The Y-files [GL]
When Anna and I got to the apartment above Femme Fatale, Frank was already waiting for us with Emma. Frank was completely dressed up. Emma ran toward me and gave me a big hug and then she ran toward Anna, who looked the girl in the eyes and said “Wanna play with me with your present?”
Emma looked at Anna quizzically and said “Emma did not get a present.”
“Oh, It must have slipped my mind!” and at that point, Anna conjured up a gift-wrapped box from behind her back. When was she able to get that? I didn't even notice her carrying it.
Emma was of course ecstatic, and destroyed the wrapping in a few seconds, to find herself in front of a set of finger paints.
“What do you say to auntie Anna?” I said to Emma. Good manners are important after all.
“Suddenly Emma became all shy and she silently said, “Thank you, auntie Anna.”
The two immediately set off toward the kitchen table to put the paints to good use.
Anna was spoiling Emma, but I couldn't help but think she got super adorable when she interacted with Emma.
I had a bad feeling about Frank being dressed up like that. There was no way he would dress up like that just for a few business errands as he told me. So I decided to confront him about it.
“Frank, you told me you had errands to run, but I am starting to think you have a date tonight.”
Frank started blushing and looked like a deer caught in the headlights. Then he looked down and silently nodded.
I sighed. “Just try to keep your trouble away from us this time. You know nothing good ever comes of it.” I took a little pause, and then I added “Oh, and don't bring your date home tonight. I am cooking for my teacher and her date downstairs and I would not want to see them get interrupted. I need to get on her good side.”
Frank told me that this was only a first date, and it was a dinner date, so it would not be a problem.
He left as soon as he could. He clearly did not want to make his date wait, and he knew that I would only get angry at him if he stayed around.
I felt sorry for Emma. For Frank to arrange a date on his only day off. Couldn't he have waited until next week, when she was not here? To be honest, I felt angry that he lied to me. Probably because he knew I would not have agreed to babysit if it was for a date in the week that Emma was here. She only gets her dad for herself one day a week. When Elizabeth finds out, she is going to be so mad, and I am sure mom will not be too happy about this either. But Frank had planned his crime well. I was sure it was not a coincidence that he planned this on the one day that mom already had plans.
Speaking of which. I hoped mom did not interrupt the date downstairs either, and I really hoped her date did not go well enough that she would bring over some bloke. Should I feel guilty about that? I felt my blood starting to boil. The combination of Frank's lies and mom being on a date with a mystery guy on top of all that idol talk and dealing with Kath Lyst earlier today was becoming too much for me to bear. The urge to cleave something in my kitchen started to come up.
Luckily it was time for me to start the preparations for dinner. So I went to Anna and told her that I would make dinner for the three of us, as soon as I served the dessert. Then I gave her a quick kiss and said that I would be off to my kitchen. Emma came up to me and demanded a kiss too. So I gave her a kiss on her forehead while holding those dangerous finger paint hands away from my clothes.
At last, I made my way to my kitchen. Finally, I would be able to release some of that frustration. I decided to go with fish tonight. First I would serve my shrimp croquettes as an entree. As a main, I was going to serve them a piece of salmon, prepared 'en papillote' with seasonal vegetables, and for dessert, I would make them a mille-feuille. Of course, for this occasion, I was planning on using my knowledge on natural aphrodisiacs, which I learned for making the éclairs. I was going to do my best, to make Ms. Stick's date as pleasurable as possible. Maybe she would become a little nicer if she finally found someone.
I started out with baking puff pastry sheets for the mille-feuille. That way, they would have time to cool down and I would only need to prepare the fillings when the time came.
Half an hour later I had done most of the preparatory work when I heard the door of the brasserie open. I decided to go and welcome Ms. Stick and her date when I noticed Frank entering the door.
“Did you forget something?” but when I finished that sentence I noticed Ms. Stick entering after him. I could have known. Frank managed to score the most troublesome date possible... Again!
“Oh. So you had a date with my brother?” This suddenly became awkward. Having to serve my brother on an intimate tête-à-tête felt wrong somehow.
Ms. Stick clearly wasn't too happy about this situation either. She just nodded to me and looked pretty sour. I know she wanted to surprise her date with an unknown chef, and that plan clearly fell into the water, but Frank was doing his best to butter her up and give it a positive spin. “Well, I must agree with you, that my sister is most likely the best chef in Brussels.”
I decided to lead them to a table. I brought them an aperitif and told them the first course would be ready in about fifteen minutes. I decided to leave them alone as soon as I could. I wanted to be out of this awkward atmosphere.
When I returned a quarter of an hour later, with the shrimp croquettes, I could see that Ms. Stick was clearly bored and that Frank was still doing his best to make the best out of it. I could see that this was not going to work out, but Frank seemed to have an endless supply of optimistic enthusiasm.
At least I could hear both of them enjoying my croquettes, by the delightful moans I heard coming out of their mouths when they were eating them. But except for remarks about the food, I did not really hear any conversation that Ms. Stick did not end with a simple yes or no reply.
After serving the salmon en-papillote with a potato gratin in almost the exact same manner, I returned to the kitchen to hear the door of the brasserie open and close. I feared Ms. Stick might have left, so I went back out, but to my surprise, I saw Thea standing there.
“Ah Claire, I thought I'd drop by to pick up the jewelry I lent you the other day.”
“Oh, sure Ann..” Anna is upstairs I wanted to say. But Thea had spotted Frank and Ms. Stick and had left me to step toward them.
“Narcy, what a coincidence to see you here! You look marvelous!” I was pretty sure I told Thea about her date today in the restaurant, I did not imagine that, did I? She was acting so convincingly I started to doubt myself.
Thea took off her coat and she was clearly dressed to impress wearing an elegant purple silk dress. I was pretty sure that was one of her own creations.
Thea blatantly intruded on Frank and Ms. Stick's date, and took a chair, and took a chair to sit down at their table. She started complimenting Ms. Stick and I could see her get irritated each time Frank opened his mouth. Ms. Stick was immediately in a better mood and directed all her attention to Thea. If one did not know the situation, you would think Frank was the intruding third wheel.
I ran up to the apartment to get the jewelry, but when I arrived there, I was faced with Anna and Emma, who were clad from head to toe in finger paint. I couldn't hold my laughter. Anna whispered to Emma “Let's get her” and they started running after me with their hands full of paint around the apartment. Luckily I was able to get back to the door before they caught me.
When I arrived downstairs I realized I forgot to get the jewelry but Thea was completely preoccupied with Ms. Stick. She clearly forgot what she came here for. I guess I could just give the jewelry back later tonight.
Thea was hanging all over Ms. Stick who was letting Thea get away with a lot. I even noticed Thea's hand on Ms. Stick's lap. While Frank still sat there optimistically trying to chat up Ms. Stick. It was a little pathetic really. So I decided to interfere. The second-hand embarrassment was becoming too much so I called him over. “Frank, I am sorry to say this, but you need to give up. You are barking up the wrong tree.”
“What do you mean sis, I still have a shot. She is clearly having a good time.”
Was he really that dense? I was surprised he ever had a girlfriend long enough to get a child.
“Frank, your date is clearly into Thea. She is having a good time because Thea is here.”
“That is just girls being girls. All my girlfriends were always that clingy with their friends. Thanks to Thea we picked up the mood.”
I facepalmed. “Frank, watch this.” I took out my yuri detecting key chain, which Ms. Odes had developed, and pointed it to the two of them. The LED immediately became green. “That makes it 100% certain. They are into each other. I can't believe that after witnessing that clingy behavior, you really never stopped to wonder why all your girlfriends started something with girls afterward. That is not girls being girls. That is 100% flirting, and it is not the one-sided kind, like what you were doing.”
I could see the cogwheels in his head were starting to move. His happy mood turned into a sad mood. That made me feel a little bad for him, but I still hadn’t forgiven him for planning a date tonight.
“If you want, I know a girl that would love to spend a night with you.”
At those words, Frank perked up.
“She is called Emma and would not love anything better than to spend the evening with her dad.”
Frank gave me a bit of a guilty look. “What are you waiting for? Go play with her. I will finish up here after serving desserts. I will be up with her and Anna’s dinner soon.”
Well, at least I made Emma's evening a little better. Time to serve those ladies their desserts.