FIC: The Scottish Cook (TKS - PG13)
Title: The Scottish Cook
Fandom: The King's Speech
Summary: The King and Mrs. Simpson are invited to dinner at the Yorks.
Elizabeth is in a highborn lady's version of a foul mood when they return home from Balmoral a few days after His Majesty's and Mrs. Simpson's fête. She smiles much too sweetly at everyone, kicks off her shoes so they hit the wall accidentally and lies in bed for hours at night, glaring at the ceiling.
Bertie knows better than to try and talk her out of it. He does try to romance her out of it, which only makes her huff harder. "Churchill asked me what her hold on him was. I told him about her supposed skills," she grumbles in the midst of him kissing her neck.
He blinks and looks up at her in horror. "You didn't."
"I did," she replies firmly, with all the indignation of the deeply annoyed. "Not in detail, of course."
"Of course," he sighs and flops onto his back.
"Only because his dirty imagination is certainly better than anything I can describe." She yanks the comforter up to her chin. "By the way, I'm inviting them to supper once they're back in London."
It takes a second for this information to register with Bertie. It makes him shrink beneath the covers beside her, wincing. "My darling, do you think that's ..."
"And I'll be doing the cooking," she finishes. Her eyes close with a silent finality Bertie knows better than to argue with, no matter how ludicrous she's sounding at the moment.
This too will pass, he thinks. Hopes. Prays. Dear God ...
Let it pass.
The dinner is set for Friday the thirteenth of March. Bertie can't help but think Elizabeth has done this on purpose and he's practically in a panic by the time Thursday's preparations roll around. David may be his brother, but he's still King of the realm. There are certain proprieties to be observed and if Elizabeth cooks, for God's sake -- well, then he'll certainly be accused of treason.
The King Poisoned! Duke of York Implicated! Bertie wants to tear his hair out, especially when Lionel starts laughing in the middle of his terrified rant. A rant that is surprisingly free of stammering, which shows just how horribly his world has tilted out of his control.
"She can't cook! She can eat but cooking ..."
Lionel is too busy wiping tears away from the corners of his eyes to reply immediately. Eventually he calms enough to speak. "I think you have far too little faith in Her Highness."
Wildly, Bertie turns on him, pointing. "No. No, I have complete faith in her deviousness and absolute knowledge of how she thinks. She's insulted and annoyed. The haggis will be flying. "
This sends Lionel into another burst of unseemly mirth. Bertie wants to kick him in both shins, a thought which in turn makes him chuckle and soon they are laughing together, the session forgotten.
Eventually, Lionel offers to heat him a quick bowl of Mrs. Logue's chicken soup, which Bertie accepts, as he's quite sure he'll be forced to starve without it. They eat it together at the dining room table, passing the bread, which Bertie bites into like a prisoner with his last supper.
"It might go well," Lionel offers with a shrug.
Bertie accepts his offer of tea and cake. "Bugger off."
Lionel splutters in his tea and salutes the Duke with mock sorrow. "To those of you about to die ..."
"Bugger off," Bertie repeats slowly, his diction perfect. "And try to visit me in the Tower, you prick. I still want lessons, though God knows why."
The King and Mrs. Simpson arrive very late to dinner, which doesn't faze Elizabeth in the slightest. True to her word, she's spent the day in the kitchen, but the heating and serving will be left to the proper authorities in the art, thank God.
The girls aren't going to be at this dinner and Bertie is relieved, if somewhat jealous, that they've already eaten. He and Elizabeth are dressed in what might be considered casual wear for a royal dinner, as is David in his tightly pressed suit. Mrs. Simpson looks ridiculously thin in her high-waisted red dress that's hemmed just a few inches too far above the knee and she's wearing, God help them all, the ruby earrings he knows were once part of his grandmother's collection.
To his great surprise, Elizabeth smiles and sparkles all evening, which frightens Bertie to the core. David is oblivious as usual, but Mrs. Simpson isn't, glancing at her suspiciously.
The meal is off to an auspicious start -- in its own way.
The first course is served. Soup, cock-a-leekie, one of the most ancient dishes from the Scottish mainland. Bertie dives into it, sipping without smelling because while his brother might not like this meal, he's not the one who has to live with the cook.
To his utter shock ... it's good. Very good. Sweet and savory, with diced bits of fruit and parsley, the chicken tender, the leeks not overpowering. He sits back in sudden surprise, which makes David look up. "What's the matter, Bertie?"
"N-n-nothing," he replies quickly, nodding and smiling at Mrs. Simpson who seems content with her dish, if somewhat picky with how much she actually eats. One can't stay quite that stick-like without effort, it seems.
Scotch eggs follow, sliced to share and are served with brown ale which David greets with a huge smile. "Wonderful! Look, darling, real Scottish ale. Here, let me pour you some."
Now Mrs. Simpson looks annoyed, because the ale and the fried bread with a hard boiled egg in the middle is very heavy, but she can't turn it down without looking boorish. Nor is she allowed to get away from the herbed chicken liver, the smoked salmon, the whiskey soaked fruit and butter or the Chicken Prince Charles, which is nothing but a huge presentation of meat, cream, Drambuie and almonds.
It's all delicious, traditional and incredibly heavy, which delights the King to no end. Mrs. Simpson looks absolutely green around the gills by the time dessert comes -- a Scotch-soaked date and walnut loaf. But she chokes it down as Elizabeth salutes them in all good humor. "God bless the King," she says, raising yet another glass of ale. "I hope, sir, that you enjoyed the cuisine of my ancestral homeland."
"Magnificent!" He beams at her and then at Mrs. Simpson who looks about fit to burst out of her rubies. "Our compliments to the chef."
"The chef, who is myself, thanks you, sir," Elizabeth answers easily. "I don't often cook but when such an opportunity presents itself ..." She finishes with a coy, silent grin.
There's an uncomfortable silence at the table as Mrs. Simpson's eyes widen, then narrow in irritation. Elizabeth smiles too sweetly at her and Bertie coughs, but in his heart, he's laughing.
David, god bless him indeed, has no idea what's really going on. "That's fantastic! Did you hear that, Wallis, my darling? She ..."
"I heard her, David," Mrs. Simpson snaps. She pulls out a cigarette, right at the table, trying to regain her control. She glares at Elizabeth. "Nice work."
"We try," Elizabeth shrugs, allowing Bertie to lift her hand to kiss. She glances at him from beneath her lashes. "Did you enjoy it, dearest?"
"More than you'll ever know," he replies fondly, in a voice filled with promise.
Later that evening, she comes to bed wearing her most scandalous nightgown, a little something he picked up for her in Paris, soon after she had Elizabeth.
Bertie practically leaps upon her, devouring her mouth first before sliding his lips down her neck, to her breasts. The poor nightgown gets ripped off at some point in the evening, but Elizabeth couldn't care less.
"She's not the only one with skills, you know," she whispers as he frantically works his own clothing off, getting tangled in nearly every button.
If he had the presence of mind to say it, he'd most wholeheartedly agree.
Oh, Lord, he so would.