‘I will get dinner ready. You open a bottle of wine,’ Milly said.
‘Where do you keep the wine?’ Christian asked, glancing around the kitchen for clues.
Milly smiled while she chopped carrots. She inclined her head towards the hallway and said, ‘Second door on the left. There’s a wine rack next to the sideboard. Choose whatever you like.’
Christian nodded and left the kitchen.
Milly started to hum; she was at her happiest in the kitchen. She loved to prepare meals. She perused recipe books for ideas, but rarely used one when she was cooking. She liked to fly by the seat of her pants, and it usually paid off. Only once had there been an inedible disaster. She chuckled to herself as she remembered.
‘What are you laughing at?’ Christian asked, wandering back into the kitchen with a bottle in his hands.
‘Oh, nothing. Sorry, I was just thinking of a bad meal I cooked once.’ She glanced over at him. His face gave his thoughts away: gaping mouth, raised eyebrows, blushing cheeks.
Milly continued, ‘Don’t worry, I’m not planning to repeat it.’ She grabbed at the veggies and threw them into the pan. The pan sizzled and oil spat. ‘You’re not a vegan are you?’
‘God no!’ Christian replied emphatically.
He shook his head.
‘Thank goodness. I couldn’t be with a man who didn’t eat meat.’ Milly took a steak out of the fridge and began to slice it. She heard the glug-glug of the wine being poured into glasses. She began to hum again.
Christian appeared next to her at the kitchen bench. He held the wine glass in front of her. She took it.
‘To us. May this be the start of many meals together,’ he said as he raised his glass.
‘To us,’ Milly repeated as they chinked glasses. She sipped, placed her glass next to the cutting board and finished slicing the steak. Christian was still beside her. He placed his glass down, and rubbed her back. She flinched at his touch.
Christian frowned slightly; it flickered across his brow so quickly Milly wasn’t even certain she saw it.
He stopped rubbing her back and moved away. She could feel him watching her as she prepared the rest of their dinner.
‘Can you set the table, please?’ she asked.
Christian busied himself finding the placemats, cutlery and napkins. ‘Do you have any candles,’ he asked once the table was ready. ‘I think they might add to the ambience.’
‘Back where you got the wine, in the sideboard, left-hand door.’
By the time he’d come back, Milly had dinner served on the table. Christian lit the candles.
‘Mmm, this smells delicious,’ he murmured approvingly.
‘Thanks. I hope you enjoy it.’
He reached across to take her hand. ‘I can’t see why I wouldn’t.’ He smiled at her as she picked up her fork and stabbed at her serving. ‘I hope you don’t mind,’ Christian continued. ‘I’d like to say grace first.’
Milly gawped while she thought of a way to get him out of her home.