"Would you ever believe that I tried to be gluten-free once?" I am perched on a chair in front of him, not sitting, but letting my feet balance me on the seat and my butt on my heels, as I pick at the cherry turnover in front of me.
"Never! You love all this doughy stuff too much."
I smile a little. "Yeah, it's awful."
"I don't think so, you've single-handedly funded my business."
After I stick out my tongue at him, he sticks his out back at me, and I giggle. He smiles in response. Trying to be casual, he asks, "So, Mitch, any love interests?"
You, I think to myself, only you. But instead I just say "No" because it's easier. He asks me about my dating life every so often. I think it's just so he can make sure I'm staying safe, which is flattering, really, but it's kind of awkward, because he always brings it up randomly. "I guess I'll just never have a husband or kids." I sigh, purposefully over-dramatic, which causes him to say: "Stop being silly! Someone will fall in love with you."
I roll my eyes. He gives me a doubtful, sort of sympathetic look, so I change the subject. "Does your daughter even like pastries?"
"To be fair, she's not my biological daughter, she's Christian's, but no, she does not like most of the things in this shop."
I gasp. "My kid would be forced to love them, end of story."
"If it was our kid, either way they'd love them."
Inside, I freeze. Did he just make us a hypothetical child? On the outside, I nod. "There's no way they couldn't. We would raise them to."
Scott stands and offers to take my barely-touched turnover. "Not hungry?" I was praying we could keep the kid talk going, but I guess not.
"Yeah, sorry, big lunch."
"Then why'd you even come in here?" He inquires, sounding friendly, but it still hits me the wrong way. I'm getting frustrated he doesn't realize that the main reason I come in here every day is not about food. It's about him.
"I missed you," I reply hesitantly.
He tosses the pastry in the trash. "You know, I miss you every day you don't stop in here, too. I get worried. Especially about my friends, but with regular customers, too. You're both."
There is two ways to take that statement. Either he sees me as a friend! or he only sees me as a friend. I choose the latter. What can I say, I'm a pessimist.
I blush a little, even though he completely brushed off the big step I took in telling him that I missed him. "I wish I could see you more often."
"I wish you could, too." Scott moves towards me as I stand and push in my chair. Our conversations get borderline flirtatious sometimes, like how we just discussed if we had kids and all this missing each other stuff, but I never mind. Maybe he just thinks we're really, really close, because honestly, those conversations are kind of weird to be having between a baker and his customer. I wouldn't feel comfortable with telling anyone else that. I'm a loner, and I prefer not to talk to people... unless it's Scott.
He reaches out and brushes my hair back a little. This is weird, is he going to kiss me? No, he's just looking at my face. He's acting strange tonight. Oh God, please let this be the night he decides to cheat.
The bell on the door goes off. Startled, I jump and whip my head to the person now inside. Two people.
"Christian! Lindsey!" Scott exclaims in greeting. "I wasn't expecting you guys in tonight, what's up?" A huge grin is taking up his whole face. How unfortunate for me that he actually loves his family. It's sickening.
"Just thought we'd stop in. Lindsey needed a Halloween costume so we went to the costume shop a few blocks away and figured you could use a visit," Christian responds, hand on Lindsey's shoulder, voice smooth, as if he'd practiced saying that sentence before. I eye him suspiciously until he notices, and then I just rub my face as if something was itchy.
Lindsey is practically bouncing. "I'm gonna be a pirate!"
Is it wrong that when she talked, the first thing I thought was shut up? Probably. That's okay, though. It's not like anybody can hear my thoughts.
As Scott talks to his daughter about how she picked out an awesome costume or whatever, I stand there awkwardly, observing the whole situation. Lindsey with her gapped teeth and long braid, Christian with his suave stance and watchful eyes, and Scott with his caring tone and beautiful smile.
I'm an awful person.
When Lindsey finally finishes rambling about pirates, Scott introduces me to his family. "Mitch, this is my husband Christian and my daughter Lindsey. Christian and Lindsey, this is Mitch."
Christian reaches out to shake my hand. "I've heard a lot about you."
I accept his handshake and nudge Scott, who's running his hand through his goregous blond hair. "You're telling people about me?"
"How can I not?" He replies. "You're the main part of my day."
I drop Christian's hand, a furious blush making its way to the surface of my cheeks. He looks uncertain of something, and quickly follows his husband's words up with, "Scott..."
Scott nods, as if he knows what he's thinking, and starts putting the chairs up on tables, a nightly routine he has. I could've told you what he's thinking. He's thinking how long has my husband been here alone with this twit.
"I'll be right out," he replies.
"Then we'll meet you at home. Come on Linds." Christian still walks slowly, seemingly trying to waste time.
I wish I was the one telling Scott I would meet him at home. I would make sure to have a nice, hot supper ready after a long day of work, and I'd have his favorite television show already on, and I'd make sure there was enough hot water for him to shower in, and I'd wear an apron, and I'd keep everything spotless just for him, and then maybe when he would be finally relaxed I could slip out of my clothes and surprise him with--
Too far. Not cool. His real family literally hasn't even left the restaurant, and I'm scheming right in front of them.
But I want to be with him.
"Seriously, Chris, I'll be out in two seconds."
When they finally leave (after one more wary glance), Scott quickly finishes his jobs around the small dining room. "They seem nice," I comment, but it's mainly a lie.
"I like to think so," he laughs. "They'll be coming around here a lot more often."
I freeze. I can't handle that. Seeing him with his happy little family every day. I swallow hard and don't say anything, contemplating if there's anything appropriate I could say out of all the things I want to. Nothing. I can't insult his family.
So, instead of handling this situation like an adult and pretending it doesn't bother me, I decide to stop showing up at Scott's Scones and start going to the CinnaMan bakery two towns over. It'll be a hassle just to buy some treats, but it's better than having to face Scott's family again.
There's only one tiny problem with this plan.
I'll miss him like crazy.