Love Has No Expiration
National Personal Chef Day Coda
Our first date—that being a social or romantic engagement in public—wasn’t the typical dinner and a movie. Really, it wasn’t even a date, except that I hadn’t seen Keith since Valentine’s Day a week ago, and the man seemed to make even the most mundane details in my life romantic and exciting.
Needless to say, I was thrilled when I got a text message from him on a Friday afternoon.
Hey! Any chance you’re in the Union Square area and hot-up for a lonely boyfriend?
I was grinning like an idiot when I moved to the corner of the sidewalk to type back a response. I am, actually.
I just got off my shift at B&N. I’ve got enough money in my pocket for two crappy coffees and would love to see your gorgeous smile before school.
Keith was—fucking perfect. Why was he interested in me, again?
I’d happily drink sewer water with you, if you spared me a moment.
His text bubble popped up with, Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.
I smiled and was about to suggest meeting at a Starbucks, my treat, when I remembered my whole reason for being out here to begin with. I was going to a kitchen supply store— Williams-Sonoma. It’s basically Toys “R” Us for chefs. They have everything I could possibly ever want, as well as never need.
But I did need new knives.
I sighed and dialed Keith’s number.
“Hello, sexy,” Keith’s warm, delicious voice answered.
“Oh, sorry, I think I have the wrong number.”
“Ha ha. Where are you? I’ll come meet you,” he said, the busy sounds of New York echoing behind his words.
“Actually, I was…sort of on my way to do an errand,” I slowly answered. “I’m not asking you to come along because you’ll probably be bored and—“
“What is it? Picking up dry cleaning? Cat litter? I really don’t care,” he answered.
I chuckled. “No. I’m going to a kitchen store for new knives.”
“Sounds cool. Can I tag along? It won’t be for long, because of my class, but I’d like to see you.”
Jesus…did I want to see him, too. And hug him, kiss him, take off all his clothes….
“Hm? S-sorry!” I felt my face burning and I started laughing at my own embarrassment. Mentally undressing my boyfriend in public was—
Then it hit me.
Keith was really my boyfriend.
A real, tangible, cares and wants to join you on errands just to spend a moment with you, boyfriend. Had I won the lottery and just now realized it?
“Yes, yes,” I blurted. “Come with me.” I gave him the address for the West Side shop and he promised to be there in ten minutes.
“Wow,” Keith said, looking around the store. “This place is…really fancy.”
“Top of the line,” I said, leading him around the displays of cooking tools and selection of gourmet foods.
“What is this?” Keith asked, stopping to pick up a small, bulb-shaped object, squeezing it in my direction.
I snorted and waved a hand. “Egg separator. This place also stocks some silly stuff.”
He moved away to a counter of blenders. “A-are these the actual prices? Or a suggested price?”
I walked up behind him, looking over his shoulder. “Oh no, that’s the price.”
“Dan, this costs more than my monthly rent.”
“It’s a really nice blender,” I tried.
He turned to look at me as if I were insane. “I have a twenty dollar blender from K-Mart. What does this one do? Can it file your taxes for that price?”
I laughed quietly. “It’s great for making juices. Perfectly smooth, but retain all of the fiber,” I explained.
“Do you own one of these?” he asked.
I paused before shrugging. “It was a business expense.”
“My god,” Keith murmured. “This place is making my wallet scream, and I’m not even buying anything.”
“Come on,” I said with a grin. “The knives are over here.”
I led Keith to a massive display of chef’s knives. They had some great brands, but I ended up eyeing a number of the Japanese knives, famous for their light weight and razor-sharp edges.
“I guess it’s naïve of me to assume these prices are for a set?” Keith asked me quietly.
“Per knife,” I agreed.
“I had no idea what an investment this job was,” he said. His hand touched my back, running up and down in a way that made me shiver.
“Well, I’ve reached a point in my career where I can splurge on premium tools,” I said, glancing up at him. “I was definitely not shopping here when I first started out.”
He nodded, hand moving down to briefly hold onto mine. Something caught Keith’s eye and he let go, walking to another stand. “Hey, look at this,” he said while holding up an avocado dicer. “Now, this looks like an athlete’s cup.”
I laughed, covering my mouth when an employee looked over. “I don’t think it’d protect you that well.”
“What’s this?” he asked next, holding up a tiny ceramic bowl.
“Hm…oh, that’s a ginger grater!” I said. “This is neat, actually. Freshly minced ginger without the little fibers,” I continued, holding the bowl when he offered it. “Probably would be great for making soup.”
“Ginger soup?” Keith asked. “Sounds…questionable.”
“No, no, something like carrot and ginger soup,” I answered. “Add a little onion, a bit of orange, some chives,” I continued.
Keith was smiling when he took the bowl back. “Now I’m hungry, thanks.” He set it down while saying, “This is probably the only thing in this store within my price range.”
“Leave the kitchen purchases to me,” I answered.
After hemming and hawing a bit longer over knives, a clerk was able to help me decide on a few new items. Keith had patiently waited while I chose, had the items packed up, and paid for everything. When I followed him out the door, he stopped to check his watch before frowning.
“I wasted our entire time together in the shop, didn’t I?” I asked.
“Not a waste,” Keith clarified. “You’re so cute when you’re shopping for supplies. That was like a candy store for you.”
I laughed again, nodding. “Yeah, I guess it is.”
“I have to go,” he said, and I think he was reluctant, which made my heart beat fast. Keith leaned down, cupping my face with one hand and kissing me. “It was good to see you. Promise it’ll be for longer next time?”
“Promise,” I whispered.
He flashed that bright, beautiful smile and moved back. “I’ll see you, Dan.”
Oscar wove in between my legs as I stood in the kitchen, pulling out my knives from the bags after getting home. I nearly tossed them when I felt a small weight inside. Pausing, I removed a smaller bag from within, inside being a wrapped item. I tore it open and the ceramic ginger grater fell into the palm of my hand.
That sneaky devil must have bought it when I was drooling over knives and then slipped the purchase into my bags when he kissed me.
Written on the back of a Williams-Sonoma business card was, Name the day and I’ll bring fresh veggies. Sorry, I couldn’t think of a ginger pun. We’ll have to brainstorm together on this one. Love, Keith.