Episode 8 of 8: Mia Maxwell would never have guessed that her summer trips to Cornwall could become more of a regular affair. But as she and her man pursue their own culinary ambitions, will sharing plates - or dinner for one - be on the menu for Mia? -- Greedily Yours is a serial novel about the quest for top dishes ... with a dash of accidental love. -- Mia Maxwell loves food. She loves it so much that she's made it her career. On the surface Mia seems to have it all sewn up. She lives in trendy east London with her best friend. By day she runs her own food PR consultancy, and by night she's a food blogger enjoying a burgeoning audience. Mia has a banker boyfriend who enjoys travelling the world, enabling her to taste the globe's culinary delights. But Mia is still hungry and, when she heads down to Cornwall to run a food festival, she doesn't realize that her entire life is about to be cast adrift. -- For fans of Sophie Kinsella, Trisha Ashley, and Polly Williams. -- Emma Hamilton is the pen name for a journalist and writer who loves food; She was a staff producer and then freelance reporter for the BBC, CBC, and Deutsche Welle. Emma has written for a number of magazines and newspapers, including The Guardian, BBC Magazines, The Mail on Sunday, Four Four Two and Italy Magazine. She has worked on many series and documentaries, including one about food and culture around the world. Emma spent six years reporting from Italy and has made radio programmes in many other countries including Lebanon, Ethiopia, the USA, France, Germany, Russia, and Cameroon. When she's not cooking, reading about food or eating it, she splits her time between presenting, producing and writing. She loves yoga, running, gardening and chilling out with her husband, friends and family at home.
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Greedily Yours — About the Series
About the Book
About the Author
Recipes in this Episode
Greedily Yours is a serial novel about the quest for top dishes … with a dash of accidental love. Each episode features new recipes to tickle your taste buds!
Mia Maxwell loves food. She loves it so much that she’s made it her career. On the surface Mia seems to have it all. She lives in trendy east London with her best friend, Lizzie, who owns a cupcake cafe.
By day she runs her own food PR consultancy, and by night she’s a food blogger with a burgeoning audience. Mia has a banker boyfriend, Paul, who enjoys travelling the world, enabling her to taste the globe’s culinary delights.
But Mia is still hungry and, when she heads down to Cornwall to run a food festival, she doesn’t realise that her entire life is about to be cast adrift.
Episode 8 of 8: In this final episode of the Greedily Yours series, Mia Maxwell would never have guessed that her summer trips to Cornwall could become more of a regular affair. But as she and her man pursue their own culinary ambitions, will sharing plates — or dinner for one — be on the menu for Mia?
Emma Hamilton is the pen name for a journalist and writer who loves food; She was a staff producer and then freelance reporter for the BBC, CBC, and Deutsche Welle. Emma has written for a number of magazines and newspapers, including The Guardian, BBC Magazines, The Mail on Sunday, Four Four Two, and Italy Magazine. She has worked on numerous series and documentaries, including one about food and culture around the world. Emma spent six years reporting from Italy and has made radio programmes in many other countries including Lebanon, Ethiopia, the USA, France, Germany, Russia, and Cameroon. When she’s not cooking, reading about food or eating it, she splits her time between radio presenting, producing, and writing. She loves yoga, running, gardening, and chilling out with her husband, friends, and family.
Episode 8: Sharing Plates
Digital original edition
Bastei Entertainment is an imprint of Bastei Lübbe AG
Copyright © 2015 by Bastei Lübbe AG, Schanzenstraße 6-20, 51063 Cologne, Germany
Written by Emma Hamilton
Edited by Sean Sinico
Project management: Lori Herber
Cover Design by Kelly Gold — www.kellygold.com
Illustrations: © Shutterstock.com: alicedaniel|graphixmania| bulatova|KoQ Creative|Yunna
E-book production: Urban SatzKonzept, Düsseldorf
Mia pulled the covers back around her as Tom anxiously dialled Aunt Agatha back. She realised, with an inward sigh, the romantic weekend that had been happily unfolding in her mind’s eye as she lay in bed, playing with Tom’s chest hair was not going to be quite as she’d pictured. She didn’t have much time to dwell on it though, as she heard Tom’s panicked voice.
“Aunt Ag, I’m sorry, I was, erm, I, erm didn’t hear the phone. I’ve only just realised that you called. Is everything alright?”
Though she couldn’t hear the reply, it was easy enough for Mia to see the colour drain from Tom’s face. She put a hand on his arm but didn’t feel she should intrude too much into whatever family drama was playing out on the other end. Her grip tightened though when she heard a sob in Tom’s voice as he tried to remain calm, whilst grabbing at the night table for his watch.
“Aunt Ag, I think I’ve well and truly missed the train for tonight. The earliest I can be there is first thing tomorrow morning … Have you already spoken to Silvia? Is she driving? … Then I’ll make it over to hers, I’ll ring her tonight and then we’ll be there as soon as we can tomorrow morning. Are you staying at the hospital with him overnight? … Oh, you’re not allowed, oh yeah, I’m phoning you at home. Okay …. But is he Okay? … Yes, I’ll see you as soon as I can tomorrow. Tell him I love him, won’t you?”
Tom touched the end call button and rubbed his roughened hands through his curls, making them even more wild than normal. “Oh god Mia, it’s my father! He’s been rushed to hospital. They think he had a heart attack. I feel so bad, I can’t get there until tomorrow morning. I’m going to have to phone Silvia, I’m sorry about this ….”
“Oh Tom, that’s awful. Look if there’s anything I can do, just let me know. Do you want me to call you a cab so you can get to Silvia’s house now? I’d drive you, but we don’t have a car.”
Tom shook his head. “No, there’s nothing I can do now, I’ll head over early tomorrow morning. I just need to call Silvia.”
Tom tried to calm his shaking hands as he scrolled through his phone looking for Silvia’s number.
“Silv!” he said, half squeaking the words through his breaking voice. “Aunt Ag said she’d called you, when did you find out? … What time are you leaving? … Okay ….I’ll be there at 4 a.m. then … What? …. Oh god, you’re right. Okay I’ll jump in a cab now. Will you wait for me? …. No, I’m erm, I’m at Mia’s house.”
On hearing Tom’s words, Mia jumped out of bed and started pulling her clothes on. The pleasant sleepy warm sensation had completely gone, and the room looked as chaotic as Tom sounded. She quickly grabbed her phone and dialled the local cab company and ordered a taxi for Tom.
Tom rifled through his pockets checking to make sure he had his phone, keys, and wallet.
“I’m sorry Mia, I don’t deal very well with this kind of stuff. I didn’t even realise until Silv told me that it’s already 3 a.m. and she’s leaving at four, so I need to get over there. Agh,” he said putting his arms around Mia’s waist and pulling her towards him. “I was so looking forward to spending the weekend with you, but I need to get back and see my father. I’ll call you, okay?”
With that, Tom kissed Mia on the lips, let go of her, struggled in to his coat, and looked at the rumpled sheets on Mia’s bed with a longing sigh. He started trying to pick up the other coats that they’d knocked off a few hours earlier but Mia stopped him. She took his hands and looked into his eyes.
“Don’t worry about those Tom, I’ll clear them up. Of course you have to go to your father, I completely understand, I just only wish I could help in some way, or make it all better. Please give him my best, too, and don’t worry about me. We’ll have other weekends, I hope, and I had a great time tonight, well until the call, obviously …” said Mia, tailing off as she realised Tom was too distracted to really hear.
Tom patted his pockets one last time after pulling on his socks and his boots under his jeans. Just as he pulled on the second boot and bent down to tie the laces, the cab company called to signal their presence. Tom kissed Mia once more before waving his hand behind him as he took the stairs two at a time.
Mia leant her head against the open door for a minute, not knowing quite what to think. Tiredness was dulling her emotions, but her heart was still pumping with the adrenaline of all the sudden changes in the last few hours. She wanted to be with Tom but knew that her presence would be awkward in this situation. All you can do is sleep and wait, she thought to herself.
Quietly she shut the apartment door and picked up all the coats in the hall. She then turned her attention to her messy bedroom, quickly stowing her clothes on the ladder leaning against the wall where she hung all her clothes before deciding whether to wash or wear again. Finally, she climbed back in to bed again, and wrapped herself in the sheets that still had Tom’s scent on them, she breathed in deeply and tried to calm down.
It took Mia a while to fall asleep though, as her thoughts raced, wondering if Tom got to Silvia’s on time, thinking of them speeding down the M4 towards the south west of Britain, the sleepy tones of night radio punctuating the darkened roads.
In the car, driving west, Silvia insisted on taking the first leg of the journey which would take them at least four or five hours, if not more, depending on how much traffic they ran into. “I’ve had a few hours sleep, it doesn’t look like you got any at all,” she said with a grin, ever the big sister.
Tom protested, saying he couldn’t sleep anyway. But as soon as they got in the warmth of Silvia’s big black sport utility vehicle, and the late night radio host was engaged in a long rambling interview, Tom’s eyes began to close. Silvia smiled again and put her foot down, circulating London to join up with the M4 and start their journey westwards.
Level with Bristol, an hour and a half later, they stopped and switched places. Tom rubbed his eyes and gulped down the coffee Silvia had picked up from the service station for him. Silvia sipped at a double espresso, and they put on some 90’s protest music from her university days. Even though they weren’t on the 303, which ran past Stonehenge, they sang along loudly to The Levellers:
“Down the 303, at the end of the road,
Flashing lights, exclusion zones …”
The sun still wasn’t up when they exited the motorway, but it just started to come up as they crested Dartmoor and kept heading west. After changing drivers once more, the grey, misty countryside gradually started to sparkle as the sun began beaming into the car’s back windows, seemingly pushing them towards their destination.
At last, as the clock was nudging 9 a.m., they arrived and pulled in to a parking spot in the enormous carpark surrounding the big hospital which was, despite its size, full of cars and staff running in and out of the emergency zones busily.
“It’s not yet visitor’s time!” called the porter as they asked their way towards the heart unit, but Silvia and Tom were already turning the corner of the corridor and making their way towards the lifts. As the lift spat them out on the fifth floor and they followed signs towards cardiology. Tom felt light-headed, the long drive had taken more out of him than he wanted to admit, even to himself, and now the idea of finding his father hooked up to machines, and perhaps unable even to talk, was overwhelming. The corridors were deserted as they both looked around for someone to ask where their father might actually be. Finally, they found a care station and asked one of the nurses, but she repeated what the porter had called after them as they entered the building, “I’m sorry, but it’s not visitors’ time yet!”
“Yeah, we know that, but our father was brought in yesterday, and we’ve driven all night to get here to see him. Would it at least be possible to speak to someone who treated him?” asked Silvia, beginning to lose her patience.
“Wait there, I’ll see what I can do, what did you say your father’s name is?”
“Arthur Trelawney,” said Tom as they both took a seat near the nurse’s station.
Tom continued to sit whilst Silvia went off to see if she could find them both a coffee. She came back with plastic cups, looking apologetic. “Sorry, it was all I could find, I doubt this machine stuff has any actual coffee in it. Seems more like powdered milk, sugar, and a bit of brown colouring, but hey ho, I thought at least it would pass the time.”
Pensively, they sipped their sugared milk, masquerading as coffee, with only the loud tick of the clock hanging in the nurse’s station to break the monotony. Finally, a nurse walked by and Silvia managed to stop her long enough to find out where their father was.
“Oh yes, Lord Trelawney, yes he’s down the hall in a private room. The cardiologist should be round in about an hour’s time, but I’m sure they won’t mind if you just pop your head around the door. Room 109, turn left, then right, and it’s the second on the left.”
Following the nurse’s directions, they found the room. Tom peeped through the smoked glass to see if he could see any movement before they gingerly turned the handle and opened the door.
Their father looked shrunken lying in the bed, attached to so many beeping machines, with wires coming from his chest to various screens set around the room. He had his eyes closed and his hands, deformed with the needle from the drip, were placed neatly on top of the white bedsheet. Silvia and Tom stood dithering on the threshold to the room, suddenly unsure about how to proceed. Tom could feel his eyes filling with tears, and he turned to Silvia, grabbing her hand. They motioned to each other that they should leave him to sleep a bit longer and went to wait in the chairs outside the room for the cardiologist to turn up.
About an hour later, the wards and private rooms slowly started to come to life, as the doctors made their rounds and visitors slowly started to filter in. The sun had come around the building and was flooding the long corridors with their pale green walls and antiseptic smell. Every now and then, an orderly or a nurse would pass them, pushing trolleys, helping patients attached to drips towards the toilet, but their father’s room remained silent, but for the quiet, regular beeps of the machines.
Tom dozed intermittently on Silvia’s shoulder as they waited for the consultant to arrive. Finally, some firm steps snapped them from their light slumber, and they looked up to see a jolly, red-faced man gazing down at them.
“Are you Lord Trelawney’s relatives? I’m Dr Scott, consultant in cardiology here.”
Rubbing his eyes, Tom got up and Silvia followed suite.
“How is he? We didn’t want to disturb him, he looked like he was sleeping. How bad is it doctor?”
“Well, pretty bad as these things go, your father suffered a massive heart attack last night. He’s probably going to need a triple bypass, but we need him to stabilise a little more first. We’re hoping to get him into surgery later this week. From what your aunt told us yesterday, she did all the right things, and so we’re hoping that he didn’t suffer too much damage yesterday. But we won’t really be able to see what’s what until we are able to run some more tests, but his body has had such a massive shock, we’re just working on getting him stabilised first.”
Tom and Silvia looked pale. “Can we talk to him before then? Will he wake up?”
“He should be able to talk, but he’s on very heavy medication to thin the blood. We’ve got everything monitored, so he may well sleep today and that would be the best thing for him in my view,” said Dr Scott, clearly used to chatting about the kinds of mind-boggling surgical procedures that had most normal people feeling weak at the knees.
“What we don’t want,” he continued, “is for your father to suffer any more surprises or stress, so if you do go in there, you need to talk quietly and keep calm. We don’t want him feeling any stress at all.”
Tom and Silvia nodded. Dr Scott went into the room first. Peeking through the door again, Tom could make out only shadows, but it didn’t seem like his father had woken up, even as Dr Scott went around checking the machines with the nurses. Whilst he was in there, Tom pulled out his phone and decided to text Mia.
Morning Mia, we’ve been sitting in the hospital for a few hours now. My father still hasn’t woken up, but the doctor says he had a massive heart attack. He looks tiny and we haven’t been able to talk to him. The midnight dash seems a bit crazy now, but we needed to be here, for our sakes, too, I guess. Hope you got more sleep than I did.
Back in London, Mia heard her phone beep into her dreams. She raised her tired head from her pillow and started to blearily search around on the floor for her phone, abandoned last night after she’d phoned the taxi. Finally she found it and pulled her hair back from her face with one hand, whilst swiping to access her messages with the other. Mia smiled as she read Tom’s message, even though it didn’t sound very positive for his father. But she was pleased that, true to his word, he had texted her. That meant a lot.
She pulled the other cushion across her bed and propped herself up so she could better type a reply.
Glad you two got there safely. Sounds like it’s pretty scary, but I’m sure he’s in good hands. Hoping with all my heart they can do something for him and that you’ll be able to talk to him soon. Thinking of you.
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