Tomato Filling

by Olivia Yayla

Kimberly has always had a sophisticated palate, and she has always known what she wants. She’s loved raw sushi since the early age of five, discriminating against anyone who dares to order a California roll at Nobu. By nine she’s been able to tell the difference between a strawberry Moscato and a rose champagne with a single swirl of the glass. And by 13, Kimberly has traveled through the villages of France and sampled hundreds of handmade pastries and foreign delicacies that most teenagers would pass up for a simple slice of pizza.

By 20 years old, Kimberly had transformed her love of extravagant sweets into a world renowned online dessert franchise, sending a sugar craze throughout the chasms of Pinterest and the For You pages of every New York City inhabitant. She bakes Ube Matcha macarons, Pineapple Coconut Crème Brulees, and invents twists of American classics that even the French Pastry Chefs she had previously insulted with her brutal blog critiques can not resist.

Her exquisite taste has spread through all aspects of her life, including her choice of men. Carlyle was an extremely sought after bachelor in the high-end restaurant scene of New York City. His suits were always freshly pressed, and his cufflinks changed with the seasons, but never touched the same suit twice. His hair was always perfectly gelled and combed to the side, and his food blog impresses even the most cynical of food creators. She’s visited every one of his five star rated restaurants, ordered every item off the menu, all for the small chance that he would make an appearance. She studied his blogs, noting his favorite flavor combinations, and most importantly, his least. She’s tailored her recipe book to his liking, regardless of the fact that they have never spoken in person. But in her eyes, Carlyle was Kimberly’s favorite flavor. She’s reimagined their wedding cake dozens of times. Imagining what it would be like to spend hours together whisking meringues, and pan searing fresh filets, constructing the most magnificent wedding menu imaginable.

A girl can dream, but Kimberly doesn’t dream.

Kimberly schemes.

Her single storefront and baking facility, Kake, neighbors Billionaire’s Row in the most prestigious street of Manhattan, offering luxury on a plate for customers of all walks of life. Through the eyes of the world, Kimberly has a flavorful life. But through her own, it has never been more bland. And ever since her most recent wedding cake order, her mood has almost completely soiled.

She thought she was hallucinating the moment she glanced up from the stove and saw Carlyle waiting to be served at a single table just minutes before closing time. She turned off the stove, destroying her raspberry coulis, before whipping through the kitchen’s doors and seating herself in the single seat before him.

“I thought I’d never be served….Wait I know you,” he said. Through every one of her fantasies, his voice was always a mystery. Not anymore.

“Do you?” her grin stretched from ear to ear.

“You’re that woman from my restaurant. You ordered…everything, am I correct?”

Her cheeks flushed, her words were stolen from her mind, and she suddenly found it hard to focus on his eyes.

“Yes, that’s it,” he nodded, leaning back in the seats she bought according to his How-to Design A Restaurant article. “Don’t worry, I was flattered. It’s rare to find a woman with good taste, nowadays.”

Her breath hitched in her throat, “So, um, would you like my sampling menu, one of everything? Or are you a man who knows what he wants?”

“Normally, I am, but my fiancé is a bit of a picky eater, so our wedding cake might need to be a little more simple than I would like.”

Everything he said after that was muffled over the brutal screams of her fantasies dying. His lips were moving, her right hand was taking notes, but she wasn’t there. How could this happen, she thought. How could he do this to me, to us?

“Any allergies?” she interrupted, the ringing in her ears pausing for just a moment.

“Ah, not for me. My fiancé, however, is deathly allergic to tomatoes, so I think we’re safe,” he laughed. But if only he knew.

They sat for hours, sketching cake designs, arguing about the clichés of vanilla wedding cakes, before deciding on a double dark chocolate cake with raspberry filling.

From the moment he left to the second the morning sun lit the dining room in golden light, Kimberly was baking. As the mashed raspberries bubbled in the sauce pot, she grabbed 10 baby tomatoes from the fridge, tossing them into the concoction. After a taste test, she tossed the whole pot into the sink. The tomato flavor was too strong, onto the next. By the time the doors were open to customers, seven sauce pots were piled high in the sink, and her secret formula was four peeled tomatoes per serving of raspberries. The tomatoes were practically invisible, and her plan was almost complete.

By nightfall, Kimberly found herself in the elevator of Carlyle’s apartment complex with a box of freshly baked double dark chocolate cupcakes with raspberry filling, and a secret dose of lectin. She never made house deliveries before, but for her future husband? As the elevator dinged for each floor, her heart raced, but not out of the excitement she had been feeling all day. Kimberly felt guilt.

But by the time she reached his floor and heard the shouting from behind his door, she loosened her tight shoulders. A woman’s voice shrieked, but she couldn’t tell whether it was out of frustration, or if it was her normal tone. My God, he must be miserable, she thought. And with that, she knocked on the door, and left the cupcakes for the very woman she was about to assassinate. Kimberly knew that death by any means was no joke. However, death by cupcake never sounded so sweet.

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