The smile only grows off her Look, though it slides into a curiosity at her comment:  Baseball? Currently they’re switching out so its a feasible mistake to make, especially in a state of mind where finer details might be skimmed over. Her fingers feel cold against his, and he lets them slide out reluctantly as she sits, and he explains off-hand, 

         “Cricket – England and Sri Lanka. Fifth in the series – or so the commentators say. England’s doing well.”  

Not that he’s watching for much more than the sake of watching. And now that Maria’s here she draws his attention easily away from the screen, and he takes each shoe from her hand as they come off, placing them on the floor and pushing them under the coffee table with his foot to keep them out of the way. 

       “Good call – I’m glad you made it out in one piece;” his tone is light and brushed with dry amusement, but there’s a slice of truth in it too. The volume and variety of people either the recipe for a good night or an impressive disaster. The last time he attended an event like that, it hadn’t gone too well for him. 

His hand finds her leg, thumb tracing the line of muscle absently, “Did you enjoy yourself?” 

“Don’t laugh.”

She’s not really listening. Sort of, but the information slides in one ear and out the other. Baseball, cricket. Men in pants with bats and a ball. It probably doesn’t help that the picture slides in her vision, stretches and then returns to the normal frame rate. Thank god it’s something with a fixed camera- had he been watching an action film she might not have been able to handle it.

             Her interest in the television has already waned, eliciting a soft hum in response to his perfectly logical and informative answer. Maria’s leaning in, her balance tipped slightly by the odd skew to the room.

When she’s sufficiently pressed into Bruce’s side, her back against the arm of the sofa, she begins to relax, one hand coming to curl around his elbow. Her movements are slow but not encumbered, just deliberate, and she doesn’t stop until one leg and then the other are draped across his knees. The muted sounds of the game flicker toward them but they’re soft, taking on an almost lulling quality. 

      “Me too.” The sigh that escapes might be a touch too dramatic for the tone of the conversation. “Parties like that- they’re more like an obligation than a night off.” Her head falls back against the cushion, watching his expression, half-lit by the bluish cast of the television. “It was enjoyable, but I would’ve rather been here.”

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