Chapter Sixteen

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Writer's Note—
It means a lot when you guys comment and I read every comment. It's also very interesting when you guys engage in discussions and thoughtful observations. It's flattering that my story is able to inspire any kind of strong feelings in others despite the fact I worry frequently over its quality.

That being said, I've been letting you guys down with my updates. It actually...doesn't take me very long to write a chapter but I'm a bit slow with re-reading/revising. As of today, I'll be implementing an update schedule.

Every Friday, I'll do my best to post a new chapter. I want to finish this story as much as you guys want to finish reading it. There are about four/five other books I've been wanting to write but I can't do that unless I finish this and Bloom.

— RM (So many comments joke that this is Rap Monster but, no, lol this is Regular Misanthrope)

~WC: 5k~

About half of the bakers were done and the others were scrambling. I hated that I was one of the latter. I went to the blast chiller to get my marscapone mixture and— it wasn't there. I blinked a couple times to see if I was crazy. I closed the freezer, stepped back, and opened it again. Everyone shared the freezer and it had to be in there unless someone had taken it.

"You have thirty seconds left bakers!"

Oh fuck.

For a few seconds I stood glued to the spot not sure what to do. Damn, I had to cut my losses. I closed the fridge and scampered back to my station.

"If you aren't plating, now, then you need to get something on the plate. We will only judge you for what you present," Miranda said loudly.

The three judges stood together at the front of the room and started the ten second countdown.

I laid out the cupcakes. Briefly, I considered only plating the apple pie cupcakes but I had to show them everything I could do. I was a good baker so it felt like a waste not to plate all the work I had done. I plated each of the cupcakes in three rows of two and picked up my buttercream piping bag.

The ten second countdown continued as I piped the buttercream frosting on the tiramisu cupcakes. As soon as I put down the piping bag and remembered to breathe the alarm sounded.

"Hands up bakers!"

I took a step back and looked at what I'd done: an hour for two kinds of cupcakes and I hadn't even completed it the way I wanted to. My heart was still racing but I didn't feel like I was going to have an attack. For once I was just genuinely nervous and I needed a moment to unwind. Wow, this was way harder than it looked on TV.

Richard went and stood beside the judges. "Alright everyone, we're going to shoot your confessionals while you guys are still feeling everything and the memories are fresh. You'll each be assigned a member of crew to talk through everything."

Just like that members of crew starting walking towards each of the contestants and a woman slowly came towards. Her brown skin leant itself towards South East Asian ancestry and she was wearing practical sneakers, dark jeans, a long sleeved shirt and a baby blue hijab.

I held out a hand. "Nice to meet you, I'm Darius." Her dark eyes locked onto my hand and I could see remnants of icing and flour stuck beneath my fingernails. "Oops," I'm murmured before turning to my sink to wash my hands properly.

She moved beside me and she let out a small laugh. "It's alright, I did this last year. You'd be surprised how many contestants forget their hands are gunky. Sorry for the awkwardness, you're just really tall... We'll have to adjust the camera to get you in the shot nicely."

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