**Note: This scene takes place during Robin's surprise visit to Beau's home to check on a disturbance, but finds Beau instead.**
As he talked, Beau returned to putting away groceries, pushing stuff over to Robin, pointing to the pantry as he took care of the fresh and frozen items. He left several items out, an idea for a quick dinner coming together in his head.
Robin stopped when he discovered the stash of brightly colored boxes. “Froot Loops? Lucky Charms?” He shook the boxes as he raised an eyebrow in question. “Got a sweet tooth?”
“Yes, is there a problem with a grown man eating kids’ sugary cereal?”
“No. No. Out of the box or in a bowl with milk?”
“Both. Depends on what I need.”
Robin laughed. “Interesting breakfast choice.” He lifted another box. “Oh damn, you have Cocoa Puffs! I love these things. They give you chocolate milk.”
“Do you want breakfast for dinner or dinner-dinner?”
“Food. All I want is food.”
“Dinner it is.”
With the groceries put away, Beau rolled his sleeves to his elbows and washed his hands. Robin perched on a stool at the kitchen bar.
“Do you want beef or chicken?”
“What’s faster and easier for you?”
“About the same since they’re going to be cut into thin strips.”
“I figured you for a beef man, but you got it.” Beau placed the package of beef in the freezer. “Want to help?”
“Did I mention I live on freezer meals? They’re there for a reason. Unfortunately, they have a tendency to either end up burnt or blown-up. I have all the local restaurants on my phone for emergencies,” Robin said with a chuckle.
“Wash your hands and I’ll give you a few tips.”
“Okay. I warned you.” Robin slid off the stool and moved around to wash his hands.
“I’ll be here to stop things from going too far.”
After drying his hands on a paper towel, Robin held it wadded in one hand. “Now what?”
“Go ahead and take a seat. You can work on the bar.” Beau placed a cutting board and knife on the counter. He opened a package of thick sliced bacon and pulled out half of the strips. He located the pot and skillet. He set water to boil and placed a package of lo mein noodles next to it.
“Everything is better with bacon,” Beau said.
Beau laid the bacon slices on the board. “I need you to dice these.” He demonstrated how he wanted the bacon chopped. “Got it? Can you do this without nicking a finger?”
“Yup. I can handle this,” Robin said and made a few cuts under Beau’s scrutiny.
“All the slices need to end up like them.”
While Robin made painstaking process, Beau sliced his way through carrots, an onion, mushrooms, fresh ginger root, scallions and snow peas. He located a can of water chestnuts, cut through the top then drained the excess water. He cleaned and dried the chicken strips while letting the skillet heat.
Robin looked up from his accomplishment and saw Beau’s pile. “Shit…”
“No. No. You’re fine.” Beau poured the noodles into the water. He scooped the bacon and tossed it in the skillet.
“So. What are you making?”
“A bacon and chicken lo mein dish. A bit of Chinese. A bit of American. My own version of lo mein.” Beau pushed the crisping bacon around. “Can you fold a couple of paper towels on a plate? The plates are there.” He pointed to a cabinet.
“Sure,” Robin said.
Beau scooped the bacon onto the towel. He got another towel and wiped out some of the fat, but kept some for flavor. He added the chicken to the skillet, and listened as it sizzled. Robin snitched a few pieces of crisped hot bacon. Beau slapped Robin’s fingers when he tried again.
“Ow,” Robin said.
“Do I need to banish you to the living room?”
“When did you eat last?”
Robin stayed silent.
Beau lifted an eyebrow. “Don’t you remember?”
Robin shook his head.
“Keep an eye on the chicken. If you see smoke, yell for me.”
“Just a minute. I promise.” Beau moved to the fridge, pulled out a container of hummus, a bag of baby carrots and crackers from the pantry. He made a quick plate and set it on the counter by Robin along with a glass of iced tea. “Here. Snack on this before you crash.” He hip bumped Robin away and pointed toward the stool.
“You didn’t need…”
“Eat, Robin,” Beau said.
“This is rather different from your sugary snacks.”
“A well-balanced diet.”
Robin smacked a kiss on Beau’s cheek. “Thanks…”