Zebra Cake from 2007, and Part 13BJune 17, 2012 at 11:10 am | Posted in Cakes, Dessert | 78 Comments
Tags: baking, Cake, Chocolate, First Love, vanilla, Zebra Cake
Dear Readers ,
First off, the above is a transitional header and name (desserts and line drives was too long). I still haven’t decided where I’m going to go with this, but I got sick of looking at that ugly, old header.
Secondly, please excuse these old photos, but love this cake. Not only is it cool to look at – but it’s moist, delectable and easy to make.
Back in January of 2011, my computer crashed. The hard drive was annihilated. I lost all of my photos. Some of those photos were of several amazing and somewhat laborious, treats, two of the treats that I especially mourn to this day. One was a beautiful Tourte Milanese – layers of colorful, roasted vegetables, serrano ham and softly scrambled, herbed eggs encased in golden puff pastry. The other was a Gateau Basque, best described as a mix of a cake, cookie and pie, from the Basque region of France, filled with luscious almond pastry cream and homemade cherry jam. They were both so lovely, aesthetically, and exquisite in flavor, that I did everything I could with the dead hard drive, bringing it from place to place, to see what they could retrieve from it.
Wouldn’t you know it, they were able to get most everything off of it EXCEPT the laborious treats and the Tourte Milanese and Gateua Basque. Why? Why? Why?
I still hold on to that drive with the hope that, miraculously, someone will be able to find and extract even one photo of each. The truth is, the two that slay me, were also a little labor intensive, and I haven’t had the time or motivation to really dig into recreating either. Plus, I don’t often get good photos, but by some stroke of luck, the photos of these two extravagant goodies, including the prep photos, were some of the best I’ve ever taken. Again..
Why? Why? WHY?
Here’s the kicker, a group of photos of a zebra cake I made in 2007, were all there, well, most of them..(some of the prep photos didn’t make it)..in perfect condition. These photos were from a time before a food blog was even a twinkle in my eye. Back then, I took quick shots with a point and shoot, under kitchen lighting, and sometimes I used *gasp* a flash.
They were also able to pull these 2009 peanut butter cup brownies off the drive. One problem, though..just this one photo, when there were originally 10 full size photos. This one had been cropped already.
Barring the photo quality, it’s a pretty cool looking cake..so I decided to post it. As I mentioned in my last post..I haven’t had the time to cook or bake anything really blog worthy, unless you consider boiled, boxed pasta with a simple tomato sauce and sloppy tuna sandwiches on wheat toast, blog worthy. In other words, I haven’t felt like spending hours sifting through 100 photos of sloppy tuna salad, and then hours of post-processing the best of the bland.
At least the ugly overnight oatmeal had a little pizzazz with the use of an almost empty peanut butter jar and the near endless possibilities of add-ins
So, here’s my zebra cake, in all it’s ancient point and shoot glory. I love the way the stripes came out, and it was quite moist and tasty, therefore – blog worthy. However, for some reason I cannot recollect nor fathom why I placed the cake slices on top of a cheap cake turntable. It looks weird. Please look at the cool, zebra stripes and blur out the weird-looking cake turntable. I’m uhh, kinda embarrassed!
I want you all to make this cake and impress everyone you serve it to It’ll look better on your plate and table than it does in these antiquated photos.
LOaded Peanut Butter Cup Fudge Brownies
Recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped..or chocolate chips
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
10 regular size Reese’s peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. I line the pan with foil or parchment paper, making sure there is overhang to use as handles to lift out the brownies, Spray/grease foil or parchment if you use this method.
2. Microwave chopped chocolate and butter for about 45 seconds. If not mostly melted, microwave for 20 more seconds. Stir until smooth. Whisk in the cocoa powder and espresso powder. Set aside. OR, melt in a double boiler.
3. Whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, peanut butter and salt until combined. Whisk the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Stir in the flour until just combined. Fold chopped Reese’s peanut butter cups into batter. Pour mixture into pan, spread evenly and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula.
4. Bake approximately 35-40 minutes. Brownies will be slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted into the center should come out mostly clean. Cool to room temperature for about 2 hours. Cut into 1″ squares. Store in a tightly sealed container; preferably in the refrigerator.
Chocolate and Vanilla Zebra Cake
Makes one 8 or 9-inch cake
Recipe from my scribble scrabble on a piece of paper. I cannot remember where I found it, but I did make some changes to it at the time.
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil or coconut oil
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt (or, milk is fine too)
NOTE – If you have a foolproof yellow or white layer cake recipe you love and would prefer to use, add dark cocoa powder to one half of the whole recipe, and proceed with zebra cake batter pattern. Umm..if you like using cake mixes, (I don’t, personally), or want to use one in a pinch, you can do the same – dark cocoa powder to half the batter, then proceed.
1. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
2. If using butter, cream it together with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, until each one is fully incorporated. Add vanilla extract. If using oil, beat together the eggs, oil, and sugar until light and fluffy, then add vanilla extract.
3. Alternate adding the flour mixture with the milk, starting and ending with the flour. Do not overmix.
Now – This is where it all begins with the batter to make the zebra pattern.
Here’s a video that shows you the zebra method, and another one using a spoon, which is how I do it, AND one more for good measure, since my step-by-step photos weren’t recovered. I didn’t use pastry bags, (good idea, though), just tablespoons and less batter of each color per drop than what you see in the video, to produce stripes that are closer together. The below instructions explain how I did it.
Divide the batter in half, into two separate bowls, and add about 3-5 T of dark cocoa (I use Dutch Processed) to one half of the batter. If the white batter is too runny, add 3-5 tablespoons of flour to it. You want the white and chocolate batter to be close in viscosity.
To start..you’ll be ‘layering’ 1 to 3 tablespoons of each batter, right on top of one another into a lightly greased 8 or 9-inch cake pan.(I add a parchment circle, and lightly grease that too). I used an 8-inch round cake pan.
Starting with the white batter drop 1-3 tablespoons on the bottom of the pan, then drop 1-3 tablespoons of the chocolate batter right on top of the white batter, in the middle, then 1-3 tablespoons of white on top of the chocolate, then repeat with the white batter in the middle of chocolate batter. Keep alternating batters in the center of each until you’ve used up both batters. It will look lopsided at several points..spreading more to one side of the pan, but by the time you’re close to finished, it’ll start to even out. It should look like a bullseye of white and dark batter, as you can see in the photo right below this recipe
The less tablespoons of batter you use, the closer together the stripes will be. I used 2 tablespoons batter of each per drop..but use up to 4 for thicker stripes.
Bake in a preheated 350F oven for anywhere from 35 to 45 minutes. A toothpick or skewer inserted in the center of the cake, should come out clean when it’s done.
Try this with other flavors/colors, like matcha with the chocolate, pistachio paste, or raspberry syrup or ground, dehydrated raspberries. You can make this cake a kaleidoscope of stripe. Let your imagination run wild!
Away we go with Part 13B of Bad Boy First Love, and it’s a long one. If you’re just tuning in, Part One is HERE, Part Two is HERE , Part Three is HERE, Part Four is HERE, Part Five is HERE, Part Six is HERE, Part Seven is HERE, Part 8 is HERE, Part 9 is HERE, Part Ten is HERE, Part 11 is HERE, Part 12 is HERE, and Part 13A is HERE.
I was relieved he was okay. I debated getting up and talking to him, then decided against it. I didn’t want to come off as a naggy shrew - I wanted to trust him. He had no idea my friend and I were there since we came over in J’s truck.
I pulled the blanket over my head and prayed for sleep again because I didn’t want to think about why the hell he came home at 5 am. That was around the time we always stayed out until the two previous summers.
Thankfully, sleep acquiesced, and I eventually woke up at 10 am. My friend was no longer next to me, and the house was eerily quiet. I looked out the window and saw that J’s truck was gone, so they must have all went somewhere with his Mother.
His room was the attic, the stairs to it much like those old door on the ceiling attic stairs where they’re attached to the door and you pull them down when you pull a chain or use a long hook to pull open door. I always assumed this attic used to be a door in the ceiling/stairs combo which they turned into regular stairs with a normal entryway. Did any of that make sense? I know, confusing, but I couldn’t find the words to describe it succinctly.
I climbed the stairs slowly, tiptoeing like a thief in the night, trying not to make any noise in case he was still sleeping.
It was if he was expecting me. He opened his eyes and opened his arms.
“Come ‘mere, baby.” He said, groggily, and might I add, sexily?
I walked over cautiously, scoping out my surroundings. No idea what I was looking for, it was just a guy’s room with a big bed and a hot, shirtless guy in that bed. It was not like I was going to find another woman tucked away somewhere, although I unconsciously and silently sniffed the air for perfume.
“How did you know I was here?” I asked suspiciously
“P came up to borrow a shirt about 10 minutes ago and said you guys stayed the night, but you were still fast asleep. I was about to go down and wake you up.” He replied, rubbing his eyes.
“Where did they all go?” I asked..not wanting to get too cozy just yet.
“They went out for breakfast – they couldn’t wake you up.” He said, still reaching out to me with one hand.
I reached the foot of the bed and let him grab my hands and slide me across it next to him. He wrapped me up in his warm body. I snuggled in and kissed his neck and cheek. I was so crazy in love with this boy.
Being back in his arms made me momentarily forget about the night before, until he said, with a mischievous glint in his eyes;
“So, I hear you threatened to kill two girls if they talked to me.” He was now smiling, and I think, loving it.
“WHAT?” I screeched, then sat up quickly and told him what really happened. He knew it, though, and was laughing while he told me how the two girls came running up to him claiming his girlfriend was crazy and had threatened their lives.
Ugh, I had given them the perfect excuse to talk to him.
“What did you say when they told you that?” I asked, amused by the lengths these girls went to.
He was getting a kick out of this, a huge grin on his face, his eyes sparkling and dancing – laughing harder as he continued. I think he liked the ‘bad girl’ side of me.
“I told them you couldn’t even kill a fly, and I didn’t like liars. I told them they were crazy. No one is going to bad mouth my girl or make up lies about her to me and get away with it.” He said, ruffling my hair sweetly. I loved him even more for that, if that was possible. Then;
Now get back here, Killer.” he said as sat up and pulled me down on top of him. We had a good laugh for another few minutes. Then I apologized.
“I’m sorry for saying the things I did last night..I was scared for you, and disappointed that we wouldn’t be together.”
“Don’t even give it a second thought, I knew that. Plus, you’re cute when you’re mad.” He whispered, then put an end to the talking with a kiss, which always shut me up.
As we were kissing, he suddenly let out a small gasp when I ran my hands down his sides.
I slid off of him, asking, “What’s wrong?” He didn’t respond, just sort of shifted position with a slight grimace.
I immediately began inspecting each side of his torso. There it was, a fist sized bruise on his left side, below his rib cage, already starting to turn every deep shade of purple and blue in the color spectrum.
“What happened?!?” I asked frantically. Someone had obviously punched him there.
“Nothing, when the ride was slowing down one of the cars hit me in the side – I got too close.” He said, unconvincingly.
Bullshit, I thought. Not to mention there was a bag of weed on his dresser. Something pot related caused a fight or maybe Andy’s brother bought him the weed for fighting the guys who were giving him trouble.
“It looks like someone punched you there..hard!!” I exclaimed, the worry starting to escalate rapidly.
He pulled me back down, rolled over on top of me and pressed his lips against mine, obviously not wanting to elaborate any further.
It worked, I was completely immersed in him within seconds, like always. Just as he pulled my shirt off, feet came pounding up his stairs..lots of feet.
“Yo, D!! What’s up!” came a cacophony of voices at once.
A few of his friends and two of their girlfriends from home had driven down for some sun and fun and were stopping in on the way. We had been so caught up in ummm, what we were doing, or trying to do, rather, plus the radio, that we hadn’t even heard the knocking or the door opening.
I pulled the blanket over my head and put my shirt back on while they pulled up chairs around the bed. It felt like they were the audience and the bed was the stage.
Now it just needed an orchestra pit. This had the makings of the “The Nutcracker not so Suite/Sweet.”
Dina, one of the girlfriends, scolded all of them, telling everyone to leave us alone and they would stop by later.
But, NOOO..my too nice nature kicked in. I couldn’t stop it once it started spilling out of my gaping maw, and it was totally disingenuous – I wanted this time with him alone – desperately.
“No, no, no..it’s okay – STAY! We’re so glad to see you all!” Oh Shiiiiittt. Why did I say that?
Dreamboat was expressionless, which meant he was NOT happy with my sweet invitation, which was immediately RSVP’d with a majority ‘will attend’.
So, we spent the next half hour chatting with them, Dreamboat half way under the covers, one hand on my leg, while I sat cross-legged on top of the covers.
I looked down at his hand on my leg. His knuckles were cut and bruised, solid proof he had punched someone too. I ran my hand over those bruised, swollen knuckles as if my touch could somehow heal them. I felt sick again.
When they all finally left, his Mom, brother, my friend and J pulled up.
I ran down the stairs, grabbed a magazine and sat on the couch. I didn’t want his Mom to know I’d crept up there and came close to deflowering his sacred attic bed.
Later on that day, my Auntie Flo decided to come for a visit and stay a few days.
Once again, It figures.
From that moment on, we saw each other every night, but there was one problem, he didn’t like my two best friends.
He didn’t like one because he felt she was leading his brother on, and she was. She had a habit of getting attached to certain guy friends, and then she would start to crush on them, sometimes even kissing them. Soon she would realize she didn’t want to be with them that way. However, her continued flirtatious and affectionate manner belied her declaration of ‘friends only’ - leaving said men confused, but still smitten.
P and J were both enamored with her. She was a blonde knock-out, so realistically, and on a shallow level, she was out of their league, but her behavior towards them made it seem they had a chance – especially P.
Another thing that annoyed him, albeit not as serious, was that she was over his shore house so much, he was getting tired of it, especially since she was eating them out of house and home. She loved his Mom’s cooking. I did too, and in fact, I referred to her potato salad in a post last summer , but only ate small portions. It was summer, so the bod came first. She had the metabolism of a triathlete, I did not. His Mom loved that she loved it, so she went out of her way for her. She even let her finish up the last of her amazing, homemade Italian sausages that were Dreamboat’s favorite, and he was looking forward to for lunch that day.
I braced myself when he opened the fridge to confirm her assertion that they were gone because she cooked them for my friend. I really thought he was going to lose it when he saw that they were really gone, but, alas, he kept his cool and took me out for a late lunch before work. Not one peep about the sausages scarfed by my ferociously hungry friend. I envied his ability to let things go so easily.
My other friend, the one I’ve been calling the raven haired friend, the one who was with me that first summer when I met him…the one who hooked up with the hunky monkey, he did not like nor trust. He felt she was not a true friend to me. He guaranteed she wouldn’t be my friend by the time I hit 30. My father said the same about her, as did other men who met and knew us together.
They were right. What is it that men who love you ‘see’ what you can’t ‘see’ yourself? I thought she was the bee’s knees at that time. I saw none of the above for years.
This caused a problem, because I needed to hang out with my friends too, I was also leaving them in a few weeks since they were going to college locally – plus, we had parties at our place a few times. Of course his brother and J were always there, so that didn’t help matters. He didn’t want to hang with his brother every night.
We started to have little fights. Without fail, he never raised his voice and was his usual nonchalant self the more upset I got. There were a few times I couldn’t leave our place because I’d promised I’d stay for the whole party. He would stop in for an hour, then take me outside and tell me he was leaving, asking if I was coming with him. I wanted to go with him in the worst way, but I couldn’t just dump them, so I’d beg him to stay another hour.
This would go on for a while, reducing me to tears. A constant tug-of-war. Sometimes I left with him..sometimes I let him go. Either way, someone was always upset with me.
He was the only person who could make me cry, whether it be ‘going to miss him’ crying,or ‘upset with him’ crying. Not to mention the tears of happiness the summer we reconnected. I had, much to my dismay, morphed into a public sobber. Gone were the days when my tears were only allowed out in the confines of my bedroom, especially while watching sad movies or commercials about cruelty to animals, and, of course, that whole year missing him.
To make matters even worse, a bunch of guys staying across from us in the complex, who just so happened to be from a town 10 minutes from us, were always hanging out in our apartment. One of them liked me..liked me enough to brazenly ask Dreamboat’s brother about my relationship with him, gauging the temperature of it. He was very confident and cocky, making his feelings for me very well-known. Of course..this was ‘disrespectful’ to Dreamboat, and it finally culminated into a huge fight breaking out between the guys across from us, some guys upstairs, and some guys who were visiting someone else in the complex.
It all started with Dreamboat talking quietly with ‘Gary’, the guy who was interested in me, asking him politely to stop chasing me since I was in a relationship with him. Suddenly, J said something to one of Gary’s friends, who made a comment about no one being anyone’s property. Within minutes, threats were flying like spitballs in a 5th grade classroom – then a few pushes,..and finally, the first punch was thrown, and all benches cleared..
The sound of gasps, grunts, and fists hitting skin, combined with girlfriends and girl friends screaming for it to stop, and lots of cursing, was deafening.
Ironically, Gary and Dreamboat weren’t part of this altercation. I had Dreamboat blocked in a corner of the courtyard by then – arguing about staying or leaving (anything to keep him from fighting). Soon we made up and were hugging and smooshing as this weird rumble continued around us.
My raven haired friend made fun of this scene for years after. A crazy brawl all over the place..but off to the side, in a corner, me and Dreamboat, encapsulated in our little love bubble.
Of course Dreamboat soon stepped in to help break it up once he saw his brother was involved, which led to another funny scenario.
The fight was still in full swing..Dreamboat and others pulling bodies off of one another, while my raven-haired friend and I stood watching. Suddenly we hear ‘Hey, how ya doin?” from up above. We looked up to see two guys leaning over the balcony, looking down at us. They started hitting on us..in a very casual and sweet way.
“Where are you girls from?” “How long are you here for?” “We’ve seen you around a lot, you seem like really nice girls” “Wanna to hang out with us..hit the boardwalk, maybe?”
Not one mention of this huge melee smack dab in the middle of the complex right below them..and they couldn’t miss it if they tried. It was so bizarre.
Dreamboat came walking over and grabbed my hand.
“Let’s go, sweetheart, I’ve had enough of this place.”
So had I.
I spent all of the remaining summer nights/early mornings with him. I was sick of the parties, sick of the noise, all,night.long, sick of everyone just walking in and out of each other’s apartments day and night, whenever they felt like it.
It was Animal House, but without John Belushi - although there was a guy who kind of looked like him, and was kind of funny, but still, he was no John Belushi.
The summer before, we were on the top floor, without a balcony, in the back, so the noise and hoopla wasn’t too bad. This summer, we were on the bottom level, facing the courtyard – giving up moments of peace and quiet for a bigger, better apartment.
The straw that broke the camel’s back occurred one early morning, after Dreamboat dropped me off. I fell asleep on the couch in the kitchen (this place was big on couches in kitchens). Later that day at the beach, I noticed people leaning over and looking at the back of my legs as I walked by. I sat back down on our giant beach blanket and lifted one leg up, twisting to see what they were looking at.
My friend and J came in drunk that morning. Seeing I was fast asleep (I sleep like a rock..I can even sleep with the TV blasting), they channeled a naughty, foul-mouthed Picasso. A brown eyeliner was their brush, the back of my legs, their blank canvas.
Yeah, it was funny..especially their artists’s rendition of the proverbial twig and berries, with an arrow pointing you know where, but I’d had enough. I wanted the last week and a half with him only – no more Animal House evenings until sunrise. I spent all day, every day, except his occasional day off, with the girls anyway – until midnight.
With each sunrise and sunset, it got closer to the day we’d say goodbye. We spent a lot of nights at our favorite secluded beach in Seaside Park, sometimes watching the sun rise from the lifeguard chair which he’d hoist me up on. Sometimes we’d go to his shore house and he’d sneak me up to his room..where we’d spend the night, then pretend I just popped over in the morning, before his Mom woke.
Words were hard to come by as the day came closer. We were both sad, and at times, for brief moments, he was almost cold. I could tell he was numbing himself from the pain, so I never said a word, but – the impending separation heightened the tenderness between us, so we barely needed words. We were pretty much avoiding the topic as best we could. He told me he had spoken to his Father about this..since he was having such a hard time dealing with it..
He tried to keep his voice even-toned and upbeat “My Dad said unless I put a ring on your finger, I had no right to ask you to not date anyone.”
I hugged him “I don’t need a ring, I don’t want anyone but you.” I said, and I meant it.
Suddenly reality hit like a cement road block I didn’t see coming, and there was no time to slow down and stop. This man was gorgeous, how could he not date anyone when he probably wouldn’t see me until Thanksgiving and that was only for a week or less? I was sure I could do it, but could he?
I started to cry. Oh look, I’m crying again…what a surprise! Now that my tears had a taste of being ‘out’, they couldn’t stop coming ‘out’. He just held me and let me cry because it was getting harder and harder to talk about our impending separation.
The night before I was leaving the shore to go home and pack, then leave the next day for Boston, was finally upon us. Labor Day weekend had passed and Seaside was emptying quickly..families packing up their cars, the streets desolate, the boardwalk more of a whisper than a shout. There was nowhere better to spend our last night than at ‘our beach’ again.
We sat on the blanket..me between his legs, leaning back against chest, his arms around me, chin on my shoulder. His classic rock station played softly in the background and our drinks remained untouched. We didn’t talk, just watched the ocean for a while. I looked up at the stars, wishing for more nights with him because the thought of leaving him was becoming unbearable. To phrase it in half-witted, daffy Jersey Shore speak - we smushed, (cringey corn alert) then fell asleep in each other’s arms under a blanket – beneath a blanket of glittery stars.
When we woke up, around 6 am, we walked slowly to his car. I forgot to mention in the previous entry that he had picked up an old, used Mazda RX7 for cheap a month before. There was no knob or padded cover on the stick shift, so he would use his palm, pushing it to change gears. It was sexy to me..but almost everything he did was sexy to me. I ran my hand over it when I got in, trying to vault everything about him in my brain, so it was always with me.
He pulled up to the front of the complex, and again, we just sat there for a while, in silence. It wasn’t awkward, but it was certainly heart-wrenching. I told him I’d stop by the house before I left. He nodded and hugged me..inhaling me. I liked when he did that. He said he never wanted to forget how good I smelled, until we saw each other again. Touche, I thought.
Like animals, we always know and love the scent of our mates – we’ve just evolved enough to not sniff each other’s tushies.
After a few kisses..he left. I watched him drive away then walked to our apartment to finish packing. My face was soaked. I hadn’t even felt the tears coming on this time.
When we got to his house later on, it was about 1 pm. I went straight to and up the attic stairs to say goodbye. He had just woken up and was putting his laundry away in the drawers. He turned around and gave me a quick peck, then went back to putting away his laundry. My heart sank, it was breaking..I could barely speak.
“I’m not leaving right this second, baby, I have a few minutes” I said, mournfully.
He didn’t turn around, just mumbled “I know.”
I wrapped my arms around him from behind..then made him turn around to face me..he was acting so cold.
He stiffened as I hugged him. Now I was really upset and the damn tears came fast. I think I had shed enough tears that summer to create a new ocean. The Sea of Sappy Sorrow – don’t swim in it, because if you do, every little thing will make you cry!
I didn’t know what to do, so I kept hugging him,burying my face in his neck..telling him how much I loved him, asking him why he was being so cold. He finally relaxed and hugged me back hard, kissing my neck, then whispering..
“I’m losing my girl, how do you expect me to be?”
“No, you’re not, I’ll call you every day..I’ll be home at Thanksgiving..I’ll..”
He stopped my blabbering with a kiss.
A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.
When the kiss broke, I asked him to take off his t-shirt and give it to me. It was a light blue tee with a picture of Rocky and Bullwinkle on it. He’d slept in it, so his intoxicating scent was all over it, and I wanted to smell him for as long as it lasted until Thanksgiving. He took it off and gave it to me. I hugged him again, not wanting to let go. His brother P’s voice interrupted our moment. He was driving home with us. Our other friend, now known as the raven-haired one, had gone home with her boyfriend the day before, so it was just me, him and my blonde friend.
“Come on, we gotta get goin”” P said. My friend had a family thing she needed to get to.
Dreamboat released me from his arms. I quickly took his hands in mine and squeezed. I didn’t know what else to say, so I said something that had been bothering me for a while;
“Please stay safe, please don’t fight anymore – I saw those bruises on your knuckles 3 weeks ago, I know you didn’t get that bruise from the ride.”
He sniffed in deep. I looked up, his eyes were red and watery..he was crying but trying hard not to. He tried to pass it off as something else..
“Damn, there must be pollen or some kind of dust in the air.”
He didn’t have allergies.
I let go of his hands…and turned to leave. By the third step down, he appeared at the top of the stairs.. I turned my head and looked up.
“I love you, killer” He said with a small smile.
I choked out “I love you too”, then ran down the remaining steps, out the door and into the car, clutching his t-shirt to my chest.
I sat in the backseat the whole way home, holding his t-shirt, sporadically pressing it against my face and inhaling…then stopping because I didn’t want to sniff up all of his scent until there was nothing left, and I didn’t want to cry anymore.
When I got home, the laundry was done and then 4 hours of packing for college. I may as well just have had my whole bedroom transported to Boston, because I was taking everything. When all the packing was done, I gently pulled his t-shirt over the head of a large, stuffed teddy bear he had won for me, placed it on top of my trunks and suitcases, then plopped down on my bed.
It was now around 7 pm and I wouldn’t hear from him until after midnight. I felt lonely, then overwhelmed at the thought of not seeing him for almost 12 weeks.
Nobody was around to talk to. One friend was with her boyfriend, the other at her family gathering. Other friends had already left for college.
The phone rang. I picked it up. “Hello?”
“Lisa?” a male voice asked
Part 14 coming soon.