The sauce on the stove was just about to boil when the kitchen door slammed open.

"That…. That… 'man'!" Louise brushed past him and set her books down on the table with a decided smack.

Turning from his place at the stove, Jimmy noticed the high color in her cheeks and the blazing light in her eyes. "What happened at the meeting?"

She stopped for a moment, pivoting around on her heel as she nearly tore the bead from the end of her hatpin. "They were having a vote to name the new street in town."

Tasting some of the broth from the wooden spoon in his hand, Jimmy winced a little. "Oh, what did everyone decide?"

"That's the thing," she nearly ripped her gloves from her hands, flinging one to the ground instead of laying them on the table near the door. "They made the decision."

Jimmy set the wooden spoon down on the edge of the pot. "I'm guessing they didn't include you."

Giving a huff she set her hands on her hips and gave him a pointed look. "It's more than a guess. You know who's on the council."

He gave her a shrug. "You've owned the livery for more than a year now. I'd think they should understand that you're one of them."

"Oh!" She ground her teeth together and her whole body seemed to shake with pent up fury. "You'd think so, wouldn't you?"

Wiping his hands off on the skirt of the apron he gave her a wary look. "Why do I get the feeling that you're throwin' me in with them."

Her expression softened for the briefest of moments before her brows nearly knit themselves together. "I thought I'd have a vote this time. I thought they'd understood that I'm a business owner in town and I've lived here for years!" She stared down at the floor beneath the hem of her skirt for a moment before she looked back up at him. "It all came down to Mr. Tompkins."

Jimmy avoided the groan that was tickling the back of his throat. "What did he have to say?"

Lou drew her arms up and folded them across her chest in a precise imitation of William Tompkins, curmudgeon and long-time 'acquaintance' of their family. "He suggested that it might be a little 'taxing' on me… wrapping my mind around such weighty issues."

His eyes widened a bit in surprise. "Tompkins said-"

"That was Mr. Applebaum, the newspaper man." Her tone was a bit sharp and it took a bit of the sting of it out when she hung her head. "Tompkins… he," her head snapped back up, her eyes filled with new fire, "he told me that maybe they'd let 'my husband' vote for me."

There was nothing to say at that moment. Her gaze challenged him even though he knew she didn't believe he'd side with them. When her fingers started to flex he knew she'd turned another corner in her anger.

"I can't believe any of them. Telling me that a man's vote is better? Do they think that you'd come in and vote 'their' way? I can't believe them… 'especially' Mr. Tompkins… that I'd… that you'd… oh!" She spun around and grabbed the edge of the counter, her shoulders tensed and stiff with anger. "I'd like to… I want to…"

"What are you going to do?"

She turned again, her hands empty but still grasping for the answers. "I don't know… I just want to… I should-" She looked up in surprise as Jimmy took hold of one of her hands, turning it to that her palm was open and facing up.

"Here." He set the handle of a frying pan in her hand and closed her fingers over the heavy metal. "I'm sure Tompkins won't see it coming this time either."

Louise blinked up at Jimmy, her mind barely registering the laughter in his gaze. When the memory finally bubbled up past the anger and irritation it brought a tickle up with it and a moment later she set the pan on the counter and wrapped her arms around her husband. "I can't believe you!"

Brushing a kiss along her temple he leaned into her ear. "I know what you're capable of, darlin'… and all I can say is that I'm glad it's Tompkins that's got you wrapped up tight… cause I think standin' here, talkin' about all this other stuff, I've just burned our dinner." He lifted her a few inches off the ground, holding her tight to his body as her head fell back and her laughter filled the room.

Author's Note: This was a combination inspiration - Sarah Buxton's Outside My Window lyrics

Still need stars when you're wishin' at night
A best friend to set you right, a good laugh, a warm bath
And a beautiful song you can sing along to

Breathtaking prompt - full hearted laugh

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