He couldn’t recall feeling so uptight about anything. Lucy dined at fine restaurants, talked food, knew what wine went with what. He liked take-away chicken and beer.

His sister helped with the menu.

They started with soup. He watched to see if she’d finish. She ate with gusto, licked her lips and said how main course was always made sweeter by what went before.

That only made him more worried about entree. Calzone. Fancy pizza. ‘Delicious,’ she said. ‘A little spicy. The way I like it.’

Phwew. So far so good. For main he’d roasted a nice cut. His sister had left instructions and gravy already done. ‘But call it jus‘ she’d said. She showed him how to let the joint sit, and suggested he serve at the table for dramatic effect. Everything went perfectly. The tender meat slid away as he carved, pink and juicy. Lucy even asked for seconds. When she was done she ran her tongue through the juices clinging to the blade of her knife and suggested they take dessert somewhere more comfortable.

Dessert. What dessert? thought Alex, alarmed. Then he remembered the  ice-cream buried at the back of the freezer.

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