Thursday, July 22, 2010
Today's muse: Daily Writing Practice
Today's prompt: Garlic. Marc even said we'd get bonus points for writing something without vampires. Not easy for a Buffy fan!
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“It needs more garlic.”
“I don’t think so,” said Andrea, taking the wooden spoon from John.
“Nonna’s sauce has more garlic,” he insisted.
He peered over her shoulder as she stirred the thick red mixture. The scent was intoxicating. Fresh plum tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, Spanish onions and, of course, garlic, bubbled together in an erotic dance.
John pulled his wife’s hair back, exposing the slender column of her neck, pressed a kiss just below her ear. Andrea slapped at him and made a half-hearted attempt to shove him away.
“Stop it! Your family is going to be here soon and I have to finish the sauce.”
“The sauce is fine. Just add more garlic.”
“It doesn’t need more garlic!”
“I’ve been eating my grandmother’s sauce since I can remember. Trust me—it needs more garlic.”
Andrea slammed the spoon down on the counter. Red specks dotted the pristine backsplash. She whirled on him.
“Am I a bad cook?”
“What?” Shit, this was one of those questions with no right answer. “Of course you’re a good cook.” He rubbed his hands up and down her arms in a vain attempt to sooth. She shrugged him off and turned back to the stove as the doorbell rang.
From the kitchen, she listened as his family came in, their voices raised in greeting. She pictured the confusion at the door while cheeks were kissed and hands were shook. Taking a deep breath, she wiped her hands on a dish towel and walked to the entrance to greet her in-laws. John’s grandmother stood in the centre of the fray. Barely five feet tall, she had a stocky build that spoke of confidence and strength. There was no question she was the head of the family.
Nonna held out her arms in a warm greeting and Andrea moved forward to accept the embrace, immediately soothed by the warmth.
“Come inside,” said Andrea, leading them to the living room. Once she was satisfied that everyone was comfortable and had a drink, she excused herself to check on dinner. Moments later, John was at her side.
“I’m sorry,” he mumbled, wrapping his arms around her and nuzzling her neck. She shrugged her shoulder, not yet ready to forgive him.
“I’m not your grandmother,” she said, trying to control her anger. She didn’t want to argue in front of his family. “I can cook just as well as she can. Maybe my sauce doesn’t taste the same, but it’s mine. And it’s good. Damn good!” She stabbed a thumb into her chest and John captured her hand, bringing it up to kiss it, knowing he risked a jab with an angry fist.
“I never said you weren’t a good cook. I only pointed out that the sauce could use a little more garlic.” He cut off her retort with a kiss, pouring himself into it, tangling his hands in her curls. Breathless, she pulled back.
“That’s not an apology,” she said, arranging her hair, though she admitted it was a good start.
“How’s this?” He cupped her face and as his head dipped down, Andrea caught a flash over his shoulder.
“That’s enough now.” Nonna batted at John’s arm, shooing both of them away. Andrea reddened, mortified that the family matriarch had caught them making out. Nonna plucked up the wooden spoon, dipped it into the pot and tasted. She gave an approving nod.
“You take your wife away and make friends again,” she said, dismissing them with a wave.
John tugged Andrea across the kitchen, prepared to give her a proper apology in the foyer, away from prying family eyes. They looked back as Nonna began to peel and chop a number of garlic bulbs. Andrea glanced up at John who made a brave attempt at fixing a blank look on his face.
“It needed more garlic,” he said.