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Old 11-14-2012, 07:27 PM   #1
a_subtle_whore
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Heat, blood, and bones. (Closed for LightIce)

Tana had been on vacation for four days and was starting to feel like a coke fiend on the wrong end of a high. A relatively reliable internal alarm had woken her, though she did not, at the moment, have a reason to get up.

Sunlight slanted warm through the bars over her window, painting fat gold stripes along the bare flesh of her back. It was the hazily-defined stroke of a lazy lover, sleepy imaginary fingers sliding with an aimless possession over the darkly-inked curve of shoulder, the vulnerable archipelago of vertebrae half-risen from the ocean of her skin. It was the only sunlight she had known in three, nearly four years, and she was used to bustling through the shower and down the street, damp hair twisted up in a merciless bun, white coat flapping in the wake-breeze of her bike, awake and out only long enough to watch the sun slide like a perfect yolk over the edge of the skyline.

By the time it fell entirely, with scrabbling, stretching rays of saffron and paprikash and clementine zest, she'd be setting up her station and laying out the evening's plans, each "Yes, Chef" settling with warm satisfaction in a hungry stomach. When she was finally dragging herself home, pedaling more slowly as even the knife roll in her basket felt lead-heavy, the sun would have been gone for hours.

Still, that trendy twit had closed them for a month, now, shuttered the windows and pulled out the tables to renovate. He claimed that when they returned it would be to the kitchen of their dreams and exacting specifications, that their endless menu-planning meetings would see fruition in a new and exciting "experience".

As long as he didn't fucking say "fusion", "nouvelle Americain", or "panini", Tana supposed she could bear it.

The brunette threw herself into the shower with the violent grace that imbued every motion, whether she was skirting the produce truck as she braked and slid into the alley where the delivery men backed in or arguing, profanely and passionately, for why they weren't paying for a gross of gaping oysters and exactly whose mother he could do what to if he thought she was keeping these pearl-grey bioweapons. She scrubbed the night from her skin and pondered her "morning".

She'd already run her nine-to-five friends ragged with her late night, later morning schedule, and most of her coworkers were exploiting a month of freedom to travel or pay more than glancing attention to their families. With a toothbrush hard at work between her freckled lips and her cinnamon-sugar hair twisted into a towel turban, she scrolled through her contacts list, looking for someone who'd be up for something like fun.

Her cursor froze over one name, and she spat into the sink with more vitriol than was probably required. He didn't have fun. He had wrong opinions about risotto and a whole list of foh-hos he'd slept with or lied about sleeping with. He was a miserable lump of passion, talent, and artistry that nearly matched her own- only nearly, now, mind you- and one of the coolest heads under pressure she knew. He was stubborn, charming, dependable, and maybe the only person she'd ever trust to cook her eggs.

He was perhaps the closest thing she had to a compatriot. Speed-text moved her fingers faster than her temper, and it was sent, now. Either he'd respond or he wouldn't, and she probably wouldn't be happy either way.

"Going mad yet? I'd cook for a whole table full of vegan gluten-free raw tourists if it got me out of the house."
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:10 PM   #2
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The sound of his phone wasn’t entirely unfamiliar. Or rather, it was familiar enough that he knew the digital chime was his phone and not some figment of his suddenly rested and idle mind. This was a consequence he had not immediately considered. On the surface, as the conversation had drawn on, he’d envisioned elegance and relaxation. It hadn’t occurred to him that he’d no idea what an actual vacation felt like, anymore, and worse, still, was his absolute lack of friends to share the time with.

A kitchen had its way of devouring you. The irony wasn’t lost on those who made them their home. Home, was and remained a fitting term. There were nights he had only left to shower, to change, and then he’d returned and taken up what it was he’d never seemed able to put down.

His life sustained because he was relentless. Because, for the long hours and the pittance he was paid, there was something compelling about the craft. The people were no saving grace. He could only feign interest in grandiose schemes and dreams for so long before he reclaimed his place amidst the stainless steel confines of his home. There were only so many times he could suffer the endless surprises that came up when the most simple of tasks were failed with any semblance of patience and grace.

And, of course, there was the willowy upstart who had been something of a revelation amidst her youthful peers and been hired as some kind of experiment by the man who signed his paychecks. It wasn’t that uncommon, mind, but annoying all the same. The girl’s talent, thankfully, was beyond reproach. She’d several years of experience, learning, that would inevitably make her very good. It seemed too likely, though, that she’d end up on the arm of a trust fund darling and wind up operating her own series of eateries while her dutiful husband cashed checks.

Young women, and she’d have been stunning if it wasn’t for the fact she’d the means of a woman convinced her shit did not stink, made terrible chefs for this reason. They’d no real conviction. No appreciation. They found food romantic and charming and never forged the necessary realization in their minds as to what it really meant. What it was.

Thirty. He was turning thirty. How long until she turned thirty? Five years? Six? The thought was on its way through his mind and down into the place where the garbage went when he finally took up the IPhone and saw her name bubbled upon the screen. Life had its moments, he admitted, when its sense of humor was bold as brass. Bold as chocolate. Bold as…

He lifted a hand and ran his scarred and calloused fingers over his jawline, tracking the sharp line of it and beyond onto the column of his throat. The strength of his hands, their rough warmth, soothing him briefly against the ache that two days idle could bring. He’d skipped the gym, too. His entire routine was off. It only made sense she’d text him now, all perky and clever, when he’d every desire to force himself to sleep away this waste of a day.

“We better get you out of the house. I don’t want you poisoning anyone.”

The quip had an edge to it. He found himself aware of the need, the great desire, to pick at her once more. There was something to it that afforded his days a small spark they now sorely lacked. She’d a passable wit amidst the kitchen’s bustle. And, when things were at their worst, they’d found themselves at their sharpest. In the small horrors of their exchanges, though, they’d both found calm in rough waters. It took the edge off. The Kitchen, as far as he was concerned, was his to command. And, as she’d grown into it, he’d made her pay to make it hers as well. Each quip carried with it some small penance. And, in the end, helped form the rhythm of them as they handled a rush with inhuman precision. He was proud, reluctantly, of that. He’d make sure never to tell her so.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:09 PM   #3
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Tana had begun to dress for the day when he responded, and he was not nearly so enrapturing that she would rush through the opportunity to discover the mysteries at the bottom of the laundry bag. She snapped open a pair of jeans so exactingly folded and so long compressed by the weight of time and neglect that the lines along which they'd been packed were pressed into creases. It was an interesting representation of the amount of time she spent in clothing of her own choosing.

Absently twisting and fluffing the denim between her hands, she took a moment to stare out her window. The clouds drifted like dragons-beard candy on a field of sky so perfectly, crisply blue it made her unaccustomed eyes ache. She let her gaze slip down over striped awnings and brash neon signs, over the strikingly -directed- crowds of the bustling neighborhood she lived in. She had never seen so many people move with so much purpose in any other city. You could choose one at will and follow him or her for blocks, a voyeur with a hideously overpriced, half-disintegrated falcon's perch of uninsulated brick and raw wide-plank flooring.

Her only goal upon joining these teeming masses was to work in a real, professional kitchen. When apartment ads referred inscrutably to "orig flr" and "xposd hrdwr", she had begun instead scanning the bolded digits next to the dollar sign. With a meager savings and strapped but indulgent parents, she had gone for the first unit she could afford. It had turned out, in some ways, to be a mistake- the bathroom was hardly big enough to turn around in, and "xposd hrdwr' was evidently shorthand for "big ugly pipes painted purple once, in the seventies, with all sorts of ominously creaky knobs and knots, may contain either nothing or massive nightmare-rats". Still, she had a short commute, a radiator in the hall she could lock her bike to, and a fire escape that had seen more than one late, too hot to sleep night.

As the blonde in the blue coat she'd been watching finally left her field of vision, Tana exited her reverie. Sliding on her thoroughly crumpled jeans, she was satisfied to find them settling low around lean hips. Her mother's first caution was that she'd gain weight working around all that food- and, to her joy, it seemed the opposite had proven true. Thanks to nights too busy to break from and days when the last thing she wanted to think about was the effort of preparing a meal she wasn't being paid for, she'd found a happy, athletic medium between rawboned and plump.

Her heavy breasts were selected by genetics and blessed by youth, the curve of her ass only slightly more compact and toned to steely firmness by an eighth-floor walk up and long shifts on her feet. Her throat was almost gawkishly long, somewhat too extreme for the adjective "elegant", and the thumbprint dimples at either side of the flared joining of the base and her back were highlighted by slightly sloped, delicately architectural shoulders. She possessed a strong, sleek back with a graceful and deep scoop just before it married the softly-padded swell of backside, thighs and calves turned exquisitely on the lathe of athleticism.

What had changed in the kitchen was her skin. She'd earned more than her share of scars- a burn here, a blade there, this one from a carelessly-banded lobster- and the constant heat and sweat had left her clear-faced and resolutely opposed to makeup. Every new consideration of her complexion or coloring was now wrapped up in spices, flavors- hair like roasted cornsilk or scalded caramel, eyes that considered lazily whether tuscan rosemary or glossy bay leaves were more in vogue. Her skin made her think of the blue-white glow around the edges of raw milk, bloomed over with powdered carob freckles or blushed with rosewater granita.

She found her phone beneath the loose, slinky jersey she'd selected and tugged the one on while pulling up the text on the other. The fabric had barely had time to grow warm against her skin before she responded, the construction of the wide boat neckline as crisply edged as her smile.

"I'd never poison a vegan. They're making themselves miserable enough on their own. Coffee or beer?"
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:46 PM   #4
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His had been, and would continue to be, a demanding means of which to live whilst buried so intently within the tactless prison of their industry. There was a schedule. A routine. He spent almost all of his waking hours preparing food and that did not cease to be the case when he returned home. A love of food had married a quiet, private love of nutrition. There were weights that he lifted. A treadmill he ran upon. A pull-up bar in every doorway. If food was his life than fitness was his salvation. His lover. His curse.

The marriage was presently on a short break.

Once his routine had been interrupted, or so it felt, he'd simply lost his momentum. The meals remained lean. Precisely portioned. This was as much a consequence of happy circumstance than diligence. He loved eating well. The food. The way it came together. It was a nice contrast from the gorgeous, albeit unhealthy, creations that were common at the place that most would call work and those pained few within would call home.

Still, he loved it. The bold truth of it was something he did not ever attempt to deny. For him, whether suffering the occasional burns or frequent days without real time to relax, there was a certain joy in it all. He'd found it in the strangest of ways. Sampling something new. A moment when flavors blended in an unexpected, but wonderful way. For the grounded practicality with which he approached his kitchen there was a liberal creativity in the way he approached the food. That would always be. He took joy in it.

And the reason the madness of it, the overwhelming pressure of it, never really got through his skin was as clearly defined as that.

Beer. Or Coffee.

For a moment he considered the options purely on their merit. He was not so fond of coffee. The flavor, while bold and useful, was not something he turned to for himself. It existed on the longest of days or earliest of mornings as a practical necessity. If the taste was not a suitable deterrent the caffeine was another. The great virtue of the concoction was also its great flaw. He turned from anything that would dehydrate him so.

Beer, really, was not much better. He was not much of a drinker. Never had the time. And still...

The mirror provided the decision for him. He wasn't a very vain man but he wasn't improper, either. The Ralph Lauren button-down looked more appropriate for a ranch then a coffee shop. He'd tucked it into his jeans and belted it neatly. It was a simple, inelegant but clean-cut look. It spoke of beers and dimly-lit bars.

At thirty, he'd taken after his grandfather. The man had been something of a hero to those that knew him. He'd fought in both theaters of World War II, married himself a beautiful Irish Girl. Raised a family. He'd also had coal-black hair and a stern jaw. A proud set of features that were lean without being narrow, wolfish and sharp. David's eyes were a softer hazel. His grandfather's had been green. Bright green. It'd turned what would otherwise be David's modest handsome and turned it devastating. Still, the old man had been more suited for that kind of countenance.

David was quiet.

He was texting on the way out the door, throwing on his jacket and nearly forgetting to lock the door in his wake. The flat looked like it'd been lived in. That was new and, strangely, he didn't even feel the need to claim it.

"I hope you've a better palette for beer. Mully's. I'll get the first round."
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:16 PM   #5
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That crack about her palette would have to be answered, but this moment found her jamming the phone deep in her pocket and shrugging on a closely-fitted hoodie. He didn't merit a response just now, lest he start thinking she -enjoyed- speaking with him. He had the ego for that sort of misconception.

That ego was one of the most attractive things about him.

She'd thrilled at the strict meritocracy of kitchen work. It didn't matter in the least whether you could afford the same clothes as everyone else, whether you had the right car or listened to the correct music. If you could keep up, if you could push on, if you could plunge your hand into a pot of boiling water to fetch out a lobster and throw your back into the dishpit at the end of the night, you stayed. If you couldn't, you packed up your roll and found somewhere else to try again.

Tana had always been the sort to hear "no" as a challenge. So when she'd finally made it onto the line, and then up the line, closer and closer to the hot top that insane monk insisted on working alone, she took each new protest to heart. "She's not fast enough" led to weeks practicing her knifework in every off hour until she could break down a chicken in under a minute, turn a five pound bag of shallots into fine mince inside of five. "Her understanding of spice is minimal" dragged her into every ethnic market from Ninth to Nineteenth, burning her tongue and smarting her eyes until she could tell you the Scoville on a dried pepper at a glance.

Of course, there was little she could do about the underlying suggestion that her arrival in his kitchen had been some sort of gonad-guided fit on the part of the capricious owner. If she'd thought it to be more than a last desperate jibe designed to test her dedication, she probably would have fucked her way through front of house to prove a point. Instead, she'd grown selectively deaf in her left ear and learned to say "yes, chef!" so quickly and with such vigor that she once caught herself answering the phone with that two-word promise of undying obedience.

Kitchens functioned on obedience, on order, on supreme hierarchy and understanding of place. Granted, they were all practically interchangeable cogs in the eyes of management, and their paychecks reflected that there was always someone a little younger, a little keener, and a little hungrier waiting at their heels. However, for those rare souls who thrived on structure, dedication, and slavish work, the cage formed by dish racks and pass-throughs became a playground.

Tana was never going to be dumb enough to think she understood his mind. He was half again as mysterious and ominous as the monolithic skyline, and on a good loose night only slightly warmer. But she understood his motion, his ethic on food, his rigid and calculated organization. She could tell you if his salt cellar was a millimeter too far left and pick his preferred whisk from a lineup of a dozen, and because of her speed, her observation, and her deliberate social maneuvering with every pit monkey, cold counter nazi, and saucier, he had everything he wanted where he wanted it, ten seconds before he even knew the desire was there.

Someday, that would be enough for him. And the very day after that, she'd probably leave his ass cold and alone for another praise-withholding time vampire with an attitude problem and a vocabulary blue and bloody.

With this resolution, Tana's step became a little springier, her thought-torqued lips unspooling into a nearly friendly smile. She came through the door at Mully's ten minutes after his demand-cum-invitation like a rabbit into a hound-cozy, a decade or more too young for the average customer. She flicked hair like demerara sugar off her shoulders and sent a single sweeping gaze the shade of radish greens over the crowd, looking for her boss.
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:18 PM   #6
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He could excuse her ambition. It was a taste he knew too well. There were few things as nagging as a natural drive. It sparked you onward. Provoked you to motion. There were times it caught his feet and forced them on when he was certain he'd nothing left. It was more present and certain than any lover, partner, or pet. He could forgive her for it. It was, in many ways, one of the few things that he saw for them to share. It grounded her to the reality of the kitchen in a way her youth and impatience, or so he thought, could not.

There was no excusing her beauty.

If there was ever something lethal to their relationship it was the fact she was beautiful. He'd seen her once out of work. Once. And that time, passing by one another (on opposite sides of the street), he'd had a lovely girl on his arm named Sandy whom he'd promptly forgotten about. Beauty, he knew, was too rare and precious a thing. It held no absolute quality. It was not quantified or manufactured. It was raw and rare and even a beautiful girl couldn't hold it -all- of the time. It came in fits and rare moments. Instances, really, that were often missed or taken for granted. She'd been walking in jeans. Her hair down. There wasn't a way to be certain she saw him but he, certainly, saw her.

That day, that morning, was what had driven him to bring her here. That, really, and a few million other instances where he saw the way her fingers worked or the way she turned with pan in hand. She'd turned cooking elegant and found finesse and grace and a host of things he'd no words for. It contrasted his manner. Brutal. Clean. EFficient. He crafted beautiful food from near violent efforts. She hadn't quite made beautiful food (she was close) but she'd come damned near it and done so beautifully. There was no forgiving a beautiful woman. She ruined all things. She compromised a man in places where he was defenseless.

And there she was, again. And in a flurry she tossed her hair and he saw shades of autumn brunette and youth-imbued movement. And he cursed her with unfamiliar and clumsy words and he, and he, and he...

Found himself smiling and raising a hand.

The hell?!

The seat beside him was a bar-stool, even as he stood, with one foot on the rail and his body facing the worn counter that was meticulously kept by Sam (the keep), whom his father had known and poured more than his share of grief into after his mother had passed on. David was not keen on the place but felt no uncertainty now. From his place along the counter he had to twist to face her, felt sinuous muscles protest days of underuse with a tightening that made him feel like a coil wound far too tight.

An unfamiliar spark coiled itself in his belly, lit through him, forged warmth. She was gorgeous. It was effortless. And while he would -never- mention it, there was no damned point, he resented her for it far more than he could afford to admire it. The music was surprisingly current here. Current, but plastic. Taylor Swift lamented lamely before summoning sheik steely resolve towards some faux boy she'd meant to dump. All of it didn't matter. She was cutting near.

This was going to be awful.
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Old 11-16-2012, 12:08 AM   #7
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The smile that answered his own was warm, a sardonic half-quirk that was her habit. A mouth as ripe and bitter-bright as grapefruit embraced a full smile all too rarely, in unexpected and spontaneous moments that were apt to make men question whether they were the jester or the punchline. It came as a surprise to her now- she generally didn't smile when greeting him, as he had a way of looking at her that suggested her desperation to please was both pathetic and expected.

He'd cured her of smiling and laughing in the first two days at his side, and of a thousand other habits he and he alone deemed personally offensive. She held her knife too closely to the blade. She tilted flaming pans too sharply. Her garnish work had no subtlety, her hand with cream was too heavy, she was nearly a liability around cilantro. His criticism had laminated her, stretched her tolerance, folded her self-esteem, pounded her discipline, the rare pale gold of his buttery praise shattered thinly throughout a fragile, melting flake.

She could remember only once pleasing him. A coarse Palermo granita of kefir lime and sharp green cardamom, possessing the color of sea glass and a rush of alternating cool relief and seductive, surprising scent. He had reviewed her work as they were sketching out the specials, inspecting the laden spoon with a suspicion that should have rightly turned her perfect crystalline ice into a worthless puddle. Tana had held her breath as he tipped the spoon past his lips, and when his eyes closed to better focus she wasn't sure if she wanted them to ever open again.

"Good."

A single word, tossed like a bone already scraped of its marrow, worthless to the one who threw it aside and everything to the one that scooped it up. Though she hadn't bidden it, the sound of that single syllable rose hard in her mind the next time she'd stroked her fingers across her slick, swollen clit, forcing an orgasm so powerful and so deeply shameful that she'd called in on her one and only "sick day" just to avoid looking at him the next morning.

Why that memory had chosen this moment to recur to her was a mystery. It couldn't have anything to do with the way his shirt twisted taut against his chest and shoulders as he turned to watch her take her seat, or with the disarmingly foreign sincerity of his smile. A misfired synapse, a symptom of too much time imagining and too little time worked to the bone.

Tana was one of an elite sisterhood possessed of sufficient height and length of leg to occupy a barstool with confidence. Slender feet in bronze ballet flats braced with infinite casualness against the scuffed brass rail. The regal stretch of her spine held firm, one shoulder cocked like a swan's wing as she shrugged her hoodie off and slung it over one lean thigh.

"You have the home field advantage, Chef. Only fair you recommend me a draft."
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Old 11-16-2012, 07:39 PM   #8
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Chef. Facetious, maybe? She was such an insufferable girl. Still, he managed only a brief glance to the sensible-save-gold flats that found the battered brass rail and a damnable smile despite his best efforts to sour it into a scowl. It occurred to him that the practicality of her footwear was earthy. Sensual. And all at once, in his mind, he was certain she knew it and had chosen them purposefully and that the moniker that was so appropriate within their realm had been sharpened to a mocking here.

He'd make her pay for it.

In spades.

Still, he reluctantly (and silently) conceded that she'd done him the small favor of asking for a beer. A part of him had been certain she'd order something fruity and disgusting. He imagined a Spring Break Shame Case waiting to happen. It hadn't manifested. There was no time to be disappointed or pleased. Ordering was as easy as paying Tom Mully, a fourth generation Mully, the small gesture of eye contact. Nearing his sixties, Tom Mully's best years were long gone and he reminded you of it often. He could talk the paint off the walls and was fond of it, too. For some, David had found, there was a definite pride in the telling of an anecdote. Tom Mully had been something of a local legend born of a local legend. The Mully's had operated their pub for the better part of a century. Tom, looking for a little more than a beat-up counter and a life of drunks, had nearly made it as a professional boxer.

The remnants of that man were strong but saggy. Doughy, mind you, and with a great pot belly. He had fire-red hair and a thick, hearty mustache that flanked his lips and would have otherwise been quite capable of handlebars.

"Been more than its share, David McCallaugh. How's the old man?" He said. The murmur of Pitbull, terribly out of place, came from the speakers in the pub's corner.

"Still working."

"Stout heart, he has. Who's the lady?" The glint sharpened in the old man's eye was sure as anything but he was polite and found her own eyes. Tom Mully was a kind-hearted man. Harmless. A teddy bear. Women loved him. They found his belly and his great size reassuring and his jovial nature charming.

"Tana." He said and lost the battle with himself not to look at her.

Introducing her felt too natural. Too easy. It occurred to him that there was a small and vainglorious spark of pride that ran through him. He may not have the capacity to forgive her beauty but it seemed he'd more than some ability to take pleasure in having her with him.

It was enough to sour his mood further, and almost entirely, because of the danger of it.

"Two Guinness, Tommy." He said.

Mully's Guinness was no better than any other bar in the city. But, truthfully, that didn't matter. What mattered was that there was no great pressure to stumble upon a draught of her favor. The taps at Mully's were typical and tangible. For a moment, half out of derisive and boyish mischief, he'd considered ordering them PBR.

The Guinness would do.

"Good to meet you, Tana." The older man said with a broad smile. He spoke even as he turned from them and squared to the taps. There was no hurry. Seldom was. He seemed beyond it all.
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:40 AM   #9
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Tana saw the smile as he considered her footwear. Was he silently mocking her for never having developed the iron soles of fashionable women, who would wear four inch heels of the most impractical and painful design and then stroll the city? Or was he enjoying the none-too-subtle and, indeed, planned reminder of the gap in their ages and tempers?

It didn't matter, really. She'd seen two times as many smiles out of him in five minutes as she'd enjoyed in the previous three years. It was surprising and delightful, this mix of Chef and potentially decent human being. Figs stuffed with sharp blue. Spiced caramel that made your eyes burn and your laugh ragged even as you reached for just one more piece.

Her smile for Mully had contained half a million watts, her freckled lips finding the perfect attitude of innocent, attentive, polite pleasure and mild flirtation. Not more than a drop of that, of course, for Mully resembled every uncle, cousin, brother in law and boyfriend Tana had ever had. Before she moved out here, Tana had existed in a very small circle of recent Irish immigrants. Being the first child born in the States, she was at once a point of pride and a focus of suspicion. How long would it take for her to turn, the elders wondered silently, until she no longer knew the proper conjugations of "only just" and "just after"? Until she took coffee rather than tea and asked for jam on her soda bread?

Ever a dutiful and kind child, Tana had spent years hiding her espresso machine, speaking as little as possible, and choking silently on the crumbs of the single most intolerable and dry substance on the planet. It had prepared her for the seven million times to date David had forced her to swallow pride, irritation, rage, indignation, protest, and bile.

She let her eyes drift across Mully's back and return to her partner for the evening. Dark, dusky green in the lowered lights of the bar, the shade of bitter collard and sharp, astringent bay, spicy juniper. Tana had been vaguely aware of his given name, but had never used it at work- it seemed improper, impertinent, irreverent in the extreme.

Tonight, she thought, lips as sweet and pink as turkish taffy twisting into a loose, warm smile, I will be a singularly irreverent creature. I function now in a tipsy-topsy world where Chef smiles and consumes something that hasn't been weighed precisely, and I will be as fantastical as the universe bids.


"A respectable choice, David." His name was foreign but pleasantly warm on her tongue, and her smile could be heard in each letter.
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:02 PM   #10
Light Ice
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There hadn't been any kind of plan or forethought. Idle hands, he mused, and so here he was delivered right into the waiting temptations. What bizarre and fucked up universe was this in which he could find himself nearly (-nearly-) charmed by the slip of a girl who otherwise had invaded his kitchen with all the pretense and portents of a college coed? This wouldn't do. This was all wrong. She called him by his name and he'd half a mind to twist his face in indignation and make a sharp reprimand. Something, he imagined, where he called her "girl" or something else suitably demeaning and reminded her that she had a clumsy way around a saucepan or too gentle a touch with filet. Yes, that would do. He mused it even as her smile lit up the room like the neon in Times Square and he felt his name on her lips turn into something warm within him and spiral upward from his gut into his throat where it caught in a sudden and severe lump.

The HELL was going on?!

The compliment was idle small talk. Chatter. It befit the customers they served and the millions that moved past them here and there like cattle on their way between quaint and under-loved supposed homesteads and the kitchen who demanded so much time it more or less was home. It was not them. They spoke little and seldom pleasantly and it was almost always food and here, now, he had absolutely no desire to talk about anything except the weather or the bar or how her days off were going and what her plans were and an infinite and rambling-barely-coherent-and-hardly-interesting threads of conversation that succeeded in telling him absolutely nothing. Nothing, that was, except that she would call him David again and wag her little foot in that slip of a golden shoe and flash him another smile and for a moment help remind him that he was more than a knife and a whisk and a title in a silly white frock.

He should not have skipped the gym.

Want was suddenly on him. He thought for certain that she, like some otherworldly predator, would smell it on him or sense the change as his muscles bristled and all at once the familiar and electric ache of need ripped its way free and layed havok on him. There'd been times he'd wondered, considered, that women may know what this was. This feeling. He'd dismissed it over the years as experience taught him that while women wanted, needed, and craved as much as men did they seldom had the violence behind it. The force. The pure, primal driven instinct to take and claim and punish and force. It was a heady and exotic culmination of her beauty and his sudden and absolute awareness of it. Sure, she'd been attractive. He'd seen her with her hair in a tight and hurried bun in that white that hid her shape and the lean line of her. But now, here, she was like every other woman in that she was, infact, a real person and not some figment of his frenzied mind while orders came and he crafted. Now, here, she was unlike ANY other woman in that she was gorgeous and sharp and her smile spoke of Ardglass' waters and the green hills that rolled gently towards it.

Respectable, she'd said. There was nothing respectable in this. Nothing. He recoiled from the word like it was a curse and felt an inexplicable need to take her by her gorgeous hair, crane her head, and bow her under something ferocious (like a kiss?) until she accepted that this was a roguish and ill-conceived meeting and that she was not safe here with him and never would be again because he'd seen her shoulder turn and her back arch like a bow. He'd seen the light, dim and soft, against her hair and the way her full lips parted in a broad smile that lit up her cheeks and shaped the elegant lines of her face into something softer and more girlish than he'd ever known.

And it was the -only- choice in this bar that wasn't absolutely appalling so there was very little comfort in the compliment, at all, except that it felt flirtatious and that pleased him -way- more than it should have.

"You look good." He said.

And was horrified, glad his austerity was such that it did not show and more-so that even if it did a bit the scruff that had grown along his jawline in coarse, ebon whirls would conceal it.

Idle hands.

They'd deliver him.

He took a pull from his Guinness and wondered if it'd be rude to drain the damned thing and take salvation in stupor.
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Old 11-19-2012, 05:37 PM   #11
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Tana was not entirely a stranger to a complimentary male gaze, though she did not court it, as other girls her age would. She had too much ambition, too much dedication, and too few free Saturday nights to strap herself into hobbling heels and humiliating outfits and a few faces' worth of makeup. Either men enjoyed the satin glow of scalded cream flesh and slender line, padded with just enough lush fat to reward hungry fingers with imprints of their desire, or they found themselves something bouncier and gigglier from the other side of the pass.

It seemed, perhaps, that Chef- or was it David now, if only for these few insane moments?- might belong to the former camp. She made no effort to suppress her surprise and pleasure, the high curves of her cheeks lit with a suffusing, cayenne glow, her smile blooming hot and full across her lips with the speed and sweet reward of sugar's seemingly magical transformation to caramel. Inclining her head, her gaze laved slowly over him- appreciative, curious, lively, too consuming to be innocent and yet too open and bold to read as pure licentiousness. "So do you, David. It's nice to see you in something other than whites."

Her face turned from him and she lifted her glass, a sip slightly too long to be casual as she let the warm, bitter flood punish her tongue for its senselessness. An idiot, she thought, you sound like an idiot. He's a man, a man like any other, and you can talk to him.

Except David wasn't like any other man. Tana craved the strangest things just now, when he appraised her, when that distant, irritated cloud rolled back over his eyes. She thought of bruised hips and bitten shoulders, hair tangled in a broad, scarred fist, violent kisses that challenged her, dared her to rise again, to turn her lips back to the cruel font of their genesis.

She wanted to capture his attention and regret attaining it. She wanted to draw his fire and feed it, tempt a darker, baser nature to its surface and smooth it away again on the altar, the anvil of a smooth, lush young body. She wanted to enrapture and enrage in equal measure, taunt and temper, make him snarl and moan and draw a final deep, warm satisfaction from the heat of his seed on her skin and the ache of marks just now blossoming.

He made her feel younger, stronger, stranger, hungrier and more tightly wound, braver and smaller all at once. She wondered how she made him feel, if it was ever something he'd tell her. If he'd tell her anything, in the moment, other than how to bend and what to say and what he thought of girls in gold flats who couldn't even be bothered to put their hair up prettily.

If he'd tell her, just once more, when her blood thrummed in her veins and her muscles seized and her throat rasped and her eyes closed and she hung, tense, on the edge of orgasm, twice again as afraid to let go as she was eager for the release, that she was "good".

Tana had never known such an ache for approval. It galled her, intensely, to need, to crave, to strive for a stiff nod or a grunt that was supposed to serve both as "thank you" and "took your time, then". It made her work harder, both to earn that relished praise and receive it much more freely from others- though, somehow, everyone else rang hollowly against her. She wanted to please him, catch his eye, taste his kiss, and it led her so uncharacteristically to this moment, in a bar she otherwise would never have noticed, simultaneously looking for something to talk about and too nervous to speak.
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:38 PM   #12
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For all intents, all purposes, they were alone here. He felt it as soon as her words formed, shaped on the bow of her lips, and broken the thin distance between them. Were they against his cheek? His neck? Were her white teeth, so flawless, nipping at the unshaven and soft skin beneath his chin? Were were they now that he felt he could reach out and push the brunette off her shoulders and let the light push through the window and across her neckline? What strange place was this that he didn't feel the need to correct her lean little fingers as they guided a knife or grasped a pan or did any number of things that didn't quite please him but pleased him because for it all she was young and bright and beautiful and fluid and there was an artistry in everything she did even if it was with the maddening offhandedness of someone so inexperienced and so deeply, truly talented.

This was not the place for Chef. He had to be more here. Or, in some ways less, because that was all she new of him and it had no weight outside the stainless steel confines of their studio. This, some dive pub, was an easel providing blank canvas. A white sheet that was flawless and needed blushed pinks and ruddy reds like her skin when scalding water lit it up and she didn't squeak, but cursed, beneath her breath in earthy and husky sounds that made him want, even in the kitchen, to reach out and tangle her gorgeous hair in his hand and knock her stupid cap off her pretty head and bend her across a ruinous counter.

These were dark and twisted things that he fought to banish from his mind but found he could not. They lingered. And grew as her foot turned a lazy circle and the flat caught the light and he imagined that she could have been a dancer with those long legs or a gymnast with the subtle strength that rippled through her and all at once he imagined her body against his and the tangle of lean muscles and match of power and quickness and intensity they could find.

Still, all he could do against the thoughts and the warmth of her so near was to smile and look briefly into the swirling darkness of his Guinness and then back. He hoped, for some small and foolish moment, that her eyes wouldn't be waiting for his own. They were and he felt his stare sharpen, his breath catch.

And the inevitable ache of his length stretching ferocious and lewd down the leg of his jeans; reducing him to a baser creature. A shape of corded muscle, dressed and veiled, but lurking there. He felt like a predator. Prey. Hoping she wouldn't notice what she coaxed from his prick and desperate that she did, that she'd see him and be impressed by him and soak her panties for him in the female match of what she'd spawned in him.

All of her was there and beyond his taking.

And she'd no idea, he imagined, what they'd do to one another now when they weren't too busy dancing around one another and it seemed entirely possible they could dance together. (Was he really thinking about fucking this girl? The hell was going on?)

Her hips were built for his broad hands. Slim, rounded, with gentle arches that were terribly girlish and terribly capable, he imagined, of being braced in willing palms and used to still a slender frame that'd otherwise tremble and shake against the great force against it.

Precum.

(Stop fucking doing this to yourself.)

He felt himself dribbling pearly drops into the UnderArmour boxer jocks.

And imagined her pink lips white with it. Imagined, dared to and was helpless not to, the hollow of her back under his fingers and the undulation of her in the dark as she rode him. Those flats, gold and gorgeous, left abandoned somewhere by the door of his spartan accommodations. He envisioned her with a roommate, pillow trapped over her head and seething, while he forced Tana to take him deeply and entirely even when her body sparked tremors through them both with the way it bit down around him.

"They don't know what this time off does to us." He said at last. It was more a thought that arced inside of him and escaped then a mention, though, it was true his eyes had not left her own.

It'd been so long since he'd last had a woman beneath him that he'd found any kind of heart. They were silly, simpering, salacious and stupid girls who had satisfied one baser need and neglected the others. She, she'd be a war. (Careful.) There'd be marks along his back and across her backside. And she'd hold her own, not fall (careful!) and they'd go to work and she'd bow to the pressure of his guidance and skitter off to marry some trader with a trust fund.

(But why did that thought make his gut tighten?)
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