Trace of Ink
By Zale_Valrez
Date: June 2, 2022
Ch. 6Good Cook

Chapter 5: Good Cook

“Well, I am hungry, obviously,” she said. As an attempt of saving her pride. While Nick nodded with an amused smile. He was having a good time, watching her in that situation.

“If you hadn’t burned your sausage, you must have eaten by now.” He said with a wide grin on his face. And Fera was bitting her inner cheek in annoyance. 

“Whatever.” She was about to shoo him away but he started cleaning the pan and opened her fridge. He got the rice cooker and put rice and water on it. “What are you doing?”

“Saving your stomach too,” he answered while busy doing those cooking things. He gathered two eggs, some leafy vegetables, and other seasonings.

“You don’t need to do that, you know?” she softly spoke. She was somewhat speechless of his patience. Despite her sharp tongue, he was still here. 

“I know.” He answered. “I’m no pro but I can cook.” She lost her words, he still spoke kind and had no hint of irritation. Can’t find the right word to tell, and just watched him cooked. He cracked the egg open and got a fork then mixed it well, added some white substance, that he call salt, and then pepper. 

While Fera was watching every inch of his movement. He stealthily worked everything and chopped the purple sphere-like thing and the green leaves that were somewhat drinking straw. Poured a little amount of oil, added the purple one and then the white that smelled awful. He poured the scrambled egg, and lastly the leaves. After a few minutes of frying the scrambled egg. He placed two plates on the table and served the food. He sat across her and took a glance at Fera who was currently confused. 

“What? Aren’t you going to eat?”

“You’re not trying to poison me flawlessly, are you.” She mused, but instead of getting offended, he laugh and shook his head. She honestly can’t believe that Nick cooked for her. Not to mention they haven’t known each other before, not close friends or relatives.

“If you choose to eat that burned sausage, you might get diarrhea, but not enough to kill you.” And Fera annoyingly got some rice and egg on her plate. ‘He’s having a good time teasing me, by bringing up that stupid sausage,’ Fera mentally spoke.

“You’re not just being a concerned citizen or a samaritan, do you?” She insisted, Fera wasn’t kind of a mind reader or making up some accusation. Sensing intention was her thing. She took a full spoon, and so as Nick.

“What?” he asked and stopped eating for a moment.

“I appreciate your help and am honestly thankful, but I can smell your intentions. You have some reason why you choose to stay and help me, being a good man is not enough to stay longer with me unless you need something.” It was a calm and honest statement, not laced with bitterness or sarcasm. She stated what she thought and it wasn’t just an assumption, she was so sure about it.

“Yeah,” he shamelessly admitted. Fera just took another full spoon and wait for him to spill the tea. “I was thinking about the crime, you saw it under the counter, right?” Fera nodded and ate peacefully, not minding Nick too much. All she knew was that he was talking about that syringe.

“The nearest person from the syringe was you.” Her brows turn into one line while eyeing Nick with a full mouth. “And the canteen server.” She raised an eyebrow and continued eating. “And April has it at the end.” She spoke nothing, Nick will spill anyway. “Isn’t it strange?”

“Your point is?”

“April was too far from the syringe,” she lost her patience and raised both of her brows, and stopped eating.

“I have a theory, this might be not just a simple crime. She cannot commit it alone. I think that these three planned the crime all along. It was the canteen server who did it and April should be the one to see it first, while her boyfriend was there to bring her to the clinic. And prolong their arrival enough that the poison would spread throughout her body.” That was a serious accusation, his imagination had gone that far, she mentally commented.

“When Marisa ordered something from the counter the server handed it to her, close enough to strike the syringe. She dropped it under the table out of panic when you saw it. April dropped on her knees to Marisa and acted shocked as a best friend and grabbed the syringe. Her boyfriend carry her to the hospital while April was with them.” Fera took a few blinked, trying to get everything.


“And!? It’s a huge mess. Everyone should be served what’s right for them.”

“And how does it matter to you?” Nick almost dropped his jaw hearing her question. For him, it was a mind-blowing theory that could be true, and honestly, he was eighty percent confident that it was true. He was completely taken aback by her selfishness.

“What! Marisa deserves justice.” ‘He cared for that Marisa so much?’ Fera can’t help to ask herself.

“Do you have evidence?” She asked, and he shook his head. “What might prove your claim?! Playing with that kind of circumstance, you might find yourself within steel bars in the city jail,” harsh but true. “Besides, what might be their reason to commit such a crime, why would they plan to kill a schoolmate? Truly, that is a serious accusation.”

“Marisa was a top student, top one to be exact. April was being too insecure so she tried to lure her boyfriend, which was Troy. They planned to get Marisa kicked out of school. I can still remember that incident, they set her up, that she was cheating and stole the answer key before the exam. She did get a perfect score, and everyone bought that trick, but the school spared her and suspended her for a few weeks, also got punished with community service. She was not dumb not to realize what was happening back then and learned about his boyfriend cheating.

April was strictly prohibited to have a boyfriend so Marisa might threaten her, that April’s family will hear about it. They panicked and planned to eliminate her. And they paid the Canteen Server to do it.” 

“How the hell did you know that her parents were strict?!” She exclaimed. “And why would her boyfriend betray her when they both planned it all along?” She thought that it was insane. Unbelievable eyed him, but he was unbothered.

“April was mentally ill and Troy might be tired of it but can’t get rid of her.” So that explained her betrayed face back in the guidance councilor’s office when he suddenly volunteered? Instead of being blown out by Nick’s theory, her concern focused on how Nick knew all those personal information. 

Fera’s palm fell into her face. “You just made it complicated, after all, you will still fall on the same suspect, April is in jail, paying for her mistake. Let it go.” But it was just half of her concern, and choose not to mention them, not wanting to crush his confidence.

“They are still crime accessories,” Nick insisted.

“Your hunch was too hard to support, you know that? Your detail was quite personal and how come you end up with that theory? A piece of friendly advice even though were not friends, leave it alone and let those authorities take care of their job.” 

Nick fell into deep thought. Fera thought that Nick was considering her advice.

“If I can make the canteen server sing, that would be enough.” And rice stuck into Fera’s throat made her cough heavily. He gave her water right away.

“What the heck!”

“And the fingerprint on that syringe, the server may be left some trace that might pin her,” Fera was just shaking her head in disagreement.

“You cook well by the way.” She tried to divert their topic. Done with minding someone’s business. While not wanting to spoil Nick’s mood.

“I know.” And Fera made face. He did great job cooking but she didn’t mean it, had just left no choice.

“It’s getting late you know that?” She indirectly attempted to drive him away. He took a look at his watch and nodded. They finished their food and Nick went straight out of her house. While Fera was left with the messy kitchen, decided to clean it first before heading to bed.

She peacefully started her day, and finally, she already knew the rules of frying. Fried some hotdog, but still had gone wrong. “I should have removed that thin plastic.” But the plastic melted anyway, the problem was those plastic sticks on her pan. “Poor pan.”

Almost done eating when someone knock, she was about to stand but it went open. Nick entered straight and she sighed in displeasure.

“Have you eaten?”

“What do you think?” He chucked when he saw the pan. “And I hate the fact that you think you’re always welcome to get in.” 

“Well, it is not locked still.” Answered with a naughty smile. “Didn’t remove the plastic, I see. You had no clue about living alone, do you?” The answer was obvious enough. And that amused him more. He savoring Fera’s stupid moments well. 

“What do you need?” He was fully dressed up for school when it was too early. 

“I’ll check the case, and do what I can do.” She looked at him with disagreeing expression.

“That was a dangerous pool to jump in, Nick. Do yourself a favor and save your peaceful life.”

“I am saving my peace of mind. I can’t just walk unbothered knowing there’s a foul play on that case. If I can help, I won’t hesitate.” They both stood oppositely and firm on their belief. If your opinion comes personally it would be hard to bend it.

“Suit yourself,” Fera understood his side and respected it well. She had nothing to do with it anyway and respects individuality as much as treasures her rights and privacy.

“Get ready, we’ll reveal the truth. This will be fun.” That triggered Fera’s stand.

“Fun? There is no fun in watching someone’s downfall, their fault or not they have their reason and pay for that eventually. As long as it has nothing to do with you, leave it alone.” It went louder than it should and made Nick lose his words.

"Chill, if you don’t want to go with me, I’ll be fine. And for the record, I just want to help.” Nick defended his stand and was a bit offended. They fell in silence, Fera was calming herself while Nick could feel her tension. “I’ll go now, see you at school.” He awkwardly bid goodbye.

Fera refused to speak, she took it personally, and she knew that. That affected her differently, she was not a sociable person. Not sociable by choice to avoid that kind of scenery, something might trigger her an outburst like that.

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