Tales of food, sex and friendship




Season 8, Episode 9

January 15, 2013

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Willow sank heavily onto the couch. She looked at Bryn, confused. “You work for the government?”

Bryn nodded. “For the FBI. In the fraud division.”

“But…” Willow’s mind reeled. “At dinner the other week…Didn’t you say you worked in finance? Or economics? Or something?”

Again, Bryn nodded. He was being infuriatingly calm about all of this. “I couldn’t tell you the truth. I was undercover.”

“You were investigating Fred and Marjorie?”

“Yes.” Bryn paused. He glanced quickly at his colleague, Samuel, who nodded almost imperceptibly. “Although their names aren’t Fred and Marjorie. They are Paul and Betty, and we have been watching them for years. They’re on the FBI’s most wanted list.”

Willow put her head in her hands. “I am such an idiot,” she said, her voice muffled.

“No, no,” Bryn said emphatically. “You’re not an idiot at all. They are just extremely good at what they do. Over the last five years, they’ve managed to trick over twenty people out of vast sums of money. We estimate that between them, they’ve scammed over five million dollars.” He paused. “Mostly from elderly people in care facilities, but…” Willow glared at him and he trailed off. “That’s not helping, is it?”

“Not really,” said Willow between clenched teeth. She put her head back in her hands and groaned. Ana sat next to her on the couch and put an arm over her shoulders.

“So what do we do now?” Ana said.

“Nothing,” said Bryn. “We’re going to take it from here.” He lowered his voice. “Don’t worry Willow. I…”

Bryn’s colleague cleared his throat.

“I mean we,” Bryn added hurriedly, “are going to get to the bottom of this. It’s going to be OK. I promise.”

Willow lifted her head and looked deep into his eyes. “Alright,” she said in a small voice. “I believe you.”

Mia stood up suddenly, pulling Johnny’s arm. “How about we put the kettle on?” she said. She looked meaningfully at Ana. “We’ll leave you two alone to… take some notes.” She paused at the door. “Samuel? Would you come and help bring the tea things in?”

Samuel looked mildly insulted, but stood up and followed the others out of the room.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t say anything before,” Bryn said quietly, when he and Willow were alone. “I couldn’t risk the operation.”

“I understand,” Willow said. “To be honest, I’m not sure I would have believed you anyway. Besides, he already had the money. If I’d tried to do anything he would have just disappeared earlier.”

They sat in silence for a few minutes, listening to the noises of tea being prepared in the other room.

Suddenly, Bryn cleared his throat. “You probably think it’s very unprofessional of me to ask this,” he said. “But I was hoping that maybe you’d like to have dinner sometime? With me?”

Willow smiled. “I’d like that,” she said. “But I have to warm you…”

“Yes?” Bryn said.

“I’m not very professional either.”

And with that, she leaned forward and kissed him.

***

After Bryn and Samuel had left, the four housemates were clearing up the kitchen. Willow was humming to herself, a tiny smile on her face. Ana and Mia were glancing at each other knowingly.

Finally, Ana could take it no more. “Well?”

“Well what?” Willow said.

“Oh come on,” Ana said. “You’ve been humming since they left.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Willow said primly.

Mia stopped what she was doing. “Oh please, he couldn’t take his eyes off you for two seconds!”

“Really?” Willow said.

“Really,” Ana and Mia said in unison.

“So when are you and lover-boy going out?” Mia added.

Willow managed to keep a straight face for all of three seconds. “Tomorrow,” she said, with a grin. “For dinner.” She sighed. “I know that I should be upset about everything that’s going on – and I am – but…” she paused. “It’s just so nice to have this feeling again.”

“What feeling?” Johnny said.

Willow squirmed. “Oh you know, the feeling.”

“Ohhhhh,” Johnny said, finally cottoning on. “That feeling.” He put his arms around Mia and looked adoringly at her. “Yeah, that’s a pretty great feeling.”

“All we need now is to set Ana up with someone and we can all be stupidly sappy,” Mia said with a laugh. “Right Ana?”

Ana didn’t reply. When they all turned to look, Ana was staring into space, a dopey smile on her face.

“Earth to Ana!” Mia said.

Ana blinked. “Huh?”

“You were off in another world,” said Mia.

“I was, wasn’t I?” She beamed at her housemates. “I have to go out. Sorry.” She gave Willow a kiss on the cheek. “You’re going to be alright?”

Willow nodded. Ana leaped off her stool, scooped up her jacket and bag and walked quickly down the hall.

“What on earth was that all about?” Johnny said, baffled.

“Is it possible,” Willow said slowly, “and none of us knew?”

“Knew what?” said Johnny.

Mia and Willow looked at each other and started laughing.

“What?” said Johnny impatiently. “Tell me.”

“Ana’s in love,” Mia said. “Completely and utterly head over heels in love!”

***

Joey pulled open the front door. “Ana,” she said, surprised. “What are you doing here?”

Ana was breathless and the words came out in a rush. “I’ve been so concerned with what I am and what I’m not. Or what I’m supposed to be. Or what I’ve always thought I was. Or something. Anyway, the point is…well, the point is that I’ve totally missed the point!”

“OK,” Joey said slowly, her face blank.

“So,” Ana said. “What do you think?”

“About what,” Joey said patiently. “I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.”

Ana smiled sheepishly. “Yeah, I possibly should have rehearsed that a bit.”

Joey sighed. “Ana, you told me how you felt the other week. It’s OK. You don’t have to try and make me feel better. I know you’re not interested in me… like that.”

“That’s where I was wrong though,” Ana said. “I am.”

Joey looked at her in stunned silence. Ana moved a step closer, gently taking Joey’s hand and intertwining their fingers. “I think I’m in love with you.” She paused and looked deep into Joey’s eyes. “Scratch that. I know I’m in love with you.”

***