This week’s words were: ego, pier, freight, pace and solo.
One day, he’d learn to keep his ego in check, although today was not that day. Nope, today, he felt the need to run his fool mouth like a freight train skyrocketing off a pier. But then, that was par for the course with him. He really shouldn’t have expected anything less out of himself but what the narco referred to as ‘the full cowboy’.
Translation: Zayne had really put his foot in it this time.
Shaking his head, he realized he needed to pick up the pace. Andrej would be home soon and if he saw his kitchen in such disarray, Zayne wouldn’t just be going solo for the night. He’d suddenly become permanently single.
He felt more than heard his boyfriend return. Looking up from where he was on his knees, scrubbing a spot on the floor, he tried to smile and failed. “Hey,” Zayne said, hoping for casual and landing somewhere closer to petrified. “You’re back early.”
“We finished sooner than expected,” he replied. Andrej’s gaze roamed over his kitchen, his lips pressing together more tightly every second. “Do I want to know what has happened in here?”
“No?” He sought to look meek and repentant, but it really wasn’t his style, so he gave up. “Would you believe that Rosewood said that I couldn’t bake a cake?”
Sighing, Andrej gave his kitchen another appraisal. “Are you sure he was wrong?”
Zayne lifted his arm and licked something off his wrist. “Oh, he was quite wrong, baby,” he said. Grabbing the sponge, Zayne rose to his feet. “This? This is the frosting.”
“How on earth did you make this kind of mess making frosting, Zayne?”
“I’m not sure,” he said. Tossing the sponge into the sink, he pressed two fingers lightly against the center of the cake and watched it spring back. It was nearly cool. “I followed the directions. I put the stick of butter into the mixer followed by the powdered sugar, vanilla, food coloring, and a touch of milk. Turned it on – on low, Zek, I’m not a total idiot – and then this happened.”
Andrej stepped closer to the counter where there were some splatters of frosting still lingering. He leaned in, swiped his finger through a purple blob, then put his finger into his mouth. “Did you allow the butter to come to room temperature?”
“Did you let the butter soften before you put it in the mixer,” Andrej clarified.
Zayne made a face as he grabbed the recipe and read it over. “It doesn’t say to do any of that.”
Andrej took the recipe and read it over. Zayne wasn’t wrong, nowhere in the ingredients list or the directions did it say that the butter needed to be softened. He put the recipe down where it wouldn’t get sticky or greasy and picked up a washcloth. “Next time, remember that the butter must be soft to mix with the sugar. This,” he waved his hand around the kitchen, “is what happens when it isn’t.”
“I’m sorry,” Zayne said. He took the washcloth from Andrej and started wiping at the frosting on the counter.
“While you maybe should have realized,” Andrej said, making his way to the sink and retrieving the sponge, “I can understand why you might not have known that cold butter does not mix. Your cake, however, looks perfect.”
Zayne grinned. “Thank you, I really wanted to make you something nice for your birthday.” His smile fell. “But it’s going to be awful without frosting. And I used the last of your butter sticks.”
“Do not fear,” Andrej said, opening the pantry and producing a can of frosting. “It is not as good as when you make it yourself, but it will suffice.”
“You’re prepared for everything, aren’t you,” Zayne asked, half annoyed but still fully impressed.
“With you in my life I have to be,” Andrej said. He set the frosting down on a clean spot of countertop. “Let’s finish cleaning this disaster that I once called a kitchen. After dinner we can frost your cake and have a piece. I bought ice cream at the store last night.”
“You’re too good to me,” he said, giving Andrej a tight hug.
“I will be better to you if you return my kitchen to the state it was in before I left it alone with you,” he said, pressing a kiss to Zayne’s cheek.
“Okay, okay,” Zayne said with a laugh. “Go figure out what we’re going to get for dinner while I finish this up.”
Andrej disappeared into the depths of the house and Zayne returned to attacking the globs of frosting strewn across the kitchen. He’d gotten lucky, he thought. Andrej was generally pretty even tempered, even when Zayne was at his stupidest. But once you mess with his kitchen, all bets were off. Relieved that he was going to live to annoy his boyfriend another day, he put a little extra elbow grease into his scrubbing. The sooner he was done, the sooner they could have cake.