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Chapter 7

  • in concentration as she grabbed the other ingredients, being cheese, eggs, parsley, onion, garlic, and salt, and mixed them all in the mashed eggplant.
  • Professor Lesley was on the roll, checking for each student's surprise food for the week. She wanted to be surprised, that was what she had always said to her cooking class before giving them exactly thirty minutes to decide and cook their food.
  • Kathryn heard the loud footsteps of their teacher as she carefully the mixed eggplants into patties. Adding a quick few special ingredients, Kathryn rounded the patties in cute tasty flat balls.
  • The heated oil in a skillet was already prepared and so she placed the patties down and waited for them to boil. Professor Lesley's heels were doing a slow agonizing stepping sound, it made Kathryn's breathing hitch.
  • "Hey, you okay?"
  • Kathryn looked up and found Earl almost finishing up his dish. Kathryn gulped as she looked at the dish. It was quite sparkling and Kathryn couldn't help but feel a bit intimidated by it. Now she wasn't sure anymore if she'd be able to receive five stars from Professor Lesley today like she was aiming for.
  • Because Professor Lesley only gives five stars to three deserving students every Friday in her class. Kathryn had only experienced receiving that twice in the past years. Earl did only once.
  • "I'm good," Kathryn replied with a smile at Earl then hastily turned her head back to the frying pan and started making a sauce for the finishing setup of her dish. Thankfully, after nine minutes, Kathryn was able to finish it.
  • "Alex Brown, five stars."
  • The class gasped and gave applause to Alex Brown. It was his first time to receive a five stars rating ever since he transferred to Professor Lesley's class last year. Kathryn smiled at the achievement of her friend, but deep inside couldn't help but feel so nervous. Two more five stars and she won't be able to receive it.
  • Professor Lesley walked towards the next student. She tasted it and nodded. "Jerome Suarez, three stars."
  • A friend gave Jerome Suarez a tap on the shoulder as a comfort. Professor Lesley proceeded to Earl's next.
  • "Earl Johnson... five stars."
  • Kathryn felt a frog was caught up to her throat. She shook her head to melt her jittery anxious feelings away and looked at Earl, promptly giving him a cheerful smile and a thumbs up. Earl grinned and mouthed a 'good luck' back to Kathryn.
  • A few more students presented their dishes and were tasted by Professor Lesley, sadly receiving a four to one stars rating.
  • Then, soon after, Professor Lesley's heels stopped in front of Kathryn. It made Kathryn's knees tremble but she fisted her hands and took a few deep breaths. It's okay to feel nervous, it's okay, it's okay. Kathryn chanted inside as Professor Lesley took a spoon and tasted Kathryn's Eggplant Croquette.
  • "Kathryn Taylor.... is everything all right, Taylor?"
  • Kathryn felt herself flinching at her teacher's words. Yes. There was no way she didn't hear about the breakup yet. Everyone on the campus already knew it. That didn't exclude the faculty staff.
  • "Yes, Ma'am," Kathryn gave her a reassuring smile. It was pretty rare for Professor Lesley to ask about personal stuff when it comes to her students. But then again, who knows what people really think about others inside their minds.
  • Professor Lesley nodded. Kathryn felt herself gripping her apron.
  • "Kathryn Taylor... four stars."
  • Kathryn heard Earl calling her. Kathryn heard Professor Lesley's heels on the roll once more. Kathryn could hear a few more students cheering him up.
  • But she remained silent, frozen to her feet.
  • She worked hard for this. The times she spent working at night to receive five stars...
  • A tear was threatening to form and fall but Kathryn held it in. Gently shaking her head to dismiss all the negative thoughts, she beamed a smile to her friends who were trying to cheer her up so they wouldn't worry too much about her.
  • After the class was dismissed, everyone walked out of the room. Kathryn was spacing out more than usual, causing her to be left behind and the last one to clean up her area.
  • "Kathryn, I'll be going now. Think you'll be alright?" Earl asked, head popping behind the door frame.
  • "Yeah, I'll be. Tell Leah I said hi," Kathryn said with a smile.
  • Earl looked unconvinced but decided to give Kathryn her space. He knew the little girl needed it. "All right. Take care!"
  • Kathryn smiled as she waved Earl goodbye. After checking she was finally alone, Kathryn let out the heavy sigh she has been holding for almost the entire day.
  • She glanced at the clock on the wall, its hands showing it was already six in the evening. After a few redundant sighs, Kathryn then fisted a hand and raised it. "Yosh, let's do this right this time. Kathryn Taylor, fighting! "
  • Kathryn happily remade her dish, cooking it again from the very beginning. She needed to see what was wrong with her dish. She better find it out now and do something about it, so later on, the possibilities of winning five stars would be high again. This was her own way to gain her confidence back: remaking and perfecting a once-to-be failure.
  • After trying more than three times, Kathryn couldn't still make it right. She himself had realized there was something definitely wrong- or lacking in her cooking. She glanced at the clock and noticed it was already eight o'clock. The school will be closed at nine. Sighing out heavily, Kathryn pouted and started cleaning up, deciding to call it a day. She can try again tomorrow or at her apartment tonight.
  • Kathryn headed down the stairs, feeling her heartbeat quickened as he heard loud familiar sounds coming from the outside. She hurriedly went to check and had her eyes widen at what she saw.