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Culinary Science

This is a long one, coming in at just under 1500 words. I hope you enjoy it.

L. E. White

Culinary Science

Sandy turned around in a tight circle. Her hands fluttered just above her waist as her eyes darted over the counters.

“Stop.”

She froze like a deer with oncoming headlights.

“Straight out in front of your left hand.”

“Thank you,” she said as she grabbed a bowl of sea salt. Sandy added a large pinch to the pan and then stirred the vegetables with her left and the soup with her right. “Renee, you are a god send.”

“That’s what my husband says right after I start …”

“La, la, la, la.”

Renee laughed as she flipped her crepe onto a plate. The pair worked on opposite sides of the kitchen, each one focusing on their part while a tall, slender chef made notes on his clipboard.

“And that is time,” he said. “Please set your plates onto the serving boards.”

The girls cracked open bottles of water and waited. The school was small, so they could hear as each of the other teams were being graded.

“How did you get these spots on the plate,” Chef Anderson asked as he examined their work.

“I used an essential oil atomizer to spray garlic oil on the dish,” Renee said.

“Clever. Now, which of you made the filling for these crepes?”

“I did,” Sandy said.

“Good use of color.”

“I think the filling is under cooked,” Chef Morrison said as he cut into the dish. “I also think the crepe is over cooked. It doesn’t balance each other out ladies.”

Sandy looked at the floor with a slight blush while Renee glared at the rotund instructor until they moved on to the next group.

“How do you think we did,” Sandy asked.

“Shhh,” Renee whispered. “We aren’t supposed to talk during grading.”

One of the instructors, Chef Anderson coughed loudly. Neither of the women said anything else, even though it was obvious that Sandy wanted to, until class was over.

#

“I can’t believe we got a B+,” Renee ranted as they walked out of the building. “That crepe was not over cooked”

“Don’t sweat it, we got the second highest grade in the room,” Sandy said as she danced along beside her friend. “That class is over, the term is over and I am ready to celebrate. Let’s drink.”

The bar wasn’t busy, but it didn’t surprise either of them. Thursday night and the regular university term wouldn’t end for another week. The undergrads would all be studying tonight and the culinary school class couldn’t have filled the place if they had all come here together.

Renee frowned at the bottom of Sandy’s glass as she tilted it up to get the last drops. “How much celebrating do you plan to do tonight?”

Sandy smiled as she waved her arm at the waitress. “All of it. I am done with having my food critiqued for at least two weeks.”

“Don’t you have to work tomorrow?”

“I don’t care.”

Renee took her time and nursed a pair of drinks with water staggered between them while Sandy put away glass after glass. A few bar flies tried to strike up conversation by sending drinks over, but Renee made sure they realized this wasn’t going anywhere.

“Hello ladies.”

She started to roll her eyes at Sandy, but was stopped by the hungry, slack jawed awe that her friend was staring at the new comer with. She turned around and had to remind herself to breath as she let her eyes crawl over the man. He was tall, solid and dressed nice. Nothing exception or over the top, but it was still obvious that he took time on his appearance. “Hi.”

He smiled, and Renee’s breath caught at his dazzling smile. He opened his mouth to say something, but Sandy interrupted him. “Oh my god you are gorgeous.”

He smiled wider and Renee wished that either she or Sandy could just fall in a hole.

“Thank you. My name is Jerry. I was wondering if I could join you.”

“Yes,” the said together.

The girls glared at each other as Jerry laughed and sat down.

#

They walked arm in arm, Jerry in the middle, as they headed towards the parking garage. Renee had drunk more after Jerry had started buying, but she thought she was fine to drive. There was no way Sandy was driving herself home, but Renee wondered if she would be able to keep her friend out of the guys car.

She also wondered about being able to get him into hers.

“You know,” he said as they entered the stairwell. “I am not sure any of us are really in any condition to drive.”

“That’s okay,” Sandy said. “We could all just crawl into the back of Renee’s car together.”

Renee felt her face flush and she dropped her eyes to the stairs. “Sandy …”

Jerry interrupted her by putting his finger under her chin and lifting her eyes so that she could see him. He stared at her, and she felt like she was swimming. “I like that idea,” he whispered.

“So do I.”

#

The girls were side by side against the car. Jerry stood with one leg between each of theirs. He had them pressed together, one hand no each, his head between them as he turned from one to the other. He kissed Sandy on the neck, turned his head to kiss Renee, and then repeated the process.

The girl’s hands fought for position as they tried to rub Jerry through his clothes. She must have had more to drink than she thought because Renee felt like she was drowning. The world spun and twisted, moving around her despite her not being able to move because Jerry was in the way. She pulled his shirt out of his pants and ran her hand up his side before dragging her nails down his back.

It was her turn again, and when she felt his lips on her neck, she groaned. “Me,” Sandy said, and as Renee opened her mouth to tell her to wait her turn, a sharp pain in her neck brought the world back into focus.

She didn’t say anything, trying to make out why something that had just felt good had turned painful. Sandy whined, “My turn,” and Jerry pulled away, turning to Sandy. Renee tilted her head and out of the corner of her eye, saw his mouth.

His lip and chin were covered in blood. His teeth, stained pink, were long and jagged. The dazzling white line was replaced by a set of wild fangs that she realized had just torn a whole in the side of her neck. His smile looked like a tiger shark.

She jerked and tensed up, shifting her hands to push away. It didn’t work. Jerry pressed his leg forward, pinning her hips to the car with his thigh. He reached up and covered her mouth before pulling away from kissing Sandy’s neck.

“I am not finished with you.” His voice cracked and ground out each word in a way that reminded Renee of a spice grinder. “So be patient and wait your turn.”

This time, Jerry didn’t lean in so much as strike. His head snapped forward, and she felt Sandy’s body jerk from the sudden pain. Sandy cried out, but the sound was feeble. After a second, Renee felt her friend begin shaking.

She slapped and clawed at his back and it wasn’t doing any good. She realized that she needed a weapon. Her hands just weren’t going to hurt him. She reached into her purse, and felt a small bottle.

“Fuck,” she mumbled the word into Jerry’s hand when she realized that it wasn’t her pepper spray. It was all she had, so she slammed it into his side anyway.

The cap came off on the first hit. The bottle sprayed its contents onto his side with the next swing.

Jerry twisted away from Renee, ripping his head away from Sandy’s neck with a sickening sound. He hissed and pulled his shirt up to reveal an angry looking blister above his hip. “What the fuck do you have?”

When he looked at her, Renee trigged her atomizer of garlic oil again. Jerry screamed as his face began to sizzle. He spun in a tight circle, clawing at his face, and Renee triggered the bottle twice more before he charged away. He lunged, trying to put distance between them, and smacked into the side of an SUV, crumpling the door and triggering the alarm.

Renee stepped up to spray him again, but Jerry rolled under the SUV. She didn’t move, there was no way she was going to squat down and go after him, so she stood there with the atomizer pointed at the spot where he had disappeared. Twice more, she heard alarms when Jerry ran into cars, before she finally turned around to look at Sandy.

Then she fainted.

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