Official Description: His hands smelled like grapefruits, and he was going to teach me a lesson. My entry for the For The Sake of OJWard Contest.
Word Count: 10,026
There are a lot of oneshots I love, and I love them for a lot of reasons. Some are funny, some are touching, some speak to me on a philosophical level, and some are astonishingly well-written. It’s rare, though, that I find a story that is all of those things to me. Tines is one of those rare fics, which is why, almost as soon as I’d read it and long before the OJWard contest (for which it was written) was over, I was begging the Fictionators ladies to let me rec it.
Tines is a love story, but to assume that means it’s only about a romance between two people is to diminish its quite literal deliciousness – this story is a mastery of form. It demands to be lingered over the way one would take their time to savor the foods described, it bursts with brilliant colors and textures like the explosion of an orange on your tastebuds and, most of all, it reminds us that life’s richest pleasures aren’t to be rushed.
Bohemian Bella meets food-artist Edward at a party and is transfixed – as you will be – by watching him carve fruit into intricate designs for the entertainment of the guests:
“Thank you.” He said, and reached into his back pocket to pull out a card.
“I work out of my own kitchen most of the time, but if you’d ever like some lessons or anything, give me a call.”
I took the card and slid it into the very functional pocket of my thrift store ensemble.
His name was Edward and his hands smelled like grapefruits.
She takes him up on the lessons, and what follows is the unfolding of a perfectly paced love that eschews the “normal” paths and phrases generally found in fic in favor of showing us a different kind of growing intimacy – no heavy discussions or grand declarations, simply the desire to share and experience with a person who is becoming important in your life:
After that day there was never any guilt in eating our art, and that’s why it was beautiful. In the end, it had to end with devouring whatever we offered each other.
I can’t really describe all the reasons I love this O/S in 500 words or less, or even quote all my favorite lines – though You make me want to build a palace of cherries and feed them to you one by one has to be up there with my favorite lines from any fic. What I can tell you is that this story is lovely, delectable, original, and that you should read it right now. It absolutely fulfills its promise of coloring “outside the tines” – painting a complete picture not just in brilliant, sunny orange, but in luscious cherry red, vibrant kiwi green, and the dusky, intimate purple of grapes. Go take a bite.
I don’t read a lot of oneshots, because to be honest, I’m always afraid I’ll be left unfulfilled and wanting more. I’m a little bit greedy, so yeah… I don’t read a whole lot of them. When EchoesOfTwilight came to me and mentioned this one, I put it on my list to read, but it wasn’t until she sent me her rec up above that I actually jumped in and read it.
And let me just say: totally not unfulfilled.
It was so worth the read, the pacing is perfect as she said. In a place where a lot of authors have fallen back on the ‘Edward loves Bella and they belong together’ assumption, it’s nice to find someone who believes it’s important to actually show them falling for one another. To get to experience that whole falling in love thing is why we all came here, and it’s really nice to be reminded that it can be done in new and different ways. Especially when food is involved.
Case in point:
Walking behind me, he pulled the burnt-colored globe from my fingers and held it near my cheekbone. The smell of his skin, that close to my olfactory factory was intoxicating. He moved his mouth to speak into my right ear, and paused.
I shifted toward his face, unsure where this was going, considering he was still holding a fruit, and watched him sink his teeth into the bitter peel.
“You can be rough with this one.” He whispered.
“It is a blood orange after all. It expects and enjoys the punishment.” I could feel, inside my ear, as his tongue licked across his teeth.
You all know I like to flail… and this one got me flailing for sure. Go check it out!
So…I love reading fics that revolve around food, which you already because of my one-shot rec this past week. I don’t just mean that I like it when Bella or Edward is a chef or a baker. I want details (this may explain a current collaboration of mine). There’s so much that can be done with food in terms of description. It’s rich with possibility – taste, smell, feel, sound… not to mention the look of food.
Tines by Portiakhalo uses food in a few different ways. First, Bella, the narrator, relates food to childhood memories, and it’s written beautifully:
My mother never cooked when I lived under her roof. Maybe that’s why I longed for some form of matronly guilt to guide me toward adulthood. I needed this kitchen to feel alive. The warmth of the oven was my friend, and the whir of my kitchen-aid mixer meant my mind wasn’t spinning. If I was cooking, I couldn’t remember why it was that I knew Paula Deen and Nigella Lawson better than my own mother.
But when I took off my vintage apron and shook the flour from my hair, I was just me again. I was the daughter of a woman who’d never cared enough to care. Nothing she did ever came from her own two hands, except me. I wore the cloak of domesticity to protect me from the hypocrisy of my childhood.
Every Saturday, though, throughout my childhood, she bought the fanciest, pulp free orange juice the grocery store carried and carted it home with a dozen glazed donuts. I could make my own breakfasts from scratch now, but I kept the orange juice, always, in my icebox. It was our one happy memory.
Renee hires Edward to carve fruit for some party, and that’s where Bella meets Edward for the first time. The description is just pure sensory food porn. I don’t mean porn in the typical citrusy fic way, although in point of fact, Edward does have watermelon juice dripping down his arms before moving on to work on a grapefruit.
The whole one shot is full of double entendres and food metaphors. It’s lovely to read, even more so if you’re a whore for the Food Network, like I am. Give it a read!
So, a few months ago, the beautiful AmelieGray asked me about having an OJward contest since we all know that I’m all over that. This story was one of the entries, and I just wish that I could crawl into PortiaKhalo’s mind for a minute and absorb her.
This story is amazing. And not because it has OJward *gasp* It just is.
Though I love this fic for many other reasons, I am a girl, and this OJward pwns.
With orange in hand, I watched as he mutilated each one. Splicing it with his knife, he then gouged the tines of his highly regarded fork into the fruit, twisting and turning the tiny daggers while the orange gave up its gold into a glass.
After every half had given him its everything, he forced its floppy lips in the opposite direction of squeezed the last of the juice directly into his open mouth. Our glasses were full to the brim, and with one last squish, a droplet of orange nectar dripped down his chin. The tip of my tongue shot out in vain, wanting to be its net. I had to make do with licking my bottom lip as I stared at him. He captured it on the pad of his thumb just before the drop succumbed to gravity and soiled his shirt.
That familiar fire in his eyes that we’d ignited in my kitchen shot toward me again when he caught me sucking my lip into my teeth. He slurped the drop off his thumb, never removing his sight from mine.
This story is sweet and delicious. It’s definitely a favorite of mine, and I hope you’ll read it.
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