Short Story: Death By Chocolate

Short Story: Death By Chocolate

The chocolate was a gift. 

Well, he had bought the ingredients for it anyway. 

This was the story of how they met. It was the whole reason Giselle was here, in the garden. Face painted with rouge, enrobed in an emerald gown, offering him the single bonbon in her cupped hands, white as the linen of her handkerchief. He laughed when she procured the sweet with the utmost delicacy. She could not look at her twin, Émilie, whose face was behind a fan fluttering as quickly as Giselle’s pulse. 

It had all started with chocolate, and the sisters’ perpetual quarrel over which was the best. Giselle adored white chocolate. She loved how it brightened everything around it and left the mouth coated in creamy sweetness. Émilie had laughed, saying it was not really chocolate. Then again, Émilie loved bitter flavours. He cut in, claiming milk was surely best.  After all, it was loved by everyone. Giselle thought he only liked milk chocolate because it was the colour of his eyes.

They had spent hours in the little London confectionary, waiting for the rain to stop by letting him place small pieces of sugary compliments to melt on their tongues. The twin’s family had built an Empire from sugar and chocolate. The intricacies of the trade were in their blood.

The sisters were more than happy to hang off his arms like gingerbread ornaments, while he paraded about the city. During tea, they switched between French and English as frequently as they drank from each other’s cups. The twins were accustomed to sharing friends, and slowly, he poured himself into their life, as expertly as he drizzled crème anglaise on their cakes. After many years of travelling, the sisters had acquired a menagerie of correspondents; he was not the first Baron they had written to. Émilie loved the sound of her sister’s butterscotch laugh. He boasted of once eating marzipan with Her Majesty’s husband, the Prince Consort. The colour of Émilie’s matcha matched his waistcoat. Somewhere between cream and sugar Giselle decided she was in love with him. Smeared between layers of strawberry jam and clotted cream he fell in love with Émilie. 

He confessed one night, as the trio was sandwiched between candies and port, that he had never been the sort to restrict himself to just one form of chocolate over another. Whatever delights crossed his path, he consumed with a devilish gusto that was nothing short of gluttonous. He referred to Émilie by anything but her name, because he claimed she tasted like sugar to him. Émilie did not like the way her sister dissolved around him, like cocoa powder into warm milk. Giselle would fold as if the bones of her corset had turned into jelly and he shook the ground beneath her to watch her wobble.

Émilie refused to let his hands run over her dress like caramel, staining the fabric with sin. Out of spite, he boiled over, turning as black as treacle and instead, left Giselle covered in sticky fingerprints, in her sister’s place.

Even the best chocolate spoils. Like a half-forgotten bar sugar-bloomed, disrupting the smooth timbre of his voice, now grainy and separated from itself. So, he snapped one sister’s heart in half and smeared the other’s reputation on society’s white walls as easily as they changed languages. Their family would be ruined. All business would curdle, their name would crumble under the press. Their father’s ambition for either daughter to marry Continental nobility or American riches of their own choosing melted as crème glacée does on a hot summer day.       

That was something the sisters could not abide. 

Of course, there was only one solution, there is only ever one solution, and that is chocolate. Émilie’s propensity for dark flavours emerged, and the sisters spent weeks pouring over their mother’s old recipe. There were many secrets tucked into the handwritten card, late at night the sisters argued over who would carry it to the ball.

He was swathed in midnight, almost too intoxicated to come down from the stars. Giselle lured him into the garden, whispering promises of ‘wild’ confectionary delights. Out he followed her, like a hound chasing game.  His kisses were disappointing. They tasted nothing like the colour of his eyes – they did not even taste of wine. Only of ash and empty promises. Now here they were. He said he didn’t like white chocolate. She reassured him the truffle was simply to die for. He closed his eyes when she placed it between his lips.  

When it was over, the sisters melted into each other’s arms and raised champagne flutes as they left the garden. It was time to go home to Paris, now that Giselle had ensured white chocolate was the last thing he ever tasted. 

©️ Photo from Pexels

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