*the usual disclaimers apply. Don't own them and will return them in the condition I found them*
4247 Maplewood Dr.
Sunday, September 29, 2002
The burning smell assaulted Lee's nostrils as soon as he unlocked the front door. Something was wrong—every instinct Lee possessed told him so. Removing his gun from its holster he held it at the ready—alert for any sign of trouble.
"Jenna?" Lee called out. "Munchkin?" No answer. His feelings of dread grew stronger.
'I should've never left her alone,' he thought. 'Not even to run a little errand, and Jenna's been through so much already—if anything's happened I'll—'
Then he heard it—from the kitchen. A clattering sound, followed by Jenna's voice.
Still holding his gun Lee ran into the kitchen.
"Dad?" Jenna knelt on the floor, a cookie sheet and a dishtowel beside her, clutching her hand. Flour smeared her face and clothes--her eyes widened as she looked up at him. "What are you doing? And why are you holding a gun?"
"I heard you yell," Lee explained lamely as he returned the gun to its holster. "I guess I thought something bad had happened."
"Something did happen," Jenna said. "Just maybe not the something you were thinking of."
"What have you been doing while I was—" Lee's voice faded away as he looked around the room, taking in the flour and small puddle of spilled milk on the floor, eggshells on the countertop, bits of vegetables on the cutting board—"Jenna this kitchen looks like a—like—" he couldn't quite find the words to describe what he was seeing.
Jenna's face reddened. "I know what it looks like!" she snapped "I was planning on straightening it after."
"It's going to need more than straightening." Lee looked down at the blackened mess on the floor next to the cookie sheet. "What exactly is that thing?"
"It was supposed to be a pizza frittata."
"A pizza frittata?"
Jenna nodded. "I found the recipe on the internet. It said to put it in the broiler and that's what I did—only I think I left it in there too long."
"Well why were you cooking it to begin with?"
"One of our home-ec projects is to make a meal for our family—and since you always cook such good frittatas—"
"—you thought you could do the same." Lee said.
Jenna bit her lip and nodded. "Pretty much. It was supposed to be a surprise."
"Jenna, a frittata is a little difficult for a first-time cook."
"I found that out," Jenna looked down at the kitchen tile. "Especially when I burnt it—along with my hand."
Lee knelt beside his daughter. "Here—let me see." He took her hand gently, inspecting the skin. "It really doesn't look that bad—not even blistered."
"Yeah, it looks better than the frittata does." Jenna's voice trembled slightly and she wiped at her eyes with one hand. "I don't know why I was such a klutz."
"Hey, you are not a klutz. Everyone drops pans from time to time."
"Whatever I am, dinner's still totally ruined. Mom's coming back from that training class tonight and I really wanted to do something special."
"I know you did." Looking at the mess on the floor, Lee was struck by a sudden idea. "Do you still have any of these ingredients?"
"Most of them," Jenna said. "But all of your eggs are gone."
"All of the eggs?"
"Don't blame me, the recipe said twelve eggs. But at least I stopped the dishtowel from burning."
"Dishtowel from—" Lee shook his head. Maybe it was best if he just didn't know all of the details. "That's okay, we don't need eggs for this."
"Well there's some pizza dough and some sauce in the fridge—I was thinking that after we clean up a little you could make a pizza—it's simple and everyone likes it. And then tomorrow night I'll show you the tricks of making the perfect frittata. Is that a deal?"
Jenna smiled. "Yeah, it's a deal."