Chapter 46:

A wager with the Mayor

The Y-files [GL]

Belgian Trivia

Comme chez soi: Famous restaurant with 2 Michelin stars in Brussels.Bookmark here

Chapter 29: A wager with the Mayor

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I wanted to go home already to my kitchen, but we still had paperwork to do. Now that we were paid for this work we had to make a report each day on what we spent our time on, so Anna and I were left alone in the office while the other girls took off home.Bookmark here

We sat there working in silence when suddenly a tornado burst through our doors. When the whirlwind stopped, we could recognize Ms. Odes in her lab vest.Bookmark here

Eureka!” Ms. Odes burst out all excited. “I have found it, I have really found it, and it is all thanks to you, my dear Claire!” She ran up to me and gave me a kiss on the forehead.Bookmark here

Calm down Ms. Odes!” Anna said, a bit irritated. “First of all what happened? What did you find?”Bookmark here

A yuri compatibility meter!”Bookmark here

What is a yuri compatibility -meter?” I asked.Bookmark here

Let me explain,” Ms. Odes then said. “I was trying to measure the attraction of yuridium particles when it suddenly hit me. If I added it to a quantum flux converter in an isolated density matrix I could create a yuri compatibility meter!”Bookmark here

She was looking at us like we would start jumping for joy any second and completely got what she just said.Bookmark here

But what does it do?” Anna then tried.Bookmark here

It measures yuri compatibility of course! See I already tested it out on you girls during your meeting and then went to calculate the results. Eline and Elodie have a yuri compatibility of 99% toward each other. But Mia and Valerie only had a compatibility of 55% when Mia arrived, but by the time they left, it was up to 70%. So these numbers are nothing permanent. They measure the current quantum state of the yuri attraction.”Bookmark here

Okay, even though the technical part still sounded like gibberish to me, it seemed like Ms. Odes found a way to measure the current compatibility between 2 girls if I understood that correctly. That could come in handy.Bookmark here

She then continued explaining her findings. “You cannot just match up 2 girls and think things will work out. Although you Claire are something special. I noticed almost everyone scored at least 60% compatibility toward you with Valerie maxing it at 80%, but the data in the other direction seemed a bit jumbled up. So it all ended up at 50%. Wait, let me take another test...”Bookmark here

She then pointed the device toward me and Anna. We both instantly started blushing. What the hell was she doing! A lot of beeps and bleeps and lights flickered on the device.Bookmark here

What is this, this should not be possible. It shouldn't do this?” Ms. Odes said in a panicky voice.Bookmark here

Boooom! Kshshshshshs!” The device had exploded and the room filled with smoke. Ms. Odes stood there stunned. Black from the soot that came from the burned-down device.Bookmark here

I felt relieved. I did not want to know any numbers. I had had enough shocks for the day.Bookmark here

What are you?” Ms. Odes then suddenly asked me in a tone of disbelief. “I-It's over 9000! These numbers should not have been possible!”Bookmark here

How the heck should I know! You made the thing. I don't even understand what you are measuring!”Bookmark here

Then another storm entered the door. A seriously pissed-off Ms. Lourdes entered. I guess she wasn't too happy with the explosion... “What did I tell you only this morning, Cath! If you invent something new, you come to me. I am your boss! The two of you out! I have to have another word in private with Cath here...”Bookmark here

Anna and I took the hint quickly and got out as quickly as we could. We did not want to be caught in Ms. Lourdes's ire.Bookmark here

We're partners on the job now, so I will give you a ride home,” Anna said. I got in the car and a couple of minutes later we arrived at Femme Fatale.Bookmark here

We entered the brasserie and almost immediately I was surrounded by people who wanted my autograph. I was asked all sorts of questions like when the idol group would debut and who the other members would be.Bookmark here

Luckily Anna helped me get rid of them after I signed a couple of autographs. She turned into her strict professional demeanor and just said “She lives here, so give her a little space and let her be at home.” She looked quite cool when she protected me like that. Anna noticed I was looking at her and gave me a little wink.Bookmark here

I immediately turned away my head because I felt myself starting to blush. That woman. Even though she helped me, half of the time she was still playing with me, wasn't she? I really had trouble following her switches in personality.Bookmark here

Suddenly we were interrupted by an older, but still very beautiful-looking office lady. She had short gel-styled hair and wore a gray pantsuit. She looked somewhat familiar to me.Bookmark here

I am sorry to interrupt the two of you, let me introduce myself. I am Ms. Vera Trine. It seems my guess was right and the two of you showed up here around this time. My boss would like the two of you to join her for dinner.”Bookmark here

I looked to where she was pointing and saw a beautiful blond-haired woman in her forties waving at us. She was dressed stylishly and was clearly fashion conscious. I recognized her immediately, it was our mayor Polly Tick. I felt that another troublesome unrefusable event was unfolding. How much longer was I gonna be punished for tripping that flag? Oh no I just did it again, didn't I? I started wondering when I would ever get to see the inside of my kitchen again... “Ah Claire, stop raising flags one after the other!” I berated myself in my head.Bookmark here

Mom looked a bit worried at us, so I nodded to her to show her it was okay. After all, I did not want her worrying. She had enough on her plate as it is.Bookmark here

Anna and I followed Ms. Trine to the mayor's table.Bookmark here

Ah Ms. Lyst, it was about time we met in person,” She looked at the both of us together and whispered to Anna “So you really are part of the club.” while shaking her hand. That made her turn crimson. I wondered what club she was talking about. Then she looked at me and said: “It's always nice to see you, Claire,” and shook my hand too. I wondered why she did not just give a kiss as everyone would.Bookmark here

She showed us to sit down with a gesture. Ms. Trine joined us too.Bookmark here

Mom came to take our order and gave me a look that was clearly meant to tell me to behave myself, Ms. Tick ordered an aperitif Maison for everyone.Bookmark here

I heard from Ms. Lourdes that you found a way to parry your mother's attack masterfully. You know I am enjoying this so much. I am so glad I put my trust in you, Ms. Lyst.”Bookmark here

Seems she mostly wanted to talk to Anna about her mother. I kept quiet because I wanted to know more about that too.Bookmark here

It has not been finalized yet, but it is looking very favorable. But I must correct you. It was mostly Claire here that did the parrying.” Anna answered. “If it wasn't for her I would probably have been thrown to the lions.” That woman, she just parried the mayor, and used me as a scapegoat didn't she?Bookmark here

Of course, Ms. Tick then turned her focus on me. “Well well, I did not see that one coming. I never thought I would see the day that the great Kath Lyst would be defeated by 16 years old.”Bookmark here

Kath Lyst... Did she just say Kath Lyst? Like in the figurehead of the far-right party? I should have put two and two together when Anna told me her mother was a politician... I started seeing some comparisons but their demeanor was completely different. I could see nothing of the seemingly always angry Kath Lyst in Anna.Bookmark here

I thought you were the one making us take the fall though, in that interview on television...” I silently replied.Bookmark here

Ms Trine entered the conversation and said “Politics, my dear. When the king is attacked, you offer a pawn in return. It was clear from the start she was aiming for the pawn and not the king. But apparently, this pawn had fangs. So it chased off the attackers. I don't think she saw that coming.”Bookmark here

She started laughing.Bookmark here

Exactly”, Ms. Tick said, joining in, “and for that reason, I have arranged for us to be on television tomorrow evening in Ronna's talk show. Of course, now I know Claire's true role, she will be invited too. It is time we bring knowledge about the CYA and the FBY and all the great work you have been doing to the general public. I mean you only exist a week and are still setting up services and I already received reports about 8 saved lives with a team of only four, mostly volunteers. Imagine that kind of service and results being spread nationwide.”Bookmark here

We were going on national television with this nonsense? I wanted to understand why anyone would go along with this craziness. So I asked: “Why?”Bookmark here

Ms. Trine and Ms. Tick looked up curiously at me.Bookmark here

Why does a serious politician go so far to support something as crazy as the FBY or the CYA? I want to know the truth. This has been driving me crazy.”Bookmark here

Everyone saw I was at the end of what I could take. Today had been blow after blow, and the blows were not even stopping yet. They just continued at home. I saw my mom starting to head in our direction to interfere. She probably thought the grown-ups were picking on me.Bookmark here

Ms. Trine was the one to answer me. “You seek the truth from a politician, but what have you got on offer? So far we have only been supporting you. It would seem that you are indebted to us, not the other way around.”Bookmark here

Anna grabbed my shoulder and gestured to me to calm down. But then Ms. Tick herself interfered.Bookmark here

There there Ms. Trine, no need to go full force on a confused teenager. She isn't the opposition, she is actually helping us.” She then changed her focus to me and said: “Let me make you an offer Claire. We will give you the knowledge about what you want to know in private if you can cook us the best dinner we had this month. I hear you are quite the chef, but you have some fierce competition since we visit only the best restaurants in Brussels.”Bookmark here

My eyes started to sparkle. Did all of this just result in me getting to show off my haute cuisine cooking skills? Just when I thought I would never see the inside of my kitchen again. I felt fired up.Bookmark here

Mom, who was walking toward us, recognized the changed look in my eyes and I noticed the relief on her face.Bookmark here

Okay, I can wait until after I have cooked for you,” I answered. “But you will allow me to determine the menu, and cook the same for all of you. We aren't “Comme chez soi”, so I have limited resources.” I got up and walked toward the kitchen.Bookmark here

I was already forming a menu in my head. When I got to the kitchen I yelled “This station is now mine!” and put on my apron. Mary signed to show that she had understood me.Bookmark here

I would show them. First of all, I would give them a starter with sweetbreads in a thyme crust. Fancy cooking was also about giving normal stuff a fancy name, so I would accompany them with a farandole of market vegetables. Which would be oven-baked eggplant, zucchini, and bell peppers with some garlic, and a bouquet garni with some rosemary added to it.Bookmark here

The trick of making sweetbreads is baking it in just the right amount of time. It should not be dry, but it should not be undercooked either. If you did it wrong, the texture would be terrible. I believe that is the main reason why a lot of people do not like sweetbreads.Bookmark here

I sharpened my knives and started out by chopping the vegetables and putting them into the oven.Bookmark here

Then I used my carving knife with great precision to clean the sweetbreads.Bookmark here

I felt a lot of the stress I gathered during the day leave my body. But the realization that I was no longer going to regular school, made 3000 Euros a month, and probably would be a multimillionaire soon still felt like it was about someone else. I guess I would have to experience it before it really sunk in.Bookmark here

In the meantime, I started on the sweetbreads. Throwing them in a very hot frying pan at the very last moment.Bookmark here

I started filling the plates for the entrees and called mom over to bring them to their table. I took the third plate. While mom served Ms. Trine and Ms. Tick, I served Anna. I quickly gave them an explanation about what they were about to eat. I knew that was a custom in fancy restaurants these days.Bookmark here

While I was returning to the kitchen I could hear moans of enjoyment coming up from behind me. I looked back and saw the three of them in a blissful daze. I guess I won the first round.Bookmark here

I continued and heard a couple of customers complaining to Tory that the mayor was getting preferential treatment. I went over there. I could not let Tory take the brunt of my actions. I told them that that wasn't the case. I told them the mayor challenged me, and that I had to make her the best dinner she had had this month, and that we had made a bet to see if I would be able to do it or not. They started talking to each other excitedly and started typing away on their phones. It seemed that they were happy now, so I returned to my kitchen.Bookmark here

Since I had to make do with the brasserie's supplies, I decided on a Beef Wellington with caramelized chicory and a potato gratin. It was a pretty standard dish, but I knew that I had a killer version of Beef Wellington and we had the perfect Bordeaux red to go with it. All that fancy modern molecular gastronomy stuff wasn't always better than classics that are hard to find on menus these days.Bookmark here

I sharpened some fine stakes and used them to pierce the meat while infusing it with a special herb mix. This would make the beef more tender and give it a unique taste.Bookmark here

I started working as fast as I could now. There could not be too long of a pause between courses.Bookmark here

When I had finally finished 3 plates I called mom over to help me bring them to the table. We served the beef Wellingtons, and I could see Ms. Tick and Ms. Trine stare at their plates with hungry eyes. Anna on the other hand was looking at me with grateful eyes. That made me a little shy. But I smiled in return and said “Bon appetit!”Bookmark here

I saw the couple from earlier taking pictures of the mayor and their plates. While I was returning to the kitchen, mom came up to me and said “I understand that you are busy because of the mayor, but because of that Frank can't come help because he is busy with Emma, and Mari is being swamped. Could you possibly help Mari out while you work on your deserts?”Bookmark here

I should have noticed earlier. I was so preoccupied with my cooking that I hadn't even noticed that Frank wasn't here. “Sure mom, I'll make sure Mari is up to speed again by the time I leave the kitchen.”Bookmark here

I went inside and asked Mary what she needed help with. She gave me a couple of orders of steak and vol au vent and said “If you can take care of that big table, I will be able to handle the rest.” So I got to work. Well, nothing had to be made from scratch so it was pretty fast routine work. My knives flashed and I cut a little statue of the outside of the brasserie out of a carrot for every plate. Not even ten minutes later the plates were being carried to the customers. Mari came over to thank me. It may sound like that was only a little work. But I made all the other customers wait 10 minutes less, and that makes a huge difference in the experience for the customer.Bookmark here

After that, I started on the deserts. I still had all the ingredients of my aphrodisiac eclairs, but instead of those dangerous eclairs, I decided to make a tricolor of mousses: One chocolate-chili, one strawberry, and one banana. That way I created the Belgian tricolor, and I presented it like a flag on their plates. I thought it would be fitting for the mayor.Bookmark here

I called mom over and we brought the plates to the table.Bookmark here

I sat myself down with a cup of coffee and said: “Enjoy your meals!” I would eat later myself, and I did not feel like spoiling my appetite with a dessert. I did prepare some more for all the staff and Emma so they could enjoy some later.Bookmark here

I watched everyone's faces change while they dug in. Ms. Lyst became red up to her ears and let out a deep moan “Mmmmm, This is the best dessert ever!” and I saw her go into a blissful daze. I smiled. I loved seeing her enjoy my food. Her demeanor always changed at that moment, and I could see some of the sweet and loving Anna I saw when she was reading a story to Emma.Bookmark here

Ms. Trine and Ms. Tick were eating the desert and suddenly Ms. Tick let out a deep sigh. Like she was letting go of something. “Okay, you win. I never felt anything like this from a meal. This sensation is just fantastic!”Bookmark here

At those words suddenly almost all the customers stood up and started applauding for me. What the hell? Apparently, those customers from earlier had been posting on bicker about my challenge with the mayor, and the challenge had gone viral. The brasserie was now mostly filled with people that wanted to see the battle between the yuri Jeanne D'arc and the Mayor.Bookmark here

The mayor seemed just as surprised as me and then said: “Can we talk somewhere in absolute privacy? We will show you why we are supporting the creation of the CYA and the FBY. But Ms. Lyst here cannot come, and you are sworn to secrecy afterward so you cannot tell her. If you can agree to those terms we will show you.”Bookmark here

Ms. Trine looked at Ms. Tick with eyes full of disbelief.Bookmark here

Okay, I agree. Let's go to my apartment. Anna, we will be back in a moment.”Bookmark here

Anna did not look all too happy with this development, but I thought it might not be bad to know a little more than Anna about what was happening. Maybe I could get some form of control again. Because as the saying goes, "knowledge is power". Bookmark here

I led the way to our apartment and asked Frank if he could take Emma out for a little while because we needed to talk in private. Frank wanted to protest, but when he saw the mayor he quickly obliged and said “You owe me one.”Bookmark here

I subtracted one from the zillion times he owed me for helping out in the brasserie. I only felt guilty toward Emma, but then again I would make it up as soon as the mayor left, with those desserts I just made.Bookmark here

Now that we were alone, Ms. Trine closed all the curtains and gave the room a quick check for cameras. Then she asked me to shut down my phone. “Are you really sure Polly?”Bookmark here

I think it is fine Vera. I am sure we can trust Claire here.” Ms. Tick said and then she gave Ms. Trine a deep kiss. The kiss was very intense, I started feeling very hot and uncomfortable. “Ah, I 've wanted to do that ever since that dessert!” Then she looked at me and said “There are of course also politics involved, but this is the main reason. I want to be able to be open about our relationship without it affecting my votes in a negative way. I know it is kind of selfish of me, but I am sure there are plenty of people in similar situations. I think the CYA and FBY are fantastic ways to help achieve just that. That is why I am supporting and pushing it.”Bookmark here

Ms. Trine looked a bit shy now and then looked at me. “We couldn't invite Anna because of her mother. If this information gets to Kath Lyst we would be delivered with a serious media storm. We are not sure yet if we can trust her. Nobody knows of us, so if it comes out we will know it was you.”Bookmark here

I nodded. I was still a bit shocked by the deep kiss. That had a serious effect on me. For some incomprehensible reason, it made me think of Anna. Anna was probably still worried about us, so I said “Okay I understand, let's go back before people get worried.”Bookmark here

When I came back downstairs, I brought the extra desserts to Frank and Emma. I saw the smile form on Emma’s face at the prospect of sweets. “What do we say?” Frank said to Emma. “Thank you, auntie Claire”Bookmark here

He went immediately back up with Emma and the desserts. Anna looked worried so I told her I was alright.Bookmark here

Ms. Tick then opened her purse and paid me 500 Euros for the dinner. “It would have cost me at least that much if we had eaten something like this elsewhere.”Bookmark here

I accepted the money and went to mom to give it to her, but she told me to keep it. She said that I had earned it with all the help I gave, and the publicity I spread tonight, so I put the money away.Bookmark here

Ms. Tick who had seen what had happened smiled at me and said: “Why don't you take Ms. Lyst here on a date with that money to thank her. She did more for you tonight for you than you can possibly imagine while you were in the kitchen”Bookmark here

I turned completely red and looked at Anna. She also turned red in response. She had clearly heard what Ms. Tick had suggested. But what did Anna do? I hoped it would not prove to be too bothersome this time...Bookmark here

Then Ms. Trine said “It has been arranged. The two of you have reservations at the “Pure Wellness club” this Saturday. I've made arrangements for the full course. I used my and Ms. Tick's membership to get the two of you a membership too. Normally that club is strictly members only, and you can only become a member if another member sponsors you.”Bookmark here

Then Ms. Tick said loud enough for everyone to hear. “It is all on me. Consider that as the prize for winning the challenge.”Bookmark here

Anna's eyes were sparkling with enthusiasm. I had no idea what happened at the wellness center... But I could not possibly refuse this gift as Ms. Trine and Ms. Tick had already sponsored our membership. So I thanked Ms. Trine and suddenly Anna embraced me and thanked me. She seemed really grateful.Bookmark here

I noticed that mom had watched the entire thing with an amused approving smile on her face. I suddenly felt super embarrassed.Bookmark here

I then noticed the couple from earlier again typing away on their phones. I guess this conclusion would also find its way to bicker.Bookmark here

It seemed I was going on another date. This time it would be a date in a wellness center with Anna. Letting that fact sink in, I noticed I felt a lot more nervous than when I had a date with the Prince, but at the same time, I felt like I was really looking forward to it.Bookmark here

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