In which a bike and a relationship are repaired.

When Lily let herself into the house, she was confronted with a spectacle that sent her into a minor state of shock. Upside-down in the middle of the living room on top of numerous editions of The Oregonian was her trusty old ten-speed, Adam crouched behind it with grease up to his elbows.

Lily sat down abruptly on the couch. She felt like she was in a time warp. This was the way she had met Adam all those years gone by in Animal House, him on the floor of the living room behind a bike.

"What are you doing here?" she asked stupidly.

"The rainy season is almost over and the bike season is just around the corner," Adam explained, giving the chain a last once- over with a dirty rag. "I thought I'd get your Peugeot in shape for you on time this year."

"I can do that myself."

"I know. But you're awfully busy these days."

"How did you get in?"

"Despite our present difficulties, I still have a key, remember?" Adam dug it out of the pocket of his dirty jeans with a dirty hand and dangled it above the bike. "I never got around to turning it in."

"Don't you have classes?"


"Couldn't you at least have done this in the garage?"

"I thought about that, but the garage is full of musical equipment. Besides, my efforts would hardly have had the same shock effect out in the garage."

As Lily looked at him through the spokes of her bike, nostalgia began to get the better of her. She felt an irrepressible rush of love thinking about the way the sight of him did her in so long ago, the infatuation and the fascination. He still looked like a muscular young hero to her. Distance may work wonders, but proximity is the real test of willpower. Lily was failing.

"This is the way we met," Lily said, temporarily incapable of strategic manoeuvering.

"I know. That's why I'm here."

"You know?"

"Of course I do," Adam said. He attempted to wipe the tenacious combination of grease and oil off his hands with a rag somewhat less dirty than the rest. "I know I'm an asshole at times, but I'm an asshole with a sentimental streak."

Said sentimental streak was having its effect on Lily's resolutions, which were less than iron anyway. At least Adam made an effort, and that was more than could be said for a lot of men.

"I'm trying to manipulate you, you know," Adam continued, getting up and going over to the couch where Lily was sitting. "I was counting on the memory weakening your willpower."

"Don't touch the couch!" Lily warned him.

"What about you?"

"I'm on strike."

"How much longer?"

"Not much." Lily looked up at him, the muscles on his forearms and the way his mouse-brown hair curled away from his forehead. A few weeks ago she'd been so fed up that she never wanted to see him again, but as he stood there in front of her with greasy hands and dirty T-shirt, he still pulled her heart-strings. She wished she could say no, as if she owed that to herself, her pride. Only she couldn't. She still loved him. As long as he came back remorseful and asked forgiveness, she would forgive him. She wondered if she always would. And if she didn't, where her limits were.

Lilith's namesake was too fed up with her Adam to return to him, and she left him permanently to become a famous demon who haunted men for millennia. Our Lily was never into revenge, though. When she heard about Kate's solidarity (more wounded pride than anything else), she had a good laugh at Adam's expense and took him back into her bed. She had never been very successful at getting him out of her heart anyway.

To make a long story short, they made up and didn't live happily ever after. To prove their commitment to each other (and appease Lily), they decided to get married and Lily proceeded to persuade Adam, without too much difficulty I might add, to let her resume the position on top. With variations of course.

To them, it felt like the end of the war.