At Any Cost | Book One of Exafortespent

By Alma Azura Celia All Rights Reserved ©

Action / Drama

Forty Seven: Favorite Cookie

“So, how is it going with Austin?”

I look up from the wooden floor only to see Colton, sitting there at the edge of my bed casually with his arms crossed in front of his chest, like a mother would do in the movie when they knew they’re daughter or son has gotten into trouble. His face tells me that I’m kind of in trouble.

And how does he know I’ve been out with Austin? I didn’t even tell him about that. There’s must be something I didn’t know about him yet. Maybe he’s been spying on me this whole time! But of course I can’t just tell him about my suspicion. I have to find out about it myself. Now I’m feeling like everyone spying on me, keeping their eyes on me, probably waiting for the right time to kill me.

“Colton, what the heck? Why are you here? In my room?” I look at him with an annoyed scowl showing at my face. The feelings of discontent build up inside my body as I think about Colton spying on my personal life. He is my niece, but he has no rights to spy on me. Especially about my love life.

“Just waiting for you.” A slight scowl appears across his face as he sees the scowl that’s showing on my own face. His green eyes stares into me as he rises to his feet, his arms that cross in front of his chest tighten as he takes one step closer to me.

“For what?” I cross my own arms in front of my chest, staring at him with the same intensity of the stare he gives me. I keep myself standing straight in front of him that obviously has a taller body, letting him know from the way I look I can fight him right now if he decided to mess with me.

A little sigh comes past his lips as he lets his hands falls to his side and letting the scowl leave his face. Just seeing the look on his face, his defeated look, make me tilt my head a little in confusion as I keep my eyes trained to his face that’s slightly clouded with sadness.

“Ellie, she’s been crying since you were gone at Friday. She was waiting for you to come with us to her first school play.” The thought of her crying because of me leaving for two days and frowning sadly behind the stage for not watching her first school play make the confusion that was covering my face gets replaced with a frown as guilt and sadness fills me in.

No one at home was telling me about any play Ellie was going to be in. Ellie herself didn’t even tell me about it. I know if she told me about the play, she would be having the excitement all over her body, making her bounce on her feet as a bright smile stretches across her chubby face. The thought makes my frown turns into a pout as I bring my face up to see Colton already staring back at me with a frown.

“Really? I don’t know about that. I’m sorry. Where is she now?” I gaze into his eyes, searching for answers from him silently as I keep staring at him.

“She’s at her friend birthday party.” His answer makes my face falls as disappointment surges through me, my head moves slightly into a little nod as I stare at the wooden floor beneath me blankly. A thought of surprising Ellie with something crosses my mind, and my face lifts up as the thought keeps staying inside my head.

“Oh. I want to surprise her but with what?” I furrow my eyebrow, looking at anywhere but him. Placing my index finger on my chin, I tap my foot on the floor into a constant beat and within a second an idea, that is easy to done and of course could make her happy, pops inside my head.

“Oh, would you help me bake some cookies?” I grin at him, the expressionless look still plastered onto his face as he looks at me. And the excitement that radiated from me seems like it doesn’t has any effect to make the blank look on his face gone and replace it with just a little smile and excitement.

Hell, what’s wrong with him? What did I do wrong to him?

“Do you even know how to bake?” He asks, still having the blank look all over his face as he stares down at me with the same blankness. A scowl comes covering my face again at the stupid question that is not even necessary to be asked and how he underestimated me that easily without even knowing what I am capable of as I keep staring at the annoying look on his face.

“Why are you even questioning me on that? Of course I can!” I let out a loud huff, crossing my arms in front of my chest and keep scowling at him childishly.

Of course I can bake. If I’m not of course I’m not going to tell him the idea of making some cookies for Ellie. And if I’m stupid enough to tell him that I want to bake some cookies when I can’t bake, what would I do? Burning the whole kitchen and using the wrong ingredients when I’m cooking and just have this psychopathic smile on my face as I stir the ingredients? Hell no. I’m not that crazy.

A light chuckle comes out his mouth as a bright smile invades his once expressionless face, but the scowl still remains on my face as I stare at him. “Chill, I’m just asking.”

Is this boy somehow has bipolar? I guess he has. Well, I guess I have too. That mean we’re both different people with the same craziness.

A slight bit of scowl still stay there, covering my face and still keep my arms crossed in front of my chest in annoyance. “Now, would you help me or not?”

“Sure, let’s go.”

Colton walks past me, a little smile on his face as he keeps walking out of my room and into the hallway. I turn around and follow him from behind, with me still digging into my mind to find any idea for what we should really make for Ellie. I keep searching through my mind, lots of options found by me, make me even more confused of what we should really make.

Huh, I guess there’s some recipe books down there in the kitchen that has some cookie recipes. But I guess I’m just going with the one I like the most: chocolate chips cookie. She has to like this cookie. Or else I’m going to be an embarrassment to my own self in front of a 6 years-old girl. It’s better I ask Colton what’s her favorite than humiliate myself badly.

“Colton?” I turn to look at him as we arrived in the quiet kitchen. He turns around and stare back at me, his eyebrow slightly raises as his face turns into confusion within a second that pass.

“Yes?”

“Do you know what’s her favorite cookie?” He looks up at the ceiling and few seconds later he averts his gaze back at me, showing a little smile at my way, probably because of the proud in him for remembering his own sister favorite cookies. Silly him.

“She loves ginger cookies and chocolate chips cookies.” The smile from his face vanishes as his eyes open wider in fear as he still keeps his stare on mine.

“But don’t make ginger cookies, I hate ginger.” He scrunches his face in disgust as he probably remembering something that probably makes him hate ginger with all of his life. A giggle escapes from me as I keep staring at how silly he looks right now and the fact that he despises the warm, spicy and sweet ginger that makes ginger cookies taste so great.

“You, hate ginger?” A giggle escapes from me again as I smile at him brightly. “Why? It tastes so good. When I ate ginger, especially when the weather is cold, it heated up my body and it has this spicy taste that-”

“I know. Stop describing me that shit. It almost choked me to death when I ate that in one of mom’s cook.” He cuts into my words, now scowling at the innocent marble counter as he keeps remembering the taste of the ginger.

“What? How?”

How can he hates ginger so much because of Aunt Sarah dish that contains some ginger in it? This hatred Colton has against the ginger is just too much. Poor ginger. It just wanted to make some food tastes better but what it has in return was a hatred from Colton.

“She was making this dish, I don’t know, it’s kind of like a soup and she was putting a ginger in it. The stupid me thought the ginger was some chicken meat because it has the same color. So, without thinking any further, I put it into my mouth and it made my throat burns like hell.” He says, scrunching his face again as he tells me the story behind his hatred towards ginger.

“You’re just overreacting. It’s not that bad.” I give him a weird look, only to get a scowl from him in return.

“And you’re not the one who was experiencing it.” He rolls his eyes, keeping the scowl on his face like a child despite his age that’s could make him categorized as a grown up.

“Fine, you cantankerous.” I say, remembering this weird word from somewhere and decided to call him that to make him confused. Or probably more annoyed.

“What?” Confusion sweeps across his face making the scowl on his face gone in a split second as he furrows his eyebrows, seems like he’s trying to make the gear in his head turn to understand what foreign word did I just said to him as an insult for his stupidity.

“Cantankerous.” I repeat, keeping a straight face as I hold back my laughter.

“What the heck are you saying?” His eyebrows knitted at the center of his forehead tighter than before as he tries to understand the word. I give him a smile only to make him more confused.

“A word you would never know the meaning.” A scowl once again showing on his face as he trained his eyes on mine in annoyance. And that clearly telling me that he really is pissed. But it’s hilarious to see him confused and annoyed at the same time.

“I won’t helping you cook the cookies then.” I let out a defeated sigh and frown.

“Fine, it’s has a same meaning of peevish.” The scowl on his face goes deeper as he stares down at me, still with the same previous annoyance in his eyes.

“I’m not peevish.”

“Yes you are.”

“Whatever.” He rolls his eyes. “Now what should we do?”

“Uh, do Aunt Sarah has some recipe books?”

“Yes, it’s in the uh...” He looks around the room, searching for something, probably the drawer where every recipe books is placed. He puts a finger up and put it on his pursed lips as he thinks. He clicks his tongue as he puts his hand down, giving up on trying to remember the exact drawer.

“Where is it? I remember she was telling me where it is? Wait for a moment. Mona!” He shouts. I flinch away from him a little at the sudden loud voice in the quiet room. A brunette girl around my age comes into the room in rush, panting for air quietly as her brown eyes stares back and forth between me and Colton.

“Yes, Mr. Pemberton?” She asks, her clasped hands placed in front of her as she keeps staring at me and Colton.

“How many times should I tell you to just call me by my first name?” He says, his face looks calm as he stares down at her.

“Oh, yes. Uh, what you need, Colton?” She asks, she fiddles with her hands nervously as she waits for Colton to answer her question.

“Where are the recipe books placed?”

“Oh.” She walks to the drawer near the refrigerator and point her thin finger on it. “It’s in this drawer.” She fiddles with her hands again as she looks up at Colton, smiling a little.

“Thank you. You can go now.” He motions his hand to the door, and Mona nods her head a little, smiling at him and me.

“Thank you.” She walks out of the kitchen briskly, and I go to the drawer she pointed previously for Colton. “Let’s see.” He pulls the drawer and search through the many recipe books in it, and stop when a cookie recipe book find by our eyes.

“Ah, here.” He pulls out the book and flip through the pages, searching for the chocolate chips cookie recipe from many of delicious-looking cookie recipe. He puts down the book that already showing the recipe of the cookie we want to make.

“So, where are the ingredients?”

“Just tell me what you need.” I tell him all of the ingredient from the book recipe and he takes all of the ingredients and put it down to the counter as I take all the equipment that needed to make the cookie. I put my hands on my hips, looking at the stuff in front of me with my lips pursed.

This is going to be fun. And a little of hard work.

I let out a sigh and walk closer to the counter. I take the bowl and the mixer. I put the mixer to the side and look into the recipe book, reading the next instruction.

“Colton, the flour.” He takes it quickly and give it to me. I pour some flour and put the bag of flour down to the side. The next is the sugar, and eggs.

I plug the mixer to the socket and turn it on. I mix up all the ingredients when suddenly a thought, one stupid yet brilliant idea, comes into my head and make me purse my lips to hold back a smile that’s threatening to show on my face.

This idea is stupid. This is my idea to surprise Ellie by making some cookies for her but the lazy side of me get the best of me. I shouldn’t be doing this, but I’m curious and badly want to know if Colton can make a delicious chocolate chips cookie by himself with only the guide from a recipe book.

I pull my phone out of my jean pocket and stare at the black screen, acting that I really am receiving a call right at this moment. I put down my phone and stares at Colton pleadingly and apologetically.

“Could you mix it for me? I have a call from Mr. Warren.” I shake my phone slightly between us, showing him that I’m telling the truth. I make myself look nervous as I stare at him, hoping that he will buy my words as I hold the phone close to my chest, afraid if he looks at my phone and find out I’m lying right in front of his face.

“Okay.” He says, he doesn’t even look hesitate.

This is oddly unbelievable.

I pretend to tap on the answer and put my phone close to my ear and walk out of the kitchen hurriedly, pretending like I’m actually calling Mr. Warren when I’m actually not. With a smile on my face, I keep walking out of the house and sit on one of the comfy chair in the backyard, feeling the warm sunlight on my skin as I look up at the blue sky with any clouds barely seen.

I scroll through my Instagram feeds. Watching at a video of kitten that does nothing than walking but still look so freaking cute! How I wish I have a cat, or kitten with me now and keep petting it, feeling its soft fur, as I hug it close.

“Ashley! Where are you?!”

I stiffen at my seat, my eyes pop a little as I stay still on my spot. I sit straight on my seat, holding the phone close to my ear in case Colton coming right at my way and know the truth. I look into the house, no one in sight.

“I’m still on the phone!”

“What should I do now? I’m done mixing the dough!”

“Uh, just look at the recipe book, do the next instruction!”

“Okay!”

Why is he so dumb to realize that I told him that because I just want the cookie and he’s the one that cooking it?

After an hour, he calls me to get into the house, telling me that the cookies are done. I jump to my feet and walk into the house, slipping my phone into my jean pocket. I step into the kitchen, greeted by the delicious smell of fresh from the oven cookies. And damn, the kitchen does smell good. My gaze goes to Colton who look tired as he sits at one of the stool, biting into the cookie.

“Sorry for not helping you. I have to do something first while Mr. Warren calling.” I give him an apologetic smile as I approach him.

“It’s fine. I don’t know if I cook it right or not but, here, try it.” He takes a cookie from the tray and hand it to me. I observe the cookie. Seems nice. But I don’t know how about the taste really is.

“Okay.”

I bite the cookie hesitantly, afraid that it would taste bad when it gets into my mouth. And the delicious taste of the cookie explode, feeling the chocolate chips melt inside my mouth and a little moan escapes my lips and I quickly cover my mouth to see Colton smirking at me.

“Colton! This taste so fucking good!” I stare at him in disbelief, grinning so widely I feel my cheek hurting a little after a little while.

“But at first you thought it’s not going to, right?” He raises an eyebrow at me, the smirk still has it place on his face as he stares back at me.

“Yeah. Sorry.”

“It’s fine. Now, if you excuse me, I want to take a shower, I’m sweating like crazy now.” A laugh escapes my mouth at his words and I smile at him as he stands to his feet, smiling back at me.

“Okay.“I perch myself down on the stool and grab the warm cookie and open my mouth as Colton begin to walk out of the kitchen.

Egg yolk runs down my hair, my precious hair when Colton smash an egg to my head. The egg yolk keeps dripping down from my hair and I feel it on my forehead. I turn around slowly in a dangerous way with a scowl already on my face that covered in egg yolk and look up at Colton only to see him smirking at me.

Before I can even touch him, he's already running to the other side of the counter, the playful smirk replaced with a wide grin as he watches my every move. I jump off the stool, glaring at him as I try to move closer to him.

“Colton I swear to god,” I warn trough my gritted teeth, only to make his grin goes wider.

“What? You thought that I didn’t know that you were only pretending to call Mr. Warren? I actually know it when I saw you in the backyard, scrolling through your Instagram feeds while you were ‘calling’ Mr. Warren. I thought of doing this when you’re in the backyard. But I think it would be better if I do it when you get in here. And it’s true. It’s more better to do this now.” He grins.

“You’re so mean.” I scowl.

“I am.”

He throws flours at me direction, make me close my eyes real quick and rub the flour off of my face, coughing a little as some of the flour gets into my nose and lungs. I make a run to the backyard as I grab some eggs with me and chase him. I look around the backyard, no signs of Colton in here. He’s nowhere in my sight. I look at one of the biggest tree in the backyard and grin.

He’s stupid enough if he decides to hide there.

I run toward the tree and tiptoe quietly and carefully to the tree. I put my hand up with egg in my hold, ready to smack the egg to him. I jump in front of him, only to get an egg slammed onto my forehead. He run into the house again, laughing hysterically, and I chase him again into the house.

I look around the kitchen, afraid he might come out of nowhere. But no signs of him in the kitchen. I jog into the dining room, and no signs of him found by me. I jog into the living room, looking around as I walk slowly around the living room with egg yolk on my head and it suddenly make me cringe of the feeling of it on my hair and head.

Colton comes out of nowhere and pin me down to the floor, grinning at me. I look up at him in shock, mouth agape as I stare at him wide-eyed.

“Colton, what the heck? Let me go!” I squirm under his hold, but it seems like my effort to get out of his hold is a waste, he’s not even bother to hold me even tighter under him.

“Not until I want so.” He smirks.

“Ugh, why are you so annoying? I want to go take a shower. This is gross. I feel like shit.” I scrunch my face up in distaste as I feel the egg yolk, sticking onto my head and hair. The gross smell of eggs invade my nostrils, make me scrunch my face even more. Gross.

“I won’t let you.”

I gather all the power I have left in me and push him strongly as I stand to my feet. I move my feet quickly into a run until something wet, that I guess is an egg yolk, step by me and I fall back as he pulls me to him too strongly.

I fall onto the floor, and he falls on top of me. My breath kicks out of my lungs as I fall to the floor, followed with Colton rock-hard body falls on top of my body along with our foreheads slam onto each other’s. Groans erupt from both of us as we rub our hurting foreheads. I wince quietly under him, don’t even have any strength to push his body off of mine.

My cheek turns hot and red as I realize the position we’re in. It’s just weird for a girl and a boy, especially when we are nieces, in a position like this.

I look up at him, just realized he’s staring down at me this whole time. I keep staring at him, and I don’t know if it’s just me or not, but I can feel him leaning down, closer to my face.

Is he going to fucking kiss me? What the fuck! We’re nieces for god sake!

I want to move, but I feel like I’m paralyzed at this moment as the pace of my heart beat fasten and my breath stuck in my dry throat. He stops leaning in, his forehead touches mine and his lips are centimeters away from mine. He keep staring at me and get off me, laughing uncontrollably at me.

My strength comes back to me and I jump to my feet, glaring down at him, sitting on the floor as he punches his fist onto his thigh, laughing uncontrollably.

“What the fuck, Colton?! Are you seriously going to kiss me? We’re nieces for god’s sake. And beside that, you have a girlfriend!” I shout, a scowl on my face for the umpteenth time today.

“I’m not going to kiss you, I’m just teasing you with that. I just want to see your reaction. And you’re your reaction are just staying there, barely moving and breathless. And it’s just make me really motivated to tease you more.” He smirks as he gets into his feet, standing in front of me closely and make me take a step back.

“God! You’re so unbelievable.” I let out a groan and roll my eyes at him.

“I’m doing that so maybe I can give you some tips on how to handle that kind of situation.” He grins.

“Wait. Let me just get a shower first. This is so uncomfortable.” I touch my hair and quickly put my hand away when I touch the egg yolk, scrunching my face as I cringe.

“It’s not like I don’t want to take a shower either. With you.” He smirks. I look at him, feeling so disgusted by the thought. Ew, ew, ew, stop letting those thoughts get into your head, Sophie. Push that thought out of your head!

“What? Ugh, gross. And wipe that fucking smirk off of your face!” I yell, scowling at him like a little child who doesn’t get what she wants for her birthday.

“What? We’ve done that when we were just little innocent kids.” He says, smirking playfully at my way and my mouth gape as I stare at him in disbelief.

“But we’re fucking grown ups now.”

“I’m just joking, baby.” I let out a gasp, my eyes open wider and my mouth gapes even wider too. Within a second my face scrunches up in disgust as I step further away from him.

“Ewh, stop!”


“So, what are those tips you’re going to say?” I hold my hair in my hand, sniffing the strawberry smells from my freshly washed and dried hair. I play with my hair, feeling soft it feels now.

We’re sitting there on the couch, cross-legged as we face each other. I grab one of the cushion and put it on my lap, waiting for him to hear his stupid tips. But it’s better than having nothing to do. This thing would be one of a shitty little entertainment for me.

He clears his throat, and let a smile plastered onto his face.

“One, if you get yourself in situation like that, remain calm. Or you’re going to be all crazy in the head and fainted.”

I nod my head. This is going to be interesting. Very, very, very interesting.

“Two, just breath, okay? It’s not like you’re banned to breath when you’re in a situation like that.”

But it’s not like I can control my body when something like that happen. It’s just like something switch of the part of my mind and make me somewhat paralyzed.

I keep my mouth sealed shut, letting him give me this useless tips.

“Three, try to take control of the situation. If you want to piss him of just tease him like lean closer to him, stop, and just leave him. Like what I did before to you.”

That’s gross. If I do that, who knows that he will actually kiss me back. Ha, I’m not going to let things like that happen, no thank you very much.

“Four, try not to blush, well if that’s even possible.”

How can you even control it? Blushing like that just comes out of nowhere with no pity for my embarrassment. It’s not like I want to blush when things happen. It makes things more awkward than ever.

“Five, if that person with you in that situation is the person that you like, flirt with your eyes, lick your lips, or bite your lips maybe. Because man like it when a woman bite their lips, it’s kind of a turn on for us.”

So just biting my lips and lick it will turn guys on? Remind me for not biting and licking my lips in front of a guy when I’m effing nervous or else something unexpected happens to me.

“What?! Heck no! I don’t want to do that if that is what happening in you guys bodies. Ewh.” I cringe at him.

“I’s not like I told you to do that. I’m just suggesting you to do that. So yeah, that’s it from me.”

“That’s it? Seriously? That is 5 useless tips someone has ever said to me.” I roll my eyes at him.

“Well, fine. If you said that is useless, don’t beg me to help you with anything.” He says, face turns from happy to a scowl once again as his green eyes stares back at mine with anger.

“It’s not like I need your helps anyway.” I mumble. And it seems like he’s not taking my words pretty well as the scowl on his face deepen.

“Is that so? Fine then. Don’t ask me for help.” He stands to his feet, the scowl still staying on his face. He stares at me for a second and roll his eyes as he turns around.

It’s not like I need help from him. But what if I really need someone help and I don’t have a person that I trust to give a hand and help me out? That person is Colton. And I don’t really have my trust to give fully to the boys and Chloe. I don’t trust them enough yet.

“Wait. Okay, I’m sorry. I guess your tips doesn’t really useless at all. Maybe it could help me one day.” He stops halfway to the lounge room and spin his body around and glare at me as e folds his arms on his chest.

Well, that’s not really the expected response I want from him.

“You guess? That’s mean you’re not really trusting my tips?” He raises an eyebrow questioningly at my way with his lips curve downward, the expression on his face saying that he’s pretty mad. But this bipolar man in front of me could change his expression and mood within a second when I say the right words he probably want the most to hear.

“No, it’s not like that.” I frown at him, the previous expression on his face never left his face as he keeps his eyes trained on me.

“Then why did you said you guess?”

“Okay, I was wrong. It is very useful Colton. Thank you so much.” I smile at him, and the words are just like a magic spell, making the anger left his face and a smile appear on his face.

“Good girl. Don’t eat those cookies again. You’re not even helping me to make that.”

“Colton!” I whin.

No! Perfect looking delicious cookies can’t be eaten by me? I’m going die. Those cookies are just so good until I don’t know what to do in life if I’m not eating those anymore though I’m not helping. And, that also proves me that he’s a great cook for all this time. Never thought someone like him can cook. And that means, I need him to cook me at some other times.

“No, don’t look at me with those eyes. I won’t fall into that trap.” He says as I look at him pleadingly with puppy eyes and jutting my lower lip out like a kid. After a few seconds, he lets out a sigh.

“Fine, you can eat some, but not all of them. Spare Ellie and I the cookies.” I sit straighter as excitement shoots through my body, making a grin appear on my face in a light speed.

“Yay, thank you, bro.”

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