It was evening now, and Avrielle was in the ship's kitchen. She was helping the cook, David, make dinner. He didn't seem to appreciate her suggestions much but let her try what she wished and she enjoyed watching him squirm with annoyance as everyone complimented the chef on a wonderful meal. "What is in this stew?" asked the maintenance man from yesterday's corridor observance of the ship-graveyard. "I have never had anything so good in my life!"
Avrielle smiled as she explained a few Dividian techniques for seasoning vegetables and making the perfect broth, not too much information though. Every good cook keeps a few things up her sleeve. David grumbled something unintelligible as several crew-members asked him if he could have Avrielle make dinner a few nights a week. Later, he handed her a schedule written on scrap paper. "Here. This is when I can let you help out in the kitchen, although you have to follow the supply list. Take a good look at the supply list and make three meal-plans a week for then next four weeks, and submit that to me. If I approve of your ideas, you can make dinners, these nights I wrote here on the schedule. I suppose it will do me some good to have a few nights off, but I'll be around if anything goes wrong.?
Avrielle felt but did not show any smugness as David sourly handed her a broom and explained, "Most of the nights you're scheduled as cook, we have no kitchen staff to help clean up, which means, if you take the job, you clean up after yourself.? She scowled at the back of his head as he moved toward the door, "There's a list of cleaning duties on the cupboard door. When everything is finished and everything shut off you can leave. Turn off the lights when you go. I'll be back in two hours to check and lock up. See ya." and David was out the door.
"What an ass." She said to herself, as she cleaned the floors. She didn't care. She was happy she now had an official job on the ship. It said on the schedule, Deputy Cook. So, she had a title in the kitchen. She knew David was jealous that the others liked her dinner today better than all of his so far but she didn't feel bad for him. She planned on teaching him whatever she knew if he would show her some popular human dishes, and, well, refrain from being so much of, well, so much of an ass. It'll work out, she thought.
At least it allowed her access to the kitchen, which would be good for those days when she needed to think or be by herself and have something rote to keep her hands busy while she thought. She felt this way about cooking. Avrielle used to bake a great deal at the Temple because it made her feel better when she got depressed. Cooking is like therapy for Avrielle. She was glad to have more chances to do it.
There were a few men still standing around the dining hall, talking with each-other or having one more bite or sip before going back to work. Grivyk winked as he left the hall. Later she would tell him the good news about becoming Deputy Cook.
She noticed a boy, he couldn't have been more than a teenager and if he was out of his teens, he barely made it. The boy was staring at her from the other end of the room with a goofy smile on his face. But every-time she turned in his direction he would stop smiling and quickly make like he was busy reading something off a data pad. She'd noticed him earlier too, when she was touring the ship. It seemed today everywhere she was, this boy was too, and always, staring with that goofy smile on his face. "Hmmm." she said to herself. Is this a secret admirer? A little schoolboy crush?
When everyone had left the hall except him and she was nearly done cleaning everything except his spot, because he was still there, that is when the cuteness of the crush began to wear off for Avrielle. "Excuse me; do you plan on staying here much longer?"
The boy jumped when she spoke, as if shocked she'd talk to him. "Uh, um, I mean, uh,? he swallowed several times and then continued," Tim."
Avrielle was confused. "What?"
He turned bright crimson. "Sorry, I meant to say, um, that my, um, my name is Tim, and I really liked your cooking tonight, ma'am."
Avrielle sighed. How long will this take? She smiled warmly, not letting him see her impatience, "Thank you, Tim. Do you need anything else, because I'd like to close up here?"
Tim blinked and forced out a reply, "N, n, no, ma?am, I, uh, I was just about to go," but he looked as if it was the last thing he wanted to do, leaving Avrielle's presence.
"Ok. Oh, and Tim, please don't call me ?ma?am?. It sounds so old and I'm not that old."
He nodded, barely getting anything but a, "Mm, Hmm" out as he nervously rose from his seat, dropped his pad, bent to retrieve it and hit his head on the table's edge on the way down, tripped when he tried to recover, picked up the pad, turned even more red, and stumbled over his own feet in the direction of the door. Avrielle followed, wanting to ensure he got to the door, and soon. It's kind of cute. He really is smitten, poor child, she thought to herself with a smile. He dropped his pad again and it landed closer to Avrielle, as she bent to pick it up for him she didn't know whether to be offended or flattered as he, much too obviously although trying to be sly about it, leaned over to check out her cleavage. When she looked into his face, while handing him his pad, she swore if he'd have turned any redder he'd be purple.
"How old are you Tim?"
She thought he might faint but he forced out a response, "I, I'm 18, ma... miss. I'll be 19 in December."
So young to be here, she thought, feeling a bit sorry for the kind of life he must have had to have led him into piracy at such a young age. "You have been following me around, haven't you?? she asked, looking him straight in his honest blue eyes.
He seemed to deflate right in front of her face.?Well, I, I, I'm sorry if I have been bothering you. I just, you are so... I don't know. I don't know what I was doing. I wanted to talk to you. I've never met a Dividian before and I had no idea they were so... so, well, I wanted to ask you about yourself, your culture, stuff like that. But you're so... and I'm just...,? he shrugged and looked her in the face voluntarily for the first time.?I'm sorry if I bothered you." With that, Tim turned to walk out the door.
Avrielle decided he was harmless and felt bad for her shortness with him. "Tim, you haven't really bothered me, it's just, well, now is the wrong time for a chat but another time, maybe later in the week, I'd love to get together and tell you about my culture. You can also tell me about yours. I could use a few friends on this ship." She stressed the word friend. She could see by the look on his face he heard it.
"Thanks. I'd like that."
"Goodnight, um, Miss..."
"Tim, you can call me Avrielle."
"Thanks, Avrielle, goodnight." The shy boy left the dining hall, and Avrielle was free to leave and go about her own business. She shook her head and smiled as she thought of Tim following her around like a puppy all day. Just to be sure, she checked the area and took a look around. No, he's not here. Good. He got the hint. Avrielle wasn't ready to return to quarters yet. She decided to check out the gym next.