Welcome to Culinary Goodness!

The Savorys were founded by Almond, the man who moved away from his life in Riverview and bought a plot of land in Sunset Valley. Will he and his legacy make it through fifteen generations, with fifteen simmers telling their story?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chapter 19

I guess I won't be winning any "sister of the year" awards seeing as the night I agreed to go out with Johnny - and found out about the mysterious boy - was Parsley's fourteenth birthday. Seeing as I rarely tell anyone of my plans, no one thought to stop me as I headed outside, thinking I was going to putter around the garden for a while before the great blowing of the candles on the cake. But nope. I missed it. It was worth it, though.

In honor of starting high school, Parsley adopted a sort of 'punk' look, letting his bangs grow out and wearing more black than usual. I don't know what mom and dad think about it, but I think he's turning into some sort of emo-kid. Parsley says it's just so that he doesn't look like the 'gentle poet' that he 'truly is'. Whatever. It's just him being his usual weird and dramatic self, I think.

Parsley didn't complain about my missing out on his birthday 'party' if it could be called that, though. I think he's actually relieved that I wasn't there to shove his face into the cake as is my tradition.

Anyway, I set out for the Espinoza household during the early hours of the afternoon. Johnny and I hadn't really worked out a specific time, so I'm hoping that I'm at least expected. I know I'll strangle him if he hasn't even told anyone that I'm coming.

I was surprised at the size of Johnny's house. He's never given me a reason to think of him as poor, but I wasn't anticipating seeing such a pretty and large house. It's nothing like the Savory property but somehow just as nice.

I stood, staring at the stained glass for a few minutes before I managed to work up the courage to knock. Johnny's never been over to my house and it feels weird knowing I'm about to enter his. Especially because I'll finally be put in contact with the mystery boy. What if he doesn't live up to my expectations? Have I built him up so much in my mind that I'll be completely and utterly disappointed when I finally meet him? Or worse still, what if I don't meet his? Johnny said he'd been intrigued by me and that's why he wanted to meet me. What if this "Max" doesn't think I'm worth his attention?

All my worries set my stomach churning and I thought about turning around and heading straight back home right then and there. But I'm no coward and I won't ever find rest if I don't get this stupid boy out of my head. Little did I know that the mystery boy would never get out of my head.

Johnny met me at the front door with the usual smile plastered on his face. "He's shy," Johnny warned, "But willing to meet you. I'll be upstairs if you need anything." And with an impish grin, my 'friend' ran off, leaving me alone at the threshold of the house.

I wandered inside cautiously, my mind throwing up a thousand different ways to murder Johnny for having left me in such a situation. I heard the gentle strumming of a guitar coming from my left, though, so I followed it hoping I might find someone who might be friendly.

Then I saw him. He was just as beautiful and mysterious as the first time I'd accidentally seen him during my very first drive. Johnny wasn't lying when he'd said that Max was shy. His hand gently squeezed my own, his touch feather-light, and his voice barely rose above a whisper as he introduced himself as "Maxwell Vermont" but could I "please call him Max?".

When I told him my name was Chocolate, a slow smile spread across Max's face.

I know it sounds corny to say it, but the very moment I looked into his light green eyes and saw that gentle smile, I knew I was a goner. Before this moment, I didn't believe in all that love at first sight crap, but apparently it's true. It really does happen! And it was easy enough to believe that Max felt the exact same way as me even though neither of us said it aloud.

For the first time in my life, I smiled for no reason and didn't care who was watching... except that I knew I wanted Max's eyes on me.

We stood in his living room and slowly, I worked on breaking Max out of his quiet shell, an endeavor that would have bored me within minutes if it were anyone else. But I persevered and got him talking, sharing interests with me. Max is a great listener though and it felt like we really connected. Although I'd wanted to murder Johnny for ditching me, now I could only think of gratuitous thoughts about his vanishing act. Maybe he wasn't trying to be mean. Maybe Johnny was just trying to make meeting his adoptive brother easier on the both of us. Whatever his reasons, I'm thankful for them. I doubt Max and I would've clicked quite so easily if he'd been present.

I'm not going to lie and say that I got Max talking and opening up to me within that one day. It took weeks before he started speaking in a voice other than the gentle whispers I'd come to associate with him. Slowly, I started to unravel the mysterious Maxwell Vermont. I learned that he'd been placed for adoption at the tender age of two when his parents, both drug sellers, had been killed during a gang fight. It wasn't a past to be proud of, but I felt nothing but joy when he told me. Up until that point, Max had never shared anything quite so personal with me and it made me feel that much closer to him.

Eventually, I became such a regular fixture at the Espinoza house that I wound up meeting Johnny's parents. I don't remember their names, but I am grateful that they took Max in. If they hadn't adopted him... if they hadn't moved to Sunset Valley, I would never have met my other half.

Max and I did everything together - often at his house given that Johnny was busy hanging out with Cinnamon at mine. Though I hadn't worked enough magic to make Max start attending the public school, I did manage to coax him out of the house every now and again. It was almost always after the hustle and bustle of the city was drawing to a close, but it was progress. Max has opened up to me and by extension, his own family, far more than anyone ever thought he would.

I would know. I received proof of that on one fateful Saturday afternoon. Max and I had been sitting in front of the fireplace, talking about nothing in particular, when I felt the itch to try something I'd never done before. Not knowing how to go about this sort of thing nor how Max might react, I moved slowly and carefully, cautioning him with my eyes.

Fortunately, I was well met and damn, what a kisser that boy is. Journal, I think I'm in love...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Chapter 18

My first time driving would have been fairly uneventful if it hadn't been for him.

I'd been cruising along the neighborhoods closest to the city, getting a feel for the streets when I first caught a glimpse of him. He was standing around outside in what I guess was his front yard, just staring up at the stars. His head whipped around when he saw my headlights and the focus of his eyes shifted from the night sky to me.

How do I know he was looking at me? Easy. When the glare of my lights illuminated his face, I saw that his strangely beautiful, clear green eyes were staring at me. I don't know what to make of this stranger. I've never seen him before, not in school or around town.

I went home thinking about that mysterious stranger. He appeared to be around my age. Maybe I'll see him in school sometime. I hope I do. He's the first person to ever intrigue me this way.

I drove Cinnamon and me to school the next morning. She wanted a turn, but I told her that since I'd already driven this part of town, it'd be better for me to do it. Really, I just wanted to control the speed so I could keep an eye out for the mystery boy from last night.

Unfortunately I didn't see him anywhere and I couldn't just go looking for him. Not when Cinn will follow me around, telling me I shouldn't be skipping. Not when I know that Cinn will go tattle to a teacher, swearing she's got my best interests at heart, the very second I ditch anyway. So I headed over to the Student Parking Lot - right across the park in front of the school - and got my stuff. Maybe I'd see him inside? He has to go to school, right?

Cinn took note of my distracted mood and headed off to school before I did, grumbling about it being her turn to drive when we go home. I ignored her. As if I'll let her drive! Anyway, I took my time gathering the books I wouldn't read and stuffing them into the backpack that I'd ditch in my locker. When I'd finally made it to the park, there were only ten minutes left until the first bell rang. I'd have made it in plenty of time if I hadn't been interrupted by a boy stepping in front of me so fast I nearly crashed right into him.

I studied the boy's face. Definitely not my mystery boy from last night. This one had a cute baby face with green eyes that didn't resemble the other boy's in any way. He had wild brown hair that I'm assuming he carefully styled to look messy given the amount of gel in it.

"Hi. I'm Johnny Espinoza." The boy said, talking too fast as if he were afraid I wouldn't hear him if he wasn't quick.

I stared at him. For a second, I contemplated just side-stepping around him and going on my merry way. But... I'd never seen this Johnny kid before, just like I'd never seen the other boy either. Maybe it wouldn't hurt to get to know him. So I introduced myself. "Chocolate Savory." I glowered at him, daring him to make fun of my name.

"Wow, that's an interesting name. Anyway, um, well, my family and I just moved in last night and... I was hoping someone might be able to show me around town. I do a lot of the errands for my family and it'd be nice if I could do them all without getting lost." Johnny grinned sheepishly. I couldn't help rolling my eyes. What a dorky kid.

When I only stared at him, Johnny pressed onward. "Will you help me out, Chocolate? Please? I noticed you have a car. I'll pay for gas and everything if you'll help me out."

He looked up at me with those puppy dog eyes. I sighed. Shaking his kid would be hard. So I shrugged my shoulders and nodded. "Sure. I'll take you around. And if I show you good places to eat, you're paying for that too."

Johnny's whole face lit up like a little kid. "Thanks so much!"

"Yeah, whatever. If you're enrolled for school, you'd better get your butt moving. We're gonna be late."

That's how life changed for me. Most days, we'd go straight to the stores after school. I'd show Johnny Espinoza around and then we'd go back a few days later to make sure he understood where everything was and whatever other odd tidbits of trivia I'd told him. I'm actually pretty impressed. That guy has an amazing memory and usually remembers things that even I don't remember saying.

Sometimes, we just hung out for the sake of hanging out. Mom and dad realized I was spending an awful lot of time with Johnny though and insisted I invite Cinnamon too. They swear that they just want Cinn to get out more often, but I know the real reason they made her tag along. Cinn is like the perfect spy. They wanna know who Johnny is and why I'm spending time with him.

I'm happy to report that Johnny doesn't like Cinn all that much. Apparently she'd been crushing on him for a while and when she tried hugging him, he freaked out. I found hanging out with the two of them most amusing. So spy away, mom and dad. It's all a huge entertainment factor for me!

But still. This whole idea of Cinn liking Johnny did bother me a little bit. She's my twin after all. I'm not totally heartless as to keep hanging out with the boy she likes. Especially not when it's starting to feel like he likes me.

Johnny invited me to the Bistro one night. We'd been hanging out for around two weeks. I still hadn't figured out how to bring up the mysterious boy and Johnny isn't spilling any family secrets either. I agreed to the outing for only two reasons.

1. I really wanted to know how Johnny feels about me. I can't let this hanging out crap continue if the boy likes me. I won't do that to Cinn.

2. I need to know if he knows about that mysterious boy! In all these two weeks of Johnny being in school, I have yet to see that boy again. Did I imagine him? No, I don't think I did and I have a suspicion that Johnny knows about this boy.

So I agreed to meet with him. The first half of the evening actually went really well, I think. We talked and joked around like usual while enjoying a really tasty dinner. The food wasn't anywhere near as good as I know my dad can make, but they get an A for effort.

But after a while, I just couldn't hold my questions in. I put my fork down gingerly on the plate and looked Johnny in the eyes. "Listen Johnny. I'll be honest with you. It's been fun hanging out for the past two weeks, but I just don't know what you want from me. You know my twin, Cinnamon, really likes you, right? I can't keep coming out with you if you like me or anything."

Johnny put his fork down too and looked at me. His green eyes seemed sad. To avoid looking at him and getting involved with the emotionally charged atmosphere, I picked up my fork and shoveled a little more food into my mouth.

"It's been really fun, Chocolate." Johnny agreed. "And I know Cinnamon likes me. I just couldn't focus on building a relationship with her. Not when I had something more important to do."

My eyebrow arched questioningly. "What could be more important than getting to know my sister?"

Johnny fidgeted uncomfortably in his seat. "You're gonna think it's weird, but I may as well tell you the truth now. To answer one of your questions, I really do like your sister and I'm not after you as a boyfriend or anything. We're friends and nothing more, I promise."

Well that was a relief. I'll be able to tell Cinnamon not to give up on the guy when I get home tonight.

"The reason I'm hanging out with you so much is because... well... I've never told you this, but I have a brother, Max. He's adopted and painfully shy so he's home schooled. He saw you once, though, when you were driving at night. He asked me to get to know you. He wants to meet you himself, actually. So I promised him I'd take you out tonight and see how you felt about coming over tomorrow."

Johnny looked at his plate, his cheeks turning red with embarrassment. I, on the other hand, was elated. The mystery guy! I'd found him! Stupid Johnny did know him. Part of me wanted to kill him for not telling me, but the rational side of me understands that Johnny couldn't possibly know that I'd been searching for the mystery boy.

"Well. Thanks for dinner, Johnny. See you tomorrow. And tell Max I'll be seeing him tomorrow too." I stood up then and walked to my car, fighting the smile that was plastered all over my face.