The Review

The paper was mashed up on the doorstep along with the usual assortment of bills and take-away flyers. I’d need some coffee in me before I picked up that puppy. Rolled up and cocooned in plastic, I winced as I bent down to grab it, muscles screeching protest from the beating they’d taken last night. I was in shape as much as you could be when you worked sixteen hour days and ate standing up, but this weekend had been something out of the ordinary.

I figured she’d have written it by now. I could almost feel it burning through the pages. I’d overseen the whole order, nothing had been left to chance, but still, you could never be sure with these vultures. My aching brain mentally recounted it all, pacing through it with cinematographic detail.

Once the order had come in and we’d all had a look at her sitting at table 9, smug as you fucking please, the game was on. It’s a balancing act making it look like a standard transaction. We have to pretend that this is how it always goes and they’re meant to pretend that they expect to be treated like every other mug out there, but everyone knows what really happens. Worst of all they saunter out of the place and while it all seemed bulletproof to you, chances are, you are going to get royally fucked.

The problem with food critics is I need them to survive, but I’d be happy if I woke up tomorrow morning and every single one of them was dead from cholesterol poisoning. They’re snobby, picky, greedy and voracious creatures. They never write about the food, always picking on toilet decor or your napkins or what your fucking waiters’ hair colour is. I don’t tell my staff how to act or what to wear, and I don’t kit my restaurant out like some freaking retro 60’s tv sitcom just to please an ageing bunch of greedy dilettantes. Do I sound angry? I do. Maaaan, they piss me off. Reviews should be about the food, and nothing but the food. Half the time the guides are only good for propping up your wonky tables.

I blearily made my way down to Marco’s on the corner. The last thing I wanted to do on my day off was cook. I slumped into a chair at a table outside and ordered a long macc. I wasn’t even going to open the fucking thing till I’d had the first one.

Bex had been right, she’d been a stuck up bitch. The place was heaving but I’d had to put Tony on her table and get Caz to cover half his section just so he could lay it on thick for her. Tony loved this shit, knew that the girls went nuts for his metro-fucking-sexual bullshit and being as gay as Christmas got a kick out of winding them up. From the service window we’d all laughed when we’d seen him kissing her arse and pouring the Grenache.

When the penne had gone out I’d felt a bit nervous. Didn’t let them know it but for a second I’d freaked thinking she could fucking sink this place based on a plate of bloody pasta. By the time desert had rolled around I was pretty over it and couldn’t care less. Fuck her then.

The first coffee went down and I was starting to feel human. I ordered another and decided to bite the bullet. I unrolled the newspaper, giving the headlines the most cursory glance before ripping open the weekend extra. My teeth clenched in readiness as I scanned through to Weekend Epicurean. What kind of a naff name was that anyway?

And there she was. Glamour photo and all, resting an elbow on a set table, probably in the restaurant of some poor fool she’d fucked over. I normally didn’t pay much attention to this bullshit, but I’d been in the game long enough to see that opinions like hers had seen doors close permanently.

I looked up when my second coffee arrived. The place was beginning to pack out with the usual Sunday morning crowd. Through the tangle of babies and Fitzroy tourists I saw a familiar brunette. It took me a minute to register the arch of the eyebrow and the cut of the jaw. Eleta. Was she stalking me? I hadn’t even read it yet.

Her eyes locked onto mine. There was no way I was going to break the stare first. This was too good to be true. Bitch could squirm for all I cared. I was about to lay my house on her turning around and getting the fuck out of there when next thing you know she was heading right to my table. My mouth went suddenly dry but I still managed to take in the curves under her tight t-shirt and jeans as she swayed over. This must be how a mouse feels when it’s being hypnotised by a fucking snake.

She stood near the narrow two seater and leaned over me, sun glasses pushing her hair back, casual as you fucking please. I was waiting for the “its just business, not personal line”, when she asked if the seat was taken and before I’d mumbled an answer, sat herself down and dumped her handbag on top of the paper.

Next thing you know her latte had arrived and she still hadn’t broken the stare. Was she fucking mental? I couldn’t believe this. She had more front than Brighton.

My mind took a moment to register what was happening. She wasn’t apologising. She wasn’t even talking about the restaurant. Was that a bad sign? She was making casual chat, like we’d been mates for years, easy as you like. Not even industry shit. I was so rattled I was angry. They reckon chefs have explosive tempers and I’m no exception to the rule. It took a lot of deep breathing and hippie shit to not lose my rag over this. Was this a trick?

Then she made some joke, laughed at it and touched my arm. I didn’t breathe for a second. Something about her touch dragged me back into the moment. I felt a kick in my stomach. Her fingers tapped her latte glass, but she wasn’t fiddling or nervous. She looked smooth and together, leaning forward and smiling all cat like. It flashed in my head she was flirting with me. Maybe I’d done a few too many lines in my time and was barking mad, but it all seemed to be there, from the softly parted lips to the wide hazel eyes and even the rearranging of that salon slicked shoulder length hair. My mouth must have been keeping up my end of the conversation but my brain was freaking out.

I’m sitting at a cafe with Princes Eleta, whose lips have sunk ships and she’s chatting like we go way back. Her handbag has been dumped on top of what could potentially see us out on our arses in a matter of weeks and if I am not mistaken, she’s acting like she’s on heat, wait… just licked her bottom lip, leaning forward again, hand on her shirt just above her breast. Yep, this is really happening and its one total mind fuck.

She hasn’t even mentioned the review and she can see the newspaper right there on the table. We’ve been talking a while now and she seems oblivious to the thinning crowd. I’m not a hundred percent sure if that’s causing the tension, because she’s doing that freaky thing again where she is touching my arm as we’re talking and leaning so close I can smell shampoo and washing powder. In a last supper before an execution kind of way this is making me think she wants me. I must be mental.

I’ve always been an optimist in a fatalistic sort of way. If I was going to go down, I may as well go out with a bang, so to speak. I still couldn’t get over her nerve, cool and completely unflinching; she’d talked about everything but the review. If she hadn’t been Eleta and I didn’t have my neck on the block we’d be half way to my house by now.

Something about that struck me as a massive turn on. It was like dancing with the freaking devil, the most unbelievably off limits woman you could imagine. Then again damage was probably already done, so what was there to lose? She made some random remark about a white peach tree in her back yard, heavy with fruit, did I want any? That had to rate with one of the weirdest come back to my place lines ever, but what the fuck, Eleta was obviously crazy and I was getting off on how fucked up this all was.

Her house was around the corner. It barely registered that we were practically neighbours. Through the front door into the kitchen, foodie books everywhere, designer spice rack and black stone. Nigella’s mixing bowls and an impressive array of Mondials. Her kitchen was turned out better than mine. She collected a cloth bag and next thing you know we’re under a peach tree. She’s talking about poaching and compotes. The fruit is up a bit high for her to reach and as she stretches up her t-shirt slides up and exposes her waist. There’s a weird correlation between the ripe fruit that she’s holding and the shape of her breasts. If I was more of an artist I’d paint you a picture but I’m just a chef and not that into poetry.

After a bit more wiggling and stretching she looked up into the tree and with those soft pouting lips asked to be lifted up a bit higher. I was sure I was going to look back on this like a cringe worthy farce, but that was for later and I was interested in now. I put my hands on the low cut waist of her tight fitting jeans and lifted her up. We settled into an awkward embrace with my hands under her butt and her stomach in my face while she wobbled around picking peaches from a tree. Bex was never going to believe this.

When she’d put enough in the bag I relaxed my grip and she slid down my body. Now I knew this wasn’t all my imagination because she took her time making her way to the ground and kept her body close to mine. She didn’t step back out of my arms that I’d left casually wrapped around her waist, but stayed there, with her body pressed into mine. She hung the bag on a low branch and took a peach out of it. Her pink lips stretched back to reveal her small white teeth and as she bit into the flesh and broke the tension of the skin, juice coursed over her lip and onto her chin. Laughing she held it out for me to take a bite out of, and there was something incredibly sexy about putting my mouth near where hers had been. The soft fuzz of the peach rasped gently on the inside of my mouth before it gave way to the sweet wet flesh underneath. Before I could reach my hand up to wipe away the liquid, her tongue had flashed out and licked it from the corner of my mouth. She leaned in to kiss me and peach juice and the taste of her lips all melted into one. Eleta whispered that she can feel how hard this making me as she pushed her hips into mine. She’s forceful and focused in a way I hadn’t expected and she keeps upping the stakes. I’m racing to keep up with her hands on my body and the pace of her kissing, it feels like I am being devoured.

With one hand she’s undone the button and pulled back hard to rip the zipper down. Her other hand is under my shirt, scraping lines on my chest with her nails. She’s got me backed against the tree, jeans wrenched down as she slides her hand in under the waistband of my boxers and pulls out my cock. I’m groaning from the feeling of her hand working my shaft and I still can’t believe this is happening. She kisses me one last time before sinking to her knees and taking my tip in her mouth. Fuck. She’s sucking gently as her tongue twirls a circle over the tip and under the head. I can barely stand up and she is just working the very tip of my cock. I’m almost nervous as she slides it further into her mouth and runs a finger up my thigh. As her nail slowly scrapes its way up to my balls my breathing is ragged and hoarse. Her timing is immaculate and she brings me so fucking close with long strokes of her hand before pulling me down to her.

My hands are too slow releasing the body burning beneath her clothes and she tears them down impatiently and makes me watch as fingers still covered in peach flesh slide over her swollen lips. I lean down and place my mouth over her pussy as her fingers grip my hair and push me onto her. Her soft lips taste like sex and peach juice and as I ease my tongue between her slit she sighs loudly and pushes my head down harder. She grinds down on to me and moans louder as she melts over my fingers. I focus on her rolling hips and erratic spasms as I try to steer her towards her climax. Judging by the sounds she’s making she likes her clit licked with the flat of my tongue while I finger fuck her. There is a small victory in finally having the upper hand and I savour every moment of watching her writhing under me sprawled out on the lawn. She pushes my head down further and I slide my tongue inside her as her thighs clench tightly and she releases in hard pulses. Her legs are shaking as she splays out on the grass but in a matter of seconds she’s rolled up onto her knees and is working my cock in her hands and turning me onto my back. No surprises here that Eleta likes to be on top, but my thought process disintegrates rapidly as she pushes the tip of my cock between her wet lips, takes a deep breath and slides all the way down to my hips. She looks down at me with the sun filtered through the foliage behind her lighting up her hair as she rolls back and forward. As she tightens inside, her eyes close and her pace quickens. I’m doing everything I can to hold on, my mind exploding with taste of her in my mouth and the images of her body thrashing on the grass. Her hands are gripping my shoulders tightly as she rocks back taking the full length of me and pushing down hard. She grits her teeth and explodes with force and the contractions throbbing over my shaft are too much. I arch up to bury myself inside her and come in shuddering bursts.

I’m in somewhat of a daze as she slides off me and pulls herself together. Her lips curl up in that smile again and she says something that barely registered in my completely addled brain. I haphazardly dress myself and before I know it I’m half way out the gate with a bag in my hand. Stumbling the block or so to my house, the key scrapes the face of the lock before pushing inside and engaging. Did I just fuck Eleta? Fucked by Eleta more like it. I pull up my shirt to see nail marks and grass stains on my stomach. In the shower I find more peach flesh and scratches.

I’m still rendered speechless when I stand in the kitchen in a towel with the newspaper in my hands.

I opened it up. It was short and sweet. “A meal you can really get your mouth around.”

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