She didn’t know how she’d gotten here. That was usually the case, but not often did things go so catastrophically wrong. Carmilla had done a lot of stupid things in her time, but almost burning down the house? That was something entirely new, and she was never going to admit it to Laura.
“Carmilla?” Carmilla twisted around, startled by the voice. Laura was standing at the door to the kitchen in her pyjamas, looking shell-shocked. She rubbed her eyes and ran a hand through her already messy morning hair. “What happened?”
“I, um….” Carmilla was having trouble controlling her voice. Not that she was going to cry or anything, she told herself, just that this was a moment of heightened emotions and she’d soon be over it.
Laura’s forehead wrinkled and she crossed the room to where Carmilla sat on the floor, knees pulled up to her chest, black clothing dusted with flour. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Carmilla said. Laura raised an eyebrow. “I just….” she trailed off, trying to control herself. She didn’t know why this was affecting her the way that it was.
Laura looked at the counters. They too were covered in flour, and spice jars sat open in the middle of the white sea, like little boats. A can of hot chocolate mix stood to the side, powdered white. “Why does the kitchen smell like smoke? Or better- why does the house smell like smoke?”
“I was trying to make cookies, alright?” Carmilla finally burst out. She could feel her cheeks reddening and she struggled fruitlessly to suppress her emotions. “I wanted to surprise you.”
“I’m certainly surprised,” Laura said, running her fingers through the flour.
“I’m sorry,” Carmilla said, and Laura crouched down beside her, smiling.
“No no, it’s sweet,” she said, putting a hand on Carmilla’s shoulder. Carmilla raised her head.
“Of course! Well,” she amended, “not really the almost burning the house down but the thought is sweet.”
“I did not almost burn the house down,” Carmilla said indigently, managing to suppress her blush and retain at least a little dignity. “I just lost control of the situation for a moment.”
“Ah, then I guess I can forgive you.” Laura smiled at her and Carmilla’s lips twitched. She still couldn’t quite laugh at herself, but she was calming down. “So where are these cookies?”
Carmilla leaned forward and pulled open the oven. Smoke billowed out of it and they both coughed, waving their hands in front of their faces. When it cleared, Laura leaned forward. Little people-shaped pieces of charcoal sat forlornly on a baking sheet. Some of them were crumbling, little arms and legs lost. She couldn’t stop herself from giggling.
“What?” Carmilla said resentfully. “It’s been a long time since I cooked, okay? It’s not like I ever needed to for myself.”
“How did you manage to burn them that badly?” Laura laughed, sitting on the floor beside Carmilla and gazing into the oven, at the ruins of her gingerbread men.
“I don’t know! One moment everything was fine and then the next there was smoke everywhere and there were flames and-”
“Whoa whoa, flames? I thought you said you didn’t almost burn the house down!”
Carmilla gave Laura a sidelong glance. “I didn’t! I got it all under control and I put them out and the house is still standing.”
“Mmmhm okay,” Laura said, her playful skepticism barely concealed. She laughed again and nudged Carmilla’s shoulder with her own. “C'mon.”
Carmilla sighed, but didn’t say anything else.
“Carm, it’s okay,” Laura told her with another nudge.
“I just wanted to do something nice for you, since it’s the holidays and everything.” Carmilla felt foolish for being as emotional as she was. “I don’t know, I just feel like a failure, like I can’t even get this right.”
“Carm, it’s okay,” Laura repeated, sitting up on her knees and turning to look at Carmilla. “Really. It’s okay. I love them.”
Carmilla laughed, and Laura smiled in response. “Laura, I burnt them literally into a crisp.”
“They have character!” Laura replied, and Carmilla laughed again. She put a hand reassuringly on Carmilla’s knee. “I love them. Thank you for thinking of me.”
Carmilla put her hand on top of Laura’s and smiled, a real smile this time. “Anytime.” Her feelings of failure were fading as she looked at her girlfriend’s wide smile. At least Laura wasn’t upset with her. She even seemed to be enjoying Carmilla’s disaster.
“Just try not to almost burn the house down the next time you cook.”
“I didn’t almost burn it down!” Carmilla insisted again.
“Alright, if you say so.” Laura stood up and held out a hand. “Can I help you clean this up at least? My dad’s going to be back soon and I don’t think he’ll appreciate the mess.”
Carmilla took the offered hand and pulled herself to her feet. “Sounds great.” She turned back to the counter, reaching for the hot chocolate mix. “I was going to make hot chocolate too. Do you still want some, after all,” she gestured around at the kitchen, “this?”
“Sure,” Laura said. “Buuuut maybe I should take point on this one.”
Carmilla looked at the mix in her hands, then around at the kitchen and the still slightly smoking oven. She held the can out to Laura. “Maybe that’s best.”
Here are two Title Fight videos I took years ago that I recently watched and decided to put up on YouTube, because why not?
This first one was the first time I saw Title Fight. They played one of my now best friends Jake from East Coast Collectives backyard in essentially the middle of the winter and it was
so cold. I think they were playing a weekend with Make Do And Mend? It’s crazy to think that this is going to be seven years ago
soon. A bunch of us went to go see H2O, Cruel Hand and Energy in NYC
after and that show was cool as well.