The Recipe that Started it All
I sat there speechless, trying to comprehend what I had just heard. Did Nina just say that she killed a dog? I mean, I get it, the piece of shit killed hers, and obviously, the psycho owner wasn’t making the sitch any better; but did she really kill the dog? And why did she save the blood?
I felt like my brain was missing something significant that was blatantly staring me right in the face, yet there seemed to be a disconnect—something I couldn’t see, or maybe something my consciousness hadn’t wanted me to see.
I don’t know.
I only understood that I needed to know everything. I wouldn’t turn back now. I’ve come this far. Besides, I am Alexis Tremaine, dammit! I never back down. I was riding this story out till the very end.
I took a sip of my neglected coffee and scrunched my face at the cold, bitter taste that graced my lips. Damn, I was so caught up in Nina’s story that I let my drink get cold. I set the fragile china cup gently back down onto its matching saucer, resting on the light pine coffee table.
Nina must have caught my actions as she smiled and motioned for Lydia to replace my beverage with a fresh one.
Wow. I hadn’t even realized that Lydia was in the room with us.
As Lydia switched out my cup, I could have sworn I saw a weird smirk on her face, but then it was gone, replaced by her emotionless, cold stare. I suppressed the laughter wanting to bubble up to the surface as two words popped into my head when I looked at Lydia Todd.
God, that woman gives me the fucking creeps. I took a sip of my newly provided coffee and settled back into the leather chair, ready to listen to the rest of Nina Salvatore’s story.
3rd Person POV 5 and ½ years ago
Nina worked well into the night, preparing a multitude of desserts for Anabelle Adler’s dinner party that was taking place later that evening.
She prepared her signature Chocolate Stout cupcakes with brown sugar buttercream and candied bacon, Blood Orange cupcakes with cream cheese buttercream, a pumpkin chiffon cheesecake, Butterscotch cream pie with toasted meringue, and a few assorted small cookies, Russian teacakes, and gingerbread with eggnog icing. All her desserts were either packaged or chilling in the fridge until it was time to be picked up by whatever lapdog Anabelle sent over to retrieve them.
Nina Smiled at herself. She knew she rocked it. The desserts she chose may have been a bit simple, but she knew she could whip out her easy go-to treats in no time due to the time constraints. All Nina had left to do was prepare the final treat. One that was personalized for Anabelle Adler herself.
Nina placed her double boiler on the stove. She added the necessary ingredients, 90% dark chocolate, blondie chocolate, Mexican chocolate, ruby chocolate, chocolate liqueur, cinnamon, apple jelly, and of course, some of the contents from the transparent container; the dark red viscous fluid that she had recently acquired.
Once the chocolate had melted altogether, Nina removed it from the double boiler and began tempering it; lastly setting it into a tray for cooling.
While the chocolate cooled, Nina prepared her burnt butter cookie dough. When the chocolate had solidified completely, she cracked the tray’s contents, resulting in the formation of several chunks and shards of shiny chocolate, ready to be folded along with roasted pecans into the cookie dough batter.
Nina baked a small batch, just enough for Anabelle under the guise of an olive branch. The beautifully decorated red box with a gold ribbon and an attached card from Nina would provide the perfect ruse. Anabelle was the type who loved to gloat and bask in the piteous apologies from those she’s wronged. Nina knew it would be perfect. When she had initially researched what desserts she should make for tonight’s event, she had been informed that Anabelle had a penchant for chocolate chip cookies; apparently, her one vice for junk food.
Nina was confident in her baking skills well enough to know that the flavors were well balanced even without tasting her monstrosity of a creation. The blood’s coppery taste would be masked just enough that no one would be able to discern anything other than a very chewy and flavorful chocolate chunk cookie.
Anabelle flittered about her home, shouting orders at the caterers, and servants as they completed the final preparations for her dinner party. As usual, her pathetic husband was hiding out in his study until it would be time to make his appearance as the ever-doting spouse, who was far from what he indeed was. The man only married her for appearances; it was made clear when Nathan first began courting her. He came from old money, and his family was very old fashioned. So much so that the only way dear hubby would receive his millions was if he pretended to be what they wanted and, of course, produced an heir to the family fortune. The two had been married a few years, and it came as no surprise that his family was beginning to question the validity of their union since Anabelle failed to produce an offspring. She and Nathan had the talk and agreed that she would have to suck it up and get pregnant. He would provide his sperm, and they would have her artificially inseminated in secret. God knew the man wouldn’t touch her himself. She was equipped with the wrong parts, after all. Sadly, it seemed as though her sex life was going to have to slow down for a bit, at least till after the baby was born. She rationalized with herself that her abstinence was but a small sacrifice if it meant continuing to live in the lifestyle she so deserved. The child she would provide could easily be passed on to a nanny to look after; that thing would be none of her concern once it was out of her womb.
Anabelle had sent over a couple of younger servants to pick up the desserts from that bitch, Nina Salvatore’s house a while ago. As she perused the bounty of foods set on the long buffet table, she caught sight of her returned employees toting several desserts and oddly a red gift box with a gold bow and card attached.
She nodded her head, directing the staff to set the desserts down for Anabelle to examine in the kitchen. Surprisingly, they looked and smelled amazing. She had honestly expected Nina to try and challenge her by sending over crappy desserts or perhaps even nothing. Anabelle was prepared to use store-bought items if needed. But to her surprise, it wasn’t necessary. The red box was placed in front of her. Anabelle arched her eyebrow questioningly at the black-haired teen who stood in wait for further instruction.
“Um, she … Mrs. Salvatore … asked us to bring this to you. She said that this is yours, personally.”
“She said that this … is for me?”
Anabelle didn’t trust it. She opened the box, and her senses were immediately assaulted by the most heavenly scent she’d ever smelled, chocolate chip cookies.
Something seemed off. Anabelle knew she’d pissed off Nina, so why would she go to the trouble of making Anabelle cookies?
She cautiously read the attached note.
I realize that we seem to have gotten off to a horrible start. I understand the error of my ways and do hope that you could perhaps allow us to move past this indiscretion. As you said, I do not wish for anything to happen that would endanger my husband’s livelihood. My silence is guaranteed, and as a token of my sincerity, I hope you enjoy these cookies that I have prepared especially for you. They are an old family recipe that has been around for ages. My wish is that you taste my sincerity with every bite.
Once again, my deepest apologies.
Anabelle was surprised that the spitfire Nina Salvatore had so easily bowed down to her display of power, but then again, people always did. Anabelle never made idle threats, and those who had doubted her capabilities found out the hard way that she was not to be trifled with. Perhaps, Nina Salvatore had been warned by her little cronies, thus the speedy attempt at groveling. She smirked at how easily yet another piddly fool was brought down off their soapbox.
Anabelle stared at all the desserts once again. Nina may have apologized, but that didn’t mean that Anabelle trusted her.
She called out to the two elderly female servants that were currently dusting and vacuuming the area.
“Yes, Mrs. Adler.” They replied in unison.
“I need these set up for easy service. Please tray the cupcakes and cookies as well as slice and plate the pies. I also want either or both of you; I don’t care which, to taste every one of these desserts, including these cookies. Once you’re done, inform me if there is anything wrong with them.”
The women looked at her confused but nodded their heads in acquiescence to her demands none the less.
“Well … what are you waiting for. Chop chop. Get to it. I don’t have all day.”
The two startled women swiftly began prepping the desserts as per Anabelle’s request. Once the desserts had been laid out, they began sampling each and every dessert; with every sugary treat tasted, the women asserted how delicious the baked items were. Anabelle nodded her head in approval, and the servants transported the desserts over to the main buffet area. To her surprise, the cookies had received the most significant compliment. Both women had described them as heavenly and unlike anything they had ever tasted before. They asserted that these were the best chocolate chunk cookies they had ever tried. Anabelle grabbed one of the delicious looking cookies from the red box and warily took a bite. Her tastebuds were overloaded with every delicious flavor contained within these cookies. They were so chewy, so buttery, and the chocolate was definitely a mixture of something she had never experienced before in her life. These cookies were simply amazing. She nodded her head and smugly smiled to herself. It appeared that Nina Salvatore had a hidden cash cow here, and Anabelle was going to use that to her advantage.
It looks like Anabelle was going into the cookie business.
Now, if she could only find where the hell her dog went off to.