#Bonus 7: Frame Job
I got to work as soon as we reached home.
Mixing bowls, a whisk, a dusting of flour and sugary sweetness in the air that I could taste on my tongue-the kitchen was my sanctuary, and I relished in the task at hand. Making the cake wasn’t merely a chore; it was a testament to our love, a sweet delight to mark our engagement.
It was a meditative practice, too; a way to unwind after everything. As I worked lovingly on the chocolatey batter, I found myself thinking that I would be spending a lot of time baking in this kitchen over the years.
In my peripheral vision, I noticed Enzo fiddling with something in the hallway. Curiosity nudged at me, so I wiped my hands on my apron and tiptoed to the
“Whatcha doing?” I started to ask, but the words died in my throat as I saw
him carefully aligning his mother’s picture in a new frame. He didn’t hear me approaching, and so his mannerisms remained natural, fluid, oblivious to my presence.
I watched, transfixed, as he gingerly hung the picture on the wall and took extra care to assure that it was hung straight. There was a sense of finality in his movements, and it finally occurred to me why he had looked so forlorn when he retreated from the hardware store.
This new frame was a final resting place for one of the few remaining relics of his mother, the woman who I had never met. I suddenly felt guilty for whining so much about my mother, who was alive and well, when he had lost both his mother and his father.
A lump formed in my throat. The moment was far too intimate for interruption, and so I quietly retreated to the kitchen, a soft smile playing on my lips as I left Enzo to his somber yet loving task.
Minutes later, Enzo joined me in the kitchen, his eyes brighter, his shoulders relaxed. “Picture looks good on the wall, right?” he asked, not waiting for my response before plunging his finger into the cake batter just as I was about to place the tray in the hot oven.
“Hey!” I laughed, slapping his hand away. “That’s for the cake, not for your sampling.”
“Oh, c’mon. Can’t a man taste the fruits of his fiancée’s labor?” he quipped, grinning broadly as he licked the chocolate batter off of his finger.
“Only when they’re ready and not full of raw eggs,” I retorted, matching his playful tone. Our laughter echoed in the kitchen, filling the room with warmth. “Well, it’s delicious, raw eggs and all,” he murmured, licking his finger clean.
After setting the timer for the cake, I turned to find Enzo watching me, a soft look in his eyes. He moved closer, lifting me onto the counter with an ease that still surprised me.
“The picture does look lovely on the wall,” I murmured as I wrapped my arms around his neck and rubbed my nose against his. It occurred to me then that maybe he did notice my presence earlier, but he was too enthralled in his careful work to acknowledge me. I didn’t mind, though.
Enzo said nothing. His face took on a far -away look, which was only broken when he blinked rapidly and shot me a warm smile. *
“Enzo?” I asked, a hint of surprise in
“I just…” He sighed, pulling me closer so that our bodies were pressed up against each other. “Today was one of those days, you know? A bit crazy, a bit perfect. I just needed to do this.”
With that, he leaned in, capturing my lips with his in a soft, languid kiss. His lips tasted like chocolate, sweet and sticky. His fingers traced a path down my sides as his kisses began meandering down from my lips to my neck.
“What time is everyone coming?” he murmured in between kisses, his voice thick and sweet like the cake batter.
I bit my lip as I stifled a soft moan. ” Seven,” I replied. “It’s five-thirty now.”
Enzo paused his kissing, and shot me a mischievous look. “So we’ve got time.”
I opened my mouth to respond, to tell him that I still had to make the frosting and we still had to get ready for the party. But before I could answer, Enzo plunged his face back into my neck and began kissing and nibbling with more vigor.
I gasped, taken aback by the suddenness of it all. But then I melted into him, my hands winding into his hair. We stayed there, lost in our little world while the aroma of the baking cake filled the air. We didn’t need words; our actions spoke volumes, each touch a testament to our love. Our bodies intertwined into one as we
gingerly peeled enough layers of our clothes away to feel one another. We had already made love that morning, and I was sore, but Enzo was gentle as he worked himself into me. The sounds of our moans and labored breaths slowly rose into the air along with the
sweet smell of the chocolate cake in theoven.
When we were finished, we both sank down onto the kitchen floor and leaned against one another, closing our tired eyes for a few moments of respite before we would have to finish baking the cake and start getting ready for the party.
I felt Enzo’s fingers work their way into mine, his thumb tracing lines back and forth across my knuckles. Behind my closed eyes, I could feel him leaning over to lock my lips into one last wet, passionate kiss.
When Enzo finally pulled away, I was breathless, my heart pounding in my chest. He rested his forehead against mine, a content sigh escaping his lips. I reveled in the warmth of the moment, in the love that was palpable between us.
“Today has been quite a day, hasn’t
it?” he murmured, his eyes locked onto mine. His statement was simple, but it held a world of meaning. Our shared laughter, our dreams, our arguments, even our mini-disasters-they were all a part of our journey together.
“Definitely,” I responded, laughter bubbling up again as I remembered the raccoon incident. “You’d better not tell anyone about what happened to my car.”
“Nina, you know I can’t promise anything,” he retorted, his face taking on a mischievous grin. “Besides, we’ll need some good conversation topics at dinner. And it was a memorable experience, wasn’t it?”
Memorable indeed. This day had been a whirlwind, full of unexpected surprises and sweet moments. I knew then that our life together wouldn’t always be smooth sailing. We would face hurdles, perhaps even more bizarre than a raccoon causing a car crash.
But as long as we were together, facing it with love, laughter, and an unwavering spirit, I knew we could weather any storm.
Enzo’s voice broke through my thoughts. “Ready to make some peanut butter frosting?” he asked, his eyes twinkling with mischief. “I’m feeling peckish again.”
I couldn’t help but laugh, ready to dive back into our chaotic, delightful life. As we playfully bickered over the peanut butter frosting and I tried-and failed -to keep him from taste testing it, I realized that this was just the beginning of our adventure together.
I couldn’t wait to see what else life had in store for us.