Sage and Thyme: A Vignette
By Simply Shelby

She wasn't talking to him.

Colton Thyme frowned as he began cutting vegetables. The knife hit the cutting board harder than was necessary. He didn't notice. He continued cutting.

She was avoiding him, in fact.

The seventeen-year-old blew his disheveled dark hair out of his sapphire eyes, frustrated. He looked down at the vegetables he didn't realize he'd been chopping. The pieces were almost completely even. He shook his head. He'd been cooking too often. He scooped up a handful and dropped them into the boiling broth.

They'd fought- a real one this time. They almost never fought.

Sighing, Colt began to pluck seasonings off the rack in the cupboard. He set them on the counter. He opened the fridge and took the meat out. He opened the package up and began slicing the meat, as well.

Sure, they'd had their disagreements, even yelled at each other some. But they'd never yelled angrily before. It scared him.

He grabbed the meat up in his hands and dumped it in the broth, too. After throwing the package away, he washed his hands again. The water burned his skin. He grunted and switched the faucet to cold.

Mallory Sage was his best friend, even if she was only fourteen. And her not talking to him was making him miserable. He couldn't even remember what they'd fought about. It had been serious at the time, but now it was obviously petty.

Colt dried his hands and grabbed a wooden spoon. He began stirring the soup, slowly at first, but as he got more and more frustrated, he began stirring faster. He caught himself with a jerk, took a deep breath, and calmly began stirring again.

So they'd yelled, fought, thrown insults, most likely. And probably loud enough for the entire boarding house to hear. Kay, the manager of the boarding house's restaurant, had been the one to break them up, telling them to, "Hush up, the both of you."

While he'd been thinking, he'd stopped stirring and let a film covering settle at the top of the soup. He broke it with an irritated plunge of the spoon back into the bubbling liquid. He'd better pay more attention to what he was cooking, or it'd boil over.

He'd tried to apologize, then, but she'd looked at him with dark eyes and walked off in the opposite direction. He'd tried to apologize to her several times after that, with the same result. Finally, he'd stopped trying and fled to the boarding house's kitchen, barefoot.

Colt looked down at the white apron he'd shoved on over his jeans and T-shirt. It was stained, now, from the dripping of the wooden spoon and the sloshing of the soup. He gave a slight smile at the sight of him standing in front of the stove, wooden spoon in hand, and dressed in an apron. It was silly.

He'd taken up cooking years ago, as a way to calm himself down. He'd gotten better as the years progressed and he actually enjoyed the verb; though he wouldn't dare tell anyone besides Mallory. Anyone else would put him straight to work.

He was liberally adding in seasonings, knowing just how much of each to add in. He stirred it a bit and brought some to his lips. It tasted fine, not his best, but it was okay. The kitchen door opened. He spun around. It was after hours, no one should have been there. Mallory stood in the doorway, head bowed and a sack of groceries in her arms.

That was what they'd argued about. She had just gotten back from the market and he'd told her that it was dangerous for her to go out alone and that she should have taken someone with her. She'd told him she could take care of herself, thank you very much. He argued his point and she argued hers and things had progressed.

Silently, she began to put the groceries away and he ladled the steaming soup into two bowls. He tried to catch a glimpse of her face, but her long, black hair covered her face like a veil. She shut the cupboard and took a seat at the kitchen table. He placed a bowl and spoon on the table in front of her and took the seat opposite her.

He wished she'd say something- anything- to assure him that she didn't hate him; that she'd forgiven him. He held his breath and watched her eat.

She raised the spoon to her lips with petite fingers and sipped the hot liquid. Mallory looked up at him and met his gaze. "It's good, Colt." She stated softly and took another bite.

"Thank you." He began eating, as well.

Her shoulders relaxed, slightly. "I'm sorry for yelling. I know you were just being protective."

Colt shrugged, relieved, "I said the wrong thing at the wrong time. It was my fault, too."

So, they'd made it through their first fight. He knew he shouldn't have worried. He knew they would work it out. And he was glad.

After finishing, Mallory took their dishes to the sink and began washing them. Colt cleaned up the mess he'd made. He stopped and smiled as he read the labels of the bottles he held in his hands.

Sage and Thyme.