Cooking For Two

Written in response to the Tea Room's 'Chicken Noodle Soup' Challenge

Dan Fairmont looked dubiously at the chicken he held. It had already been
butchered and gutted, he had scalded it as he had been instructed and he
wrinkled his nose at the smell that had created. He checked the wood in the
stove and added a few more chunks just to be sure it would be hot enough. The
stove was radiating heat and had warmed the kitchen. The windows were wet with
condensation. He wiped his brow. He looked at the mess of chicken feathers on
the table where he had sat to pluck the feathers. He frowned slightly. This
cooking was harder than he thought it would be. He looked at the chicken once
more. It still had some tiny feathers stuck to it, but he figured they'd come
out after it was cooked. He got his sharp hunting knife and hacked the chicken
into pieces and after rinsing them in a bucket of water he had brought in tossed
them into the iron frying pan he had bought from Jim Duncan. He was supposed to
brown the chicken before putting it into the pot. He went outside and filled the
iron cooking pot he had also bought. He brought it back inside, kicking the door
shut to keep out the cold. He plunked it on the stove top and it sizzled with
the heat. He threw a handful of salt into the pot, and then turned the pieces of
chicken in the pan. The pin feathers that had been left on the chicken had begun
to burn. Dan frowned. He tried to scrape the burnt feathers off the chicken
pieces. Some of the skin was singed, but most of it was a sort of brownish color
and he figured it was good enough. He tossed them into the salted water. He
began to clean up the feathers from the table and dumped them outside along with
scraping out the iron fry pan and then wiping it out with a wet rag. He wrinkled
his nose. It still smelled of burnt chicken feathers. He shrugged. He went back
inside and with his hunting knife chopped up some potatoes Gabe had given him
along with an onion which made his eyes tear. He dumped them into the pot and
threw in a handful of pepper. Then he tossed in a packet of noodles he had found
at the general store and left the stuff to cook.

A few hours later, Cole walked in the front door, having been over at the
Diamond Dust helping Gabe and then having gone to check the mail. There had been
a few pieces and he laid them in the basket on the work table where they kept
the mail until they could read it and respond to it.

He wrinkled his nose at an unfamiliar smell. It smelled like food, but something
burnt at the same time. He thought maybe Dan was working with the leather,
trying out something new. He called…"Dan!?"

Daniel poked his head out of the living quarters and smiled. "You're back! Just
in time. Come in and sit down. I cooked us something for lunch."

Cole smiled and went into the kitchen and sat down at the table Dan ladled up
something out of a pot on the stove. An awful odor lingered in the air, but he
refrained from mentioning it.

Dan placed the bowl in front of Cole and grinning said, "Ta Dah! Chicken noodle
Soup!" looking very pleased with himself.

Cole looked at Dan in shock. "Uhm…chicken noodle soup?

Dan nodded. "I made it myself. Just what we need on a cold day like this." He
dished himself up a bowl and sat down at the table. He nodded to Cole. "Go
ahead…taste it."

Cole looked into the bowl. It held pasty, mushy noodles, slimy looking pieces of
onion and pieces of over cooked potato and a piece of what he assumed should be
chicken, except it didn't look very appetizing, it looked as though part of the
skin hanging off it was singed and tiny pin feathers still stuck to it.
"Uhm…Dan? Remember you said you wouldn't make me eat your cookin' if it was
really awful? Well…I don't want to sound ungrateful or hurt your feelings or
anything, and I'm very sure you went to a lot of trouble to cook this…but it
looks awful."

Dan frowned slightly. "You haven't even tasted it yet…looks can be deceivin'."

Cole nodded. "All right." He cautiously took a tiny bit into his spoon and
brought it to his mouth. As soon as it was in his mouth he couldn't help but
spit it out immediately coughing. "Dan…that's truly awful! You taste it!" Cole
cried, tears streaming down the young man's face.

Dan looked at his partner in concern. He took a taste and gagged. "Oh my God…I'm
sorry Cole! I didn't mean to try to poison you! That's really awful!" Dan cried,
coughing and taking a huge mouthful of coffee to get the taste out of his mouth.

Cole had recovered and went over to Dan and put his arms around his partner.
"It's okay Dan…at least you tried. I'm not sure just went wrong, but perhaps it
will be better next time…why don't we go over to the café and get some lunch?"

Dan snuggled into his partner's arms. He had tried so hard and was disappointed
that his efforts hadn't born the fruit he had hoped for.

Cole kissed Dan on the forehead. "It's okay. I love you Dan."

Dan returned his lover's hug and kissed him on the lips and said softly, "I love
you too Cole. I'm so blessed to have found you in Yellow Hill when I was passin'
through that day."

Cole snuggled close. "So am I. You're good for me and all I have now."

Dan stroked the auburn hair and smiled. "Well I supposed if we want to eat we'd
better go."

Cole smiled. "All right." With one final hug they separated and walked together
over to the café.

The end.

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