House Arrest (16/35) – WMC fic

(12/24 – Lindsay’s POV)

Lindsay only wanted to make something edible for dinner. She’d slept most of the day away and when she had gotten up, Cindy was in the middle of a phone call explaining to her mother the reason she wouldn’t be over on Christmas. Or at least reciting her made up excuse of how a big assignment came up and she really needed to stay and work. She’d smiled and waved at Lindsay as she came out of the bedroom, and tried to extricate herself from the conversation at that time. But when she put her hand to her forehead and dropped back against the cushions, Lindsay knew that the call wouldn’t be ending in the near future. So, she motioned to the kitchen and left Cindy in some relative privacy.

It only took coming within the vicinity of food for Lindsay to become very aware of the fact that she had slept through her last few meals, so she decided to raid the pantry and whip something up for the both of them. A calm, somewhat tasty meal, that was all she wanted. She did not want a mess, a smoke alarm incident, or annoyance with herself. But she got all three.

When she finally admitted defeat, she went to the doorway, where Cindy’s phone call clearly just ended, because she was apparently trying to recover from its effects. Her elbows were resting on her knees, her head was hung down, and she was massaging the muscles on the back of her neck with both hands.

“Bad?” Lindsay asked, leaning against the doorframe.

Cindy jumped slightly and looked up.

“My mother does guilt like an un-repented Catholic,” she said, not bothering to hide her frustration.

She was, however, trying hard to conceal the shame over creating a situation where she had to tell such a lie to her mother. But Lindsay could see that too.

“I thought that your mother is Catholic,””she said lightly.

“That explains it,” Cindy said with a sigh. “When the smoke detector went off…”Lindsay ducked her head when she felt herself blushing, but, luckily, Cindy was too involved in her disbelief to notice. “…she asked what it was and I told her. And she just… kept… talking. Apparently my perishing in a fire couldn’t ruin Christmas as sufficiently as me not being there,” she exclaimed. Then the remorse took a little firmer hold. “Though, I am her only kid and she’s used to me being around on holidays. I mean, a lot of my family will be there. It’s not like she’s alone. It’s just… I picked a really bad time of year to screw up, didn’t I?”

“Live and learn,” Lindsay said gently. “I’m sure it will be okay. She just wasn’t expecting you to not be there. Who was expecting any of this?”

“You were,” Cindy responded, and actually managed a near smile.

“I am more astute than most,” Lindsay returned, and succeeded in turning Cindy’s almost into an actual smile. “So, my bad news may not be too surprising.”

“What is it?”

“I can’t cook.”

Lindsay didn’t miss Cindy’s attempt at not laughing aloud at the admission. When she had her humor under slightly better control, Cindy simply asked, “You didn’t know this before you went in there?”

“No actually,” Lindsay replied. “I knew I wasn’t great at it. I didn’t realize I was a total disaster.”

“I’m sure it’s not as bad as you think,” Cindy said.

“It is,” Lindsay adamantly responded. “Trust me. I tried to throw the pasta against the wall and it bounced back at me with buoyancy it really shouldn’t have had and the sauce tastes like fish and there’s no fish in it. So, want takeout again?”

As Lindsay finished her summary of the details of her cooking experiment gone awry, Cindy was no longer able to keep her laughter at bay. She continued laughing long after Lindsay was done talking, and Lindsay crossed her arms and just waited for her to tire out. She knew Cindy wasn’t actually tired of it, so much as trying to quit on her behalf, when she finally forced herself to stop and cleared her throat.

“Do you mind if I take a shot at saving it before we throw it out?” Cindy asked.

Her eyes were mirthful, her lips still smiling. All remnants of the guilt-inducing phone call seemed to be washed away. And all it took was a little cooking debacle. Lindsay would have to remember that.

“As you wish,” she said in response to the question.

Cindy’s smile wavered just a little as she got up off of the couch, then came back in full force.

“All right, let’s see what we can do,” she declared and marched past Lindsay into the kitchen.

Lindsay turned to follow, and watched Cindy pick up the wooden spoon by the stove.

“Spices?” she asked.

“Up…” Lindsay started to respond, then realized just how far up they were. “I’ll get them.”

She walked up behind Cindy, pulled open the cabinet above her head and reached in for the spice rack that she’d been given by Jill as a ‘joke gift’. She’d been so affronted by the notion that she’d vowed to use it as regularly as possible, though never to tremendous success.

With Cindy there, she had to stand on her toes to reach it, and when she lost her balance and fell forward, her immediate reaction was to put her free hand around Cindy’s waist to keep her from being knocked into the still hot stove. As anticipated, the move kept them both out of harm’s way. What Lindsay didn’t anticipate was how badly her hand would be shaking when she set the spice rack down on the counter.

“There you go,” she said, backing away quickly.

“Thanks,” Cindy uttered, without turning around.

Lindsay moved over to the counter and hopped up on it. She really was interested in seeing if Cindy could save the atrocity from the disposal where it belonged.

“You really think you can rescue it?”

“Maybe,”Cindy said, already starting at work on the task.

“Watch a lot of cooking shows in your time?”

“And remember every single one.”

“Right,” Lindsay responded, unable to take her eyes off of Cindy.

She looked positively pleased at the situation. Far from being annoyed at Lindsay messing up dinner, she was clearly delighted with the opportunity to put her internal cooking reference to the test.

“Why do you keep saying that?” Cindy asked a few minutes later, out of the blue.

Lindsay had to really think to remember the last thing she’d said.

“Right?” she asked in confusion.

“No… um, as you wish,” Cindy responded, still busily adding and stirring in spices.

Several thoughts ran through Lindsay’s brain in rapid succession. Where she’d heard that particular phrasing many times before, the instances when she had, in fact, said it in the past few days. It was in considering the why she’d said it that she refused to allow herself to fall too deeply into contemplation.

“I don’t know,” she responded carefully. “Do I keep saying it?”

“Yeah. Like every day,” Cindy said.

“Is it annoying?”

“No. It’s just… it’s not exactly a common phrase. In this century at least.”

“I don’t know,” Lindsay said again, though maybe she did… just a little? She decided to answer in the simplest possible form. “I guess it’s subconscious.”

Cindy smiled, seemingly happy with the answer.

“Okay. Here,”she said, coming at Lindsay with the wooden spoon, her other hand cradled beneath in case of dripping.

Lindsay eyed the mixture warily, remembering her first taste test.

“Trust me,” Cindy said.

And so Lindsay had no choice but to taste it. She closed her eyes and opened her mouth and tasted… something good. Her eyes snapped back open.

“How in the hell did you do that?” she asked in disbelief.

Cindy shrugged innocently.

“There are just certain spices that can…”

“Undo the damage I did?”

“Or at least mask it,” Cindy teased.

Lindsay took the spoon from Cindy’s hand and licked it.

“I would like the world’s biggest plate of that,” she said, motioning in the direction of the pan on the stove.

“As you wish.”

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.