“I can’t stop looking at it.” She said, the tart laying innocent and neat at the edge of the table.
“You make me sick, you realize this, right?” Abbey looked on. Disgust and admiration mixing in her face. She picked at a nail and eyed her roommates creation.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have made it.” Melanie looked into their closet kitchen. It was a mess. Bitting her lip she shifted towards the kitchen door, blocking the view from her friend.
Abbey flipped back her bangs, and tried to look into the kitchen. “This was your first time making it, wasn’t it.”
Guilt burned in Melanie’s stomach. “I . . . yes it was.”
Nodding her head, Abbey shrugged her shoulders her anger bubbling over. “Of course.”
“Look I know I made a mess, and I know you just went shopping for all that fruit. I just didn’t want it to go to waste-”
Abbey held up a hand, as she stepped towards the table. “How do you do it? How do you do everything so perfect like this?” She waved a hand at the tart. It’s glaze caught in the sunlight and gleamed with seduction.
“Um . . .” Melanie didn’t know what to say. She never knew what to say in the face of confrontation.
“No just stop for a minute, don’t even talk. How do you come in here, into my life and turn it upside down? Do you have any idea how many guys I’ve brought over, expecting them to pay attention to me? And all they can look at is . . is . . that?” Abbey bent over the tart and picked off a glistening black berry.
Melanie blinked back tears, blindsided. All she could think was: Well none of the guys you ever brought here were ever impressive.
Abbey continued her tirade. “How do you even do this? It looks like glass. No wonder I can’t compare with you. You’re like Julia Child meets Wonder Woman and they decided to become best friends in the same body!”
She shook the berry at Melanie.
“I bet this tastes like heaven too. Here let me try.” Before Melanie could say anything her friend threw the berry into her mouth.
“Yup, it does. It does-” Abbey stopped, and held a hand up to her mouth.
The room fell silent.
Melanie stood there, staring like an owl caught out in daylight. She watched as her roommate chewed on the fruit. Watched as the muscles of her face worked with an almost reverent movement.
“Err . . . Abbey?” She stepped over to the counter. Abbey didn’t move, except for her jaw. Tears broke and ran down her cheeks. “Abbey, I’m really really sorry. I actually have no idea what else to say. I’m sorry, I-I-I don’t mean to do any of that-”
She fell silent, her shoulders frozen in a shrug, hands held out before her. Abbey sniffed. And looked up from the tart.
Abbey’s voice was small. “Can . . . Can I have some more?”
“I’m sorry what?”
Abbey’s face flushed, and she pointed at the tart. “This is really really good. Can I have some more?”
Melanie stared at her for a second longer, then disappeared into the kitchen. Abbey eyed the tart as she heard the fridge open and close. A moment later Melanie stepped out with two forks, two cups, and small jug of milk.
Abbey sniffed some more as her friend filled up both cups and proffered a utensil. Melanie felt the tension leave her body as she watched her friend dig into the tart.
“I’m sorry I yelled at you.” Said Abbey.
Melanie smiled as she took in a mouthful of tart. She closed her eyes. Buttery crust melted on her tongue. She felt her jaw ache as starbursts of fruit juice burgeoned across her taste buds.
The two continued to eat in a comfortable silence.