Ziva moved, sofa, kitchen porch, unable to settle her nerves, the paper sticking to her sweaty fingers, shaking as she dialled the number. A cheerful voice greeted her, followed by a surprised and nervous giggle, as Ziva explained tripped her words, rushing to explain who she was. Vicky’s voice gave Ziva goosebumps, her confidence came through, sharing her love for art, her work at the museum, Vicky had a passion for anything creative, including cooking. Settled, Ziva joked, her interest in food stretched to eating, her cats complained, they returned to roasted chicken mixed with kibble as her gourmet efforts were rejected.
Navigating a phone call with someone unknown was nerve-wracking, but Vicky offered instruction, at least to break the ice and find a way to end the call without making things awkward. How could life be boring if taking instruction for French Toast came from such a beautiful voice? She whisked eggs, milk, cream, and vanilla, adding a dash of cinnamon, Vicky, performed the same, humming a tune as they beat ingredients. Day-old white bread seemed lame, Vicky had Brioche which sounded exciting and delicious, and her description of how she cut thick, doorstep slices, sounded more provocative than intended. As the bread soaked, Vicky explains her move, Del Sol Valley was a beautiful place to live, but like Ziva, she felt the pull of the sea. The fresh sea air had healing powers, a freeing effect, both enjoyed standing at the edge, oceans vast, deserted surfaces, hidden treasures, untold stories, and life, making them both feel small. Pans heated, Vicky timed the turns, suggesting fresh berries to serve, Ziva’s icing sugar, a snow shower rather than the dusting suggested, and a dollop of ice cream replaced the berries, a secret she kept from Vicky.
Buzzing from her phone call, stuffed full of French Toast, Ziva prepared for a party, this time celebrating Patrick. She had felt uneasy offering to bake the birthday cake, but she felt sorry for Emilie and all the preparations done alone. Inspired she whipped up a chocolate cake, the sneaky stray cat still sat on her worktop crying for scraps. He had licked the leftover breakfast mix, certain it would make him ill, Ziva had tried to take the bowl away, but he had hissed despite her offer of cream which she had reserved for her fur babies.
Patrick ran screaming through the house, sticky-fingered, Charlotte wobbling in pursuit. Scooping up her niece, Ziva cringed, a nappy change would be in order, the toddler squirmed, displeased, a high-pitched scream at the idea she needed a bath and might miss the cake. Emilie pointed the way, relieved Ziva was on hand, outside Eliza had a few friends and the whole day had given her a headache. Charlotte pouted, her bottom lip prominent, changing as Ziva offered to add bubbles, they worked with Eliza, and apparently, they were the youngest sibling’s favourite. Ziva’s dress soaked as Charlotte splashed wildly, making her difficult to wash, the call for candles and cake grabbing her attention, bringing relief to Ziva, this type of childcare she was glad remained temporary.