Later that Evening
Salim & Camilla’s Townhouse | San Myshuno
Rosemary-Garlic Beef Tenderloin — an impressive but simple holiday meal, sure to WOW your guests. Flavorful and delicious and ready in just a couple hours — boasted the food blogger lady underneath her insanely popular, five-star rated recipe on Pinterest. An elegant dish that’s surprisingly simple to make, even the most inexperienced cook could master it.
Even the most inexperienced cook could master it — those few words, that last sentence stood out amongst all of the other colorful details and practically screamed Camilla’s name!
Had her running to the kitchen with a bag full of groceries and a fully charged iPad ready to cook up a masterpiece and that’s exactly what she did — the cooking part anyway — but the finished product was far from the work of art she envisioned and nothing at all like the blogger’s beautifully edited photos.
She leaned over the counter looking over each dish, critiquing her presentation. The side dishes were fine, passable at least, and her baked dishes were amazing but that beef thing — was so disappointing — she contemplated throwing it away or burying it somewhere their guests would never find it. She glanced at the clock, there was still time to change the menu, come up with a new plan or theme or something. A theme — yes! A vegetarian theme. That was something she could pull off. All she needed to do was get rid of that dish.
She picked up the pan and tiptoed to the refrigerator, looking for a space in the back — somewhere Salim wouldn’t immediately spot it — somewhere she could hide it just until dinner was done then she could get rid of it for good. But just as she found one and was ready to execute her plan, she was interrupted by fast approaching footsteps.
“You’re still over there?” Salim appeared in the living room, somehow surprised that she was still in the kitchen obsessing over the food.
“I was just checking … one thing,” she eased the dish back in its original place.
“That’s what you said when I went upstairs 15 minutes ago.”
“It was one big thing.”
He looked over the counter. “What big thing?”
She moved in front of him, attempting to direct his attention away from the kitchen but caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror instead — bringing up a whole new problem. “My … outfit,” she turned to check the back view, “I think I should change.”
“Change? Why?” he frowned, “I thought you picked this one over the other 30 you threw on the bed cause it was what you wanted?”
“It was,” she turned to the side, undoing and redoing the buttons on her top,” but now that I’m looking at it, I think it’s wrong,” she turned to face him, “What do you think?”
“I think you look fine.”
“Just fine?” she pouted.
“No– beautiful,” he corrected himself, “I think you look beautiful.”
“Beautiful how? You know like sweet-girl-next-door beautiful or like sexy-girl-in-your-dreams beautiful?”
Feeling like that question was most definitely a trap, he proceeded with caution. Carefully weighing his options and ultimately going with what seemed like the safest response, “Both?”
“Ugh! See now I have to change.”
“What do you mean? I just told you, you look beautiful.”
“Yeah, but beautiful to you is probably like hoe to your mom,” she headed up the stairs, “Imma find something else. I need to check on the girls anyway.”
“Camilla, we don’t have time for you to–“
The doorbell rang interrupting his sentence and proving his point.
She rushed back down the stairs, landing a few feet behind him, her heart racing as he pulled opened the door letting Nura inside. He greeted his mom with a kiss on the forehead and asked about her drive over.
She responded with a comment about the traffic or something, the whole time looking past him, her eyes fixated on Camilla who waved at her in return.
When he picked up on the brief exchange between the two of them, he pulled Camilla over and wrapped his arm around her, formally introducing them. “Camilla, this is my mom, Nura. Nura, this is Camilla.”
“Hello Camilla.” Nura nodded, “It is nice to finally meet you.”
“It’s nice to meet you too,” Camilla smiled, “Salim’s told me so much about you.”
“Really?” Nura looked at Salim, eyes wide with surprise, “He hasn’t told me a. single. thing about you and here we are,” she smirked, “in the house you two share on Winterfest Day.”
“Mom,” Salim sighed, “remember what I–“
“I am done.” she held up her hand, “I did not come here to argue, okay? Now, I would like to see my grandchildren. Where are they?”
“Upstairs, sleeping.” he lead her to the stairway, “Come on, I’ll take you to them.”
It was still early and Aahana hadn’t even arrived yet but judging by the tone in Nura’s voice, Camilla was sure that this would end up being one. long. dinner …
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