Reader, aspiring Eve Harrington, and new Amuse-Biatch in-house paparazzo Laz is not, unlike Miss Elia Aboumrad, a man to give up easily.
After witnessing Ilan Hall playing "In Your Eyes" for Marcel Vigneron on a boombox in Las Vegas, he knew something was up. He'd watched Double Indemnity plenty of times, and though he looks nothing like Edward G. Robinson, he had a gut feeling about this one. The weekend of Cointreau and go-go boys could wait. He sat in his convertible, cowboy hat pulled low over his aviator shades, and chewed on a toothpick while pondering the saffron strands of this mystery.
And then the targets were on the move. Laz followed discreetly as they drove north in Ilan Hall's rented convertible. "So they're pulling a Thelma and Louise," Laz gruffly thought to himself, taking swigs of Pepto-Bismol à la Cliff Crooks.
By the time the rental crossed the state line into Montana, Laz had figured it all out. Of course! The signs had been there all along. The attraction between the two had been instantaneous, electric, Kenmore Pro. As Laz was later to hear Ilan huskily whisper to Marcel, "You had me at, 'Do you wanna see my knives?'"
So the two met in the bathroom, unheard by anyone save Frank Terzoli's toothbrush, and planned it all out. They would just pretend to hate each other, displaying such camera-ready animosity and dramatic confrontations that the producers would have no choice but to ensure that they ended up in the finale together.
It was risky, but well worth it. After all, once they were in the finale, it wouldn't matter who won the title and the money. No matter where it came from, $100,000 would buy a sweet little gastropub in Helena, Montana, where they could serve dishes featuring Ilan's chorizo and Marcel's foam.
Laz followed them to the outskirts of Helena, where, using his telephoto lens, he took the photograph you see above. Once they were inside the cottage, Laz approached and peered through the window.
"I wish I knew how to queet you," Ilan said breathily to Marcel.
"Just ask Elia," replied Marcel, as they laughed, and began to kiss.
And what happened next was so ineffably tender that neither we nor Laz have the words for it, and so we turn to former New Jersey governor and "gay American" (Gaymerican?) Jim McGreevey and a charged passage from his memoir, The Confession:
"We undressed and he kissed me. It was the first time in my life that a kiss meant what it was supposed to mean -- it sent me through the roof. I was like a man emerging from...a cave to taste pure air for the first time, feel direct sunlight on pallid skin, warmth where there had only ever been a bone-chilling numbness....I pulled him to the bed and we made love like I'd always dreamed: a boastful, passionate, whispering, masculine kind of love."How's that for a Wednesday morning? Well, it was just like that, Laz assured us. As for who really earned the title of "top" chef, well, we'll leave that to your imagination.