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Bonds of Friendship

The smell just got stranger every day. And every day, no matter how coldly or openly he disapproved, the idiot refused to stop his obscene attempts at cooking. Keith’s eyebrow twitched behind his hair and steel frames. He had hoped with his head bowed and a good book in hand that he would be better at ignoring the near noxious fumes rising from the boiling pot but it failed, much like an idiot he knew.

“Luke, I don’t believe you’ve explained why you couldn’t cook somewhere other than my kitchen. Surely even Hanna would have agreed to your intrusion. It’s not as if you haven’t excelled in harassing her.” He lifted his head and saw what looked to be an egg going into the pot of bile. “Are you ignoring me?” His eyebrow twitched again. The idiot barged into his room, hauled him away from important planning for the club, all the while babbling about wanting to learn what it was like to be a modern, common woman, and then he had the nerve to ignore him.

“You know, you’ll get wrinkles if you don’t learn to relax.”

“Relax.” Keith repeated the simple word in a mix of annoyance and calm disdain. “Have you heard a word I’ve said?”

“I did-”

“And have you nothing to say?”

Luke’s head and shoulders slumped forward. “They all said they were busy.” He mumbled pitifully.

“I recall saying the same thi-”

“So I decided to cheer you up with some home-made soup!” Luke whirled around armed with a broad smile and a spoon full of what he claimed to be soup. “I think I got some steps wrong.”

You got everything wrong, Keith thought, leaning away from the offered spoon. “I prefer my meals prepared by professionals, not a spoiled brat who wants to impress a bunch of girls.”

“I-…is it that bad?”

Luke lifted the spoon to his mouth, and to Keith’s disgust, he tried it. “Is your nose as dense as your head?”

“Hm?” Luke had gone back to the pot and had to turn to look at his friend. “What do you mean?”

“Are you telling me you really don’t smell that?”

“Smell what?”

“That.” Keith looked pointedly at the pot. “I believe you’ve somehow managed to create sewage.” He watched with boiling annoyance as Luke tried it again, then again, and again. “Lu-”

“I got it!”

“Got what, Idiot?”

“It’s you!”

“Explain this to me.” Closing the long forgotten book with a thud, Keith placed it on the raised island. If the idiot had a theory that somehow placed the source of the rancid smell on him, he wanted to offer his full attention so he could properly disprove it with as little words as possible.

“Check your sweater pockets.”

Keith looked at him with a blander look, which just got another order to check his pockets. Sighing, he reached into his pockets. His right hand felt nothing but the familiar soft fabric where as his left hand brushed over something slimy. He pulled it out and after staring at it, he slammed it on the counter. “Me? You blame this on me? You idiot! You put this there when you went outside in MY sweater after I told you not to.”

“Was it?” Luke looked at the bundle of rotten, slimy vegetables. “I think that’s the kale I wanted to use.”

Keith’s eyes narrowed till he could only sigh and straighten himself. “I’m going to take a shower. You’re free to keep this.” As he spoke, he unzipped the sweater, leaving him in a simple black tank, and handed it off to Luke. “Try not to put any other questionable vegetables in the pockets.”

“What about the soup?”

Already on his way out, Keith looked back expectantly, “What is so important about this soup?”

“It’s to cheer you up.”

“Luke, why do you think I need to be cheered up?”

“Because, it’s her birthday.”

Keith’s lips pressed into a tight line but that wasn’t enough to get Luke to stop looking at him with his annoying understanding.

“Remember? You told me once before about her and the soup she made for you when you got sick on a trip. You looked so sad when you talked about her, so I found the recipe.”

Despite the tension in his shoulders, Keith didn’t release the fists that hung at his side. It was one more death in the world, one more lost mother. He tried to believe the words but he couldn’t make the memories leave him be, especially on her birthday.

He started walking away and only stopped when the idiot called him. “After my shower….We can have the soup then.” He sighed out with resignation. His life wasn’t perfect but he knew one thing – no matter what came, Luke would always be the idiot in his life that somehow made sense when he least expected and always needed it.

© 2016 Maura D.

Prompt Source: tehuti‘s 100 Writing Prompts