Tales of food, sex and friendship




Season 4: Episode 3

September 20, 2011

Tom gave the dessert one last glance before covering it up again and hiding it in the back of the fridge. It looked incredible. He would have to remember to buy Sarah an extra large coffee and piece of cake for giving the recipe to him. Days ago, he’d mentioned to her that he was stuck on finding the perfect special occasion dessert.

“Something that Ana will be amazed by, Willow will be jealous of and Mia won’t want to eat, but will anyway” he’d said with a wink. “But they have to think that I’ve thought of it all myself!”

“Leave it with me,” Sarah said.

Sure enough, a day later, she’d slipped him a piece of paper.

“It’s our little secret,” Sarah whispered into his ear.

Tom had been unsure initially – the dessert sounded a bit old fashioned and boring – but looking at it again this evening, he knew that Sarah had come through with the goods. She really was a good friend.

Tonight, Tom and Ana were hosting their first dinner party as a married couple and he was both excited and nervous. He knew it was daggy – they’d had people over for dinner plenty of times before they got married – but he was old fashioned like that. Even though marriage didn’t change what he and Ana were, he felt as though their connection were stronger than ever; that they could face anything the world wanted to throw at them.

He smiled as heard a key in the front door and Ana walked in, dressed in leggings and a singlet.

“How was the gym,” he said, walking over and kissing her lightly.

“Good,” she said smiling up and him. “I’m all sweaty though. I’m going to have a quick shower.”

Ana peeled off her sweat drenched singlet, dropping it in the laundry basket on the way to the bathroom. As always, Tom marvelled at the way her body was the perfect amount of muscle and softness. He loved nothing more than spending hours running his hands over her smooth curves, kissing every inch of her perfectness. He stood in the doorway of the bathroom and watched her strip down to her underwear.

“What?” she said when she saw him standing there, arms crossed over his chest, a small smile playing on his lips.

He walked into the bathroom and pulled her towards him. “I was just thinking about the fact I have the hottest wife in the world,” he whispered into her ear, gently nibbling the lobe.

“Tom, I smell horrible,” she protested. “And they’re going to be here soon.”

“You smell incredible,” he said pulling her close again and nuzzling her hair. “And they won’t be here for 45 minutes.”

He ran his hand down the length of her spine and placed soft, strategic kisses across her shoulder and collarbones. She tasted sweet and salty. She tried to push him away, playfully, but he wrapped his arms around her tightly, pressing his body against hers.

She kissed along the side of his neck and heard him utter a small moan. She gently prised herself loose of his arms and pulled his t-shirt over his head. Running her hands over his broad chest she moved down towards his belt, unbuckling it and and taking down his trousers. He wasn’t wearing underwear.

“Come on,” she said, stepping into the shower and looking coyly over her shoulder. “I need some help getting clean.”

Luckily Melbourne’s water supplies had been recently replenished with a fair amount of rain, because the forty minute shower they had wasn’t exactly environmentally responsible.

***

Ana was pulling on her favourite pair of blue jeans when the buzzer for the apartment sounded. They were by a Mexican label she had found at a small boutique on Sydney road – the only place in Australia that stocked them. Ana loved finding unique clothes that no one else she knew had.

She gave Tom a conspiratorial grin as he grabbed a t-shirt, putting it on as he walked towards the intercom. Ana took a moment before the first person arrived to close her eyes and take a few breaths. The week was over, she was relaxed (Tom had made sure of that – several times!); she had the most wonderful husband in the world and tonight she and Tom were going to hang out with Mia and Willow and eat and drink themselves silly.

Life was good.

She heard Willow’s voice in the kitchen, and the rustle of paper bags as wine bottles were removed and opened. Ana ran a brush quickly through her hair and dabbed on some lip gloss. That would have to do. They’d all seen her looking a lot worse in the past.

In the kitchen, Tom was pouring a nice looking red into glasses.

“It’s the wife!” called Willow and Mia simultaneously as Ana walked out of the bedroom.

She laughed. They were never going to get sick of that joke.

“Hi Willow, Hi Mia,” she said in a sing-song voice, kissing them both on the cheeks.

“Hi Ana,” a voice behind her said.

“Oh… Sarah. I didn’t know you were coming.” She gave Sarah a stilted kiss too, her good spirits dissipating somewhat.

Sarah’s face visibly dropped. “Oh.” She looked from Tom to Mia to Willow. “Tom invited me. I thought it was OK…”

“Of course it is,” said Willow pointedly, putting her arm around Sarah and glaring at Ana. “Right?”

“Of course,” Ana said lightly. “It must have slipped my mind.”

Tom handed a glass of wine to Sarah and glanced at Ana warily. Better not let slip where he’d got the recipe for dessert, he decided. It didn’t take a genius to see that Ana wasn’t hugely fond of Sarah. He had no idea why. Sarah was great; funny, smart and warm. In fact, she reminded Tom of Ana in a lot of ways.

He knew enough to keep that one to himself though.

Sarah peeled off her jacket and handed it to Tom with a warm smile, which he returned. The outfit was innocuous enough, but Ana choked on the sip of wine she had just taken. Sarah had on exactly the same blue jeans as Ana.

“They’re my jeans,” spat Ana, incredulously.

“What?” Sarah began, looking around the room, her eyes wide. “I had no idea…”

“It’s a coincidence,” said Willow cutting her off. She took Ana’s hand and dragged her towards the living room. “You have to show me that thing, remember?”

Ana couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t a coincidence at all.

In the living room, Willow turned to Ana. “What is wrong with you? Why won’t you give her a break?”

Ana’s eyes were bright and her cheeks were flushed. “First the brooch and now she’s dressing like me…”

She stopped mid sentence. Even as the words came out Ana wished she could retract them. She sounded like a raving lunatic.

“Ana, even if she was trying to be like you, it’s because she admires you. She’s not a single white female type, OK?” Willow said gently.

Ana nodded and hung her head. The last thing she wanted was to get Willow off-side. Besides, she probably was being a paranoid freak.

***

Tom had outdone himself with the meal. Fresh fish, lightly fried and served on a bed of lemon infused silverbeet complimented by a warm lentil salad. But it was the dessert that made them all go gaga – brioche pudding, with fresh berries and mascarpone, served in individual tea cups.

Willow almost cried with happiness when he bought them out. “Tom, I had no idea that anything could look that good.” She closed her eyes and tasted it, letting the gooey, sweet bread and tart berries burst over her taste buds. “Where did you get this idea?”

Tom grinned, blushing slightly. “Ah-ha, that is my little secret” he said slyly. “Can’t have you outdoing me, can I Willow?”

Only Ana noticed that he winked at Sarah and she shared a secret smile with him.

When the final scrap of food had been consumed and the last drop of wine drunk, the three girls left to go home and sleep off the delicious feast. Ana and Tom started to clean up, stacking the dishwasher and rinsing wine glasses. Ana congratulated herself on being on her best behaviour all night, biting her tongue when Sarah’s arm rested for a second too long on Tom’s or when she shared an in-joke with Willow and Mia.

But there was one thing that she just couldn’t leave alone.

“Tom,” she said, in the most carefree tone she could muster. “That dessert was delicious. Where did you say you got the recipe from again?”

“It was just in an old cookbook,” he said breezily, not making eye contact.

Ana nodded.

She didn’t have the proof, but she was sure that Tom had just lied to her.