Laura's hands moved quickly through the box of ceramic plates, ignoring the muffled clattering sound the dishes made. She felt around the corners, sighing when she did not find anything but the crumpled newspaper that Ben had insisted they put in every box regardless of the contents. "I just want to be careful," he had said, pushing the newspaper into the box containing his photo albums.
She frowned and reached for a box labeled "silverware" and began searching through it, pulling out the newspaper and tossing it onto the floor.
"Laura," Ben called, "I can't find the boxes with the kitchen stuff."
She continued to feel around the box.
"Laura? Where are you?" He opened the door to the bedroom and stared at the mess of newspaper on the carpet. "What are you doing?" he laughed.
"I can't find it," she muttered, and reached for a third box, ripping it open. He cringed at the sound of glass cups crashing against each other.
"Stop – you're going to break them."
"I don't care," she muttered.
"What are you looking for?"
"Paco." She pushed the cups away from her and yanked another box towards her.
Ben ran a hand through his wavy brown hair to get it out of his eyes. "Paco?"
"The little plastic yellow dog, with big blue eyes and magnetic feet that came with the plastic beach ball magnet thing…fuck, where is it?"
"You're looking for a toy?"
She turned her head towards him, glaring. "Are you going to help me or interrogate me?" Without waiting for an answer, she turned away from him and pried open another box, plunging her arm into a mass of measuring cups.
"Um…Laura?" He placed his hand on her shoulder. "The kitchen's completely empty –"
"Go away if you're not going to help," she snarled, and pushed his leg. He stumbled, catching himself before he fell on top of the ceramic plates.
"Why are you in such a bad mood?" He snapped. "We can look for the stupid thing –"
"Stupid?" she interrupted. Her voice rose in volume and pitch as she wrestled with a box full of coffee mugs. "It's been on my bedside table for over twenty years, how can it be stupid?"
"Just get over yourself, for Chrissake! You're twenty-seven fucking years old, now act like it and stop obsessing over a goddamn toy!"
Her frantic movements stopped abruptly, and she sat back on her heels, holding her head in her hands. His glare turned into a soft gaze, and he knelt beside her.
"Oh, Laura, c'mon, don't cry. I'm sorry. Don't cry."
She wiped her cheeks with her hands, exhaling slowly and shakily. "It's just…so stressful, moving in, I mean I love you so much but it's such a big step and…and I don't know, I've had Paco for years and years, ever since Grandpa gave him to me on my sixth birthday, and I know he's a piece of crap, but – "
"Calm down, I get it, it's okay." He put a hand on her back. "Okay. We'll find it. I'm good at finding things, remember?" He glanced around the box-filled room, and his eyes caught something pale yellow inside an overturned coffee mug. "Is this it?" He pulled out a plastic dog. "Yeah, that's a piece of crap alright."
"Shut up," she said, but smiled as she reached out her hand.