The Dinner Party

By Seema

Author's note: Part of my Holiday Gift ficathon . Written for Rocky, who wanted "Desperate Housewives", Bree and a soufflé. Takes place immediately after the events of "That's Good, That's Bad." Happy holidays!

Disclaimer: Characters and places belong to Marc Cherry and ABC


Less than 24 hours after she watched the man she'd been engaged to overdose on sleeping pills, Bree Van De Kamp calmly set her dining room table with her wedding china. She had already shined the silver and the crystal wine glasses sparkled. In the center, she'd placed an arrangement of delicate orchids -- white petals, rimmed with a rich magenta -- she'd created herself. Bree stepped back from the table, surveying her handiwork with a thin-lipped smile. The linen tablecloth was draped just right and the matching napkins were folded properly, and while it would be awkward to have an uneven number of people at the table, it simply would have been impolite to not have invited Edie. For a moment, Bree had also considered inviting Betty Applewhite to even out the numbers, but considering the nature of this dinner, Bree had decided against it. After all, she hardly knew Betty, and tonight was for friends, *good* friends.

Bree returned to the kitchen, her leather shoes making little sound against the stone tiled floor. The menu for the evening's meal -- marked with the page numbers of the recipes in the appropriate cookbook -- sat on the countertop. She would start off with appetizers -- tomato basil crostini and stuffed mushrooms -- and with a choice of either Merlot or Zinfandel. She would follow up the appetizers with salad -- romaine lettuce, with candied pecans, gorgonzola cheese, with raspberry vinaigrette -- which would be followed by a rich leek and potato soup topped with crisp bacon and chives. Dessert would be chocolate terrine, served with fresh raspberries and cream she had whipped herself. But Bree knew the piece de resistance would be the entree, goat cheese and thyme soufflé.

As she topped pieces of lightly toasted baguette with tomatoes and basil, Bree mentally reviewed the evening's agenda. She knew Gabrielle -- always prompt -- would be the first to arrive, followed by Edie who would be curious as to the invitation. Susan, who never been reliable and was even less so these days due to the on-going dramas with Mike and now her birthfather, would come next. Lynnette, however, would be the last to arrive due to some complication with one of their children or perhaps a late meeting or assignment at work. If all went well, by 6:30, Bree would start serving the appetizers and wine. At 7, she would announce it was time for dinner and bring out the salads. And of course, there would be more wine with that course, a fine Cabernet that Rex had particularly appreciated.

At 7:15, Bree would touch her lips lightly with the napkin and excuse herself to bring out the entree. She knew the others would exchange mild chit-chat until she returned to the dining room. She planned to set the soufflé down in the middle of the table, and then would step back, so her friends could take the opportunity to admire the dish. A soufflé, in a word, is breathtaking, the way it rises above the dish, rich, golden, defiant, and as such, it is easy to overlook whatever imperfections may develop in its crust during baking.

Telling her friends would be difficult, but Bree knew it would only be a matter of time before the news hit the press. She hadn't been particularly careful when entering George's hotel room. There would be questions, possibly even a trial. She had not told her friends of the engagement, and they -- particularly Gabrielle -- had been shocked to read of her engagement in the newspaper.

Tonight, Bree would tell them about George first. She had even chosen the exact words she would use and the moment exactly. While her friends would still be admiring the soufflé, Bree planned to clear her throat.

"I would like to explain what happened last night," she would tell them. "Mary Alice isn't the only one of us who has blood on her hands." Bree would then slice decisively into the soufflé, and as the glorious dish deflated, she would add, "But I'm not sorry and I would do it again. Now who would like the first piece?"

~ the end

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