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Chapter 6: Cookies
I spent every day up until Friday making new cookie recipes in my head. More than once, my father smacked me on the back of the head for day dreaming instead of doing my job. It was not like we had too much business. True, Doug had brought in much needed business that had turned into regular customers, but the Boötes Café still had business that was as slow as snails due to the location. There wasn’t much to do when the café was empty, especially with four people to share the work.
When Dad asked me what I was dreaming about anyway, I told him the truth… mostly. I told him that I was thinking up new cookie recipes for the café. We did not have nearly enough cookies on the menu anyway. After that, he gave me a pad of paper to write them down. I might have been a little cocky when it came to my baking, but so was my father. It was the one thing I was actually really good at, and I knew I was good at it, so why not show it off?
I had thought up no less than fifteen recipes (one of them not even being for cookies at all, but rather for a wedding cake), but only seven of them (including the cake recipe, which I put aside) made it down on paper. I had thought of a way to improve chocolate chip cookies, double chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal, ginger snaps, and peanut butter. I had even come up with a recipe for a reverse peanut butter chocolate chip cookie that I was very anxious to try – with or without Remus. In fact, I was anxious to try all of my new recipes, but I figured that I’d let Remus choose which one he’d like to test.
It turns out, however, that he was just as eager to try the recipes as I was.
I had just turned the open sign to closed on Friday night and turned away from the door to go set up in the kitchen when he tapped on the window. I was amazed at how quickly he had appeared – I had only just turned away from the door, and I hadn’t seen him out on the street – but I shrugged it off, concluding that I must have not been using my eyes again.
I turned back to the door and unlocked it to let him in. The door bell chimed as he stepped in from the warm July night outside. I closed the door behind him and locked it up again. I turned back to see Remus smiling brightly, yet tiredly, down at me. He almost looked ill.
“Are you feeling alright, Remus?” I asked, tilting my head at him curiously. “You look sick.”
“I’m alright,” he said, smiling reassuringly. “Just a little bit tired is all.”
I nodded and smiled widely. “Well, I have some choices for you to pick from,” I told him, leading the way to the kitchen. I stopped in front of a counter in the kitchen by the sink where I had set out the five cookie recipes and set the experimental recipe to the side. “I want to try all of them,” I said, “but I couldn’t decide.”
Remus picked each piece of paper up, examining the recipe carefully before moving on to the next. He made faces, deep in thought after reading each one. He glanced at the recipe I had set aside.
“What’s that one?” he asked, pointing to it.
“Oh, that?” I picked up the recipe and tucked it safely into my apron. “That’s truly an experimental recipe. I’m not sure if it’s even going to work.”
Remus moved closer very swiftly. Before I knew it, he was standing so close that his smell overwhelmed me. I found it hard to breathe – like I was choking on my heart, which was pounding in my throat. My breaths where short and shallow. I dared to look up into his eyes.
“Can I see it?” he asked in nearly a whisper. He reached for my apron, and by the pocket, pulled me, not forcefully, but gently, closer. We were nearly touching. I fought to control my breathing, petrified as his gaze never moved from mine. Remus reached into my apron pocket where I had stashed the recipe and pulled it out, releasing my apron.
I exhaled the breath I hadn’t realised I’d been holding as he shifted his eyes from mine to the recipe. I waited anxiously as he furrowed his brow, concentrating on the recipe. “’Reverse Peanut Butter and Chocolate?’” he read aloud curiously.
“Er-well,” I started, backing up a little, since we were still standing so closed. “They make peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips… it would be the opposite of that. A chocolate cookie with peanut butter chips.”
Remus made a face, thinking about it. “Can you even buy peanut butter chips?” he asked.
I laughed. “Remus, I don’t even buy chocolate chips,” I told him. “I make them myself.”
He nodded and held up the recipe. “I think we should do this one,” he concluded.
“That one!?” I exclaimed, trying to snatch it from his hand unsuccessfully. He held it above his head, way out of my reach. “But that one – that one is an experiment! It might turn out horrible!”
“That’s the thing about experiments though, isn’t it?” Remus chuckled. He didn’t even have to try to restrain me as I leapt for the recipe. “You never know until you try, and besides, that’s half the fun! Who knows? We could be cookie pioneers here, Casey!”
I stopped jumping for the paper. He was right – it might turn out wonderful, and it would be a one of a kind cookie. There were millions of recipes for chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies, but there would only be one reverse peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie. But still – what if it turned out to be terrible? Remus might lose faith in my baking skills. He’d be reluctant to try anything I baked ever again!
“I don’t think it’s a good idea,” I said. “It’s just something I made up; it could be awful.”
“Ah, Casey, you over analyze things,” he chuckled. “If it’s awful, we’ll just try again until we get it right, won’t we? I don’t suppose you thought your grandmother had the recipe for her chocolate cheesecake right the first time, did you?”
Actually, I had never thought of it. I’d only assumed that she had.
I sighed. “Fine,” I said. “I guess we can try it.”
Remus grinned. “Wonderful!” he said. “What’s first?”
I pointed to a cabinet near the exit from the kitchen to the alley outside. “Go put an apron on and wash your hands,” I instructed him, examining his yellow button up (sleeves rolled up to the elbows) and jeans. “The last thing we need is for you to ruin your clothes with chocolate.”
Remus did as he was told, and I began to gather supplies from cupboards and pantries. I had set out a bowl and all the baking supplies and was just about to preheat the oven when Remus called my attention to him.
“Which one should I wear?” he asked.
I turned to see him holding up two aprons – one white and identical to the one I wore over my black skirt and white blouse, and the other one with a ridiculous flower pattern and lace trim. I laughed out loud.
“Well,” I giggled. “The white one is nothing more than an apron. The flower one, however, has good juju.”
“Does it?” Remus laughed, examining it and the plain apron closely.
“Yes it does,” I said, nodding. “It is the only apron my grandmother ever wore when she was baking. You’ve tasted her chocolate cheesecake.”
“Flower apron it is then,” he concluded, placing the other one back in the cabinet. I couldn’t help but lose it as he put on the frilly apron. It looked so out of place, yet somehow fit. I nearly fell to the floor in a fit of laughter as he pranced – yes, pranced – to the sink and washed his hands.
When he walked from the sink to where I had set everything up, I had myself nearly under control.
“What’s first?” he asked.
I bit my lip, trying not to burst out into uncontrollable hysterics again. “Er,” I started. “Why don’t you, uh, start measuring the ingredients.”
“Alright,” he said, turning to where I had laid everything out. He carefully measured the flour. Finally having myself under control, I continued to preheat the oven and wash my own hands.
I went back to Remus. Instinctually, I took his measured ingredients and carefully mixed them into a large silver bowl, creating thick, brown, gooey dough.
“You actually made these?” Remus asked, holding out the cup of peanut butter chips to me. They weren’t the typical Hershey’s Kiss shape that store bought chocolate chips were. Rather, they were little squares, which were easiest to make.
“Yes, I did,” I said, taking the cup from him and adding it to the dough. From just the smell, I knew that these cookies were going to be great. After I had finished mixing, I held the spoon up to Remus. “Try it,” I told him.
He did so and smiled his brilliant crooked smile. “It’s excellent, Casey,” he said.
I tried some for myself and frowned. It wasn’t excellent. It was missing something.
“What’s wrong?” he asked. “It tastes great – really!”
I shook my head, thinking. Then it hit me. I went back to the pantry and found what I was looking for. I walked back to the bowl and began to add a bit of brown sugar and vanilla. I didn’t bother with measuring cups. I tossed the bag of brown sugar and the bottle of vanilla aside and mixed it again.
“Taste,” I demanded, holding the spoon out toward Remus.
He raised his eyebrows at me questioningly, but tasted the dough anyway and grinned.
“Better, isn’t it?” I laughed, tasting it for myself.
“I didn’t think it could get better, Casey,” he said. “But you managed it.”
“What can I say?” I shrugged, tapping his nose with the chocolate covered spoon. “I’m a genius.”
Remus sulked as I began to spoon the cookie dough onto a large cookie sheet. I figured we had enough to make about twenty cookies to test. As I busied myself, Remus wiped the dough off his nose with one finger. He came up behind me and, without warning, smeared it across my cheek.
“What was that for?” I asked, setting the bowl down and wiping my cheek with my hand.
Remus, still looking ridiculous in Grandma’s flower apron, snickered at me. I mock-scowled. “You’re mean!” I said, turning back to the dough. I finished spooning it out onto the cookie sheet and put it in the oven, by which time Remus was done giggling like a school girl.
There was left over cookie dough. Before he could even see what was coming, I had scooped a bit of cookie dough out with my fingers and smudged it across his scruffy cheek. He looked down at me, taken aback as I giggled.
I backed away, though, when Remus reached for the chocolate covered spoon.
“Come back here,” he ordered, chasing me across the kitchen.
“No!” I exclaimed, clutching my sides from laughter as I scurried across the tile floor. “We’re even!”
“Oh, no we’re not,” Remus said. “You started this, young lady!”
“You sound like my father,” I laughed, dashing behind a cupboard. “He always calls me young lady when I’m in trouble!”
“You are in trouble,” he informed me, peering around the cupboard. I made a run for it again, but he was faster and stronger and caught me. He held me tight against his chest, restraining me with only one arm, and began to dab the spoon on my face.
“Quit it, quit it!” I pleaded through a fit of giggles. “You win, you win!”
Remus let me go, looking satisfied as he began to lick what chocolate was left off the spoon. He appeared to be in pure bliss. As he occupied himself with the spoon, I crept back across the kitchen and armed myself with the bowl and what little cookie dough was left in it.
“What are you doing?” he asked, chocolate still on his face. “You look dangerous.”
“That’s because I am!” I responded, launching a handful of cookie dough in his direction. He ducked and the chocolate splattered against a cabinet.
“Hey, this is not a fair game!” Remus said. “You have that whole bowl, and all I have is this spoon!”
“I don’t play fair! Besides, it’s not my fault you licked all the cookie dough off of it!” I cackled evilly, sending another glob of cookie dough in his direction and missing again.
“Hold still!” I told him, chasing him around the kitchen with the bowl of cookie dough, launching globs as I went.
He abruptly stopped and turned toward me. I grinned maliciously, ready to cover him in chocolate. Then he started to advance on me, which lead me to back away cautiously. I was rather confused.
“What are you doing?” I asked, holding up the last bit of cookie dough. “I’m not afraid to use this.”
“I was just thinking,” he said, still gaining on me. “I’m much taller than you are, so why am I running for my life when I could just do this?”
Remus placed is arms around my middle and picked me up, forcing me to drop the now empty bowl.
“Not… fair,” I grunted, struggling and wriggling against him, my feet not even touching the floor.
“Ah, but Casey, I thought we didn’t play fair?” Remus chuckled, swinging me around playfully.
And that’s when I realised I still had the last glob of cookie dough in my hand. I lifted my arm up, and smashed it right into Remus’s face, which lead him to set me down. I turned to see him standing there, chocolate covering his face. I giggled as he wiped the cookie dough away from his eyes and looked at me.
“I… win?” I said cautiously, trying not to laugh.
Remus licked chocolate away from his lips. “This time,” he told me in a low, smooth voice. He moved closer. “Next time I won’t go so easy on you.”
I giggled, unaware of our closeness and reached up to his face. I wiped a little of the chocolate off his cheek with my index finger and brought it to my lips. I licked it off and smiled widely.
“Mm, the taste of victory,” I sniggered, a mischievous smirk on my face.
Then his lips were on mine and before I even knew what was going on, I kissed him back. It was the messiest and tastiest kiss that I had ever and would ever experience. It was brief, but seemed to last forever. My knees buckled beneath me and my breath was taken away.
Remus pulled away, leaving me staggering and breathless, aching for more. I looked at him like an idiot, mouth wide open, face covered in chocolate, and eyes slightly dazed and confused. The timer on the oven went off.
“I-I,” Remus started, looking just as shocked and confused as I was. “I have to go.”
I didn’t say anything, but rather went to the oven to take the cookies out. Remus put my grandmother’s apron back in the cabinet and exited through the door next to it. I was still speechless until I realised that we had just baked these cookies and he was leaving before trying one.
“W-wait,” I stammered, finally seeming to have found my voice. I ran to the door that had just shut, opening it to the sound of a loud CRACK!
“Remus, the cookie-“
When I got out into the alley, he was nowhere to be found. I looked down one way, and down the other, not even finding a trace that anyone had been there. But I had clearly seen him walk out the door. I looked up the walls stupidly, wondering if he had pulled a Spiderman move, but I had to face the truth. There was only one person in that alley, and it was me. Remus had disappeared – again.
I went back inside and looked at the kitchen. It was a complete and total mess. Chocolate was everywhere. If my father were to come in the next morning and find the kitchen in this state, he’d have my head. I would never be allowed to bake in there again.
I sighed, the aroma of the untested cookies filling the room, and set to cleaning the kitchen. I couldn’t help but think about Remus, the man who had stood there, not even five minutes before and kissed me. Had he meant to do it? Was it an accident? Was it even possible to accidentally kiss someone? And when – oh, when – was I going to get to see him again?
FUN FACT! I just realized that the last three paragraphs of this story end with the word "again"
I know, I'm smart. HAH.
Weeellll? What'd you think? Love it? Hate it? Want more of it?
WOOH! I'm in an interesting mood.
Anyway, here's the awesome list;;
And a very, VERY special thanks to my new friend jman7693, who is awesome for sticking around for this story for over a year (I think it was that long?), always reviewing, and reading over this chapter for me. We're going to be cowriting a story soon, so look out for The Legion of Short and Clumsy People That Will Rule the World!
LoSaCPTWRtW for short.
Oh, and you should review. That will make me happy and the awesome list happy. The more people that are on the awesome list, the happier it is. Just saying. I've seen it unhappy. Not a pretty sight.