Good morning and welcome to the last Wednesday in February. It’s milder today, 18 F, 7 F with the wind, but that’s a far cry from the -28 F we had two nights ago. It’s snowing at the moment, but there’s no significant accumulation expected. I’m fed up with winter–it seems like the one we had last year never really ended since we didn’t get much of a summer, but I’m looking forward to spring, now only 24 days away.
Thanks again to Sandra Bunino for setting this up each week, and to all of you who read my offerings.
This week, I’d like to share from the short story, There’s Always Tomorrow, which is part of The Food of Love, an anthology of short stories, all 5K and under, written by Solstice authors. Each story revolves around a meal and contains the recipe for a significant dish from the story. Mine is Spicy Pumpkin Soup,but you’ll find recipes for everything from chocolate martinis to Grandma’s meatballs.
Enjoy this tease.
Iris laughed for what she was sure was the first time in years. “People can make soup out of just about anything, Finn. I used to make a cauliflower and cheese soup Dad said was to die for.”
“Well, I love cauliflower and cheese. When can I come to dinner?” Iris looked at him, expecting to see the teasing humor on his face. Instead, she saw sincerity and an eagerness that astonished her.
“I don’t make too many things from scratch these days,” she said apologetically.
“Why not? You have to eat,” he said, polishing off the rest of his soup as the others did. He lowered his voice to keep the conversation between them. “Aren’t the cupboards and counters at the right level for you? I went by the measurements your dad gave me, but if they aren’t right, I can fix them. It would only take a day or so.”
“You’re the one who renovated my grandmother’s house for me?”
“I did. There are still a few things I’d like to add, but you moved in before I could get to them. I was planning on coming to talk to you, and then Rosie called last week and asked me to round out the party tonight… Don’t be too angry with her. She’s been really worried about you—we all have.”
“I’m not angry, surprised maybe that you’d be willing to give up your time for me. What about your wife or girlfriend…”
“If that’s your way of asking if I’m free, the answer is I have no wife or girlfriend, at least not yet, but I’m hoping to change that in the near future. Now, what about those cupboards?”
Iris felt the heat burn her cheeks. “No, I didn’t mean it like that, I…” She saw the muscle in his jaw tense as he fought not to laugh at her. “Damn you, Finn Bowman. Everything is fine. I just didn’t realize you’d done the work. The bill was a lot less than I’d expected.”
“I didn’t charge for the labor. You can get a good size tax break on the materials.”
Iris’s jaw fell open and then snapped shut. It had taken several weeks and at least two hundred man-hours to get that house ready for her. Both bathrooms and the kitchen had been modernized. An elevator had been installed and there wasn’t a nook or cranny inaccessible to her. Outside, the front walk had been reconfigured to take her to the side of the veranda where a lift moved her from street level to the first floor, all done without taking anything away from the picturesque façade of the Queen Anne styled house. At the back, a ramp led from the yard to the back veranda, and another gave her access to the in-ground pool. Everything had been done to make the place as handicapped accessible as possible, but she vowed she’d be able to walk and climb stairs under her own power again one day.
Conversation around the table grew general as the empty soup dishes were replaced by plates of Caesar salad.
“Red or white?” asked Finn as the waiter came to the table with the wine.
“Neither, thanks,” she replied, noting the white was one of her favorite chardonnays.
“Don’t you like wine?” he asked as the server filled his glass with white wine.
“I like it, but I don’t want to take any chances tonight. The last thing I want to do is lose my balance and fall.”
Finn leaned so close to her she could feel his breath tickle the fine hairs on her neck. “Red or white? What kind of an escort would I be if I let you fall?”
I’ve already fallen. Fifteen years ago, and now I’m down for the count.
Don’t miss these other great teases: