Lee led the way to the kitchen. He said he had found it easily. It was along a dark corridor to the left of the entrance and was bathed in bright light. We filed in and stood there taking in the gigantic oak wooden table that stretched the whole length of the room with its worn down, warped benches. I was about to say ‘The kitchen out of The Shining,’ but Simon beat me to it. Ok, it wasn’t as big as that, but it was a similar vibe with lots of metallic cupboards running around the outside with islands in the middle, obviously having been used for preparing a multitude of foods.
It was spotlessly clean. I had expected us to have to scrub the place down before we prepared food, but clearly it had been done recently. I wouldn’t have liked to have tackled that vastness of work surface anyway. All the boxes of food, sleeping bags (Lee’s double one which I couldn’t wait to snuggle with him in) and alcohol were stacked up, mostly precariously, and Lee ran forward and caught a crate of Heineken before it decided to take a nose dive.
‘I love this kitchen!’ Annabelle declared, walking around the table and inspecting the wall units around the edge. ‘How comes it’s so sparkling clean?’
‘Because………..I just cleaned it,’ smirked Joel, throwing a filthy looking cloth at her. She recoiled, letting out a yelp as she brushed it onto the floor.
‘That’s gross.’ She said screwing her face up. ‘Anyway you never clean anything, you turd.’
We all sat round the table, pushing our supplies down to the end to make room. There were boxes stacked up on the floor too. The one nearest me had some weird stuff inside like organic beetroot soup, couscous, weirdly shaped phallic vegetables and bananas. Who the hell ate that stuff I didn’t know. Mine and Lee’s box was full of dried vegetarian soya, pasta, jars of tomato and basil sauce, chilli and curry powders. We had plenty of fruit and veggies but they were already in the fridge because my thoughtful boyfriend said he had sorted those out.
I was opposite Joel who had taken a bottle of red wine out of a box on the floor under the table. He grinned at me and winked. I tried to see Lee’s reaction in my peripheral vision, but couldn’t. Annabelle was smiling at Lee and I looked at her, smiled back at her and nudged my head into Lee’s chest.
Simon produced a bottle of Guiness and plonked it down hard on the table. He sat down, opened it and took a very long gulp, gasping as he lowered it back down with a thud.
‘Oh sweet Jesus I needed that!’ he exclaimed and threw his head back stretching his skinny arms up in the air and punching something invisible with his fists.
‘Wine glasses for Christ’s sake!’ shouted Joel, clamping his hands around his head in desperation. ‘Oh Ball sacks!’
Lee stood up.
‘Calm down, you drama queen, I’ll find some.’ He laughed, ‘ I’m pretty sure this place has been used lately. Those work men seem to be a dab hand at cleaning so let’s see….how many do we need?’
I decided on wine and Annabelle did too. Lee found four glasses and washed them out. There were even dish cloths in the drawers so he wiped them around too. Everyone was just sat there watching him. I knew someone was going to pipe up. It was Simon.
‘Dez. You absolute fucking girl. Come here and let me ravish you, I love it when you get all domesticated on me.’
Lee grinned and flicked a finger at Simon.
‘That’s something you should know about Casey, my darling.’ Laughed Joel. ‘Dez and Si have got a proper little bromance going on. Thought you should know because these gay boys won’t bother telling you at all soon.’
I looked up at Lee who was standing at the table in the process of giving out the glasses. He puckered up at Si and Si stuck his tongue out and waggled it around, pretending to twiddle his nipples. Everyone laughed. It was funny.
‘So, when were you planning on telling me about this?’ I asked Lee, pouring myself a full glass of wine from the bottle that Joel had offered me across the table.
‘Well, after we get married and have lots of babies I guess,’ Lee said sitting down next to me and hugging me. ‘You don’t mind do you?’
I laughed and shook my head. The next thing I knew, Lee’s lips were on mine and he was kissing me passionately. And he hadn’t even had a drink yet. I heard someone go ‘Get a room, there must be hundreds to choose from.’ and when we came up for air, Simon and Joel were sat there, bottle and glass in hand, toasting us.
Annabelle wasn’t in the kitchen with us.