“I thought you wanted ice cream.”
“I do want ice cream.” His voice is muffled by my skin. “We’re making ice cream. Is there a problem?”
I shake my head and pull away to lean over the stove. I need to focus: I’m tinkering with the methods in this recipe, cutting a step that’s meant to take an hour down to seven minutes. I have an excuse: it’s hot and humid, not good weather to hold cream at room temperature for long. Mostly I’m just rushing, anxious to get my hands on him again. The infusion is steaming well, but not boiling. I worry it’s too hot anyway, so I reduce the flame just a bit. He brushes his fingers down my back. It’s a warm day. I can’t feel the heat of him standing behind me. Can’t hear his breathing over the sounds filtering in from outside. I stop stirring, close my eyes, inhale. I can’t smell him. Steam redolent with ginger masks every other scent in the room. If not for his fingers sliding down to my hips I wouldn’t even know he was there. His grip turns firm, pulls me tight against him.
“You’re going to scald the milk.”
“Am not,” I say, but I turn my attention to it anyway, pluck a slice of ginger out of the mixture to see if it’s softened at all. It has, and I decide it’s infused enough. Scooping it out is trickier than I expected: some of the smaller slices keep slipping away and disappearing under the surface.
“Anything I can do to help?” I worry he’s asking because I look clumsy and incompetent chasing slices of ginger through the pot.
“No. Wait, yes. Bring me the eggs?” He does, and I separate them (too slow!). Whites go back in the fridge, yolks get a vigorous whipping with a fork.
“Here. I need you to pour about a quarter cup of this over the yolks.” He pours, I whisk. I thank him and take back my place in front of the stove. I start talking, something about the properties of eggs and preventing custard from curdling or forming a skin. I’m rambling. If I just keep talking I won’t be distracted by his breath in my hair. I won’t lean in to the too-light touch of his fingers on my spine. I won’t turn around and find his mouth with mine. Dear God, I’m talking about curd cheeses. Someone should make me shut up.
His fingers brush my hair to one side. His lips touch my neck, just behind the ear. They move slowly, back and down. I close my eyes, just for a second, blocking out everything but the trail of his mouth down the back of my neck. I feel teeth, gentle, teasing. I stop stirring and rest my hand on the lip of the pot. It’s hot, but not quite hot enough to burn. This damn custard will burn if I don’t get back to it. I stand up straight, pulling out of reach.
He peers over my shoulder. “Is it done yet?”
“I put the eggs in five minutes ago. It takes time.”
He groans, gripping my hips through too-tight jeans. “Try a higher heat.”
I duck down to check the flame. Just where it should be. (I can’t help but covet his gas stove.) “Nope, can’t. I don’t want the custard to break.”
He doesn’t answer. His left hand slides under my shirt to rest on my stomach. His right fumbles with the button of my jeans. I lean back to press against him from shoulder to hip. His teeth find the back of my neck. I’m taller than he is, much taller in these boots. To nip me there he must have his head back, throat exposed…
I roll my shoulders back, shake my head to clear it. I focus on the stove, this custard and its infuriating need for attention. If I weren’t so damn proud of my cooking I’d abandon it. His fingers work their way down the front of my jeans, pull them uncomfortably tight against my hips. He pinches my clit ring between two fingers, tugs it lightly. “These fucking jeans couldn’t be any tighter if they were painted on.”
“Are you complaining?”
“Nope. Is it ready to go in the fridge yet?”
I sweep a fingertip through the custard. It’s thicker, but not enough.”Not yet. Two, three minutes.”
He drops to his knees, hands moving down, pulling denim to bunch around my legs. I stumble, trying to keep my balance in stilettos while he pulls. He slides his body between me and the stove. His breath reaches my cunt an instant before his mouth does.
“Oy, hot stove. This seems like a dangerous idea.”
“Don’t care.” His voice is muffled by my body.
I grip the counter with my left hand, stir with my right. Three clockwise circles, a figure eight, repeat. I want to grab hold of him, pull his mouth even harder against me. “You can’t wait ninety seconds?”
“I can, but…” he doesn’t finish, just presses the heat of his mouth against me, his tongue moving firm but slow, too slow. Fuck it. I swipe a finger through the custard again. It’s not as thick as I’d like. It’s thick enough. Somehow I turn off the flame, add white chocolate and stir it smooth. “Done. Make room in the fridge.”
I have him backed into a counter with my legs wrapped around him before we even close the refrigerator door. He fumbles for it, awkward and sideways while I start pulling his clothes off. He laughs. “Now who’s rushing?”
“Hey, we’ve got a time limit here. Still have to make ice cream, remember?”