“Edward, do you realize we’ve never actually gone on a date?”
I laughed. “Kit, we’re married.”
He crossed his arms. “That doesn’t change the fact that we haven’t been on a date,” he pointed out. “A real date, with...with candles and tablecloths and wine!”
“True.” I blinked. He was still staring at me expectantly. Dammit. “You...want to go on a date?” I guessed. We’d gone to a Japanese restaurant before, but neither of us had labeled it a D-A-T-E. Maybe what he wanted was different, somehow.
“Yes, Edward! God, you’re so clueless sometimes.”
Well, he wasn’t wrong about that. I stepped closer to him and he put an arm around my waist. “Is there a reason you’re thinking about this now?” I asked softly. As far as I knew, this was coming out of nowhere. Maybe he’d been watching soap operas in the middle of the night again, or while I was at school.
“I miss food!” he wailed.
I had to fight to keep a straight face. “Yeah, I’ve noticed.” Before he came into my life, I would have sworn it was impossible to get sick of chocolate chip cookies.
I would have been wrong.
Aside from his baking, which tends to be emotion-based—almost any emotion: stress, excitement, anger—he also cooks almost all my meals. Including breakfast. The closest thing to a hot breakfast I’d ever had, including growing up, had been oatmeal, and only when I made it for myself. My mom, as a doctor, had no time for stereotypical mom-stuff. My dad, a stereotypical artist, usually wasn’t awake until the afternoon.
I’ve told Kit, repeatedly, that he doesn’t have to cook for me, or at least not so often, but it’s been years and he shows no sign of stopping.
Of course, I prepare all of his meals, but that’s because he’s too disgusted by the process to get involved.
Did I mention that my husband is a zombie?
Him cooking for me involves eggs and flour and, apparently, twirling around the kitchen in an apron. Sometimes just an apron—which, while delightful, always leaves me scrambling to make sure the blinds are drawn so I don’t scandalize the neighbours. Or...worse. One of my neighbours has always been way too interested in Kit. I don’t know what she’d do if she saw him more-or-less naked. Probably jump through a window to get at him.
Me ‘cooking’ for Kit is...not like that. You see, zombies need to consume every part of a body, not just the brain, or that part of them starts to deteriorate. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be human. Unfortunately, it means that he needs to consume hair of some kind or risk losing his prized golden locks.
Without going into detail, making Kit’s food is messy and not for the faint of heart. It’s a good thing I’m a medical student as well as a necromancer, so all the gross inner bits of animals—including humans—don’t really bother me. Plus, I’ve had an undead cat since I was four, so this isn’t exactly new to me. My poor parents.
Kit has suggested that I should be more bothered by it, but then where would we be?
To preserve his sanity, I came up with a solution to him eating, well, an entire cow or goat every week. I take all the...everything, blend it, and make it into little gummy candies. That way everyone—especially him—can pretend that he’s eating regular food.
That’s another thing about zombies, and why I was beginning to suspect he was asking about a date—they can’t eat ‘real’ food. If Kit has more than a few bites of anything that isn’t essentially raw meat, it does not end well. At all. Very bad. It took a while, but he’s finally come to accept that.
Or so I’d thought.
“Oh, don’t ‘Kit’ me.” He pushed me away gently—which was a good thing, since he’s strong enough to flatten a car without really trying. “And don’t look at me like that.”
Not sure exactly how I was looking at him, I did my best to rearrange my face.
He laughed, which was something at least. “Stop that before you hurt yourself.”
“You miss food,” I said, putting together the limited information I had, “and you want to go on a date...where there is food?”
“Yeah.” He wasn’t looking at me.
“Won’t that make it...worse?”
He flung up his hands in frustration. “I don’t know! Yes! Maybe. No. Maybe.”
“I would love to go on a date with you,” I quickly interjected, seeing that he was about to spiral. “And you can just...smell all the food you’d like?”
He gave me his best suggestive grin. “Oh, I was thinking I’d do a little more than that,” he purred.
“Oh?” I asked nervously.
“You’ll order exactly what I want, and I can appreciate it for as long as I want. And then...”
“...When we get home, I can kiss it off of you and taste it on your tongue.”
Oh my. “I’ll, uh, make a reservation.”
“Already done. I picked out your clothes.”
Of course he had.
“I’ll have the Merlot, please,” I told the waiter, according to Kit’s instructions. I wasn’t entirely certain what kind of wine I’d be getting, but I wouldn’t admit that to Kit. I’m not much of a drinker, but if doing this made Kit happy—or, uh, very happy—I was willing to drink drain cleaner.
As soon as we were alone, Kit said, “At least you didn’t pronounce it Murr-lott,” with emphasis on the hard T.
“You do know I speak Latin, right? It’s...pretty similar to French.”
He raised a perfectly sculpted eyebrow. “Latin is the one where you pronounce every letter, right?” he asked in his best ditzy-blond voice.
“And French is the one where you pronounce, like, none of them?”
“I’m glad you didn’t pronounce it Murr-lott.”
“I also took French in school,” I pointed out.
He rolled his beautiful blue eyes, framed by ultra long and thick lashes. If he hadn’t been murdered and resurrected by me—the resurrection, not the murder!—he could have been a model. “This is Canada. Everyone took French in school. No one remembers it.”
“Je...remember-ez...un petit peu,” I protested.
“Uh huh. You’re practically bilingual.”
“What else did you want to order?” I asked, practically shoving the menu at him.
He brushed it aside. “Oh, Edward. I already know exactly what I’m going to order.” There was a slightly alarming glint in his eye, like he was about to add 'You!' and jump across the table at me.
I would never, ever, ever say this to Kit, but I have had nightmares along those lines.
“I checked out the menu online, duh.” He slid a piece of notepad paper across the table. It smelled floral.
I wasn’t sure why he’d looked at the menu on his phone but handwritten his instructions, but it was somehow a very Kit thing to do.
I read through it carefully, making sure I wouldn’t mess it up and bring the Pronunciation Police down on me.
I repeated it to the waiter, only stumbling a little—usually, the more I think about saying something, the more likely I am to screw it up. Luckily Kit was thoughtful enough to not stare at me and add to the pressure.
The waiter nodded as he wrote down my order, then turned to Kit.
Kit shook his head. Anyone who didn’t know him as well as me wouldn’t have been able to tell he was upset. “Bring the wine with the food, please,” he said softly, after a moment.
The waiter, also keeping his face carefully blank, nodded and walked away. If he thought it was odd that Kit had commented on my order, nevermind the fact that Kit hadn’t ordered anything, he didn’t let it show.
I squeezed Kit’s hand under the tablecloth.
The food came more quickly than I’d expected. I was hungry, so I just started eating. Then I noticed how hungrily Kit was looking at me.
No, not me.
I slowed down, really savouring each bite. If he couldn’t enjoy this meal himself, the least I could do was enjoy it for him. I’m not much of a ‘foodie,’ but I can still appreciate when a meal is well prepared.
Kit dropped his eyes when he realized he was staring.
I gave his foot a gentle nudge with my shoe and he looked up. “I don’t mind if you watch,” I whispered. Not really something I wanted the people around us to hear.
He smiled at me, dipping his head in a tiny nod.
I cut off a piece of steak, swirled it through the mixture of sauce and juice on my plate, then popped it in my mouth. “Mmm…” I closed my eyes with pleasure.
When I opened them again, Kit was staring at me even more intensely. His gaze flicked to my plate, then back to me—more of an order than an invitation.
I stabbed an asparagus stalk, examining it for a moment. It was glossy with butter and the jagged tips were slightly brown from being fried. Just the way I like it.
I bit into it, letting the flavour spill across my tongue, detecting the sharp tang of lemon mingling with the earthier taste of the vegetable.
I snapped it up in another few bites, then turned back to my plate.
Kit shook his head, actually holding out a hand to stop me.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, reluctant to stop eating now that I’d begun.
“Wine,” he said softly. His voice was so full of raw yearning. It reminded me of the skull from The Last Unicorn.
Nodding, I set my fork down and picked up my glass. I’d barely looked at the wine, except to note that it was red.
I swirled it around the way I’d seen wine experts do, the way I imagined Kit expected me to.
He was leaning so far forward his chest would have been in his food—if he had any.
Pleased that I apparently had his approval, I lifted the glass to my nose, closed my eyes, and inhaled. It smelled like…well, wine. Like I said, I’m not a foodie.
I brought the glass to my lips, watching him through it as I opened my mouth. It was warm and rich, floating across my tongue. I held it in my mouth a moment, then swallowed.
I set down the glass and he let out a long, satisfied sigh.
I glanced longingly at my rapidly cooling steak.
He nodded again, leaning back in his chair and relaxing his shoulders.
I took this as an invitation to keep eating, no longer worrying about making a show of it.
He watched me eat, but without the same hunger as before. He seemed satisfied.
Using my last piece of steak to soak up the last drops of liquid, I stared down at my empty plate sadly. Should I tell him the meal was delicious, or would that be cruel and make it worse for him?
He reached across the table and caught my hand, holding it loosely. He was grinning like the cat who got the cream, so I didn’t think he was too upset anymore.
“Ready to go home?” he purred, waggling his eyebrows at me suggestively.
I swirled the last of the Merlot in my mouth, hoping the flavour would linger on my tongue until we got home.
I wouldn’t want to disappoint him.