Tales of food, sex and friendship




Season 3: Episode 5

July 5, 2011

Tom ran his hands down her back, his face buried in the crook of her neck and inhaled deeply again. A hint of that Channel perfume that she always wore intermingled with her Aesop shampoo and underneath it all was a smell that he could never have described even if he wanted to. It was pure, unadulterated Ana. His Ana.

“You didn’t really let me go,” he whispered in her ear. “We let each other go. Never again though, OK?”

Ana nodded, her head buried in Tom’s shoulder, tears smudging her mascara and rubbing off onto his shirt. She didn’t care though. She was so happy. Tom loved her. He wanted to make this work.

They stood locked in the embrace for what felt like forever, but still not long enough. Eventually, they wandered slowly back to Tom’s apartment, unable to take their hands off each other for even a second. He poured her a glass of red wine and they sat on the couch, legs intertwined, looking shyly at each other like two teenagers who had the house to themselves for the first time. Tom stroked Ana’s hair and she sighed contentedly as she sipped her wine. For the first time in ages, she could actually feel herself relaxing. Her shoulders, which had been a permanent fixture up around her ears for weeks now, slowly dropped a few inches, and the headache that she’d just taken for granted as a significant part of her life, magically disappeared. Tom, unable to wipe the goofy smile off his face, kept leaning forward and kissing her.

They talked for hours about absolutely everything. The discussed the affair for the first time and Tom told her about Lilly. Once it was all out in the open, it felt good, like they had nothing left to hide from each other. Sure, there would still be moments when the memory of these events would surface again, bringing with them feelings that they’d rather forget, but that was life and together they would deal with it.

Outside it was pitch black and the traffic had died down. They could hear the wind howling and snuggled closer together for warmth, even though there was a blazing open fire. They’d finished off two bottles of red and the rest of the cauliflower cheese that Tom had made earlier.

Ana yawned and looked at her watch. “How did it get to be 4:30am?”

She glanced over at Tom, who looked about as exhausted as she felt. It had been a very long couple of weeks for both of them.

“Bed?” He asked, stretching his limbs.

She nodded and peeled herself off the couch. He held her hand as they padded into his bedroom and curled up in the bed, too tired to even undress.

They both woke up at 6am, still groggy from the lack of sleep and managed to undress each other slowly – a few times – before falling back asleep, wrapped in each other’s arms, until midday.

**

Ana finally returned home around four that afternoon. Willow was sitting in the kitchen having a special Willow-made hot chocolate and reading one of the glossy magazines that she liked to indulge in every once in a while. The weather hadn’t cleared and outside, dark storm clouds were gathering. The wind was whipping the streets into a frenzy of leaves and inner city debris. The house felt snug and warm and Ana felt a pang of sadness that she would be leaving here.

That was one of the other things that she and Tom had discussed last night. They’d decided that she would move in with him as soon as Mia and Willow had found a suitable housemate. Even though Ana owned the house that the three girls lived in, she didn’t want to kick them out when Tom had a perfectly good apartment for her to move to. Besides, they would probably look at buying somewhere else in the next few years that was a bit bigger anyway.

“Good night?” asked Willow, putting down the magazine. She noticed that Ana hadn’t come home last night after leaving in the afternoon to go and see Tom. She hoped that meant it was all back on track. Tom and Ana were a perfect couple in her opinion.

Ana smiled secretively. She would tell Willow everything, of course, but for a while she wanted to just keep it to herself. It felt more special that way.

“That smells amazing,” she said, leaning in and taking a whiff of the hot chocolate. She caught a hint of nutmeg, dark chocolate and… chili?

“Have a seat and I’ll make you one,” said Willow.

“Let me just get changed quickly. I’ll be back in a sec.”

Willow put the stove back on as Ana went upstairs. She stirred the rich, milky chocolate gently so that it didn’t burn.

Rain started falling, smashing into the window pain so ferociously that Willow almost didn’t hear her mobile ringing. It was a blocked number.

“Hello?”

“Willow?” It was a man’s voice, familiar but she couldn’t place it.

“Yes?”

“This is Robert Fortescue.”

Willow inhaled sharply. Robert Fortescue! The man who had nearly run her down in his car, insulted her in front of her boss and then had the audacity to ask her out on a date. How did he even get her number? She sure as hell didn’t give it to him.

“What can I do for you?” she managed to say once she’d regained her composure.

“I’d like to take you out for dinner.”

She could tell by the tone in his voice that he was used to getting his own way. Not this time though. There was absolutely no way that she was going out with this cantankerous, demanding, selfish excuse for a human being.

“I’m sorry, but I’m busy,” she said coolly.

He uttered a throaty laugh. “I haven’t even suggested a day yet.”

“I’m busy… everyday,” said Willow, inwardly kicking herself for not thinking of something cleverer to say. Even though she didn’t want to go out with him, she didn’t want him thinking she was an idiot.

She heard him sigh. “I thought that’s what you’d say.”

He cut the line suddenly and was gone.

Willow was still staring at her phone, furious, when Ana came back downstairs.

“You OK?” Ana asked, concerned about this rapid change in demeanour.

“Oh, you are never going to believe what just happened…”

Willow didn’t even get to finish her sentence, because the doorbell rang.

She looked at Ana inquisitively, who shrugged. She wasn’t expecting anyone.

Willow opened the door. Standing there, drenched from the rain, was a young man carrying a large bouquet of beautiful Irises.

“Delivery for Willow,” he said, panting from his dash to the front door.

Willow accepted the flowers speechlessly.

“I’ll just get the rest,” the deliveryman said, bracing himself for the dash back to the car.

“What do you mean, the rest?” called Willow after him, her voice swallowed up in the storm.

There were another six trips from the van to the house, each time with a different and more extravagant bunch of flowers. Roses, Lilies, Orchids, and then some flowers that Willow didn’t even recognise.

“Sign here please.”

Willow signed and shut the door, turning to survey the front hall, which had been transformed into a wonderful indoor garden. Ana walked out and her mouth dropped.

“Who are they from?” asked Ana, leaning down to smell the beautiful velvety-red roses.

There was no card, but Willow suspected she knew. Her mobile phone rang again.

“So, will you have dinner with me?”

She could hear the laugher in Robert’s voice.

“They’re from you, aren’t they?” Willow tried to keep her voice calm.

“I didn’t know what you’re favourite flowers were, so I just got everything.”

“What am I meant to do with them all?” Her voice was getting a bit hysterical.

“Have dinner with me and I’ll buy you a vase as well.”

She had to give him one thing. He was persistent. The scent of jasmine filled her nose and reminded her of wonderful summer evenings drinking white wine in the back garden. She faltered briefly, but Willow wasn’t going to cave to some guy’s demands, even if he did buy her an entire florist.

“Thank you for the flowers, but I am going to have to decline your offer.”

This time she hung up the phone first.