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All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc., are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author of this story. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any previously copyrighted material. No copyright infringement is intended.
"An aperitif (the word comes from the Latin aperire, "to open") is a light, most often dry, most often modestly alcoholic beverage meant to spark the appetite without overwhelming the senses. … As for Campari itself, the drink is believed to contain rhubarb and ginseng, but I don't know for sure. What I do know is that Campari is very bitter, so bitter it's truly an acquired taste. But adding soda helps a great deal in the acquiring; in fact, a fair amount of chilled soda can open up Campari nicely, turning it into a more nuanced drink." Jim Nelson. "Spirits: The Art of the Aperitif." Food & Wine Magazine.
1.5 oz Campari
1.5 oz sweet vermouth
1.5 oz gin
Orange slice or twist for garnish
Pour into an old-fashioned glass over ice. Stir well. Garnish and serve.
"You're fired, Bella."
"You're fired," he said, sitting behind his desk. His voice was hard, but he looked tired. He couldn't look me in the eye. "Pack your shit and go."
"Why, Edward? What—"
"Tanya said you cooked her dinner last night with butter."
"No! I didn't, I swear! I haven't even bought any butter since she went on that stupid fucking diet! Edward—Mr. Cullen, please!"
I couldn't help but scoff. I stared at my employer for a beat, but he was resolutely examining his own hand, spread out wide over the fine grain of his oak desk. The first time I realized I was in love with Edward Cullen, he had averted his eyes then, too. He'd been behaving like a gentleman then, not a coward.
"I thought I meant more to you than that." Before he could answer, and before the tears in my eyes could make good on their threat to fall, I turned and left. I ran down the hall from his office, down the stairs and through the foyer to the huge kitchen that had been my truest home for the past three years.
"Three goddamn years!" I cried out, heading straight to the liquor cabinet. I reached in and grabbed the first thing I touched: Campari.
"Hah, fucking perfect." I didn't have the time or inclination to mix up a cocktail, or even add soda water to fucking allow those herbal flavors to open up or anything else. I didn't even particularly want to use any glassware, but I had some fucking class. Unlike some cheap-dye-job strawberry-blonde silicone-enhanced on-a-fucking-diet starlets I could mention. Whore.
I poured a healthy measure into a lowball glass, sloshing some over the rim. Slamming the bottle down on the counter, I knocked the glass back. I grimaced; Campari was potent in a cocktail—on its own, it was nearly intolerably bitter.
My face reflected, indistinct, in the glossy marble countertop. Even in the poor, stone mirror my melancholy was evident. I wanted to keep drinking, but I wanted out of there even more.
"Asshole will probably make me pay for it, too, if he sees," I muttered. I capped and replaced the bottle, then walked to the sink. I washed my glass out and hated every fucking second. I put the glass in the drying rack and hated that too.
I couldn't even remember where I kept my knife roll, and that did me in. I started crying in the middle of Edward Cullen's impeccably appointed kitchen, the one I'd designed myself after two months of working for him on an electric range and three-quarters-dead oven.
Digging through the cabinets, I refused to look at the appliances I'd scrubbed to a high shine. There it was, at the back of a low shelf, dusty. Untouched since I last needed it, this spring when he'd taken me on vacation with him. We'd laughed together; I'd cooked. He'd kissed me, and then he'd taken it back.
I approached the butcher block where my knives lay. The set was mismatched. My father had bought me my first three for culinary school, and each new addition had been made as my budget allowed. I wiped my face. I refused to cry over this stupid, unrequited crush any longer.
I did as he'd suggested. I packed my shit and went.
Author's Note: I would like to thank Shell (aka Thimbles), who is actually a fairy, for graciously agreeing to my piteous request for a prereader. Her foodie-type perspective has been most valuable. I also need to thank Sara (abadkitty), who snuck into this fic's folder in GDocs when she was supposed to be betaing Bondward. She encouraged me to finish when I was two seconds from giving up and strongly considering burning my laptop. Without her, I wouldn't have this tremendous sense of accomplishment right now: M-e-P is finished. Thank you both.