By Karen Trappett
Byron kept his kitchen fastidiously clean; his pride and joy, and his livelihood. The stainless-steel countertops gleamed from constant rubbing and buffering between sittings and the copper-bottomed pots shimmered under the bright halogen downlights – placed with regimented precision above the work surface.
Taking off his chef’s hat and placing it on the pass, he gently fondled the brass knobs of the cooktop as he walked to the pantry to retrieve his coat. It was going to be a chilly night, he thought, as he put on the tweed jacket and draped the worsted scarf around his neck. Quite dashing. His reflection smiled back at him: a youngish man of thirty-five with nary a hair of grey, strong cheekbones, up-turned lips and dangerous smoky eyes. Seeming quite pleased with himself, he ran his fingers through his hair and flicked his mane gracefully, almost in slow motion. Damn, I’m good looking.
Enjoying his little love affair with himself, he failed to hear footsteps behind him. The small giggle made him jump and he involuntarily shivered.
‘Damn! Don’t sneak up on a guy, Emma. I thought you’d left already.’
‘Caught you preening, did I?’ Emma heartily laughed and sidled up to him. ‘Aww, don’t let me stop you.’
‘Ha ha. Very funny. I’m sure lots of people admire themselves; when they’re on their own.’ He straightened his coat and moved towards the door, but Emma was quicker and blocked the doorway.
‘Well, I admire you. I think you look great.’ She took his hands, settled inside the folds of his coat and pulled his hands behind her. ‘Mmm, I love the feel of a damn fine tweed, almost as much as the smell of Aramis.’
‘How did you know the name of my after-shave? I didn’t think they sold that anymore?’ He didn’t want to move, it felt too good. I had no idea she felt like this; I would have approached her sooner.
She rubbed her cheek against the stubby bristles of his chin. It sounded like sandpaper but Emma purred and drank in his scent, before reaching to tug at his lip with her teeth.
‘My dad always used Aramis,’ she whispered, ‘It smells so strong and sweet, I just want to draw in the fragrance to my soul.’
She licked his cheek and he groaned. He stroked her auburn bangs and looked into her smoulderingly azure eyes, framed by the most remarkably long eyelashes. Taking in her pouting rose lips he gently brushed them with his own, before crushing them with increasing urgency.
His coat and scarf fell to the floor and lay crumpled under the pass. She laughed while she undid the buttons of her blouse. One, two, three; time stood still while Byron watched, his tongue moistening the roof of his mouth as he fumbled with his own clothing. Her blouse covered his coat and scarf and were quickly followed by others, in a slow-motion shedding of the barriers between them. Locked together once again, they crossed the tiled floor in a writhing and twisting dance of wildness.
The gleaming countertop, polished and shining in a dazzling glow, became a smorgasbord of shared delights. The rising soufflé, the mixing of the béchamel, the crack of the crème caramel, and the decadence of the croquembouche, a cream-filled pastry with swirls of sticky toffee signalling the pièce de résistance.
Synchronised sighs and frosted breath filled the space above them.
Byron was the first to notice the coldness of their mingling place and he shivered. Emma lay on top of him and pressed him onto the icy bench. His front was warm but he had to move or run the risk of hyperthermia.
He lifted her head towards him, ‘Emma, we’ll have to move, it’s too cold.’
‘Just a little longer.’ Her head dropped back down on his chest.
‘I’ve got a fireplace at home, you know.’
Her head immediately bobbed up. ‘OOH, I’ve always wanted to do it in front of a fireplace; almost as much as I’ve wanted to do it on this benchtop.’
Byron looked down at Emma and they both laughed.
Karen Trappett is a third-year university student in Brisbane (Australia), studying Bachelor of Arts: Writing, Communication & Cultural Studies which will be completed mid-2019. She is a Christian and is married with three adult daughters. She has had three short stories published so far and another will be published in a university anthology in early 2019. She loves to write uplifting and empowering stories and hopes to continue to be a life-long writer.
Her personal website is www.karentrappett.com