by Sarah Hart

“No, one and three-fourths of a cup of flour,” I said, enunciating the number this time. “That’s a one-cup and a three-fourths cup.”

“I do know math, Lila,” Matthias pointed out as he pawed through the different measuring cups, finally selecting the correct two. “But you said one three-fourths, not one and three-fourths.” 

“Did not!” I rolled my eyes at him, gesturing to the laminated recipe card in my hand. “I read it from right here. See? One and—”

“Okay, okay.” He poured flour into the cups, shaking them to make sure it was flat on top before dumping them into the large mixing bowl. Peering into it, he took a testing sniff. Of course, he then sneezed, though he at least managed to turn away and bury his face in his elbow before doing so.

“Jesus Christ, Matt. Could you not sneeze on the cake mix? No one wants your spit in their food.”

“I didn’t. I sneezed into my arm.” 

“Why did you get so close to smell the dry ingredients? Come to think of it, what possessed you to smell them in the first place?”

He walked over to the refrigerator, pulling open the door. “I thought something smelled off, but it’s the milk in the fridge. It’s been off for… mm, about two hours,” he said after a pause and another sniff.

“Grab the eggs while you’re at it, please. And your nose seriously freaks me out sometimes.”

He pulled out the carton of eggs and brought it to the counter, then turned his head to study my face. Those golden-yellow eyes of his ran over my features slowly, and a tiny smile tugged at one corner of his mouth.

“What?” I raised an eyebrow at him, huffing a long, dark curl out of my face.

Matthias reached up and cupped my face, running his thumb along my cheekbone. “You’ve got baking powder on you.”

Well, damn. I’d thought I was annoyed with him, but I couldn’t even remember why—not when he did that. I leaned into his warm hand, nuzzling it.

He laughed and swiped his thumb over my cheek once more. “You’re like a cat.”

“That’s why you love to chase me,” I said with a smirk, turning my head to nip at the tip of his thumb. His reflexes could have easily dodged it, but he let me bite him, grinning the whole time.

“That I do,” he agreed, letting go of my face with his hand, though his gaze didn’t leave it. I knew that expression in his eyes. It promised me all sorts of deliciously debaucherous things. I shivered involuntarily, then narrowed my eyes at him. “Down, boy. We have a cake to make.”

“We could buy one from Laurent’s Bakerie,” he replied, his voice lowering to the point that there was a rumble in his throat. God, when he spoke like that

You can read the rest of this story by purchasing our print issue or our online flipbook (coming soon)!

Author Bio

Sarah EA Hart is an Autistic and disabled writer who loves examining the underbelly of society and looking for the cracks of light under which forgotten people flourish. In her “spare” time, she is a freelance editor and a collector of office supplies. She lives in Virginia with her husband and their four cats. 

Instagram: @saraheahart_little.darlings