Chapter 11: Smoking, Choking

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Running fifteen minutes late, I burst into class having overslept, looking worse than a homeless wreck. I didn't have time to blow-dry my hair so it hung loosely past my chest in damp curls. Not to mention the fact that I was wearing the same shirt I wore yesterday and my jeans looked crumpled and far too baggy for my liking.

"Ashley, you know my rules about tardiness!" Ms Smith snapped, her steel grey eyes scanning my dishevelled appearance with disapproval.

"I know, I had a few...problems to take care of. I'm sorry, I won't be late again," I apologised, flinging an apron over my head and tying a loose knot before heading over to the kitchen area, surprised to see Tyler whisking a bowl of cream at our work station.

"You're late," He drawled without looking up from the bowl and I fought back a smile.

His fingers were moving shakily as the whisk clanged against the sides of the bowl. A small smile stretched across my lips at the sight of his intense concentration before I moved towards him to get a better look at the recipe book in front of him.

"A 'Sour Cream Pound Cake'?" I read aloud, "Interesting."

He was so absorbed into the beating the mixture that I don't think he quite heard me. Shrugging my shoulders, I was just about to carry out the next step in the recipe book which was to crack eggs into another small bowl and add vanilla to it when a new voice interrupted my thoughts.

"Look what the cat dragged in," Michelle sniggered at me before she turned to Tyler and asked if she could borrow his margarine.

I narrowed my eyes at her as she leaned against the counter next to him, giving him a perfect view of the world down her shirt.

"We've run out of margarine so Ms Smith told us to ask our neighbouring group."

"Funny that we're not your 'neighbouring' group." I remarked sourly.

Her dark eyes flashed with annoyance and she was about to reply when Tyler turned to face me.

"Sorry, I just realised you spoke to me." His cheeks tinged with embarrassment, "Since you implored your heart out to last night, I thought I'd make use of my 'creativity'. Your apology was far too hands on for my liking."

I blushed deeply again and hissed at him to shut up, completely forgetting about Michelle's presence. To anybody else but the two of us, his comment sounded as if it held some sort of sexual reference as he stressed the words 'last night' and 'creativity'.

Her scowl deepened as she snatched the margarine from our worktop and sauntered back to Dylan. I watched her snap at Dylan making him raise his hands in a surrendering motion before he ran them through his dark hair. When she turned around, her cold eyes met mine but I crossed my eyes and gave her a fake smile that made her scowl even more.

Chuckling under my breath, I caught Tyler watching me a raised eyebrow making my cheeks redden with embarrassment.

"What?" I ran hand through my curls before peering over his shoulder, careful to keep some distance between us.

"Nothing."

I rolled my eyes at the singsong tone of his voice. He knew that I knew that he saw me flash Michelle a constipated look that was sure to infuriate her. A bubbling laughter left my lips as he mirrored my look, crossing his own eyes and letting his tongue roll out. I had to admit he looked freakishly adorable despite the fact that I probably looked like a retarded dog with rabies doing that face.

For the remainder of the lesson, I helped Tyler make his odd choice of cake, doing all the minor roles whilst he took charge and bossed me around.

I didn't mind. I was just glad he was back.

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