3/16/2015

Story Orgy Presents: Like a Wolf Part 9 #mmromance #wip #blogstory




Good morning all! 
Today is predicted to be absolutely gorgeous here in the countryside, and that means only one thing. It's going to be real hard to stay in this chair and focused on getting the work done that needs to be done today!  



Like A Wolf

A Little Red Riding Hood Story In Which the Wolf Must Choose Between Innocent Red, and the Seductively Skilled Hunter He’s Been Toying With For Years

Chapter Nine
Well, that blew the lid off.

“What’s this? Want me to throw this out?” The puzzled voice belonged to Laz, one of the men behind the scenes who helped bring Hank’s culinary visions to life. Styrofoam squeaked. A slight silence fell.
Hank kept working on his fish, head down. He’d brought the cookies in because he couldn’t bear the idea of them sitting out in his truck, alone and going stale in the afternoon heat. He deliberately lifted a corner of his mouth in a half-hearted sneer. Stupid.
“Chocolate chip cookies? They smell great, but… boss, I can’t see this fitting into the menu we discussed.” Laz’s confusion was clear.
“He never made those.” Bree piped in. “The boss wouldn’t ever make such a plebian thing as a chocolate chip cookie.”
Anger surged, red hot and directionless. Hank slammed his knife into the cutting block and spun around, fixing the two with an angry glare. They made as good a target as any. “Do you two have anything to do?" He switched his gaze deliberately to the duty lists pinned to the cork board, one long list for each member of the staff, written in his own hand, only a few items were crossed off. “Laz, I want that granita in the freezer within the next half hour. Bree, if you’re at loose ends, you can start making the sauce for the carrots.”
They mumbled and grumbled, unaccustomed to such sharp reprimands, but went back to their work. Hank stalked across the room and scooped up the cookies. He threw them in the trash can by the cooler, stifling his internal, instinctive protest. Red made those for you.
So what? He was supposed to keep them forever?
Hank Wolf wasn’t sentimental. He was stoic, He could take sex or leave it. He certainly didn’t need anyone… a lover, a friend, to make his life complete. He especially didn’t need a man like Red...dreaming of HEA’s and homey casseroles.
He turned back to the task before him, deboning and portion fresh salmon. The process was tedious, methodical. He needed it, the concentration to take his mind off Red’s face, and his own stupid words. The perpetual motion distracted him from the growing tension in his belly, the ache of a hunger that grew with every minute he was away from Red.
He’d get used to it. Instead of Red’s flushed cheeks, and brimming eyes, Hank forced himself to picture Hunter, in his suave clothing standing in the tiny kitchenette of a hotel suite. Much better.
Hank ran his hands over the silky salmon flesh, feeling for the tiny bones that so often got missed. He used a pair of needle nosed pliers to remove a few, then set that filet aside and began working on another, keeping that image in the forefront of his mind the whole time.
The idea of Hunter cooking in a hotel kitchenette didn’t make Hank feel guilty at all. Which, when you looked at it closely, was odd, because he’d known Hunter for ten… maybe even fifteen years. They’d been lovers for most of that time.  Even the break up hadn’t been bitter or angry. Hunter spent too much time working abroad, and they just drifted apart.
Not that Hunter Grym had ever made Hank feel as intensely as Red did. Something about that apple cheeked innocence, the sweet smile and timid pleasure Red exhibited really inspired Hank.
The chocolate chip cookies.
That was it. They made him feel guilty as hell. His glance kept straying… to the not quite shut lid of the trashcan, where he fancied he could just make out the edge of that Styrofoam container. Red had baked him cookies, had created a lunch special, just for him, even though they hadn’t parted the night before on the best of terms. 
“Hey, boss?” A subdued Bree returned from her work station to stand near him.
“What is it Bree?” He growled brusquely, slapping a new piece of salmon down on the board.
“My friend Ruby, who works at the paper just texted me…”
“The pregnant one?” He had memories of a smiling forty-something woman who was blooming and unabashedly pregnant with her first child. “She interviewed me when we opened?”
“That’s her. She called you a brash genius and a boor. I’m her birthing coach.”
“Oh for god’s sake. Can’t anything go right today? What? When do you leave? Will you be back before dinner service?” He could pick up the slack, and would willingly.
“No, you don’t understand. I don’t need to leave; it’s Manny Dyer.”
Hank looked up from the pale salmon flesh and blinked at her blankly. The name sounded familiar. “So? Spit it out Bree, I’ve got a fifty pounds of this salmon to debone, then it all needs to be trimmed and portioned.”
Bree huffed impatiently. “Manny Dyer? The restaurateur? He has Parkmore Tavern in NYC with that guy from the television show? And maybe fifty other great fine dining places?”
Well, that blew the lid off. Everything clicked then. “Manny Dyer is coming here? He wants to eat here?”
“He’s coming to the city. Ruby’s boss set up an interview. She thought maybe she’d suggest they do it here?”
Manny Dyer in his restaurant? “Of course she can do it here.” What could he serve? What would they do? “When? I’ll have to get started on a menu for that night…” He trailed off as Bree shook her head. “What?”
“I’ll text her back. But she didn’t say when.” She had her phone out and was thumbing in a message when a timer went off across the room. "Oops! Back to my carrot sauce.”
“Let me know what she says!” Hank called over his shoulder after Bree. Excitement bubbled up inside. Manny Dyer. The opportunity to cook for a genuine food celebrity? Didn't even matter why the man was coming to town. That his food would be eaten… it was an incredible opportunity. He slapped down another piece of salmon and started smoothing his hands over it.  You should call Red. Tell him the news. He’ll be excited. The urge to tell somebody was so strong, but he couldn’t follow his first instinct. So instead he wiped his hands on a towel and thumbed speed dial one on his cell.
“You changed your mind already?” Hunter’s melodious voice answered instantly.
“Guess who’s coming to dinner?” Hank couldn’t resist.
“Boy toy turn you down? Ok. I’m not proud. I’ll be your second choice, as long as you’re cooking.”
“What? Hunter… no. I thought we settled that? We’re done.”
“Then why are you inviting me to dinner?”
Rolling his eyes, Hank spoke slowly. “I did not invite you to dinner. I told you to guess who’s coming to dinner.”
“Well, if it’s not me, why should I care?” Hunter responded with bland arrogance.
Sighing in exasperation, Hank blew hair off his forehead. “Manny Dyer.”
Dead silence. Then… “Third base for the Cubs?”
It would have been funny, if Hank were in any mood to be amused. Red would understand his feelings over this, Red probably knew exactly who Manny Dyer was. “No. He’s a big deal in the restaurant world. I guess I shouldn’t expect you to know that.” More timers went off in the background, and Hank seized on the excuse. “That’s my beeper. I’ve got to go. See you around.”
He rang off without giving Hunter another opportunity to speak.
***
“Bella!” Red darted out from the kitchen and dragged his hostess back through the swinging doors in one not-so-smooth move.
She shoved him off, and straightened her sleeve, eying him dourly. “This is harassment. How was I supposed to know that guy was the one you’ve been seeing?”
“Ssst!” He hissed, shushing her with one finger on her lips. Even the mention of Hank, who hadn’t been far from his thoughts all afternoon, couldn’t dull his excitement. “The party at table seventeen…”
“The booth in the back?” She bounced up, threatening to peer out the window over his shoulder. “Wha-”
He jerked her back down, deeper into the kitchen. “Shh! Don’t look now.”
“Well, I can’t, can I? Since you’ve dragged me back here for some nefarious reason.”
“That is Manny Dyer, with Ruby Gonzalez from the Post, I swear it is.”
“She’s the editor of the food section. They published that nice review of us when you did the traditional thanksgiving dinner. So what?”
“Manny Dyer!” His heart was pounding in the back of his throat and Robbie felt like he was going to be sick. “The restaurateur. He’s … Midas in this business. Everything he touches turns to gold. What did they order? I’ll make it myself.”
“They didn’t order anything yet. Why don’t you go talk to them? Take their order yourself?”
Robert quivered. “I couldn’t. Isn’t that Henny’s table? I don’t want to look like a star struck idiot.”
Bella laughed and punched him in the arm, hard. “Don’t be silly. It’s not like he’s Matt Damon or Charlie Hunnam. He’s just a businessman. Go introduce yourself as the proprietor and ask them what they’d like.”
Not a movie star. Right. Just a businessman. “Empgr.” He choked on some nonsense, dragged in a steadying breath and nodded reluctantly. “Just a man and the local food critic.” He nodded again, wishing that he’d gotten that liquor license after all. “A shot of tequila would be good right about now.”
Bree pushed him. “Go. What’s he going to do? Criticize your mac and cheese? Look down his nose at the garlic bread knots? He’s just a man, and any man can be seduced with good food.”
“Yeah. Grandmere always said the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach.” Robbie wrinkled his nose bitterly. Any man but the one he most wanted. Just his luck the man he was more-than-sort-of falling in love with was a better chef than he was. Would Hank let Manny Dyer dine in Hungry and not prepare every morsel of food that crossed the man’s lips himself? Without controlling every aspect of the man’s dining experience? Hell no, he wouldn’t. Robbie sucked in his gut and threw back his shoulders and announced, “Okay. I’m going out there.”
He suited action to word, approaching the couple dining in the far booth. “Hi. I mean good evening. I’m Red. I mean Robert Redding. Welcome to The Lunch Basket.” He swallowed and wished he’d at least gulped some water before venturing forth. “Tonight’s special is Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole served with a side of creamed peas, zucchini fritters, and your choice of soup or salad.”
“That sounds lovely.” Ruby smiled at him encouragingly.
Red let his gaze skitter to Manny Dyer, who was studying the menu.
“What’s the soup for today?” Ruby nodded, as though assuring him that yes, he wasn’t crazy. She really was sitting in his restaurant with a world renowned businessman.
“It’s a carrot soup with crisp fennel. The salad is a version of a recipe Grandmere used to make back in the seventies, shaved carrot, crushed pineapple and they used to make it with lime Jell-O, but I did a clear, ginger infused gelatin.”
Manny Dyer’s head popped up from the menu. “Ginger infused gelatin? That hardly seems in keeping with the rest of this menu.”
Robby felt heat rise in his cheeks and cursed his fair complexion. “You’re right Mr. Dyer. Most of my menu is traditional American home cooking, but lately I’ve been experimenting.” And that too was something he could lay at Hank’s door. Looking like a schizo in front of the world's best…
“You know who I am?” Dyer didn’t seem pleased by the notion, casting Ruby an accusing glance.
“Don’t look at me darling. I didn’t say a word.”
Dyer tossed the menu on the table. “I want the soup, the salad, the casserole, and… macaroni and cheese. You’re known for the mac and cheese, my assistant claims.”
Confused, Robbie resisted looking around for the mysterious assistant.  “Um… It’s pretty popular with a certain crowd. What about you, Ruby?”
“I can’t do the cabbage, Robert.” She patted her very pregnant belly. “Bebe doesn’t like it.”
“Get the lasagna and the beef burgundy.” Dyer ordered. “With a house salad and the tomato rice soup.”
Ruby laughed. “Okay, you’ve ordered enough food to feed an army, but sure.”
“A chocolate milkshake and peach cream soda.” Dyer added, handing over the menus. He turned away, gaze roaming the restaurant, taking in the checkered table cloths, wicker baskets. His lips turned up in a faintly amused smile.
“Got it. It’s an honor to serve you… um... to cook for you, sir.” Robert backed away from the table a few paces then whirled around and dashed for the door to the kitchen. So much food… clearly Manny Dyer wanted to taste a variety of his products. He handed off the ticket and “Why?”
“There can be only one explanation.” Bella asserted. “He’s heard of you and wants to make you America’s next celebrity chef.”
“Don’t be silly.” Robert sobered up, “He’s hungry, and that’s all. His assistant ate here apparently. He recommended it.”
“And the great man himself couldn’t wait to come try it?”
“More like he wanted good home cooked food.” Robby nodded. “If he wanted a celebrity chef, he’d be doing fine dining. He’d be at Hungry eating Hank’s food if he were looking for an investment.”
“You’re so blind.”


TO BE CONTINUED 

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1 comment:

  1. Oh man! Oh wow. Manny Dyer is going to try both of their restaurants?! Which one is he going to choose as his favorite? And reading these posts always makes me so hungry! Mmmm.... Loving this story!

    ReplyDelete

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