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"Hi," I said, in the doorway of the coach house. "Want anything to drink?"

Molly, sitting on my (my) sofa, just shook her head.

I'd noticed her growing bolder over the past month or so. Before I'd been pretty sure she was doing something in the coach house, but only because things had been tidied away or because my computer mouse wasn't in exactly the same place it had started in. Then she'd begun leaving browser windows open, or the television on, like she'd just left when I got there. Then she was brushing past me in the hallway, leaving the door open behind her.

Now she didn't seem inclined to leave at all.

This was probably a good sign. It would be better if Molly and I were on good terms, rather than just a tentative non-aggression pact. I sat down on the far end of the sofa and cracked open a bottle of Red Stripe.

"What are we watching?" I asked.

Molly looked pointedly at the screen. It was the Great British Bake Off. Obviously.

There's something soothing about the modern reality cooking show. I had a girlfriend once who liked them a lot, and I liked her a lot so I put up with them. There are some ingredients, and you follow the simple steps, and then there's a beautiful dish, all ready for some angry man to shout at.

There wasn't that much shouting in this episode. But the beats were all still there.

The depressing thing for me was always the let-down when the program ended and you realized that you would never taste the beautiful dish because you were too bloody lazy to make it. And they don't sell candied grapefruit cheesecake at the shops. But in this case—

Some of the browser windows had been recipe sites.

"Molly," I said, "are you planning to cook any of these?"

Molly shrugged and leaned closer to the screen.

"Because there is a cookbook," I said. "Which I could get for you. If you liked."

Molly looked at me intently. She nodded.

I settled back, feeling a job well done. There was no liver or kidneys or offal in the official Great British Bake Off cookbook.

Molly was still staring at me. She nodded again, impatiently.


Molly frowned.

"I didn't mean now," I said. "I've just sat down."

Molly looked extremely displeased. I successfully ignored it for about five seconds, before I remembered how sharp her teeth were and how tenuous our little non-aggression pact was.

"I'll just do that now after all." I set my beer down, got up from the sofa, and made a run for it.

I hoped like hell that Waterstones was still open.