A Feast for the Senses
The open-air farmers market that morning was a cacophony of color and sound. Vendors hawking their vegetation a riot of multicolored veggies and fruits were displayed. Ripe red tomatoes, luscious grapes, sunshine squash and the added scents of each fruits and vegetable blended to form an intoxicating scent in the air. It was a heady morning full of expectation and beauty. She could not wait to see what other delights awaited that morning for her. Holding a wicker basket close to her as to not impede the other shoppers that morning she walked slowly trying to catch it all in.
For she was a city girl unaccustomed to shopping under the bright cerulean sky of morning. Staying at the local bed and breakfast was a good choice for this trip to Canada. The owner of the establishment Nannette Morile had taken an interest in her quest to learn French. Nannette a sweet grandmotherly type had informed her it was best to immerse herself and the farmers market that morning would be a good way. Plus Nannette was right it was not something to be missed. So here she was picking up some items that the kind chatelaine had asked her to get.
It was a pleasant and relaxing way to spend a Saturday morning. She was so accustomed to shopping in grocery stores this was a whole new experience for her. Reading the list that Nanette gave her kindly written in both languages she mumbled to herself the pronunciation of the vegetables: poivrons/ sweet peppers, concombre/cucumber. She looked up and there was a stall containing the verdant vegetables and then the bright red of vegetables caught her eye.
She walked up to the stall and the vendor smiled at her. "Bonjour Mademoiselle."
"Bonjour." She replied C’est combien …le concombre?" She said haltingly in her girlish French to inquire as to the cost of the cucumbers.
The vendor told her their price she found it reasonable and proceed to reach out to place her hand on one of the cucumbers when the quacking of a duck distracted her. The duck had escaped from its cage and was being chased by a rotund red faced vendor through the stalls. Laughter bubbled out of her at the scene before her. The duck it seemed had no wish to be cooked.
Then side of her hand felt the gentle brush of fingers. Turning immediately to look suddenly she felt her breath catch in her throat. For there stood a man dressed in a blue flannel shirt open to reveal a form fitting white T-shirt underneath, looking up she
saw his face was framed by curly tousled hair with the edges still damp from the shower he must have taken before coming here. Her eyes finally met his and they were a green that she had not seen among all the differing shades she had seen today. Those eyes tugged her into the gentle valley that existed there. She was mesmerized so much so that she did not hear the softly spoken "Pardon." Then the he resorted to English, "Excuse me miss."
Finally finding her voice box for all her school French had flown out of her head. She quickly responded, "I am sorry."
He took the cucumber next to the one she was still resting on. Then he looked at her with laughing eyes that glimmered with the flecks of mischief, "Are you planning on purchasing that cucumber, mademoiselle?"
She blushed a bright shade of red as she realized she was still in the same position having been so distracted by him. Quickly grabbing the cucumber she laughed, "Oh yes, I was just distracted there is so much to see here." In more ways than one she thought.
"Ah, your first time, so you are on vacation?"
Now that beautiful face took on a look of bewilderment. She was wondered what was causing him confusion. "Why are you shopping for vegetables then? Have you not found a restaurant here to your liking?"
Realizing the cause for his confusion she laughed. "Oh, I am staying at a bed and breakfast and Madame Morile asked me to do this favor for her."
"That is very kind of you." He said as he smiled at her charmingly.
"Oh it is the least I could do plus it makes me practice my French."
"That is a very good idea. " She could not help but stare into those green orbs and she saw the spark of an idea form in them. "How about I accompany you on your shopping you could practice your French on me. " And as an added enticement he added, "I also know the best vendors." As if she needed further inducement.
Floored was putting it mildly for the girl. She had no idea who put this gorgeous man in her path but she was thanking her lucky stars. She responded quickly with a smile, "Thank you, I would be delighted."
She paid for the cucumbers and turned ready to walk wherever he led. He reached out with his left hand to grasp her right hand. She shivered involuntarily and a flush of warmth suffused her system. He placed her hand in the crook of his arm seemingly unaffected and led her through the market.
They spent the morning practicing her French haltingly at first with Roy. She finally learned his name after she deciphered his introduction in French. But now they had reached the end of her list and she did not want the morning to end.
They were standing by a flower stall. She wanted to buy Nannette some flowers for if it were not for her she would not have met Roy. Her mind was racing wildly with ways to prolong the meeting. The sweet scent of the flowers contrasted wildly with the male
tangy scent that emanated from him and in this proximity was driving her wild. The temptation to run her fingers through his hair was overwhelming. She wondered what had happened to her it seemed she was captured in a spell. Her heart was beating so heavily she could swear he could hear it.
He tilted his head and it captured the sunlight it seemed every shaft of hair was alive. He looked at her invitingly. "Well mademoiselle, while I have enjoyed this I have to bring my purchases back to my home and you must return to the inn."
Her heart plummeted in despair. She would never see him again. She knew it was too good to be true. Resigned she said, "Yes, I know. Thank you for all your help." If it was going to end quickly was better than a lingering farewell. She moved to walk away.
"Not so fast, you Americans are always in a hurry." He grabbed her arm to be sure she did not escape. If you do not have plans this evening I would like to cook dinner for you."
Her eyes widened in surprise and smiled widely. She blurted out quickly, "Yes."
"Yes you have plans or yes you will let me have the pleasure of cooking for you?" He laughed and she joined in.
"Yes, I will have dinner with you."
"Bon. I will pick you up at the inn at 7. Then you can help me cook. Until tonight." His hand reached out and handed her a lavender rose that he had snatched from the flower cart. She walked away in a dream state. Turning around once to make sure he was not a dream. She saw him standing there paying for the flower he had just given her. He felt her gaze upon him and he looked at her. She could feel the flare of passion between then even from this distance. Then he smiled at her motioning with her hands for her to be on her way already. She turned again and made it to the inn somehow although she could not recall the journey. Her thoughts were filled with him.
Standing in the kitchen of the charming farmhouse while sipping a glass of wine she watched Roy at working. He had his back to her he was chopping vegetables at the cutting board. The crisp crunch of cucumber being sliced could be heard. The steady rhythm of the knife hitting the cutting board and the motion of his shoulder beneath his shirt could be seen. Muscles rippled and undulated in constant movement. Her eyes traveled the breadth of his back in unabashedly fixed fascination. Her eyes continued their journey down to the small of his back and finally to the taut backside that was encased in a pair of blue denims. It was getting hot in here she thought as she took another sip of wine.
The main course was already prepared when she got here. He prepared fresh poached salmon and it was baking in the oven lightly marinated with a sauce of his own creation. But for an appetizer he had planned on fresh California and tuna rolls. That was why he was slicing up so many veggies. They were an integral component of sushi. He looked up at her interrupting her thoughts. "Its almost time for you to help me. Wash your hands."
She wondered what he could possibly have her doing. It seemed to her that everything was done. "Of course. She moved to the sink to wash her hands. When he finished with the last slice of cucumber, he motioned for her to come over and join him at the island counter top he had in the kitchen. She stood at the counter and tapped her fingers in nervousness. Then she noticed a small square mat made of bamboo. He had everything laid out on the counter top several vegetables, cucumbers, asparagus, peppers, avocado and there was the crabmeat and tuna. He brought over a bowl of warm rice and placed it on an oven mitt.
Standing closely next to her he said, "Now it is best to do this when the rice is still warm because it is easier to manipulate. We begin with a sheet of seaweed." He said as he pulled a sheet from the package and placed it on the bamboo mat. The sheet was smaller than the mat. "Now take your fingers and dip them into the water bowl." He took her hand and gently placed her fingers in the bowl and then he lead her back to the seaweed where he made her fingers dab at the four corners to moisten it.
"Now take a handful of rice and make a layer on the bamboo. Not too thick." He told her. He was watching her every move intently.
"Ok." she said as she grasped the slightly warm grins in her hand and began placing them on the seaweed. "Like this?"
"Non. Not so thick." He moved suddenly to stand behind her. Placing his arms around her. She gasped in surprise. "Now," he said softly in her ear as he placed his hands over hers, "Like this." Their hands moved together making the rice level. She could feel the heat radiating from his body. She wanted to lean in and absorb some more.
Before she could give in to that temptation he spoke again, his words tickling her ear, "Hmm now we choose some vegetables and fish to go in here." He began placing slivers of cucumbers, avocado, and finally topped it with crab. Every move he made she felt especially when he leaned in closer to reach for the crab. She could not speak or breathe she was caught in a maelstrom of emotions and a wave of passion that threatened to engulf her. "Now for the hard part he whispered." Placing his hands on top of her hands he guided them to the edge of the mat.
"Now it must be tightly rolled or it will fall apart. The trick is to grasp the bamboo firmly as you roll the seaweed."
She watched as the California roll was formed before her eyes. They made 3 more rolls in the same fashion not breaking contact until she thought she would explode. When they finished they both stood utterly still. It seemed their emotions were simmering on the surface ready to boil over. The tension was thick it was almost palpable.
He broke the movement by reaching for a moist cloth to clean his hands of rice and fish. Then moved to provide the same gentle ministration for hr. The soft gentle motion of his and the roughness of the cloth created a contrast in sensation to her highly attuned senses that sent a frission of pleasure up her spine. When he finished his task he slowly turned her around.
They stared at each other not quite sure whether to go forward or stay as they ere. In an unconscious movement she licked her lips. He saw this and followed the motion eagerly. He reached out and traced her eyebrow with his thumb in a gentle butterfly caress.
He whispered, "What have you done? You have bewitched me. I have thought of nothing but doing this all day." He leaned in and kissed her quickly not giving her time to respond. She needed no further encouragement her arms wrapped around his broad back and returned the kiss with equal fervor. One hand finally having its wish granted moved to play with his hair feeling the silky stands pass through in delight. His hands moved to frame her face, his thumbs gently tracing circles on her cheeks as he deepened the kiss…
This story ©copyright Rita/Tasamin, 2000