helen's cooking

Music

So I wanted to write something for the lovely @timelessarmourforalexander for always being so supportive of my writing, and this is what I came up with after she asked me for something music related. I hope you like it sweetie!!

(P.S. This whole thing was written in one sitting with the finale to “Hamilton" playing on a loop in the background)

***

It was chilly that morning as Alec walked to his favorite coffee shop, the wind tangling his hair even further. He still couldn’t believe he was here.

When Helen had called him up months ago saying she had gotten him an audition with the orchestra she played piano for, he had been furious. Despite going to a performing arts school, and being one of the greatest violinists his age, he had a heart stopping fear of actually performing.

And yet here he was, in Paris. Living in the frighteningly small apartment he shared with Helen and Aline. Thank god Helen could cook, or the other two would have starved to death by now. Or at the very least broke from all the eating out they would do.

The coffee shop was Alec’s one luxury. About three times a week he’d get up early, and walk down to get breakfast and his morning caffeine. Though if he was being honest, the reason he went to this particular café had less to do with the quality and more to do with the fact that he had to pass a certain street musician to get there.

***

It was a big night for the orchestra apparently, Magnus thought as he took his seat. He still couldn’t believe he was here.

Of course he had noticed the beautiful blue eyed man who came to hear him play, how could he not? Magnus had traveled the world and had never encountered someone quite like him before.

People stopped to listen to him everyday, and many made a point to seek him out after hearing about him. But when this man - boy really - listened it was less like he was listening and more like he was experiencing. His eyes would close and he’d smile just slightly. Magnus had wanted to talk to him for a while but he always left in the middle of a piece.

***

Alec first saw him about two weeks after arriving in the city. Though maybe “heard him” was more accurate. He was confused at first, thinking maybe spending your time doing nothing but playing classical music could cause you to start hearing it everywhere. But no, he saw a group of three or four people standing around someone. He went over to see what was happening, only to find the most beautiful man he had ever seen playing a cello.

It wasn’t just that he was good looking (though he definitely was) it was the way his eyes closed when he played, the slight smile when he hit a note just right, and the sense that everything he could possibly need could be found in whatever he was playing.

***

Magnus felt something on his cheek and found a tear falling down his face, that was odd.

He didn’t have time to ponder about this though as the audience was being asked to turn off their phones because the performance was about to begin. He looked through the violinists to find his dark haired angel. He seemed to be a little out of sorts, and Magnus liked to think he had something to do with this. He smiled to himself.

When they started to play he tried to pick out which sound was blue eyes, but of course with so many musicians singling out one was basically hopeless.

***

After that Alec couldn’t stop himself from going to watch him play when he could. And it wasn’t just the guy’s face that brought him back, it was his playing too. It was that infusion of classical and rock that had become so popular over the past few years, and while the music on its own was just alright, when this man played it, it made you feel like it was coming out of your own heart as well as the cello he was furiously strumming.

As he started to turn the corner, he decided today would be the day he would talk to him.

***

Overall the performance was beautiful, they had even played some of his favorites. After they had taken their final bow Magnus got ready to get up and meet his star backstage, but he was stalled when the conductor stopped the audience.

“I know you all must be eager to stretch your legs, but our newest addition Alexander Lightwood has requested to play a new piece he has composed himself.”

***

But when he got to where the man was usually playing, there was no one but a woman putting a flyer on a lamp post.

***

Blue eyes’ name was Alexander? Why didn’t Magnus know that?

“Good evening everyone.”

God that voice was gorgeous, but why did it feel like he hadn’t heard it before?

***

As the woman started to walk away Alec went over to see what it was she had hung up. When he read it he stopped and read it again. And then without thinking turned to run after the woman

***

“I wrote this over the past few weeks. You see I moved hear from New York a few months ago, and when I did I ran into this street musician. He was more talented than anyone I’d heard before.”

And then Magnus remembered. He suddenly didn’t want Alexander to keep talking. But of course he did.

“But before I got the chance to know him I learned he had passed away.”

***

“wait!” He shouted. The woman turned and Alec saw that her eyes were red. “Is this true?” He asked gesturing to the notice he had ripped of the lamp post.

She seemed so heartbroken and Alec suddenly regretted chasing her down like this. “I’m afraid it is, did you know Magnus?”

“No, though I had hoped to. What happened, if you don’t mind my asking of course.”

She sighed a little but looked resigned when she answered. “He was attacked on his way home by some muggers who wanted his cello.”

This fact hit Alec hard. “I am so sorry.”

She let out an unexpected chuckle at that. “You know I think you’re the first person who’s told me that and actually meant it. I’m Catarina by the way.”

He took her out stretched hand and said “I’m Alec.”

“It’s nice to meet you.”

***

Magnus sat there with the truth crashing around him. Why hadn’t he noticed? Realized he couldn’t even remember coming to the theatre that night? He had wanted to know the angel in the crowd, and here he was. And the angel was still talking.

“I was lucky enough to have coffee with a friend of his, whose even here tonight.”

Magnus turned and saw that he’d been sitting next to Catarina this whole time.

“She told me all about this incredible mans life, and then I went home and didn’t leave again until I had written this.”

And with that he started to play.

And it was the most beautiful thing Magnus had ever heard. It was somehow slow and sweet, but also passionate and frenzied. And when he was finished he looked back up, and his eyes landed on the seat Magnus had been occupying all night. For the slightest moment he thought he saw shock on Alexander’s face.

Magnus looked back at him, whispered “Thank you” and felt himself slip away. At peace knowing this was the last thing he would experience in this life.

The Cooking Habit

A massive happy birthday to @magicalpostface. Shower her with love people. This is for you poppet x

She does this thing…

Cooking was never high on the list of qualities I envisioned a wife having. Cristina was a prime example of this- I remember she cooked me eggs one morning with her left hand to build her dexterity and I was still struggling with the shell particles in my throat at lunchtime. That was the one and only time she cooked me breakfast.

Cristina was a lost cause in the kitchen. Amelia however… I went from can’t cook to won’t cook. Amelia is more than capable of whipping up a dish or two, she just finds the entire thing tedious and boring.

The first thing she can cook is waffles. I discovered this the first time she stayed at the trailer. I had woken up early, some tweeting birds outside my window reminding me that there was something to wake up to. A vision. Amelia Shepherd was lying on her front, her back exposed, her hands and face hugging the pillow and her stillness making me wonder whether she was even still breathing.

I stared, transfixed for about twenty minutes, memorising every detail. Eventually I frowned and just checked… I placed my fingertips to her pulse point and felt the strong beats. She stirred. She lightly opened her eyes and smiled as soon as she saw me. It was a smile that will be etched in my mind forever, even if I develop dementia and forget my own name.

A few kisses, a snuggle, a joke and a playful conversation about us finally getting some peace and quiet later, she said she was going to make us waffles. Waffles?! I didn’t peg her as the waffle-making type but she stood up and casually threw my t-shirt over her head without asking and rifled through the cupboards.

I asked her if she enjoyed cooking and she said she only ever makes waffles. That was her one thing. Her dish. I joked that you could never have enough waffles in life and I remember the blush that had taken to her cheeks.

Her waffles are nearly as good as her skills in the bedroom… nearly.

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Alex Kingston
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Before the Q&A session began, Alex spoke briefly about working on Bukowski, her (unforeseen) transition from theatre to film, and working on The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover as a novice actress.

Cosmo Cookery – Gourmet Meals from the First Drink to the Last Kiss by Helen Gurley Brown, 1971. Unknown designer. © Cosmopolitan Books. Via flickr 

Cosmopolitan or Cosmo premiered in the mid 60s and set the “ladies” magazine world on its ear with lots of sex. One of the driving forces behind its popularity was editor-in-chief, Helen Gurley Brown. Her husband, David Brown, was a well-known movie producer (Jaws, Driving Miss Daisy), but it was Helen who captured the headlines. She successfully published her first book at age 40, Sex and the Single Girl, and after that joined Cosmo for 32 years.