Rating: PG-13 by default
Spoilers: None really – takes place sometime in the future
Disclaimer: Not mine!
Summary: Fluffy, fluffy pancakes!
Notes: Just a little something I thought up this morning as I burned the pancakes. All fluff.
Pancakes by SLynn
"What's that smell?"
Audrey came into the kitchen, nose scrunched, trying to decide if they needed to call the fire department or not.
"Morning," Matt called out from his station by the stove.
"Is something burning?" Audrey continued to question, coming over and taking a seat next to Claire at the breakfast bar.
"Don't ask," Claire whispered.
"I'm making pancakes," Matt informed her. "Want some?"
Claire locked eyes with the other woman and gave her head a frantic shake.
"Pancakes?" Audrey repeated, looking down at the plate of mush Claire had before her.
Audrey knew she shouldn't laugh; he was obviously trying his best. Unfortunately, that only made it funnier.
Claire obviously was thinking along the same lines as Audrey saw her press her hand over her mouth as she turned her head away.
Matt, back to them both, just put down his spatula and sighed.
"You know, I can hear what you're both thinking."
That was it for Claire. She burst out laughing and left the room in a hurry.
Matt turned around and Audrey couldn't help smiling at him.
"What am I doing wrong?" he asked her. "Please. Help me."
"Fine," she said, coming over to join him. "You can start by turning the burner down. You're going to burn the place down."
"Well, the first batch…"
"I saw the first batch," Audrey cut in dryly.
"Yeah, I don't think they cooked all the way through."
Audrey laughed a little as she took the pan off the stove and dumped his latest attempt in the sink.
"Those were a bit too cooked," she said, starting from scratch.
"I'm not very good at this."
"It just takes some practice," she returned.
"I don't cook," he said as he watched her prepare a new mix.
"I can tell."
Audrey continued to work at it; prepping the pan again and spooning out the first new pancakes.
"Why the sudden interest?" she asked.
"I figured it was time I learned," he returned, staring at the pancakes as if they were foreign objects. "How do you know when they're done on the bottom? Should I…"
"Don't," Audrey said sharply as he reached for the spatula. "You'll wreck it. It takes a few minutes. You just have to watch, and wait, and be patient."
"I'm not good at patient."
"I can tell that too."
The stood side-by-side for a minute; a bit closer than was absolutely necessary, but neither of them really minding.
"I thought you weren't supposed to watch…."
"That's water boiling," Audrey finished. "And it's an old wife's…"
She stopped abruptly as she remembered. Matt still had a wife.
True, they'd been separated for months now, but still. Audrey wasn't going to get involved with a married man.
Even if he was…
Audrey took a small step away from him, acutely aware of how he was looking at her. How in all likelihood he was hearing what she was thinking.
"We're getting a divorce."
"What?" Audrey asked in surprise before quickly recovering. "Oh, so Janice filed…"
"I did," Matt said before she could finish. "Last week."
"I'm sorry," Audrey said automatically, because that's what people always say; even when they secretly aren't.
"Its fine," Matt said, shrugging and turning slightly away from her. "We've been rocky for years, before all of this even. She doesn't understand why I need to be here and she didn't want to move… that and other things."
Audrey looked down at her hands and nodded. Trying hard not to betray how happy this news made her.
"I didn't want it to…"
"Of course not," Audrey added.
Again, there was awkward silence.
"So that's why you went to L.A.?" Audrey asked, fidgeting and still not able to look him in the eyes.
"I thought," Audrey began, but she didn't have to finish.
Matt knew what she thought; that he'd gone back to reconcile.
"I was going to tell you," he continued. "I just thought it would be kind of weird if I did. Between us. I know you don't want to be thought of as…That's not, that's not why. I don't want you to feel… damn it."
Matt turned away for a second, mentally berating himself.
"I know," Audrey said, touching his arm gently. "Hey, my ego's not that big. I know you wouldn't get a divorce because of me."
She'd meant it as a joke. Audrey had said it with a laugh even, but the look on Matt's face wasn't funny. It was serious. Too serious.
And she was still touching his arm.
A little closer and she'd be in his arms.
A little closer than that and they'd be…
"What's that smell?"
Audrey jumped and turned back to the stove.
"Morning, Pete," Matt said. "We were just making pancakes."
"Okay," Peter said, drawing out the word. Looking first at the mess leftover on Claire's plate, to the growing pile of burnt pancakes in the sink. "Maybe I'll just go out and pick up some donuts."
Matt smiled sheepishly at Peter as he left.
Audrey sighed; she hadn't even been able to look at Peter. How was she going to compose herself enough to face Matt?
Fighting down her embarrassment, she moved to answer him but as soon as their eyes met, he kissed her.
It was nothing long or dramatic, certainly not a peck, just a simple, natural kiss.
Still, it left her speechless.
"It's not your fault," Matt said firmly. "It would have happened even if I'd never met you."
"So why did you just…"
"Because I wanted to," he answered. "And I wanted to get it out of the way."
Audrey raised an eyebrow at him in surprise.
"Not, like that," Matt said quickly. "I'm just going to need some time. This is all kind of new for me and I don't want to rush things, but I wanted you to know that I am… that I am too."
Audrey smiled and nodded, knowing exactly what he meant.
"How much time?" she asked.
"I'm not sure," he answered. "I guess we'll just have to watch, and wait, and be patient."
"I thought you weren't good at being patient."
"I'm not," he admitted. "That's what I'm learning this week. Cooking and patience."
"Okay," she said, once again clearing off the stove if only to give her something to do.
"What about you?" he asked, cleaning the counter so he wouldn't have to look at her either.
"Me?" Audrey repeated with a smile. "I already know how to cook."