Ruth Has Dinner with Anatole

Ruth Has Dinner with Anatole

Ruth was standing outside of Anatole’s mansion. He had invited her there for a gourmet dinner which he himself had prepared. “It’s the least I can do to make up for canceling our dinner date,” he told her after the cooking class was finished and the rest of the students had left.

“You really don’t have to go to such trouble,” she had told him. “Something came up and you had to cancel the dinner. I understand that.”

“Please, I would like to do this,” he had insisted. “I will cook you a dinner that you will absolutely love.”

“All right, if you insist.”

“I do.”

She agreed to go to his home on Saturday evening at 7. And here she was. She had driven and parked her car in the courtyard. Pausing after she alighted, she gazed at the impressive Regency house. It was massive. She couldn’t wait to see what it looked like on the inside. Perhaps Anatole would give her a tour after dinner.

Removing her sunglasses and slipping them into her handbag, she walked to the front door and rang the bell. Anatole himself answered the door which surprised her. She had expected a uniformed butler or maid to receive her and then escort her to the drawing-room where her host would be waiting.

“Good evening,” he greeted her before he stepped aside for her to go in.

“Good evening.” She stepped into what had to be the foyer because there were steps leading up to the upper level and open entrances to rooms. On her left was what looked like the living-room/morning room and on her right an informal dining-room looking out to the garden. What a stunning home. The woman who ended up living here would be very happy and lucky. “From what I have seen so far, you have a very beautiful home.”

“Thank you. After dinner I can give you a tour of the house and of the grounds. Let’s go in to the living-room and relax for a bit then, we will have dinner afterwards. You look lovely, by the way.”

Ruth blushed. “Thank you. And you look very attractive in your tuxedo.”

“Thank you.” They went to the formal living-room where he fixed mocktails for them. As they sipped them, they talked about their week and other things. He didn’t mention that he had run into his ex-lover, Dena. It had been a shock to see her there at the supermarket and to learn that she was now living in London. Seeing her again had brought back the pain and the anger.

Her father had threatened to have him arrested for statutory rape if he didn’t pack his bags and leave Harare. He would have ended up in jail where he would have served a maximum of ten years. To spare himself that humiliation, he packed his bags and left. He came here to London to forget the past and to begin a new life. This was ten years ago. He was a renown chef now. His reputation would be ruined if it was ever discovered that he had been involved with a sixteen year old girl in a country where having sex with her was considered an offence or an indecent act.

He blamed himself for getting involved with her because at the time that they met, she was still going to school. That meant she was much younger than him. She was a teenage girl, for Pete’s sake, even at eighteen. He had allowed his feelings for her to get the better of him and he ended up almost going to jail as a result.

“What’s the matter?” Ruth’s question startled him.

“Nothing. Shall we have dinner now?”

She nodded and he preceded her to the formal dining-room and after she was seated, he served. It was a three-course dinner. For the starters, they had Arugula Salad. The main was Lemon Chicken Piccata with Buttered Noodles and Asparagus. The dessert was Chocolate Cream Pie.

“That was the most delicious dinner I have ever had,” Ruth declared when they were in the formal living-room where they were having non-alcoholic after dinner drinks.

Anatole smiled. “Thank you. I’m very pleased that you enjoyed it.”

“I will never be able to cook a meal like that.”

“My mother didn’t know how to cook until she got married and she was my inspiration. She taught me how to cook. It’s because of her that I’m a chef now.”

“My mother was a very good cook. She wanted to teach me but I wasn’t interested in learning how to cook.”

“I think both men and women should learn how to cook.”

“I agree.”

“It’s never too late to learn how to cook.”

“I never thought that I would be learning how to cook at my age but, thanks to you, I am.”

Anatole remembered how he had invited Dena over to his apartment in Harare to have dinner with him. She had asked him to teach her how to cook and he had readily agreed. He taught her on Saturdays. One Saturday, in particular after dinner, he put on some music and they slow-danced. As they were moving to the music, he drew back to gaze down into her upturned face. Then, he was kissing her and the kisses soon became very passionate when she responded. They ended up making love right there in the living-room on the floor.

Heat burned in his loins now and grimacing, he set his glass down on the table. “Let me show you the rest of the house.”

Ruth set her glass down and followed him out of the living-room. The rest of the house was stunning. She was overwhelmed by the classic décor. It was an imposing mixture of modern and classic. Paintings graced the walls, exquisite crystal chandeliers were suspended from the high ceilings and there were other works of art–marble and bronze sculptures. There was a good-sized library filled with all sorts of books and volumes. “Have you read all of these books?” she asked him.

“Most of them.”

He didn’t show her his bedroom but he showed her the three guestrooms, the kitchen, the room where he worked out and his garage. She saw the antique cars and inspected each of them. “You collect these?”

He nodded. “Yes. This is another one of my passions. Believe it or not, owning a classic car is a lot cheaper than people think. I buy them, enjoy them and then, if I decide to sell them, I can do so without worrying about depreciation hit. So, owning cars like these aren’t the financial risks that people think they are.”

After they left the garage, he took her on a tour of the gardens. They sat on the bench opposite the fountain and talked for a while. Then, it was time for Ruth to leave. He accompanied her to her car. “Thank for you a lovely dinner and the tour of your home and gardens,” she said to him.

“It was my pleasure.”

“I will see you in class tomorrow.”

“Good night, Ruth.”

“Good night, Anatole.”

He waited until she had driven off before he went back into the house. He went into the living-room to retrieve his drink which he hadn’t finished. He walked into the hallway where the columns were and he leaned against one. Beside him was the bronze statue holding a light. He had bought it a couple of years ago in an antique shop in London.

Dinner with Ruth had been pleasant but he knew in his heart that there was no future with her. She couldn’t help him to get over Dena any more than the other women could. He had tried to get Dena out of his system by dating beautiful, sexy, vivacious, sophisticated and adventurous women but it had all been in vain. None of them could make him forget or stop loving her. Tonight, Ruth proved that she couldn’t either–no one could.

He gulped down the rest of the drink, left the glass there on the ledge of the column and went upstairs to his room.

Sources: Fairmile Homes; The Herald; Yellow Bliss Road; Forbes