Chapter 105:

Dinner with mom

The Y-files [GL]

Anna and I went up to the apartment. The second we closed the door behind us, I lost it. “What the hell! I don't want anything of that creepy girl in my room!”Bookmark here

Anna was clearly surprised by my outburst. “Come on, those photoshops were still fairly innocent. However, her coming here and taking pictures in your apron was quite over the top.”Bookmark here

“You've seen nothing yet! Look!”Bookmark here

I opened the creepy sketchbook, full of naked pictures, and sketches of me doing really questionable stuff in the nude. Now it was Anna's turn to have a coughing fit. She took the book out of my hands and looked through it with big eyes. “How did she take these? She was in your bathroom?”Bookmark here

Anna did her best to sound concerned, but her nosebleed was betraying her. “This book is going to be burned! Lord, I hope she never posted any of these on the internet!” I shouted taking it out of her hands.Bookmark here

“No! Don't throw it out!” Anna shouted in a panicky voice. Bookmark here

I looked at her with eyes full of disbelief.Bookmark here

“It might help you, so you should hold on to it, maybe not now, maybe not ever, but it should help you if they ever decide to prosecute you for Louisa's death.”Bookmark here

I was seething with anger. Maybe Anna was right about this, maybe not. I needed a clear head, and there was only one thing that could give me that. “Whatever! I'm going to make dinner. I'll decide what to do with this later. I went to my room and put all the books we just got in the big box that was standing unwelcome in the middle of my room.Bookmark here

I shivered at the idea that that stuff was going to be in my room when I slept.Bookmark here

I took a march in my step and made my way for my kitchen.Bookmark here

“It might be best to keep away for a bit while I cook,” I said to Anna. Anna knew in the meantime how I got while cooking and replied “I'll just go and read some manga in your room then if that is fine with you.”Bookmark here

“Sure, go ahead.”Bookmark here

Finally my kitchen. Anything too demanding or time-consuming was off the menu. So I was going to settle for a good old-fashioned Bookmark here

carbonara. One of those dishes that was almost always done wrong.Bookmark here

Well, first things first. If you want pasta, you gotta boil water. In the meantime, I started by making pasta. Home-made pasta tastes so much better than the stuff you buy in a supermarket. I took eggs and flour and started on the batter, kneading it by hand. I could release quite some force in this process. I felt myself go into my blissful state of cooking. While thinking over what had happened today. The more I knew about Louisa, the scarier she seemed to me. She stalked me, had written a fake diary, took pictures of me without my knowing, went to visit my mother, and then to top everything else, now there were those nudes she had taken in my bathroom. She had been here in the apartment. I was seething with anger. If Louisa wasn't dead, I would kill her for this.Bookmark here

I felt the dough was ready. I wouldn't need a pasta machine. I would do this the old way. Back in the day, they knew how to relieve stress. I sharpened two knives and began knife cutting the pasta from the dough. I released all my anger on the dough, sliced away at it with precision cuts. Cut by cut I felt the anger being released from my system. Until the dough was transformed into a nice batch of homemade pasta.Bookmark here

I put some to the side for Frank and Sam. I would have to make their portion separately because it is impossible to keep a carbonara warm. After all, the eggs would coagulate if you try doing that.Bookmark here

I boiled the water for the pasta while I fried the bacon and prepared the eggs and parmesan for the sauce. So many people put cream in a carbonara, but there should not be any cream in it. You got the creamy texture from mixing the egg mix and bacon, through the hot pasta. Heating it just enough to become creamy, but not coagulate.Bookmark here

Making a carbonara was a rush, but I should be able to put dinner on the table in 15 minutes.Bookmark here

When I was ready I called Anna to help carry everything downstairs.Bookmark here

I heard some stumbling coming from my room, and after half a minute or so, Anna hurried over, a bit red in the face. I hoped she wasn't getting ill or anything like that.Bookmark here

We carried the 5 plates downstairs and sat down with Mary, Tory, and mom. Frank and Sam were tending the brasserie, and if there really was an emergency, one of us could always get up and help.Bookmark here

Everyone dug in, and I could see by the content smiles on everyone's faces that my dinner was having its intended effect.Bookmark here

“So what was it you wanted to talk about dear? You said it was about your future.”Bookmark here

I started explaining how Anna's mom got involved with my apprenticeship contract. Mom looked a bit worried at that. Then I got into Fien's predicament, and the deal I made with Kath for Fien's sake.Bookmark here

“And what did Bernie say about that? She isn't making you do anything you don't want to do, is she? I should have a word with her one of these days.”Bookmark here

So I explained everything Ms. Lourdes had done for me, and that I had basically put myself on the spot by making that deal. Not that I really had a choice in the matter.Bookmark here

Mom's eyes grew wider. I started telling her about how I had been cornered by letting my answer decide if my friends could live out their dreams. Mom looked like she was ready to murder Kath.Bookmark here

So I quickly explained how Anna had saved me.Bookmark here

“Anna and I will have to start a global high-class restaurant chain. I will have to develop the dishes, and she will do the business side.” I looked at Anna, she had really sacrificed herself for me, hadn't she? I thought she was taking this all pretty lightly.Bookmark here

“But, Anna! Didn't you say you never wanted to work for your family?” Mom asked.Bookmark here

“No, I did not want my road being decided for me. I made my own choice here, and it's not like I was manipulated into it. It was clear that mom never saw it coming.”Bookmark here

So that was why she kept so calm.Bookmark here

Mom got up and gave Anna a hug. “Thank you, dear, for putting Claire's happiness first. I will remember this. You did well.” Anna was blushing really hard. She wasn't really used yet to the closeness of our family.Bookmark here

When mom noticed, she laughed and said “Better get used to it. This is your family too now. Even if you aren't married yet!”Bookmark here

I almost choked on that one. “Mom! You're embarrassing me!”Bookmark here

“I'm just saying how I see things, dear.”Bookmark here

Anna looked at me with an irresistible gentle gaze, that made me blush, creating an uncomfortable silence, that was broken by Mari.Bookmark here

“Then, does all of this mean you are going to be looking for chefs?” she asked. She got an elbow nudge from Tory, who whispered. “That's way too opportunistic. They are having a special moment. Wait for at least a little while.” to which Mari retorted “For that one time I know someone in high places.”Bookmark here

Everyone at the table started laughing. That broke the embarrassing atmosphere alright. Anna said, “If it is okay with Claire, you can be a chef in one of the restaurants.”Bookmark here

Now everyone looked at me. I did not want to inconvenience mom so I said “If there is a replacement for you at Femme Fatale, I don't see why not. You are really talented, and if you don't mind taking instructions from someone younger like me, you are more than welcome.”Bookmark here

“I think we both know who the better cook is between the two of us. I look forward to working with you.” Mari said rather hastily as if the chance would pass if she did not say yes immediately.Bookmark here

Mom sighed. “I guess we will be looking for someone new again.”Bookmark here

“I will stay until they are trained. That way Frank doesn't have his usual excuse.” Mari said. I could see she felt a bit guilty about planning to leave Femme Fatale so soon again.Bookmark here

“It won't be for the first months either. There will be a lot of planning and research to do first. So you have time.” Anna then said. She was being a lot more thoughtful on how to proceed than she ever was at the bureau, where money seemed to have no value.Bookmark here

When I confronted her about that, she answered: “We are the main investors in this venture. It's not like it's just government funds.”Bookmark here

“...”Bookmark here

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