I start calling Jared after the third time ringing the doorbell, it takes him a while to answer and when he finally does, he sounds tired.
“What are you doing, Jared? I’ve been at the door for fifteen minutes” I say almost growling at him.
“I’ll be there in just a second” He says in a hurry and I can hear from the outside how he runs to open the door, “Hey” He says, with a big smile and the phone still on his ear.
“You can hang up the phone now” I giggle, he laughs nervously taking the shopping bags from my hands, “Oh, thanks, they were actually quite heavy”
“Did everything go alright? Did you have a nice time?”
“At the supermarket? Well, yeah, of course. What can possibly go wrong while getting groceries?” I ask confused, I stop at the living room when I start smelling something strange, Jared’s eyes widen as he sees my face, “Is that…? Are you cooking? Because it seriously smells like something is burning”
Jared runs to the kitchen with the bags still on his hands, I follow him at my own pace and once I enter I get to see him pulling a tray out of the oven.
“Fake chicken?” I ask, trying not to laugh, Jared’s face changing from confused to upset.
“It’s vegan chicken” He corrects me, leaving the smokey tray on one of the cabinets, “Burned vegan chicken. I found this recipe online, it says 30 minutes in the oven”
“Are you sure those were 30 minutes?” I ask him standing by his side, getting a closer look to the infamous fake chicken, “Did you check it from time to time? Knowing you as I do, you left it in the oven and started doing other stuff, and came to check it when you remembered it, which probably was when I started ringing the doorbell”
“I did check it” He answers with a frown.
Jared’s chicken ends up in the garbage before I can get to suggest anything, there’s plenty of stuff in the kitchen island and I can’t help but ask what’s going on.
“Why don’t you go upstairs to freshen up? I’ll try to fix things up here”
I take Jared’s hand and give it a little squeeze, to try to calm him down, I receive a smile for an answer and a kiss on the lips.
I do as Jared says and head upstairs to change clothes into something more comfortable, remove my makeup and tidy up the room. Hurricane Jared has left the house a mess in less than three hours.
“Dinner’s ready” I hear Jared’s voice coming from the door, while I’m folding some clean clothes.
A little smile escapes from my lips as I stand from the bed to walk towards Jared, he holds my hand taking me to the dining room. At least he cleaned the first floor before calling me for dinner.
When we get to the dining room the whole table is set up for us with candles and flowers decorating the middle. I gasp at the beautiful look in front of my eyes and my free hand goes straight to cover my mouth.
“Please tell me I didn’t forget our anniversary” I beg, holding his hand tighter.
“What? Oh no, of course not”
I feel Jared’s lips on my temple as my head starts thinking of reasons for all this. I’m dragged away from my thoughts when Jared pulls me to the table and helps me sit, he sits in front of me, but then he remembers something and runs back to the kitchen. I check the table for signs of something that isn’t food, but there aren’t any small boxes or presents, so I calm down a bit.
“I forgot I’m the one serving dinner tonight” He apologizes placing a plate of soup in front of me, “It’s tomato, garlic and onion soup… Or at least that’s what it is supposed to be” He adds, shrugging embarrassed.
“It looks like tomato soup” I comment holding my spoon over the soup, “You have one thumb up”
I see a smile on his face as he watches how I take the spoon to my mouth. At first the taste of garlic blinds all the other flavors and I prepare myself to comment something nice to make Jared feel good about his food, but then, after a second bite I’m able to taste all the things I missed in the first bite, the fresh tomatoes and the pinch of onions.
“And?” Jared asks, concern all over his face.
“It’s amazing” I answer with a smile before getting another bite, “Really, I love it! Have you tasted it?”
“I did, but I didn’t thought it was that great” He mumbles, his cheeks getting a bit red, “You really liked it or you’re just saying it to make me feel good?”
“I’m being honest, J, I really really liked it, from now on you’ll be cooking the appetizers whenever we have guests, ok?”
“Ok” he accepts.
I finish the dish in seconds and wait for him to finish his. Jared gets up again and takes our plates back to the kitchen, I use the spare time to sneak on Jared, who’s serving the new plates, I can see how concentrated he is while decorating the new meal with vegetables. When he’s done, I get back to my sit and act natural. The new plate is placed in front of me and Jared gets back to his sit.
“Since the stupid vegan chicken decided to take a free ticket to hell, I had to improvise” He comments, resting his chin on his hand, “So, now we have stir-fried vegetables, rice with a special something and mushrooms”
“I didn’t forget our anniversary, it’s not my or your birthday, and this definitely isn’t a special dinner to tell me you’re pregnant” I joke while tasting the vegetables, I manage to make him laugh and continue, “So, what’s going on?
"I just wanted to make something special for you” Jared answers, sipping his water, “You’re always making nice things for me, cooking dinner, baking sweets, following me around the world in uncomfortable tour buses and planes… I thought you deserved something nice for once on my behalf”
I take his hand as I feel a lonely tear falling from my eye, I notice how embarrassed he is now that he confessed the reasons behind this special dinner and a little laugh comes out of my lips.
“You know I do all that because I love you” I say, caressing his hand on mine.
“And I love you too” he says and I finally get to see his smile again.
The special something on the rice is a mix of spices, mixing all the ingredients on the plate, an explosion of flavors covers my mouth and I notice my eyes closing at the maximum pleasure that my mouth is getting
“Another thumb up” I mumble, and I can hear him laughing while holding my hand, “I’m seriously quitting the kitchen, it’s yours now as long as you check your fake chicken whenever you cook it”
“Vegan chicken” Jared corrects me again, this time with a smile on his face, “I’m really, really glad that you liked it”
“I don’t like it, I love it, this is wonderful” I play with his fingers as I speak, “All this is simply amazing, thank you, Jared”
I can see how moved he is by my comment, his eyes watering a bit and a smile on his lips. I’m able to feel how he holds my hand tighter before letting go to keep eating.
“Mom helped a bit, I called every five minutes to ask her how much salt, or pepper and stuff like that” Jared shrugs with his eyes focused on his plate, “I seriously never thought how difficult it is to prepare something like this, how the hell do you make it seem so easy?”
“I’m glad you can finally see that cooking ain’t that easy, next time you leave half of the food on the plate to run to your studio, think twice now that you know how much effort people put while cooking” I laugh, “And I make it seem easy for you, I don’t want you to see how difficult it is for me to cook for you, I’ve never handled this much raw food till I met you”
“And I love you even more for that” He says with kind eyes and his now permanent smile.
Again, it doesn’t take me too long to finish my plate. Jared take the dishes back to the kitchen and takes his time to return with dessert.
“You made this too?” I ask surprised, seriously considering getting on my knees and bow to him.
The dessert in front of me is a chocolate tart decorated with raspberries, the piece is quite big and I’m more than certain that I would eat the whole thing.
“No, mom made it” He confesses, one of his hands running through his hair, “I didn’t know what to do for dessert, so she offered to bake that for me”
“It would have been too perfect to be true if you were the one who baked this” I giggle, and after my first bite I feel like I’m heaven, “Your mom’s hands are a gift from the gods”
Jared laughs at my comment before giving his first bite, realizing I’m not overreacting.
“Jesus…” He mumbles, “This is so good”
Jared finishes before I do and gets another piece of tart, when he asks me if I want more, I don’t let him finish when I’m already handing him my plate.
After my second piece I’m afraid that I would end up wanting more, so I take the rest of the tart to hide it in the kitchen before returning to the dining room. Jared is resting on his chair, his hand over his belly and the other cleaning his mouth with a napkin. I take the hand on his belly to pull him up and give him a hug.
“I love you, thank you for this” I whisper against his chest and I feel how he leaves a small kiss on my forehead.
“I’ll clean tomorrow” Jared mumbles, taking my hand to take me upstairs.
We are in our bedroom in no time, Jared kissing me all over my face, and my hands tracing all over his back. We fall in the bed and the kisses start losing the pace, before we know it we are both yawning, Jared hiding his face on my neck so I don’t see him.
“Maybe tomorrow” I whisper, my eyes starting to shut, “I ate too much”
“I feel like a grandpa” He yawns again, taking his shoes off, without getting up from the bed, “I’m too tired for this”
“Tomorrow” I repeat, molding my body to Jared’s, “You worked hard, you deserve some sleep”
“Sex too, but yeah… Tomorrow” he says holding me closer to him before falling asleep.