She cooks. This morning – Christmas Eve Eve – I woke up to find her side of the bed empty and generic Christmas spice scent wafting through the door.
I padded naked to the kitchen and found her at the hob, stirring her pot of festive cheer, also naked but for an oversized apron, her pinchable bum and smooth terracotta skin of her back. George Michael was nursing his broken heart through song on the radio.
“I’m making mincemeat.” she said without turning around.
“And why is that?” I carefully put my hand on the small of her back.
She set the spoon down and tested her hip against the counter top.
“I woke up with a craving. I needed mince pies.”
“The Co Op opens at ten.”
“I’ve been up since six. I needed to feel useful. Create. Get my hands dirty. Pastry’s chilling in the fridge. So rich and buttery.”
Finally she turned her chin to face me, her short black hair pushed back with a length of shiny red Christmas ribbon. Her smile was as deep and breathtaking as the ocean at sunset.
“Aren’t you cold?” she asked, running her nail over the duct of my nipple.
“You can help me by rolling out the pastry then.”
I wanted to kiss her but instead I opened the fridge and navigated the pots of cream and packets of salmon and cured meats. She’d cleared a space on the work surface next to her, and ceased her stirring once more to watch me apply the rolling pin. I knew she was admiring the flexion of my arm muscles.
“Don’t lean over too far, you’ll get your tits covered in flour.”
“They’re clean!” I retorted, slicing circles and placing them in the baking tray. “And don’t be stingy with the filling. Tis the season after all.”
Mindful of the potentially dangerous temperature of the mincemeat, I stepped carefully out of her way as she filled the cases, covered them with little pastry hats and slid the tray into the oven.
“20 minutes, says Delia.” she commented, setting the timer and gazing slowly, deliberately at me as she undid her apron. “Lie down.”
“Here. Now. Twenty minutes. Nineteen minutes. Lie down.”
She knew the floor tiles were icy. She knew how uncomfortable it would make me.
I lay down on the floor, sprinkled with plain flour and cinnamon.