I woke the next morning to the smoke alarms screaming and Martha's shouting that could be heard from the kitchen.
" Child you are going to set my kitchen on fire!"
" No I won't Martha! Just help me open up some windows! And shut off those damned alarms. I swear the neighbors can hear them!"
I leapt out of bed and raced to the kitchen afraid the two women of my house would tear each other apart.
But when I got to the kitchen I stopped.
Victoria was in the kitchen in her pajamas, hair pulled back into a messy bun. She was next to the stove holding a rolling pin and I noticed a pan of fish frying in the stove.
It smelt amazing and my stomach growled. Before this food had been just food. It needed to be somewhat appealing but with Victoria food was an adventure, each dish bringing back long forgotten memories.
I watched as she picked up a ball of dough and expertly rolled it out into a perfect thin circle, then place it on a flat pan to cook it, expertly picking it up with her finger tips to flip it over.
I watched as Martha turned and almost cry out when she saw me, but I put my finger to my lips to motion her not to say anything.
The kitchen was her department but in the past two months I had been here more times than in the past two years.
But it was Victoria that had my attention.
She was singing.
As she cooked she sang and hummed a little tune in hindi that I didn't understand but she looked different today.
She was happy.
" Martha! I'm all done now. There's plenty here for you , Stanford and the other girls. Make sure you eat while its hot or it doesn't taste as nice." She said as she dished out some fried fish, cut lemon and some of the steaming hot rotis onto a plate.
" I need to hurry and eat and have a shower or I am going to smell of fried fish all day! What are you making for Phillips breakfast?"
" I'll have what ever you've cooked."
I watched her spin around and stare at me.
' Phillips ! What are you doing here? And where's your shirt? " She said turning a cute shade of pink.
It had been exceptionally warm last night so I had removed my shirt.
" Last I checked this was still my house." I reached out and took the plate from her. " Thanks! Meet you on the balcony?"
She nodded shyly, trying not to stare and I turned with my plate and walked back upstairs.
" Child you better not be stealing my job!" I heard Martha chide her jokingly. " Now go on, get your breakfast and get going. Best not to keep that husband of yours waiting too long. I'll be up with some tea soon," and Victoria groan in despair
" What possessed you to cook fish first thing in the morning?" I asked her as she sat down with her breakfast.
" Its tradition with my family. Mum always cooks fish for breakfast the morning after Diwali. Dad will go and take the used pooja stuff to a nearby stream and bring back fish on the way home."
" Why not dinner?"
" too busy." She said with a mouthful of food in her mouth.
" I've got a major exam next week and an assignment due Monday.
YOU ARE READING
An Arranged AffairRomance
To repay the debt owed by her parents, Victoria, a young Indian girl born to immigrant parents, is forced into an arranged marriage to the only son of the weathy Malholtra family. Unable to see past her familys betrayal she makes a plan to make her...