Foodie, Chapter 5

written by Erin

Evan, as it turned out, liked cats very much. And Monterey Jack, her 18-pound Maine Coon, liked Evan. So much so, Jack decided to make Evan his prisoner and guarded him through his recovery by curling up on the food of his bed.

Over time, Evan regained his strength and Malorie got used to her new home. Often she’d lie in bed and think of Evan asleep in next room. The thought of him half naked in a bed made her feel like she just finished a marathon, exhilarated and sweaty. Most nights, she found it impossible to fall asleep.

Their great partnership in the kitchen translated to a great partnership at home. They laughed, shopped, watched trash television and read the paper over breakfast on Sundays.

She was happy to be free of the often-debilitating self-doubt that had plagued her entire life. Evan accepted her and appreciated her. They were close. For the first time, she felt fully content.

One evening, as Malorie was stepping out of the shower, she heard the noises from the kitchen. Once she had slathered herself with lotion, stepped into her pajamas and combed her hair, she peeked into Evan’s room. He sprawled himself across the bed with Jack and two giant mugs of hot chocolate. He turned on The Philadelphia Story, her favorite old movie.

When he saw her, he smiled.

“You’re in your pajamas.” He said. “Have some hot chocolate in your pajamas.”

She couldn’t tell if he was just stating the obvious or if he was trying to flirt with her.

She decided it was probably the former. “I’m kind of tired, and don’t forget, we have our first pastry class in the morning.”

“C’mon, when was the last time you saw this movie? Watch with me.”

“No, Ev, really. You know pastries aren’t my thing. I’m really nervous.”

“Well then, this’ll help. Plus, I’m a cripple who needs company. Indulge me. You won’t be able to sleep anyway.”

She gave in easily. The idea of watching a romantic old movie with Evan was more appealing than fighting sleep alone, so she sat down and got comfortable. She didn’t imagine that she’d fall asleep.

She dreamed that Evan kissed her. He put his hands on her face and kissed her lightly on each cheek before planting a firm, yet gentle kiss right on her mouth. His tongue searched for hers. He tasted like chocolate. In her dream, they kissed for an eternity and when they were done, they entwined their bodies together and slept peacefully as if in a hammock in the summer breeze.

She awoke the next morning with the feeling that someone was watching her. She opened one eye; half expecting to see Jack and his “give me some breakfast” stare. To her surprise, it was Evan.

Mortified, she threw her hand to her mouth and tried to speak “I must’ve fallen asleep.”

“Yeah, no shit, you snored all night.” Evan’s eyes glistened as the morning sunlight that lit the room softened his features.

Oh my god.

“Mal, I’m just kidding. You crashed about halfway through the movie. You looked so peaceful, I didn’t want to wake you.”

“I told you I was tired. I’m so sorry, Evan. Did you sleep at all?”

She didn’t know what to say. It was one thing to watch a movie. But this was something more personal. What if I wasn’t been dreaming? Were we really ready for this? I don’t want to ruin our friendship. What if he smelled my breath? This isn’t happening.

“Um, yeah. I slept a little. It was nice. We should do it again sometime.” The slight lilt in his voice suggested she hadn’t been dreaming, but she couldn’t be certain.

The moment hung between them like a piñata full of potential. A braver woman would’ve taken the swing. Instead, Malorie got up and quickly left his room, embarrassment crawling across her skin.

The drive to class seemed to take forever. He made jokes like he always did and she tried to respond as if things were normal. Inside she was reeling. The shift in their interaction was slight and imperceptible to the naked eye. But Malorie felt it.

They walked into class and took their positions together at their station.

A tall woman in a long flowing skirt breezed into the room. “All right, everyone. Settle down. I am Madame Brouchard. We’re going to start with éclairs. I’ll be picking your partners today.”

As she ran down the list of students, pairing them off, Malorie felt her stomach flip. To her shock and horror, Evan was paired with Celine Richelieu.

Celine was the daughter of John Pierre Richelieu, local celebrity chef and owner of the most expensive French restaurant in town. She was petite, with big green eyes and good posture. She was the type who probably leapt from the womb whisking a Béchamel. She had a natural talent for complicated dishes and even knew her way around a wine menu. With all the suddenness of a stomach virus, Malorie hated Celine and her perky soufflés.

She was so distracted she didn’t notice it was time to start until her new partner, Tom, sauntered over to her. He was capable, but his torso was too big for his skinny legs. She feared he would topple over himself.

Tom tackled the choux pastry while Malorie tried her hand at making the pastry cream from scratch. It was a disaster.

First, she scorched the milk. Then she added the eggs too quickly to the hot milk and scrambled them. Her mind was only on Evan. I may have ruined the best relationship I’ve ever had. She certainly wasn’t thinking of pastry cream and she forgot to add vanilla to the next otherwise perfect batch. After four attempts, she nailed it. By then, it was too late. Everyone else had finished.

Madame Brouchard went around the room and surveyed the outcome. She praised the shape of Evan and Celine’s perfectly piped éclairs and creamy filling. Malorie and Tom got nothing more than a cursory nod.

She looked at Evan, who wore a sheepish, if somewhat guilty, grin. Her eyes moved to Celine. She winked, shrugged her shoulders, and then beamed at Evan.

Malorie’s blood simmered and her head pounded. She had a new mortal enemy and it ignited the competitive drive that had lain dormant inside her for far too long.

8 Responses to “Foodie, Chapter 5”

  1. June 20, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    “The moment hung between them like a piñata full of potential.”

    this rocks.

  2. June 21, 2008 at 12:06 am

    Ooh, is it hot in here or is it just me? Loved it!

    Malorie is so going to kick Celine’s butt.

  3. June 24, 2008 at 5:18 am

    This is so good… my only fear is that I’ll be able to keep up the momentum when it’s my turn!

  4. June 24, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    Heather.. it’s really fun AND hard to keep it to a containable length. You’ll be great!!
    I’m glad you all like it. I actually debated the pinata line, now i’m glad I left it in.

  5. August 2, 2008 at 4:57 am

    Great wit! Love the addition of an arch-nemesis!

  6. 7 Christine
    August 6, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    I think having Celine introduced like that doesn’t fit too well since earlier someone else says that the rest of the class hated the partnership of Evan and Mal because they could do anything together. This just doesn’t flow because does she hate them too? Are they really that good if she can make just about anything straight from the womb? Well written though. Fresh and hot, good combination in cooking and writing.

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June 2008
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