Bonus Scene: Detachment, a bonus Kellan PoV for Vicious Rebel
The first time, I’d been heading down for coffee. It was early and I had a long day at the shop. Someone had brought in a car with a bad transmission. If I had to rebuild it, I’d be there until late. Work like that was good. It helped keep my mind focused and detached from obsessing about a certain someone. The door between her room and mine had been open, so I half-expected that she was already down here and in the dance studio or in the kitchen with…
The smell of smoke pumped adrenaline into my system and I raced for the kitchen. The ventilation in the clubhouse was decent, but only if we turned on the big fans. The one drawback to the construction that we hadn’t quite gotten around to fixing.
Fortunately, I could flip one of the master switches on my way in. Freddie probably stuffed pizza in the damn toaster again. Why had he done it the first time? “Well, I wanted to see what would happen? Crispy pizza sounded good.”
It might have been funny, if he hadn’t been strung out at the time and bouncing back and forth between hyper and depressed. The smoking pouring out of the kitchen was white, thankfully and not black. So something was burning, just not likely to burn the clubhouse down even if it asphyxiated us.
The scene waiting for me was not one I could have prepared myself for.
Emersyn stood in front of the stove with an oven mitt on one hand and spatula in the other. Batter had spilled on the counter and over onto the stove top, spreading to the burners where it was burning and bubbling along with…
“Sparrow, what are you doing?” Okay. Tact was my strong suit. Not entirely sure where mine fled but I was hard pressed not to laugh my ass off when she jerked around to look at me. There was dusting of white powder over her face and definitely a splotch of batter on her nose. Wisps of hair escaped from her pony tail and the t-shirt she had on was slipping off one shoulder.
The blackened remains of the substance formerly known as a pancake stuck to the bottom of the skillet. But one glance back up to the tears in her eyes and every bit of my humor dried up.
“I’m sorry…” she began and I swore the sound of a sob catching in the back of her throat made me homicidal.
“It’s fine, Sparrow.” Damage control mode engaged, I reached around her to brace her gloved hand on the pan and we took it off the heat. “Not a problem. I’m guessing you haven’t done this before.” And lest she think I was mocking her, I added, “Trust me, the first time I tried cooking, I was pretty sure my foster mom at the time couldn’t figure out whether to laugh or yell at me.”
We got the pan to the sink and I flipped on the water.
“Let it soak.” I gave her arm a gentle squeeze then retreated to turn off the burner.
“I made a horrible mess…”
“Well, I’m pretty damn sure you didn’t fly up into those silks the first time you did it. That probably took a lot of practice.”
Burner off, I got most of the batter cleaned up. The bits that had burnt to the top would have to wait until that was cooler. I checked the time, but fuck it. If I had to work late, I’d work late. If Sparrow wanted to learn how to make pancakes, then she was going to have a successful experience to base her next attempt on.
She swiped away the tears before they could spill—thank fuck.
“Let’s clean this up and start from scratch. I’ll walk you through every step and then we’ll make some fluffy pancakes.”
“The whole point was I was going to do it for you guys,” she admitted, so damn crestfallen it was adorable.
“Well, on the upside, you didn’t scorch the wall.” I gestured to the backsplash on the stove.
Her eyes rounded. “You?”
“Oh yeah,” I said, kind of proud. “I was grilling hot dogs on these wooden sticks, didn’t think I’d have any trouble cooking them over the open flame and then boom. The sticks caught on fire, so I kind of threw them.”
Emersyn clapped a hand over her mouth, but her eyes danced with merriment instead of misery.
“See, you’re already doing better than my first time.”
Between us, we made short work of the mess. Now she’d followed the instructions on the box, but I told her the secret, I always add a little bit more of the water than what the recipe suggested. Otherwise the batter was too thick and the pancakes too dense.
New pan out, I sprayed it down with some of the cooking spray and she frowned.
“I did that.”
“I believe you,” I soothed again. “Now, we preheat the pan.”
Her brows drew together and her concentration was so intense, I swore she memorized every step I was taking.
“We start the temperature on the pan at high, then turn it down.” I had her adjust the flames, then moving behind her, I paused. “Is this all right?”
“Yes,” she murmured and I took her hand holding the spatula and she relaxed her muscles so I could stir with her hand, stir, fold, stir, fold until the batter was a hint close to runny.
“Now,” I instructed. “We could use a measuring cup so you can learn how much to pour out, but I always do it by eye.” Together we turned to the pan, carrying the bowl and she moved with me. It kind of rattled me how easily she moved under my guidance like all I had to do was shift my weight and her body followed mine.
My dick perked up at that thought, but I steadfastly ignored it as I poured the batter. “Count with me, one, two—”
“—three,” she finished and we stopped pouring there was a perfect four inch diameter pancake in the pan. It would be easier to make a mess of them on the griddle, but one at a time would do it.
“Watch for the air bubbles,” I told her and this close there was no way to miss the sweet way she smelled or how those wisps of hair tickled me.
“There,” she said with growing excitement. Grinning, I grabbed the spatula and then wrapped her fingers around the end, together, we slid it under and flipped it.
One golden face up at us.
“It doesn’t take long to cook at all!”
“Nope,” I said as I reached over to flip open a cabinet and pulled out a plate. “We can make a whole stack of them real quick if you’re up for it.”
She cast those dark eyes up at me and every bit of the oxygen in my lungs evacuated faster than the smoke had with the ceiling fans. “You don’t mind? I mean I was going to make this for all of you.”
“Then we’ll make it for us,” I suggested, thank fuck my voice did not crack. I swore, I felt thirteen and hitting puberty all over again.
“What about everyone else?”
“They can make their own.” I bopped her nose and she grinned. With her attention on taking the finished pancake out of the pan, I could breathe again.
That was what I had been going for. Staying detached. Keeping us all even. Getting us through this mess to the other side.
She held out her hand for me to take it, it was time to pour another pancake.
Yeah, detachment my ass. She was too damn adorable. We made nearly a dozen pancakes and she was just as excited about the twelfth as she had been about the first.
They were the best damn pancakes I’d had in a while.
I was also hella late to get to the shop, but I really didn’t give a fuck. I wouldn’t have traded that hour alone with her for anything else. When I got back that night, she popped out of her room and into mine.
“Can you show me how to make eggs tomorrow?”
“Yeah, Sparrow…I can show you anything you want.”
©2021 Heather Long