My Favourite Taste

An inspiration/request from Ellie Thomas / Jan 2023

One of the comments on the live streaming tonight pops up with the question,

What’s your favourite taste?

I smile to myself as I continue beating the eggs for my whitepot rice pudding, much-loved in Tudor times; I’m not rushing to answer that question. Oh, I make a big thing about the excitement of cooking good food and, it’s true, I love bold flavours in the kitchen. I like researching ingredients, reading about the experiences of other chefs, discovering neglected recipes from past ages, and how they can be explored in a modern kitchen. I love experimentation and unusual combinations. But it’s not just about my appetite for food.

My favourite taste is him. It’s Simon. My lover. My partner. His mouth, his skin, his breath, his cheek. They all give me a hell of a buzz.

I realised pretty early on in our relationship that he’d be my best adventure. I never felt like this about a man before. Shaky, nervous, desperate, always thrilled, always excited to be with him, to see him again after he’s away. And the effect hasn’t worn off in the slightest over our months together. We work with each other most days, and sleep together every night, either here at the Haven Hotel or at Simon’s small flat, depending on our shifts in the kitchen and the office. He’s been talking about moving in here properly, but I’m not sure I want to set up a permanent home in a hotel room.

Hell of a confession, right? But in a secret, well-buried dream of mine, I always thought I’d find my own house somewhere—maybe near Uncle Jonas, just on the outskirts of London, where the city’s close enough for quick travel, but the community’s friendly and the pace of life more relaxed. And although I never had a guy I could imagine beside me in this mythical house… well, now things seem more hopeful. We’ve nowhere near enough savings to start that process yet, and I haven’t dared ask Simon if that’s a dream of his too. But I will. Honest.

I never seem to tire of him. Yeah, he’s a livewire in bed, always looking for new positions and tricks I may have learned as an escort. Always smiling, breathless, lustful, and loving. Huh. I shift on my seat. Bit inappropriate to get a boner right now, with the custard on the hob needing to be watched. But God, he makes me hot! And not just that—I love his company, his daft jokes, his relentless enthusiasm for learning anything new. The Sweetest Spot would never have got going without his drive. Now we have a regular streaming schedule, bookings at food exhibitions, and a growing collection of sponsors. And Simon manages it all for me. For us.

Thinking of that…

All our recent days off have been taken up with planning and running the vlog. I’d like to take him away sometime. Just us, at another hotel where no one knows us. There’s nothing better than being surrounded by the friends we have at the Haven, but there are times I’d like us to be private. Relaxed. No calls on our time, so we can eat and drink and laugh and make love, entirely on our own timetable. And with no escort-next-door to complain—even with amusement—at Simon’s screams when I fuck him.

I never had vacations like other folks do. Oh, I had time off work, and periods when I was unemployed. And Pyotr often talked about us visiting his family in Russia—until last year when he went out there alone and never came back.

But I don’t miss him now.


It’s Simon’s voice; soft, but insistent, like this is maybe the second or third time he’s said it. I blink to clear my vision, and he’s there, next to me, perched on a kitchen stool, eyes bright and full of all the emotions he shows so readily, There’s a small smile on his lips and his cheeks are pink. He blushes so damn prettily. I don’t think I’ve ever thought that about a man before.

His hair is tousled, it must be from that daft felt hat he’s been wearing. Another of Tom’s bizarre costume finds, it’s to match the 1600s theme of today’s vlog. Simon looks good in anything he wears. Or doesn’t.

Simon winks at me and goes even more pink.

Today’s vlog…

Oh fuck.

I suck in a shocked breath. We’re in the middle of filming, aren’t we? And I seem to have gone off into some kind of dreamland where I’m thinking of Simon’s smile, and how his skin tastes under my tongue, and those hiccupy little gasps he gives when I rock against him, and in him—

“Arne!” It’s laced with laughter but also his tone is sharper; a warning. I glance down to see my hand has slipped around his waist, tugging him close to me, in front of shot, when he usually sits off to the side of the counter. He’s a commenter, not the actual chef. His cooking is appalling—everyone knows that. It’s worse than Tom’s used to be. But everything else he does for and with me, his support, his encouragement, his devotion, his need and desire, in and out of bed… they all make up way more than half the success of The Sweetest Spot.

And me.

“Uhn…” His back arches; he’s not immune to me, even when we’re on camera. “You need to stir the custard, right? Add the rice? Oh. Oh.”

Fuck the pudding. We can edit this bit out later. I pull him even closer and smack a big, wet, tongue-y kiss on his cheek.

The comments on the streaming go wild—I can see them scrolling past, lots of laughing emojis, hearts, exclamation marks.

Simon is scarlet and all limp in my arms, panting, laughing, eyes needy. It’s one of his very best looks.

Maybe I won’t edit this out later, after all.

And I probably still have time to salvage the custard!

copyright Clare London as Stella Shaw 2023