Tales of food, sex and friendship




Posts Tagged ‘Fruit Salad’

Season 1: Episode 12

February 15, 2011

Johnny yawned as he unlocked his front door. It had been another long and busy night at Medina, and it wasn’t the first time he had started to think he was getting too old for it all.

He’d spent a disproportionately large period of the evening fending off the advances of numerous young women; most, if not all, a decade or so younger than him. Ordinarily he would have relished the attention – hell, he’d probably even have taken one of them home – but his heart just wasn’t in it and, perhaps for the first time, he’d found it annoying.

“You’re definitely over the hill, old man,” he said to his reflection in the bathroom mirror.

Checking his watch, he noted it was 6am. He was tired but didn’t think he’d sleep. Wandering into the open plan kitchen he ground coffee beans and put on the stovetop espresso machine. The rich, warm aroma filtered through his large loft apartment. He surveyed the chaos of clothes, books and shoes that were scattered around and realised that he’d have to clean them up at some point, and soon. He had offered up his humble abode tonight for a dinner party with his best friends. He’d been so busy lately that he hadn’t seen any of the girls for about a month.

Except for Mia.

Groaning, he put his head in his hands, trying to erase the embarrassing memory. No matter how hard he tried he hadn’t been able to forget the disapproving – no, not even disapproving: dismissive – look in her eyes after she’d seen him with another of his one-night-stands. Johnny just couldn’t stop thinking about it. And that had him perplexed.

It’s ridiculous, he thought. It’s only Mia!

She had laughed at what had obviously been a trivial encounter.

“So, why the fuck do I feel like a total sleaze?” Johnny said out loud. He kicked a dirty jumper across the floor, suddenly feeling claustrophobic.

He had planned a trip down to the Mornington Peninsula later that day to pick up some food and wine for the dinner party. Might as well get a head start and beat the Saturday traffic, he thought.

Johnny liked any excuse to get out of the city, but today his need for the cleansing sea air was more urgent than it had been for a long time. There were a few places down on the Peninsula where he regularly bought fresh produce. And there were also a couple of fantastic wineries whose Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio he stocked in the restaurant. Grabbing a light jumper and car keys, Johnny downed his short black coffee and left the house once again.

* * *

The further he got out of Melbourne the more awake he felt. Winding down his window and letting the cool summer air rush in, he gulped in lungsful of the Peninsula’s finest. Passing through the small town of Flinders, Johnny decided to see if his friend Claude was home. Claude owned a tiny but exquisite vineyard nestled between two hills that looked as though they might topple over at any second and envelope the small property. The boutique winery had been operating for about ten years, since Claude had moved from France and made this peaceful coastal community his home. Rich with notes of blackberry, truffle and vanilla, Claude’s Pinot Noir was among the finest Johnny had tasted.

* * *

Johnny was surprised to be greeted at Claude’s front door by a large pair of velvety brown eyes, heavy with long black lashes. Chestnut hair framed her face and fell to just below her shoulders. The strategically chosen shorts and singlet highlighted her undulating curves and legs that went on forever.

Christ, is there no escape, thought Johnny as the woman slowly appraised his body.

“Is Claude in? I’m just down from the city…. thought I’d stop past and say hi.” He was feeling increasingly uncomfortable under her appreciative gaze.

“He’ll be back soon. Come in,” she said. Sashaying to one side, she held the door open just enough so that Johnny had to brush past her in order to walk in.

Johnny stepped inside and followed the exaggerated swing of her hips as her bare feet padded down the hallway into the light-filled kitchen.

“I was just making some breakfast. Want some?”

The air was heavy with the intermingling scents of baking pastries and freshly ground coffee. Johnny shrugged. “Umm, sure. Can I help?”

She nodded towards the stainless steel fridge. “You could make a fruit salad. There are some strawberries, peaches, nectarines…and these.” She held up two ripe, plump mangoes. Bringing them to her nose she closed her eyes and breathed in the sweet, lusty scent. “Perfect”, she murmured, her eyes fluttering open to look at him. She held his gaze without blinking.

Blushing, Johnny was the first to turn away.

***

Slicing through the moist flesh of the fruit, Johnny tried not to look at her. He could feel that her eyes kept darting towards him.

“You live in Melbourne?” she asked.

Johnny nodded.

“I’ve just moved over – I’m studying at Melbourne Uni. I live in Parkville.”

“Great area,” Johnny replied.

“Perhaps you could show me around sometime? I don’t feel like I’ve got a full appreciation of it yet.” She wandered over to where Johnny was standing and took the larger segment of mango from his hand. Squeezing it ever so lightly, she held it under his nose, her face only inches from his own. “Close your eyes.”

Johnny closed his eyes and inhaled the cornucopia of smells. Sweet ripe fruit and delicate hand lotion. Expensive perfume. And her own unique scent – warm and spicy – which reminded him of hot nights in far-off locations. He opened his eyes. A smile was playing around the corners of her mouth. She gently removed a long, sharp chef’s knife from the nearby block and skilfully sliced around the mango stone, removing as much of the fruit’s flesh as she could. Cocking her head to one side she held up her prize.

“May I?”

Without waiting for a reply, her bee-stung lips curled around the edges of the mango stone, sucking and cajoling the sweet flesh into her mouth. She slid it slowly in and out, each time slightly further to make sure she didn’t miss any of the ripe fruit. Johnny’s mouth hung slightly agape as he watched the provocative display.

“Johnny!”

He dropped the knife he was holding, which landed with an abrupt clatter on the stone tiled floor. Claude came up and kissed him on both cheeks, delighted to see his friend. “Bonjour, mon ami!” He added,  “You’ve met Cecelia?”

Cecelia. So that was her name.

Claude kissed her on the head in a fatherly fashion. “I’m so happy that my favourite niece decided to come over east to attend university.” He added wistfully, “They just grow up so fast!”

Boy, do they, thought Johnny.

Cecelia rinsed her hands under the kitchen tap and smiled at them both. Gone was the sex temptress, replaced by a doting niece. “Johnny’s going to show me around Melbourne, Uncle Claude.”

Even Johnny was almost convinced by the innocent voice she put on that all she wanted was a tour guide.

Claude clasped his hands together in delight. “Wonderful. Now come, I know it’s early but you’ve got the try this 2002 Pinot that I’ve just got out of the cellar. I think it’s one of the best yet!”

* * *

Back in his own kitchen Johnny opened a bottle of the Pinot to breathe as he started to plan the menu for the dinner party. As he surveyed the ingredients that were laid out on the kitchen table, his mind flashed back to that morning. He had managed to avoid giving Cecelia his number or any information about himself. Not that he was in any doubt that she was fully capable of tracking him down should she set her mind to it. He just hoped that she’d find someone else to distract her before she returned to the city, because all he could do was imagine how Mia would react if she saw them together.