|ɱɑʀiɛ (coveted) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2017-11-27 10:36:00
|Entry tags:||baron la croix, loki|
yes, i will play for gumbo
Who: Marie and Nish
What: New neighbours meet
Where: 5th Floor
When: 11/26, somewhere around there
|Nish hated chores. Hated, with the fire of a thousand suns. But she had to do them, and not just so that James didn’t see the squalor she tended to let her apartment become. She and Loki both agreed that they’d rather be doing anything else besides cleaning house, but at least she had her music on full blast to give the task a bit of enjoyment. Currently she had The White Stripes’ peppermint album on while she washed Bear’s litter box in the bathtub, getting most of her shirt wet in the process. Once it was cleaned, reassembled and filled, she lugged the bag of old litter out the door and down the hall to the chute. |
Because she was so used to living alone on the 5th floor, she didn’t bother to even close her apartment door, letting both the music and her kitty Bear spill out into the hall, the former completely filling the outside air, and the latter curiously sniffing at the apartment next door, which suddenly had all sorts of new smells coming from it.
Sandalwood was great for relaxation and serenity, and it had almost a sweet and creamy scent to it - that was what Marie was burning today, what she’d permeated her apartment with. Plus there was the gumbo she had going in the crock pot, something simmering and what would be her lunch for the week while she was at the store. Overall, a cacophony of aromas, and she’d just gone to take Elvis the chihuahua for a quick pee outside when she came back to find some damn cat sniffing at her door...
And the door at the next apartment wide open, music blaring like no fucks were given. Um, no.
Not that Marie planned to nap now or anything, but shit. The whole building could probably hear the stunning vocal stylings of Jack White. With a sigh, she let Elvis into the apartment and then scooped up the cat, heading next door and just waltzing in wearing tight ripped jeans, a striped knit sweater, and lace-up boots with a substantial heel, pink highlights in her hair - since, hey, the open door was screaming for any old robber to come loot the place.
“Hey,” she yelled from the living room to get the attention of whoever lived here. “Think I got something that belongs to you. Better come get him, or I might just bring him to the Chinese dive nearby.”
Nish stepped back inside a moment later and shut the door behind her, then turned to notice an intruder in her living room. An intruder holding her cat. “Hey,” she frowned, stepping forward to hit the power button on the stereo, “what the hell? Who are you and why are you in my livingroom?” she demanded, stepping forward to take Bear from her and set him down on the carpet where he stood looking up at them, purring and sniffing curiously at Marie’s leg.
Even though the other woman wore heels, Nish still towered over her. “Are you in the habit of just walking into other people’s apartments?” she asked, her voice not so much hostile as highly annoyed.
Marie’s voice, on the other hand, was hostile. Because she had little patience for stupidity, and her neighbor was about a 10 on the Scale of Dumb Bitches. “Here’s a tip - if you don’t want strangers walking into your apartment, don’t leave the door wide open and the music blasting loud enough to cover a potential bludgeoning. Also, your stupid cat was sniffing at my door - so maybe try shutting yours so he doesn't get out,” she suggested.
Maybe it was possible ditzy neighbor didn't know she no longer had monopoly on this floor. If that was the case, the New Orleans transplant would cut her a break - this time. “I’m Marie and I live next door,” she introduced herself. “So turn down your damn music, or I’ll call the police. Toodles.”
With that, she flipped Nishka the bird and prepared to take her leave.
As soon as he heard ‘neighbour’ her entire demeanor changed. “Ohh! Ohh my god, you live here?” she asked, suddenly realizing she’d been a bitch to her neighbour instead of an intruder. “Sorry, I thought...well, you could have been anyone,” she explained with a wince, choosing to ignore the other woman’s rude gesture in favour of understanding they’d both had the wrong idea.
She stepped forward and offered her hand, “I’m Nishka,” she said, “and...well, I’m kind of used to living alone up here. Sorry about the noise.”
“Marie, like I said,” she replied, shaking the other woman’s hand. “Yeah, I got the feeling it was pretty solitary before.” Quiet like a tomb, which was weird as fuck - how did this building afford to be so selective about tenants? Or actually, why was this building nearly empty? Things Marie should have researched beforehand, prior to carting all her junk into 503, but she was here now - so she’d stay, since she didn’t feel like renting another U-Haul because she happened to be residing in a ghost town.
She could also be a bit harsh when on the defense - call it a natural mechanism, growing up in a pretty violent city. “It’s okay, people say I’m prickly at first,” she grinned slightly. Those people probably weren’t wrong - actually, those people often used other terms but anyway. Marie wore it proudly. “I’ve got some gumbo cooking next door if you want. I dunno, bygones, or whatever.”
Nish’s brows rose as the conversation took quite the unexpected turn. She went from giving the finger to inviting her for lunch? “Wow…” she said, blinking. “I mean, I won’t ever say no to food I didn’t have to make,” she said with a cautious smile, glancing around herself. Her apartment was somewhat cleaner than before, so that it no longer looked like she’d hosted a frat party in her living room. “I suppose I could use a break, if I’m not imposing,” she added after some thought. People often offered things they never anticipated would be accepted. Perhaps this was one of those kind but empty gestures? But no, that was a little unfair.
’Not really,’ Loki argued, ’it’s take advantage or be taken advantage of out there.’
’Pessimist,’ she chided.
’Realist,’ he answered. She glanced away just long enough to roll her eyes without offending her new neighbour and then placed a smile back on her face.
“Nah, you’re not,” Marie assured, and she wasn’t the type to offer something if she didn’t intend to follow through - she was also aware her accent made her sound a little harsh, but that couldn’t be helped. Her words didn’t resemble Gambit’s from X-Men (that was a joke), but the accents in New Orleans ranged from utterly southern to sounding like you were from Brooklyn, but slowed down a little - that was her. “My gumbo’s the best anyway. If you’re a vegetarian, speak now or forever hold your peace.”
She headed back toward her apartment door, assuming Nishka would follow, and let herself in - the little chihuahua came to greet the humans, and Marie stooped to scratch behind his ears for a moment. “This is Elvis,” she introduced her dog. “He made the trip from New Orleans with me.” In her rather eclectic apartment, the smells of sandalwood and cooking deliciousness were more prominent - from the kitchen especially, there wafted the scents of Cajun spice and root beer, because of the filé which had sassafras leaves as part of its components.
“It’s shrimp and andouille sausage.” she added, reaching for a Tupperware container from the cabinet while the crockpot continued to simmer on low.
Nish chuckled and followed, making sure to keep Bear inside her apartment this time. “Not vegetarian,” she said, “not even a little bit.” She looked down at the little dog with an indulgent smile, “Elvis, huhh? Cute. Bear and I traveled together across country too; I suppose it’s easier with a dog you can let out and walk on the way.” Keeping a cat in a crate in the front seat of her car while they drove from Illinois to California was...not something she ever wanted to do again.
She took a moment to look around her, taking in the immediately exotic atmosphere that she couldn’t help but admire. She’d decorated her place too, of course, but not nearly to this extent. It was like stepping into another world. And the smells. “I have to admit, I’ve never had gumbo,” she said, “but that smells amazing…”
Never had gumbo? Marie turned, those strange, amber-colored eyes of hers widened in surprise. She always found it shocking when people said they never had gumbo, or catfish, or even Cajun food in general - New Orleans was all about food, it was one of the best places in the whole country to eat, and how could folks deny themselves such deliciousness?
“Well, get ready for a mouthgasm, cher,” she grinned. And ladled plenty of gumbo into the container - over rice, of course. She had it all nice and fluffy in the cooker plugged in nearby. On purpose, she handed Nish a fork because she wanted the woman to taste the masterpiece here and now. “Careful though - it’s a little bit hot.”
Nish accepted the container of food and was immediately enveloped in a cloud of tantalizing steam. She couldn’t help herself; her stomach growled the moment she had it this close, and she took the offered fork and then got herself a nice big mouthful of the steaming dish. “Ohh my god,” she murmured after a moment, when she finally swallowed. “That’s so good...what’s in that, besides the shrimp, I mean?” Not being very good at cooking meant she wasn’t the best at identifying various spices. She was getting a little better at it now that she’d had a little practise, but her knowledge base was still pretty limited.
“A lotta things,” Marie responded and, honestly, it was mostly her throwing stuff into the pot - her family had given up on measurements over the years. They had that special touch. “Onions, celery, chicken stock, a fuckton of spice and seasoning. I usually buy a rotisserie chicken and use the carcass to make the stock, all homemade. The secret to a good gumbo is the roux, though - it’s the thickener, mostly flour and butter. The darker the roux, the better your gumbo is.”
There was nothing better than authentic gumbo when it was cold or rainy - her and her family would cook up a huge pot of it and enjoy it for days on end. “My parents own a restaurant in New Orleans,” she explained. “I grew up on this stuff.”
Nish was paying attention to what Marie was saying, but she was also paying much more attention to the food. “I grew up in the wrong state,” she said with a grin, “though I did get hazelnut everything,” she added with a shrug and a fond smile. Hazelnut coffee, hazelnut chocolate, hazelnut butter, hazelnut ice cream…
“Maybe I should learn this from you someday,” she said, hefting the container of glorious gumbo, “I can try making it for my…” and that gave her pause. Boyfriend didn’t sound right to her, but she supposed that’s what he was, technically. But it didn’t seem to mean enough. “Well, significant other?” she asked, as if she would know better. “I don’t cook very much, but once in a while I like to surprise him,” she smiled, taking another forkful of gumbo and enjoying the spices exploding in her mouth.
Boyfriend, girlfriend, SO, lover. Whatever one wanted to call it - Marie got the gist either way. “I mean, it’s pretty much seduction in the kitchen anyway,” she shrugged, hip propped against the countertop as she watched Nishka enjoy the fruits of her labor. “You could totally cook it for him and he’d love it.”
She’d teach someone else - though it took patience and dedication to learn the truths about New Orleans cooking. There were a lot of misconceptions. Every dish involved the Holy Trinity somehow - onions, celery, peppers - and if you didn’t see at least green onions simmering in the pot, then you just walked the fuck away.
“I’ll teach ya sometime. When I next make gumbo.”
“Sounds like a date,” Nish said with a smile. “Well, I shouldn't impose on you any more than I have…” she said, glancing towards the door and then back at her. “I'll be sure to keep the noise down though, now that I know there's someone here.”
“Thanks, it’s appreciated,” Marie nodded, walking Nishka to the door. Because, yeah, not like she was a killjoy or anything? But sometimes she liked to sleep. Maybe take a nap during the day if she had a moment. Plus, if she wanted music, she’d listen to her own - the free tunes were nice, but blasting them throughout the whole hallway was just nope.
But hey, her neighbor knew she was here now - and it was definitely a way to be introduced and get acquainted, so, Marie supposed she couldn’t complain too much.