Chapter Six

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All week I was supposed to be focused on baking and the random drop in interview that the Baking Beasts studio was planning. Instead, I was thinking about Trace and our upcoming date. Would he kiss me? Would he think I was a good kisser? What movie would we watch? Was Trace the kind of person who talked during the movie? Would we share popcorn?

The days blended together as the catering team focused on a small anniversary cake, and a few other birthday cakes. The most complex one was an anniversary cake for a 'Tom & Jose'. The topsy turvy cake had modelling chocolate figurines and was built upon a cereal treat structure. It was a cute, yet simple cake with sugar flowers running all along the side. It was something of a garden floral theme.

Decorating the cake made me wonder if I'd ever have a long term partner or get married some day. I'd always thought I was too awkward and self conscious to even be in a relationship. In college I had been part of a few clubs and that's always where I found my crushes and they would normally approach me.  Even Jeremy had approached me. I always got a little shy around someone I was attracted to, and even though I didn't "seem gay" it always seemed like other gay guys could tell I was. That was more than a relief considering I hated the way coming out never ended.

Most days at the shop I made and helped decorate wedding cakes and none of them ever made me feel like I needed a boyfriend or that I wanted to be romanced. But, somehow Trace sticking up for me when he didn't know me, and comforting me when I was a stranger made me change my mind. I wanted things to go well with him, but already my insecurities were ruining things. For the first time I felt like messing up this potential relationship would only prove that I was the social fuck up I was trying so desperately not to be.

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I walked in Saturday morning to see a cameraman and my cooking idol, Aditya Singh, standing side by side in the kitchen. I gasped and the pair of them looked up.

"Oh my God." I said, "You're-"

Aditya gave me a polite smile. I kept looking at him and it really was Adityda Singh, renowned pastry chef, one of my idols and more charismatic than anyone had a right to be. He was shorter in person but also considerably more attractive, with perfectly coiffed, slicked black hair artfully streaked with silver, warm ochre brown skin and an easy smile.

God, I was already sweating. I had his cookbook upstairs in my apartment and the fan in me wished I had brought it down to ask him for an autograph. But, instead I was staring at him like a freak.

Adityda cleared his throat and I realized what I was doing.

I looked away. "Oh God, I'm staring, sorry. I'm just— kind of a fan."

He laughed, just like the way he did on Cooking with Aditya. "You'd be surprised how often I get this response. It's alright, I've gotten used to it." Even his slight Indian accent sounded just like the one on screen. "I'm here on behalf of Baking Beasts and the casting staff, because we've taken interest in your profile. Working at a bakery, not looking like much of a baker, sudden career change...It all tells a very intriguing story. And wow, you really are very tall."

He looked up at me, studying my face.

"Will it make you more comfortable if I sit?" I stammered.

Aditya frowned. "Are you usually this nervous?"

I winced, instead of replying.

"Well," he clasped his hands together, "I'll only be observing today. We'll take some shots with the camera, and you'll just need to sign a release form that says you're consenting to us taping you." He pointed to a sheaf of papers and I sat down, signing where I was meant to put my signature. The entire time I felt his eyes on me and it was making me feel weird. For some reason I really wanted to impress him.

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