Word count: 623
A pretty girl and a handsome young man, both engaged in some sort of cooking activity. The scene looked delightfully cozy to onlookers, should there have been any.
"Darling, I told you it's white cornmeal, not yellow." Illya frowned at the distinction, but having scientific acuity he acknowledged that color could make a difference.
"How is it that you know how to make this dish April? I never took you for having this sort of, um… domestic skills."
April Dancer should have been slightly insulted by Illya's comment, although his obvious lack of confidence in her ability to make cornbread was the result of a reputation she had earned through numerous cooking catastrophes. Still, she had other skills he had at one time thought of very highly.
"I seem to recall that you took me quite cheerfully, with no prerequisite of cooking skills."
Illya stepped back and folded his arms across his chest. Leave it to April to bring up their affair, if they could call it that. Sharing that flat in London during the mission to bring in Daryl Mulrooney had prompted some very ill advised … well, it hadn't been wise and so they both stopped it. For the most part.
"Just measure your ingredients and don't bring… don't let's go back over that territory." Illya suddenly wondered why he had come here tonight, why April had asked him to join in on this New Year's meal she was concocting. Corn bread, for New Year's. It said very little about celebrating a new beginning.
"If you are in doubt of what I can do in the kitchen, just wait until you taste this all hot and buttery from the oven." Even that remark smacked of something slightly more tempting than hot bread.
"What sort of meal is this anyway? Peas and cornbread seem like peasant food to me." Avoidance, that was the key to getting past the memories. Memories of April in his arms, her touch, her smell. April always smelled of Diorissimo, Dior's iconic Lily of the Valley fragrance. When they first met in Paris he had noticed it, a soft floral scene that instantly took him back to earlier times, before UNCLE. Another girl had worn Muguet de Bois, but the notes were similar.
April was busy pouring her cornbread batter into a cast iron skillet, something she had inherited from her maternal grandmother whose southern influences were not entirely lost on a girl born and bred north of the Mason-Dixon line. The tradition of a New Year's meal consisting of black-eyed peas, ham and cornbread was something she rarely got to enjoy, and introducing it to Illya had seemed like a good idea. Now she wasn't so sure.
"Surely you can enjoy this little tradition, just as you might something from your own culture. This is a meal guaranteed to produce prosperity and good luck." She smiled at him now, a hopeful smile that was lost between desire and good sense. At this point it was unclear which way things would go.
"April, I find the entire thing completely ludicrous, but no more than the tales on which I was raised. You are, as always, very convincing." He reached out and took her into his embrace, his hands encircling her waist. She yielded without hesitation, her lips greedy for the kiss she knew was coming.
The skillet sat unattended on the stove top while the black-eyed peas simmered happily on a low setting, a fortunate thing considering how long it would take for the two lovers to actually consider the prospect of eating it.
April's culinary tidings of prosperity and good luck had produced something of an entirely different nature, but entirely satisfying just the same.
For reference, this is my Illya/April collection of stories
In With A Bang, Out With A Whimper
House of Monkeys
The Morning After
The Mission's The Thing
A Timely Intervention
King For A Day