Excerpt from Recipes for Disaster - Chapter 5
Duly prompted by the chilli pepper, my mind drifted blissfully off in the direction of Adam again, and the lovely meal he'd so effortlessly prepared at his home, turning down all offers of help, sensibly. So masterful in the bedroom. Sigh. Um, kitchen. God, honestly, what was the matter with me. A gloopy smile on my face, I reached for the vegetable knife, ticking off each job as I tackled it.
Tum-ti-tum. Sprinkle, sprinkle. "I'm getting good at this, Rambo. What do you reckon?"
"Thank you, sweetie."
"I know who I'd like to cover in oil, hey Rambo?" I chatted to my dog in the absence of a certain other available body as I sloshed the soup into Becky's tureen, the bowls not being practical for transportation.
"Well, he might a bit," I conceded, missing the tureen in favor of the working surface. Whoops. "But I'll try to be gentle with him. Haw, haw."
Ooh, yummy — I had a quick lick of the spoon — tastes yummy. Not as yummy as Adam, of course. Sigh. Attempting, yet again, to drag my lewd mind away from my delectable man, I sliced up my artisan bread — previously lovingly hand-crafted… by Becky — and peeled a clove of garlic with which to rub gently all over — the bread, not Adam. Stoppit. Then, feeling pleased with myself, I salted the bread lightly, as per instructions, plucked up the olive oil and—
Ding dong went the doorbell. "Rrroowf, Rrrroowf. Grrrrr. Squeak. Splat!" went Rambo
"Sh… ugar! Rambo! Come here, sweet… Eeek!" Fit Flops, I decided, close to curtailing sexual gymnastics with Adam forever, were not desirable footwear for olive-oil-coated ceramic floors.
"Hell! " Reacquainting toes with toebar, I took a tentative step and did a little Buster-Keaton-type soft shoe shuffle. "Just a minute," I trilled as I clutched hold of the working surface and crawled back up the cupboard.
Phew. Well, at least I didn't smack my chin on the way down and part company with my teeth. And at least the bottle wasn't broken, so I didn't have to throw myself bodily at the kitchen door to prevent Rambo coming in and puncturing his little paws. So now what? Righting myself on my feet, I contemplated my next step.
Drrriiing went the doorbell.
"Coming!" I yelled as Rambo went into muffled, "Squeak, grrrooowwwf," overdrive, zoomed around in a circle and then skidded toward me.
"No! Rambo, stay!" Drat, too late. Rambo ice-skated clackily across the kitchen floor, did a perfect figure-eight, then landed like Bambi, legs splayed and Piggy still feverishly gripped in his mouth.
"Baby! Oooh, shit. Stay! Don't move, sweetie. Mommy's coming." Kicking off Fit Flops, I squelched carefully toward him for fear of slipping again and flattening him. "Are you all right, sweetie, hmmm?"
"Aw, babe." Careless of greasy knees, I dropped down beside him and plucked my puzzled JR up. "Has Rambo got an oily tum, then? Poor baby. Naughty floor." Hands under armpits, I held him high and peered under his piggy to survey damage to belly, and…
Rat-a-tat-tat came a tapping at the kitchen window. Honestly, some people. I mean, is there no privac… Oh… miGod! "Um, hi. Little accident," I mouthed.
"Major frickin' catastrophe," I mumbled, tucking a wriggly Rambo under my arm and knee-walking across the floor.
Cupboards for support, I levered myself up the sink-unit and peered over the taps to see Adam's snooty mom peering back.
"He-lloo," I trilled and beamed her a bright, if slightly imbecilic, smile.
Her Maj blinked at me bemusedly.
"Yes?" I asked, and waited. I wasn't entirely sure what else to say. I mean, what had she come for apart from to measure me up to Adam's perfect, but sadly deceased, wife, Melissa, and find me lacking, no doubt.
Her Maj gestured to the door. "Can… I… come… in," she mouthed, sloooowly.
Haw, haw. You must be joking, missus. I really must look mentally challenged if she thought I was fool enough to let her in here to inspect my kitchen. The state it was in at the moment, I might as well send Adam a goodbye text and drown myself in the soup.
I gestured to Rambo. "Sorry." I shrugged, bobbing him plus Piggy up and down. "I've just oiled my dog."
Hah, that's foiled her I thought, satisfied, as Her Maj opened her mouth and closed it, clearly lost for words.
Or not. "Lucy," she said, obviously realizing a pane of glass did not make a sound barrier. Also obviously not realizing Lucy was not my name, "I do worry about you, you know?"
Rambo, who up until now was either unaware of or too stunned by the apparition at the window to react, stiffened and peered startled at her over his pig. "Grrrrrr…"
"That's so sweet of you, Isabelle." I smiled uber-sweetly. "But really, there's no need. You obviously already worry far too much about Adam." That last bit was just too hard to resist.
Isabelle pursed her lips, apparently unimpressed.
"Did you want something? It's just that I have loads to do. You know, for your golf club do?"
Reminded of her priorities, Isabelle composed her mouth into a semi-sweet smile. "Ah, oui," she said. "I just wondered…"
"Sorry?" I knitted my brow, following her progress as Her Maj teetered curiously to one side. Oops, I think her stick just sank in my carefully cultivated mud-bed.
Isabelle straightened herself huffily back up. "I said," she shouted, "I was just wondering how your valiant attempts in the kitchen were going?"
"Ah, magnifique… ily," I assured her French… ily, and gave her a thumbs up.
"…Rrrrowf, grrrowf." Clearly perturbed by the accent, Rambo wriggled — and… Uh, oh… piddled.
And his aim was spot on. I froze as Isabelle's mortified eyes followed a trickle of pee down the window.
Oops. "Sorry." Attempting to whip the embarrassing origins of the accident out of sight, I twizzled on the spot, Rambo and Piggy in arms. "He gets a bit excite…" I started to explain, but the words got wedged in my windpipe.
There floating atop my Green Soup was an un-vegetable like, white, sphere-shaped object that definitely didn't belong there. Oh, no… my eyeballs nearly plopped in after it.
Rambo's Piggy, I had a sinking feeling, was one squeak short of three.
And Her Maj was definitely not amused.
"Unbelievable," she muttered. "I really do wonder about Adam's judgment sometimes." So saying, cuttingly, she turned to huff haughtily off, her progress hampered a bit by her stuck-in walking stick.
"Cow." I felt my cheeks flush with humiliation. I was quite tempted to skate to the door and invite the old trout in after all.
So, do I just fish the squeak out, start again, or tell Isabelle to go to hell?
Start again, I decided, after a shuddery few breaths. She-witch mother or not, I was not going to give Adam up without a fight.