Notes: I talk to Moulding Brain (AbstractSong101), globert202, and MyBrown3y3s every day. None of us reads much Twific anymore, but we DO talk about enthusiastically about food quite a lot. I have no doubt that those conversations are where these little fluffy tidbits came from.
This story is unbeta'd. I've used the Five Things writing form because I like it.
1. Mozzarella en Carozza
The family swarmed into the front hall of the Cullen house, eager to see Carlisle and excited to meet Edward, especially Carlisle's mother, Rachel. She took to the young man immediately, and the two of them disappeared into the kitchen talking about lunch preparations and the local markets with Carlisle's niece, Alice, at Edward's side. The grin Edward flashed over his shoulder at him warmed Carlisle to his toes.
"You look good, Car," Carlisle's younger sister told him with an easy smile. Rosie tilted her blonde head toward the front door, leading the way back out onto the porch and into the warm afternoon air.
"Umm, thanks?" Carlisle stuffed his hands in his pockets with a shrug.
"No, really. You're smiling a lot and you look healthy … happy, maybe?" Her brows drew together questioningly.
"Happy." Carlisle's cheeks warmed as he glanced down at his feet. "But I know you're dying to ask me about Edward, Rose—what's stopping you?"
Rosie watched Carlisle with her big blue eyes for a moment before nodding. "I didn't want to spoil everything by acting like the bitchy, judgmental sister."
"That's your job," Carlisle replied, taking her hand when she snorted. "Not being bitchy or judgmental, but being my sister. What do you want to know?"
"Fine. No complaining that I'm out of line, though," Rosie warned.
"So, how old is the boy wonder in Mom's kitchen?"
"Jeeze, right for the jugular."
"What did I say about no complaining?" Rosie smiled when Carlisle chuckled.
"Okay, fine. Edward is twenty-eight. I know that sounds really young—"
"That is really young, Car," Rosie cut in. "He's younger than Jasper for Christ's sake."
Carlisle considered his former lover for a moment: Jasper, so adventurous and determined in his pursuit of pleasure and excitement. "Edward's nothing like Jasper, though," he said quietly. "He doesn't take things or people for granted, and he truly values friends and family. He's sort of the definition of wise beyond his years, believe it or not."
"That's a bit clichéd, isn't it?" Rosie asked with gentle skepticism.
Carlisle smiled. "No more so than a doctor falling for not one younger man but two ... not that you'd have any idea about that, hm, Rose?"
"Oh, shut up. " Rosalie waved a hand dismissively. "Roy was only two years younger than I."
"Which, coincidentally, is exactly how long that marriage lasted."
"And Jaden is only three years younger," Rosie countered, flapping both hands as her brother laughed. "Which, in case you hadn't been keeping track, has lasted for much longer than three years."
Carlisle leaned in to press a noisy kiss against her cheek. "I don't need to keep track ... all I have to do is count Alice's birthdays."
Mollified, Rosie pulled him into a hug. "If you trust him, Car, that's good enough for me."
"I do," Carlisle replied, his body warming again at the truth in his own words. "Edward's a good man. And probably in need of a rescue by now."
"Or a glass of wine at the very least," Rosie agreed, following Carlisle back into the house and down the hall to the kitchen. "Wow, something smells good."
"You didn't have to do that, Edward," Rachel was saying, her smile audible. "Though I can tell that you've made Alice very happy."
"It was my pleasure, Mrs. Cullen," Edward replied.
"Rachel, please," Carlisle's mother chided.
"Rachel," he murmured.
He was standing at the stove in the kitchen island with Rachel, sliding a square of perfectly fried battered bread from a spatula onto a plate. Alice, seated on other side of the island, watched his every move with bright eyes. Putting the spatula aside for a knife, Edward deftly cut the square into four triangles, before placing the plate in front of Alice.
"Mozzarella en Carozza. Which is really just a fancy name for a grilled cheese sandwich," Edward said with a wink for the little girl before looking at Rosie uncertainly. "I hope you don't mind, Rosie—Alice doesn't want to eat the lunch your Mom made."
"She was deeply unimpressed when I told her that we were having a pot roast," Rachel added.
"Grandma didn't know I'm a vegetarian," Alice managed around a wad of cheese and bread.
"That's because you've only been a vegetarian for forty-eight hours," Rosie replied dryly. She crossed the kitchen to stand by her daughter's chair, raising one hand to brush Alice's dark bangs away from her eyes. "I'm glad to hear you'll still eat cheese, at least."
"No food with a face," Alice replied solemnly before lifting the sandwich up again. "Cheese has no face."
"You thanked Edward for cooking, I hope?" Rosalie asked as Carlisle busied himself opening a bottle of wine; both he and Edward smiled fondly when Alice replied in the affirmative.
"Well, good." Rosalie turned a friendly glance Edward's way. "Maybe I could persuade you to share the recipe with us, Edward?"
"Absolutely." The young man glanced around, searching for pen and paper, his forehead creasing in confusion when Carlisle handed him a glass of wine instead.
"After lunch," Carlisle urged. "No more cooking either, at least for today—you're supposed to taking a few days off, Edward."
Carlisle pulled him into a loose hug, relishing the smells of clean skin, browned butter, and Nebbiolo wine, the feel of Edward's lean body, and the sound of his low, rumbling laugh. They stood together in the Cullens' kitchen, talking with the others while the pot roast cooked and Alice ate her grilled cheese sandwich.
2. Bacon Butty
Just after dawn, Carlisle quietly let himself into the apartment, dropping his jacket and duffel bag of work clothes beside the green PUMAs in the boot tray. He made his way down the hall to the bedroom to peer in the door, the last of his post-shift tension draining away at the sight of Edward sprawled across the bed. Carlisle's eyes moved over his lover—taking in the broad shoulders, the hair shining red against the pillow, the rise and fall of ribs with each breath, the curve of a hip under the bedding—and he gave a soft smile.
Carefully, he pulled the bedroom door mostly closed before heading for the kitchen, rolling up his shirt sleeves and checking the clock, aware that he had about thirty minutes before Edward's alarm chimed.
Cooking had never been among Carlisle's strengths. His skills had improved since meeting Edward, because working by Edward's side was fun, but Carlisle would never be more than adequate in the kitchen. That said, he managed to fry the bacon without setting off the smoke alarm and brewed a half-way decent pot of coffee before a sleepy-eyed Edward appeared in the kitchen door.
"Car? What are you doing?"
"Good morning," he replied, pausing in his task of slicing four crusty bread rolls so that Edward could kiss him hello.
"Mornin'." Edward smiled against his lips and gave Carlisle's ass a pat as he moved past him to the coffee maker. "What's all this?" he asked again, nodding at the food arranged on the cutting board as he poured himself a cup.
Carlisle picked up another roll and resumed slicing. "You looked so comfortable when I got in—didn't want to wake you. I thought I'd make us breakfast for a change."
"You're sweet," Edward murmured, stepping to Carlisle's side to watch him work before he ran a finger over the bottle of HP Sauce and sighed. "I feel like a jackass, though. You're the one who just got off a night-shift, Car—I should be making you breakfast."
"You make me breakfast almost every morning," Carlisle replied. "Besides, you worked a party downtown last night and probably didn't get in until late, so I figured I'd let you sleep in for a change."
Edward smiled crookedly. "And bribe me for sexual favors with fried meat?"
"I hadn't thought of that," Carlisle admitted with a laugh. "But you're certainly encouraged to pretend that I had."
Buttering the eight pieces of bread, he laid generous portions of bacon on four of them, topping the meat with a smear of brown sauce and grinning when Edward hummed in approval. After topping each sandwich with the remaining pieces of bread, he turned to Edward with a smile.
"May I present, a Cullen family breakfast favorite: the Bacon Butty. Also known as the breakfast sandwich from God."
Edward's eyes and smile were wide. "Your mom's recipe?"
"My dad's," Carlisle clarified, grinning when Edward hummed thoughtfully before picking up a sandwich.
"These look alarmingly delicious. You really are the best boyfriend ever, Car," he said and took a bite. He froze, mid-chew, and closed his eyes, then let out a shameless little groan as he continued to eat.
Carlisle chuckled. "Yeah?"
"Hell, yeah," Edward replied, opening his eyes to peer mischievously at the other man. "I am so bending you over this counter later, Car. Once all of the bacon is gone, that is."
He laughed loudly when Carlisle hastily grabbed a sandwich and started eating.
3. Chicken with Tagliatelle, Rosemary, and Pine Nuts
Carlisle felt slightly nervous when Edward invited Emmett and Brady for dinner. Not because of the company—he'd always found Edward's friends incredibly easy to get along with. What Edward's friends liked to eat, though, wasn't always Carlisle's idea of fun food.
Carlisle enjoyed trying new things, and had grown bolder with his choices since meeting Edward. The Forchette crew, however, were fearless when it came to the business of eating and cooking. Some of the dishes Carlisle sampled during their dinners tested his limits and he wasn't sure he was up for another evening of foams and emulsions, freeze dried shavings (of any kind), and savory ice creams.
He was relieved, then, when he let himself into Edward's loft to find it filled with the familiar, utterly delicious smell of roasting chicken. Leaving his things at the table in the entryway, he carried a bakery box with him to the kitchen area, where Edward was at the island, busily rolling out sheets of pasta. The young man wore a long apron over his jeans and t-shirt, there was a smudge of flour along one cheek, and his face was flushed pink from working by the heat of the ovens; he was lovely.
"Hey, doc," he said with a smile.
"Hey, yourself," Carlisle replied, resting one hand at the base of Edward's spine and holding up the box with the other. "I brought some fruit tarts from Marino's. What can I do to help?"
"There's wine on the dining table," Edward replied, and then gestured with his chin at a smaller cutting board and bundle of rosemary. "I'd love it if you'd chop some herbs, too. Then I can show you how to cut tagliatelle, if you're up for it."
Carlisle glanced doubtfully at Edward, who was cranking the handle of the pasta machine "Do I have to use that thing?"
"No, I cut the noodles with a knife." Edward grinned. "I just use the machine to roll out the sheets. Don't be nervous."
"Oh, I'm not," Carlisle reassured him as he worked open a bottle of Syrah. "I'm just not sure I want my first effort at cutting pasta to end up on a plate in front of Emmett."
Edward snorted. "Car, Emmett and Brady worked two shifts today—they've been on the go for at least ten hours. All they'll want to do tonight is sit down and let someone else do the cooking for a change. Trust me, they'll be appreciative."
Carlisle moved to Edward's side and handed him a wineglass. "Okay," he said, eyeing the long, pale sheets laid out before them. "Show me what to do."
As promised, Emmett and Brady were eager to unwind once they arrived. They stood with Carlisle at the island, eating mozzarella and marinated mushrooms and chatting while Edward assembled their dinner. The men lingered over the meal, savouring the fresh pasta and chicken tossed with pine nuts and sultanas, drizzled with a sauce made from olive oil, roasting pan juices, lemon, and herbs.
"You guys are good together," Emmett mused, his blue eyes glinting as he watched Carlisle refill Edward's glass. "You should buy a big house in the woods and get a bunch of, like, foxhounds or something."
"Oh, you are so shut off, sweetheart," Brady murmured then cast an apologetic look at Carlisle and Edward. "Don't listen to a word he says, guys."
"It's not like I told them to strip naked and run down the street, babe," Emmett scoffed. He waved a hand in his friends' direction. "It's been almost a year and they're obviously perfect for each other ... you've said so yourself."
Brady rolled his eyes, making Carlisle chuckle. "Yes, I've said so to you, Em, privately. I won't apologize for talking about you behind your backs though, Edward," he added with an impish grin, "because you are pretty great together."
"Mmm, well, I don't think a big house in any woods is in the cards." Edward's voice was light, but Carlisle felt tension in his lover's body when he laid a hand on the back of Edward's neck. "Car and I both like living in the city—not much room for bunches of dogs in our apartments."
"We work weird hours, too," Carlisle agreed, "and dogs don't much like being alone." He laughed gently when Emmett looked rather disappointed. "A cat would probably work out though."
Edward raised an eyebrow at him, his expression carefully curious. "A cat?"
"Sure—cats are easier. And in a place like this," he gestured at the loft around them, "with lots of space and light, and all kinds of places to climb … I'm sure any cat would be happy."
Carlisle's chest tightened as he watched understanding dawn on Edward's face. While his body thrummed with excitement, he felt … certain. It was as if the pieces of his life—that had been coming together steadily but surely over the last year—suddenly clicked into place.
"Yeah. I think a cat or two in this place with us would be perfect."
"You know, I like the way you think, doc. I draw the line at two cats, though," Edward cautioned, though the corners of his lips were twitching. "I refuse to be the crazy cat guys chasing after each other with lint brushes."
Emmett's eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Did they just agree to move in together or have I had too much to drink?" he asked Brady, who simply tipped his head back and laughed.
"Both, Em." Edward grinned, his eyes never leaving Carlisle's as he wove their fingers together. "You're okay with moving in here?"
"Sure," Carlisle replied, grinning himself. "You own this place, Edward—mine's just a rental."
"What about your balcony?" Edward's brow puckered worriedly. "I know how much you love it."
"You've got roof access, babe," Carlisle reminded, leaning in to bump his shoulder against the young man's. "Let's build that deck you've been talking about."
4. Tuscan Bean Soup
The sound of Edward's steps on the stairs roused Carlisle from his doze. He blinked, shifting to rest his overheated face against a cool spot on the pillow while Edward set a tray on the nightstand, and smiled as he caught the rich smell of comfort food.
"What did you make?" he rasped as Edward sat down beside him and cupped Carlisle's cheek.
"Some soup," Edward replied. "You've been asleep all day and I thought you might be hungry. Feel like a bite before your next dose of meds?"
Carlisle nodded tiredly, pushing himself up on his elbows while Edward reached behind him to rearrange the pillows. "What time is it?" he asked once he was more or less propped up enough to hold the stoneware bowl that Edward handed to him.
"Ugh, you should have woken me earlier."
"Why, so you could pass out on the sofa downstairs instead of the bed?" Edward's eyebrow rose, prompting Carlisle to raise a spoonful of soup to lips.
"I wanted to get my stuff moved this weekend," Carlisle grumbled. "Now we have to wait another two weeks before I'm off shift and you'll be out of town anyway."
"I can borrow Emmett's car and move some of your things this week on my day off."
"That's … thank you, but you don't need to do that."
"Yeah, but I want to, Car. You're sick, man—sleeping instead of moving an apartment is the best thing for you right now. Some doctor you are," Edward teased.
Carlisle merely grumbled some more, too busy spooning up soup to reply properly. He ate slowly, realizing that he really was hungry, while the young man talked quietly about nothing in particular. The low rumble of Edward's voice and the broth in the bowl soothed Carlisle's congested head and warmed his body, while the beans and faro in the soup filled his stomach without making him feel overstuffed. He was almost surprised to find the bowl empty.
"Want a little more?" Edward asked, taking the bowl while Carlisle sank back against the pillows with a slow shake of his head.
"I don't think I have any room for more right now. What kind of soup is that?" he managed before a yawn surprised him. Fed and comforted, he felt his eyelids growing heavy once again.
"A bean soup that my … Esme's mother, Ellen, used to make when we got sick as kids." Edward turned back from the tray with Carlisle's flu medicine and a glass of water, smiling fondly as Carlisle dutifully swallowed the pills. "Did you like it?"
"I think so. I can't really taste much." Carlisle frowned and took one of Edward's hands in his own. "But if you made it, I'm sure it's delicious."
"I'll make it again when you're better," Edward promised, "and you can tell me what you think then."
"What time do you have to leave?" Carlisle asked, fighting to keep his eyes open for a little longer.
"By three. We're catering two parties tonight."
"Lie down with me, then," Carlisle coaxed, tugging Edward's hand and shifting back to make room for the young man.
"I should clean up," Edward began, grunting in surprise when Carlisle simply pulled him down.
Carlisle closed his eyes, smiling when Edward gave a little sigh and stretched out beside him. "Just for a little while, Edward. I feel like I haven't seen you for days."
"You're not seeing me now, doc," Edward chided gently, "unless you've figured out how to see through your eyelids." He slid his arms around Carlisle and pulled him close, though, humming when Carlisle turned his face into Edward's neck.
"Thanks for the soup, babe," Carlisle murmured, and fell asleep with the warm press of lips against his head.
5. Pasta pie
Carlisle slid his shopping bag onto the kitchen island and checked the clock. "Edward's flight gets in just before five," he said, his eyes moving to meet Esme's.
"Plenty of time," she replied, rolling up her sleeves and moving to the sink to wash her hands while still speaking over her shoulder. "We can use that yellow pie plate Edward is so fond of, and we'll need a couple of big bowl for mixing. I'll set some water to boil for the pasta."
They worked together over the next hour, Esme leading Carlisle as they measured and mixed, steadily constructing a dish that Esme had promised was one of Edward's favorites. They mixed ground beef with eggs, breadcrumbs, and herbs, seasoning it well with Parmigiano, parsley, salt, and pepper before Carlisle pressed the meat into the pie plate to form a crust.
"How was the move?" Esme asked from her place at the stove where she was cooking ditalini, gently stirring the tiny tubes of pasta as they boiled.
Carlisle shrugged, his fingers spreading the meat with care. "Hectic, just like any move. Edward moved some boxes on his own the week before, though, which helped. And a lot of my furniture just went into storage—it wasn't like we needed two of everything here."
"You didn't bring anything from your place here?" Esme's brows drew together.
"Not much outside of my clothes and books—my personal things," Carlisle explained. "The furniture in that apartment are pieces I had to buy after Jasper and I split up. I hardly paid attention to anything that Rosie bought, to be perfectly honest—I just signed the credit card slips." His face flushed when understanding filtered across Esme's expression.
"I'd rather start over and buy some new things," he continued, "stuff I really want this time, instead of … generic filler designed to make me feel less like the transient I was at the time."
"I think that's a great idea." Esme smiled gently then lifted the strainer insert up out of the pot of hot water, letting the contents drain for a few moments while Carlisle washed his hands.
They mixed the pasta in a large bowl with Parmigiano and mozzarella, topping it off with marinara sauce that Esme had brought from home.
"You're pretty good at this, you know." Esme nodded at Carlisle as he poured the pasta filling into the crust he'd made. "You've always maintained that the only thing you can cook is pancakes, but look at you now."
"Edward's been teaching me." Carlisle smoothed the pasta filling into a dome with his spoon. "Jasper used to tell everyone that I was hopeless in the kitchen," he mused, "but to be fair, I never really showed any interest and he didn't have much patience for my bumbling."
"And Edward does?"
"Yeah, actually. He makes cooking fun."
"Well, he's doing a good job making you less bumbly—this looks perfect, Car." Esme's smile was wide as they carefully covered the pie with foil and Carlisle slid the pan into the oven. "And now, you've got ninety minutes while that beast cooks. I'll help you clean up if you pour me a glass of the Sangiovese Edward keeps around for his meat sauce nights."
It wasn't until he heard Edward's key in the lock two hours later that Carlisle even thought to feel nervous. One look at the grin on Edward's face as he came around the corner with his duffel was enough to turn the nervous twist in Carlisle's stomach into something more like a flutter.
"Hey, you." Carlisle took several slow steps forward, smiling when Edward let the bag drop and peeled off his jacket, then groaning playfully when the jacket ended up on the floor, too. He didn't really care about the mess, though, because with three long strides the young man had closed the distance between them and wrapped Carlisle up in a hug.
"Missed me?" His lips were warm against Carlisle's throat.
"Of course I did," Carlisle replied dryly, his fingers creeping up under the hem of Edward's sweater to stroke the soft skin above the waist of Edward's jeans. "I've been living on takeout and trying to figure out how to cram my clothes in between the eighty-five thousand Forchette t-shirts in the closet upstairs."
Edward pulled back with a laugh and pressed his lips to Carlisle's quickly, his eyes moving over Carlisle's face eagerly. "Well, you look like you've been surviving just fine, old man, but I promise to clear out some space in the closet for you."
"In that case, I'll feed you." Carlisle kissed him back, lingering against Edward's lips, lengthening the kisses so that when he pulled away again, they were both breathing a little faster. "Come on, dinner's ready."
"Well, hang on a second," Edward replied, his tongue darting out to wet his lips as he tightened his hold around Carlisle's waist. "Maybe I'd rather kiss you some more instead of eating right now. I mean, whatever takeout you ordered smells damned good, but I'm sure it'll keep—"
"Okay," Carlisle agreed easily, running his nose along Edward's cheekbone and running one hand over the soft denim covering the swell of Edward's ass. "It's not takeout, though. I cooked. Well, Esme and I cooked. We made a pasta pie."
Edward drew back, his expression stunned. "Ellen's pasta pie? That's one of my favorite things to eat on the whole planet, Carlisle."
"So I've heard." Carlisle raised one hand to brush the hair back off Edward's forehead. "And I can't wait to try it with you."
Edward smiled, his eyes shining as he kissed his lover again, slow and sweet and hot. He was right, after all—the pasta pie would keep a little longer.
Thank you for reading. This may be the sappiest thing I've ever written. LOL.
For a variety of reasons, my Twislash writing mojo has disappeared. I write OF and fell down a rabbit hole reading and writing ST AOS McKirk—Jim and Bones have ruined my life—but the Twislash just hasn't been there. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised when these boys started talking to me—I really did miss them.
The title, Piccoli Baci, means (according to Google) "small kisses" – if your Italian is better than mine and I've gotten it wrong, just go with it, or PM me and I'll fix it.
The recipes for Tuscan Bean Soup and Pasta Pie are from theitaliandishblog dot com. The recipes for Mozzarella en Carozza and Chicken with Tagliatelle are Nigella Lawson's, and I found the recipe for the Bacon Butty at Saveur dot com and then asked MouldingBrain a few questions—the bread toasting is optional. And yes, HP sauce exists—I can buy it at my supermarket. Om nom nom.