Food, Cats, and Being in Love

I don't want to think about it
I don't want to talk about it
When I kiss your lips
I want to sink down to the bottom
Of the sea

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35. Chapter Thirty-Five

Vincent was gone when I got home. I knew he had work to do and probably didn’t want to hang around my apartment and wait for me to come back. So I spent the rest of the morning trying to keep my mind occupied. I took a shower and got ready for the day, and then I went into the kitchen to find something to cook. Luckily, I had an order of pastries to make. So I focused on those until approximately two in the afternoon when my power went off.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said as I stood there with my hands deep in uncooked pastry dough. I wiped them off and went to flip the switch, but the light wasn’t working. Neither was the fridge, or the stove, or anything else for that matter. So I picked up my phone and called my mom.

“Hello?” she asked as if she didn’t know who was on the other line.

“You had my power shut off? Really?” I asked.

“It was in my name. Since it’s no longer my apartment, I figured there was no reason for me to keep it on.”

“You’re being petty and ridiculous.”

“I think I’m allowed to be petty and ridiculous since you’ve decided we’re no longer family.”

“I wouldn’t have made that decision if it wasn’t being forced on me. Honestly, I don’t understand your logic. You think you can get me to do what you want by threatening me and forcing me into something. You’d rather me go cold and hungry and be homeless than be with a guy who cares about me? And you think that somehow that will make me WANT to choose you?”

“They always care about you when you put out, Piper. He’ll get bored with that too. You just better hope you don’t get pregnant first like your sister did.” I growled and forced myself not to throw my phone across the room. Instead, I just hung up, dropped onto the floor, wrapped my arms around my head, and cried.

I cried for a good ten minutes, and then I finally worked up the courage to call Vincent. I picked up my phone again, thankful that I hadn’t smashed it like I wanted to, and dialed his number. I was afraid he wasn’t going to answer since he told me he had a shoot for some kid’s senior pictures or something, but thankfully I heard the call connect.

“Hey,” he said. And the sound of his voice made it all come crashing down again. I sniffed and leaned on my knees.

“Hey,” I finally replied.

“What’s going on? Are you crying?”

“Yeah, I’m just being a big baby, is all.”

“What happened?” I took a deep breath again.

“My mom shut off my power.” He paused for a second.

“She what?”

“She shut off the power. It was in her name. I was sending her the money, but since it was in her name, she decided to turn it off. So I just wanted to know if I could borrow your kitchen. I have an order of pastries to complete, and I can’t use my oven, and I don’t want all the stuff in my fridge to go bad.” He was still silent for a minute.

“Yeah,” he said. “Of course. I’m all the way across town right now doing this shoot, though. I don’t have any spare keys.”

“Could I come pick it up? I hate asking, but I really don’t want all this stuff to go bad, and I need to finish this order.”

“Yeah. I’ll text you the directions.”

“Thank you. Sorry about all this.”

“No, it’s not your fault. I’m just—in shock actually.”

“I told you my family isn't like yours.”

“Yeah, I can see that.”

“I’ll text you when I’m on my way.”

“Alright. I’ll see you in a bit.”

Once I got everything ready to go, I let Vincent know I was on my way. He texted me the address so I could set it on my phone and find him. He was doing the shoot at like a park that had waterfalls and stuff. It was cold as balls outside, but the family was determined to have an outdoor shoot. I found Vincent right where he said he’d be. The kid was leaning on the rails by the waterfall and Vincent was a few feet away snapping pictures while the kid’s parents stood back judging everything.

I waited patiently for him. I didn’t want to bother him, and I liked seeing him in his element. Even though he had a preference for photographing animals or people in their natural habitats. He hated posed pictures. He said they always seemed so forced to him. He liked to get out there and make people laugh. The problem is that the parents didn’t seem to want that. They kept instructing the kid about where to go, how to stand, how to smile, and he got more and more frustrated. Vincent tried to work with them, but he took his best pictures when his subjects weren’t being bombarded by family members.

“Excuse me, miss?” the kid’s mother said when she spotted me staring. “Can I help you?” I gathered that she was uncomfortable with me watching her son’s photoshoot. I wasn’t even really paying attention to the kid. Just watching Vincent, but I guessed I probably looked like a creep.

“Oh sorry. I was just waiting to talk to the photographer,” I explained.

“He’s obviously busy.” Vincent turned around at the sound of my voice and lowered the camera.

“It’s alright. She’s my girlfriend,” he told them. I felt my heart swell up again. He’d never called me that before. At least, I hadn’t heard it from him before. He walked over to me while they stood back looking irritated by the disruption. “Hey, are you alright?” he asked me. I shrugged.

“I don’t know. Feels like everything is falling apart and I don’t know what to do, but I just want to get these stupid pastries done and call it a night.” He reached into his back pocket for his keys, and I watched as he pulled one off of the ring. He handed it out to me and cupped my hand in both of his.

“I’ll be done in like a half hour, and I’ll come right home. I’ll bring dinner.” I shook my head slowly.

“No, it’s okay. You need to save your money. I have plenty of food in the car.”

“I know, but you work so hard.” I shrugged again.

“It keeps my mind off of things. It won’t be too elaborate. Maybe like a chicken salad. With a vinaigrette.” His eyebrows rose.

“Is this a homemade vinaigrette?”

“Of course. Mine is always better than anything you could buy in the store.” He gave me a look again.

“You deserve a night off once in a while, you know?”

“I know but—I’ll take a night off when my power isn’t getting shut off, and my family isn’t threatening to evict me.” He nodded and then pulled me to his chest. He kissed the top of my head and let me go.

“You got Reg?” he asked. I shook my head.

“I wasn’t sure how he and D would get along. He’ll be fine for a few hours at least. It doesn’t get too cold in there.”

“Alright, I’ll swing by your place and get him before I go home. How does that sound? Trade me keys?”

“Yeah okay. Here.”

“I’ll head home as soon as I’m done here.” I handed over my key and stepped back. Then I tried to give him a smile.

“I’ll be there waiting.”

“Miss you already.” I snorted, and my cheeks blushed.

“I’m sure.”

“I do! It’s the truth!” I just shook my head.

“See you soon,” I said stepping away.

“Drive safe,” he replied.

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