Written / Cooking On High


Chapter 35

There was something different in the air that day. It was a kitchen, there had better be. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be the kind of place you wanted to eat food from. Each day there were the usual smells Fry had come to love. The pots of stock and sauces prepping. The bones and vegetables roasting. The fresh ingredients being prepared. Parboiling, baking, mixing, chopping, pounding... she loved that place.

She entered the breakroom and suited up.

French stood before the stove gazing at the pot. There was nothing remarkable about it. That’s if you worked with twenty-five gallon stainless steel stock pots on a regular basis. What had happened inside it was another matter. Could have been the lamb bones... but she didn’t think so. The vegetables were a possibility. Most likely, it was everything, conspiring together. It wasn’t a conspiracy she minded, it just would have been nice to know what made it happen. That’s how you repeat something to get the same effect a second and third time, and have a menu and a restaurant as a result.

She’d intended to make a stock. Nothing fancy, nothing she hadn’t done once or twice and couldn’t do in her sleep. But here was something subtly different. Stock may have been a magical ingredient to many dishes and sauces, but it was also a fundamental thing in a kitchen. A backbone kind of thing, a foundation. Consistency was a good idea in a stock and this stock wasn’t doing what it ought, which was curious considering she hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary to it.

Nevertheless, it was extraordinary. Something that was supposed to be simple, had become something more. The more she thought about it, the more it reminded her of someone in particular.

Fry walked through the kitchen and French motioned her over. She dipped a spoon in the pot and held it out for her to taste. Fry had become accustomed to French’s abbreviated manners at work. She was pleased that the chef seemed back to her usual self.

Fry blew on the liquid in the spoon. This tasting procedure was one of the reasons Fry wasn’t surprised at French’s grab for the remote the night before. She’d given up trying to take the spoon from French the first couple of times they’d done it and French had slapped her hands away. Fry gave a nod and sipped the stock from the spoon.

Her mouth filled with a deliriously velvety tone. She’d never tasted something that had such a richly vibrant quality to it. Her eyes closed involuntarily and had she been paying attention to irrelevant details, she would have heard herself moan.

Fry popped her eyes open. “More.”

French would have laughed at Fry’s enthusiasm had it not been for a nagging feeling she’d developed about the spoon. It was odd to suddenly have a feeling about a spoon. She put it down and selected another. They tried it again.

This time Fry took the whole spoon into her mouth. She wasn’t going to miss a drop. Her eyes closed for a second time.

French was riveted. Her whole focus was on that spoon and she knew damned well what that feeling was. She was jealous.

Fry was lost in a haze of sensation. That stock had overrun her palate and trampled her senses, in the most delightful way. It had depth, that liquid did. It was beautiful, it was bold. It was French. No, it was an extension of French, distilled and prepared for her. She needed more, but knew instinctively she wouldn’t ever be satisfied until she’d tasted the source. Without it, she might starve. She opened her eyes.

French stood before her. Not looking at her, so much as at her mouth, or was it the spoon? She realized she’d not let it go. She let French take it out. There was a quiet ‘pop’ as it came free of her lips. Fry wasn’t completely out of the haze that had gripped her and a mantra of ‘More’ had picked up of it’s own accord in her head. As if in a trance she reached up and grasped French behind the neck and pulled her down to her mouth for another taste. She wasn’t disappointed.

If the broth was in any way a distillation of French in liquid form, she’d added a lot of water. What hit her when she moved her greedy tongue into French’s mouth without so much as a ‘Howdie do, may I come in?’ was a full bodied, no holds barred, knee melting flavor experience.

Good thing French’s reflexes were on auto pilot. Because her manual drive was offline. She’d caught Fry as she’d begun to drop and held her fast by the waist, giving her free reign in the kissing department. French appreciated a skilled employee, and she knew when to help and when to stay out of the way.

As Fry kissed her deeply, French’s dormant impulses began to stir. They stretched after their long hibernation. Sure, she’d felt something when she’d kissed Fry in the alley last week, but that had been more of an unconscious reflex, the rest of her body hadn’t been awake for the experience. It was waking up now.

She felt a warmth spreading through her body. It was intensifying exponentially with each stroke of Fry’s tongue into her mouth. It was making her own knees go less than solid. Without letting Fry slip, she leaned back onto the counter to support them both. No sense letting anything so meddlesome as physics get in the way of a good kiss.

French recognized the feeling building up in her long unaroused body. It was an urge alright.

The rest of the staff worked on as if nothing was happening. Or so it would have looked to the unseasoned eye. Andre had almost dropped the piece of the grille he’d removed to clean. As it was, he’d applied more of the cleaner to his jacket than the scouring pad. Sonny and the others weren’t faring much better. No one knew what to make of the sudden display of affection in their midst. It was kind of distracting.

Barbra walked into the kitchen. She’d wondered why there was a group gathered at the door and no one had come in or out. She wasn’t sure she was glad of the answer.

“Well, I thought I might find you in here. I just didn’t expect you’d be in there.” She said to no one in particular, because Fry sure as hell wasn’t hearing her.

She shrugged and left. There was only so much of that kind of thing she could look at and last an entire shift before getting home to Michael. “There better not be a damned fire in this town tonight,” she muttered. “My fireman will be otherwise detained.”

It wasn’t that Fry hadn’t heard Barbra, it’s that her words took a real long time to line up in her mind in any way that approximated sense. With a start, she dislocated her lips from French’s. “We’re at work!” she squeaked.

French gave her a look. “And?”

Fry looked around at the staff, half trying, half failing to look preoccupied. Then she saw her coworkers in the doorway. Eddy gave her a thumbs up. “Ohhh...” She groaned and let her forehead fall onto French’s chest. The chef had let her down so that she was standing on her own feet again.

“Well, I guess you’re all fired up to get out there and get to it then.” French was amused that Fry was trying to hide in her cleavage. She wasn’t that well endowed. Everyone could see the lovely shade of red that had overtaken Fry’s features. French looked up and directed a heated stare around the room and over her shoulder. It cleared the air and the doorway and made the atmosphere a little more normal, for Bachanal anyway.

Fry peeked around again and felt less crowded. She looked up at French to gauge a reaction. French smiled and leaned forward again, perfectly happy to pick up where they’d left off.

Fry put out a halting hand. “I’m going to run along now. Maybe we should talk later? Okay?”

French’s nose twitched. “Tease.”

Fry slipped out of French’s grasp and beat it for the door. Before she was out entirely she looked back and said, “Great stock.”


It was a long morning. Fry wanted to hide half the time and revisit French and her lips the other half. It made for an interesting mind state. Barbra kept an eye on her and Miguel tried to distract her by picking on her relentlessly. She’d come to recognize this as one of his many nervous ticks. It wasn’t helping.

Every time she had to go in the kitchen she tried not to look at French, but that was useless. French smiled that predatory smile that as much said, ‘Tease me will you?’ as it screamed it. She should have known French would take it personally.

Fry was getting a lot of challenging tables. This was Barbra’s strategy to keep her preoccupied. At the height of the lunch rush she had a table of six that she couldn’t believe. It was as if the cast of “90210” decided to make her life hell. What had she ever done to them?

There were six young men and women. Kit, Brent, Chip, Bunny, Winnie and Muffin. Winnie wanted to know if any of the beef that was used in the restaurant might have Mad Cow’s disease. Chip couldn’t abide anything on the menu, mainly because he was having trouble pronouncing any of it. Brent looked like a nice guy until he opened his mouth and told Winnie to shut up and stop being such an environmentalist. Bunny whined that he was always picking on Winnie and if they liked each other that much they should get a room. Fry was sure that Kit had his hand somewhere inappropriate. And either Muffin had a pronounced tick in her eye, or she wasn’t the kind of girlfriend Brent thought she was.

Fry rested her head back on her locker. She had calmed down some and gotten a better handle on her senses. She couldn’t believe what she’d done with French earlier. It’s not like she wasn’t passionate by nature and didn’t enjoy getting sweaty. It’s that the idea of doing it for a crowd wasn’t her thing. Work had brought her back to earth. Her tables had thinned out. She was taking a breather.

She needed one after the entitled gang of six had finally moved on to terrorize someone else. Their tip had stunk, until she’d found a $50.00 bill and a note tucked under Muffin’s plate. Luckily, she’d seen it before the table had been bussed. She couldn’t imagine the kind of thing she’d have had to put up with if someone else had seen that note. She wondered if French would be jealous.

Why wonder, when the object of her mental wondering was bearing down on her that very moment.

“Got’cha.” French said as she leaned down and kissed her. Fry was easy to sneak up on, her head was in the clouds half the time.

Fry let herself be kissed and then some. She’d asked for it, apparently. No one kissed French and walked away without repercussions. She would gladly suffer them at any time. French had the most wonderful way of touching her hair as she kissed her, it added to the whole mind blowing experience. But this time, Fry knew for sure they were at work.

Well, she knew it after she returned from the mini mental holiday she’d been on. In that time French had her tie undone and was working on the buttons of her shirt. You might think that this was a long way to get before Fry had been able to pull the busy fingers from her shirt front, but French wasn’t playing fair. She’d ducked her head and kissed the soft sensitive skin of Fry’s earlobe. Fry gave a shove and was able to move French off of her an inch.

“I’m not sure we should be doing this. My boss is pretty strict.”

“Not to worry. She’s a pushover. Everyone says so.” French couldn’t figure out why Fry was squirming around so much.

“She’s also going through a lot right now, and I’m not sure that this is the kind of thing she needs to help her mood.” Fry caught one of French’s hands as it was tugging at her apron strings.

“I disagree. This is very life affirming. She’s all for it.”

“What happened to you being confused?”

“I’m not confused.”

“Remember, a couple of days ago you said, ‘I don’t know what I want anymore.’ Sounds like confusion to me.”

“I didn’t then, I do now. Crisis over, problem solved. Come here.” French pulled Fry to her, using her undone tie as a grip. She should have guessed nothing would be simple with Fry. Not even this.

Fry put her hands out to arrest French’s progress. “I want to take it a little slower.”

“Fine. I’ll let Brian take over and we can take a long lunch break.”



“I meant like maybe talk a bit, go on a date or something. Slower, like that.” Fry was getting flustered.

French looked at her dumbfounded. The woman couldn’t be serious.

“I know it’s a new concept for you.” Fry pressed on. “But I think it might be fun. Please? We could go out to Gillman Rock and take a picnic. Maybe pick some strawberries while we’re there.”

It wasn’t the worst euphemism French had ever heard. But if Fry thought she was waiting for a date to pick her strawberries she was out of her mind. Then something Barbra said came back to haunt her aroused and insistent thoughts. Something to the effect that not everything revolved around her own needs. But for cryin’ out loud, did that have to apply to sex too?

Maybe being a half decent person would be easier without a sex drive. If she pushed Fry and she wasn’t ready she’d have to see that embarrassed, uncomfortable look on her face afterward. She hated that face. Nothing made her move on faster than that face. Things had been so much simpler before, she hadn’t given a damn about people’s facial expressions then.

“I suppose I could try it.” French conceded.

“You won’t regret it. Not by a long shot.”

Before Fry knew it French was up close, looking her right in the eye. “I better not. As long as we’re getting to know each other, you should probably know I’m not the kind that likes to be teased.”

“Lucky me. Now could you let go of my tie? It’s getting hard to breath.”

“Oh, sorry.” French released it and buttoned up the few buttons she’d managed to undo before Fry’s family values attack. She carefully took the tie up and began to tie that as well.

“What are you doing?”

“Fixing your tie, what does it look like?” French asked.

“I can’t go out there with your knot in my tie!”

“Why not? It’ll be neat for once. You really know how to murder a Windsor knot, know that?”

“Exactly. I go out there with a neat knot and everyone will think we’ve been... well, you know.”

“Newsflash. They already assume we are. So let me tie it for you.” French said.

Fry groaned again and gave up. “Great. I can’t wait for Miguel to notice it. It’s like you’ve marked me or something.”

French gave her a slow smile and reeled her in again. “Fry, when I mark you, you’ll know it. Trust me. Now quit squirming and let me finish or I’ll truss you up like a game hen. Then you’ll keep still.”

“Oooh goody, culinary bondage.”

French finished the knot and poked Fry in the side for good measure. She enjoyed the resulting squeal so much, she did it again. It was even more fun when Fry doubled up on herself, she really did look like a hedgehog then.

A knocking sound brought them back from the brink of Fry’s wetting the carpet.

It was Barbra, discreetly standing off to the side of the open door. “I don’t know what you’re doing to my waitress in there, but it had better not be permanent. We’ve got two parties of ten. Do you want me to send them away, or are you going to give Miguel a break? His age is showing.”

“Her waitress!?” French started for the door to correct Barbra in person, but Fry had grabbed her and pulled her back.

“I’ll be right there.” She called over French’s shoulder.

“Says who?” French wanted to know.

“Says me. I may be the chef’s new plaything, but I’ll be damned if I’m a docile one. Miguel is going to die when he sees my shirt.”

“You always look a bit rumpled. No one will notice.” French smiled.

Continued in Chapter 36.

Brulee: cremebruleeATmyrealboxDOTcom

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