Disclaimer: The Characters of Due South belong to Alliance Communications. No copyright infringement is intended.

I really must learn not to volunteer. You'd think as someone who works for the military, I'd have learned not to do that. Guess what? Eighteen years, and I still do it. Sigh. This is the third time I've tried this. The other two got much too long. 1000 words isn't much.

The disclaimers still apply. The characters of Due South belong to others whose creativity I admire and appreciate. Particularly their forbearance in not suing me for the use of their intellectual property.

Kickin' His Shadow


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She's screaming at me. Comparing me to 'him' again. I shake my head, wondering why in the world I ever married her. I'm about ready to just up and leave. Quit. Only I've never been a quitter. Not with anything important, and this is important. I mean, I agreed to her wish not to have kids. Maybe I shouldn't have. Then again, maybe not. Oh, there it is, the bit about how much 'he' liked to cuddle. I love to cuddle. What I hate is being screeched at. I've had just about enough. In fact, I've had more than enough. It's time I stood up for myself.

"If he was so great, why did you kick him out?" I shout. That shuts her up. She looks surprised that I had the balls to stand up to her and ask that. "I'm so tired of hearing how your ex did this or that. I'm not him. If he was so wonderful, you shouldn't have divorced him. Right now, I'm not sure why I'm still hanging around, you know? You keep bringing him up like he was some kind of god. I gotta ask you again, if he was so wonderful, why were you divorced? Why did you marry me? Surely, it isn't just because I'm a snappy dresser and know how to string more than five words together into a sentence?" She's blushing, now. Ah-ha. Got her. "Or, maybe it was. Well, you gotta make a choice. Do you want to be married to me, or him?" She's looking pensive. I continue. "If you decide to stay with me, you have to promise not to mention his name or anything he ever said or did. Ever again. If you do, I promise that I'll be gone so fast...." I let it trail off, hoping I've made my point. She's staring at me in surprise. I think I'm getting it, finally. He never stood up to her, always gave in, gave her whatever she wanted, giving up on anything he might have wanted. What a loser.

She's still staring at me. I suddenly realize that in all her life, no one's ever stood up to her. I'm no longer thinking of 'him' as a loser, I'm feeling sorry for him. I can see her getting ready to back down. She's looking at me with just a little respect, now. I keep the grin from my face. No sense in pushing my luck. She's getting that seductive look in her eyes. I remember how with my first wife, the way a fight often ended up with some really great sex. I'm not going to fall for that, though. I learned that lesson. We're going to talk until we come to an agreement. I refuse to let her treat me like she did him. He probably didn't deserve it and I know that I don't. I take her hand and pull her down beside me on the sofa. It's time for her to listen to me, for a change, and to give in to my demands. It's time for us to be a couple. It's time for me to be kickin' his shadow; displace him once and for all.

"I love you, Stella, but I'm not Kowalski, and I won't let you treat me like you did him. Things are going to change, starting right now." She's listening. She's getting it. I smile at her and continue. We're going to work this out. We're going to last. I settle back and explain it all to her. How our marriage is going to work. How she's Mrs. Vecchio, now. And I can see that this is what she's probably always wanted and never got. Not from her folks, not from her first husband. Well, she'll get it from me. Who'd have thought that I'd be into discipline? But that's what she needs. What she wants. We're going to make it. Together. We just need to set the rules and then live with them. And, she's going off the pill. If we don't have kids, fine, but if we do...well, I am Italian, after all, and Catholic. Besides, I like kids. Maybe we'll have kids, maybe not. All that really matters is that we get ourselves and our relationship focused on us, not anything that happened to either of us before. She's listening and starting to smile. She's giving in and letting me take charge. I cuddle her close and we talk, really talk, and I know that we're going to last. I'm glad.

Now that we've discussed everything, it's time for some reaffirmation. I think we'll go out someplace nice for dinner, good food, good wine, then come home and...well, we'll see what happens. She's all conciliatory, now. I'm amazed. This was what she wanted, someone who would stand up to her and demand she behave herself; demand she treat them right and not give in. Well, I know the rules, now, so there won't be any more of this crap. She tilts her face to kiss me, and suddenly, maybe we won't be going out. This is good. All the shadows are gone and we're basking in the light from each other. This is very good and as my hands start to roam, all I can feel is the warmth from the light of our love. And that's the most important thing of all.

The End

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