Heya guys :D I'd love to say that I'm back with another not-so-one-shot-one-shot, but it seems that I cannot, for this is just simply a one shot. Oh well. It took me long enough to finish, so I just want to get it all out in one part.
First off, for everyone who read "Boys Suck," No, I don't have an infatuation with bakeries, nor the extremely adorable fictional boys who may work there. It just seemed to fit well for this one.
So I got the idea for this when one of my close friends called me up from work, bored out of his mind, asking if I wanted to hang out in the kitchen of the bakery he worked at. Mostly everything from this story did happen at one point or another (besides the fluffy cute romantic stuff, of course… Gah. Stuff like that never happens in real life). Oh, and of course I changed my friends name… You know, in case he decides to type his name in a search engine to see what comes up (Come on, you know you've tried it) because I'm sure he'd be more than creeped out if he read this. Anyway, no. I don't like him. I just thought it'd make a cute setting for a story.
My fingers moved along the keys, but it sounded anything but musical. I would cringe every time I hit a sour note, which was just about every measure. I sighed and brought the sheet music nearer to my face to examine the key signature more closely.
See, I had started out with guitar. That was my main hobby, and I loved it. But some songs, no matter how hard you try, just don't sound good on guitar. That's when I decided to take up keyboard. Or try, anyway. Ever since then, my mother's old, hardly-ever-used-anymore keyboard was stretched across my desk in my room. Papers, textbooks, mail and CD's had collected on top of it for months as I grew more and more discouraged with it. But today, for whatever reason, I decided to clear everything off and try again.
My phone, which was sitting right on top of the keyboard, started to ring. Putting down the sheet music, I picked it up and glanced at the caller I.D. "DeMorale."
"Hello?" I said, holding the phone in place with my shoulder as I returned to the task.
"Hey, DeMorale," I replied absentmindedly. My eyebrows creased in thought as I tried to figure out the finger placement of an F sharp minor chord. "Wait," I muttered abruptly, looking up from the keyboard. "Aren't you supposed to be at work?"
"I am at work," he replied.
"Well, wouldn't that require you to… you know, work?"
He laughed. "Well, it should, if I was anything close to a good employee. But it seems my manager's gone for the rest of the day, this place is deserted, and I've got nothing to do. So I'm somewhat bored out of my mind."
"Don't you have to mop the floor? Or help customers, or bake Linzer Tarts or something?"
"Already did, no one ever comes in here, and negative; Michelle doesn't trust me with the kitchen appliances when she's not here."
"Hah. Don't blame her." I gave up on the keyboard and switched it off, swiveling around in my chair. "So, what, you expect me to entertain you now?"
Even though I couldn't see him, I knew DeMorale well enough to know that he had just shrugged. "Yeah, pretty much. For the past twenty minutes I've been hanging out in the back of the kitchen with the radio blasted, sitting in one of those spinny chairs."
"Sounds like fun."
"Loads," he replied sarcastically.
Scott DeMorale was one of those people who utterly hated their job, yet he stuck with it anyway. No matter how many times I tried to tell him that there were better jobs elsewhere that probably paid a lot more, he still refused to quit. I guess I understood where the guy was coming from, though. The hours were decent, the work wasn't overbearing, and it was close to home, which helped a lot since he had yet to save up enough money for a car. This leads us back to the original dilemma of having a job that he loathed.
I met Scott DeMorale in eighth grade. He sat in front of me in English class. I forget exactly how we started talking, but the point is, we did. Slowly but surely, we started to become friends (by the end of the year, the teacher was constantly reminding him to turn around in his seat and face the board). As the two of us started talking more and more, I began to develop somewhat of a crush on him. The thing that kind of sucked for me, though, was the fact that we were really nothing more than "school friends." We'd talk during seventh period, maybe wave to each other in the hallway once in a while, but that was really it.
Things stayed that way until we got to high school. In our tenth year, we moved up to a new campus that was closer to my house. It turned out that Scott and I were both just inside the school radius for bus transportation, so (since my mother was at work and my father didn't live with us) I was forced to walk home every day from school.
The two of us both lived in the same general direction, so we began to walk home together. Although he turned down his street much sooner than I turned down mine, we still walked a good seven or eight blocks each day before we went our separate ways.
It may not seem like too much, but eventually, the time we spent walking home started to add up. We talked about anything and everything during those walks. Soon we started hanging out on the weekends and spending endless hours talking online, until Scott DeMorale fell into place as one of my best friends. The thing that kind of sucked for me, though? I didn't think of him as a crush anymore, which is kind of ironic, when you think about it. Had it been eighth grade when I still liked him, I would've been ecstatic. It's weird how stuff turns out, isn't it?
"You should come up here," Scott said, breaking me out of my daze.
I got up from the chair and wandered over to my bed, flopping down on it so I was staring at the ceiling. "Come where? Up to the bakery?"
"Yeah," he said. 'If I have to sit here alone any longer, I'm gonna strangle myself with this bakery string."
I laughed. "So you pretty much want me to spend my Friday night hanging out in an empty bakery with you?" I teased him. "What if I've got something to do?"
"So you pretty much want me to strangle myself with bakery string?" he asked. I could tell by his voice that he was sulking.
"Oh, suck it up, DeMorale," I replied. "How about this? I'll go up there if it's not raining anymore and my bike is in my garage." All too often, I rode my bike to my best girl friend's house, only to have to get a lift home because it had gotten dark and cold. Kayla would always let me keep my bike in her garage overnight, since I pretty much lived at her house anyway, but that always left the dilemma of being without a bike whenever I was home. I often lost track of which house I had left it at.
"Well, I know it's not raining. I just took out a few bags of trash a couple minutes ago."
"So you do actuallydo work there? Wow, Scott. I'm astonished."
"Aw, shut up, Cam," he said. "C'mon… please?"
"Okay, okay… Let me check," I said, heaving myself off my bed. I wandered down the stairs and opened the garage door. I found my bike lying against the concrete ground. "Guess I'll see you in a few, then."
I propped my bike up where I could see it through the window and stepped in. The bell above the door rang in the quiet shop. I glanced around the small bakery, but it was, just as DeMorale had told me, deserted.
Then I saw his face through the small diamond-shaped window on the kitchen door. Scott grinned at me before pushing it open. Leaning on the counter with his elbows, he let the door swing to a stop behind him.
"Hey, Cam," he said.
I walked over to the counter and put my bag down on top of it. "Hey…" I replied, looking around the bakery more thoroughly this time. "So this is the 'hell' you're always talking about, huh?" The walls were a pale blue that went well with the large white tiles. A display counter filled with cookies and pastries stretched from the kitchen door to the window in the front. Behind that, shelves of bread lined the wall.
He nodded. "Yep."
"Doesn't seem that bad." I shrugged.
"Oh, really? Get a job here. See if you ever want to eat bakery goods again." Scott tilted his head in the direction of the kitchen, motioning for me to come with him. I picked up my bag again and followed him through the swinging door.
He turned the radio down and casually lifted himself onto the counter. He let his legs swing above the floor as he rested his elbows on his thighs. "So, welcome to the kitchen. Mess in here, isn't it?"
I glanced around. Everything was stainless steel; the counters, the ovens, the refrigerator, and the pots and pans hanging on hooks. Unfrosted cakes and trays of half-prepared pastries were all over the counters. "Am I even allowed to be back here?" I asked.
Scott shrugged. "Nah, I doubt it. But Michelle's not here to fire me, so…"
"Where is she, anyway?" I asked, taking a seat in the spinny chair that Scott had probably been talking about. DeMorale's manager rarely ever left him alone in the store.
"She had a meeting to go to. I don't think she'll be back for the rest of the day, though, so I'm pretty sure we're safe."
"What do you wanna do then?" I asked.
Scott shrugged. "Whatever. I'm just happy you're here. There's absolutely nothing to do."
"Yeah, well, lucky for you, I came prepared." I reached into my bag and searched for my deck of cards. DeMorale cleared off a spot on the counter so we could play.
The two of us played every single card game we could think of; Go Fish, Concentration, War, Poker, Black Jack, Spit… And when I beat DeMorale one too many times in Spit, we played 52 pick up.
When we exhausted all those games, I took out my hacky sack and we kicked it around for a while. We did more retrieving then playing, really. Neither of us was too good at it. Halfway through our game, the hack landed right in the center of a cake, which set us both into one of the worst laughing fits ever.
The fun stopped, however, when DeMorale's manager called.
When he heard the phone ringing, he quickly shut the music and hushed me. DeMorale took a deep breath to calm himself after laughing so hard. Then he picked up the phone.
"Belle Pastry Bakery, Scott speaking."
DeMorale was quiet for a second as he listened to the voice on the other line.
"Oh… Hey Michelle."
I raised an eyebrow in alarm. "Is she coming back?" I mouthed.
He shook his head and waved the question away, as if telling me not to worry about it. "Yeah, I did all that," he told Michelle.
I hopped up on the counter and let my legs swing back and forth above the tiles as I waited for DeMorale to finish on the phone.
"Well, Alyssa said she cleaned the kitchen yesterday so there isn't much to do. There's just a mess on the counter that needs to be cleaned up," he said. DeMorale picked up the dishtowel that was hanging on the stove handle. Then he walked over to me and rubbed it all over my face, making me scrunch up my features as I pushed his arm away. "There," he said into the phone, grinning at me. "All cleaned up." I covered my mouth with my hand, trying not to laugh.
"Yeah… We're really only running low on cannolis. I'll make some more."
As Michelle continued to talk, DeMorale rolled his eyes and leaned against the counter, continuously "yessing" her. Finally, after saying goodbye, he hung up the phone.
"My God… Even when she's two hours away she's gotta know everything that's going on in this bakery. That's the third time she's called today. I bet she just keeps calling as an excuse to get out of the meeting."
I laughed. "Well, it kind of is her business, DeMorale," I pointed out. "Someone has to care about this place. You obviously don't give a crap… Look at you, letting strange people into the kitchen. Tisk, tisk." Crossing my arms, I shook my head disappointedly at him.
"You're not a person. You're just Cam."
I raised an eyebrow. "Oh, yeah. Thanks. I appreciate that."
DeMorale grinned and slung his arm around my shoulders casually. "Aw, I'm just kidding, Cameron. You know I wouldn't know what to do without you. C'mon; come with me down to the basement. I gotta get stuff for the cannolis."
As he took his arm off my shoulders, an unexpected shiver went down my spine.
DeMorale flicked on the light and continued down the long staircase, jumping two steps at a time.
"This is the basement?" I asked, following him down the staircase. However, I made my way down much more carefully. You know. Since I didn't feel like rolling down twelve stairs and ending up with my face imprinted on the concrete floor below.
Scott reached the bottom of the stairs way before I did and spun around to face me. "Yep. What were you expecting?" he asked, shoving his hands into his pockets. "And would you hurry up? Jeez, you're slow."
I sneered at him, but otherwise ignored the comment. "I dunno… Basements are usually dark and creepy. Not… Covered with sickeningly-bright geometric shapes."
DeMorale glanced around the basement, pausing to stare at the vibrantly painted walls. "Oh. That. Right." He shrugged. "Michelle was planning on clearing this place out and hosting kid's birthday parties down here. You know, the whole, 'let's bring thirty screaming kids to decorate their own cupcake' sort of idea. But it turns out there's a lot of legal stuff to go along with it. Apparently you need some kind of permit."
I nodded, reaching the bottom of the staircase. "Makes sense. Can't have some maniac hosting kid's parties in a basement."
DeMorale laughed. "Sure you can," he joked.
I stayed behind him as he led me further into the basement. He turned to face me but continued walking backwards. "To your left you'll see some cooking utensils. Oddly shaped cake-molds, stuff for gingerbread houses… You know. The crap that rarely gets used." Scott extended his other arm, motioning to the opposite wall. "To your right you'll see the freezer. It's huge, cold, and not very fun to get locked in. I would know."
I bit my lip in order to suppress my laughter.
"And this," DeMorale said, stopping at an entire wall of shelves, "is what we need. The cannoli shells." He motioned to a box that was wedged underneath a million other things; things that, if nudged slightly the wrong way, would end up sprawled all over the basement floor.
"Now…" he muttered, pensively tapping his pointer finger against his chin. "How to do this…"
"You could just take all the stuff down one by one and then take the cannoli shells?" I suggested, following his gaze onto the tower of boxes.
DeMorale seemed to consider this for a minute. Then he shook his head. "Now, where's the fun in that?"
"The fun is not getting buried in boxes of holiday decorations, cooking utensils, and packaged pastry ingredients."
But Scott wasn't listening to me. He was already sliding the box out inch by inch. "Hey, Cam… Wanna get the boxes on top for me?"
I sighed, but put my hands against the piles of boxes anyway, just incase they decided to topple over onto DeMorale.
As DeMorale nudged the box closer to the end of the shelf with an expression of such concentration that the task could have been rocket science, I found myself staring at him.
The usual baseball cap that he wore covered his dark hair that could be seen curling out slightly on the sides. The curved brim shaded his eyes, making the usual brown color seem darker.
DeMorale had on a simple white t-shirt and beige cargo shorts, but the casual look worked for him.
The longer I stared at him, the longer a certain feeling starting to creep up into my gut. It was a feeling I hadn't paid any heed to since eighth grade, but, for whatever reason, it had chosen to return now after two years.
Scott must've sensed my eyes on him because he paused and turned around. "What?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.
"I-I didn't say anything," I stuttered.
"Yeah, but why are you looking at me like that?"
I directed my gaze to the floor, taking a hand off the boxes so I could tuck a strand of hair behind my ear. I replaced my hold on the stack before it had a chance to tip forward. "Like what?"
DeMorale's forehead creased questioningly. "Cam…" he whispered.
I finally met his eyes with my own. His gaze made me freeze; I couldn't move.
The boxes began to shift forward, forcing both of us out of the stare. "Watch it!" I exclaimed.
Scott and I were able to get underneath the stack of boxes before they hit the ground. Using all of our strength, we pushed them back up into a vertical position on the shelf. DeMorale slid the box of cannoli shells out from underneath the rest and, dodging my gaze, headed for the staircase. "Got 'em. C'mon."
Following him back up to the kitchen, I silently scolded myself for losing my thought process around him. I had been cool around him for two years now. He had become one of my closest friends. I couldn't be having these thoughts now.
As I hopped back up onto the stainless steel counter, I made the decision to just push the thoughts away. If I ignored them, there wouldn't be a problem, right? Right.
So I watched DeMorale take the cover off the box and set about two-dozen cannoli shells on a tray. He then went over to the refrigerator to get a squeeze bag of filling.
"Want help?" I asked, smirking at the way DeMorale was having trouble getting the filling to come out of the bag.
He shook his head. "Nah… It'll only take me two seconds once I get this thing to work. It's jammed or something." DeMorale opened the drawer beneath the empty counter space and fished out a knife. He missed the way I cringed at the sight of it.
Scott twisted the knife point into the nozzle , trying to loosen up whatever had clogged the tube of cannoli filling. DeMorale nearly slipped and cut his finger, but it didn't faze him much. He just continued to poke at the frosting bag. I, on the other hand, shut my eyes tightly and a small gasp escaped my throat at his almost-mishap. This time, though, DeMorale noticed.
"What's wrong, Cam?" he asked, looking up from the task.
I shook my head and waved away the question. My voice would have quivered if I had tried to speak.
He glanced from the knife back to me. "Oh… You're afraid of knives, aren't you?"
"No… I'm not afraid. I'm just slightly apprehensive."
A smirk formed on DeMorale's face. "I forgot about that," he said. He opened the drawer again and, grinning knowingly, fished out a knife that was twice the size of the one before. "Check this one out," he said. Scott stared at the knife has he flipped it over in his hands, watching as it caught the light and reflected it.
"DeMorale!" I exclaimed. "Stop. Put it away."
"Aw, why? You're cute when you're scared."
"I'm not scared," I squeaked. "Just… Just cut it out, okay?" No pun intended.
He took a few steps towards me. "Your eyes get all wide and you bite your lip. It's adorable. And you-"
"DeMorale, I swear I'm gonna pummel you." I attempted to make myself look calm, but the knife caught in the light again and glistened, forcing a squeak to escape from the back of my throat.
"Aw! You squeaked! Be still, my heart!" he teased, still advancing closer to the countertop I was seated on.
"Scott Patrick DeMorale! I swear to God!" My voice was starting to sound urgent and panicked now as I backed further away from him, inching across the counter until my back was almost touching the wall.
DeMorale grinned but put the knife down a good distance away from me.
"C'mon, Cam. You didn't really think I'd hurt you, did you?" he asked, putting his hands on my shoulders reassuringly.
"No… Of course not. I just—Did you just say I was cute?"
DeMorale shot me one of his crooked boyish smiles. He shrugged. "Yeah."
I raised an eyebrow. "You think I'm cute when I'm scared?"
"Actually, I think you're cute pretty much always. You're Cameron."
Grinning, I rolled my eyes and shook free of his grasp. "Quit it, DeMorale," I said, turning my gaze away. Being this close was starting to make me nervous. It was also making it much harder to suppress the feelings that I told myself I would hide.
He put his hand against the side of my face, lightly forcing me to look at him again. This time there was no sign of amusement on his face.
Leaning slightly over the counter so he could reach me, he placed his lips on mine.
Practically melting into the kiss, I put my hands on his shoulders and—
"I'm hoping you've got a damn good explanation, Mr. DeMorale!"
Scott jumped back from me and looked to the source of the (extremely pissed off sounding) voice. Michelle, his manager, was standing in the doorway of the kitchen with her arms crossed over her chest.
"I wasn't… I didn't think you'd be…" DeMorale stuttered, half explaining himself and half trying to make sense of her presence.
"I leave you here for one shift. Six hours alone in a bakery, so I can go to an extremely important meeting, and you let strange girls into the kitchen so you can...So you can…" Practically fuming, she irately rubbed her forehead, seemingly too frustrated to speak.
DeMorale opened and closed his mouth a few times before he was finally able to form words. "With all due respect, Michelle," he muttered. "She's not really strange… She's one of my best friends, and…"
"I don't care if she's the freakin' empress of Japan! I can't believe that—" Michelle suddenly stopped talking and pointed accusingly to me. "First of all. You. Get out. Now."
She didn't have to tell me twice. I grabbed my bag and was out of the bakery in a split second.
Causing a loud noise that shook the surrounding lockers, I kicked mine shut and made my way towards the front entrance to the school.
I assumed that I'd be walking home alone today; I hadn't talked to DeMorale all weekend, nor had I seen him in school that Monday. I was pretty sure he was avoiding me, and I guess I didn't blame him. It's sort of hard to act like nothing happened when your boss caught you kissing one of your best friends.
From what I'd noticed from my classroom windows, the weather had been weird all day. One minute it had been drizzling, and the next the sun was beginning to come out. As I pushed the door open with my shoulder, I found that the sun was peeking out from behind the clouds, giving them a bright yellow glow. It put me in a slightly better mood.
As I fished for my headphones in my school bag, I caught a glimpse of someone sitting against the base of the flagpole. I did a double take and found that it was DeMorale, sitting there as if nothing had changed.
I skeptically made my way over to him. Seeing my legs in his line of vision, he looked up and took off his own headphones, letting them hang around his neck. "Hey, Cam…"
"Hi, Scott DeMorale. And who might you be waiting for?"
"You, of course," he said, reaching his arm out and indicating for me to help him up.
I rolled my eyes but tugged him to his feet anyway as he grinned. "Didn't think I'd let a slightly awkward situation stop our daily walks, did you?"
"No." I shrugged. "Suppose not."
The two of us turned silently and began heading towards the sidewalk. For a good few minutes, neither of us said anything. I kept my gaze ahead on the clouds that were parting, casting late afternoon sunlight over the street and through the trees.
It's hard to explain how I felt. I felt like everything was fine between DeMorale and me. Something slightly different was there, but it was okay. Everything was good.
"So you still employed, or what?" I asked, finally breaking the silence.
Scott took my hand that was swinging idly by my side as I walked. He laced his fingers with mine, forcing that "different but good" feeling into my gut again.
Right. So I think this ended slightly abruptly, but I'm pretty sure that's what I was aiming for. I didn't want to do the whole cliched, "Let's-admit-our-undying-love-for-each-other-and-then-kiss" bit. I just wanted to get the point across that they like each other, everything is all well and dandy with their friendship, and they still walk home together.
Thanks so much for reading. Reviews would be greatly appreciated if you get the chance :)