Summary: Bucky AU. After a major deal falls through, your father’s business almost falls apart. In a desperate attempt to save his livelihood, he seeks the help of his oldest friend, George Barnes, who happens to be the CEO of one of the most influential businesses in New York. He agrees, but on one condition. You have to marry his son.
Word Count: 1,776
Warnings: Swearing, smut, lots of detailed smut
After that, the rest of the evening seemed to pass by in a blur. Sure, you were concerned about Bucky leaving for his business trip. Your relationship was only just beginning to heal. Who knew what the extended time apart could do. It had the potential to be extremely damaging, but it also might help. Nevertheless, you felt strangely calm.
The conversation flowed easily over dinner, and by desert, you found yourself laughing and smiling again, the nervousness now gone completely. You were still a bit shaky after Bucky’s earlier confession, but that discussion could wait until a more opportune time. Slowly, the Bucky you knew and loved was beginning to come back.
Rules: You can find past weekly rec lists here, and non-list recs in my general fic rec tag. This is stuff I like, and I have a huge bias toward Lance, hurt/comfort, and general fluff, in that order. Gen unless otherwise noted. Please comment on the fics if you read and enjoy them!
The Times They Remembered Pidge Was a Girl by MagmaWrites Words:
1,639 (WIP 1/?) Author’s Summary:
The stuff you have to deal with while being a girl doesn’t change just because you’re up in space. At least you have four guys, five lions, and two aliens on your side.
My Comments: Super cute space family being super cute.
Reach out for you (break these walls) by Utsukushin (UserFromPluto) Words:
Author’s Summary: Keith is trying to make himself smaller, to bury his head deeper in his knees, and Lance’s heart freezes in his chest. Anger dissipating like an exploded firework, Lance lets his hand fall limply to his side, mind blurring with static. When he tries to speak, nothing comes out but a choked noise, so he tries again.“Keith,” he breathes. “Keith I’m not going to hurt you.” (Keith has an abusive past, but with time and care Lance helps him become accustomed to positive touch.) My Comments: Klance, but reads mostly platonic. Lance just cares a whole, whole lot, and he’s very gentle and very careful and sweet, and the way Keith just sort of BLOSSOMS under the sunlight of his regard is beautiful to watch.
Garrison Days by castlestormed Words:
Author’s Summary: Snippets of the kids’ Galaxy Garrison days: Hunk keeps things together, Pidge plods on with a purpose, and Lance tears through life with the audacity of a trainwreck. Fic 1: We were only talking. (Lance) Fic 2: Are you done ranting? (Pidge) Fic 3: We had a reason that day. (Hunk) My Comments: Great interpretation of my favorite trio. Just a joy to read.
The Machinations of Perception by HapaxLegomenon Words:
11,518 (WIP 5/23) Author’s Summary:
Matt Holt has been a Galran captive for… he doesn’t remember how long. He’s starting to lose hope of ever escaping, and is well past the starting point of losing his sanity.
My Comments: This one is intense and brutal. The rating is deserved, though it’s delicately handled. Take care if you have psychological triggers. That said, I’m very compelled by this version of Matt and his struggles to hold himself together so he can TRY to take care of his new cellmate.
Tell Me Something, Anything by wingedflower Words:
Shiro wakes up from a nightmare with his Galra arm hurting like hell. He is ready to handle this alone, like always, but this time comfort comes from an unexpected source.
My Comments: I love it when Lance is out of his depth but still tries really, really hard, because he just cares so much and he can’t not try. He does succeed in helping in the end, and Shiro is grateful.
Ache by Zurela Words:
Lance’s knee gets dislocated during a fight with a new robeast. He decides to ignore that for the sake of protecting his teammates, but Shiro doesn’t seem to agree with that idea.
My Comments: Here, have some more Lance whump. I never really get tired of it.
A Bright Light by Bandity Words:
Lance gets injured on a mission gone wrong, but that was really only the beginning of his problems.
My Comments: Possibly my new favorite fic of all time, definitely my favorite of this list. Lance just deteriorates so FAST, and the scenario is so creative and cool, and the support of everyone else as they try to figure out the problem and fix it and help Lance through it is wonderfully steady and strong. Great Hunk, great Shiro, great everyone, and there are several images in this story that are gonna stick with me for a long time. Powerful stuff.
Everything You Are by Bandity Words:
5,508 (WIP ½) Author’s Summary: Follow up to Disappear Completely. Spoilers for Season 2. Lance was getting better, he really was. But when faced with losing another team member, he might just end up back where he was before. My Comments: Sequel to my PREVIOUS favorite fic of the list, and this one is so good, too. I loved the levity in parts and the way Lance at the end draws Keith into his world. But in the middle is a whole lot of pain and grief from missing Shiro. Absolutely heartwrenching.
let my roots take flight by BathosBardess Words:
Author’s Summary: “Katie, you’re fourteen.” “Pidge Gunderson is seventeen. He has no family. He graduated with a 3.8 GPA. I’ll be fine, Mom.” // Katie Holt never meant to be a problem child. My Comments: Great Pidge backstory with some really powerful language and touching scenes.
For The Love of Quiznak, Just Let Us Take Care of You by inkbadger Words:
Author’s Summary: Shiro gets sick. Of course, he doesn’t realize that he’s sick until it hits him like a truck.Or: Space Dad gets taken care of by his worried kids.Who sometimes want to throttle him for not sharing these things. My Comments: Super cute space family being super cute, this time featuring sick Shiro.
Heirlooms by mackerelmademedoit Words:
Something is wrong with Red and Keith just can’t figure it out. As her consciousness bounces backwards and forwards through time, Keith does a little time travelling of his own and remembers his father.
My Comments: Great Keith backstory, but I also love this one for the Keith and Coran interaction.
Deep Breath by Vialana Words:
Envy is an ugly emotion. Lance hates it. Shooting things helps him deal with it.
My Comments: Really lovely Lance and Blue. I love them so much.
Constellation by WildWolf25 Words:
Each of them are like stars in the vast, cold, darkness of space. But when they come together, they form a constellation, and suddenly the world doesn’t seem quite so dark anymore.
My Comments: Paladin cuddle pile! Always good.
Disturbance by buttered_onions Words:
Author’s Summary: Shiro is missing. Lance is determined to find him, but first he has to figure out how to work with Keith.Direct sequel to First Steps. My Comments: HOLY CRAP YOU GUYS MORE OF ONIONS’S STAR WARS FUSION. It’s so so so so so good, ahhh, SO GOOD. I love the way the Force is practically a character, communicating with and connecting the others. I love how Pidge is introduced. I love Hunk and Coran. I love Lance’s perspective and how he tries to mend fences with prickly, hurting Keith. I love all the premonitions of much more dangerous and weighty events in the future. I love the internal journeys, GOLLY, I love internal mindscape journeys so much, used to write them al the time. ANYWAY, it is a good fic, you should read it, and everything else in the series so far.
Why do You Always Flirt with Me? by xSomedayxSoonx Words:
The Voltron team is learning how to get along with each other in the Castle of Lions, but Allura can’t figure out why a certain paladin won’t stop flirting with her. She doesn’t mean to snap at him, but Lance stopping his flirtatious behavior affects the whole team.
My Comments: Oh man, I love fics where Allura and Lance become friends. I love how this one is more about cultural misunderstandings than anything else. Good stuff.
Midnight Sneaks by windscryer Words:
Author’s Summary: Hunk and Lance just happen to be awake when Pidge wanders into the kitchen at oh-dark-thirty. And they have delicious mousse and freshly whipped cream.If she weren’t so tired, she’d have definitely caught onto their plot sooner. My Comments: I love love love Hunk and Lance teaming up to take care of Pidge, even against her will.
The Stars Are Underground by lady_ymmik Words:
A short drabble in which Lance misses home and rambles about Space a lot.
My Comments: Sweet emotional h/c featuring Lance and Shiro. What’s not to love?
All the things I can’t change by WonderBoy Words:
voicemail (n): 1. a system in which callers can record and leave a digitized voice message 2. a message left using this system 3. a reminder
My Comments: This one hurts a lot.
1 unbaked single pie crust Filling: 2 ¾ cups (275 g) ¼-inch sliced rhubarb, about 5-6 medium stalks 2 cups (300 g) sliced strawberries 2/3 cup (130 g) sugar 3 tablespoons cornstarch Streusel Topping: 1 cup (120 g) all-purpose flour ½ cup (90 g) brown sugar ½ cup (110 g) cold butter
In a medium-large bowl, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, sugar and cornstarch. Mix well. The mixture should be thick and syrupy after being stirred well.
Roll out pie crust according to recipe instructions (see recipe below) and place in a 9- or 9.5-inch pie plate. Pour the strawberry/rhubarb mixture in the crust, using a large spoon to fill evenly.
In a small bowl, combine the flour and brown sugar. Cut the butter into pieces and using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in the butter to the flour/sugar mixture until it has the consistency of coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the top of the pie.
Place the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at
400° F (205° C) for 50-55 minutes, covering the pie crust edges halfway with foil to prevent over-browning.
Let the pie cool completely before cutting into pieces. Serve with a dollop of freshly whipped cream, if desired.
A month into dating, Sasuke discovered that Hinata had a knack for remembering every milestone in their relationship.
From their first meeting at a Konoha festival when she was four to the first time he talked to her at the ninja academy.
First date. First kiss. The day they got engaged. First wedding anniversary.
Even that first time he offered to train her.
And because Sasuke was hopelessly in love, he tried keeping up with Hinata, celebrating each occasion, surprising her with breakfast in bed, a trip to the Land of Snow or a bouquet of her favorite tulips.
So he was surprised when he came home that Sunday evening after a meeting with the Hokage to find Hinata carefully arranging strawberries on top of a freshly baked shortcake. She whipped up a feast, prepared his favorite omusubi and chilled a bottle of sake in an ice bucket on the counter.
“What’s this all about?” he asked, pulling her against him and trailing a line of kisses down her neck.
“W-We’re celebrating,” Hinata replied teasingly. “Guess what today is.”
Sasuke mentally groaned. The last thing he wanted was to disappoint Hinata and ruin this special day for her.
“The day you realized you are in love with me?” he guessed hopefully.
Hinata shook her head but let a little giggle bubble out.
Sasuke extracted himself from her to remove his ANBU jacket and poured himself a glass of sake. He sat on the wooden stool beside Hinata and carefully studied his smiling wife for clues.
“The first time we made love in the woods?”
Hinata blushed but narrowed her eyes at him.
“What?” Sasuke asked innocently.
“Are you sure that’s with me?”
He smirked, taking her hands in his and pulled Hinata closer to him. Sasuke kissed the frown off her face and lightly pinched her side.
“You are the only woman I made love with in the woods.” he responded between kisses.
Sasuke tried to recall a special occasion he had missed but came up with nothing. “Okay, I give up. What are we celebrating?”
Hinata regarded him thoughtfully before kissing his cheek, “Wait here.”
She disappeared into their bedroom and came back with a square box wrapped neatly in silver wrapping paper with a blue ribbon on top.
He arched his brow questioningly but Hinata bit her lip and sat herself comfortably on Sasuke’s lap.
After untying the ribbon and ripping the paper wrapper, Sasuke opened the box to find the most beautiful pair of little shoes he had ever seen.
There was a note tucked carefully and Sasuke picked it up recognizing the elegant script of Hinata’s handwriting.
He read the message, his voice quivering.
See you in seven months, Daddy!
Hardly daring to breathe, Sasuke turned to find Hinata smiling warmly at him, “Are we…?”
Hinata nodded slowly before leaning in to give her husband a kiss, “Happy Father’s Day, Sasuke.”
A/N: My askbox is open for SasuHina prompts! Just drop me a line. :)
Italian restaurant. By the three-cornered junctions. Nine thirty. Is she really that busy? Or is she just saying that?
Maybe he shouldn’t have hung up before she gets to say her answers. He tried to be soulless, a little more professional. But it’s pretty difficult to remain vague and ambiguous when all Chanyeol could think of is those pretty lips and how it’ll taste like. It gets harder as the years go by, but you’ve set the boundaries too firm and too high for even a good looking lad like him.
Love cheesecake but want something a little easier? This no bake cheesecake has a cookie crust and red velvet flavored cheesecake filling.
24 Chocolate Sandwich Cookies (Oreos)
¼ cup melted butter
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons red food coloring
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed (Cool-Whip)
Place the cookies in a food processor and process until they are fine crumbs. Combine the crumbs with the melted butter and firmly press into a 9-inch pie dish. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, but preferably an hour.
In the bowl of a mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the sour cream, sugar, red food coloring, cocoa powder and vanilla extract until smooth. Gently fold in the whipped topping.
Pour the filling into the crust and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Serve topped with freshly whipped cream, if desired.
This delicious breakfast is ready in less than a half hour. If you’re like me, and want something awesome for breakfast but are unwilling to spend a lot of time on it: this is for you. This is easier to make than regular pancakes.
(P.S. Hey, you guys that are celebrating Mother’s Day on May 8th. Make this for your mom. It’s easy, delicious, and she’ll love it.)
4 large eggs 1 cup (240 mL) whole milk 1 cup (120g) flour ¼ cup (50g) granulated white sugar ½ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest ¼ teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter berries, powdered sugar, syrup and/or freshly whipped cream for topping
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Use a blender or hand mixer to combine the eggs, milk, flour, sugar, lemon zest and salt.
Heat a 12-inch cast iron skillet over high heat on the stove. Add the butter and melt. Pour the batter into the skillet (Optional: scatter 1 cup of mixed berries on top). Put the pan in the oven, and bake until puffed and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Slice and serve, topped with berries, powdered sugar, syrup and/or freshly whipped cream, as desired.
Always in front of me in line for the coffee shop with a ridiculous order that takes forever to make AU
Karen’s favorite time of day is early morning. She loves it when the sun is barely peaking over the horizon, the buildings still casting long shadows over everything, a hazy orange glow lighting all the windows on fire. And her favorite place to be while all this is going on is the coffee shop just down the street from her apartment. She always goes early, to sit at one of the three little tables looking out across the street sipping her flavored coffee.
She’s always the first one through the doors, smiling sweetly at the young girl setting fresh flowers on the tables. They have an unspoken agreement, Karen shows up with fresh bagels for both of them, and Cassandra gets to work making Karen’s unnecessarily complicated morning brew. There’s something immensely satisfying about getting the first poured cup of coffee in the morning. She feels like a conqueror, staking her claim.
It isn’t unusual for Karen to sit in silence, sipping her coffee for a good twenty minutes before the next patron comes shuffling in, usually with their head down, in painful need of caffeine. This morning it’s different though, she barely has time to set the warm bagels down on the counter before the tinkling of the bells over the doors catches her ears.
The man stops short, staring at her as though he’s surprised he’s not alone. She’s staring right back, lips slightly parted, her greeting fleeing at the sight of him. She’s never used the word ‘glowering’ before to describe someone, but this man, dressed in all black and staring her down is doing that very thing. A little frisson of fear zips through her, but before she can shrink away from him, he nods. “Ma’am.”
It’s a concession. She was here first, and he’s going to politely wait behind her. The single word brings her fear to a grinding halt, curiosity stumbling over itself to replace the feeling. The whisper of a paper bag sliding across the counter breaks the trance she’s under. Cassandra is already biting into the chewy sourdough, smiling happily. “The usual?”
Karen nods as she turns away from the forbidding man, her words still failing her. Turning away does nothing really, she can still feel the intensity of his stare. She immediately wishes she’d changed her morning order, opting instead of something quick and easy, like a small coffee with sugar and cream. Not the espresso with delicately frothed milk and two different kinds of syrup, one to begin and one to finish it off. She certainly wishes she could find her voice to tell Cassandra to forgo the tiny dollop of freshly whipped cream before she crams the lid down over the paper cup.
It’s never taken this long, has it? The seconds tick by more slowly than Karen ever thought possible. All the while, she can feel him staring, too afraid to look. The man must think she’s ridiculous, heaping sugar and cream and milk and everything else under the sun on top of her delicately brewed coffee. He’s probably the kind of man who likes his black, the kind of man who drinks gallons of the stuff without blinking. He has the look of someone who doesn’t sleep a lot, relying on coffee for quick bursts of energy in between whatever it is he does.
Finally, after an eon of waiting, Cassandra sets the cup down on the counter and Karen digs frantically in her purse to pay. There will be no sitting and people watching today. No, as soon as she pays for the coffee, she’s going to dart out into the street so the silent man can order his simple coffee and make some snide comment. She slaps a couple bills down on the counter, smiling brightly at the barista. “Keep the change.”
She whirls, heels clacking against the tile as she makes a dash for the door. She’s almost made her escape when she hears it again, the gravelly voice that is somehow reassuring and intimidating at the same time. “Ma’am?”
He’s at her elbow, a little twitch pulling up at the corner of his mouth. Now that he’s close, she can see he has deep brown eyes, ones that go soft when begins to smile. Her heart does a little flip, and she stares at him open mouthed.
He laughs at her, a small sound escaping this giant man. “You forgot, your uh…” He gestures to the paper cup in his hand. “… well I hate to call it coffee, but I suppose that’s what it is.”
She blushes, reaching out to take it from him. “It certainly is.” It’s a declaration, a way for her to regain her composure, to deny the way his rough voice sends a shiver up her spine.
He nods, conceding her point. “I see. Maybe I’ll try it like that sometime.”
She straightens her shoulders, looking him straight in the eye. She’s never been ashamed of her height, but at this very moment she’s particularly thankful for it. Smiling back at him, she says, “You should, Mr….” She trails off, realizing she doesn’t even know who he is.
She says the name back softly, and he smiles, ducking back into the shop. Watching for a minute, she only turns away when she sees Cassandra begin to froth new milk. Karen can’t help the secret smile she wears the rest of the morning, the name Frank just on the tip of her tongue.
Hello! Finally a new update, huh. This time I’m a little happier about how this turned out but still not completely. The last chapter didn’t seem to appeal to you guys so I’m gonna try harder to turn this into a more interestic story :(
The last thing I wanted to do now was to face Jay but I had absolutely no choice. Otherwise this whole thing would’ve become more awkward than it was already. Letting a loud sigh escape my throat, I wrapped a towel around myself and walked out of the bathroom. I put on the first clothes I found in the room - sweatshirt and leggings, put my hair in a messy bun and headed for breakfast.
The kitchen smelled of freshly cooked pancakes and whipped cream and my I found out my nose wasn’t lying to me once I looked at the table. Either it was just Jay feeling really bad for what he did last night or he wanted to make things between us a little less uncomfortable hence what happened this morning or more particularly how he found me bare skin naked fallen asleep in the bathtub.
I smiled back at Jay who was already grinning at me and joined him at the table.
- Don’t you have lectures today? - he asked after a while, when the silence started to become too uncomfortable.
- No, my classes don’t start until next March. I thought you were familiar with the Korean universities. – I remarked, surprised enough to make him uncomfortable.
- No, I finished my education in Seattle so I have no idea how those things are here. Sorry about that. - Jay actually sounded a bit offended and I immediately felt bad.
- Hey, sorry if I sounded rude. - I apologised and he nodded, and then we continued eating without even looking at each other.
After both of us have finished with eating, Jay collected the empty plates from the table and put them in the dishwasher, set it up and started it. Once he was done with that, he cleaned the rest of the mess he had made in the kitchen and then he laid on the sofa and turned on the TV.
- What are your plans for today? - I asked him, not moving an inch from where I was sitting before, actually hoping his answer wouldn’t involve “clubbing” because somehow I wanted to spend more time with him.
- Don’t have anything planned, really. Why are you asking? - he suddenly raised his head to look at me, curious.
- There are actually a few things I need to buy, so I thought I’d ask you to come with me. If you have nothing better to do, of course. – I shrugged and patiently waited for his response.
- Sure, I’ll wait for you to get ready and we can get going. – he replied and then focused his attention on the TV once again.
After an hour of picking out the perfect outfit, I settled for high waisted denim shorts, a white shirt tucked into them and a light weight cardigan in baby pink as a top. My hair was naturally curvy so I only used a little dry shampoo to texture it, and with that final thing I was ready.
When I walked out of my room, Jay was already putting his shoes on.
- I’m sorry I took so long. – I apologized to him, nervously tucking strands of hair behind my ear, - I haven’t unpacked everything yet and I couldn’t find…
- It’s alright, don’t worry about it, - Jay cut me off mid-sentence, not letting me finish what I was trying to say. – I’m the one who should be apologizing right now because something important that I need to immediately take care of popped up and if I could, I’d do it later but I can’t because as I said, it’s important and I’m sorry… I’ll make it up to you again, I promise.
And with that, he hurried out of the apartment. He had already given me my very own keys so that I could go out whenever I wanted, even if he wasn’t here. But that wasn’t the problem. Even though I had very contrasting feelings about him, I still wanted us to spend more together and to get to know him. And despite the fact that he had actually proved himself to be a player by bringing home a girl on the first night I spend at his place, I refused to believe that he’s a bad guy after all.
And the moment I was about to change into more comfortable clothes and spend the day in, an incredible thought popped into my head and I blesses my brain for thinking of that. I took out my phone and dialed the only other person from Korea I knew. It rang three times until they picked up,
Notes: This takes place about six months after the end of Pinky Promise. It can technically standalone, but I’d recommend reading it as the introduction to the next fic in the series, which will be posted soon.
Draco fucking hates
Monthly Sunday Brunches with his father.
He has to wear a tie
and laugh at Lucius’s god-awful Hank Hill impressions and order something bland and boring and All-fucking-American because that ugly asshole editor at
the Huffington Post—who had gone to, like, a public school in fucking Ohio
and live-Tweeted his most recent
re-watch of The Cable Guy, like, come
the fuck on—had decided putting lox
on a goddamn bagel was culturally
It’s half past ten and Draco can’t even get drunk.
And he couldn’t invite Hermione because they aren’t married yet and he couldn’t invite Theo
because Theo’s mother is a Democrat and while he could
theoretically have invited Blaise because of the whole minority votersthing, Blaise
had been too busy, like, brooding about
Daphne breaking up their weird little threesome, and he’d just thrown a box of
Thin Mints at Draco’s head when he’d tried to, like, physically coerce him. Or
I needed a spoon friendly cake to make my daughter for her birthday and I conjured up this delicious divinity.
All it is, is freshly whipped cream with oreos crumbled into it, ice cream sandwiches stacked up (used 16) and slathered on the oreo cream icing. Put it in the freezer over night and voila, 10 minute cake that took maaaybe one spoon up :)
And tomorrow all of the om nom noms ^_^
Wanted to share in case any other spoonies could make use of a simple solution, or indeed any foodies :)
“How about the créme brûlée?” Liam suggests, eyes skimming the dessert menu.
Zayn scrunches his nose, shaking his head. “I want chocolate cake.”
“But chocolate cake is boring,” Liam whines. “I could make you chocolate cake.”
“Oh, you could, could you?”
Liam shrugs, lips quirked up in a confident smile. “Cake out of a box is my specialty.”
“But would it have,” Zayn pauses, reading over the menu, “a cinnamon and chile chocolate drizzle, and freshly whipped cream?”
Liam shrugs again, smile wide. “I don’t see why not.”
“I didn’t realize you were a master baker,” Zayn teases.
“There’re lots of things you don’t know about me yet, Zayn,” Liam says, his tone less confident now, his smile more hopeful than anything.
Yet. The word sits heavy in Zayn’s mind, but he doesn’t argue; Zayn had only promised him one date after all.
“Well, you can get the créme brûlée then, but I’m having chocolate cake,” Zayn says instead, closing his menu and taking a sip from his wine glass.
When the waiter comes to the table, Zayn bites back his smile as Liam orders the chocolate cake to share.
“Don’t look so smug,” Liam teases, hand sneaking across the table so he can link their fingers together.
Zayn shrugs, a laugh on his lips. “I didn’t say anything.”
Liam squeezes his hand and Zayn can’t help but glance down at their fingers intertwined, Liam’s thumb rubbing circles into his skin.
“This okay?” Liam asks. There’s a crinkle to his brow that Zayn wants to smooth out with his fingertips, but he settles for tightening his grip.
Liam smiles then, his eyes searching Zayn’s for a long moment. The silence between them is an easy one, both of them content to observe the other.
Their hands break apart when dessert arrives and Zayn digs into it quickly, taking a bite before Liam even gathers up his fork. He suppresses a groan of pleasure as the chocolate coats his mouth, fork already searching for more.
“It’s good then?” Liam asks with a smirk.
“Mm-hmm,” Zayn hums, swallowing down his mouthful while Liam takes his first bite.
His face is considering before he shrugs. “It’s alright.” Zayn gapes at him and Liam smiles, teeth biting into his bottom lip. “Still think I can do better though,” he says as he takes another forkful into his mouth.
Zayn spears some more cake on his fork, dragging it through the extra drizzle and whipped cream to make the perfect bite. “You think so, huh?”
“I guess I’ll just have to bake you a cake so you’ll believe me,” Liam says, faux-casual but his eyes alight with hope.
Zayn pauses, unsure. “Is that your way of asking me for a second date?”
There’s a flush high on Liam’s cheeks, but his gaze is steady when it meets Zayn’s. “It is, yeah. I mean— I would really like to see you again.”
Nerves flutter in his belly at Liam’s words and he takes a sip of his water to buy himself a moment before he speaks. He’s had this conversation before, loads of times, but it never feels like it gets easier.
“Liam, um, I should tell you. I’m asexual.” He pauses to watch Liam’s brow crease the slightest bit and his lips pout in thought. When Liam doesn’t make to speak, he carries on. “And, well, I don’t usually date sexual people.”
“But,” Liam starts, lips curving into a frown. “We’re on a date now.”
“Well, yeah, but—”
“So you do date sexual people,” Liam supplies, smirking and Zayn snorts on a laugh before he can stop himself, smothering his smile into his hand.
He shakes his head, laughter fading, and Liam’s still looking at him, expectant and hopeful. “You know what I mean.”
“Zayn,” he says, his hand finding Zayn’s again across the table, fingers warm and sure. “Will you go out with me again?”
“But— did you hear what I said?”
“Do you understand it?”
Liam is thoughtful before he answers, unsure and soft. “Sorta. I think you mean you don’t enjoy sex.”
“That’s not it exactly,” Zayn says, and he knows he should say more, try to explain.
“That you don’t have sex?” He asks, trying again.
“No, that’s not— it’s just, it’s more complicated than that,” Zayn says, trying for casual even though his heart is pounding because this conversation never goes quite like he wants it to.
“Look. Zayn. I had a really good time tonight, and I want to take you out again. If you,” he glances away for a moment, slight shrug on his shoulders. “If you’d like to, I mean.”
Zayn studies him for a moment, the earnestness palpable in the lines of his face.
“I would like to. But Liam,” Zayn starts. “This is who I am, yeah. That’s not going to change after a few dates.”
Liam nods. “I know.”
“And you really think you’ll be okay with that?”
“I don’t know, honestly,” Liam says, squeezing Zayn’s hand. “But I would like to try. If you’ll give me the chance.”
The server comes by then, dropping the bill onto the table and taking away the dessert that they’d abandoned.
Their conversation plays in his head as Liam digs his card out of his wallet to pay the tab, the weight of Liam’s words pressing on his chest. It’s not in his nature to be adventurous in love, protecting himself always seeming like the better option, but the thought of not seeing this through with Liam feels riskier than the possibility of having his heart broken by him.
“Zayn,” Liam says once the waiter has walked away with the bill, his eyes warm and a rueful smile on his face. “It’s okay that you d—”
Zayn’s shaking his head before he can think better of it, and this time he’s the one reaching out to link their fingers together. “No, I do, Liam. I do. I mean,” he stutters, flushing at his own eagerness. “I’d like us to go out again.”
Note two: I was listening to “Bubbles in the Wine” and the band Caravan Palace when I wrote this, if ya wanna check those out.
Almost done, Levi thinks to himself as he begins scooping freshly made whipped cream into the icing bag.
The strawberries are cut, the cakes are baked, and all that is left is to assemble the perfect strawberry shortcake for Petra. After overhearing her love for them, Levi knew that he must make one for her on her birthday, which happens to be today.
Placing the first layer of spongy cake on a tray, he begins tubing the whipped cream onto it. Once it is completely covered with the fluffy white mixture, he places some of the sliced berries on it, getting a considerable amount of the sweet juice on himself. He tops the finished layer, refilling the – quite large – icing bag, and continues the same process.
Chocolate Chips (for dipping, I used bittersweet chocolate here)
Preheat the oven to 200°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mat.
Grind freeze dried strawberries and sugar in a food processor until powdery. Set aside.
Place the egg whites in a large bowl and with an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat on medium until frothy. Pour the Jell-O, and strawberry mixture into the bowl in a slow, steady stream. Turn mixer on high and continue to beat until the egg whites are stiff and shiny, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla extract until just combined.
Scrape the meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip and pipe the cookies onto the lined baking sheets. Starting in the middle and make 2 full circles, about 2-inch in diameter and 1 ½-inch apart.
Bake the meringues until they are firm, about 2 hours. Turn off the oven and leave them in there overnight.
In a microwave heated bowl, melt your favorite chocolate chips on high. Stirring chocolate in 30 second interval until chocolate chips are just melted. Slightly cool melted chocolate before dipping the bottom of the meringue roses and place them on a lined baking pan. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until chocolate firmed up.
Eton Mess with Dark Chocolate Strawberry Meringue Roses
2 pounds fresh strawberries, divided
1 cups sugar
Juice from 1 lemon
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons framboise liqueur
2 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons of powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
a dozen of Dark Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Meringue Roses
In a medium sauce pan, heat 1 pound of the whole strawberries, sugar and lemon juice on medium-high heat. With a potato masher, crushed the strawberries until there’s no big chunks.
Add the fresh thyme leaves now (take the leaves off the stems or simply tie the whole thing with a kitchen twine for easy removal of the stems). Bring the mixture to a full boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is syrupy.
While the mixture is cooking, sliced the remaining one pound of strawberries. Remove from heat and add the sliced strawberries. Then, stir in the framboise liqueur while the mixture is still hot. Let cool completely and chill in refrigerator.
To assemble the dessert, spoon a couple tablespoons of strawberry syrup into a tall glass. Top with some freshly whipped cream, then crush some strawberry meringues on top.
Spoon more strawberry syrup on the meringue, follow by more whipped cream. Top with some more meringue (crush or not). It’s easier to eat if you crush them, but it makes a more beautiful presentation if you leave the meringue roses whole.