|Dante "Inferno" Zaragoza - Death'll find you... (xolotl) wrote in repose,|
@ 2020-05-23 16:04:00
|Entry tags:||*log, dante zaragoza, hugh christian|
[Log: Dante & Hugh: To Bake A Cake - COMPLETE]
Who: Dante & Hugh
What: Making Cake!
When: Before April 9th.
Where: Hugh’s place.
Ratings/Warnings: Language. Always language.
Why was she being so psycho about this? She knew why. That card she’d found was… It was… Accurate. And Dante didn’t know how the fuck to feel about that at all other then… Then… Panic? But it wasn’t really panic just a level of anxiety that made her feel like she’d flip a table with just the right kind of provocation. Fuck, she really needed to not be a fucking Karen about some stupid shit. She needed to calm the fuck down. Not that telling anyone - including yourself - to calm down was ever a good idea as it just provoked more feelings of annoyance at herself.
Either way, as agreed upon with Hugh that Dante would run back to her house for a quick shower before dressing in a tank top, an old and well worn but comfortable pair of red Vans, and a pair of low-rise slim-cut blue jeans that were quite faded and likely soon would begin to fray. It was easy to grab everything she’d need to bring over to his place after dressing. A quick list of ingredients was collected up and put in a bag before she removed the slow cooker from its spot on her kitchen counter. It was a wonderfully reliable machine that Dante was endlessly thankful she’d learned to use years ago. How she would have scrapped by some days without it - if it was cost or time - she didn’t know. Especially, with how she could eat on particularly… Busy… Weeks.
Hair still wet and smelling freshly of her strawberry body wash she’d load everything - including herself - into Dart and make a beeline for Hugh’s place. The drive wasn’t long and she’d been getting more and more use to driving up on and then walking up to fucking mansions so it didn’t feel like it was looming over her quite as fucking much as the first time. Chucking the feelings out - they weren’t useful - Dante would tuck the slow cooker under her arm and grab the bag of things before bumping her hip against Dart’s car door to shut it.
“HUGH!” Dante hollered as loud as she could as she neared the door with her hands full - her voice only cracked a little, success - even though she couldn’t get very loud anymore. He knew she couldn’t sing. This was just an extension of that. Something about vocal cord damage that could heal assuming she didn’t strain her voice and well… That was laughable. Working in a shop she had to yell, being a vigilante she had to yell… There was no way she was ever going to be able to rest her voice enough to let it fully heal and well.. That just meant no ability to scream at all without her voice squeaking out. It happened sometimes too when she yelled but it seemed to be less of an issue? Though yelling was generally more controlled than screaming and…
Chuck that thought out too, it’s not useful.
The hand holding the bag was shifted so that she could manage a half-assed knock at the door. If Hugh didn’t open up soon she was gonna start cooing Heart’s name because the dog definitely would hear her and come running to the door. Especially, after all the time they’d spent together while Hugh was doing his shows and things with walks and puppy potty times, Dante knew Heart would want to see her too.
Heart did hear and Hugh put down the cup he was working his way through and followed the chocolate labrador towards the door in time to hear Dante's bellow. "I'm coming," he called, quickly telling Heart to sit, and he pulled open the door, immediately reaching out to divest Dante of at least some of the things that she was holding. "Good lord girl, are you trying to kill yourself? I could have come out to help you," he laughed and held the door open so that she could enter. "Just go straight on into the kitchen," he directed and kicked the door shut with his foot before following her.
Heart seeing that her people were leaving, wiggled for a moment trying to stay seated, but when they were going, she bounded after them, zooming through into the dining room, and Hugh was half afraid either he or Dante would trip over the overly excited creature.
"Heart, sit, stay." He put the slow cooker on the counter, near the stove where there was a plugin, and he turned to the dog. "You can say hi, just be chill." Then, to Dante: "Want a drink, and if so preferences?"
“Not yet, check back tomorrow if this cake experiment is a disaster.” Dante swiftly volleyed back at Hugh’s teasing about if she was trying to kill herself by carrying so much. As he physically removed things from her arms she’d lean over pressing a kiss against his cheek without a second thought. “My hero, saving me from imaginary harm at a moment’s notice.” The joke felt strange and Dante wondered if Hugh might take it differently if he had any ideas about some of her nighttime adventures.
However, with Hugh’s instruction Dante would take a moment to smile at Heart and coo in an almost sickeningly sweet tone - “Hi, baby girl.” - before redirecting her attention towards the kitchen and making her way through the house accordingly. If her hands hadn’t been full she totally would have taken a moment to happy dance with Heart but that would need to wait.
Pulling the bags up without an ounce of effort they’d be placed on the counter as Dante easily stepped around the happy puppy and felt her own heart soar. She loved dogs so much. They were so sweet and loving and never stabbed you in the back like a bitch on some idle Tuesday because she got bored and decided-
Nope, that anger needed to gtfo.
Hugh was talking again through and she turned to look at him with a smile. “Oh, liquoring me up before we start baking huh?” An eyebrow quirked suggestively, playfully. “I see your game and I’m always accepting nice red wines or if you’re really in the mood to go the extra mile I’m always a fan of daiquiris.” But with Hugh addressed? Dante would give him one last smile before her gaze turned down to Heart and she descended down to one knee while moving towards the happy puppy.
“But first, come here pretty girl.” And Dante’s hands were reaching for the dog to pat and hug and whatever else the happy dog dance might cause her to endure. “Who's a good girl? You’re a good girl, you’re a good girl. Oh who’s my pretty girl? Who’s my sweet girl? Oh it’s yoouuuuuuu.” A kiss would attempt to be placed against the top of the pup’s head but between the pats and human at pup level, who knew how successful she’d be on that.
It was only after a few minutes of Appropriate Puppy Loving™ that Dante would finally pop up to stand again and look over to Hugh with a smile and her hands falling to her hips.
Hugh only offered a smile at her adoration of the chocolate lab, who was, much like the man she put up with on a regular basis, delighted to have company.
He let the two spend a few moments while he pulled out some rum and lime juice. "You want strawberries?" He asked, cause daiquiris he could definitely do, and he had all the things on hand and while it wasn't quite fresh strawberry season, he did have some frozen strawberries at least if she wanted it.
"So we're not going to have any deaths over a disastrous cake," he told her. "Because we are going to completely nail this, and Leena's not gonna know what hit her. Plus, girl, I think you walk in like you're owning it, and Leena's not going to care if the cake is rubbish." He raised an eyebrow with the tiniest of smirks at this suggestion. Hugh didn't specifically go around nosing his way into other people's business as a general rule, but he also was not blind.
He dumped everything into the blender, before digging around for the strawberries to add, and then giving her the option to opt-out of talking about Leena if she didn't want to, he turned it on to blend. And as it looked well mixed, poured up two glasses - one for each of them, and handed it over with a grin and a nod of his head. "Cheers darling. I pulled out my mixing bowls," he slid one of the metal bowls in her direction. "What else do we need for this venture? I've got the kitchen aid mixer, but there's also whisks and hand things if that's what the recipe calls for."
“Totally strawberries.” A little taste of summer sounded like a dream right now even if the drink was likely to have a slightly sour bent due to the season. “It would have to be one really, really bad cake for that to happen.” And the idea of death near Leena gave her a lot of very confusing and not very good feelings heaped in too and it was probably better to just stop talking about death until she got that internal mess sorted out. The compliment from Hugh earned an appreciative grin of his words and a laugh. Was it that obvious that Leena was fucking her? Admittedly, she knew she could get the other woman worked up but… That was just sex… Wasn’t it...?
“When don’t I walk in like I’m owning it?” There was a devilish chuckle added on with the words. Dante was well aware that she was physically attractive and it was generally pretty easy to hide the shit show her brain was too as long as no one ever got too close. Though the fact that Hugh had jumped to making daiquiris caused a sort of fondness to settle in her chest for him. His willingness to hop to taking care of whatever was deeply endearing and honestly if he had moved just a little quicker he probably would have charmed Dante’s pants off without much effort at all.
There were drinks with a returned “Cheers!” as she very, very carefully controlled the movement to make sure she didn’t smash both the glasses in their hands with the motion and there were questions and Dante’s brow furrowed thoroughly for a moment as she mentally recalled the steps of the cake making process.
“Do you have a flour sifter?” The recipe might not call for that but Dante knew better than to try to work with lumpy flour for fucking anything.
"Never, baby," Hugh laughed at her question. Dante owned a room and a space pretty much anytime she wanted to, so far as Hugh could tell. And it was a skill that he appreciated. There might have been a time or a circumstance where he'd have felt insecure around it, but that wasn't this moment. Mostly he was just glad to have her around, and glad that she was willing to hang on his arm sometimes. He maybe didn't know if she and Leena were serious, but he'd gotten the impression that there was something, maybe. And if there hadn't been? Well he might have started thinking about breaking the rule he'd given himself to not sleep with friends. He sort of felt that Dante and he could probably slide across that line and back without it destroying everything. A moot point because he was pretty certain she wasn't interested.
"I do have," he put his daiquiri to the side and moved to the end of the kitchen towards a cabinet a little less central to the others. He dug around in it for a moment, before coming back out with a flour sifter, and set it down next to the large metal bowl.
"I have a good feeling about this," he told her. "We are definitely going to make the best cake ever." He took a drink and then as if suddenly thinking of it: "How do you feel about Panic at the Disco music wise? Cause this project needs music."
“That’s what I like to hear.” She’d toss a wink Hugh’s way without a second thought and a smirk. Hugh knew how to play the game she so often played with many others. It was easy to toss back and forth compliments and feign a powerful confidence. Hell, most of the time she could even feel that confidence when she spoke but with recent events? Honestly? It was leaving Dante’s confidence shaken. She was venturing into unknown territory without a textbook or a tour guide and was desperately fucking lost. There had even been the fleeting thought about trying to buy some relationship advice books or some shit and perhaps even a private browser with ‘how to tell if it’s romantic’ or some other such searches - ‘Is she playing you?’, ‘What signs to look for to know it’s sincere’ - and honestly it was all coming up frustratingly straight and honestly not fucking helpful at all.
The truth was the closer Dante felt to Leena, the more she felt like she had no idea what Leena was thinking.
“Disaster possibility #1 averted.” Dante would joke back without a single thought because this was easy. Hugh was off to fetch the item and the mechanic would turn to sip her drink and let little loving strokes of fingers grace Heart’s head while they waited.
“Best cake ever?” Dante couldn’t help a laugh as the straw slipped out from between her lips. “High cake baking aspirations tonight? High enough to need a soundtrack?” She joked because why not? Even if her anxiety had spiked at an all-time high with a new thing it didn’t know what the fuck to do with it didn’t mean they couldn’t have some fun.
“No objections.” A smile was tossed over at Hugh, a final pat given to Heart’s head before her drink would be put down and Dante would move to where everything had been laid out.
"I think that means that 'High Hopes' has to be the first song, for sure, and then we'll let Spotify have a go at it from there," Hugh laughed, starting the music, and then giving Heart some quick love before he reached to wash his hands.
"Have you figured out all of the other birthday things you're going to do?" He asked. "Once we nail this cake, which is going to happen, and I mean, if it doesn't, we can try a second time? I mean, why not, we have all evening."
He glanced over. Obviously birthdays were a thing for Dante, which Hugh got, he liked to celebrate his friends also, but this seemed like maybe more than? Of course he wasn't certain if he should ask. And hell, even if he did, he was hardly someone to be giving anyone relationship advice or conversations about them. He'd messed up every major one that he'd ever taken. So, yes, probably not really something he should nose about in - he wouldn't be helpful anyway.
“Well fuck, I hope it’s not only hopes.” Dante would counter with a little laugh to follow to punctuate the intended humor. They were both relatively intelligent adults with access to the internet and personal cooking and baking experience. She had no doubt that they could figure it out, it was just a matter of how many tried. With his next question her pensive pondering over the things in front of her would break and Dante would turn her attention back to Hugh who was… Washing his hands. Fuck. Right. She should do that too. Just because Leena supposedly never really got sick didn’t mean good hygiene with cooking should be abandoned. Dante would move to queue up behind Hugh to wash her hands once he was done.
“She asked for food and to hang out. Most of the other stuff isn’t too hard. Cookies and tacos and chocolates I have experience with making already. I was thinking about doing homemade chocolates for her but since we’ll be doing the ganache with this cake and this cake is it’s own fucking beast I figured maybe chocolates might be too far. I do still want that fondue set though.” A grin spread across her face. “If the ganache doesn’t do it, I think the fondue will.” Which admittedly she wasn’t trying to get laid - it was Leena’s birthday, that meant it was Leena’s choice if she wanted sex above and behind the normal consent that Dante left in Leena’s hands - but if she made Leena feel special enough that it made Leena frisky? Well, Dante sure as fuck wasn’t about to tell the other woman no. “So, it’s probably just gonna be a shit ton of food at my house while we watch a movie or play a game or some shit.” There was a passive shrug and when Hugh stepped away from the sink Dante would step up and begin washing her hands.
“I’m not even sure if she wants gifts or whatever. I found a couple things I think she’ll like but fuck if I know if she’s going to like them.” It was an admission that would sound like generic conversation even if Dante felt her insides tightening with worry about the stupid coloring book and colored pencils and that damn card too.
Hugh laughed at this, "Not possible, we'll make it not just hopes." But he started working through the ingredients list as he was listening. Food and hanging out, it sounded simple, and granted if he'd want some big shindig for his birthday, not everyone would and he was smart enough to know this.
"You know, if someone made me chocolate cake, and ganache," Hugh grinned as if to say, she was absolutely getting laid. Although obviously it would be Leena's decision to make. "Kinda sounds like you've got everything covered though," he reassured. "Like food and hangout, you're going to have that stuff, and the other is just icing on the cake really. It's always nice to know that some thought about you, isn't it? I mean, even if it's not exactly perfect."
He let her take the lead on the recipe, instead reaching for his drink to take a sip of it. "Are you really worried about her not liking them? What did you get? Unless you don't want to say," he supposed it could have been something more personal that she might not want to talk about and he didn't want to force that. "But I think you guys seem to get each other," he took another sip, so I'm guessing, if I had to guess, that she's gonna love it."
“That’s what I wanted to hear.” Dante couldn’t help the grin that spread across her face as Hugh settled into the groove of the evening. The next part earned a chuckle. “If only I was making this for you.” The joke was easy as Dante scrubbed her hands - the shop had taught her long ago to scrub particularly thoroughly - before moving to dry them off. With clean, dry hands she’d turn to face Hugh with a cheerful grin.
“Yeah, I’m just not used to making cakes like this.” There was a passive gesture made towards the ingredients. “The rest I have some degree of experience dealing with.” The notion of someone thinking about you was nice and all but that wasn’t… Really what Dante was going for here. Did it need to be perfect? No, not at all. It could look like a disaster and as long as it tasted good Dante would call it a success. Hugh’s questions were oddly charming at the moment and Dante let out a passive half-shrug.
“A cat butt coloring book, since she likes cats, and a really big, expensive, semi-professional set of 150 colored pencils.” A beat. “I have no idea if she colors or even likes coloring.” Though Hugh’s confidence in Dante and Dante’s ability to ‘get’ Leena felt… Well, honestly, it felt like relief. It was… It was weirdly reassuring that someone outside of her and Leena could see that she seemed to get Leena. Especially since considering recently? She felt like she understood less and less.
With that Dante would move to pull out her phone and bring the recipe up.
“Ready to cake and roll?” A half grin would be offered to Hugh with the joke and a wink as the music began to swell.
"A cat butt coloring book," Hugh raised his eyebrows even as he grinned. "I didn't even know such a thing existed, but I think that is sheer brilliance, it's perfect because even if she doesn't really like coloring that much, I'm near certain she'll get a kick out of it so it makes it kind of the perfect sort of coloring book for that. But also doesn't everyone kind of like coloring? It's like, music on or a good movie in the background, and then just coloring while that's there? It sounds like a nice evening to me."
He leaned in. "Yeah, let's make it happen! Cake or bust."
He looked over the recipe and reached for the bowl. "I could read off directions, or I can help do things, but we don't want to 'too many cooks' it, yeah. So maybe it'd be better if I read, and you worked, or vice versa?" And since Dante was going to have to do the making later, it made sense for her to maybe do the work, cause practical hands-on experience, while listening to the instructions… seemed like a possible good way to get a feel for the recipe.
“A car butt coloring book.” Dante confirmed with a soft, absent sort of laugh. His words hit just the right notes once more and helped to soothe the unease Dante felt around the whole fucking thing. Sure, he didn’t know about the card, but honestly? Dante wasn’t even fucking sure she was going to give Leena the card. The idea of giving that card and what if it-- No, no no, no. Not tonight. “I figured it’s amusing if nothing else.” There was a shrug. It’d be unfortunate if the color pencils never got used since the set was like $100 fucking bucks, but whatever. Once you gave a gift it wasn’t yours to make decisions about anymore.
“I wonder how well a cake would make of a bust.” It was a bit of wordplay but the absent musing slipped out on accident and Dante couldn’t help a half awkward laugh and Hugh was off to the races talking again. Thank fuck could this man talk some days. It was nice having someone be so talkative at her after Leena had been so… Weirdly quiet in some places before. Christ what the fuck was going on with them.
“I’ll make the things, you read the things.” A finger pointed in the air as if to accent the point. From there a look was cast around.
"I had no idea they made such things as cat butt coloring books, but I'm so glad they do," Hugh laughed. He figured it was probably going to work out just fine, and he reached over to squeeze Dante's hand just as an extra bit of comfort and encouragement as he could tell she wasn't entirely certain.
And that, in and of itself, said a lot so far as Hugh could tell. You only spent this much time worrying over whether someone would really like a gift, if you really fucking cared about that person and whether or not they liked you. Or, okay, maybe that was projecting, but he definitely only really spent time worrying and hoping the gift was perfect when he really cared about the person he was giving it too. Even just friends- like he wanted it to be nice - but if he missed, then he missed. But if he really wanted to make a good impression, to be certain someone knew that he got them, then those stakes felt so much higher.
"Crazily enough I do have aprons," he said on his way to step behind her, and back towards the sort of butler's pantry area near the garage. It wasn't a bad idea for either of them- flour tended to go everywhere even if you were being careful. He stepped back with two aprons, holding each up to give her a choice. "Preference? Which to be clear, taking the Slytherin apron demands a certain amount of ambition," he laughed.
“Neither did I until now.” Dante offered another soft laugh at Hugh’s surprise on something like that existing. She’d had a similar experience upon first seeing it, surprise, mild disbelief and plenty of amusement. The hand squeeze earned a smile, it helped. Hugh was good at this even if she felt like neither of them really had a fucking clue about this right now.
But then came the showing of the Aprons and Dante had to grin. She’d never really followed the books that the Slytherin apron came from, but she was well aware of what a Slytherin was and had no doubt about sharing characteristics personally that were from that house. The grin remained as she’d reach for the Slytherin apron.
“I’m a 26 year old from Brooklyn who owns their own Mechanics shop and banked over $100k in special orders last year and is now going to be making all this shit and organizing someone else’s day, pretty sure I got this down.” With that, she’d loop the apron over her head and move to start typing it behind her back without a second thought. It wasn’t as colorful as her apron at home but it would do just fine.
“You’ve got the recipe up? Or do I need to re-send it?”
Hugh laughed outright as he slipped the other apron over his head. "Consider it house unity, girl, otherwise we'd have to go to a head over who gets the apron and that'd be pointlessly ugly since I feel like we're both pretty fucking ambitious."
Hugh had watched the movies and been around enough people who read the books regularly to know the houses, and characteristics. When it came to 'geeky' culture he knew enough to be able to converse, although he'd never pass as a major fan.
"I've got it up," Hugh pulled up his phone and looked at the link she'd sent him earlier. "It was this one right?" He asked, holding it out so she could see it. "I'll get the crockpot plugged in over here, it looks like we're going to start with dry ingredients on this one."
He read off the starting directions, taking his time so that she could follow them easily, and as she was getting to a place where she could stir, he asked. "So what are your custom orders? Is it car work?"
“I’ll grant that truce I just heard you ask for.” It was teasing, good-humored, fun plain and simple. No fighting over the Slytherin apron tonight but maybe she’d have to pick one up for herself eventually, it was a pretty amusing thought. Though the soft spot she had for her own apron that had Van Gough’s starry night printed on it was mammoth. It was likely someone was going to need to pry the scraps away from her when it was no longer really usably anymore.
Dante would shift, hands held up almost like she was preparing for surgery, to look at the phone, her eyes narrowing for a moment before she’d nod. “Yup, that’s the one.” Listening to him talk for a moment she’d try to plan her next move. Should she just view the recipe in her own brain? It wasn’t hard to set a digital read back to play inside her skull to pace the directions as she moved through it but--- Doing this the normal way, the human way, made more sense. For covering her ass and for trying to remind herself that she was in fact human at times still and she should remember how to fucking interact with others like she was one too.
“Mostly, yeah, but I can sort of build anything that someone has an idea for. I’ve always had a knack for tech and design and building stuff.” The words would come easily, a simple matter of fact for Dante even. “Atticus - you know Atticus? - I redesigned the entire front end of one of his baby’s. Reorg’d the guts, designed a whole new engine model, molded and welded the engine and built it into the engine compartment. Re-did the whole fuel system to run biodiesel and gave it a punch to get it up around 200MPH if he drives her right and flipping her biodiesel means a quicker 0-60 too as the biodiesel has a different combustion point than standard fuel.” Dante couldn’t help the grin that crept over her lips as she spoke. Creating things was some of her favorite work. “Clover commissioned a mechanically adjusting corset. I helped Holly out with a special leg brace to help with his recovery. I’m trying to design an energy-efficient glider by repurposing the regenerative braking systems that’s used on hybrid cars in conjunction with an air through-put system that would use the wind resistance of the wind’s movement through a tunnel within the glider’s design to store kinetic energies in an onboard battery that would feed energies back into the motors and propulsion systems. I offered to help build a stage and lights for Holly and Noah’s valentine’s day thing but they were already good on that.” Words continued absently like she was talking about the weather or how the local sports team was doing as hands moved through finding each dry ingredient and beginning to measure them out. Only once each thing was measured out and she had to pause would Dante look up and over at Hugh with a smile.
“Why ya ask? Got something you need built?”
"Yeah, I know Atticus, we're friends," Hugh smiled. Atticus hadn't been the sort of friend he'd had before, but he was finding that having different types of friends now was nice. Not everyone was a party friend or a theatre friend or a clubbing friend. Maybe this was what growing up started to look like.
"I'll melt the butter, cause we want that, and the milk and vanilla next," he added, as she talked through the different projects that she was working on. It was a wide variety- more than he actually would have thought. He expected the car, but corsets and legs and gliders That was all frankly way impressive and when he turned back around with the melted butter that she'd need, it was clear that he was.
"I mean, I was just going to say something about a car, but now I feel like I ought to ask for something deeply impressive like, a time machine. A car and a time machine," he laughed. "But I guess that's been done huh? Seriously though, that's really impressive, I had no idea you did all that kind of thing. And I don't really need anything built, necessarily. I …" he shrugged, and figured some explanation might help.
So he handed over the melted butter as he continued: "I keep thinking I'm going to replace the Mazda with something ridiculous, like I don't know, I'm having a quarterlife crisis and my Dad gave me a trust fund sort of ridiculous? Cause I don't know, people probably assume that's who I am, so why not be that person. Plus, frankly, the Mazda is over a decade old, and... " it had memories. Half flashes of his ex complaining about the possibility of her kneecaps getting broken, and driving east across Mercer Island, and it had always been a dream to park, even in the tiniest of parallel parking spaces. He shook them off, and conjured a flash of a smile instead. "I don't know. I think I was thinking of buying something new, but something older that's been rebuilt might have appeal too."
It was good to know who had what connections in this town. It was a small town so the logical thing to assume was everyone knew everyone, but… Well, Dante didn’t like to assume either. It just left her feeling gross and bad more often than not. The additional instructions for the cake would be nodded along with as her brain flickered to look at the recipe online, checking what Hugh had just read and reading the next step ahead without a thought. It wasn’t that she didn’t trust Hugh to guide her through the recipe, it was that checking a recipe like this was natural, it was how she cooked at home and it just sort of … happened and. Whoops.
Well, at least it was only in her head and not projected across his wall from her phone.
Hugh’s commentary about cars and time machines earned a light-hearted laugh that tinkled through the air. His compliments earned a mildly shy smile but the larger component was pride that tried to be hushed by a lukewarm attempt at looking humble.
“Haven’t figured out time machines yet but I bet I could make you a color changing car that goes fast enough for you to lose your sense of time if you give me a little.” There was a giggle that followed those words. The offer was actually quite serious but the idea of a rainbow car - comically akin to the color changing horse from the Wizard of Oz for humor’s effect in her own brain - was still pretty entertaining. “It’d be a matter of deciding how you want to activate the color changing properties if heat, electric or chemical. Each one gets a differing manner of application if built in paneling or paint composition alteration.” There was an easy shrug - like she was talking about the weather - as she measured out the dry ingredients before dumping them all together in a bowl. “I normally have a minimum entry of a hundred grand for any custom design requests though, just a heads up. Anything below that kind of cash tends to be kinda...“ Dante would frown, trying to express how non-thrilling it was. “It’s boring as fuck. Atticus’ job was about a quarter mil with the whole front end redesign, rearrange and reinstall of all components, fuel system redesign and re-install and one-of-a-kind engine custom design, build and install.” A whisk would absently be pointed at Hugh. “I can work a friend’s discount and go lower though if you’re not looking to blow that kind of dough.” The butter would be taken from him and Dante would continue to face him for a moment longer as she spoke.
“New can be great if you just wanna buy and drive with the lemon laws and extended warranties and the new Lambo’s are pretty.” There may have been a slightly wistful sounding note to the last few words of that but it wouldn’t last long as she continued on. ‘But there’s a real sense of raw, sexy power with an older rebuild. Lots of people love the old Mustang’s with an engine overhaul and updating a chrome.” Moving back to the ingredients Dante would shift to try to keep Hugh in her line of view.
“I guess it depends, do you want classic sexy or new sexy?”
Hugh continued with the ingredients and he listened. Truthfully, he'd never had money to spend on a car, and even when he'd moved here and it had become somewhat clear that he'd need a decent car for winters, he'd just bought a Subaru and it was still more than he'd ever spent on a car in his life. The Mazda had been purchased used, and he'd just kept it, because it was small and half the time he used public transit anyway. Sometimes he still did, but now he also had the capital commute and something fast and gorgeous and sexy definitely held appeal.
Atticus definitely had more money than Hugh had thought, although somehow that surprise wasn't a surprise. Atticus seemed like someone who had surprises tucked up his sleeve. He nodded. "I mean, I could handle somewhere in between there easily, so I think if I get an idea, we could price it out? But I'd want to pay you fair for your work, you know? Cause you've got skills I can only dream of, baby," he teased, but it was with affection and authentic honesty. Dante was smart, like, smart in ways that his father- not the biological one - would appreciate. Ways that mattered in the real world, and while Hugh wasn't jealous exactly, he could appreciate it nonetheless.
"I mean, that's the question isn't it? I'd say classic sexy," he waved a hand at his clothes, "but there is a part of me - and I'm not even a car person - but I really fucking love the idea of some fancy European new car that everyone would turn their heads at." Yes, sometimes he was that shallow, but he didn't feel like he needed to be ashamed of it with Dante. "I mean, I've driven the same Mazda for most of a decade, right, a new car is totally reasonable. Or I could pay you to make my Mazda rainbow and then it'd stand out," he laughed.
But it was strange to him still for it to even be an option to consider dropping a few hundred thousand on a car. "Alright, so for the sauce we're going to mix together the ½ cup white sugar, and the brown sugar, and the remaining cocoa powder, then we sprinkle it on the batter and then I think we put the boiling water on top." He scrolled then nodded. "Yeah, we just pour it over - no mixing. Which feels so weird."
“Sure.” Dante offered back easily. “When doing customs, after we talk and I get a feel for what you want and need, I offer three itemized estimates out the gate. One low, one mid and one top tier so that you can get an idea of what the cost of parts and basic labor would be. Outside of design and creation charges which have their own rates since that’s not just - you know - welding piece of metal A to piece of metal B sort of shit. Then depending on package picked you get a timeline with weekly updates on progress, barriers or potential additional decisions.” This wasn’t her first rodeo on this sort of shit. Hell, Atticus hadn’t been her first customer either but he was one of the biggest buyers. “Just if you don’t want a quarter million dollar job, I can do less ridiculous things. I just normally don’t offer them because they’re boring, like I said.” There was a soft laugh that followed the words which were all completely true.
“Could also do rebuilt classic european. Maybe like a De Tomaso Mangusta? Or like an AC 428 or maybe a Maserati Khamsin? Maybe an Iso Grifo or Bizzarrini Strada. Unless you’re not interested in going sporty. There’s some fun that can be had with things like the British Jaguar MK. The thing with older cars is they’re a different driving experience too. So keep that in mind. Things like power steering can be installed… But it’s gonna have to be installed depending on what you wanna use as the base and what you want that car to do. I tend to offer basic services for a year out, sometimes longer with customs, but you’ll likely get a higher level of warranty then I can reasonably afford to offer if you buy new since they have like 10-year warranties on those cars now.” It was the truth of the car world. The concept of making his Mazda rainbow earned a laugh. “I could always use your Mazda as a base and redo all the guts. Give is some crazy bells and whistles that no one would ever expect in it. Options.” Because they certainly fucking had enough.
As Hugh recanted the directions Dante couldn’t help making a face that showed she fully agreed with Hugh about how weird that seemed.
“Really?” Her face twisted up, her brain checking the recipe through internal connections and seeing he was right. “That’s…. Fucking weird.” Yeah, that’s all that could be said about that.
“Okay, well, I guess that’s what we do.” And with that Dante moved to follow the instructions once more.
There was something thoroughly enjoyable about talking to someone who knew their shit, and Hugh listened appreciatively even though honestly, the names meant absolutely nothing to him. Well, alright, he recognized Maserati, but he wasn't going to confess that it was because of a Taylor Swift song. Still, all of the information, as much as it didn't really clear anything up about what he wanted to do, told him that someday he wanted to sit down with Dante over a computer instead of a baking project so that they could actually put some further information to this concept.
"I'm looking sporty," he told her. Because that he did know. "I've got the Subaru for when I need not-sporty, and when it's more than just me and someone else, you know. Like, it works well for clubbing busses," he laughed. "And like, snow driving and all that shit. I want something flashy and that has really fucking amazing performance. And I'm not certain how that fits in with something older, but it sounds like it's possible if I'm understanding what you're saying correctly. So I'm gonna bug you at some point when I don't have chocolate on my hands, for that list in a form I can Google, yeah? Cause… maybe."
He reached for the sugar and brown sugar to move them over for her. "Is the upkeep going to be more on an older car. You may have noticed, I'm not a car person, and I can do regular check-ups and maintenance appointments, sure, but if it's going to require a lot more than that - I don't think like, some sort of special monthly ritual with a car is probably ever going to be my thing, and it might be better to go new if that's the case."
He handed her a bowl to mix the cocoa and the sugar and shrugged. "You know if this is horrible then we'll call the recipe writer a liar and we'll look for recipe two. This is why we're doing a test run," he laughed.
Dante would nod along with the new information given about Hugh’s thoughts on cars. “Yeah, of course I can.” A notepad was opened in her own brain and the car names she’d listed off were dropped into the file before a reminder was connected to it. The reminder would buzz in about 20 minutes inside her skull and she should easily have her hands on a phone by then. “When you start going to look let me know, I’ll go with you. Having a mechanic with you will most def get rid of any lemon potential quick.” Especially with how she could check for problems with just a touch… Not even a touch was needed really but it sure as fuck made getting reads easier.
“Upkeep is generally more on older cars but can vary from car to car depending on what’s been rebuilt within the car already. Just having the engine and exhaust system done means you probably don’t need to redo it for a long fucking time or worry about your spark plugs for the standard 125-thousand miles. Having only one of those things done? Has potential to shorten the life of the other system. Old engines blowing shitty fumes down new exhausts isn’t good for anyone. Then there’s the fact that older parts may be produced at lower volumes or may be made out of different materials than what’s used in the majority of products now. However, if you get an old body and completely redo all the guts, finishes and moldings? Probably won’t have much more upkeep needed than what’s recommended in the standard owner’s manual of a new car. A car made from scratch? That cost is more upfront design and then if there’s any special systems you’ll pay more for the tech’s who have the certs to work on that gear, but it’s not really any more expensive than a Tesla tech working on something.” Another idle shrug as she’d absently rattle off the info he’d requested without a second thought.
But with the conversation back on the cake once more Dante grinned. Hugh had it all planned out and the confidence to boot which made any doubts she had melt away. Logically, she knew he was completely right. They had plenty of time for test runs and ironing things out and with such good company even botching a cake or two didn’t sound like it’d be all that bad.
Hell, maybe they’d make it out of this alright.
If not, they’d have a dance break with Heart and simply try again.