Fresh Start Chapter 60

As Alexis dressed after taking a shower, she thought about the pleasant young woman she'd been with all day. She was pleased that Jirra was so nice, but it was obvious that Jirra was hiding something.

As Alexis dried her hair, her mind replayed the conversation she had overheard between the two boys at the bike shed. While the blond boy was an ***, she sensed that there was another reason why Jirra didn't like him. Maybe the boy was right and Jirra preferred girls, she thought.

Alexis dressed in a long floral cotton skirt and a green blouse. As she walked out of her cottage, she saw that the bike had been delivered as promised.

A short time later she arrived outside Jirra's cottage.

"Any trouble finding us?" asked Jirra as she greeted Alexis.

"None at all. What a nice place," she commented as she walked inside.

"We still have a lot of stuff to unpack," stated Jirra, as she led Alexis into the living room. "Mum, Alexis is here."

Liz came out of the kitchen with a big smile on her face. "Pleased to meet you, Alexis."

"Same here. I hope I'm not causing you extra work."

Liz shook her head. "It's not a problem. I hope you like barbecued chicken."

Alexis nodded. "I love it."

"I need to get back to my kitchen. Please make yourself at home."

"Is there anything I can do to help?" asked Alexis. "I love to cook."

"Okay, I can definitely find use for a couple more pairs of hands," replied Liz. She understood why Jirra had been raving about Alexis; she seemed to be a genuinely nice person.

"Jirra, would you start the grill, and then make the green salad? Oh, and make sure the pepper grinder is full - the potato salad simply demands fresh ground pepper. I started marinating the chicken breasts in orange juice with onion and garlic at lunchtime. The red potatoes are almost cooked, and I'll coach Alexis on making the hot potato salad."

"Okay, Mum," replied Jirra.

Liz had Alexis core and dice a sweet green pepper while she chopped a red onion. Alexis then tossed those with the hot, diced potatoes, capers, chopped ripe olives, garlic, olive oil and red wine vinegar. Meanwhile, Liz basted the chicken breasts with olive oil, dusted them with curry powder, and put them on the grill.

She then broke out a bottle of chilled Niersteiner Domtal and served glasses to Alexis and herself.

"I hope you don't mind my eclectic mix of cuisines. My husband and I picked up recipes from all over the world during our military postings, but I like to mix and match recipes that I think will go well together. And this wine is simply my all-time favourite for an outdoor chicken meal."

"The wine is great, and I'll try anything once," stated Alexis with a grin. "The chicken sure smells good."

"This is one of my favourites," added Jirra.

They ate dinner out on the patio. It was a pleasant evening, and they enjoyed a stunning sunset. After a brief pause for digestion, Liz served scoops of vanilla ice cream with shaved dark chocolate and chopped peanuts for dessert.

"That was excellent, Liz," Alexis complimented her. "I know how to do the potato salad. Can I get the chicken recipe from you?"

Liz nodded as she sipped her cup of coffee. "I can e-mail it to you if you'd like."

"That would be great," replied Alexis. "This was so nice. I forgot how good home cooking is!"

Liz smiled. "You're welcome anytime you want to come over, Alexis. Just as long as you don't mind me putting you to work."

The howl of a coyote broke the stillness of the twilight.

Over after-dinner coffee, they talked, and Alexis secretly studied Jirra. While Jirra was obviously a young woman, there was a definite masculine streak to her personality. It was subdued, but it came out every now and then, observed Alexis.

"I'd better get going. Thank you so much for dinner," stated Alexis. "Jirra, you still want to go for a hike in the morning?

Jirra nodded. "What time?"

"Is six-thirty too early? I want to observe some of the local wildlife."

Jirra shook her head. "That's great. I'll meet you at your cottage. The trail I want to take you on starts right nearby."

Alexis walked back to her cottage and wondered how she would broach the questions on her mind to Jirra.
Becnme Becnme
56-60, F
Jan 23, 2013