Eve pulls the car up to the front steps, parks, smiles a little at the front gate closing off the rest of the world. It’s not that she had a shit day, it’s more like it was a boring day. Paperwork and court. Necessary cogs in the system, sure, but.
But Summerset is gone for his annual vacation, and Roarke texted her an hour ago saying he was heading home, so she should be able to work out her restlessness, one way or another. She grins, thinking about it, as she opens the front door. “Where is Roarke?” She’s expecting his office, or the gym.
“Roarke is in the kitchen, darling Eve.”
Eve’s eyes roll up at the epithet - it’s one thing for Roarke to call her that, but quite another for a computer - but now she’s curious. What’s he doing there, I wonder? She shrugs off the blazer she wore to court, hangs it on the newel post, and makes her way back to the kitchen.
When she gets there, the sight has her thunderstruck enough that she has to lean against the door jamb and take it all in. Roarke - and indeed, most of the kitchen - is covered in some white, powdery substance, and she’s going to assume flour, unless he’s been hiding a drug ring under her nose this whole time. He turns on a kitchen contraption, and another puff of flour is sent into the air, and she has to laugh.
“Oh, aye, laugh it up,” Roarke says, his voice all surly and Irish.
“Do I want to know?”
“These were supposed to be in the oven when you got home.”
“You can’t blame that one on me, I did text you. What are ‘these’?” She walks over, leaning up for a quick kiss before looking down into the metal bowl of the contraption. She sees lots of flour, mostly.
“Cookies,” he answers, though his voice has smoothed out a little bit, and he smiles ruefully.
“Well, shit, Roarke, did the cookie fairy not restock us?”
“You know the cookie fairy is Summerset, right?”
“Shhhhh,” she insists as she walks over to the autochef. “No, see, right here, like, 2 dozen different types of cookies. You want them warmed up? Glass of milk?”
“No, I wanted to make cookies for my wife.”
She cancels the command in the autochef and turns to stare at him. “You just...got a wild hair to make cookies? Is this one of those relationship things I’m supposed to know about? It’s not Valentine’s Day and it’s not our anniversary and it’s not my birthday, so….?”
“You romantic fool,” he says dryly, drawing her in, kissing her. It only takes her a few seconds to realize he’s also spreading flour all over her, intentionally.
She snorts, and looks for a nearby weapon to retaliate, except Roarke does something that disarms her.
“Aunt Sinead made them, fresh from the oven, the last time I stopped in. They felt like… warmth, obviously, but more than that, like love.” There’s a faint blush across his cheeks, and his arms are crossed over his chest like he’s uncomfortable.
He only ever looks this way with her, she knows. Only lets her see it.
So, instead of retaliation, she pulls his arms down, and twines their fingers together. “So, what you started, can it be finished, or do we need to start over?”
“What? I’m sure we can figure it out. You finally got your grill working, didn’t you? You’re the expert here. I’m just going to, like, double check the instructions and stuff.” Now it’s her turn to be embarrassed when he brushes across her cheek tenderly.
She reaches down and slaps his butt. “Let’s get going, champ.”
He laughs. “You know, I didn’t understand until now why your baseball players find that so motivating.” He moves over to the contraption, looks in the bowl, and must decide to start over, turning to toss the messed up dough in the composter.
“They’re not my baseball players. It’s not like I own all of baseball.”
“You want to?” he asks with a wink.
“Definitely not. If you bought baseball, you’d introduce something stupid, like wickets, or something.”
Roarke wrinkles his nose. “Cricket’s an English sport, Eve.” That’s enough said about that, apparently.
“Hey, what time is it in Ireland? Why don’t we just patch Sinead in to help us out?”
Roarke checks his watch. “It’s near midnight, so no.”
“Okay, well, how hard can this be?” She looks at the recipe, in Sinead’s neat, slanted writing.
“I think the problem last time was that the flour exploded.”
Eve snorts. “I’ll say.” She hops up on the counter, and gives Roarke precise, verbal directions. At least she’s good at that, even if she didn’t know that apparently you’re supposed to measure wet ingredients in different cup-thingies than dry ingredients. Where do they come up with this stuff?
It takes them awhile, because Roarke keeps getting distracted by Eve being at kissing level, and Eve keeps getting distracted by the flour in Roarke’s hair and wondering what it will look like when they’re old. Eventually, though, they avoid another flour explosion, and have a not-so-bad looking chocolate chip cookie dough in the mixer (apparently what the contraption is called, Eve has learned).
“I mean, it looks pretty good now. We could just eat it like this,” Eve says, realizing she actually is hungry.
With a twinkle in his eye, he takes out the stirring-thing and hands it to her, still dough covered. “According to Aunt Sinead, that’s the best part of making cookies.”
“Awesome.” Eve licks up one side and hums, then notices Roarke is watching her tongue, so she sticks it out at him. “No prurient thoughts, bucko. Don’t interrupt my sugar time.”
Roarke just gets that look on his face, like he’s been challenged, the look that normally ends with both of them panting and tangled up on the floor. But he turns away to grab a spoon and starts spooning the dough onto a metal sheet. When he’s done, he turns back to her, brings the spoon to his lips, and licks it while raising his eyebrow. When she tries to kick him, he just grabs her foot and says, “No prurient thoughts, Eve.”
“I wasn’t being lewd, you just made it that way.”
“Uh huh.” He pops the tray in the oven. “Well, we have eight minutes. Not nearly enough time for anything fun.”
“See, now, that’s a challenge.” Eve sets down the mixing implement and uses her legs to drag Roarke to her. “I can think of a dozen great ways to spend eight minutes.”
“Did you ever play seven minutes in heaven, back in your youth?”
“No, didn’t see the point. Bet you did, though.”
“Oh, indeed.” He slips his arms around her, one hand slipping below the waist of her pants. “Shall I introduce you to the concept?”
They’re both grinning when Roarke kisses her.