Tales of food, sex and friendship

Season 3: Episode 2

June 14, 2011

There was no light peeping through the cracks between curtain and wall as Willow opened her eyes. This meant one of two things: It was either still really early and she could go back to sleep or it was a miserable day and there was no sunshine. A quick check of her alarm clock informed her it was the latter. Eight am and miserably overcast. Sitting up in bed, wrapped in her warm covers, Willow peeked behind the curtain to ascertain just how wintery it actually was out there. The trees that lined the street were furiously licking the grey sky and the ground was sodden. She could hear the swoosh of cars as they drove through the puddles of water that had formed on the road overnight. She groaned and lay back in bed, pulling the covers closer around her. It was just so typical that the weather was like this on her day off.

When Willow padded downstairs a little while later the house was empty and quiet, the others having already gone out. She opened the fridge and surveyed the contents for breakfast options. She salivated at the thought of poached eggs with wilted spinach on fresh sourdough. Perhaps with homemade hash browns on the side. Sighing, she realised that this dream would only eventuate if she actually went to the markets. She made herself a coffee and sat at the kitchen bench, weighing up the pros and cons of this venture.

Pro: Fresh eggs.

Con: Possibility of seeing The Italian.

Pro: Handmade butter on still-warm sourdough.

Con: Possibility of still being attracted to The Italian.

Pro: Necessary ingredients gathered that would enable a day of cooking, undoubtedly a favourite pastime in weather such as this.

Con: Possibility of being charmed yet again by The Italian and ending up in bed with him. (in different circumstances definitely not a con, but she did have her pride to think of!)

Her stomach grumbled. She drained the last of her coffee and, in a moment of intoxicating bravado, made the executive decision that today was the day to face her demons. She couldn’t hide from The Italian forever, after all.

In an out and out display of how completely over Carlo she was, she deliberately put on her least sexy outfit: Jeans that were fashionable around the time that Will Smith was still known as the Fresh Prince and a jumper that Madonna, pre revival, would have been proud of. Catching a glimpse of herself on the way out, however, made her scurry back inside and get changed. There was really no excuse for those jeans. Finally, settling on the Melbourne uniform of skinny black jeans, jumper and coat, she left the house, umbrella under arm.


The sun had managed to peek through the ominous storm clouds and small shafts of light were ricocheting off the tops of buildings as she strode from her car to the entrance of the markets. She walked with purpose, shopping trolley bouncing haphazardly off the uneven paving stones, daring anyone to mess with her. Although she felt calm and confident, she conceded it might be wise to keep to the sections she knew there was little chance of running into him. His father’s stall was in the far left corner, so Willow stuck to the top right. All the stall owners there still knew her, and she was met with cries of “Where have you been?” and “We’ve missed you” and offered gifts of silverbeet, oranges and fresh herbs tied up with string. These were, of course, a few of her favourite things.

She was deep in discussion with one of the fruiters about the perfect picking time for granny smith apples when he saw her.


His face broke into a wide grin. “I thought it was you. I would recognise you anywhere.”

Willow’s knees went a little weak and her heart started beating a bit faster. This is exactly what she’d been afraid of. He looked as good as ever. Better even, if that was possible. His thick, dark hair had grown and fell casually over his forehead. Long lashes framed his eyes, which were set off by the navy jumper he was wearing, the sleeves rolled up to reveal muscular, tanned forearms. How he managed to get a tan during Melbourne winter was beyond her. She murmured a greeting, unsure of exactly what her voice was going to do, as he leant in to kiss her cheek. She couldn’t help but inhale his spicy, warm scent.

“Can I talk to you?” He took her by the hand and pulled her away from the crowd. “In private?”

Once again, Willow found herself powerless in the presence of this man, and allowed herself to be dragged along to a quiet corner of the markets.

“I have been a fool,” he said to her, clasping both her hands and looking deep into her eyes. “I realised after you left that day that I’ve never met anyone like you.”

He paused to gauge her reaction, pulling her closer when she made no move to escape.

“I want to start again, to make amends for everything that happened. Will you let me do that beautiful Willow?”

His voice had dropped to a throaty whisper and she could feel his warm breath on her face. Maybe they could start again? Maybe she could make him as happy as he’d made her? Maybe…

Someone bumped into Willow from behind and she was awoken from her daydream. What the hell was she thinking? This guy was a skeeze who had used her in the worst possible way. And why, all of a sudden, had he decided that she was the one for him? Unless…

“She left you,” Willow said, a smirk slowly forming on her lips.

Carlo looked uncomfortable. “No, we… I… decided that…”

Willow extracted herself from his grasp.

“You’ve had to move out of her house, which doesn’t suit you because you can’t exactly take girls back to your parents place, can you?”

Carlo was shifting from one foot to the other, his eyes darting around looking for an escape. “No Willow, you know that is not true. What we had…”

She cut him off, her voice calm but sharp. “What we had was a night of sex at your girlfriend’s house while she was out of town on business. That’s all.” She took her trolley and smiled at him, pityingly. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I have shopping to do.”

Carlo watched bewildered as she melted into the crowd, her shopping trolley bobbing merrily behind her, his mouth opening and closing like a goldfish.


Willow stood in the kitchen triumphantly slicing granny smith apples and pears, still relishing in her newfound power. Almost predictably, Destiny’s Child’s Independent Women had shuffled its way on her iPod and was blaring through the speakers at the moment that Ana and Mia walked through the door. They could smell melted butter, caramelised sugar and baking fruit, which meant only one thing: Willow was making crumble.

“How was your day?” asked Ana, uncorking a bottle of Italian wine that she was astonished to find in the fridge. For months now there had been a moratorium on all things Italian, so she was pleasantly surprised that it seemed to have been lifted overnight.

Willow smiled and her eyes twinkled. She got out the glasses and, over piping hot bowls of apple and pear crumble with custard, regaled her friends with a wonderful tale of one woman kicking butt.