Previously… When she went to eat soup, Vera’s mother let out a scream when she thought she spotted gluten.
Betsey let out a blood-curdling scream, one that Vera wondered would cause the neighbors to rush over and assume a prowler had broken in and was trying to kill her. Given that Vera had just placed soup in front of her mother, Vera wondered if Betsey had spotted a gazpacho monster in her bowl, as there was no other discernible disturbance.
“What’s wrong?” Vera got up from her seat, ready to tackle whatever the problem was.
“I think I see gluten in this,” Betsey said, clutching her chest. “What are those little flecks?”
“Rosemary,” said Greg dryly.
“It looks a lot like gluten. I can’t have gluten. It’ll kill me.”
“Did your doctor tell you this?” Vera asked.
“No, I diagnosed myself.”
“You know,” said Greg, “you can’t actually see gluten. . .”
Vera eyed her boyfriend and waved her hand in quiet rejection of the statement. Betsey wouldn’t hear this.
“I’m sorry,” said Betsey, “but do you have any swordfish or anything else cooking?”
Greg raised his eyebrows before taking a deep breath and dipping his spoon into the gazpacho. “Um, no. The only other thing in the oven is focaccia bread, which incidentally has—“
“Gluten,” Betsey answered before Vera could finish her thought. “I can’t have that.”
“Right.” Vera had just asked her mother whether gazpacho and focaccia was okay for dinner a few weeks ago, so this gluten spell must have been new. “For dessert, I was planning on flourless chocolate cake I picked up yesterday. That’s gluten-free.”
Betsey scrunched her face into a grimace. “I’m not really a chocolate fan.”
Later, after Betsey had left, Vera and Greg talked about the situation while cleaning up in the kitchen.
“I don’t know if I can do it,” she said.
“Have a relationship with my mother. That was. . .”
“Understatement. I’d rather read Tolstoy from end to beginning than live through that again.”
Vera knew her mother was used to a different lifestyle than hers, one that afforded a lot of amenities and luxuries. Vera wasn’t sure they could find common ground and develop any connection other than genetics.
“It was one dinner,” said Greg. “Maybe she was nervous.”
“Sure. Her nervous tic is being a waiter or waitress’s nightmare.”
Then Vera’s phone buzzed. She searched for it around the kitchen, trying to follow the sound, until Greg located it in her sweater pocket. He pulled it out and gave her a smile.
Vera let out a sheepish grin, before sliding her finger across the phone. It was Loan Some headquarters. “Hello?”
“Bruce Kitchen, Vera,” said her boss.
“Hi, Bruce. What’s up?”
“We have a unique assignment and we want you to take it.”
“What do you mean by unique?”
Bruce was quiet on the other end of the phone. “Well, it’s our first loanee under the age of 18. Her grandparents brought her in and are looking for a loaner.”
Vera’s eyes bulged out of her face. “A kid? How old?” Vote below on what will happen next or if reading in email click Take our Poll.