In response to a ‘food’ challenge posted on one of the groups.
Ned ran his hand through his hair and gave a frustrated tug. He couldn’t get over how organized he was when working downstairs in the club while being so bloody flustered up here in their kitchen.
“Maybe trying to cook a meal on my own after only two lessons is kinda pushing it,” he muttered to himself. “Not giving myself enough time is also adding to the pressure to get this done before Flynn gets here.”
Glancing at the table he’d just set, he groaned a silent admission that it didn’t look anything like the way Liam had showed him. Unable to remember the proper placement of the cutlery, Ned had settled for bunching forks, knives and spoons together on the left side of the plastic placemats. Having no inclination for attempting fancy napkin art, he merely folded two pieces of plain, white, paper towels in half and slipped them under the silverware.
Getting two dinner plates out of the cupboard, he saw one had a bit of dried-on food from a previous meal. He quickly washed it off and dried the plate on the front of his shirt before setting them both on the table.
“Damn it!” he hollered as he rushed over to pull the overflowing pot off the burner. Liam had told him good cooks taste the food periodically during cooking. He had tasted it a few minutes ago and the potatoes had still been a bit crunchy. Now they were probably overcooked.
“Oh well, I’m gonna mash them anyway,” he reasoned, carefully draining off the water to avoid burning himself. He already cut his finger peeling the darn things and thought he’d gotten off easy when the bandage he’d put on had come off in the sink instead of the salad.
He frowned mournfully when he finished mashing the potatoes and noticed the small flecks of missed peel in them.
“Screw it!” he hotly declared, and proceeded to dump the vegetables in a bowl. “Extra fiber is good for us.”
Next he painstakingly removed the broccoli he’d cooked, from pot to serving bowl with a slotted spoon, taking care to only transfer the top two-thirds of it. “Hope the burnt smell doesn’t affect the taste,” he murmured, still not quite willing to admit he was in over his head.
“At least the meat will be good.” He’d cheated by purchasing an already cooked chicken from a neighbourhood store.
Ned had barely finished setting the meal on the table when his partner arrived home.
Flynn paused outside the door of their private suite and wrinkled up his nose at the odour coming from within. Unable to guess what it was, he briefly wondered if maybe cooking dirty socks smelled like that.
Once inside, he realized with some alarm that Ned had indeed been cooking; although for the life of him he couldn’t figure out why. Ned absolutely loathed doing anything even vaguely resembling food preparation. Following the light whiffs of residue smoke floating in the air, he headed for the kitchen where his worse fears were confirmed.
“Surprise!” Ned merrily announced, a big grin of self-satisfaction lighting up his face and his arms spread wide.
“Indeed it is,” Flynn dryly commented as he took in the mess. The small counter was almost completely hidden by debris and splatters of food dotted the floor. He silently questioned his eyesight about seeing a couple droplets of blood among the potato peelings but instantly decided he didn’t want to go there.
Not picking up on his partner’s lack of enthusiasm, Ned pulled out a chair. “Here, have a seat. We don’t want supper getting cold, do we?”
“Heaven forbid,” Flynn responded and reluctantly accepted the invitation. He surveyed the food on the table and made up his mind to make the best of things for Ned’s sake. As unappetizing as it all looked and smelled, he did appreciate the effort made to please him.
Ned watched the older man struggling to eat and soon realized Flynn was forcing it down in order not to hurt his feelings.
“I’ve been getting cooking lessons from Liam. I guess I should have waited until I caught on more before trying to do it on my own, but I was anxious to surprise you.”
“Well you certainly accomplished that, my pet.”
“I’m gonna get better, Flynn. I just have to give it more time. A few more lessons and a lot more practise and I’ll be okay. I’m really enjoying it more than I ever thought I would and probably should have done it long before now.”
“I’m sure all that’s true, Ned. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to do all this without any help. The chicken is certainly delicious.”
Ned screwed up his face. “Yeah, well, I didn’t cook it. I bought it from the deli down the street,” he embarrassingly confessed. “I only had to heat it up.”
“And you heated it up perfectly, love.” Flynn laughed when the younger man merely rolled his eyes at the teasing.
“Is there any dessert?” Flynn dared to ask, rather hoping for a negative response. He got to his feet and carried their dirty dishes over to the sink.
“Sure there is. And it’s one of your favourites.” Ned stood up and fetched two small bowls from the refrigerator.
Sitting down again, Flynn tentatively moved the mound of whipped cream aside to discover some chocolate pudding underneath it. He was thankful for Ned’s fondness of this artificial white stuff that came in an aerosol can, as it was in all likelihood responsible for making the brown, lumpy mass it covered anywhere near palatable.
“Not bad at all,” Flynn mused around a mouthful. He was almost beginning to enjoy it when he bit into a small lump of dry pudding mix. He quickly shovelled in more cream to make swallowing easier.
Seeing his partner’s actions, Ned offered an explanation. “I only used a spoon to mix it. I figured it would dissolve fast as it said ‘instant’ on the box.”
Flynn shook his head in loving exasperation. “Still too nervous to use the hand mixer, right?” he asked, remembering the last time Ned had used it. The cord had fallen off the appliance and into the cake batter. Ned had immediately picked it up and before Flynn could stop him, had put it in his mouth to lick it clean. He’d received a bit of an electric shock at the time, as well as a couple of hard swats for his carelessness.
“Not exactly. I didn’t even think to use it. I sorta knew I had bitten off more than I could chew but stubbornly carried on. Sorry about the mess and all.” Ned sighed dejectedly and slumped back in his seat.
Flynn reached across the table and clasped the younger man’s hand in his own. “Ned, sweetheart, this was a very thoughtful act on your part. I want you to know I appreciated it very much. I can tell you made an honest effort to do your best. And you’re right; you will get better in time….much better. I am thrilled with you finally showing an interest in cooking. Taking lessons without my knowledge in order to surprise me makes it a wonderful gift of love as far as I’m concerned.” He smiled at the change of expression on his sub’s handsome face.
Ned blushingly smiled back, grateful for his Dom’s kind words of encouragement. They were a healing balm to his injured spirit.
“Well at least I can still make a fairly decent cup of coffee for you and there are some store-bought cookies in the pantry. And thank you for patiently suffering through this first attempt of mine.” Ned got up, walked around the table and fervently kissed his lover.
“Coffee and cookies sound great. After which we can pay a visit to the playroom if you like.” Flynn laugh when Ned looked at him as if he’d grown a second head.
“And just when have I not liked?” Ned gleefully retorted.