Coffee Break Read – Cookie

‘Right, back to the job in hand. Hakim has been given a week to come up with the train ticket. The decoy crew is already in place in Tashkent and spending money like water, as is the ‘slave buyers’ caravan that is slowly crossing the desert. As soon as the Alban princess arrives here, we can begin arranging our own city-bound caravan. Only problem so far could be the black ninjas, who are already spoiling for a fight.’
‘They need a job. Send them out to look for Hakim and his men. They won’t find anyone, but it’ll keep them out of mischief.’ ‘That’s a good notion. Otherwise, as far as I can see everything is on schedule. Have you become aware of any hitches?’
‘No. Other than my personal boredom, which I’ll just have to put up with.’
‘You will, love. And it does have the fringe benefit of you not bothering to dress, which makes you nice and available.’
She made a very rude noise at him, and he looked at her with the slightly crooked grin that turned her knees to water. Then he leaned over and patted her hand, which she interpreted as sarcasm, which, in turn, could have earned him a broken wrist on another day.
‘You shit’ she said conversationally ‘you know I won’t damage you when we’re working. But don’t push your luck. I have a long memory.’
‘I know you do. But this time I honestly wasn’t winding you up. It just hit me that you are actually pregnant, and I wanted to touch you to make sure I’m not dreaming.’
‘Idiot! This ain’t no dream. But I kind of understand, so I won’t put that one on your account.’
‘Thanks love. I’ll add it to the list of favours I owe you instead.’
‘You do that. And where’s my dinner? Is Cookie catching a goat himself, or warming the food between his thighs?’
‘That’s a revolting image, and almost makes me want to cancel your dinner. However, I hear the sound of Cookie’s delicate feet so it’s too late.’
The flap of leather in the corner lifted to disclose a hugely fat man followed by a couple of boys.
‘Food’ he said in a high treble voice. ‘Excuse the delay. Boris tipped up. Hungry. I had to protect the kitchen maids from his wandering hands while I waited to get bread out of the oven.’
While he was speaking the two boys set bowls of savoury smelling stew, plus a basket of hot bread and another of preserved dates and sharp, salty cheese on a low table.
Ida laughed. ‘Okay Cookie. In that case you are forgiven. When you go back to the kitchen you can tell my cousin that I’ll personally castrate him with a blunt knife if any of my staff turn up pregnant on his account.’
Cookie bowed as low as his bulk permitted before taking himself and his helpers back to his domain.
As they went, Grendal grinned at his lady.
‘Cookie versus Boris. That I’d like to see.’
‘No contest Cookie would just sit on Boris.’

From Billion Dollar Mountain by Jane Jago

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