by Hydrargentium

“It’s been a while since I needed a tie.” Mason tugged awkwardly at his collar, and fumbled again with his half-windsor knot.

“You’ll be fine, Mason.” Jessica brushed a bit of fluff off Mason’s shoulder, then put her arms around his waist and squeezed him from behind.

“Besides, I think you look pretty good in a tie. Even though you didn’t shave.”

“Any monkey can look good in a tie,” Mason grumbled. “That’s why men wear them.” Tug. “Maybe the only reason.”

He turned around in the circle of her slender arms, returning the embrace. The simple act of hugging this wonderful woman relaxed him more than a six-pack of Export ever could.

“And the beard is part of my look. What would the United Heroes think if I showed up for the interview having bent that much to convention? I don’t think they’re looking for someone who folds under peer pressure.”