Kitchen Affairs

By: Brooke Cumberland

“Genius. He must have it bad,” Michael said raising his eyebrows at me. Too bad, I wasn’t looking for anything. Not even something casual. Or was I? Perhaps I have just told myself enough times that I started to believe it.

“Yeah well, it’s the first and last time. I need to focus on passing my internship, graduating, and getting a job,” I snapped as I grabbed my coat and purse. 7:50 PM. He’ll be here any minute now. Shit.

“Here let me help,” Michael said, taking my coat. He pecked me on the cheek and slapped my ass. “Go get’em girl!” Yuck.

I took the elevator down to the lobby and fidgeted with my keys until I saw a limo pull up outside my building. Crap, a limo? I watched as the driver came around and opened the door for Drake. He re-buttoned his suit and walked to the entrance. I casually stood there waiting, uneager to go through with this date.

“Molly? I was planning to fetch you at your apartment,” Drake said as he approached me never taking his eyes off me.

Damn, those eyes are a-mazing.

“Well, then I guess I saved you a trip, Mr. Stagliano,” I grinned, knowing exactly what he meant. This was not a date. I don’t need to be ‘fetched’.

“Always a delight,” he smirked, opening his arm up for me. “And please, you can call me Drake.”

I could sense his humor in the whole situation. I would have never agreed to dinner had he not kept my things captive. He escorted me to the limo while his driver opened the door for us. I got in and immediately went to the far side hoping to keep some safe distance between us.

“Would you like some champagne?” Drake asked, as the limo started moving.

No. “Yes, please.” I shouldn’t be drinking around him, but what the hell. “Where are we going?” I asked, trying to keep it casual.

“My place,” he said sternly letting me know it was not an open discussion. He turned away to fill my glass. “I have something special set up for you,” he smiled as he turned to look back at me. Great. Something special? I felt like I had missed the memo. Since when was this a date?

We arrive to his River North Penthouse and although the limo ride wasn’t completely awkward, this was a little bizarre. I haven’t been on a date in years, but taking me to his place right away? That seemed weird. His home wasn’t anything like I expected. Drake is intimidating and powerful, but his home felt warm and comfortable. He offered me a tour after taking my coat and I was too curious to not accept the offer. Wow, this man does have a warm side.

He showed me through the foyer into the sleek, elegant kitchen. It was suitable for a one-person home and was surprisingly not, what I had expected. The refrigerator blended in with the red, shiny cabinets with thin, silver handles. It was definitely top-notch; I was afraid to even touch it. The dark lower cabinets blended well with the cherry wood flooring and the center island. There was a small, white breakfast bar with white, contemporary chairs that seated four. I was especially jealous of the double ovens in the middle of the red cabinets. This was definitely a kitchen I would die to have.

Drake watched my expression as I took in the phenomenal view. He knew being a chef intern that this kitchen would warm me up. “This is beautiful,” I remarked as I caught him staring at me, waiting for me to say something.

More like breathtaking. Just like him.

“I knew you’d appreciate it.” He smiled as he took my hand to continue the tour. An open floor plan went directly from the kitchen to the dining area to the living room. It was warm, inviting, and elegant. The gray walls blended well from room to room allowing the Chicago view in through the windows. I noticed a large painting by the living room table that accented the room just perfect. Whoever his interior decorator was deserved a raise.

“Your home is amazing. It’s beautiful. Especially this view,” I gushed as I walked towards the floor to ceiling windows.

Wow, I could stare at this all day – at him, and this view, that is.

“I’m glad you approve.” He smiled as he walked toward me and held out his hand for mine. “What I have planned for us this evening is up those stairs,” he said motioning to the other side of the kitchen where a slender, modern staircase leads up to the next floor.

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