I had stayed in this house for a substantially long time, yet today was marked as the day I finally decided to challenge the stove with my mediocre cooking abilities.
By eighteen, I had only taught myself to not burn the house down while making breakfast.When it comes to cooking, I have limited skills. I’d mastered making not-so-great eggs and over-toasted bread with a cup of dissatisfaction in the form of coffee. That was hailed as a huge deal to my brother – who was no better than me when it came to the iron spatula.
I was, shockingly, enthusiastic to try something new this morning. I woke up and got the idea to make Dakota a thank you breakfast for visiting me so late at night without a moment’s notice. That was what Girlfriends did.... I suppose.
I was hopeless at this and I was sure Dakota would see that in a split second.
With our conversation last night, I wanted to take a step in the right direction for our second go around at dating. I hardly cooked for myself, yet I felt compelled to for Dakota. I hated that I couldn’t shut off the idea once it first blossomed into my thoughts.
I peered down at my phone for the recipe I had searched up. Evelyn had cook books somewhere in the house, but I couldn’t remember where she shelved them. I settled with a dish I found online during my random decision to play the doting girlfriend.
A sharp scent peppered my nose, causing me to lift my head at the pot of cream I had on the stove. Smoke seeped off, trailing up to the ceiling. The cream had spilled from the sides, blackened from the flames and creating a pungent aroma that coated the back of my throat.
“No, no, no.” I cried out, removing the pot from the stove and faning it with my hand. “Why? Why—” I was too late. Suddenly, the smoke detectors began wailing all through the house.
Heavy footsteps rushed down the stairs just as I had gotten the alarm to stop. Every hope I had to keep this a secret vanished when Dakota appeared at the opening of the kitchen. “Silvia?”
“Don’t step any closer,” I ordered, walking in front of the island to block my disaster. “It was a false alarm.”
“False alarm?” he repeated my words in his groggy morning voice, laced with sleep. I bit down my lip from smiling. I liked his morning voice. It was soothing, in an odd rugged way. “What were you trying to make exactly?”
Dakota went against my demand and made his way to where I was standing. He sidestepped and observed the mess I had created in the matter of forty minutes. There were towers of dishes, along with specks and spots over the marbled countertops. The only thing that wasn’t a complete mess were the two plates of scrambled eggs and toast I made in the beginning.
A Silvia with more hope in her heart made those scrambled eggs. One that was more level headed and knew what she was capable of.
Dakota walked to the plate. “Is that for me?”
“Maybe,” I whispered and felt myself panic at the thought of his reaction.
Dakota dropped his hand to my hip and pulled me into a side embrace. “I don’t think I’ve ever pictured you making anything for me.” He picked up one of the dishes and got himself a fork. “Thank y—”
“Wait.” Placing a hand on his chest, I got in his way to the dining room. “Before you thank me, can I ask you for one thing? If you hate it, tell me and don’t lie.”
“It’s eggs, what could you do wrong?”
“Everything,” I grunted. “I always mess up stuff. Do you not know me, Dakota?”
“It’s scrambled eggs. Most people can make this blindfolded,” he said. “Yours looks good.”
“It’s a disaster in disguise.”
"Silvia.” The corner of his lip raised and he placed a kiss on my creased forehead, sauntering to the dinner table. “I’m not going to hate it.”
I sat across from him at the table, unfolding and folding my hands on my lap. Observing him lift a fork and travel the food to his mouth was nerve racking enough for me to want to slap the fork out of his hand and save us both from this misery.
Dakota took the first bite and chewed slowly. His face was unreadable the entire time, until he stuck his hand in to his mouth and withdrew a fraction of an egg shell that had snuck into the dish.
My face fell into my hands, groaning. “Ohmigod, I’m an idiot. I’m sorry. I didn’t see that when I was whisking it. I swear, I’m so s-”
“Stop apologizing, I think it’s funny. Really.” Dakota chuckled, reaching over and removing my hands from my face so he could hold it. “Don’t be upset. It’s alright, hon.”
“Whoa now, when do you ever call me hon? Hon.” I burst, a bit stunned. “This is new.”
“Well when do you ever make me breakfast?” he countered. “We’re both acting a little different today.”
“At least you didn’t make me endure that catastrophe of a breakfast.” I said, pointing at the eggs. “I don’t know what I was thinking. I practically ruined breakfast for us now.”
“It’s still morning.” Dakota walked around the table, and took my hands, pulling me out of my seat. “So technically it’s not ruined. We have plenty of time left. When is your family coming back?”
“Oh, they’re not coming back for another six or seven hours.”
There was a small glint in his eyes when I mentioned the time of their arrival. He stopped moving toward the kitchen and leveled his hands to my hips. “That’s a lot of time.”
“Yeah, it is,” I mused, ignoring the look he was giving me. I knew what he was implying, but I wasn’t going to give in to the temptation of pushing Dakota against the fridge and kissing him anytime soon. Even though it was racking back and forth my head for the past five minutes.
He didn’t bring any clothes to change into last night so we went through Lenard’s clothes since he was the only one Dakota didn’t hate. The blue graphic T-shirt he had on was snug around the shoulders and chest, appearing almost skin tight when he moved his arm up. A sliver of his abdomen peeked out when he yawned, adding fuel to my overactive imagination.
I inhaled and quickly exited my thoughts. “I guess we shouldn’t waste our time then. Better get to that breakfast as soon as possible.”
Since Dakota didn’t trust me behind the stove, I remained a mere spectator as he danced around the kitchen, doing separate tasks and periodically checking to see if he was on track. I learned something new today. Dakota knew how to cook without burning the food. Apparently it wasn’t a new skill.
When Dion started working in the family, Dakota and Diana would trade off on who would cook breakfast that morning or dinner that night. They did this to ease off the stress from their mother. The way he talked about his mother was unique as well consider that I never really had a good relationship with my own.
We sat at the dinner table with freshly made pancakes and coffee. I couldn’t help myself so I drenched the pancakes with syrup and took a big bite, nearly melting out of my seat once it touched my mouth.
“I hate you,” I said with a full mouth.
Dakota choked on his coffee. “Why?”
“You waited this long to tell me you could cook.”
“I thought everyone knew how to make a decent meal. It’s a survival skill.” He smirked. “But then there’s you.”
“Still hate you.” I mumbled and cut another slice.
Before a filter could stop myself from saying what I was thinking, I asked: “Would you say you have a good relationship with your mom?”
He stopped to think. “Well, yeah I would. Why do you ask?”
“No reason. I’m only curious.” I replied, outlining the uneven number ovals on the wooden dinner table with my thumb. “I just - well I didn’t expect that answer if you want me to be honest. The last time I saw you with your mom, you were yelling at her.”
He cleared his throat. “Okay, that doesn’t count. I was drunk. People do really stupid things when they’re drunk. Don’t you remember what you did the last time you were wasted?”
My eyes hit the ceiling. “Please don’t remind me.”
“No, I would like to. I recall a bit of the conversation you had with Pierson before I walked in.” Dakota recalled, smiling smugly at me. “What was it you said exactly? You said that his dick was the size of an elephant’s- ”
I covered my ears so I couldn’t hear him while he retold the story to me. ”Stop! I know what happened. You don’t have to remind me.”
“It’s funny though,” he said, laughing. “I’m not sure if you remember each detail.”
“Oh, trust me. I do.” I cringed and started thinking of the face Pierson had given me that night. Full of subduction and lust, he almost looked unrecognizable.
“Why weren’t you swept away by his Irish Charm?” He chuckled lightly. “You looked like you were into him then.”
“That was the alcohol talking,” I sighed when a piece of my pancake fell in between my legs. I picked up and left it on the table, waiting to be cleaned up afterwards. “It really was just the alcohol speaking. Nothing else. I’m kinda glad Beth wasn’t there in that moment to witness it all unfold.”
“Oh she was,” Dakota revealed. “I saw her watching from the sidelines before I cut in between you two. I don’t think she’s ever really liked you.”
I brought my hand into the air and made an invisible check mark. “Another person who wants to skin me alive. She’ll have to wait.”
“You should start charging people.”
I snorted, taking a bite of my pancakes. “Yeah, I should. Maybe I should even make it into a membership plan sort of thing.”
He snapped his fingers. “Brilliant. If I start doing it too, we’ll both be cashing in big bucks in no time. Forget Hawaii, we could pay to go to the moon.”
“Yes, because people vacation to the moon all the time, Dakota. All the time.” I rolled my eyes.
He poked my side. “It was a joke. Nice to know your lack of sense of humor hasn’t changed during our reset button on this relationship.”
“I’ve got great sense of humor.” I defended. “I’m sorry, is laughing at all of your bad jokes supposed to be a girlfriend thing?”
“Yeah, it is.”
I put the fork on to the plate. “Then maybe I shouldn’t be your girlfriend.”
“Is that so?” He mused and dropped his silverware. His lips twisted upward as I felt his hand find its way on to my knee under the table. “Are you sure about that?”
His hand crept up higher on my knee, now reaching my thigh. “I’m sure.”
Dakota rose up effortlessly and pushed my seat back, standing before me with both of his hands on the armrest of my chair. He slouched forward and dropped his head beside mine, lips barely touching my earlobe. “How sure are you?”
His breath fanned my neck, scorching my skin in the matter of seconds. “A hundred percent.”
Dakota reeled back, his inky black hair draping his eyes. He combed it back and peered at me, nibbling on the corner of his lip. “That’s disappointing. Because there’s a lot of things I could do to you - I mean for you, as your boyfriend.”
“Like what?” My throat tightened and my chest puffed up. His hungry leer flickered to the spot where the piece of pancake had fallen on my upper thigh; it was near at the end of my short-shorts. If it were only two inches higher, it would’ve been considered my bikini line. The slight glistening color of the maple syrup was visible at any view point, dark against my skin.
Dakota ducked down without much warning, creating a path with his hot tongue. Air exited out of my lungs in a hurry. Watching him do that left my brain in disarray. I didn’t know what to focus on. His crystal blue eyes that were staring back at me unapologetically, his hands that were running up and down my body, or his tongue - doing far more damage than the other two combined.
I brushed his hand off when they found their way to the waistband of my shorts. “Wait,” I exhaled. “I want to try something on you.”