Early Morning Rendezvous

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The days are physically becoming shorter, but mine seem to be getting longer. When I’m not at Target, I’m helping Scott make flyers and set deadlines. Any days I have off are spent with him in the bakery. It’s only been, like, a week and a half, but it’s still kind of exhausting. We spend all the time we have at the tables planning and searching Google, and when people walk in, I even know how to work the register. Scott will leave me in charge while he makes dozens of batches of dough. I bet ghost Christian is just constantly glaring at me, a dumb cigarette in between his lips and his eyes frozen in an eye roll for all of eternity.

The chimes jingle as a middle-aged woman walks in. “I’ll get it,” I say to Scott, who is intently researching selling techniques.
I hate social interaction. After all, that’s why I stock shelves instead of working as a cashier. But, I don’t know, Scott’s little shop is cozy. I feel so comfortable and more self-confident, so it’s really not as hard for me to communicate with customers.

The customer asks me what I recommend, so I begin to describe different things in the display case. I glance up at Scott, who’s sitting at one of the front tables, and I see him already staring at me. He gives me a small smile and silently motions for me to keep explaining.

“B-but my most recent favorite is probably the raspberry chocolate chip scone.”

“I’ll take that,” she says, not necessarily kindly, but nice enough.

I smile and grab her one. She pays and leaves, but right as she’s out the door, another customer slips in. Her nametag says Mandy. She must be on lunch break from her job. Kind of late for that, though, since it’s 2:30. Mandy looks through the glass, asks for a to-go cup of coffee and a blueberry turnover, and hands me six dollars. She tells me to keep the change, so I thank her and grab her order after dropping the coins into the tip bucket. No one comes in after that. I return to my place across from Scott who keeps giving me a coy smile. I try to ignore it, but every time I glance up, whether he’s looking at his laptop or at me, he has a silly grin on his face.

“What?” I ask, fake annoyed.

“Nothing,” he responds, immediately straightening out his face as if nothing was there.

I give him my most unamused face. “Scott.”

“What?” I keep staring at him, utterly expressionless, until he laughs. “I,” he shakes his head, “I just think you’re really good with customers.”

“I don’t think that’s all you’re thinking right now.”

“The rest is a surprise.”

I roll my eyes. “Whatever.” It’s supposed to come out sharp and irritated, but I end up giggling. He smiles at me, the skin around his eyes crinkling. The pure sight of that makes my face mirror his, and we’re both smiling like idiots for half a second. Then, as if God just can’t let us have a nice moment, we’re interrupted by the timer going off in the back.

“That’s me!” He hops up, but moments after he gets back there, I hear him yell, “Mitch!”

I run back and meet him with a hot pan of browned muffins. “These are too dark to sell. I guess they’re yours.”

“The whole pan? I can’t eat twenty muffins.”

He sets down the pan, which is so newly out of the oven, I can feel the waves of heat radiating from it. “Well, take half.”

I scoff. “I can’t eat ten either!”

He pouts, and it’s just too cute for me to refuse him. “When they’re cool I’ll take five.”

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