CHARLOTTE (with a mixture of cheek and sentimentality): You know, you are my very best friend.
Eric takes Charlotte's hand and kisses it, saying nothing.
CHARLOTTE (here's where the cheek manifests itself): Now you're supposed to say that I'm your very best friend too.
ERIC (playfully): Oh, is that what I'm supposed to say?
CHARLOTTE (with a smile): Yup.
ERIC (with teasing eyes): Huh.
CHARLOTTE (with mock desperation): You're not going to say it, are you? Why not? What is it? Do you have another best friend? Do you like James** better than me?
ERIC (calmly): Nah.
CHARLOTTE: What about Brian***? Is Brian your best friend?
CHARLOTTE (with slightly exaggerated drama): Who is it then? Who do you like more than you like me?
ERIC (again with the teasing eyes): No one.
CHARLOTTE (triumphantly): So I AM your best friend, aren't I?
CHARLOTTE (petulantly): You know, it doesn't really count unless you say the actual words.
ERIC (chuckles): Oh, I have to say the words, do I?
CHARLOTTE (with authority): Yes. Say them.
ERIC (with resignation): Charlotte dear, you are my best friend.
CHARLOTTE (showing a few teasing eyes as well): It doesn't count if I have to tell you to say them.
Eric looks down, silently smiling to himself.
CHARLOTTE (with authority): Okay, now you have to say something else really nice, but it has to come out sounding like it was all your idea, and not that you're saying it just because I want you to say something.
Eric laughs, kisses Charlotte's forehead, and bows his head as if to say, "enough of this silliness, let's pray already".
So we did.
How many men do you think would put up with a woman like Charlotta the great?
Thankfully, at least one.
*We say our evening prayers in the living room now, if you want to know. That's because once I started running (walking) at 6:30 a.m., my bedtime moved up to be about 90 minutes before Eric's.
**Eric's fellow geek/comic book enthusiast friend