Coffee Break Read – Frizzle

Anna half expected a call to say Sam would be late, but at six fifteen she heard his key in the door, and Bonnie came bustling into the kitchen. Sam followed her grinning all over his face. Anna went into his arms and received a very satisfactory hug, before he went out to the boot room to take off his shoes and dump his coat and bag.
He came back into the kitchen and petted Bonnie extravagantly.
“This dog is a miracle. Mrs J isn’t ordinarily a great fan of animals, but Bonnie had her wrapped around her paw in about two minutes. I dunno if it was waiting so nicely to have her feet dried, or sitting at my feet doing her doting dog impression, or permitting herself to be stroked without jumping up or getting pushy. Whatever. The old dear fell in love.”
Anna laughed. “She’s a very calculating canine. But we love her, don’t we?”
“We do indeed. Before I forget, we already have one extra for the party. Mrs J’s favourite nephew is visiting her that weekend, so I said he was welcome. Is that OK?”
“Yes. Of course it is. The more the merrier.’
“Just one thing. He’s a gangster.”
Anna laughed.
“No. Seriously. He is. He’s Jim’s friend Geordie Jackson. About five feet of Glaswegian hard man, with more tattoos than I have ever seen on a human being before. Plus a flick-knife in the top of his sock.”
“That should be a laugh. Danny will be enchanted. He really likes gangsters, and they seem to like him. When he was working in Brazil he used to go to the favelas and play poker with the hard boys on his days off.”
“Rather him than me.”
“Oh indeed. I always felt sorry for Paul who lived in constant terror that something would happen to Danny.”
“I can see that. But I’m guessing that Danny couldn’t.”
“No. He’s fearless and deeply unimaginative himself, and can’t understand worry. There are times when I could clip his ear for him. However, Paul loves him and understands his odd ways. So.”
“So indeed. Now then. You promised me steak did you not? Do you have time for a nice glass of wine with me before you frizzle it?”
“What does the word frizzle signify?”
Anna demanded, trying very hard not to giggle.
“The word frizzle, woman,” Sam replied in lofty tones, “indicates any one of the many cooking processes of which I have no knowledge whatsoever. I leave such things to those into whose area of expertise they do fall.”
Then he spoilt his high-minded pose by grabbing Anna and tickling her until she screamed. She lolled against him sniggering.
“You are very, very silly, my love. Don’t ever get too grown up will you?”
“Shouldn’t think it’s very likely. My dad was as daft as a brush; he used to drive Mum mad by refusing to conform to the way a psychiatrist is supposed to behave. Mum was a bit more conventional, until he got her going – then she was hilarious. Half a glass of wine was enough…”
He looked down at his hands.
“I miss them, you know. I just wish you could have known them.”
He sounded so sad and strained that Anna put her arms around him and cuddled him strongly; slowly she felt the strain drain out of him. He looked down at her and smiled.
“You are my personal miracle,” he said wonderingly.
“Right back at you love. Now go get me a big glass of wine while I hunt up some nibbles before frizzling you a nice piece of steak.”

From The Cracksman Code by Jane Jago

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