Chapter Twelve; Part Two
“Margaret, I’m glad you found my place all right.” Ted’s voice trailed off as he opened the door to his Kenwood home. His eyes widened when he caught sight of what I was wearing.
“Are you going to invite me in?” I asked demurely, slipping my wrap off my shoulders and handing it to him. He took it silently and stepped aside. I took a second to check him out as well. He was wearing black khakis, a silver shirt, and a black sports coat. Black socks and no shoes, of course. He looked hot as hell, and I had an impulse to skip dinner and go straight to his bedroom. I reined myself in as I stepped out of my shoes, however. I didn’t want to appear that forward.
“Margaret, you look indescribable,” Ted said, finding his voice at last. He ushered me into the living room which was painted a warm marigold. There were Ansel Adam reprints on his wall—at least, I thought they were reprints—as well as a few Chinese scrolls. Even though the furniture was clearly expensive, the room was homey due to the color. He had photos of his family on his bookshelves, and I noticed how uncommonly good-looking both his siblings were. “Please, sit. May I get you something to drink?”
“Rum and Diet Coke, if you have it. A Rolling Rock if you don’t.” I smiled up at Ted who nodded his head as he left the room. I watched his ass, noticing how firm it appeared. As soon as he was out of sight, I went over to the bookshelves to see what he had. Toni Morrison, David Mura, Asian writers’ anthologies, a few Laurie Kings. A wide variety, all of it good. My estimation of him shot up a notch as I realized he hadn’t been bullshitting me at the party. He did, indeed, have similar tastes to mine. He also had a bunch of poetry which I didn’t recognize. I didn’t do poetry, much to the chagrin of Wind who was always foisting this poet and that upon me. Of course, she loved the Beats, whom I loathed.
“Here we go,” Ted said, returning with two Rolling Rocks. He handed one to me before clinking the top of his bottle against mine. “Here’s to a great dinner. I hope I didn’t burn it.”
“Oh! That reminds me. Here.” I thrust a bottle of port out to him. I didn’t normally drink wine, but port was an exception. “For dinner.” I had no idea what he was making—though it smelled like Italian—but we could have it with dessert if nothing else.
“Great. I love a good port.” Ted set it on the coffee table, shifting from one foot to the next. It occurred to me that he was waiting for me to sit down on the black suede couch, so I did. I sank into it was more like it as it was impossibly buttery.
“This is one nice couch,” I said, patting the seat besides me.
“A little gift from my parents,” Ted said dryly, sitting besides me. I could feel the heat even though he wasn’t touching me, and I hastily gulped at my beer to cool down.
“Something smells delicious,” I said brightly. “You must be a great cook.”
“I’m all right,” Ted said, shrugging his shoulders. “I had to cook for my brother and sister when we were little. I learned to be creative pretty quickly in order to please those two. Edgar would only eat meat and potatoes whereas Tina had a taste for haute cuisine. Imagine trying to cook for those two at the same time! As a result, I’ll eat anything.” He didn’t say why he had to cook for his siblings, but I guessed it had something to do with his alcoholic mother. “It’s chicken parmigiana, the Italian way. A Caesar salad on the side and garlic bread, of course. I made tiramisu for dessert.” My mouth watered as he ran down the menu.
“You’re hired,” I said jokingly, patting him on the arm. “We need a good cook at the alternative school where I teach. The food is off and on right now, depending on our cook’s mood. Given that she is bipolar and doesn’t always take her meds, it’s more off than on.” I shook my head. I looked at Ted who was gazing down at me. Without seeming to, we moved towards each other, meeting in the middle. When his lips touched mine, I knew without a doubt that we’d be having sex tonight. Before or after dinner was an open question, but we were going to have it. Ted leaned into the kiss, gently pushing me down onto the couch. I was about to give in when I smelled a whiff of something acrid.
“Ted, your food.” I pushed him off me, alarmed at missing a home-cooked meal. Hell, I could have sex any time. How often did I get a guy to cook for me?
“Shit.” Ted jumped up from the couch and rushed to the kitchen. I whipped out my lipstick carrier which had a mirror in it and reapplied my lipstick. Ted must have wiped his mouth as well before returning because he was lipstick-free. “Dinner is served. Would you like to adjourn to the dining room?” He motioned for me to follow, and I did.
“Good Lord,” I murmured, looking around me in awe. This room was forest-green with abstract art on the walls. I was beginning to think that the paintings were real and not prints, but that would be astronomical. Then again, his family was filthy rich, so perhaps dropping a few million on a painting wasn’t such a big deal to them. The table seemed to be made of mahogany, and I bet it’d been in the family for quite some time. The china looked ancient, and the silverware was real silver. Antiques Road Show would have a field day with this house. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t mind meeting the twins.
“Sit, sit,” Ted said, coming out of the kitchen with a steaming-hot dish in his hand. It smelled heavenly, and I assumed it was the sauce. “I slaved all day making you this.”