As much as Iunia appreciates her space and cosy apartment of hers, she felt like inviting John over. She bought some groceries and thought about cooking something, although she hasn’t done this in a while. She can cook, but it’s such a waste of time and resources, that she hardly does this anymore. There was a time when cooking was an important part of her life, a time when she dreamt of becoming mother and wife. Time passed, her job took most of the time she spent thinking and now maybe she is too old for this shit. No, not shit, but inadequacy. Oh, nevermind! John will be here shortly and none of the dishes is ready. She puts the Basmati rice in salted water to soak a little. Then she marinates the chicken in a little olive oil, turmeric and lemon juice, hesitates in using onion and garlic, but decides for both. It would be the lightest dinner: oven cooked chicken with quince, dried apricots and saffron (she kept the saffron for special occasions), plain rice and salad. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time to cook dessert so she bought some very sweet cakes from the Arabic patisserie. It’s almost eight when the interphone rings. The whole house smells like saffron and onions, but not in an unpleasant way. Iunia hurries to the door, putting on a comfy sweater on the way. She opens the door with a large smile:
– Hi, welcome! but the sight leaves her with the mouth opened in surprise.
– Honey, I am home! Ben smiles at her and wants to come in. If I knew you’d be waiting for me like this, I would’ve come sooner.
– Go fuck yourself! and tries to close the door.
– What’s wrong? I told you I needed to solve some things. What’s with you?
– There is nothing with me that can be any of your business. You didn’t send a message in more than 2 months. What’s wrong with you?!
While they talk, John stopped on the stairs and watches.
– John, I am sorry, please come in! Iunia addresses him. Ben was just leaving, he forgot to announce his visit. Bye, Ben!
– No, I didn’t forget! I told you I loved you, I said I am coming back. You little deceiving bitch, you simply couldn’t hang in there!
– Hey, buddy, I’d be careful with that tone! John feels like chipping in.
– Hey, asshole, I wasn’t talking to you! By the way, she hates wine! Are you fucking him?
– No, but I hope he will! But you have to leave!
– I will go, but this ain’t over, he flashes his hand in a gesture that covers the space between them.
– For me, it was over since you didn’t bother to call. BYE now!
The two men pass each other as if they are two boxers in opposite corners. To her surprise, Iunia feels no regrets whatsoever. She smiles at John as she invites him in.
– So that was Ben! Do you want me to go?
– No, I just need some time to rally. Let me get your jacket.
– These are for you, he says while handing a tulips bouquet.
– They are not my favourite flowers, but I really like them. Thank you!
– I guess it’s true what he said about the wine.
– Yes, she says smiling. But you can have some.
– I drove here, so… did you mean what you said?
– I always mean what I say! Stay the night!
– You suddenly seem more daring… or something more subtle I cannot quite assert.
Iunia invites him to sit and then lays on his knees. She puts one hand on his cheek and looks into his eyes to assure him of her decision. Finally, she kisses him, while his hands wonder under her sweater.
– No bra! I like it! What’s for dinner?