Lance frowned at the sight of the curry shrimps.
Gabrielle was allergic to seafood, so she couldn’t eat any of it. For some people, allergies didn’t cause too much trouble—perhaps just some rashes that could be remedied by antihistamine medication. But for others, it could be fatal. They might exhibit severe symptoms such as difficulty in breathing.
Lance already knew about Gabrielle’s allergy, so when he saw the seafood spread before them, he frowned.
“Gabrielle.” Lance gave a meaningful look to Gabrielle. She instantly knew what he meant with the way he called her name. Gabrielle pursed her lips in turn.
It was a stern reminder not to eat any of it. Otherwise, she might suffer serious consequences. Gabrielle had to admit that it was one of her weaknesses, almost like her Achilles’ heel.
Where they were right now, it was dangerous to expose such weakness to other people—especially to the residents of the village. Worse, Rose was Bain’s subordinate. Lance and Gabrielle didn’t know if Rose was a friend or foe, but they couldn’t take a chance. They wouldn’t let Rose know for fear she might share it with Bain.
If they found out about her allergy, Gabrielle would lose the upper hand. She wouldn’t and couldn’t allow that to happen. They had already gone too far; they couldn’t afford to go back to square one.
That was why she understood what Lance was trying to tell her. She didn’t nod or provide any indication to give it away.
“Lance, please sit down first. These dishes Rose made look so delicious. I can’t wait to dig in,” Gabrielle said calmly, belying the knot of fear lodged inside her. She pulled Lance by his hand towards his chair before sitting down herself.
Gabrielle knew very well that Bain sent Rose to test them. She was there to observe them closely, notice any small fact about them. The more weaknesses Gabrielle exposed, the more disadvantageous it would be for them. Naturally, Gabrielle had to summon all her acting skills to pretend nothing was amiss.
“Don’t you like Thai food?” Rose asked Lance, raising her brow in inquiry. Lance didn’t bother hiding his expression at all. He looked thoroughly disgusted. He grimaced and didn’t even touch the food.
Rose misunderstood Lance. Perhaps he didn’t like the food she cooked, which hurt her and made her upset. They had no idea that she spent time and effort in cooking this meal, and they couldn’t even be grateful. On the contrary, Lance clearly showed his revulsion towards the dishes. Rose had to tamp down her irritation. Anyone in her position would be unhappy.
“No, it’s not that. I just didn’t expect you to be so good at cooking. You really surprised me this time, Rose,” Lance said with a smile. He might have caught himself at the last minute because all traces of disgust were gone. His face now exuded appreciation.
Lance berated himself for letting his mask slip—even for a few seconds. Nevertheless, it was easy for him to hide his real emotion. He was Lance Carter, after all. He wouldn’t be the CEO of Carter Group for so long if he didn’t possess even an ounce of duplicity.
“Lance, I’m flattered. Did you think I’m someone who only learned to use a knife to cut people and not vegetables?” Rose was not angry at all. She smiled softly at Lance, but her words sounded a lot like self-mockery.
Rose was not stupid. Lance didn’t say that he disliked the dishes she served, but his face said it all. Then, he pretended to be surprised at her cooking skills. Well, Rose was more observant than he gave her credit for. She immediately knew he wasn’t surprised but disgusted.
Still, Rose found it impressive that Lance could quickly adjust his mood and facial expression. The CEO in him really showed through. He was good at managing his emotions, switching to whatever suited the moment.
‘Use the knife to kill people?’
Gabrielle’s eyes widened in surprise at hearing Rose’s words. She said it so casually, as if killing people was nothing.
“I’m sorry, Gabrielle. I forgot that you’ve never witnessed b****y scenes. Forget what I said just now and eat first. I want you to taste my dishes and let me know what you think.” Rose spoke to Gabrielle apologetically. Rose’s hands were clasped in front of her.
Rose was used to speaking with people who got into fights, people who used knives to hurt others. That was why she was used to talking freely and straightforwardly like this. Even the women in the village were fearless this wa
y. Rose felt a little sorry for Gabrielle, who had neither seen nor experienced the b****y fights they used to engage in. She was so innocent in so many ways.
Rose simply didn’t know how to get along well with Gabrielle. They were polar opposites. Rose acted toughly and spoke roughly, while Gabrielle was gentle and obedient. It was challenging for Rose to pull herself back. However, she saw her sister in Gabrielle, which made her want to be closer to the other woman. They were different, sure, but Rose actually liked Gabrielle.
Rose liked her enough that if Bain asked her to test them, she wouldn’t do it.
Therefore, when it came to the way she dealt or talked with the pair, Rose considered Gabrielle’s feelings. They were not the same as Gabrielle, who was raised to behave like lady. Rose was used to talking rudely and casually—something that Gabrielle might never get used to.
“It’s okay. I’m really hungry. Let’s eat first.” Gabrielle gingerly picked up some food with chopsticks. Rose almost held her breath in anticipation of what she thought of the dishes.
“Gabrielle, go ahead and help yourself. If it doesn’t taste good, please don’t tell me. I’m afraid I will be heartbroken,” Rose chuckled. She joked with them to liven up the atmosphere because it felt like there was a cloud hanging over their heads.
Gabrielle was no stranger to Thai cuisine. She had tried them before in Antawood. Honestly, she found Rose’s dishes more delicious than the ones she ate in restaurants. There was no doubt that Rose was seriously great at cooking.
Maybe it was because they were in Thailand, where the ingredients and water used were local, so the food tasted more authentic. Maybe that was why these dishes Rose made were naturally different from those made in other countries.
It was normal for a dish to taste best when it was cooked where it originated from. The flavors were enhanced.
“Gabrielle, you look like you’re enjoying it. Am I right?” Rose noticed that Gabrielle lowered her head and ate heartily. It made her so happy. Rose always felt a certain sense of accomplishment and pride whenever others enjoyed eating the food she prepared.
“Rose, these are all scrumptious. They’re even more delicious than anything I’ve tried in Thai restaurants in Antawood. You’re not from Thailand, are you?” Gabrielle glanced at Rose’s short golden hair and her lovely face.
It was clear to anyone who looked at Rose that she was of mixed-race. However, it was hard to tell where her parents came from. It wasn’t clear if either of them was Thai. Even so, Rose’s take on Thai cuisine was mouthwatering, so maybe she was also part-Thai.
“No, I just came to the village for a period of time. I lived in Bangkok for more than half a year before, and I liked Thai food so much. The dishes have few ingredients and are relatively easy to prepare. I try to c**k as often as I can. So I guess I become good at it after practicing so many times.” Rose gave Gabrielle another faint smile. But it was evident that she was proud of her cooking.
“But I’m flattered that you think highly of the dishes I cooked. I’ll work harder in the future and try to improve my cooking skills more,” Rose said as if she was joking. In the village, she seldom did the cooking. Besides, there were people here who were so much better than her in the kitchen.
“Rose, you’re really meant to be a chef.” Gabrielle praised her sincerely. She did not say that to flatter Rose, but it was an honest assessment. Gabrielle had eaten at several popular restaurants, and she could confidently say that Rose’s cooking skills were comparable to those of a chef.
“Gabrielle, thank you for that sincere compliment. If you want to encourage me, then please eat more. That will certainly make me happier. Why aren’t you eating the shrimps?” Rose couldn’t help but ask since she realized that Gabrielle didn’t even touch the shrimp.
“Gabrielle doesn’t like shrimps; she prefers chicken. You can prepare more chicken recipes in the future. But as for me, I like shrimps, so I’ll eat them,” Lance answered for Gabrielle directly. He didn’t give her a chance to speak for herself, especially since he didn’t want Rose to know that there was a specific reason why Gabrielle couldn’t eat seafood.
Rose just stared at Gabrielle and didn’t say anything else. Gabrielle lowered her head to eat. She never really cared about personal preferences because as an adult, everyone had secrets.