torment him.
“She’s missing something, two somethings?”
Hack drew his gaze back to the plate of Rory’s cookies and took another. “These are great.”
“You’ll never get those…or other 'cookies', when you marry  Miss Skeleton.”
Hack burst out laughing. “I’ve been waiting for you to run out of insults for Felicia and hot damn, you  haven’t yet. Words are definitely your game.”
“Thank you.” Rory blushed with pride.
“But that stuff you're writing is the worst crap I’ve ever read.Surely someone as smart as you can do better.” Her empty teacup clattered to the floor, smashing into a dozen pieces. Rory stared at him as her breath caught in her throat.  For the first time, she had no rejoinder. Hack bent down to pick up the pieces. The silence was deafening. After a few seconds, Rory recovered enough to squeak out a response.
“Today’s session is over. You can leave now. Go back to Felicia. Get laid. Whatever.”
“Felicia? Don’t tell me you’ve finally run out of epithets?
“Please go.” She could hardly breathe.
He put his hand on her arm. “Hey, look, if I overstepped…I’m sorry. I just meant…”
“Please. I’m tired.”
He left quietly. Once she heard his steps descending the stairs, she let the tears flow. With her back to the door, she slid down to the floor, sobbing. Baxter joined her at the door, barking and licking her face.

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