John pulled the steak seasoning from the cabinet. Popping the lid he took a deep breath, pepper, salt, garlic, onion, brown sugar, and other herbs suddenly making the raw red meat appetizing. He seasoned the steaks liberally, rubbing it in with his fingers.
“Hey John!” Skylar’s voice carried through the open kitchen window. “I think the grill is hot now!”
“Coming!” John scrubbed his hands and grabbed the food and a spatula. “Get the door please!”
Skylar propped the backdoor open and he stepped through. The breeze was gentle and Skylar leaned over the plate, matching John’s pace as they smelled the meat. “Smells good.” They licked their lips and grinned at John. “It’s so nice of your mother to invite me to dinner.”
“Considering Emily has that family thing, and your parents are working late…” John trailed off and nodded to the grill. Skylar opened it up and he started laying the steaks out. The sizzle from the meat touching the metal bars, and the fat starting to drip, covered the far off twittering of birds.
“Wow.” Skylar hovered over John’s shoulder, licking their lips. John pulled the lid shut, spinning the spatula around his finger.
“How’s the salad coming?” John looked over his shoulder at the table. Under the navy umbrella, Skylar had lined up the vegetables; tomatoes, green peppers, onions, and cucumbers, in small bowls, with his mother’s homemade vinaigrette in a small mason jar. A large bowl with two tongs and lettuce sat in the middle of them. “Um,” he glanced at the cutting board and knife, both clean. “You need to cut the vegetables.”
“Yeah…” Skylar pursed their lips. “So, bite sized pieces? And is there anything you don’t eat?”
While the sizzle died down, John instructed what parts of the veggies to add to the salad and what to toss in the compost pile. “Got all that?” Skylar nodded. “Good, I have to check the meat.” John walked back to the grill. Flipping the meat earned a revival of the sizzle.
“Hey John?” Skylar asked. There was a steady chopping sound as they continued to speak. “Why is it good to sear meat on high heat to give the edges a crust, but calling the meat crusty is a bad thing?”
“Uh,” John glanced over his shoulder. “Well, crusty is like, the meat is dry. But a crust, um, that might apply more to meat that has been breaded.”
Skylar hummed and continued cutting. John poked at the meat, watching the red start to cook into a beautiful brown. “Thanks for helping Skylar.”
“You’re welcome John.”
Word count: 432