Friday, April 24, 2015

Free Fiction: In Love with Capsicum, Part II

"Go ahead and pour in the milk," Mike said.

Carl tipped the measuring cup and the milk spilled out into the sauce pot on the stove.

Mike reached over and turned the knob. "Medium heat," he said. "Which is always a mystery. What is medium exactly? Low and high are obvious, but medium heat could be anything in between."

Carl rinsed the measuring cup and set it aside. "I always thought it was five. Right in the middle of one and ten."

"That's very mathematical of you." Mike said and adjusted the knob. "Let's risk it all and turn it up to six. It'll be midnight before it heats up if we keep it on five."

"Because five is so much hotter than six?" Carl said as he raised a mental eyebrow at the prospect of heating things up. Mike and he were on their fourth date and for a man who could chew up an entire habanero pepper without flinching, he surely kept things cool in the dating department. First they'd met for coffee and had talked for hours. Conversation began with the topic of the spicy chili competition they'd met at, but it had swiftly detoured around to music, books, growing up, dreams of the future, and everything in between. Mike was easy to talk with and Carl's emotions had swooned. He'd fallen hard and fast, and his libido had been the part driving the bus over the cliff. Mike seemed to drive at a slower speed, though.

They'd parted from the coffee shop only when it had closed with plans for dinner the next evening. Again, they'd met, talked, even imbibed copiously, and yet Mike hadn't come the halfway Carl needed. Carl put out all the signals, and waited at the crossroads for Mike, but they'd stayed in the slow lane.

Surely, by the third date, Carl thought, he'd gain some physical satisfaction, but no. They'd gone to a movie and then found a late night pizza joint and stayed up until midnight, debating the hazards and merits of hot peppers placed on pizza prior to baking or after, and Carl nearly sizzled all evening, while Mike remained placid.

For a man with red hair and the ability to eat fiery hot peppers, he surely broke the stereotype mold.

Mike laughed. "What's hotter than six?" He turned back to study the recipe and read off the next part of the directions. "Once it is simmering, add in the cocoa powder, sugar, and vanilla extract."

Carl integrated the ingredients in order and stirred with a spoon until everything dissolved. The milk turned from a creamy white to a rich brown and a delicious aroma wafted out.

"Then, a healthy pinch of cayenne," Mike said.

Carl shook the tiniest amount of dried cayenne pepper into the pot.

"Healthy pinch," Mike repeated.

"I know, but you want me to be able to try it, right?"

"You're tougher than you give yourself credit for," Mike said. "I witnessed it at the competition."

"Just because I could force myself to drink it, doesn't mean I want to. I want to enjoy it, not wish my mouth wasn't on fire."

"Point made," Mike said with such a gentle tone that Carl knew he had reprimanded himself. "Okay, now simmer together, but don't let it boil."

Carl transferred the spoon to his non-dominant hand and stirred the concoction. With his other hand, he touched the back of Mike's hand. "Do you ever let it boil over?" he asked. He stroked his thumb across Mike's skin and looked him directly in the eyes. He hoped it was obvious his question was about so much more than just the hot cocoa.

A slow smile spread across Mike's face. "Sure," he said. "Sure I do. But I've had my fill of temporary hot night stands. All good fun, but I want something more than just a burst of heat and nothing to follow it up. I want a long term thing. Not a flash in the pan. So I figured I'd let you tell me when you were ready."

Carl raised both his eyebrows. "Seriously? I've been ready for two weeks."

"Gotta say it out loud, hot stuff. I can't read your mind."

"Let's boil over," Mike said. "Let's take it to bedroom. Let me make you feel good. I want you to make me feel good."

Mike pried the spoon from Carl's hand and pulled the pot off the burner. "Let's drink this cayenne hot chocolate first," he said. "It's an aphrodisiac. Cayenne's good for male stamina, and I think we'll both be glad of that. Then we'll see who boils over first."

"I'll drink to that," Carl said.

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