When we turned left and rounded the corner, I all but cried when I saw the kitchen. White wooden cabinets lined the wall in an L-shape, toped with gray granite countertops. A matching kitchen island sat in the middle of the room with several bar stools. A massive stainless steel double oven and refrigerator dominate the large space.
“She’s beautiful, isn’t she?” Audrey asked me, a wide grin spreading on her face.
“More like gorgeous.”
“Well she’s all yours, Thomas and I don’t do much cooking. I figured you’d enjoy the room that’s right off the kitchen.” She pointed towards an open door in front of us. “Thomas is bringing pizza home tonight after he gets off of work, but I figured we’d do a cake sampling for dessert?” I rolled my eyes as I dragged my suitcase towards the open room.
“You’re the boss. Speaking of Thomas, how is his work going for him? I imagine being a prosecutor is exciting.” There were a few moments of silence from Audrey before she responded.
“It’s going ok. He is still settling in so nothing too exciting has happened. I have a conference call with a possible client, so I’ll leave you to it. Good luck, though I’m sure you won’t need it.” She winked at me before walking out of the kitchen.
An odd feeling settled in my stomach at the way Audrey sounded. She seemed- worried. What I’m saying? She is getting married in less than two weeks, her nerves are probably through the roof.
Shaking my head, I finished putting my suitcase in my room before tying my hair up in a ponytail. There were bigger things I had to worry about, like preparing for a cake tasting with only several hours of notice.
It was only an hour later, and it looked as though a small bomb had gone off in the kitchen. Flour scattered every visible service in the kitchen. Dirty bowls and measuring cups littered the countertops. I didn’t have to look in a mirror to know that I looked like shit, but it’s ok because I finally got the cake done and in the oven. I am not going to lie, I shed several tears and cut myself several times, but I did it!
Currently, I stood at the oven, waiting for the cake to cool so I could put a minimal layer of icing on top of it. Normally I would painstakingly work on the cake until every speck of icing was perfect, but it was already nearing 6 o’clock and Thomas wasn’t home yet. I wasn’t going to test my luck any further.
Just as I started to clean up the kitchen, I heard footsteps coming closer towards the room. Without turning towards the person, I spoke up. “Yes, I know the kitchen looks terrible but if a certain someone would have given me more notice, I wouldn’t be running around like a chicken with my head cut off.”
The room was silent except for the running water in the sink as I began washing the bowls. “Hell must have frozen over because Audrey Williams has gone silent.”
“Uh- last time I checked I wasn’t Audrey.” A deep voice responded back, causing me to snap around to face them. Declan stood at the entrance of the kitchen, a smirk on his lips as he crossed his arms over his broad chest. Of course, Margaret, just your fucking luck!
My cheeks turned bright red as I did my best to avoid Declan’s eyes. “Sorry I didn’t- I was expecting it to be Audrey because she lives here.” My cheeks brightened even further as I stumbled over my words.
“Obviously.” He spoke dryly as he let his arms fall to his sides. “Don’t you look like shit.”
“Thanks. I appreciate it, knowing that after 9 hours in a car and an hour of scrambling trying to make a cake that I look like shit.” The sarcasm dripped from my voice as I continued to rush around to bring some order into the kitchen.
Declan stared at me for a few moments before shaking his head. “What was your name again?”
“Margaret.” Declan’s nose wrinkled at the sound of my name as he shook his head once more.
“Ok, Maggie? I’m just going to call you Maggie. My grandmother’s name was Margaret-”
“I’d prefer if you’d call me by my actual name.” I propped my hands on my hips as I narrowed my eyes at him.
Declan remained unperturbed by me as he made his way closer towards me. “Maggie, why don’t you clean up and look- more presentable. I’ll finish up here.” I narrowed my eyes at him, wanting to be angry at him for mocking my appearance again but ended up sighing instead. The only way I had a chance of getting everything done before Thomas got home was accepting his help. Even if Declan is being a condescending prick.
Without saying anything, I turned on my heels and began walking towards my bedroom. “Alright, be sure to take the cake out of the oven when the timer goes off.”
I heard Declan let out a dry chuckle as I entered the room. “I know how ovens work Mags.”
“For the love of God, my name is Margaret!”
I had just put the finishing touches on the cake when Thomas walked through the front door, with several pizzas in his hand. It didn’t take long for the four of us to dig into the meal and lull ourselves into an easy conversation.
Audrey and I sat across from Thomas and Declan at the dining room table. We had all finished eating quite some time ago and were now idling chatting. Thomas was currently telling us a story from his college days before he met Audrey. As he told the story, I tried to remain as focused as possible. Throughout the tale, Declan’s foot kept nudging my ankle. At first, I thought it was by accident but after it repeatedly kept happening and the smirk kept growing on Declan’s face every time, he saw my reaction, I knew it was not.
Towards the end of Thomas’ story, Audrey suddenly turned towards me with a smile on her face. “I think it’s time to see what Margaret has come up with for our wedding cake.”
I did not waste any time as I got up from the table, went to the kitchen, and grabbed the prepared slices of cake and brought them to the table.
“So, I managed to combine both of your favorite flavors, banana, and chocolate into one cake. To offset the strong chocolate and banana taste, I just went with a simple vanilla butter creme frosting but that can always be changed.” I explained as I placed the pieces in front of everyone. When I went to set one in front of Declan, he shook his head.
“I’m good. Allergic to bananas.” He spoke, his eyes focused on the empty space in front of him. I shook my head before turning my attention to Audrey and Thomas who had already begun digging into the cake in front of them.
After a few seconds, I heard Audrey moan in bliss as she ate the slice of cake. “You have definitely outdone yourself with this one. Babe, we have to have this as our wedding cake.”
Thomas nodded his head in agreement. “Definitely. This is it. I hope you realize that this means we’ll be paying you for the cake as well Margaret.”
I waved my hand in the air as I took their empty plates. “Don’t worry about it. Consider it my wedding present to you guys.”
As I walked back to the kitchen, I could hear Thomas and Audrey strike another conversation, all while Declan sat back in his chair. His arm now hung over the back of Thomas’ chair as he leaned back. I couldn’t help but stare as the grey t-shirt stretched over Declan’s chest, the material becoming taunt.
When Declan stood up from the chair, I jumped in my spot, dropping one of the plates. The ceramic shattered into several pieces as it scattered across the floor. Audrey, Thomas, and Declan’s eyes floated toward me.
My cheeks became flushed as I stared at the three of them. “Whoops, my bad.” I gave them what I hoped was an apologetic look before crouching behind the island, wincing as I began picking up the remnants of the plate.
Let’s just hope they didn’t catch you staring. Or, more importantly, Declan didn’t catch you staring.