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Sabrina suppressed a sigh, but Daniel seemed to be able to read her concern nevertheless. She would be alone with his mother. What would she talk to her about? What if she asked more questions about their relationship? Questions Sabrina didn’t have answers for.
Daniel came closer and pressed a kiss on her cheek. “Don’t worry, you won’t be alone. My mother will be here with you,” he whispered to her. “She won’t bite you. I won’t be out long, but I know if I refuse my dad now, he won’t let me forget it. Best get it over with. Three hours tops.”
“Promise?” she whispered back.
He chuckled and pulled away, then turned to his mother, who was busy loading the dishwasher. “Mom, you’ll take care of Sabrina while I’m gone, won’t you?”
His mother smiled up from her hunched-over position over the dishwasher. “Of course I will.”
Daniel lifted his finger. “And no interrogation! I know you, Mom! Play nice.”
“Would I ever?” she answered innocently.
Sabrina smiled. She would never have dared to speak to her own mother like that.
The moment the men left the house, all decked out in their golf gear, their golf bags slung over their shoulders, Raffaela wiped her hands on a dishtowel and looked at her.
“Well, since it appears my son just forbade me to ask you any personal questions, we’d better occupy ourselves with something else. Have you ever made cannoli, Sabrina?”
“Cannoli? No,” she answered. “But I’ve eaten them. I love them.”
“Do you want to help me make them?”
Sabrina laughed nervously. “I’ve never really baked anything except a cake from a box.”
Raffaela laughed and opened the door to the pantry, taking out flour, sugar, vegetable oil and other ingredients, and placed them on the large kitchen island.
“Don’t worry, I’ll teach you.” She winked at her. “They are Daniel’s favorite dessert. And love goes through a man’s stomach.”
Sabrina felt her heart warm for Raffaela. There was no doubt about the fact that Raffaela accepted her as Daniel’s girlfriend and wanted their relationship to work. It made her feel at ease, and for the first time since she’d arrived at the Hamptons, Sabrina felt that she could relax.
Raffaela handed her an apron, which Sabrina wrapped around her waist and torso, and saw Raffaela do the same. Then she watched the older woman as she went about measuring the flour into the bowl and adding the sugar and cinnamon.
Astonished, Sabrina looked at her. “Don’t you work from a recipe?”
“I do. But I’ve made these so often, I know it by heart.”
Sabrina watched her as she added eggs, wine, vinegar, and water into the mixture and began to stir it. She peered into the large bowl.
“How many cannoli are you planning to make? That looks like a lot of dough,” she commented.
“Not nearly enough. Daniel can devour a half-dozen in one sitting, and so can his father. Not that I would allow it. He has to watch his cholesterol.”
She kneaded the dough with her hands, then when it had formed into a large ball, she placed it on a wooden surface on the kitchen island, and continued kneading it there, before returning it to the bowl and placing a clean kitchen towel over it.
“Here, put that in the fridge, so it can rest a little.”
Sabrina took the bowl and placed it onto the top shelf in the refrigerator, then turned back to Raffaela. “Now what?” she asked eagerly.
She was suddenly excited about learning how to make a traditional Italian dessert that was Daniel’s favorite. Maybe someday she could surprise him with it when he got back home from work.
“While the dough is chilling, we’ll make the filling,” Raffaela said in a sing-song voice and then laughed. “Did that just rhyme?”
Sabrina found herself laughing along with her. “Guess it did!”
While Raffaela deftly mixed ricotta cheese and an array of other ingredients into a large bowl, and explained what she was doing, Sabrina asked, “Is there anything else I can do?” She felt bad just standing around and not doing anything.
“No, just watch. Next time you and Daniel are here for the weekend, I’ll let you make them on your own.” She winked mischievously. “That will be your test.”
Sabrina laughed. “If I knew there’d be a test, I would have taken notes.”