Promptly Penned is a monthly flash fiction feature. The inspiration prompt changes.
The tick tick tick of the timer resonated through the metal-and-ceramic industrial kitchen. Ned exhaled with his chin tucked against his chest, and a cloud of flour poofed up into his face.
“Fuck this shit.”
Limberly sliding his feet beneath him and slowly rising, hands-free, he tried to brush the white dust from his shirt. And his pants before he gathered the dirtied utensils and measuring cups. He dropped them in the industrial-depth sink and filled it half-way with hot water and enough dish soap to make healthy suds.
Doesn’t matter what David said. I don’t have to simply sit and relax while the goddamn cake bakes. The mess was driving him crazy.
Used to doing the commanding in a kitchen, rather than receiving barked orders, Ned struggled with every bossy remark David made. Who is he to come in my kitchen and try telling me what to do? David was his…what exactly was David? His Dominant? His partner? His…fuckbuddy? They certainly had broken in the desk in his office after creating a hellacious mess of his workspace.
They hadn’t really defined their relationship. But, they did seem to spend a lot of their free time together. Most of it, if he were honest.
Ned jumped, startled from his contemplation and the comforting slosh of dishwater, then lunged for the stainless-steel countertop to catch the owl-shaped timer before it rattled itself over the edge.
He opened the industrial convection oven and heat wafted out, caressing his bearded cheeks and chin before steaming up his thick-framed glasses.
Tossing the plastic lenses on the stainless, he peered at the pan. His culinary confection slightly pulled away from the edge and when he tapped the center, it sprang back up instead of creating a dent.
He slid his hands into the industrial oven mitts, which had seen better days. The heavy-as-fuck grips reached the crook of his elbow and seemed made from lead and god knows what else.
Careful to not squish the cake as he removed the sheet cake from the oven, he settled it on the wire cooling rack to the right of the appliance, then sighed in satisfaction. It didn’t fall. Booyah!
“I told you to relax while the cake baked. You didn’t follow my directions.”
Ned turned slowly. He hadn’t heard David come in, but that wasn’t unusual. The surfer-slash-business owner was light on his feet and silent as he moved about a room—when he wanted to be. Sunglasses, perched atop his head, pulled his sun-bleached mousy brown waves away from his face.
“I couldn’t take the mess,” Ned said, then glanced around the open space to catalog any remaining tasks.
David was silent.
When he couldn’t stand it any longer, Ned finally glanced at David.
Dimples broke the planes of his face and he looked as though he would burst out laughing at any second. “You’re such a control freak when it comes to your kitchen. Geez, Ned. I was going to clean you up first, then your precious kitchen. I’d planned to have you decorate the cake while I cleaned.”
Ned rolled his eyes.
An incredulous gasp escaped David and his eyes danced with mischief. “There’s a bag with clean clothes in your office. How long before you need to start making frosting?” He stepped toward Ned.
Ned backed away from David.
“You don’t need the cake until tomorrow afternoon, right? Julianna’s retirement party is at six. I don’t have to start until around noon.” Ned mentally ticked off the hours before the event and calculated how long it would take him to make the triple-sized confection into a faux tropical paradise.
David stalked Ned around the large stainless-steel table in the center of the room. “I’ll be by around quarter after five to pick it up.”
Ned’s skin prickled in awareness and anticipation and his palms sweat profusely inside the heavy oven mitts. David would eventually catch him—of that, he was certain. What he wasn’t sure about was exactly what David would do once he caught him.
“I’ll have it done by three. I have a cupcake order to bake before I leave tomorrow,” Ned murmured as his heart beat wildly in his chest.
Suddenly, David lunged. His arms swooped around the space Ned had occupied before leaping toward the oven and the cooling cake.
Hefting the pan over his head, Ned shouted, “Take one step closer to me, and I swear to God, I’ll drop this cake! I’ll do it! Don’t test me!”
David grinned. “Now, what do you think you’re doing? If you drop that cake, you’re just making more work for yourself.”
Ned cackled. “Maybe, but I’m second-guessing whether we made this one properly, anyway. We weren’t exactly concentrating on the recipe.”
“Touché.” David leaned against the table in the middle of the room and eyed Ned. “You have to trim what’s now the top, anyway. You’ll taste it to make sure you don’t have to start again.”
Ned deflated and lowered the cake. “You’re right. I always do.” Dropping the mitts next to the cake, he leaned against the counter, blocking the pan from David’s view. “I’m particular. This is one place I can’t let go.”
David nodded. “I suppose I’m lucky you didn’t punch me earlier—when I was breaking the eggs and you were trying to give me pointers.”
“For starters.” Ned grinned. “You really suck at baking. I guess it’s a good thing you’re part of corporate America.”
David crowded Ned’s space, filling it with his body and his fresh-air-and-salt-water scent. “Running a part of corporate America.” David pulled Ned into his arms and nuzzled the close-cropped hair behind his ear. “Not that it really matters, much.”
Ned kissed his way along David’s smooth, sun-kissed jaw seeking the pleasure of his mouth. When his lips finally fluttered over David’s, he knew—without a doubt—that he was exactly where he needed to be.
“So, we spend an awful lot of time together. What should we call”—he gestured between them with his index finger—“this?” Ned asked.
“Silly, you’re my boyfriend.” Several lines crinkled David’s forehead. “That is, if you want to be.”
“I think I would like that—very much,” Ned said just before his lips devoured David’s.
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