A few days ago a friend came into the salon (I’m a hairstylist in ‘real’ life) and we were both discussing our works in progress.
I’ve been spending a lot of time with the latest undertaking ‘Wintergull Lane‘ which I’ve been pecking away at for NaNoWritMo (you can check out my progress here). But she reminded me of another piece which I call my albatross. ‘The Bakery Assistant’ is the story of the tragically broken Claire Fischer who is doomed to be a perpetual teenager until she meets someone that shows her that living life is worth it. That’s the elevator pitch, but in actuality I’m projecting there to be a book two, ‘The Fighter’, which will conclude Claire Fischer’s story as far as I can tell…
Either way now that I’m doing the finishing touches for ‘Everything That Counts’ (take a peek at the novel here) so ‘The Bakery Assistant‘ will be on deck. Until then here’s a morsel from chapter two of
After I pulled the fresh loaves and rolls from the ovens, and passed them off to the day shift, we trekked three blocks to a corner diner that had been a destination appreciated by locals who loved ‘kitsch’. The waitress set a glossy menu in front of me, and Aaron. The booth only had room for two, but apparently not for two people that each hovered around six feet tall. As we situated ourselves like acrobats in the booth his knee hit mine.
“Sorry,” Aaron mumbled.
His lone dimple winked at me. “Are you blushing?”
He chuckled. “Well if you weren’t before then you are now.”
I concentrated on the paisley pattern on the bench Aaron sat on in the hopes it would cause the blood to evacuate from my cheeks.
“I’m starving,” he flipped open the picture laden menu.
“I thought it was just coffee.”
“You don’t mind do you? I’ll pay for you if you want.”
I shook my head and pressed my hands into my lap. “I’d prefer to pay for myself.”
“Okay.” His curly black hair, strong Roman God-like features including a jaw carved from marble, and delicious looking lips hid behind the menu again. I tilted my head down, reading the options, but continued to hold my posture as if I were attending a luncheon for beauty queens. Before I could get past the first page of artery clogging items, Aaron sighed, and set his menu back down. “So what do I have to do to take you out on a real date, Claire?”
Apparently I didn’t need to eat anything before my heart stopped pumping blood.
“I’m serious.” He leaned back into the booth upholstered in retro paisley fabrics. The dozen booths were either bright orange, or avocado green, and each had a jukebox that you could feed and hear your song of choice. He’d picked ‘I Fall to Pieces’ the second we sat down, but it had only begun to play now. It made me wonder how long he’d planned this dinner.
“Should I get formal stationery, and mail you my official wish to take you on a date?” He took off his flannel lined, corduroy jacket, squeezed it between him and the rust colored wall the booth bench was anchored to. Then he folded his hands together underneath his chin.
Instead of answering I stared at the edge of a rosebush tattooed from mid-forearm to above the elbow. I couldn’t see his shoulder through his t-shirt, but I assumed it was decorated in the same pattern of permanent ink. Each red petal was outlined in black, while each individual rose was the size of the coffee cup in front of me that the waitress filled before she hurried to the next table. I knew there had to be a story behind the blossoming flowers bound together with dark green vines and thorns that adorned his perfectly tanned olive skin, but it didn’t feel right to ask. He dressed like a hipster with dark jeans, a gray shirt with the word ‘RIOT’ printed in bold black along his chest. A knit beanie that matched the ebony color of his hair so perfectly it was hard to tell where the material began and his curls ended.
Aaron tilted his head to the side. “Maybe you could give me your father’s number and I can ask him?”
“That would be difficult.” I hadn’t realized I’d spoken until the words had already escaped my mouth.
He leaned forward, and furrowed his brow. “Why?”
I don’t know why I told him the truth, considering only Edie and Mario knew exactly what happened. For the remainder of the meal it was as if I watched us interact from above, or in a movie. But there wasn’t an actress willing to play the most boring woman in D.C., and Dylan O’Brien refused to take the part of her love interest because he was too homely to impersonate Aaron. Thankfully I didn’t go into explicit detail during my out of body experience when I confessed.
“My father’s dead.”
From ‘The Bakery Assistant’ by Melissa Algood