It was all I could do not to tell him what I had done, channeling my inner Frenchman, all "har har har! 'Aye 'ave 'id your undare-ware! You shall nevare see zem agane!" Because I suck at subtlety and patience.
He took a shower this morning while I drove the youngest to school. When I walked back through the front door, he stood there: dressed, clean, and looking implacable. But there was that look in his eye.
I knew he knew.
He knew I knew he knew.
I knew he knew that I knew that he knew.
And most importantly, He knew that I knew that he knew that I knew that he knew.
You know what's the worst thing to do to a bratty smart-assed masochist?
You can spank her, beat her, spit on her face, but if you really want to get under her skin? Turn around and walk away.
I had pranked husband, and we both knew it, but he acted like he didn't care. Like it wasn't even worth mentioning.
And that is how he won.
When he knew I had admitted defeat—by meekly returning his underwear—he laughed at me. "It really was a good try," he said, kissing me on the forehead, his way of making peace. "I almost had a moment."
"How'd you get underwear?"
"I know you," he said. "I keep an extra pair in my sock drawer."
"You'll pay for it later, you know," he told me. "You'll be in service to me tonight."
In Service is his way of saying I should expect a lot of sniveling and crying, and probably some rug burn on my face tomorrow.
"Is that an order?" I asked.
"No," he said.
"Then no," I replied.
"It's not an order, it's a fact," he told me then, laughing at my expression. "See, an order is something you can try to refuse. A fact is fact. You can try to argue fact, but you just end up looking stupid." Then his face grew serious. "You're not mine because I order you, you know," he told me. "You're mine because it's fact. You are you, and that makes you mine."
I closed my eyes and buried my face against his chest. "It's kind of beautiful, when you think about it," I said.
"Yes," he agreed. "It is."