“Hm? What is it, Oliver?”
“Well…You do understand that I would never lie to you or purposely try to hurt your feelings, yes?”
You frown slightly at the question. “Yes, why?”
“Well…I don’t believe cookies are supposed to be that color…”
Deflated, you look down at the cookies sitting on a plate in front of him.
“You said to bake the cookies for 40 minutes on low, but I knew they wouldn’t be ready by the time you got here, so I baked them for 20 minutes on high…But they were still soft when I checked them… Isn’t that how they’re supposed to look?”
Oliver smiles down at the platter of cookies and lifts one. “That’s so sweet of you, darling.”
You groan “I messed up again, didn’t I?” and plop down into the second chair at the small coffee table.
“No, that’s alright, it just takes practice—“
“I hate cooking, I’m not cooking anymore. Hey—! Don’t eat that!” You wave the burnt cookie out of Oliver’s grasp. The cookie flies from his hand and lands like a rock, rattling against the clean kitchen floor.
“Why did you do that?” he asks, a frown on his slightly freckled face.
“I couldn’t let you eat that! I made it completely wrong! No, no, no, Oliver! Put that down!” You attempt to knock the next cookie away from him, but he simply waves a hand at you dismissively.
“I can’t exactly help you if I don’t know what’s wrong, poppet.” He says and inserts the cookie into his mouth, expression thoughtful.
You sink miserably into the chair, prepared to die from embarrassment, wishing you hadn’t even made the cookies in the first place.
“Despite the texture of it,” he forcefully gnaws on a piece, “you’ve added all of the correct ingredients, and added something a bit more, I believe.”
You look at him. “I didn’t add anything extra, if that’s what you mean…Ugh, it’s probably some burnt after taste or something. I’m hopeless.” You cover your face with your hands.
“Come now, surely you understand what I’m talking about?”
“Not with you being so vague about it…”
A smile comes across his face again as he says “So I know something that you don’t?”
“There’s no need to rub it in, Oliver,” you sigh. “Anyway, you wanted to talk to me about something?” You attempt to get off the topic of your horrid cooking.
“Dear me,” Oliver chuckles, “I do have something I’d like to tell you. However, I think that this is just as important, don’t you think?”
“Probably not,” You laugh nervously. “So what’s the matter? Is it something bad?”
“Certainly not, in fact, I’d say it’s quite pleasant, but that’s just what I hope it is.”
“Well? Out with it then!”
“Not until you tell me what you added.”
“I didn’t add anything extra; it’s just the foul taste of the cookie, that’s all. Now, did you perhaps get that new apron or something?”
“Oliver, what’s it, then?”
“It’s much more complex than a simple apron, dear. Come to think of it…” he furrows his eyebrows. “I ordered that apron quite some time ago, but it was never sent to me…Perhaps I should contact the retailer and—“
You stop him quickly, afraid he’d become upset, seeing as how his voice began to darken with every word. “So it’s not about the apron?” your voice is hurried and strained.
The last time Oliver became upset wasn’t very pretty. So you tried your best to keep him off of upsetting matters. So far, there haven’t been nearly as many incidents.
“Oh no,” he says brightly, smiling. “But before I tell you, I want to know what you added in—“
“I didn’t add anything! Sugar, flour—“
“Come now, poppet, it’s a four letter word.”
“How do you add ‘bake’, love?”
“I don’t know,” you laugh slightly. But Oliver is staring at you expectantly now. “Wh-what is it?”
“Your answer, poppet?”
“I don’t know, Oliver.” You groan and let your shoulders drop. Oliver looks at you for a second longer, and then he stands quickly, clapping his hands together once.
“How about I whip us up some fairycakes?” he asks merrily. You nod quickly, glad that he’s finally let up on the whole ‘additional ingredient’ thing.
Oliver waltzes over to the oven and sets it to his desired temperature, then begins to whirl around your kitchen, knowing where everything is.
“So, how are things with your bakery lately?” You ask, watching him reaching for the muffin pan.
“Quite well, to be honest. Not to toot my own boot,” he successfully retrieves the pan. “But I’ve gotten quite a bit of clients and constant customers. It’s nice, really, seeing the smiles on people’s faces as they enter the bakery. Oh dear…”
“Is something wrong?”
“Do you happen to have sprinkles left?” he asks.
“No, I used them all on ice cream.”
“That’s quite alright,” Oliver continues, pulling a bottle of sprinkles from his sweater vest pocket. “Anyhow, I don’t think Francis* has ever expected me to do so well, the poor soul. He was the first one to ask if he could buy the first dozen honey glazed doughnuts with a smug look on his face.” Slowly, Oliver’s voice becomes more and more unfriendly. “So he bought them all, poor soul, and said that he’d never buy anymore from me—“
“Perhaps he knew that your business was going to be great!” You cut in. “He didn’t need to buy anymore from you because you’d be too busy making pastries for everyone else!”
“I never thought of that,” his voice lightens instantly. You let off a sigh of relief silently.
“So anyhow,” Oliver cracks two eggs over a bright, blue and large bowl. “How has life been treating you, dear?”
“Life’s been surprisingly kind to me,” you say sheepishly.
“Mmm, sounds like someone’s got something on their mind~” he sings.
“Well…” You smile. “After things have been going recently…I almost want to say that life’s let up a little bit, you know? Last year was horrible.”
“I agree, love.”
“Yeah…But that’s all behind us now. So let me tell you about my plans regarding my new job…”
And the two of you conversed for nearly half an hour, as the cupcakes baked snugly.
“Great, they’re ready!” he smiles and goes to fetch the cupcakes from the oven.
He pulls them out, hands protected by large, blue mitts, and sets them on the stove top. You jump up quickly, but he turns to you just as fast.
“No, no, no. You have a seat,” he gently pushes you back to your chair. “I’m making these special for you.”
Dumbly, you sit back down. “Oh, okay then…Thank you.”
He just smiles warmly at you and then turns back to the cupcakes, piping bags in hand.
Quietly, you wait, not sure of what else to say. His behavior has you curious, but you don’t want to ask what he’s up to, afraid he’ll begin to harp about the "extra ingredient" you put in your cookies.
And after a quick moment, he turns around, holding all of the cupcakes on one silver platter.
“I hope you’ll find these quite different from the ones I’ve made in the past. These are quite dear to me, as I have made with something a little extra.” He tells you, setting the platter in front of you. But you don’t look at them, you stare at him.
“I always love what you cook, Oliver!”
“Shhhh,” he gently pushes a finger to your lips. “Please, help yourself.”
You watch as he sits down across from you, folding his hands and resting his chin on them, propping his elbows on the table, batting his eyelashes as he stares at you, the slightest smile on his face. And you catch his eyes dart down to the cupcakes, and back to you quickly. You look down at the cupcakes.
They’re chocolate, the pink frosting is smooth, and on each are various letters, only six, and in a random assortment, while sprinkles carefully outline each letter in an impossibly straight circle.
“Shhhh,” he hushes you. “Make any word out of the letters as you please, poppet.”
You thoughtfully look down at the cupcakes again.
E, L, O, I, U, V. What could those possibly make?
Your hand unsurely reaches out for the E and places it in front, in order to create the word in a straight line on the platter. You feel his eyes on you and nervously look up at him.
“I’m not too sure, Oliver…”
He continues to hold his slight smile. “Tell me what you used to make those cookies.”
You shake your head. “I didn’t use anything besides what was on the recipe.”
“But, poppet, I’m quite sure you have. You used the exact same thing as I did.”
“Eggs? Flour? Bake?” You laugh a little saying the last word. But he stiffly shakes his head barely.
“No, dear. Try again.”
“Would you like me to tell you?” he asks sweetly.
“Yes, please do.”
He lays his face on one hand lopsidedly and reaches across the table, picking up the L.
You watch as he spells out a simple word when it comes to spelling, L.O.V.E.
“Oh!” You gasp. “Why didn’t I think of that?”
Oliver smiles again, giggling quietly, and places the I before the L, and the U after the E. Upon seeing this, your face becomes incredibly hot. You aren’t too sure if he’s being serious or it this is a joke or if he means something else.
But he doesn’t seem to expect for you to say anything, because he speaks
“I love you, [Name]. That’s what I wanted to talk about, but it was too difficult for me to say. Sadly, and as pathetic as it is, this was the only way I could think of telling you...that I...love you…”
His voice is rather small.
“I get it now,” you smile. “I understand what you meant about that extra ingredient.”
Oliver beams at you fondly, and somewhat nervously, asking,
“So…So you understand…how I feel…?”
You nod promptly, feeling something spark inside of you. “I do, I really do. I’ve just been too afraid to say it…I mean…You’re very good looking and I always assumed that you were in a relationship already…which is why I’ve just kept my mouth shut…I suppose I was afraid…of having my heart crushed, I guess…”
“I’ve never felt this way about anyone else before,” he says softly. “You’re my first.”
“I…I feel as if I should have confessed to you sooner…I feel so daft now.”
“Why? I’m the one that should be feeling pretty dumb.”
“No, you shouldn’t.” He insists.
“Thank you,” You say quietly.
“For what, poppet?”
“For the cupcakes…Have them with me?”
“No, I made them for you and only for you,” he insists.
“Please? It’d make me happy.”
He looks deeply touched, and he reaches across the table, around the cupcakes, and rests his hand on top of yours. His touch warms you to the very core.
“I’ll do anything for you.” Oliver says serenely. “I mean that.”
“Thank you,” You say blushingly. “I love you, Oliver.”
“I love you more than you will ever know.”