Hey Everyone! This is a new short story I wrote. It is complete however I will be posting a chapter every week and not the whole story in its entirety. Please send your comments to email@example.com. You can find another one of my stories, Ark Noah, in the sci-fi fantasy section.
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The following works are copyrighted by the author. All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the author. All characters are entirely fictional and any resemblance to living persons is coincidental. This story will contain scenes of explicit or erotic sex between men. If this is illegal in your country or state, or offends you, please leave now.
There's a Prince in the Kitchen
"WHAT?" I asked Sarah.
"You heard me," she retorted.
It was almost time for the lunch rush. Sarah had rushed in to my office, looking flustered, her face all red and shiny. It would have been amusing if it weren't for the reason for her fluster.
"Well tell the man to leave. I don't want to see him." That man had come again. Sarah said he was waiting out front to speak to me.
"Lucio I've tried everything and the man won't leave. I even threatened to call the police, and you know what he said?' He said to tell Sheriff Deenan that he would spring for coffee."
My lips twitched.
"Don't you dare twitch your lips!"
Wow, she was good. "Oh fine! Send him in."
If Sarah couldn't get rid of the man, then there was no choice but to talk to him. Julian Romero had nerve.
A minute later the man himself stepped in, no swaggered into my office, calm as you please in a white shirt open at the collar and dark blue slacks and black loafers. His golden hair was ruffled, probably from running his hands through it.
There was no way he was going to come into my office, as if it belonged to him, and patronize me.
"How long did it take before you noticed your daughter was gone?" I blurted before he could say anything.
He seemed to deflate. A chagrined smile appeared on his face. "Okay, I deserved that. And I would like to apologize for my behavior yesterday."
"Hmm...." It was a start.
"Please Mr De Luca, accept my apology. I was really distracted yesterday, and when I realized Anya was gone I panicked and took my anger out on your establishment, when really I was upset with myself.
A good start. And nerve.
"I accept your apology, and apologize in turn, for not notifying you immediately of your daughter's whereabouts."
Julian's smile widened and he nodded.
"Now, if you'll excuse me, Mr Romero, I have lots of work to see to before the lunch rush." I walked to the door, but he intercepted me.
"Mr De Luca, there was actually another reason I came here. In fact, it's the reason I was here yesterday in the first place."
I looked at him skeptically. What was he on about?
"Do you mind?"
I sighed and walked back to my desk. "Have a seat, Mr Romero."
That smile appeared again, and his eyes, so beguiling, shined. "Please call me Julian."
"Julian then, and you can call me Lucio."
He nodded. "I own a publishing house and was wondering if you'd like to do a cookbook with us. It's Rosemary Publishing, have you heard of it?"
Of course I have.
"Can't say I have," I replied. No need for his ego to be further inflated. And I felt a small satisfaction at the dimming of that damnable sexy smile. Why did I have this kind of reaction to him when there was none with any other man?
"Well anyway, we specialize in cuisine, gardening and landscaping oriented literature. Cookbooks, gardening guides and the like. I heard a lot about how good your food was and came to find out for myself. And I was hoping you'd consider my proposal."
Okay, wow. Was there a hidden camera somewhere? This had to be a joke.
There must have been a complicated look on my face because Julian hurried on. "Look, I'd really like to discuss this over dinner. Please think this through and listen to what I have to say."
"W-Well, uh, okay!" I huffed. Looks like there's no hidden camera.
"Great! I'll pick you up the day after tomorrow at seven."
Julian left in a hurry with a backward wave and not long after Sarah waltzed in.
"Mr Man sure left in a hurry. Well, what did he want?"
"What? Why doesn't he go to a bookstore?"
I gave Sarah a look meant to convey my pity of her. She gave me the finger.
"He wants me to do a cookbook. You heard of Rosemary Publishing?"
"Duh! It's that place that puts out all those bestselling recipe and gardening books. Owned by Julian Rom-"
The light bulb finally lit up.
"Oh my God! I threatened to call the cops on Julian Romero!"
"Calm down Sarah. He apologized for his behavior yesterday."
"You creep! Didn't you know it was him?"
"How the hell should I have known? I don't read the tabloids and stuff you know."
Sarah dropped into the seat Julian had vacated. "So he wants you to do a cookbook."
"He's picking me up at seven tomorrow to discuss it."
Sarah's eyes glinted. "Date."
"It's not a date Sarah."
"It so is a date."
I frowned at Sarah, while she smirked at me.
"How did you come to that conclusion?"
Sarah chuckled and fiddled with her nails. "If it were just business, he would have invited you to his offices, or maybe have one of his editors or agents approach you."
"Only you would come to that conclusion."
"It's a date...." Sarah sang as she got up and left the office.
"Whatever," I muttered.
THE next day I was a bundle of nerves. Another nightmare had beset me and I got up even more exhausted. Before there had always been a reason why I'd have the nightmares about what happened. But this time there didn't seem to be a trigger. Sarah was no help either. What could she do anyway, if I told her. So I said nothing and just went on with the day.
I'd had enough time to think about Julian's proposal too. Our date, no, appointment was tomorrow and I wondered how I should prepare. Did I need to take my recipes? No, he was only going to explain what his idea was. And why did we have to go to dinner, I mean explaining wouldn't take that long and he could have just explained it here at the restaurant. For that matter, why couldn't he just send an editor or an agent to do this? There was no need for me to see him at all. In fact, I don't want to see him.
The door to the restaurant opened and Sarah came through. She took one look at me and grinned.
"It's a date."
Rolling my eyes, I turned and headed to Paul and Chris to see how they were doing.
"It's going good, little boss man," Chris said heartily. He was a huge man, built like an ox, and the personality of a puppy. His chocolate brown hair was cropped short and his bright blue eyes were always sparkling with humor. Chris took everything in his stride.
"It's good Lu, though I do have a little trouble getting the texture of the butternut and pear soup right at times." Paul was the more serious one. He was tall and lanky and kept his blond curls tucked neatly under a mop cap. His green eyes were mostly somber but I'd caught him smiling plenty of times, usually at something Chris had said.
"Do you follow the recipe exactly?" I asked him.
"I do, but it still turns out that way."
"Okay," I patted his shoulder. "Call me next time you have to make it and we'll run through it together."
"Thanks." Paul showed me one of his rare smiles.
The back door opened and Dean walked in. Shuffling straight through to the locker room, he dumped his bag and changed into his uniform.
To be honest I found him a little mysterious at times. He got along well with everyone and worked hard, yet he kept to himself and talked very little about his life. Maybe he was just really shy about stuff. And anyway, even I don't like to talk about my past either.
But there was something, I don't know, lonely about him. I couldn't figure it out and found myself wanting to dig deeper, help him open up. This is ironic since I bottle things up too.
Dean came out and greeted when he saw me.
Smiling and waving, I asked him how school was.
Looking down, he said that school was okay. He turned to leave, but I stopped him.
"Dean, if you ever need anything, just ask okay?"
He flashed a dear in the headlights look at me and nodded. "Uh, okay. Thank you sir." Smiling faintly, he headed over to Paul and Chris.
And that left me with more time to dwell on other things. Like Julian Romero. Sadly I was beginning to think this really was a date.
Thanks for reading!