Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Food Scene (kind of) from Just Right

My upcoming release, Just Right, has more than one sexy, charming guy in it! Here's a scene with two of them, Ben (our hero) and Sam (his best friend and our heroine's brother). This week, for the Nine Naughty Novelists, this scene is supposed to involve food somehow. It does, kind of. Enjoy!

“You know that you don’t have a clitoris, right?”

Ben strolled into the kitchen where Sam was preparing grilled cheese sandwiches.

Sam turned away from the stove, an incredibly funny expression on his face. “Excuse me?”

Ben tossed him the bottle he’d found when looking for a towel in the bathroom. “Thought I should fill you in, just in case you were wondering why this stuff wasn’t working for you.”

Sam looked at the label that claimed the oil inside had a warming and arousing affect on the clitoris if applied prior to sexual activity. He grinned when he realized what it was. “Oh, it worked for me—indirectly.”

“Better than the leopard print panties?” Ben had also seen those in the lid-less shoebox in the cupboard under the sink.

Sam set the bottle on the counter and turned to flip the sandwich in the pan. “I do my best work when panties are not involved.”

Ben chuckled and grabbed a banana from the bunch on the counter. “So what is that collection?”

Sam shrugged. “Stuff people have left here.”

“People? As in, how many?” Ben bit off a huge hunk of banana.

Sam slid the golden sandwich onto the plate that already held two others. “However many are in there.”

“Three panties, a bra, a garter and the oil.”

“So, six,” Sam concluded.

“They were each from a different woman?” Ben asked.

“Probably. I don’t remember which is which anymore, though.”

“They didn’t ask for their underwear back the next time they were here?” Ben asked.

Sam shrugged again with a large grin as he added cheese to yet another piece of bread. “There’s no again around here. One night, that’s all they get.”

Ben shook his head and bit off another bite of banana. Wow. Sam certainly didn’t have any problems with getting too wrapped up in other people’s lives. If his friends were getting too drunk in some bar, he sent someone in to get them. If a woman came up for some fun and left anything behind, he just chucked it in the shoebox and didn’t worry about it anymore.

Sam didn’t get too attached to his patients either. He’d told Ben once that he’d chosen being a paramedic partly because he could work those overnight shifts that agreed with him best, and partly because he didn’t have to do anything more than keep them alive, however he could, until they hit the ER. Then the big decisions, the tough choices and the hard work were someone else’s responsibility. Like Ben’s.

“I need to be more like you,” Ben said shaking his head. Sam pushed a plate with two sandwiches toward him. “You have to show me how. Give me lessons or something.”

Sam even used paper plates. No washing, no worrying about breakage.

“The warming oil has directions on it, man. I am not showing you how to use it.” Sam took a huge bite of bread and cheese and yet still managed his unapologetic grin.

“I’m talking about the way you just get by without anyone expecting more of you,” Ben said, thinking out loud as he bit into a sandwich too.

Sam washed his food down with a big swig of milk. “That sounds like maybe I should be insulted.”

“No, you should appreciate it,” Ben said emphatically. “You can just do your thing your way and everyone just accepts it.”

Sam finished off his first sandwich, watching Ben contemplatively as he spoke. “So, basically I’m irresponsible and inconsiderate.”

Ben scowled at him. “I’m commending you. I want to be like you!”

Sam laughed. “I wasn’t offended. I was just clarifying what you were saying.”

“I’ll give you an example,” Ben said, on a roll now. “I can remember the names and birth dates of all but one of the women I’ve slept with. How about you?”

Sam looked amazed. “Hell, no. Are you kidding?”

“I’ve had one one-night stand. And I do remember her name. Otherwise, I’ve slept with three women, all of whom I had significant relationships with.”

“It’s not necessarily bad to have only slept with a few women, most of whom you really cared about,” Sam countered. “You’re what they call one of the good guys.”

“I’m guessing the woman who owned the warming oil thought you were pretty good,” Ben said dryly.

Sam grinned. “Well, sure. Yeah. For that. At the time. But I can also assure you that she didn’t call begging me to come home and meet her parents.”

“You’re a good guy,” Ben said. “You just don’t take things too seriously. You know when to say when. You don’t try to fix everything for everyone else. You know that you can’t always make everyone happy so you don’t worry about it.”

“And you’re not like that,” Sam said nodding. “Yeah, you’re right. I get that. It’s not that you don’t know when to say when… you don’t even know that there is a ‘when’. Especially with work. Right?”

Because his dad never said ‘when’.

The thought flashed through Ben’s head before he could stop it, or brace for it.

His father had been all about his work. Being a missionary was Michael Torres’ calling and he put his heart and soul into it. Everyone Michael had ever known respected him and were inspired by him. But none of those people had lived with him. None of them knew what it was like to always have the work, the calling, the mission be put first. Ben had been loved, but he had never been prioritized. Neither had his mother. They were expected to be self-sufficient enough, emotionally strong enough, smart enough, to not require Michael to take time or resources away from his work.

Michael had known that he would give one hundred percent to his work. He’d never intended to have a wife and family. But he’d accidentally fallen in love with Ben’s mother. Then they had accidentally gotten pregnant. Not that Ben ever believed Michael regretted being a husband and father. But he couldn’t focus on it. His work was what he lived for and what he taught his son to value. Work, service, sacrifice. Those were the ideals Ben had inherited from his father. And even though he knew how it felt to be an after-thought Ben had felt guilty, lazy and selfish any time he’d entertained ideas of focusing on something other than his work.

There had been no such thing as free-time, blowing off steam, or frivolity in Michael Torres’ life and he’d managed to take those out of his son’s imagination as well.

Even when he was watching a football game on TV at home, Ben had a medical journal open in his lap. If he was having a beer with the guys after an especially hard day in the ER, he was still replaying cases, and planning for the next day. Even with women he was always only partially there. They didn’t know it, of course, but he couldn’t remember one woman he’d ever given one-hundred percent of his attention to.

Until Jessica.

Until the one woman who constantly tried to get him to focus on other things.

It was just perfect. Perfectly frustrating as hell.

“Well, I want to learn how to say ‘when’,” Ben announced.

“It’s not that hard,” Sam said. “Hell, Ben, you just need to hook up with people who have the
expectations that you want to meet.”

Sam’s words hit Ben direct in the gut. His friend was right. The problem was partly Ben letting people expect too much, but maybe part of the issue was the people that were doing the expecting.

Well, quitting his job at the hospital was a step in the right direction in getting away from some of those people.

The only thing he wasn’t sure of was what to do with the people he didn’t want to get away from.