She didn’t have much use for poker. When he went off to his tournaments and to the casinos, she would look in at the cook on duty and shake her head. “This is burned. I can’t serve this.” And when James came back, a little more flush with winnings, she’d drag him out into the wilderness to cleanse him of the chips and cards.
She told him, “I can’t abide the way you smell when you gamble.”
In the truck, on the way to the stream, he said, “I always win at least a little.”
“That’s not the point.”
He downshifted. “It is for me. I won’t give it up.”
“I know that.”
“But I don’t want to give you up either.”
“Well I won’t make you choose. But I won’t marry a gambling man.”
“Never said you should. I don’t think we have to be married to be happy.”
“Maybe not. But promise me something?”
“Maybe.” They had reached the stream. He parked a good distance away and swung out to get his tackle, rod, and reel.
She joined him and laid a hand on his shoulder. “If you ever lose more than you came in with for a straight week, give it up for a bad job.”
“I’ll think about it,” he said. “The truth is, I’ve only lost a few times. I almost always come out ahead.”
She said, “I guess you do, James. I guess you do.”
They moved in together the next week, and they’ve been happily unmarried ever since.
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.