“I know I’m breaking my own rules here, but there are only two eggs in the refrigerator and I need four.” Veera peered around the kitchen threshold, angry (perhaps more embarrassed than anything) that she had to even ask. She had been determined to do everything on her own - no Joel. The kitchen would always be his domain, but for just this night she wanted to take it over and make something for him. Not that it was an easy task kicking him out of it - and keeping him out. And with those words she pretty much shattered the tenuous power she had. She wanted this meal to be her present to him, even if it had a good chance of falling very embarrassingly flat.
Joel practically flew from the chair he was only half-sitting in and appeared beside her looking a little too happy. He had been trying in vain to distract himself for the past hour or two, but he couldn’t hammer out the happy nerves that kept him dancing around the apartment, searching for something to keep him occupied. All the decorations were already up and strewn about, so the only thing he found to do was to change a bulb that went out on the tree. Her asking him for help was a godsend.
Veera narrowed her eyes at him, challenging his grin with seriousness. “Don’t get any ideas. I’m just asking if there are more eggs.”
“I’ll have to show you if you ever want to find them,” Joel said, folding his arms across his chest. A brief moment passed for a silent battle - moreso within Veera’s mind (let him in, or not let him in?) - before she gave up and shifted aside an inch. But it was all Joel needed and he rushed by her, though he didn’t get too far before she grabbed his arm.
“You're only showing me where they are. Nothing more. I don’t want to hear anything else out of your mouth.” Veera pulled him closer, not willing to let him see the mess she made of the kitchen even if it was inevitable, and the last thing she wanted was for him to offer advice. She knew him, and she knew that his eyes were already greedily taking in the scene, figuring things out and sorting through them. Pushing him in front of her, making sure that he stayed facing her - and, consequentially, he was walking backward - she followed his directions. He was practically laughing, the bugger, though to his credit he kept his eyes on hers.
“All right. Thank you. Time for you to go and wait outside,” Veera said once the eggs were located (in the most obvious of places, no less. Embarrassment was in no short supply, it seemed). They were useless words at this point, but her pride demanded they were said. She kept a firm grip on his upper arms, waiting for him to take the initial step backward, challenging him with her eyes. A moment passed when she almost began to think that he was going to do it, but he ruined it and took a step forward instead. The wicked grin never left his face as he reached out to wrap an arm around her waist and pulled her to him. Veera tried and failed to hide her own smile. “I’m serious, Joel.”
“But you’ve got a bit of cream on your face. I’m just trying to be a good fiancé and clean it off,” he said, reaching out his free hand and reaching a finger into a nearby bowl. Veera realized what he was doing a moment before and tried to pry herself away, but his finger - covered in a frothy cream - made it to her face first. “Oh, it looks like you’ve got a bit more. Here, let me get that.” He bent forward and kissed the cream off her cheek, and rubbed his finger on the other side of her face as he did so. “And another one over here…” He kissed the cream off again. Veera, laughing and trying to duck away, reached out to the bowl, scooped out a dollop, and smeared it on the nearest part of Joel’s face she could. He reeled back and looked at her in mock surprise, his mouth forming a perfect ‘O’, cream covering a good side of his face. Veera just smiled, already forgetting that he wasn’t supposed to be in the kitchen, before she threw back her head, laughing, trying to stop him from wiping his face on hers.
“You’re going to ruin the dessert,” she tried, as he planted sugary kisses along her neck. But all seriousness was gone, replaced with a smile she had learned just for him. He kissed that too, pulling her tighter against his chest.
“Funny, because I thought dessert was going pretty well for a second there,” he smirked against her mouth. Veera just rolled her eyes and gave up, giving his bottom lip a nip before taking his lips with hers and wrapping her arms around his neck. There were worse things to lose to than cream-filled kisses.