MUSED
BellaOnline Literary Review
Three Women by Christine Kesara Dennett

Fiction
A Double Dose of Biscotti

Ruthe McDonald

Pam noticed the first blades of green pushing up through the bland sod of the garden. She felt a sudden burst of excitement; like something wonderful was going to happen. She continued into the house, carrying her bags of groceries.

Pam sat the grocery bags on the counter. She looked around her kitchen; it was such a lovely kitchen. And she had the bill for $3500 to prove it! She could hear her mother now…

“Now Pamela, why on earth would you, of all people, need a gourmet kitchen? You don’t even know how to boil water!”

Pam shook her head.

Pam and her mother were like oil and water: they never seem to come together. At forty-five, and after much therapy, Pam finally understood that she wasn’t the one with the problem--it was her mother! Ever since Pam could remember, her mother had been pushing her to do this or do that; never once being satisfied with her daughter’s performance.

“You know… you really need to do something, Pamela. Look how you messed up your last relationship! I’m telling you… learn to cook! The way to a man’s heart is definitely through his stomach!”

Her mother had no idea!

Pam never had trouble meeting men; she just had trouble keeping them. Her last relationship lasted eighteen months! A record! Andre was a lawyer in her firm. They dated casually at first. Then he moved in. Her mother loved him! They got along great! Everything seemed to be going well, until she was promoted, and he wasn‘t. She noticed little changes here and there. She’d become busier at the office, and spent far less time with him. She couldn’t say she was shocked when one evening she came home to find his things gone, along with their dog Chauncey, and a note on the kitchen counter stating things just weren’t working out, and that he was in a different place in his life. She understood. These things happen. However, the shock came when she found out he moved in with his new lover--Hector from the mail room!--and was in the stages of becoming Andrea!

Many tequila shots later, and after much intense therapy, Pam was ready to try living again. She was in a totally different place now. She learned a very valuable lesson when dealing with her mother and men: just ignore her! And if her mother liked the guy? Run the other way! She had to admit though, her mother was right about one thing: she needed to try something new. However, Pam would never tell her mom that!

Pam knew that her neighbor, Danelle, taught a cooking class twice a week at her father’s bakery. She’d been trying to get Pam to take a class forever.

Pam never cooked a day in her life. As long as she had a few good take out menus, she was fine. She could survive on Mr. Wong’s Moo Goo Gai Pan, or Antonelli’s Fettucine Alfredo.

“Oh, finally!” Danelle clapped her hands. “You’re gonna love it! I promise. Do you know how much money you can save when you cook for yourself?”

Pam laughed. Oh, to be twenty-six again!

Pam had to admit--she actually enjoyed herself! It wasn’t as hard as she thought. Obviously, her mother knew something when it came to food. Humph! The old lady was holding out on her!

After a hard day at the office, or in court, Pam found herself looking forward to class. It was a warm, inviting, and friendly atmosphere. After each class, she felt relaxed. So much so, that she began seeing less of her therapist.

Danelle’s father, Dante, had become a major part of that warm and relaxed feeling Pam was experiencing. She never knew a man so large could be so sweet and tender. He was like a big teddy bear. One she wouldn’t mind grabbing a hold of!

After turning down countless invitations, Pam finally accepted Danelle’s invite for some espresso and her father’s double chocolate “gotcha” biscotti. Who could resist? The “gotcha” was espresso and liqueur in the biscotti! Fab-u-lous!

It didn’t occur to Pam until months later that Danelle was setting her and Dante up. At first Pam was uneasy; but after spending time with Dante, she found him to be exactly what she needed.

Pam and Dante have been dating now for a year. He helped her with the décor of her kitchen. He was coming over for dinner tonight, and she wanted to surprise him by cooking a wonderful meal. Even more so, she wanted to surprise him with her own doubled dipped, chocolate chip biscotti. She hoped he liked it.

A knock on her door interrupted her preparations. It was her mother.

“Pamela, have you forgotten how to call your mother?”

“Hello, mother. Why are you here?”

Her mother looked around the kitchen, inspecting things. “Since when do you cook?”

“For about two years now, mother.” Pam continued to prepare her meal.

“Are you having company?”

“Yes I am, mother. So, I’ll understand if you leave now.”

“Oh no, missy! No you don’t. I want to see who this is!”

“Suit yourself.” Pam continued to prepare dinner and the biscotti, under her mother’s watchful eye, and intrusive comments. By seven she was ready, and Dante was ringing the bell. Her mother answered the door.

“Hello, I’m Pamela’s mother. And you are?”

Dante extended his hand. “Dante DeCarlo.”

Pam didn’t say a word.

Her mother asked Dante a million questions. Thankfully, Pam had already prepared Dante for this kind of meeting.

Once her mother finished grilling him, Pam escorted her to the door.

“Goodnight, mother.”

“He’s not right for you! He’s a baker for God’s sake!” she said loudly.

“I know, and he’s very good with his hands.”

“Pamela!”

“Goodnight, mother.”

“He’s all wrong for you. I don’t like him.”

“Goodnight,” Pam sang closing the door. While walking back to the kitchen, she looked at Dante. “He’s definitely the one,” she said to herself. “So, how’s the biscotti?”

“Fab-u-lous!”

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