“Aw, Honey,” said Kermit, and tried to take Piggy into his arms. “No!” she insisted. “Kermit—no! Stop this minute!” Piggy squealed, but she did not sound scary—or convincing. Kermit continued to press kisses on her neck and shoulders as they tussled on the bed. “How about the next—hm—minute?” Kermit murmured, undeterred. He managed to wriggle closer, bringing their bodies into alignment. Kermit let out a little growl of satisfaction, nestling in determinedly, but Piggy, for all her giggling, managed to unseat him. She crawled over and sat, leaning against the headboard. Kermit grimaced, but Piggy saw the determined look in his eyes and snatched up one of the fluffy bed pillows protectively. Padded and covered, she faced him, her jaw set determinedly. ‘You stay right over there you—you, frog, you!” she said crossly, but she dared not look directly at him. Piggy had a notorious weakness for those pollywog eyes and she did not intend to succumb until they had sorted a few things out. “Moi is mad at you, and I do not wish to…cavort with you when I am angry.” Kermit’s face registered surprise and amusement. The heat of anger and the heat of passion had often merged seamlessly—and spectacularly—and he did not quite believe her when she claimed no interest in, um, cavorting. Still, she had moved away from him instead of snuggling in, so something must be making her genuinely unhappy. Surprise gave way to worry. He did not want her to be unhappy, and he particularly did not want her to be unhappy with him. He scooted toward her and Piggy yelped and clutched the pillow tighter. ‘You stop right there,” she demanded, imperious. Kermit stopped and bent his head to catch her startlingly blue eye. “I’m here,” he said seriously. “And I’m listening.” “Well, it’s about time,” Piggy said petulantly. “You haven’t listened to a thing Moi has said all day.” Kermit opened his mouth to protest, thought hard for a moment, then closed his mouth. She could be right, he thought honestly. “You could be right,” he said, daring to voice it. Piggy nodded with satisfaction. “Moi is right,” she insisted. “Your head’s been somewhere else all day.” Kermit was more aware of what parts of him were where—or not—than he cared to mention. He wanted her, wanted to be with her and in her and-- He stopped himself with difficulty. Frustration was the only thing he could reap (or sow) unless they could sort this out. He stopped looking for a tactical in and sat down where he was on the end of the bed, frowning thoughtfully. He could feel her gaze on him, pensive and unhappy. A thought occurred to him and he looked up and smiled. “I’ll trade you,” he said, proud of his resourcefulness. Wariness warred with interested on her lovely face. If shopping had been an Olympic category, Piggy room would have been drowning in gold medals, and trading was a recognizable form of commerce. “Let me hear the terms,” she said shrewdly. Kermit smiled, and Piggy was almost undone by that sweet lopsided smile. “You tell me what I did wrong,” he said earnestly, “and suggest appropriate atonement. If we strike a deal, I get to pick a favor.” He smiled again, a guileless smile which, Piggy knew, could hide a ton of guile. “What kind of favors?” Piggy said, her lips pursed suspiciously. “I don’t know,” Kermit said in an offhand manner. “Um, you could, you know, rub my back. Or something.” He smiled again, and Piggy felt her mouth twitch at the corners. Drat the little amphibian thespian anyway, she thought. He could sell snake oil if he wanted. Still…if the goal was being heard, and Kermit was willing to listen…. “Okay,” she said primly. “It’s a deal.” She offered her soft warm hand to shake. Kermit looked at the proffered hand and it was his turn to fight back a smile. She had accepted his idea to trade, but the real maneuvering was just beginning. Kermit released her hand but scooted up the bed to sit beside her. She watched him warily, ready for an out-of-bounds pounce, but her husband was well-behaved. He fluffed a pillow, put his elbow on it and rested his chin on his hand, gazing at her. “Tell me,” he said. At first, it was impossible to look at him. Piggy talked, quickly and passionately, while staring at her fingers and twisting BK around and around. But even if he was unseen, Kermit was not unheard. He made little sounds of interest and acknowledgement all the while she talked, and Piggy finally turned and met his eyes. What she found there made her gaze soften and the lines of tension in her frame ease. “And when that happens,” she said finally, “I feel like I used to feel back when Moi started modeling.” “Beautiful?” Kermit murmured, teasing, but she took it in the vein it was intended. “Beautiful and invisible,” she corrected. “Like I’m only there to be seen and not heard.” “I hear you, Piggy,” Kermit said softly. “Even when you don’t think I’m listening.” He paused, then frowned. “At least—at least, I mean to. I know I can be preoccupied and, um, unaware of my surroundings if I’ve got a lot on my mind, but…but I’m never unaware of you.” As if! Kermit thought unhappily. He frowned again. “What can I do to let you know that?” It was Piggy’s turn to frown. Other women worried about frown lines, but Piggy’s frowns were charming, especially when she wrinkled her snout up like she was doing now. “I want to know you know how hard I work to make it look easy.” Kermit had to think about that a moment, which was difficult, since most of the blood seemed to be rushing away from his head. “First of all,” Kermit said, after a thoughtful pause. “I think it’s amazingly easy for you to look amazing.” Piggy gave him a look, but he forestalled protest by holding up a slim green hand. “In fact,” he continued. “I have never seen you look anything but amazing, but—“ He reached out and touched the curve of her cheek. “I do know what you mean. Sometimes it takes makeup and hairdressing and wardrobe two hours to achieve the perfection you have just stepping out of the shower. And after all that fussing and pestering, you still have to go out there and act.” Piggy nodded, pressing her face into his hand. He understood! He always understood! “So…maybe I could try harder to remember that you’ve been up longer than most of the rest of us and…remember to say how fabulous you are.” He cupped her flushed cheek in his hand. “You are, you know,” he said huskily. “Fabulous and wonderful and sexy and…everything.” “Good answer,” said Piggy. She kissed the palm of his hand, and Kermit felt a hot flush wash over his body. He was trying very hard not to remember that he was less than two feet away from her delectable form, but her next words almost undid him. “Okay, Kermie—now it’s your turn. Tell me what you want.” The game and the bargain had been entered into with good faith, but one look at Kermit’s face said he would gladly throw in his hand and admit defeat if she would just…would only…. Piggy laughed softly, and then she was moving, and her lush figure was pressed against his, and her arms were around him and her lips…her lips were everywhere, kissing his neck, his mouth, whispering little secret wishes that made his temperature spike. Kermit felt light-headed, the only constant the warm, solid feel of her in his arms. “Does this…does this mean…?” “Yes,” said Piggy. “Cavorting is back on the bargaining table.” Kermit’s only answer was a slow grim. He fully intended to cash in all of his bargaining chips before the evening was through.