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Published: 8/7/2012

Fifty Plates of Eggs

BY DANIEL NEMAN
BLADE FOOD EDITOR

The egg wobbles at the edge of the counter and tumbles off. I give an involuntary, exhilarating shiver as I watch it pitch downward, hit the floor, and shatter into a thousand tiny fragments.

Christian's fierce gray eyes darken. Is he angry at me? He leans over and wipes up the glistening mess with a wad of hundred-dollar bills. "I'm very rich, you know," he purrs.

My subconscious beams happily. He likes me! I ask, "Will we still be able to make an omelet?"

He sets his mouth in a line, and I am afraid he is angry again. But then he gives a hint of a wry smile. "We still have 49 eggs left," he quips.

My inner goddess does handsprings. That's the funniest thing I've ever heard! He has such an incredibly wry sense of humor!

"You are so young and inexperienced, Miss Steele," he says in that formal way that makes me swoon. "I will take my time to show you exactly how to do it."

He is such a control freak! But then he runs his hands through his copper-colored hair, and my breath hitches.

With darkening eyes, Christian opens the refrigerator door and removes a package of eggs. He thinks of everything. How could he know I like eggs? That must be the sort of thing that all beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating billionaires know. But he is so deeply enigmatic. Will I ever truly get to know the real Christian Grey?

He puts an apron over his white linen shirt and silver-gray woven tie. I bite my lower lip and instantly recognize my mistake when his burning gray eyes darken with anger. "How many times do I have to punish you for biting your lip?" he asks, throwing an egg and hitting me square in the forehead. I should be upset, but for some reason I'm not. My breath hitches and my subconscious constructs a small village entirely out of toothpicks.

Christian extracts a single egg from the carton and taps it on the counter, lightly at first and then harder and harder until the egg cracks. My breath hitches. He traces his lower lip with his finger, then suddenly grasps the shell in both hands, pulling it apart and allowing the slippery egg to drop tantalizingly into the bowl. My breath hitches again.

"What does that mean, your 'breath hitches?' " he asks.

"I'm not exactly sure. But it certainly hitches a lot."

His dark eyes glower and his mouth sets in a firm line once more. Now he roughly takes another egg out of the carton. Again? He knocks it against the counter, harder this time, and forcefully breaks the egg into the bowl. Then he does the same with another one and another one. I lose count how many eggs he cracks, but it turns out to be four. He is making a four-egg omelet for the two of us. Just us two. My inner goddess plays a happy game of Parcheesi.

He looks at me with enigmatic implacability. "Now I'm going to show you the part I like best," he whispers.

He grabs a leather-plaited whisk and begins whisking the eggs in the bowl. Eyes flashing with anger, he whips the eggs, he beats them, he flogs them into a creamy froth. My breath hitches.

But he doesn't seem to care about me at all. I roll my eyes at this emotional snub and wonder vaguely what it is his business actually does. He is obviously ridiculously successful and he is always on the phone in snippets of conversation, but they are always utterly generic and uninformative. I guess that's just one more mystery about this most mysterious man.

Christian puts a skillet over the flame. He drops a pat of butter on the pan, where it sizzles like my hot blood. He pours the eggs onto the pan and moves them around with a leather-plaited rubber spatula. Time stands still as he flips the egg and folds it over into a perfect omelet. My inner goddess dances a polka with an Armenian veterinarian named Sahan. My breath hitches.

Summoning up all my courage, I ask for a cup of tea.

"Of course, Anastasia," he says. "What kind would you like? I have fifty shades of Earl Grey."

Contact Daniel Neman at dneman@theblade.com or 419-724-6155.



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