In this scene, early in the book, Tommy and Deirdre have gone out to lunch. He wants to spend more time with her. She’s promised to teach him to decorate the cupcakes he watched her bake.
Deirdre crossed her arms. “And when exactly did you try to charm Aunt Eileen?”
“Not me. Jimmy. He says that until he proposed, Mrs. O’Leary gave him the cold shoulder. And, according to Moira, she liked Jimmy more than the rest of us.”
Deirdre laughed. “She did warn me to stay away from the O’Malley boys, no matter how charming they are.”
“Looks like I have my work cut out for me.”
“Thank you for lunch. I had a lovely time.”
“What about the cupcakes?”
“What about them?”
“You’re supposed to teach me to decorate.”
She rolled her eyes. “You don’t want to decorate.”
“You’re persistent, I’ll give you that.” She turned toward the kitchen, not a bit sad to spend more time with him. “Let’s get started then.”
Once more, Deirdre went through the kitchen and gathered ingredients, this time setting them by the stand mixer that she doubted Aunt Eileen ever used. Tommy said nothing, just continued to watch her intently. She tried to ignore the staring and the niggling worry about whether he’d ask her out again.
She didn’t know how to tell him that, over the course of the afternoon, she’d changed her mind about a date. It made her seem quite fickle, which went against how she saw herself.
With the butter and shortening in the mixer, she flipped the switch to blend them as she grabbed a couple of lemons out of the fridge.
Tommy pointed to the bowl. “What is that?”
“That will be the buttercream frosting.”
“But it’ll taste delicious.”
“I thought buttercream was all butter.”
“I use the shortening to make crusting buttercream. It’s a firmer frosting for decorating.”
“In our house, unless it’s from the bakery, frosting comes from a can and half gets eaten by spoon before making it onto a cake and the other half gets slapped on. There’s no real decorating to it.”
“That’s the way of most people. Making it from scratch isn’t difficult, but if you have no desire to decorate, there’s no point.” She stopped the mixer and added some sugar and lemon juice. While that mixed, she readied a piping bag. “I only have one bag, so you’ll have to watch.”
He gave her that wicked smile again. “I like to watch.”
She didn’t even know what he meant by that, but the way he spoke caused a warm rush through her body.
“Is there something specific you’d like to learn about decorating?”
“What’s your favorite thing to do?”
She didn’t even have to think. “Roses.”
“They’re the first thing I learned to do well. Probably because my middle name is Rose, so I wanted to learn it as kind of a signature thing. In addition, creating the roses is soothing. My mind can go to its own place while my hands work.”
“What are you on about?”
“When you talk like that. About something that’s important to you, Deirdre Rose. It’s not the matter-of-fact way you usually talk. You change.”
“If I didn’t know better, I’d think you had a drink at lunch.”
“Fine. Don’t believe me. Let’s get to the lesson.”
“Oh, I believe Aunt Eileen was right after all. You O’Malley boys are quite the charmers.”
“If you’re good, you’re good.”
She filled the pastry bag and grabbed a cupcake. Then she started to pipe the rose. When it was done, she handed it to Tommy.
“It’s almost too pretty to eat.”
“Nonsense. It’s meant to be enjoyed, not looked at.” She leaned forward and licked the top of the frosting off.