Jessie: Story About A Girl is a contemporary fiction short story series based on the theme of love and family.
Each part of this story is written for the photo prompts at Describli.
Baking a Pie
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
I’m drenched in sweat, trying to figure out this new recipe mom e-mailed me yesterday and keeping Juno out of the kitchen – all at the same time.
Sometimes, I feel like I’ll go insane taking care of a dog with anxiety issues. It gets really difficult at times, especially since I’m in no condition to be able to run behind him or even to hold on to him when he tries to get away. There he is again, trying to get my attention by jumping like a possessed dog next to the kitchen counter, “Juno. Bad boy. Go, sit in the hall.” I try to give him one of the many commands I tried to teach him when he was a pup, but he happily disobeys as if he’s getting it all right by not following them.
I put the pastry lined pie tray in the oven hoping to god that I’ve got the right settings on the oven. Turning around, I leave kitchen trying to cajole Juno with a handful of treats into following me to get his leash from the bedroom. After tying him to the leg of the sofa, I make my way back to the kitchen, and after taking a deep breath, I start preparing for the applesauce.
I smile to myself thinking that Rick will be surprised to see me out and about baking again. Let’s just hope that he won’t get angry that I’ve been working in the kitchen alone, especially when he’s away.
I put the diced apple in the pan, light the stove and add sugar to it. After adding cinnamon sticks, I go and check the oven for the time. It’s far from done. I check up on Juno who gives me an innocent look and when I don’t open him, he starts barking loudly.
I quickly go back to the stove making sure that the sugar is starting to melt and gently stir the apples. The sooner I’m done with this, the sooner I can let Juno free.
After a few minutes, as the sauce starts bubbling, I hear Rick’s car pull outside the main gate. Juno launches into a new barking frenzy and I can hear him aggressively struggling against his chain.
I go to the hall and try to calm down Juno, “Quiet, Juno. It’s just Rick. He’ll meet you in a minute, boy. Sit down.” Sighing I leave him to his crazed wiggling and slowly make my way to the main door smoothing down my hair.
I want to look perfect today. It’s our 2nd year anniversary and I’ve spent almost 2 hours in front of the mirror getting my hair all curly and bouncy. I’m sure he’ll be surprised to see me this way considering that the last time I got dressed nicely was before the accident last year.
I open the door with a huge smile on my face and watch, Rick, my first real crush turned boyfriend turned husband, getting out of his car. Behind me, Juno’s barking and wiggling intensifies because he hates to be tied up, especially when the main door is open.
I look at Rick’s beautiful face as he turns around and tries to take in his beautiful features. Small eyes, thin lips, sharp and long nose and a straight and slick face. He’s tall with 6’2” height and has a great athletic physique. He looks like a proper gentleman, which he obviously is, as he makes his way towards me with a bouquet in his hands looking great in his black suit.
“Welcome home, sweetie. I really missed you!” I say as I hug him.
I’m seeing him after three days, he’s been out for work, and I can’t believe just how much I missed him in these three days. I miss the days when Rich and I used to be so inseparable that he used to turn down out-of-station meetings just to be with me. But lately, it’s like he’s trying to attend as many meetings out of town as possible. He’s always out, at least twice a week, and I’m considering talking to him about it.
I can’t stay alone in this huge house, at least not now. And I’m sure that once I tell him about the big news he’ll only insist on staying at my side all the time. Today, our 2nd anniversary is the perfect day to tell him that he’s going to be a Daddy.
I lean closer to him and kiss his neck, but that’s when I notice that he’s holding me very weakly. I pull back from him and notice something that I missed to see before – he’s looking tired, very tired. I smile at him and say, “I’m so sorry sweetie, are you okay? Come let’s go inside. I’ll get you some water.”
As we make our way inside, my heart drops just a little because I was expecting him to comment on how I’m looking or maybe the fact that I was standing straighter and walking better. Guess, he’s really tired.
I take a glass of cold water to the hall where he’s sitting patting Juno. “Here,” I say handing him the glass. Juno seems to have finally decided to sit quietly.
After gulping down the entire glass of water in one long swig he looks at me as if he’s seeing me for the first time today and says, “Oh, you look good, Jess. Is that makeup?”
I blush and nod.
“You look nice.” He smiles awkwardly and then shifts uncomfortably in his seat, looking like he wants to say something.
I know that he’s been driving since morning but that doesn’t mean that he can’t remember our anniversary. How can he?
I site on the sofa-chair next to the sofa Rick’s sitting on and realize that something’s not right. I sit there looking at Rick from the corner of my eyes as he tries to look at everything in the room except for me. None of us has spoken in the last ten minutes and now it’s really getting a little awkward. I try to push back the weird feeling in my gut and try to break the silence when I see him staring at his shoes, “You remember what day is it today?”
Looking relieved to have something to talk about, Rick smiles at me and says, “I guess it’s Tuesday.”
“Yeah. It’s Tuesday.”
He looks at me for a second and then resumes staring at his shoes. Losing my patience, I open my mouth to ask him how can he forget our anniversary, but right then Rick blurts out, “Umm… Jess, I need to talk to you.”
Studying him and noticing that his forehead is covered in beads of sweat, I stop myself in time and say, “Yes?” but that’s when the timer of the oven sings, “Oh shit, I’ll be back in a minute.”
Forgetting about our exchange and the heart-sinking feeling, I try to walk towards the oven as fast as I can and take out the pie tray. It feels a little dry when I check it, but it doesn’t matter because I was anyway making the sauce slightly runny, just the way Rick likes it.
I put the pie on the counter next to the stove and after stirring the applesauce, which is starting to look a little dry, I remember that Rick got a mail from his office yesterday that was marked urgent. “Oh shit!” Without turning the gas off I go back to the hall and picking up the parcel from the TV stand I hand it to Rick, “This came for you yesterday. I’m so sorry I forgot to tell you about it.”
I look at Juno and smile when I see that he’s dozed off.
I turn back to Rick, who gives me a small smile, takes the parcel and without even looking at it, he puts it beside him and shifts in his seat to face me, “Listen, Jess, I really need to tell you this right now, otherwise I won’t be able to get through with it.”
I sit down on slowly thinking what is the matter with him. “What happened Rick?”
“I wanted to tell this to you before, Jess, but I didn’t have the courage to tell you.” He closes his eyes tightly and takes a deep breath. Opening his eyes, he says “It’s not something that I planned for, so please, don’t hate me.”
All of a sudden my heart is pounding so loudly that I feel like throwing up, “What are you talking about?”
“I… I love someone else.”
My entire body freezes. What?
I sit there staring at Rick’s face for a long time. My mind seems to have shut down. I see that Rick comes closer to me and gently shakes me by the shoulder. I look into his eyes and when my eyes settle on his lips I realize that he’s saying something. I shake my head as if to break the spell and hear him say, “Please say something Jessie, you’re scaring me.”
That’s when I smell a very strong smell of burning, but instead of rushing to the kitchen like I should, I sit there, still dumbstruck, and looking into Rick’s eyes I say, “My applesauce is burning.”
You can read the previous parts of Jessie: Story About A Girl series here:
NOTE: This is a piece of fiction any resemblance to any person or place (living or dead) is purely coincidental.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.