~29~ smooth operator

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Mishka has taken it upon himself to snooze on my lap. In other words, the fat cat isn’t budging. My fingers are splayed against my cheek as I look around me.

The tantalising scent of freshly ground coffee drifts its way into my nostrils. The kitchen has French country-style influences with a mixture of modern gadgetry thrown in. They probably don’t even use half the gadgets in here. There’s a juicer, a coffee machine… even a pancake maker! A cherry-red Aga stove vies for attention. A sleek American-style fridge-freezer dominates the room. There’s even a pantry! The walls are painted in a calming egg-shell blue. Shiny, slick black tiles cover the floor. Pretty, white plates are on display in an antique dresser. Polished copper pans dangle above the stove, reflecting the pendant lighting. 

Cookery books are tucked neatly away on a shelf. Mrs Zeepler enjoys baking. She’s always popping round to ours and handing out goodies for me to eat. 

Her husband doesn’t seem the type to cook. Maybe he knows the basics, but Mr Z actually cooking any kind of meal doesn’t quite gel in my mind. He hums as he pours the coffee out into large cups.

There’s a basket of freshly-baked bread on the table. My mouth is literally watering right now.

Mr Zeepler places the cup on the wooden table. In the late froth, he managed to create a smiley face. I half-cringe. But I have to admit, that it’s kinda sad in a sweet way. I suppose this is his attempt at trying to put a smile on my face…

The expression on his face says it all. Let’s be friends? No. Just give me the key.

“Chocolate?” Mr Z slides a rectangular box in my direction. I almost spit out my coffee. These are luxury champagne truffles. Teuscher chocolates. Around 150 euros for a decent-sized box.

I shake my head. “No.” 

“It’s Patrice’s favourite. Women and their chocolate,” He smiles invitingly.  

“I shouldn’t.”

“She’d want you to have it.”

He’s so persistent. Argh. I’m not interested. But, that’s true, Mrs Zeepler really is unselfish. She’s always involved in charity work and community projects. 

“Uh…”

“I’ll see what all the fuss is about,” He winks.

Mr Zeepler glances over the box and chooses a chocolate at random. I watch as he bites into a truffle. Some of the chocolate dusting stains his lips briefly before his pink tongue licks it off. His handsome features contort into a grimace. Guess he’s not a chocoholic, then. He laughs awkwardly as he meets my gaze. 

What a loser. Despite myself, I start to laugh. Hey, don’t blame me — I’ve had a sh!tty day. Gotta laugh at something.

“At least, I made you smile,” He grins widely. “I’ll try another one—”

He starts to take another truffle — this time, white chocolate — out of the box.

This man has no problem eating all of his wife’s luxury chocolate, even though he doesn’t even like it. But then again, this is Mr Z. “Stop, stop!” 

“I’ll keep trying until I find a good one for you—”

“Fine! I’ll try one,” I roll my eyes. He chuckles in a self-satisfied way as I push the box closer to me. “Chocolate menu! Duh,” I wave the slip of paper in his face.

Smirking, he threads his fingers over his toned stomach. “Surprise me.”

I choose a rose-flavoured truffle. The smooth shell lets out a satisfying crack as my teeth bite down into it. Sexy chocolatey silkiness erupts in my mouth. I close my eyes, allowing the fine textures to overwhelm my tastebuds. Subtle undertones of sweet rose touch my palette. The truffle melts on my tongue at an excruciatingly quick pace. Yummy. I’m left half-disappointed, half-happy once the chocolate fades away into a lingering aftertaste.

Mr Zeepler’s eyes dance around my face. His eyes are alert and bright. He strokes his chin for a moment. A hand runs through his hair, before tugging at his collar. 

His face reverts into a caring expression. “So, would you like to tell me something…” 

I frown up at him. “What?”

Oh, he wants to know what happened… 

Well, there’s no way I’m telling him — he’ll use it against me. I just know it. He must see the steeliness in my eyes because his lips soon resemble a thin line.

He nudges the box towards me. “Have another.”

One more can’t hurt. I’ll be off soon. I choose a dark chocolate and lime truffle with a pretty white swirl decoration on top. A citrusy burst hits my tongue. I polish the truffle off in two bites — I really can’t resist…

“There’s something just there at the corner of your mouth…” 

His voice startles me out of my chocolate daydream. His electric-blue eyes hover around my mouth and I feel myself blush. The cat starts to stir on my lap.

Mr Zeepler points to the edge of his mouth, trying to direct me to the spot. I use the back of my hand to wipe whatever it is off. A half-smile pushes up the corner of his mouth.

“Tut-tut, Miss Amelie,” he grabs a tissue and my eyebrows raise as his other hand captures my wrist. His thumb strokes rings around the peachy-softness of my pulse-point. “Allow me.”

I tremble. My heart races.

As his hand nears my mouth, he drops the tissue and the pad of his index finger swiftly brushes against the corner of my full bottom lip — whisper-soft. 

I watch as he studies the chocolate crumb for a moment. The warmth of his hand melts the chocolate slightly. A contemplative expression lingers on his face. His eyes slowly meet my curious gaze. My cheeks burn in anticipation. The index finger travels up to his mouth and his tongue darts out to lick it off. His lids close for a brief second as a ripple of bliss comes across his features. 

“Chocolate and Amelie,” he breathes. “What a delightful combination.”

A/N: Please VOTE, COMMENT and SHARE! Thank you! :) Any theories of what you think will happen next? :D

 

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