Hey! So, this is the last chapter of this little piece. I can't commit to writing a big full-length story at present, so I am going to do it in smaller portions. The first chapter of the next one should be up shortly. Much Love, Lou.
Thanks for the reviews and the faves! As always you guys are the best and make my day!
Disclaimer: I own nothing recognizable.
Once in your life, you find someone.
A.B picked up a lemon from the big wooden crate as she smiled at the older woman attending the booth. A.B squeezed the bright yellow fruit, and she lifted it to her nose, smelling the rind. Lemon was one of her favorite smells. That and oranges and the scent of the honeysuckle vine growing on the pergola in her backyard.
She grabbed another fruit, squeezing it gently. She wanted to make fresh lemonade, but apparently, it was going to be difficult to find suitably ripe ones here. Many of them were still tinted green. She may just need to stop by Safeway on her way home, but first, she was far from done here. She also wanted to stop by the booth that sold artisanal bread and cheeses. She planned to pick up tri-tip so she could make sandwiches tomorrow night. Contrary to what Hank said, A.B. could fend for herself and make decent enough food, she just wasn't ever going to be a chef.
She found two more lemons that were ripe enough and grabbed another.
"Here, this one is better," a sandpaper voice said from close by as a hand appeared, offering her another lemon.
A bright smile spread across face as she turned. "Eliot."
She hadn't seen him in two weeks. All she could do was look at him for the moment, a smile playing about her lips. The skin around his eyes crinkled as he gave her a slight smile; his long hair was pulled back in a ponytail. His skin looked a little darker than the last time she'd seen him. A red plaid shirt hugged his shoulders snuggly.
"Your hair," he said, nodding toward her own shorn locks.
A.B reached up, brushing her bobbed hair behind her ear. "Yeah. Time for a change."
"It looks good."
"Yeah," Eliot began with a nod. "It does." Eliot preferred long hair personally, not that that mattered here. It did look good and suited her; she looked younger, not that she looked old before. Where her braid had fallen to the middle of her back before, it hung an inch or so above her shoulders now.
"What are you doing here?" she asked.
"It's the best farmers market around." Eliot had actually just gotten back into town, and he was restocking.
"Really?" She asked, doubtfully, her brow creased. She knew it was supposed to be the best one in the state, but that wasn't something she had expected him to know.
Her attention dropped to the green mesh produce bag hanging from his hand. Her face puckered. "What the hell is that?" She asked of the gnarled looking purples bulb in his bag.
Eliot lifted the bag so he could see. His lips twitched again when she cussed. He was betting little A.B had grown up to have the mouth of a sailor. "Kohlrabi."
"Okay…" she said, looking at him like he said something dubious.
"They're really good in soup, but you can also slice them and bake them in the oven, or shred them and use them in slaw."
"And that? It looks like ginger." she said, pointing to the thing beside it.
Eliot felt his lips twitch again, "Jerusalem artichoke."
"Yeah," A.B began, drawing the word out and giving the root a skeptical look. "That does not look like an artichoke…"
Eliot's lips pulled upward more as he watched her. "It's a sunflower root."
"What do you use that for?" she asked, her attention returning to his face.
"A lot of things. You can boil them and mash them up like potatoes, and they're good. I use them when I make hummus. They kind of give ah.." Eliot met her gaze, and his words trailed off for a moment. "They give it the perfect nutty, sweet flavor." A soft if slightly entertained smile played about her lips. He had noticed already that she had a beautiful smile. Today, it was accompanied by an amused surprise that danced in her green eyes. "What?" he asked.
A.B shrugged and shook her head, "Nothing." She continued to look at him like he shocked her. "You can actually cook, can't you?"
Eliot nodded. "Yeah."
"Right. It probably is a good thing I had Hank do the cooking." She laughed.
"You did alright slicing the tomatoes," Eliot found himself teasing.
She scowled at him. "Hey! I have to take crap from Hank."
"Where is he?" Eliot asked, looking about them. He expected to see the younger man somewhere close by, with a smile on his face.
"Working. He hasn't been in town in the last few days."
"Jenna and the girls are coming up for the night. I decided I wanted to make spaghetti sauce like mum used to make."
Eliot dropped his gaze into her open tote bag, he didn't tell her that if she was making it for tonight and like her mom did, she should have started it by now. He remembered her mother spending a day in the kitchen when she made it. "Those aren't the right tomatoes then."
"No?" A.B asked, glancing down at them.
"No," Eliot agreed. "Com' on, I'll help ya."
"Sounds good." A.B put the lemon he had handed her with the others she had picked and paid for them. When she finished, Eliot stepped back, lifting his arm for her to walk past him.
He fell into step beside her a moment later. "The good ones are over here." A soft, breathy feeling slipped through A.B as she watched him. Her heart fluttered. "Like these ones." He said, looking up at her. "Are you going to stew them first?" most people did.
A.B shoved the feeling away. "Um, yeah. That is what mom does."
"Then these ones are better," Eliot said.
She took the fruit from him, not looking at him. Sunlight filtered through the trees overhead, catching on the natural red in her hair, highlighting it. The crescent of her dark lashes hid her green eyes from him. He found himself waiting for them to return to him.
"So, these ones are good?" She asked, giving him what he wanted.
Eliot cleared his throat and gave himself a mental shake. "Yeah. Yeah, " he said gruffly. Watching her closely again as her attention moved to the tomatoes piled up on the table.
"The riper, the better," he said. Girls like her, we're usually married and had two or more kids by this point in time where they were from. There was a reason for that.
"K," A.B said, as she examined one on her own. She offered it to him, palm up. "So, like this one?"
Eliot took it from her smaller hand, squeezing it gently. "Perfect."
Eliot helped A.B pick out the tomatoes she needed, and they spent the next couple of hours wandering through the rows of stalls of handmade goods and food. They had even eaten lunch together at one of the food trucks. He said they were the best street tacos in Portland, and he was right. At least the best she had had.
With a small smile and sigh, "I'm this way, " A.B said, nodding over her left shoulder. Her attention passed over the packed parking lot bathed in the afternoon light.
Eliot looked in the opposite direction. "I'm that way."
A little girl in a pink shirt skipped along behind her mom; they both watched her for a moment.
A.B glanced down at her watch. She had to get going. It was almost two-thirty. Jenna and the girls were going to be in town by four-thirty. A.B couldn't seem to get herself to move, however.
"Remember to slice the Kohlrabi thin and bake it."
A.B nodded, "And the sunflower root, I can slice thin and eat raw?"
Eliot nodded. "You can eat the Kohlrabi that way too."
He had also given her a recipe for grilled corn salsa. She had bought way more than she intended to, but he had told her to call if she needed any help. Still, A.B didn't want to leave him just yet. The impulse was there to invite him over to meet Jenna and the girls.
"Someday, you need to meet Jenna and her girls."
"Yeah," he said. Again, he hesitated to walk away and leave her. He had just spent the better part of two hours wandering through this farmers market with her, but he knew he could easily spend more time with her.
"Yeah. I think she would like it." She smiled at him and tilted her head to the side. "I'll see you, Eliot."
Jenna took a bite and stopped, surprised. She finished chewing and swallowed. "This is really good, A.B."
A.B smiled. "It is, huh?"
"Yeah. This is your mom's recipe, right?"
"Yup. Luckily, I ran into Eliot, " A.B said, laughing softly. "Apparently, tomato texture and breed matters."
Jenna paused with her fork still in her mouth, her attention moving quickly to A.B. She cleaned it off and chewed. When she finished, she took a drink of the red wine in her glass. Still holding it in her hand, she asked, "Eliot?"
"Yeah, he was at the farmers market. And apparently, I know nothing about buying produce."
"I see, " Jenna said. Letting it go. Her baby sister mentioned Eliot Spencer frequently; she wondered if A.B had any idea quite how often.
"I keep trying to get her to give me his number or set us up." Joan chimed in from the doorway. "She doesn't seem to want to share."
A.B's face turned red, and she sputtered. "He's not mine to share!"
Joan laughed, sliding onto the stool closest to Jenna. "She has Hank and won't share Eliot. It's like she's building her own harem."
"I'm not! That's so not true!" A.B defended quickly, her face turning red.
Joan laughed, lifting herself up on her stool, she reached across the island and snatched A.B's plate. "Methinks the lady doth protest too much."
"I do not."
Joan leaned closer to Jenna. "She's so easy."
Thanks for reading!