Chapter Twelve

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Whenever I felt like I was unraveling at the seams it started in my hands. There would be a buzzing sensation all along my fingertips before they started shaking and sometimes the only thing I could do to feel like I was in control again was to bake.

As soon as I got home I rushed into my kitchen and started preparing my countertop for baking. Then, I texted Manny to ask if he could come over if he was free, before pulling out my measuring cups, as well as some key ingredients.

Pie. I decided I would make pie. I dug out a couple of apples from the bottom of my fridge. Coincidentally, apple pies were Manny's favourite thing to eat. I tended to use him as my guinea pig when I experimented on different types of desserts.

Something that Manny always liked was my spiced bourbon apple pie, mainly because bourbon was his drink of choice. I wasn't much of a drinker because I had never done the whole 'partying' thing. As someone with severe social anxiety, parties weren't my scene. The most I did was add alcohol to some desserts, like the apple pie.

Usually, I had a crust or two in the freezer that I'd let thaw, but that afternoon my hands would burst if I didn't do something with them. There was something about adding together simple ingredients that was calming.

The most important thing about making a pie crust was to keep the ingredients cold. Keeping them cold would ensure that once combined the ingredients wouldn't prematurely mix together. One problem I'd had in the past was my butter melting into my dough before it even got in the oven. That made for something heavy and dense instead of light, flaky and airy.

After several failures and mess ups I'd developed a certain level of finesse. The comforting feel of cold dough, the sensation of brisk whisking and separating the yokes from the whites came so effortlessly it felt akin to a tactile form of music.

I combined the flour, sugar, butter, and salt together, folding the ingredients until I had a somewhat sandy looking mixture with little chunks of butter bundled together. Slowly, I took a cup of ice cold water from the fridge and started to pour it into the bowl, mixing as I went, until the consistency began to look right. The mixture had become a little soggy and I poured it out of the bowl and onto the counter where I could begin to knead the dough.

I hummed while using the sides and palms of my hands to make the pie go from formless dough into becoming a pie crust. It began to take shape in my hands and I started to push it into a pie tin, stretching it carefully across the silver material.

When I was satisfied with it, I put it in the freezer to cool, along with my extra dough. I wiped down the counter, and washed out the bowls before taking out my apples.

I peeled, cored, and cut the apples into halves and then quarters, before putting them into a bowl. Then, I added some lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and a somewhat generous helping of bourbon before tossing them together.

By that point, my fingers did the rest of the work without me thinking about it. I decided I would make another pie for Trace, as some sort of apology. That would be way easier than explaining myself to him.

Right after I put my pies in the oven, Manny called.

"Mijo, I'm sorry. I can't come over tonight." Manny's deep voice gravelled into the line, warm and reliable but distant.

"Oh," I said absently, while setting a timer for the pies. "Even if I made your favourite pie?"

Manny laughed. "That is tempting, but Marí and me are going out tonight. You know I can't ditch her for last minute plans. I could come out with us. We're only—"

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