Charlotte stomps into the kitchen and slams a cabinet shut. She slams it hard, purposefully rattling the dirty dishes in the sink. “Are you going to do the dishes, babe?” she asks her boyfriend. Her tone is sharp and she casts her focus to the side of her eyes—not fully turning back to face him, but instead waits in anticipation of his response eyes slender and lips taut. West sighs breathlessly. More like a flower with a heavy head than a balloon losing air. The fact is, he hasn’t started the dishes yet and she’s reminded him three times since Thursday. It’s Sunday. The big tennis match is on and Charlotte wants to put a cheese board on the table for a few guests. It’s her idea of a fun Sunday. But their one wooden cutting board is still dirty with Thursday’s dinner, and is pinned under a small pile of cookware: a bowl, a steak knife, and a small cooking pot. It’s his job to do the dishes. That’s “his chore,” she had told him when they first moved in together. “Babe?”

West repositions himself on the sofa. Braun said the differing results didn’t surprise him. He’d only just sat down and had barely put his back on the hard-packed cushions when she’d started talking to him. He had wanted to flip on the TV to check out the Tour de France for a moment and rest his legs. The couple had just returned home from the Sunday market, a boisterous outdoor market in the 11th district just down the street from Rue du Pappe. Dozens upon dozens of market merchandisers fill the streets shouting, bargaining, and selling with every tourist and local within ear shot. The couple goes every week to pick up fresh supplies and produce for the week. But despite the fact that they love going to the marchet each week, he also secretly hates it. He’s not really one to spend money, but Charlotte finds a way to spend every last Euro on  soft cheeses, breads, fruits, fresh cut flowers, croissants, and tiny jars of handmade candies or macaroons. West had always been much more of a money saver.

Though his salary is honorable, it’s modest. Before he started dating Charlotte, even a purchase of toilet paper or laundry detergent when the house was out of it, underwent careful scrutiny and budgeting.

“Yes,” he calls to Charlotte, grudgingly.  “I was just sitting down and resting for a bit. “

He stands up and moves stiff-leggedly to the kitchen. It’s a tiny room furnished with modern (yet apartment-sized) finishes: charcoal and stainless steal cabinets made of a fiberglass finish that reflects light, an energy-efficient oven that aligns smoothly with the cabinets, and bright white tiles with grout that’d make you believe the apartment was modern. She doesn’t want to come down with a cold, especially when she’s paying more of the rent.