Lunch Service

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“Look, alive people! I’ve got 4 number 2’s on apps, 1 number 2 plat du jour, and 3 number 2’s plat du jour!” The overweight chef bellowed, snatching the tickets from the machine as they were being spat out.

His commands were followed by a chorus of, “Yes chef!” From the small kitchen staff that began pulling plates from stainless steel shelves.

Lunch service was always the same commotion, especially on a Sunday. The staff would arrive at 8:00 am sharp, the dishwasher would bitch and complain about the mess from the night before, mise en place would commence and then it was onto chain smoking and coffee drinking until the first orders came through. It was during these smoke breaks that Cara would take the opportunity to chit-chat with her favorite line cook, Arthur. She had given up smoking over 4 years previously but, that didn’t stop her from standing outside with the boys especially when she would see Arthur slink out to spark up.

What had started as an innocent work crush had escalated into an almost uncontrollable desire for the man. Cara was the only female in the kitchen and, as such, she had gotten accustomed to the generally sickening way the men she worked with would speak with one another but, Arthur was different. He never laughed along with the rest of them when they’d make a tasteless joke and he generally kept to himself. Hell in the almost 2 years she had been working there she barely even knew his surname. The mystery only added to his allure.

Cara stood elbow to elbow with Arthur as she garnished 4 plates with small amounts of mixed salad and various slices of Serrano ham. She had to reach past him to grab a handful of packets of butter from the open, tabletop fridge. He didn’t move a muscle when she pressed herself to him, instead, he pressed back lingering a second before side-eyeing her.

“The Bretons and their salted butter huh?” She remarked playfully, dropping them one by one onto their respective plates before pushing them into the window and loudly ringing the bell.

“Sending the 4 apps chef!”

The chef grunted in response, he was a man of few words which suited Cara just fine. The sound of the ticket machine printing more orders reverberated through the now, loud and bustling kitchen. Cara swore that sound would haunt her until her dying day, sometimes at night when was halfway between dreams and wakefulness that sound would pulse through her head like a goddamn drill.

“6 number 1’s on apps, 6 number 2’s plat du jour, and 1 kid special! Valentin get your ass ready for desserts once those plates come back!”

“Yes, chef!”

Servers came and went throughout service, carrying stacks of empty plates and dumping them at the dishwashers station before loading their arms up with various entrées and occasionally picking fights with the cooks over which tables they needed urgently. The cooks would snap back but, by the end of service, everyone would be laughing and messing around, still giddy with post-service energy.

As lunch service was finishing up and the only things left to send out were a handful of desserts, Cara headed to the dish pit to relieve Théo of his duty. It had become a sort of ritual for them and Théo was always grateful for the break clapping a hand on her shoulder before heading out to smoke. Cara rolled up her sleeves and stuck her hands into the filthy water, quickly washing everything before packing it into the industrial dishwasher. The dish pit was dirty work but, at least here she could switch off and let out her anxious energy from another tough service. Cara allowed her mind to wander, her thoughts turning to Arthur.

They always worked at the same station and god forbid if someone tried to take his place, he always insisted that that was his spot in the kitchen and, he would not be switching for neither love nor money. She was so lost in her thoughts of rolled-up sleeves and strong forearms that she didn’t notice the chef shouting at her to get the cutlery on for the servers. Cara huffed her discontent while dumping the plastic container and its contents onto a worn-out dish rack, before pushing it into the dishwasher and closing it. The machine was so loud that she didn’t hear one of the servers screaming that the last customers had left as she began taking the back of house’s drink orders. The server asked Cara if she wanted ‘the usual’ as she picked up the dish rack to bring out to the ‘good’ dishwasher at the bar. Cara smiled and thanked her as she toddled out, trying not to slip on the kitchen tiles.

Chef pulled his apron off and threw it into a laundry basket at the far end of the kitchen. “Clean up before getting blackout!”

“Yes, chef!”

Cara called the boys back in, there was no way in hell she was finishing the cleaning on her own. Arthur sidled up next to her at the dish pit, pulling her arms from the water. His touch sent tiny shocks of electricity up her arms.

“I’ll finish up here if you wanna change.”

It wasn’t a question and, Cara was not going Keçiören Escort to turn down such a tempting offer. She smiled up at him, blushing despite herself.

“You sure?”

“Positive, there’s not much left to do.” He didn’t return the smile but his eyes sparkled and Cara took the hint.

“I owe you a drink.”

He looked her up and down, his gaze lingering on her middle where her apron was pulled tight. He nodded before turning back to the deep sink. His wandering gaze made her pussy throb, she’d have to make good on her promise. She balled up her apron and threw it into the basket as she began climbing the narrow stairs that led to the changing rooms and shitty showers.

“Hey! Cara the fuck, you don’t want to help?” Cara turned to see her co-workers watching her go, the annoyance evident on their faces.

She snorted, “I’m sure ye are capable of getting on without me.”

Pissed-off mutterings followed her until she closed the door to the changing room. Cara stretched pulling off her whites and stuffing them into her locker, that would have to be a problem for Tuesday. As much as she hated the showers she hated stinking even more. She grabbed the cheap bottle of soap she kept in her locker and her civies from her bag, before opening the shower room door and double-checking it was locked behind her. Once she was under the half-hearted spray of the shower she, once again, allowed her thoughts to drift to Arthur. She lathered up her arms as she pictured his arms and long torso in her mind’s eye. His sleeves had been rolled up to the elbow during service and, it was a real challenge not to stare at his lean muscles as they tensed and relaxed under his motions.

She felt a familiar heat rise within her, starting in her toes, and working its way up before settling between her legs. She sighed tilting her head away from the water, doing her best to avoid her hair. Her hands found the smooth, softness of her stomach relishing the feeling of finally being clean after what seemed like a never-ending service. As she started on her legs she couldn’t help but imagine how it would feel to have Arthur’s hands on her body, gently exploring her tight physique. She mentally scolded herself as her pussy throbbed painfully from the images her brain was projecting to her. Arthur, pinning her against the staff room’s lockers, grabbing her by her hair, and pulling his mouth to hers.

She felt an involuntary shiver ghost through her and, although the water was warm goose bumps began to rise along her flesh. Her hands trailed lazily between her legs, brushing over the lips before separating them and expertly finding her clit. Cara closed her eyes, completely submerged in her fantasies of rough hands and gentle touches. She stifled her moans as she drew slow circles over her clit, barely touching it, just enough to keep her in her own little world. She was abruptly startled out of her pleasure bubble as someone began knocking and shouting at her from the other side of the door. She retracted her hand from her pussy, feeling suddenly embarrassed even though nobody had actually seen her.

“Give me a fucking second!” She scolded turning the water off and drying herself as thoroughly as she could.

As soon as she was dressed she opened the door allowing Valentin to step in, a towel draped over his shoulder.

“There better be warm water left.”

Cara rolled her eyes, “Don’t be dense, I was in there for 5 minutes there’s obviously warm water left.” He didn’t respond just slammed and locked the door behind him.

“Dickhead.” She muttered pulling her socks and shoes on.

Cara took the stairs 2 at a time ready to get a little wine drunk, she didn’t work tomorrow and planned to take full advantage of her small amount of freedom. The back of house had cleared out to the bar, all except Arthur who stood outside smoking a cigarette.

“That was a quick clean.” She remarked stepping out into the warm spring air.

He snorted, “Quick? More like half-assed.”

“As long as chef is happy that’s all that matters.” He hummed in response never meeting her eye line.

“Are you staying to have a drink? I don’t know about you but, I definitely need one.” She smiled up at him, hoping against hope that the desperation didn’t show on her face.

He looked down at her finally making eye contact. “Well, if you’re staying I guess I will too.”

She felt heat creep across her cheeks, ‘Well shit,’ she thought, ‘So much for keeping it easy breezy.’

She pulled her eyes from his, “I can order for you, what do you want? The usual I assume.”

He raised an eyebrow a sly grin spreading across his face. “You know my drink order, Cara?”

She laughed trying and, failing to keep the nervousness from breaking through.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m your stalker, you hadn’t noticed how I’m always following you home?” She joked hoping it would ease her racing heart.

“Well, you do seem to be everywhere Etimesgut Escort I turn and frankly, I wouldn’t mind if you followed me home.” Cara was stunned as she stared up at him, his face remained unreadable the smile had slipped from his face only to be replaced by his usual serious, no-nonsense stare.

Her breath caught in her throat as he took a step forward, crushing his cigarette under one of his security shoes.

“Well? You still haven’t answered my question.” He was so close now, so close she could feel his heat, so close she could smell the dishwater from his hands.

“You didn’t ask me a question.” She all but whispered, all of her false confidence draining from her.

“I’ll make it clear then, would you follow me home?”

Cara had to stop the moan that was rising in her throat at the thought of going home with him.

“Yes.” She stated, “Obviously.”

He smiled at her, big and beaming. “That’s good to know.” He brushed past her and disappeared up the stairs to the locker room.

Cara let out a shaky breath, ‘What the fuck was that? Does he… No, he’s messing with me but, what if he’s not?’

Her thoughts swirled around her head, a dangerous mix of confusion and arousal. She was broken out of her trance by one of the servers calling her name and asking if she still wanted that drink. She nodded and closed the back door behind her, shivering despite the warmth of the kitchen. The rest of the cooks sat at the bar chatting and trying (and failing) to flirt with the servers.

“Here you go, love.” Claire, the kind co-owner of the bar said placing a tall glass of Chardonnay in front of her. “I filled it right up for you.”

Cara chuckled, happily accepting the glass, “You really are an angel Claire.” Claire winked turning to serve an old regular at the end of the bar.

She quickly joined in on the meaningless banter that was spewing from the boys. All of her post-service anxiety slipped from her mind as she downed half of her glass in one go. The cooks cheered her on downing their own pints.

“Claire!” She called, “Can you pull a Guinness for Arthur please.”

Claire gave her a thumbs up as she filled a pint glass halfway before letting it sit. By the time Arthur appeared at the bar, his pint was waiting for him. Cara pushed it to him.

“A gift, from me to you.” She grinned feeling her shoulders relax as the wine began working its magic.

“Thanks, Cara.” The sound of her name on his lips never ceased to arouse her.

She thanked whoever was looking out for her that the rest of the cooks were too busy making a ruckus to notice just how pink her face had gotten. Arthur however, noticed immediately. He pulled his stool right next to hers, sitting and raising his glass towards her.

“Cheers.” He said, the ghost of a smile playing across his face.

Cara returned the smile clinking their glasses together. Her first glass led to a second which led to a third and, soon all of the cooks had, one by one filed out of the bar, ready to start their drunken walks home. All, except Arthur who had just finished his second drink.

“Well,” Cara started, “I won’t lie, I’m fairly fucking tipsy, I think I’m going to head.”

“You’re not driving I hope.”

Cara snorted.

“Nah, I only live up the road, you never noticed that I walk here every day?”

“And here I just thought you were eco-friendly, come on I’ll walk you out.”

She couldn’t stop the excitement from rising within her as she said goodbye to the servers and bar staff. Arthur held the door open for her, stepping out into the cool, early evening air had never felt so good.

“I hope you’re not driving.” She said turning towards him.

“I live pretty far so I don’t really have a choice.”

‘Fucking jackpot.’ She thought that same giddy excitement making her breathless.

She hummed to herself, stroking her chin as if in deep thought. “I do still owe you that drink and I mean, the drink could technically be a coffee, of which I have plenty.”

“Cara, are you inviting me home with you? How the tables have turned.” He smiled down at her but, his eyes didn’t betray his intentions, he remained unknowable to her as always.

“You know something, I think I am.”

“How can I say no, led the way.”

Cara’s house wasn’t technically a house well, it was but, the landlord had separated the place into 2, 2 bedroom apartments. The scent of Arthur’s soap followed behind her, she hoped that his smell would linger even after he was gone.

“Sit down and make yourself at home.” She said pulling her Italian press from a cupboard next to the sink and vaguely gesturing to the L-shaped couch.

He sat never taking his eyes off her. She could feel his gaze hot on the back of her neck as she desperately tried to think of something to say, thankfully Arthur broke the silence.

“So, have you lived here long?”

She laughed turning to him, “No, I moved here to be Demetevler Escort closer to work it’s only been a few months, I had to go through hell just to get a viewing, who knew this was such a popular town.”

The press began screeching, demanding to be taken off the heat. She felt suddenly very sober as she tipped the coffee into 2 small espresso mugs. Arthur thanked her as he accepted the drink.

“Do you want a biscuit or something? I’ve got plenty.” She started towards the kitchen before he stopped her with a hand around her wrist.

“I want you to sit down Cara.” She sucked in a breath placing herself in the corner of the L, feeling very exposed under his intense stare.

“I don’t bite, you can sit closer, am I making you nervous?”

‘Yes oh god yes.’ She thought as she shook her head no.

“Good,” and there was that damn grin again, “Then come here.” He patted the space next to him and Cara, ever the people pleaser slid over to join him.

She could feel the heat radiating from him and even worse she could now sense the intentions behind that placid smile. Without a word he tentatively reached out to take her hand. Cara didn’t even flinch as she reciprocated the gesture.

“I admire you, Cara.”

“You do? Why?”

“For being able to put up with such bullshit in work every day, I know it must be challenging not to knock the chef out when he’s in a mood, and, don’t even get me started on Valentin that little shit.”

Cara laughed, humorlessly, “It isn’t my first rodeo, and believe me, I’ve worked with much, much bigger assholes.”

Arthur hummed in agreement his thumb tracing small circles across the back of her palm. His grip on her hand loosened and fell back to the couch putting his weight on it to lean over.

“I want to kiss you, Cara, can I?”

‘Oh god oh Jesus am I dreaming?’ She thought, the man she had been admiring for months was finally making a move and all she could do was nod and squeak out a small, “Yes.”

He inclined his body towards her, cupping the back of her head as he pressed their foreheads together “I’ve been thinking about doing this for longer than you could imagine.”

The tension was too much, and the pressure that was building in her lower stomach was too great. Cara reached up to push her hair from her face before pressing her lips to his. She was no stranger to fucking and one-night stands but, this felt different she had never been so aroused by such a simple gesture. She took his free hand and guided it to her waist pulling him closer. Just as the kiss was getting steamier, Arthur pulled away searching her face for any discomfort or regret.

“Nothing is going to be happening tonight Cara,” She opened her mouth to protest but, he shushed her.

“You’ve been drinking and, I’m not the type to take advantage.”

She groaned, “Please take advantage, I’ve been wanting you for fuck, I don’t even know, months maybe, don’t leave me needy like this Arthur it’s cruel and unusual.”

He chuckled rubbing a hand across his face, “Don’t start begging you’re just going to turn me on and, it will not work.”

Cara huffed sticking her bottom lip out and in one fluid motion, she removed her jumper to reveal that she was not wearing anything underneath.

“Jesus christ you are not going to make this easy for me are you?” She took his hands and put them to her bare breasts shaking her head and grinning wildly.

“You don’t want to take advantage and, I can respect that but, we don’t have to fuck we can just touch each other.” He still did not look entirely convinced.

“I need you to touch me, Arthur, it’s not a want, it’s a fucking need.”

That was all it took, he began gently massaging her breasts connecting their mouths. Cara upped the tension by slipping her tongue over his bottom lip gently tugging at it with her teeth. He let out a breathy moan allowing his tongue to caress hers. Her pussy throbbed painfully between her thighs as she squirmed in her jeans, desperate to be rid of them. She hooked her thumbs under his t-shirt and began tugging it off. Arthur complied breaking the kiss to free himself of the fabric. Cara took a second to take in his shirtless form, from his defined chest, his tight stomach right down to the happy trail that disappeared beneath his jeans.

“You’re so beautiful Cara,” He sighed, watching the now rapid rise and fall of her chest.

“You’re not too bad yourself,” She winked and, now it was his turn to blush.

“Undress me please.” She whispered in the dying light of the evening. Arthur quickly regained his composure, standing and gesturing for her to do the same.

Cara stood and watched the reds and oranges of the sunset paint him in dusk’s glorious hues. He gripped her waist and ran his hands up and down the curves of her breasts, down to her hips.

“Are you sure about this Cara?” She nodded her hands quickly finding the bulge that now stood in firm contrast between his jeans.

“I have never been so sure.”

He didn’t need any more encouragement, Arthur dropped to his knees in front of her, Cara’s hand falling from his crotch to instead, grip the arm of the couch. He undid the buttons of her jeans and let them pool around her feet. Leaving her fully exposed before him.

He leaned forward and let out a low chuckle, “No underwear? You came prepared.”

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