Tales of food, sex and friendship




Season 3: Episode 12

August 23, 2011

Sarah carried the last of her boxes into the house and plonked down contentedly on a bar stool in the well-let kitchen. Being a Thursday afternoon, Mia and Willow were both at work and she had the whole house to herself. She too should have been at the office, but Tom – now officially the best boss in the world – had given her some time off to move into her new place.

“Take the day,” he’d said. “Moving is exhausting and the last thing you want is to be stressing about work. You can just make it up by working extra hard tomorrow,” he’d added with a wink.

She dangled her legs beneath her happily, like a little kid in an ice-cream shop, looking around the kitchen with excitement.

I’ll have to do something extra nice for Tom, thought Sarah, to say thank you for everything.

She couldn’t believe how well her new life in Melbourne was working out; she’d landed an amazing job, her boss was just wonderful, she’d managed to find a room in a fantastic house and her housemates – Willow and Mia – seemed absolutely lovely. She liked that they seemed to have their own lives but still enjoyed each other’s company. It was a nice change to other share houses she’d lived in where the general tone was punctuated with slamming doors and sour looks.

Sarah thought the house itself, with its large rooms and glossy wooden boards, was beautiful. Her new room had an ornate ceiling rose from which an antique light hung. She thought it was terribly romantic, like something out of a novel, and she had spent a significant part of the morning looking up at the ceiling in her bedroom and sighing in happiness. As Sarah didn’t have any furniture of her own yet, Ana had kindly left her old bed in the room.

Ana had always slept with the bed pushed up hard against the wall, but Sarah wanted to be able to lie in bed and stare up at the embellished ceiling. With difficulty, she heaved the bed across the carpeted floor until it was in the centre of the room. The dust from underneath it circled upwards, the afternoon light catching it as it meandered through the still air. She wrinkled her nose and sneezed. Dusting was obviously not one of Ana’s fortes.

Amongst the expected pen lids and odd socks that were always found underneath old furniture, a small blue box caught Sarah’s eye. She leant down and picked it up, flipping the stiff lid open. Inside was an intricate white gold broach set with a large purple stone. Sarah frowned. She fingered the delicate piece of jewellery carefully, gazing at the colours that skittered across the top of the jewel.

***

It didn’t take long to put her belongings away and once Sarah had set up her room she felt like celebrating. Perhaps Mia and Willow would be home tonight and she could cook them all dinner and they could share a bottle of wine? She sent them both a quick text message but they replied that they were going out for a drink with Ana to discuss the final details of the wedding and wouldn’t be home until later. Sarah was momentarily hurt that she wasn’t invited too. The rational side of her knew that these girls had been friends forever and she was a total newcomer. Besides, they had already done plenty to make her feel welcome, such as Ana and Tom had inviting her to their wedding next week despite the fact they barely knew her. But still, her new housemates could have asked her to come along and meet them after they’d done their wedding chit chat.

Sarah chewed her nails thoughtfully. Suddenly she had an idea. She grabbed her handbag and jacket, checked her makeup, and left the house.

***

Tom was putting the finishing touches to a simple meal of linguine with roasted garlic, preserved lemon, parsley and capers when the intercom sounded.

“Hello?”

“Tom, hi. It’s Sarah.”

Tom frowned. Sarah?

“I just wanted to drop off a small thank you gift.”

Oh, that Sarah. “Come on up,” he laughed buzzing the safety door to let her in.

A few minutes later, Tom let her inside the apartment.

“Ana will be sad that she missed you,” he said, taking Sarah’s jacket. “She’s gone out for a drink with the girls – pre-wedding stuff.”

Sarah smiled. “Oh well. Next time.”

“Have you eaten? I just made some pasta and there is plenty for two.” Tom asked.

Sarah shook her head. “No, no. I don’t want to interrupt your evening. I just wanted to drop this off.”

She handed him a wrapped box that she had picked up on the way to his house. Tom opened it. Nestled inside were two bottles of Veuve Clicquot.

“Come on,” he said leading the way into the kitchen. “Lets open one.”

“What about Ana? I thought you could share them?”

Tom looked momentarily torn, but instead started unwrapping the foil from the cork. “There are two of them. We can have the other. Besides,” he added, “It’s terribly rude if someone brings you a bottle not to share it with them.”

Sarah smiled. “All right. And maybe I will take you up on the offer of dinner. I’m starving and it smells delicious.”

***

When Ana came home hours later Tom was already asleep. She noticed the empty bowls and champagne glasses in the kitchen and smiled, glad that it looked like he’d had a good evening too. She didn’t know that he had plans to catch up with anyone, but being Tom he had probably just forgotten to tell her.

She’d had a wonderful night spending time with Willow and Mia. She’d only moved out the day prior, but already she missed them. They were being so great about all the wedding preparations and had gone above and beyond the call of duty to help out. The catering was organised, her dress was ready and everyone – especially her – was getting very excited. She couldn’t believe that in only a week she would be married!

There was only one small niggle that she couldn’t shake. On the big day, Ana had wanted to wear something old, new, borrowed and blue. It was corny, but she liked the sentiment. The new, blue and borrowed were all sorted but the old was proving very evasive. She had been planning to wear a brooch which had been left to Ana when Grannie Bessie – the only member of her family that Ana had genuinely got along with – passed away several years ago. She had searched all her boxes, to no avail. She didn’t want to ask anyone about it just yet, because as soon as you did that, it was admitting that it was lost.

Ana yawned and stretched. Time to curl up in bed with her Tom.

It will turn up, she thought. Tomorrow I will find it.