Drop #53: Pendulum

Linda cooked all afternoon. Perhaps she didn’t need to put in as much effort but she enjoyed nothing more than people loving her food. Apart from her and her husband, Jeff, there would be three other guests: Paul and Cynthia, a young couple they had known for a while, and Pierre, a French colleague of Jeff’s she had never met. Maybe six dishes were too many, but Linda just couldn’t help herself.

Everyone had arrived by seven and they had a drink in the living room before dinner.

‘Where are the kids?’ Paul asked.

‘With their grandma.’

‘All three of them?’ Cynthia asked.

‘Yes.’

‘You have three children?’ Pierre asked. His accent was strong and his English imperfect.

‘That’s right,’ Linda said. ‘There’s a picture of them over there.’ She pointed at the frame on the bookshelf. Pierre got up to study it.

‘One, she is adopted?’ he asked.

‘Yes. From Vietnam.’

‘I see.’

‘What a spread!’ said Cynthia, as they sat at the dining table. ‘Wow.’

‘Looks amazing!’ Paul added. ‘You’ve really outdone yourself, Linda.’

‘Yes, it all looks great,’ said Jeff.

The Frenchman, who sat beside Linda, made no comment, abruptly piling food onto his plate and aggressively beginning to eat. After all the effort she had gone to, a miniscule show of gratitude would have sufficed, but Pierre didn’t even bother with a cursory comment.

As the others fell into conversation, Linda sat awkwardly next to the rude man, who went on eating, silently, and a little violently, ignoring her completely. What an ass!

Finally he stopped to take a breath and say something, and something quite unexpected at that: ‘I was earlier thinking that you are looking like Angelina Jolie.’

Then he went right back at it, jamming polenta and spinach on the back of his fork and shoving it in his mouth.

‘Angelina Jolie?’

‘Yes.’

‘No!’

‘Yes,’ Pierre insisted, chewing. ‘You are appearing just like her.’ There was plenty foliage trapped in his teeth.

‘Oh come on! You’re teasing.’ Linda blushed.

‘No, why? I am terribly serious.’ Some sesame chicken joined the grout he was chewing.

So he ate like a barbarian, Linda thought, and hadn’t said anything about the spread she had worked so hard to prepare, but he wasn’t all that bad. Looking at him, he had a certain charm in that obvious, French way, with his stubble and mousy face.

Pierre continued his assault on the food and the two of them didn’t talk much more during the rest of the meal. She didn’t mind that though the others all did, Pierre again didn’t compliment her on the food when they all got up to have coffee in the other room. She even made him the double espresso he requested, while everyone else was fine with the French press.

Joining them again, she handed Pierre his coffee. He had picked up the photo of the kids once more.

‘I earlier mentioned your wife she is looking like Angelina Jolie,’ he told Jeff, as Linda began to blush. ‘And you are looking like Brad Pitt.’

‘Oh, you mean we’re like those two because of our children.’

‘Exactly. You even have one is adopted from Vietnam, like Pax’

‘Yes, I see what you mean,’ Jeff laughed, looking at his wife, who was blushing harder now.

She wasn’t laughing though. Arrogant Frenchman, she thought, eating like that and not even thanking me for the meal. I slave all day to put those dishes on the table, then leave my guests to make him a special coffee, and he doesn’t even have the decency to say the tiniest nice thing about it. Get that man out of my house!

Half an hour later, after Pierre had had the audacity to ask for another double espresso, which Linda had been too polite to refuse, the three guests made ready to leave.

‘Thanks again,’ said Paul.

‘Yes, that was wonderful,’ added Cynthia. ‘Thank you so much.’

‘My pleasure.’ Linda smiled, before turning on the impudent Frenchman to quickly shoo him out. He would certainly never be back.

‘I cannot agree,’ said Pierre, coolly.

Oh come on! How insolent can one person be?

‘Wonderful,’ Pierre continued, ‘is not enough a strong word for this meal. I can only try to describe it in my bad English, but word cannot do it the justice. It was spectacular, sensational, exceptional, incryoable.’ He took Linda’s hand in his, looking her square in the face. ‘I am sorry for my bad conversation this evening but I just cannot stop eating your divine food. It is one of the best meal of my life, and remember, I am French! I cannot thank you enough, chère Linda, for inviting me here to savour it.’ He was getting quite emotional. ‘You are an angel, with the difficult talent to won over any man heart with your delicious food. It touch me, you know.’ He put a palm on his chest. ‘It move me.’ He kissed her hand.

‘Well you are most welcome,’ Linda said, looking far into his clear blue eyes. His English certainly wasn’t perfect, but the rest of him was all right. He was quite sexy, now that she thought of it; the type of man a woman could easily have an affair with.

By E.M. Vireo

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About EM Vireo
flooding the world with fiction

3 Responses to Drop #53: Pendulum

  1. KK says:

    Couldn’t stop reading-very engaging and could almost smell the food!

  2. Laura Besley says:

    Such a perfect observation – Linda’s pendulum of emotions towards the French man because of what he thinks/says about her. It’s so true!

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