Chapter 16

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Cameron placed another log on the fire, jabbed the wood into place with the iron poker, and then walked toward the staircase.  “Relax,” said Cameron, “I’ll be five minutes, and then we can eat.”

* With the trials of the last few days, that Cameron was a New York chef had slipped Marie’s mind.  She had never actually had a chance to eat anything at the restaurant to build an impression.  Up until now, her thoughts of ‘Mister Kincaid’ were of his experience as a mercenary, a retired soldier.  Marie’s thoughts were reinforced by actions that made her feel safe in his company.  Now she was reminded that his past profession had been put aside for his new vocation and the presentation was impressive. After the Lord’s Prayer, dinner started with a full fruity Spanish wine from Pepe’s wine cave.  With that wine, Marie could have washed down most anything edible or not.  Still Cameron astonished her.  Though this was not the first time Marie had eaten a stew from a tagine this was the last thing she expected to see on the table.  When Cameron removed the heavy clay cone, a steam ripe with cinnamon and cayenne misted the table.  The large pasta pearls of couscous, marbled with spice, formed a thick base across the platter of the pot.  Potatoes, tomatoes, and spinach symmetrically covered the field in a colorful ornate design.

“This from tins?” asked Marie.

Cameron flashed a wink, “One more thing.”

Cameron picked up a wide spatula then opened the door to the oven.  He thrust the spatula under a large ball of foil and then balanced the foil from the oven to the table to let the ball rest on a plate next to the wine.  Cameron’s arms hovered above the ball with his hands bent forward, rattlesnakes ready to strike.  Decisive and quick, he snapped both hands forward, striking to the edges of the foil, curling his index fingers to pinch back at his thumbs.  Each time Cameron’s fingers met the hot foil he blurted a word, “Ta, Ta.”  The first attempt set free a fold that fastened the foil.  A second strike pulled the foil back, unveiling a browned loaf of bread.

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