Cecilia Scarlette Locke’s Point of View
Kinsey and I arrived at the summerhouse, and I couldn’t help but feel a little bit worried about what’s bound to happen next. “I’ll place this on the counter. Would you need any help?” Kinsey asked as he stored his keys in his pocket.
I place my hands on my hips after forming them into a ball. “What do you think of me as? I am well capable.” I pointed up. “Let me handle this.” I smile. I then sighed to myself and grabbed a knife.
I am not really acquainted with why and how would I use the knife here for. What am I about to make with these shrimps even?
Spicy Noodle Shrimp. BBQ shrimp. Paella. Buttermilk shrimp. Baked Honey Garlic Shrimp.
There are so many options, but there’s the point wherein I should figure beforehand what’s the easiest dish to make. Specifically, the one that I am actually capable of and would not make me end up being a laughing stock.
I groaned to myself. Not only am I a failure at our business but this too? I should at least try. Yes, I’ll have myself search through the recipes down here the cabinets somewhere. I looked around and confirmed that the coast was clear. Then, I was quick to dock and search through the cabinets one after another. Just one astray cookbook and I’ll be helped. The dish that would come out of it wouldn’t be perfect, but I’ll at least have something to present to Kinsey.
“What are you doing there on the floor, Cecilia?” My head shot up when I heard the very voice I do not wish to hear at this point. I smile weakly as I quickly stand up and straighten my clothes.
“Hmmm? Nothing.” I answered, the pitch of my voice going an octave higher than normal out of nervousness. Kinsey raised a brow before looking around for anything suspicious.
“I see. Do you need help with anything?” He asked.
The answer is yes. It’s the only way in this situation of mine. I am finally seeing hope towards this dark path that I’ve taken.
“Actually, yes. I am having difficulties locating the things I’ll be needing… this is not my kitchen after all.” I bit my tongue back after saving myself with the last words I’ve uttered. I almost admitted that I was so lost, I could not even start.
Kinsey smiles as he takes another apron and puts it on himself. “You haven’t asked, but I think I am a decent cook already after staying and cooking for myself for a while now.” He exclaimed excitedly.
“You’ve been cooking for yourself?” I asked in surprise. Where does he get the time to do so? I mean, given an ample amount of time, I could learn too. Well, if I hadn’t had so many things to do in a day. “I… I meant, good for you.” I added.
“Why aren’t you wearing an apron, though? It might stain your dress. It looks pretty on you, and it’ll be a waste if you won’t be able to wear them again.” He stated as I watched him pick up a roll of green apron.
“I could just buy again at the mal-“
“Hush. Here. Let me put it on you. Turn around.” Kinsey smiles brightly- too brightly that I kind of assume that he is planning something else along with this kind gesture. But knowing Kinsey since we were kids, I know there is nothing there but pure kindness. He’s just that kind of person. “Hmmm? Turn around, Cecilia.” He repeated, making me wake up back to reality.
I let him face my back as quickly as possible and stood still. He then slips in the cloth on top of my head before trying a knot around my waist. I feel like a toddler, to be honest, but I let it be that way as I try to not feel too tense within the duration.
“So what do you plan on cooking for our meal, miss chef?” Kinsey chuckled as he finished tying my apron.
I chew the inside of my cheek and unconsciously point the knife I’ve been holding all this time towards him. “Please do not call me by weird names, Kinsey.” I replied, which made him raise his hands up in the air in surrender, hearing him gulped a little.
Well, that’s when I’ve caught up that I was indeed pointing a knife at him. I’ve retracted the sharp thing before looking away. “I am sorry.”
“Heh. It’s not big of a deal. So long as you won’t come for me at my bed and kill me for real.” He joked. “So what would we eat? Or haven’t you decided yet?”
I do not know what to cook. No, let me reprise that, I do not know how to cook.
I cleared my throat. “What about something easy to prepare that you like?” I asked. It’s a gamble and truly a leap of faith, but there goes my chance. I hope Kinsey wouldn’t suspect that much towards me.
“What about tempura? It’s easy to make, and we used to enjoy it as kids.” Kinsey exclaimed excitedly while on the other hand, I grimaced at the idea.
I reckon that tempura is easy to make, even for a novice level like me, so long as I follow the procedure. But the problem here is the fact that this very dish is deep-fried. It should not be incorporated into our diets since it is not considered healthy. Deep-fried meals are very high in fat, making the tempura a high in calorie dish.
“No. We can’t eat tempura.” I answered.
“Why not? You liked it though. ”Kinsey made a face I couldn’t quite pinpoint what is for.
“My food preference is different from what we had when we were kids.” I pointed out. Besides, it was only that one time when we sneaked out for a snack. Kinsey was really good at following the recipe, but of course with a supervision of a maid. It’s only unfortunate that that very maid had lost her job because of us and-
I shook my head a little.
“What about you cook tempura for me and then I’ll cook something for you too? It’s my way of apologizing for dragging you to the market earlier too.” Kinsey suggested, which I eventually agreed upon. This conversation is getting long and I am afraid that my stomach might speak for itself if this continued.
As a Locke, I am was trained to retain my memory more than average. That recipe from my childhood might be a little bit blurry but if I will recount the steps and backtrack from that night, I’m sure I watched Kinsey do it. I secretly wanted to make it on my own back then too, The fact that I would only be making it now after all those years is quite… scathing.
Peeling, slicing, and mincing vegetables had taken me ages to complete since I had to get used to the knife and peek over at Kinsey once in a while to make sure the technique I am using is not incorrect. Nevertheless, I’ve made it and breaded the tempura even.
I’m not sure what he is doing on the counter, but the only thing left for me to do is to deep fry it.
Looking through the cabinets for a deep fryer is when I heard Kinsey once again. “Are you going to cook already? Here. I’ve readied the deep saucepan already.”He said, placing his hand on top of my head. “Easy. You might bump your head on the corners.”
I crinkle my nose and immediately stood up straight and took a step backward to put a space between us. “Thank you. Make sure you’re already working on my meal, though.” I reminded him.
“Of course. I want to eat together and hopefully catch up for real this time.” Kinsey chuckled. He seemed to be in a much greater mood now, comparing to his scrunched face in the university earlier.
“Sure… We could do that. I also want to discuss more on where we stand now.” I said as I pour in oil into the saucepan. I watch as the yellowish liquid fills it up so satisfyingly. “I am still determined to take you back home.” I said, setting aside the bottle of olive oil before looking at him seriously. All of this is for that matter after all. Failure is not an option.
I heard nothing from Kinsey after that, I would assume that he prefers to discuss this over our meal. So, I went ahead and started the fire by turning the stove on. “All that is left is to place everything in.” I whispered to myself and dropped five pieces first to try and see if how many I could cook in a batch.
I needed crispy golden shrimp tempuras on the outside, and the juicy pulp of both freshness and refreshments of the minced veggies and shrimp inside. At least that was what I thought I was making, but when I’ve decided it’s time to pop them off of the heat, something seemed to be wrong.
I slice one into half and despite the signs of golden brown goodness of crunch, the inside is still raw… so I dropped them all back in. But after I took them out again, they’re all already charred.
“Ohhh. That’s not good. Did you check the flame? Make sure it’s not too high.”
“I can do it.” I smile over at Kinsey as I try to reassure him, but mostly myself. I can’t ask him to take over now. I personally wanted to make this until done. “Right… Low flame. Low flame. What was I thinking?” I cleared my throat and made sure this time, I cooked it into a low flame when I started all over again…
… which turned out to be soggy afterward.
I furrowed my brows as I tried to rethink what I was doing wrong. I was racking my brain that I hadn’t realized Kinsey walking over and examining two samples that I’ve finished.
“Cecilia.” My head shot up as I saw charred tempura in his hand. “Don’t tell me-“
“Don’t even say it!” I yelped, making my face burn up in embarrassment.
What did I receive in reply? A soft chuckle from this blond man.
“You should’ve told me earlier. Here, want me to teach you? Or would you rather I take over now?” He asked with a small smile. I first look to the side and eventually deliver my gaze back to him.
I let out a soft sigh.
“Y-you could teach me at first, so I could do the rest. We had a deal to cook each other’s meal after all.” I said shyly. It’s embarrassing to admit that I couldn’t do it. I mean, I should be able to do anything, I am a Locke. But then again, it’s more embarrassing to act proud when you actually know nothing.
Kinsey nods. “Well then, I think I know what seems to be the problem… Come here with me.” He instructed, which made me follow him.
He took a tool that seemed like a temperature gauge to me and then dipped it over the oil. “Just as I thought, the oil is not that hot still.” Kinsey announced.
“What? Really? Let me see…” I replied. He only nodded, his arm instantly pulling me to his side for me to be able to look at the numbers, and quick enough to stop me from touching the saucepan. I yelped in surprise before turning to him.
Hip to hip, I glanced up at him and I could tell that he didn’t plan the execution of his actions for us to end up this way. I did not falter though, if we are going to be husband and wife then this is but normal.
“I-I am sorry…”Kinsey quickly said, loosening his hold around my waist for me to be able to move away from him. “You could try cooking again. I will be at the side. Just call me if you need help with anything.”
I nod. “Thank you, I’ll deliver this to passable remarks.” I said, watching him hold his face as he shakes his head, walking to the other side of the kitchen. I smile to myself as I turn over to the saucepan. I am to wait for the oil to hit the hot side.
But in the meantime, I couldn’t help but think. Don’t tell me it was already too much for him. It wasn’t even skin to skin…