Title: Highspeed to love (18/ ???)
Fandom: Zeke & Casey
Disclaimer: of course, not mine
Author's notes: AU without Marybeth and Herrington High - Zeke is 23 years old in this story, living in Youngstown, Ohio - Casey, is 18 years old and loves ... cooking. Or what do you think ? ;)
Previous parts: one / two / three / four / five / six / seven / eight / nine / ten / eleven / twelve / thirteen / fourteen / fifteen / sixteen / seventeen / tbc
Casey hadn't said a lot since he had come back into the office with the muffins. He had preferred to busy himself with the coffeemaker. But now there was nothing more to do for him. He silently cursed Zeke for putting him into this embarrassing situation.
Mr. Pépin reached for his coffee and leaned back onto the sofa. He smiled.
"Don't be too mad at him!"
"He should better mind his own business," murmured Casey.
"And repair your car as soon as possible. I guess you have better to do than to sit here and eat stupid muffins."
"Aw, I hope you don't mean this. Because your muffins are good!"
Although Casey was not sure if he really meant it or just tried to be nice, he relaxed a bit. Such a compliment coming from Mr. Pépin was great to hear. The cook seemed to know Casey's feelings.
"I don't hold back with criticism when it comes to cooking, you know. When I say, it tastes good, I mean it. So, do you want to share your secret how you make them so fluffy and mildly-spicy?
"No, I can't," he blurted out.
"This is a special recipe of my grandma and she's never told anyone!"
When he heard Mr. Pépin chuckling, he blushed. What the heck was he actually thinking? One of the famous cooks ever asked to him for a recipe and he refused to give it to him?
"Sorry," he murmured embarrassed.
"Of course I can write it down for you. Just a moment, I will get a piece of paper!"
"No, it's okay," Mr. Pépin held him back.
"We don't want to upset your grandmother, do we?"
"She died a few months ago," Casey said.
"But I am sure, she would be proud that you like her muffins. She was the best cook in the world ... ähm ... not as good as you, of course, but ..."
Reassuring Mr. Pépin put his hand on Casey's arm.
"Casey, I may be well-known for my TV shows and books, but this doesn't mean that there can't be other good cooks. Maybe better ones, who knows. Keep her recipes for yourself. Every cook needs his little secrets."
Casey was sitting onto the couch, grinning like a cheshire cat. He had nearly been disappointed when Zeke had come into the office with the message that now work was finished. Of course Mr. Pépin had to leave then - but not without signing Casey's books - and not without giving him a business card.
"Call me whenever you need a few tips," he had said with a friendly smile that told Casey that he indeed meant it.
Holy shit. Had this been a thrilling hour? They had talked about this and that - of course a lot about cooking - which recipes they liked most - Mr. Pépin loved spaghetti with a spinach-cream cheese-sauce and had shared this recipe with him. Casey had promised that he would surely give it a try tomorrow. Later the starcook had asked him about school. That was a short, embarrassing moment. Of course he couldn't tell him the whole truth. So he had just said that he had visited a private school in Willoughby where until recently he had lived with his dad. But now it was about time to stand on his own feet ...
Zeke tore him out of his thoughts when he came into the office for a coffee.
"Want a muffin, "asked Casey when he dropped down onto the couch.
"One is still left!"
Zeke looked surprised.
Casey's grin widened.
"He has eaten two. And took one with him for later."
"Oh! So he was either really hungry ... or he liked them!"
"He even wanted the recipe."
Zeke took a hearty bite of the muffin and smacked his lips.
"Hmm ... This guy knows what good is. So ... not mad at me any longer?"
Casey rolled his eyes and chuckled.
"I guess, I will have forgive you. It was so great, Zeke. Mr. Pépin is a really nice man. He even wanted me to come with him!"
"Ähm ... what?"
"To Akron. The seminar. Mr. Pépin says there are still two places left.
He will give some short presentations there and he's one of the jurors of the final cooking. Every participant is allowed to present his own recipe. You can win a three-month practical course at a hotel in New York!"
He sounded so excited. Zeke swallowed down the rest of his muffin and coughed slightly.
"You will go to New York?"
"Would you miss me," Casey teased him.
"It's quite nice to have you around!"
"Just quite nice? You love my cooking skills!"
"No! Well, of course I do. But that's not all!"
Zeke was obviously struggling for words.
"Since I have the garage ... you know ... it changed everything. A few years ago I was known as a wild boy, no weekend without parties and shit. Today ... there are only a few good friends in my life. You are one of them. I can't stand too much nearness, but living together with you ... it feels just right."
Suddenly Casey felt a bit uncomfortable. This sounded so much more serious than Zeke's usual teasing.
"Don't worry. I won't go," he murmured.
"Not even to the seminar!"
"Because I'm just a little hobby cook. And it's meant for more experienced ones."
"So? And why do you think Mr. Pépin asked you to come? This is your chance, Casey! Go on and show them!"
"I can't, Zeke!"
Casey bit his lower lip.
"This seminar will last for two weeks. I would need a hotel room. A ticket to Akron. Probably I would also have to pay fees for attending. I just can't!"
As much as he tried to act untouched, Zeke could hear the sad undertone in his voice.
"Hm! But if this is what you want ...," he murmured after a short moment of thinking.
"Maybe I could ..."
Casey shook his head.
"Just forget it! I'm not gonna take the money from you. It's okay. Maybe I can go next year!"
A wide smile got back onto his face.
"Hey, I just had coffee with one of the most famous TV cooks. He gave me his autograph ... and a recipe for a spinach-cream cheese sauce. I hope you like spinach, because I'm gonna try this out tomorrow."
go to part 19