by Judith Freudenthal
Natalie and Nick are in his kitchen. She's whipping up a new protein shake for him.
"I hope this one tastes better," Natalie said.
Nick was putting together his own concoction for Natalie.
Natalie poured the shake into a mug and turned to face Nick.
"Is that what I think it is?" She playfully asked.
"If you think it's a sundae than you're right."
"Try this," Natalie said as she handed him the mug.
Nick took it, hesitantly took a sip and forced himself to swallow it.
"Better?" Nat asked hopeful.
"A tiny bit." Nick changed the subject. "Aren't you going to try your treat?"
"Where's the whipped cream?" Natalie asked.
Nick picked up the can, shook it and started to spritz it into the sundae. "Right here."
Something in his expression made her uneasy. "Don't even think about it!" She sternly warned.
Nick squirted her with the whipped cream knowing she'd get revenge.
"Nick!" she squeaked startled. She tried to grab the can only to get herself squirted more.
Natalie spotted Nick's handcuffs on the table behind the couch and slowly backed that direction.
Nick followed squirting her with the whipped cream in short bursts to prolong the playful torture.
Natalie backed into the table and stealthily grabbed his handcuffs, keeping them from view. She backed towards the stairs.
"Come on, Nick, this isn't fair. There won't be any left for the sundae."
When she bumped into the railing she stalled there, waiting for his approach.
She watched him creep closer, grinning wickedly. Moments later he was close enough to her to reach out and wipe the whipped cream off her nose.
Suddenly Nick felt the steel bracelet close around his wrist and when he tried to pull away he couldn't. Natalie grinned as she stepped aside to reveal the other end was securely fastened around the middle bar of the stair railing.
"How..." was all Nick could stammer. He was too stunned to fight her as she removed the can from his hand.
"Be glad I didn't fasten it to the top bar," Natalie teased, a wicked grin on her face. "I'll let you figure that out."
She squirted him and quickly jumped back out of his reach, squirting him again, laughing gleefully.
"This isn't fair," Nick protested.
"You started it," she teased back. "I had to think of someway to defend myself." She squirted him again.
"I have to remember not to underestimate you."
"That would be smart." She squirted him again, pouting as the can sputtered. "No fair, you used most of it up."
She set down the empty can and copied Nick's earlier action of wiping the dab off his nose.
Nick wrapped his free arm around her wrist, pulling her closer.
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