How It Was


The first time Orlando meets Viggo they are cordial, if a bit cold. Orlando thinks Viggo is threatened. Orlando doesn't want that. He just wants to do what he loves-cooking, seeing people enjoy the food he has prepared.

He came to work with Viggo because Viggo's culinary skills are renowned. He's a genius with food. He makes the most ordinary seem spectacular. His specialty dessert is chocolate molten cake served with strawberry crème fraise and caramel. Orlando ate bites from his lover, Sean's, plate and knows he had to say yes to the job.

Sometime in the middle of his second month in Viggo's kitchen, Orlando begins to wonder why he's been hired. Viggo is still cold and distant and the most creative thing Orlando has done is adding rum to the caramel sauce. He decides to confront Viggo, but doesn't want to do it at work. So at Sean's suggestion-big, wonderful, warm Sean who holds Orlando when the pressure is too much and is amused by Orlando's food kinks-Orlando goes to Viggo's house.

Viggo doesn't seem surprised to find Orlando at his door. He leads Orlando to the kitchen and sits down, looking expectantly at Orlando.

"Why do you hate me?" Orlando asks, leaning against Viggo's marble counter, looking at his feet.

"I don't hate you, Orlando," Viggo says.

"Coulda fooled me."

Viggo sits back in his chair. "Orlando, you took the position because you want to learn from me, yes?" Orlando nods and Viggo continues. "To be the best you must understand the basics. Chefs today forge that; so intent are they on creating perfection. Food is an art, and like any other art, you have to master the most basic skills first."

Orlando shifts uneasily, "Oh." It isn't the answer he was expecting and now he feels awkward and ridiculous for storming into Viggo's house and demanding answers.


Orlando looks up and is startled to find Viggo standing beside him, almost touching him. "Y- Yeah?"

"Did you need anything else, Orlando?"

Orlando shakes his head and bolts for the door.

Back at home, Sean asks Orlando how it went and Orlando just shrugs. He's not sure what happened, really. He just sinks into Sean's warmth and tries to forget about Viggo.

* * * * *

The next time Orlando goes to Viggo's house, it is at Viggo's invitation. He's trying a new recipe for bread pudding and wants Orlando's input. Orlando hesitates, but Sean encourages him to go, making him promise to bring home a sample. Sean is a sucker for sweets.

Orlando finds none of the discomfort he felt the last time he was in Viggo's kitchen. Viggo is genuinely interested in Orlando's suggestions. He likes Orlando's suggestion to cook the pudding in a bath, making in more custard-like.

Orlando is so flattered that when Viggo leans over and kisses him lightly on the lips, he kisses back without thinking. He pulls away when he realizes what he has done, mouth open, blinking at Viggo.

"I am sorry," Viggo says softly. "I got carried away. Please forgive me."

Orlando just nods. "I- I have to go." He turns and leaves and half way to his car realizes he forgot his jacket, so he turns back.

Viggo meets him at the door, jacket in hand. Orlando reaches out to take it and Viggo grabs his hand and pulls him close and kisses him again and this time Orlando doesn't pull away.

When Orlando returns home, Sean is already asleep. Orlando crawls into bed beside him and hopes the sweet sugary smell overpowers the scent of Viggo on his skin.

Orlando finds excuses to go to Viggo's constantly and Sean never questions him. Sean's busy trading stocks and doing other market-related things that he doesn't much notice when Orlando is there anyhow.

Sometimes when Orlando goes to Viggo's, they cook. Sometimes, Orlando swims in Viggo's pool while Viggo watches from the deck. Sometimes they sprawl across Viggo's massive leather couches and watches old black and white movies. Sometimes they talk.

But every time, they fuck.

Orlando knows he should feel guilty, but he can't find that emotion within him. He's anxious that one day Sean will find out. Nervous in anticipation of Sean's reaction, but he can never bring himself to feel remorse for being with Viggo.

* * * * *

Orlando is at work-baking off chocolate biscotti and crème brulee-when Sean discovers the truth.

Orlando had worn an old shirt of Viggo's home one night. He threw it in a pile of dirty clothes and promptly forgot about it.

The shirt is lying in Sean's lap when Orlando comes home, smelling like chocolate and almonds and vanilla. Sean doesn't ask and Orlando doesn't offer explanations. They stare at each other over the expanse of beige carpet and finally Sean nods.

"Okay. Fine," he says, balling the shirt in his fist. "I should have known, really." He offers Orlando a dark smile. "After all, we hated each other when we met, too."

"I'm sor-" Orlando stops himself. He's not sorry and Sean would see through his lie. "I'll go."

Sean just nods again and Orlando turns and leaves.

Viggo takes Orlando in without any questions. They find a rhythm, living together, working together. Viggo never asks when Orlando is leaving and Orlando never asks if Viggo wants him to go.

Life with Viggo clicks much easier than life with Sean ever did. Orlando tries to muster up guilt, but he never finds it and he is so much more comfortable in his life with Viggo that he thinks he'll never feel remorse.

Mostly, he feels joy and thinks maybe, this is how it was supposed to be.