In the United States we just finished the biggest cooking day of the year and are heading into one of the second biggest. What is it about being around a table that brings us together? Sure we’re in the same approximate area, but there’s something more. Something that happens before the meal is served, in the preparation we can learn so much and not about cooking.
In the Chrysalis series Sunday dinners become a tradition of Oscar and Ellie sitting down with Mr. Jeffreys and coming together. Ellie’s never had a family that really did anything like that. While cooking the meals Ellie always learns about Oscar and where he’s at mentally. Ellie has to have her history drug out of her while being distracted by a good footrub, Oscar opens up as the spices comingle in the air.
There is just something about a kitchen isn’t there?
Excerpt from Chrysalis by Michel Prince Ó 2012
Oscar was making meatloaf with spinach and mashed potatoes. He handed me a bag of potatoes and a peeler. Smiling at me, he leaned down, kissed the crook of my neck and worked up to my ear.
“Would you please peel the potatoes?” he asked sweetly, his voice almost musical. My body quaked as I took the bag and peeler.
“That’s not fair.”
My face was flush again and my legs were covered in goose bumps.
“I promise, I’ll make it up to you.”
“So what are these for?”
I held up the bag.
“Well, most people eat them,” he said, looking at me as if I were crazy.
I rolled my eyes.
“What are you making out of these?”
“Mashed potatoes. What do you make those from?”
“Flakes in a box,” I said, as I sat down to start peeling.
“You’ll never make it as a Jeffreys with flakes from a box,” he said and laughed.
I liked feeling he already saw me as a potential part of his family. I loved his dad, and from how Oscar talked about the rest of his family, I knew I’d love them too.
Oscar washed his hands and started to throw together the meatloaf. The muscles in his hands and arms flexed mixing the breadcrumbs, eggs, seasonings and meat. I was mesmerized watching his hands. Suddenly, I noticed a light all around his body. I was amazed at the glow emanating off him. He looked up at me and smiled.
“Tell me you love me.”
The light around him brightened.
“I love you, Lil’ Girl.”
There wasn’t a crack anywhere around him.
I smiled and turned away so I could keep myself under control. I finally started peeling the potatoes and dropping the peels into the trash. When I had about half the bag done, I turned to him. He was just finishing pressing the meatloaf in a pan. Knowing he couldn’t touch me with his hands, I put my arms around his waist.
“Hey, now let me work.”
My hands were going back under his shirt.
“Come on now. If I mess this up, I’ll never live it down.”
With my body tight against his started kissing his back.
“I don’t want to ruin your new outfit.”
I still didn’t stop.
“If you let go, I can wash my hands.”
Finally I let go. He crossed to the sink and looked at me as he washed and dried his hands.
“You’re not done.”
A smile crossed my face as I went to him.
“No,” he said leaning his face back, “if you haven’t noticed, I’m an abnormally large person. You need to do the whole bag.”
I crossed my arms.
“What was the bet I’m helping you pay off?”
I picked up another potato, “if I’m doing slave labor here, I should at least know why.”
“That’s fair. He bet me I wouldn’t be able to talk to the coaches without you by my side.”
“Um, that seems like something that’d be pretty easy to win.”
“You’d think so, wouldn’t you?”
He didn’t look at me, but went back to digging in the freezer for something.
By the time I’d peeled the potatoes, Oscar had started cutting them and setting the pieces in some boiling water. I washed my hands and turned to him.
“Anything else I can do?”
“No, you’ve done plenty. I better let you go in with my dad or I’ll never hear the end of it.”
“Are you sure, because I really don’t know how you’re going to turn those into mashed potatoes. It still boggles the mind,” I said, as I put my arms around him one more time before I left.
Back cover blurb
In the annals of dysfunctional families, the Chisholm’s are working their way to the top. Drug abuse, an unwed mother with multiple fathers, and the questionable cash flow for the ‘pretty one’. All this from a seemingly normal, two parent middle class family. But were the choices truly made of their free will?
Bad choices are a Chisholm family trait, one that confounds the youngest child, Ellie, who’s trying to separate herself by making smart decisions. And falling for Oscar Jeffreys, the hottest guy at school, would be number one on the list of Chisholm family disasters. Yet the crazy part is it’s not a one sided attraction. Somehow Ellie has caught Oscar Jeffreys’ eye. Sure she could see the barriers between them. Race, age, popularity. They were at opposite ends of the spectrum. But a demon set to destroy her family? She can’t see that.
Oscar provides security and acceptance Ellie never imagined she deserved. As the passion of first love grows, Ellie honestly believes she has a chance to beat the odds and live a happy, normal life. Then her world collapses around her. With the help of a guardian angel, Ellie learns of a world that has unknowingly surrounded her for years. And she’ll have to find strength buried deep inside to save not only her future, but flush out and stop the demon in her midst.
And Ellie will have to learn that sometimes the hardest lesson about growing up is accepting that you’re worth more.