Crumbs of Evidence

By Leia Fee


12th May, 1.35PM

Jeez what a morning!  I stomp into the warehouse and make a beeline for the couch.  I don’t think I’ve sat down since at least 7AM.  Copy deadlines are on us again and we’re all still chasing separate stories.  We’ve hardly been in all week and definitely not at all the same time.  The place is far too quiet.

Byers religiously leaves little sticky notes about the place with updates on how he’s getting on.  Langly sends emails instead but it’s easy enough to tell when he’s been in by the trails of candy wrappers.

I’m thirsty and my feet have stopped aching enough for a caffeine fix to become more of a priority than sitting down so I head for the kitchen.  Mm, something smells good.  Tomato and basil.  There’s a saucepan and bowl upside down on the draining board, still dripping, someone had soup and I’m guessing from the surprising tidiness of the kitchen that it was Byers.  I must have only just missed him.

I cook myself up some lunch and head out again.

13th May, 7.30PM

I’m Not Happy.  Just woken up, late and needed to be out of here half an hour ago.  Damned if I’m leaving without breakfast though.

Rummaging through the kitchen I discover that one of the others has used the last of the eggs and the bread.  Now I’m definitely Not Happy. 

By the time I settle for pancakes it occurs to me that Byers usually leaves a note when he uses the last of anything.  Langly’s surely not up yet?  I shake my head.  Langly’s idea of breakfast is coffee and more coffee.  Byers must have just been in a hurry.

13th May, 2.10PM

I don’t believe it.  Someone’s beaten me to the kitchen again.  This time I do suspect Langly, there’s breadcrumbs on the floor even though the worktop’s been cleared and there’s a tuna tin sticking out of the trash.  He must have run out of cash for takeout.  Funnily nothing seems to have been burnt, even though the number of pans drying by the sink implies he was feeling adventurous.  God help us.

14th May, 6.20PM

This is getting beyond a joke!  The supplies are dropping at an alarming rate.  My chilli and rice tonight turned into bolognese and pasta because there were no kidney beans or chillies or rice left.  I’m gong to have a word with Byers.  It can only be Langly taking stuff.  I think maybe we shouldn’t have made fun of him quite so much over his cooking.  He seems determined to do it in secret now.

15th May, 12.15PM

I’m a bit early getting back and the first thing I hear is clattering from the kitchen.  A quick survey of the office area reveals a note from Byers saying he’ll be back in about 2ish.  So it’s Langly in the kitchen.  Busted!

I creep across the room, feeling mildly ridiculous but not wanting to give our kitchen hijacker a chance to prepare an excuse.  I step though to see Langly standing at the stove with his back to me. I open my mouth to speak but stop because the indrawn breath carries an amazing smell.  Tomato again, and herbs, and something I can’t quite identify.  What on earth is he making?

“I hope there’s enough for everyone,” I say loudly and immediately feel like a idiot because I realise I sound like a teacher reprimanding a pupil for eating sweets in class.

I swear Langly must have jumped a foot of the floor as he spun round to face me.  He stared at me then at the spatula he was holding as though it was a smoking gun.

“Um…” he says and I’m torn between being annoyed with him and wanting to laugh at the guilty expression on his face.  He looks like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar.  Or the larder in this case.

“I uh…” He waves the spatula idly as he’s mumbling and red goop splatters onto the floor.

“Oops,” he says and is again the klutz-in-the-kitchen I know all too well.  It’s at that point I do start laughing.

When I recover my breath I stare at him again and shake my head.

“Langly, why on earth have you been cooking away in secret?”  I walk over to the stove and dip a finger in the sauce simmering there.  I raise my eyebrows as I taste it.  “And cooking well too?”

He shrugs.

“It wasn’t deliberate.  Not to start with.  I ran out of cash for takeout and—”  I snort and nearly start laughing again at that, but stifle it and wave for him to carry on.

“—I had to eat something and it’s been so quiet it’s just easier to concentrate when there’s no one else here, things don’t go wrong as much.  I’ve cooked for myself before when you and Byers have been out but if I said I could cook you’d want me to do it all the time and I can’t do it when you’re all here and the TV’s on and the computers are going and I get interrupted and distracted and it goes wrong and then you make fun of me,” he finished in a rush.

I want to laugh again because the situation is so ridiculous but the expression on Langly’s face, which is somewhere between apologetic and defensive, stops me.

“Fair enough,” I say instead, “On the days when it’s your turn to cook the kitchen will be your domain and I’ll restrain myself from passing remarks.”

He grins at me and I hold up a hand for him to let me finish.

“And in return we get to sample the full range of your culinary skills, okay?”

He nods happily and then hastily turns back to stirring the sauce.

I start to leave, then hear, “Hey, Frohike, grab some more mince out of the freezer and there’ll be enough of this to go round.”

I smile and head for the freezer.  “Sounds good to me.”


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