Chapter ThirtyMature

Chapter Thirty

When we got downstairs Amber was tapping her bouncing on her toes impatiently. The ingredients had already been piled onto the middle counter with a cake book open on one page. I looked at the page and saw the recipe for a raspberry tart.
“You realise this involves getting your hands icky?” I asked, glancing at Amber.
“I don't think pastry's going to bother me. Now can we start making it? I got enough out for us to make more than one,” Amber said, her voice gaining more excitement as she spoke.
“That's a lot of tins to go through,” I pointed out. Amber raised a confused eyebrow before opening a cupboard and pulling out three similar sized tart trays, though they were a little smaller than the specified size in the recipe. I doubted it'd be too much of an issue.
“Definitely going to spend more time here,” I murmured. The content of this kitchen was definitely dwarfing mine by comparison.

“I won't complain,” Zack said, his voice gaining a husky edge that distracted my thoughts from cooking very easily. “I like cake!” Zack added quickly, seeing Amber's bored and slightly judgemental expression. Somehow I doubted she could really talk, based on the way the guys talked about her. Though, I was definitely seeing a much more open and honest side of her. It was still creeping me out a little.
“Okay, let's get some bowls out and start mixing up the pastry,” I said. I ended up having to help Amber anyway. Despite her claims of being fine with pastry, she hadn't realised there was a sticky stage before it became solid dough.
“You're going to hopeless when you eventually get to university,” I sighed as I began mixing the butter with the flour.

“Guess that means you're going to have to come with us then,” Amber snorted. I blinked, I hadn't really thought much about after secondary and college in terms of me and Zack. I mean Zack would probably go to a completely different college to me. And with all the government cuts, I was seriously considering skipping university altogether.
“Let's start cooking,” I replied, choosing to avoid the whole topic. Neither of them seemed to notice as I slid the three tarts into one heck of an oversized oven.
“When will they be done?” Amber asked, crouching in front of the oven window with a big grin.

“Fourty minutes is what it says in the recipe, but I'll check them sooner to be on the safe side. Every ovens different,” I replied. She made an annoyed sound but stood up.
“So, you and the others are still coming on Friday? I mean I actually don't mind inviting you now. In fact I need to think of a way to uninvite Derek. Kind of hard to do considering he is him,” Amber ranted to herself, her voice glowering a little when she mentioned Derek. I wondered if I should tell them about the park. But if I did that Amber might mention the run-in with Derek. And that would just upset Zack since he was left out of the loop. I was getting a headache just thinking about it all. “I think you should find a way too. Maybe get rid of Lewis too,” I said. Amber snorted.

“Like that's going to happen. Either I invite him and he'll mostly behave. Or I don't and he crashes the party and makes a lot of chaos happen. Don't worry, I won't let him or his stupid gang of followers near you and the others,” Amber replied. We headed to the living room and wasted time playing silly driving games on the biggest TV ever. When my phone beeped after thirty minutes I checked the tarts.
“Those smell yummy!” Amber squealed as I pulled them out, careful not to touch the metal cases. I probably should've searched for oven gloves, but just grabbed tea-towels instead.
“We need to let them cool down,” I said as she started rummaging through a drawer for a knife.

“I think we can all guess which one Mikey-boy did,” Zack said after studying all three. Mine had stayed together quite well. Some of Amber's pastry had broken and I suspected there was a pool of raspberry sauce beneath the tart now. Zack's didn't look much better.
“I've seen worse results on first attempts,” I said with a shrug. Amber's broke the comfortable silence with a yawn.
“I'm off to sleep. Let's hope schools a little better tomorrow,” Amber said.
“Don't jinx it,” I shouted after her, she just laughed. The thumping of her footsteps up the stairs faded and I turned to face Zack.
“You want to lie on a sofa watching something and fall asleep again?” Zack teased. I knew my face was red simply because his grin widened.

“No,” I answered. I hesitated before wrapping my arms around him to pull him into a kiss. I heard a sound of surprise in the back of his throat and responded to it by deepening the exchange. I felt his body shivering against mine, both of our breaths growing harsh. When Zack pulled away I fisted my hands further into his hair and barely contained a sound of annoyance. Heat glimmered in his eyes but so did concern.
“Are you sure you're ready?” he asked.
“Why? Are you not?” I asked, trying to figure out if I'd done something wrong.
“No, no, trust me. I want you. So much,” he laughed, a deep, husky sound that sent tingles down my spine.

“And so do I,” I replied, closing my lips on his a second time. We stumbled out of the kitchen and up the stairs, our lips barely breaking contact as we did. The closer we got to his room, the more urgent our touching grew. The door closed behind us with a slam and Zack pushed me onto the sofa. We pulled away briefly, our breath warming each others cheeks. I could see the question burning in his eyes.
“I'm ready,” I answered. I'd never blushed so much in my life but in the morning I'd never felt so amazing either, recalling the words I'd heard Zack whisper in his sleep with his arms wrapped round me.
“I think I might love you.”

The End

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