Kitchen Affairs

By: Brooke Cumberland

Stella got in the bath while I helped Michael prepare dinner. He been working so hard lately that he was hardly home anymore.

Michael and I met the first day of high school. I was the quiet girl with braces and long frizzy hair. Sexy I know. I was new to the area and didn’t know anyone. My parents had just announced their separation and my mom moved to the other side of town putting me in a new school district. Michael and I were in homeroom together, and when he first set eyes on me, he asked if he could give me a makeover. That was when I knew he was my new best friend.

"So what's new girl?” Michael asked cheerfully through his beautiful bright smile. “Tell me the deats from your first day."

"Not much to tell. Pretty standard boring stuff,” I said, taking off my white chef’s coat and apron. “Got an easy assignment of creating a new sauce for a new entrée and then got bombarded by Drake Stagliano in the freezer," I answered casually hoping he did hear the last part.

"Um, I'm sorry, say what?" he asked, staring at me, not letting it go. He stood with his hands on his hips eyeing me down for answers.

"First, he asked if I'm married, and when I told him no, he trapped me in the freezer asking me to dinner. It was weird. Not sure what it was about," I said faced away from him, so he didn’t see my flushed cheeks.

"Wow girl, you get some!" he exclaimed, smacking me hard on the ass.

I glared at him. "No thanks." I turned and continued making dinner.

As I was mixing the sauce for a basic pasta dish, I remembered the time I was cooking for Liam. He was at the kitchen table studying for his Freud exam when he was reading Freud’s childhood history aloud. Freud was in love with his mother and felt a sexual pull to her. I remember laughing and teasing Liam for having to study theorists that obsessed with sexual development.

“Babe, our daughter will know all about Freud before first grade!” Liam joked. He read his textbooks to my tummy almost every night. It was adorable, however, I certainly did not want our child growing up knowing psychoanalyst theories before was necessary.

“Let’s just stick to numbers and ABC’s,” I mocked. Liam was so excited to be a daddy. He lost his mother when he was only thirteen years old, and it undoubtedly affected him hard. His mother was a drug addict, and his dad tried to be there for him, but he was also grieving in his own way. Liam was ready for the responsibility even though we were young. We were in love and ready to start our family together.


Stella was in bed by eight, so I poured myself a glass of white wine. Drake was still on my mind, baffled that he just came out of nowhere asking me personal questions. It was like there was an attraction; any female straight or not would be attracted to that man. What wasn’t to like?

Well, physically at least.

I couldn’t actually tell Drake why I didn’t want to have dinner with him. I was so used to distancing and protecting myself from feeling hurt again. Losing Liam was the worst pain I had ever experienced in my life, and I did anything to prevent feeling like that ever again. I had used an emotional shield for years.

I started gazing out my window admiring the Chicago night view when a knock at the door startled me. Michael left for the evening, and I wasn’t expecting company. I pulled my fleece on, wine glass in hand and slowly opened the door. My jaw dropped immediately as I got a view of the person before me.

There standing at my door was six foot-three inches of pure perfection of a man. I didn’t realize I was staring until he asked if he could come in, taking a step toward me. I gestured him in and shut the door behind him.

“Nice glasses,” he smirked. Cocky son-of-a-bitch.

“Had I known I was expecting you I would’ve dressed up,” I sneered back faking a smile. Jackass. To avoid my lenses from fogging up, I wore contacts when I worked in the kitchen. I didn’t mind wearing either or, but wearing glasses made me look like a professor.

So not sexy.

As he walked past me, I got a hint of his cologne. His scent lingered in the air after he walked through the room. It was strong and musky. It was inebriating. I stood there for a moment closing my eyes taking in the moment.

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