“We’re going out tonight.”
I looked up from the half-decorated cake in front of me. “We are?” I tipped my head to the side and pushed my glasses up my nose. “It’s Wednesday.”
Kerry leaned against the stainless-steel counter and folded her arms over her chest. “Yes, we are, and I am going to ignore how you sounded like a hundred-year-old woman who lives with seven cats and is in bed by six. It doesn’t matter that it is Wednesday. We are young and going out for a night of fun.”
I scoffed and grabbed a piping bag filled with green buttercream. “I don’t think twenty-nine is young, Kerry.” I pipped green leaves around the pale pink rose and trailed a large fern toward the edge of the cake.
“But you aren’t dead, Reese. You’re closer to twenty-one than you are sixty, girlfriend. We’re going out tonight, and you are not going to weasel your way out of it.”
“Kerry,” I groaned. “I don’t want to go out. How about you come over to my place? I’ll order from that Indian place you like, and we can watch a movie. Oh,” I gasped, “We could even play Monopoly.”
Kerry buried her face in her hands. “Oh my god, Reese. You did not just suggest Monopoly?” she groaned. She scrubbed her hands down her face and sighed.
What was wrong with Monopoly? It was a fun game. Who didn’t like to own Park Avenue and be a little doggie moving around the board? “What if I let you be the doggie?” I always was the dog, but if Kerry wanted to be it, I could let that happen this one time.
“Argh,” Kerry moaned. “I don’t want to be the dog unless you are talking about doggy style with a hot guy from the party we are going to.”
I snapped upright and scanned the area. “You can’t say that when we’re working!” Thankfully the bakers had left for the day, and it was just me and Kerry in the back of the bakery.
Layers Bakery was my pride and joy. I had opened it three years ago, and even though I had scrimped and barely gotten by that first year, our doors were open, and the bakery was thriving now.
Well, as long as the cases kept selling out every day and the cake orders kept coming in, we were thriving.
“You and I are the only ones back here, Reese. Chill out. Tessa and Rue are taking care of the register, and they can’t hear us back here.”
I freaking hoped so. “They’re only seventeen, Kerry. Their parents would kill me if they knew you were talking about getting it on with some guy.” I switched to my pink piping bag and added a few tiny rosebuds.
“Pfft,” Kerry puffed out. “Your face would be beet red, and your ears would burn if you heard the things those two talk about while cleaning the cases.”
I shook my head. “I don’t want to know, Kerry. As long as they are working, I don’t care what they are talking about.” And what they talked about probably wasn’t that bad. I had been seventeen before and was not talking about doggy style or anything. “And I’m sure you are overreacting about what they talk about. Tessa and Rue are lovely girls.”
Kerry tapped her foot and pursed her lips. “You’re so sweet and delusional, Reese. You think the whole world is just swirls of sugary buttercream and peaks of fluffy meringue.”
I tipped my head to the side and smiled. “I don’t see anything wrong with that.”
She laughed lightly and pointed to the right corner of the cake. “You need a rose there.”
I wrinkled my nose. “You think so? I liked the open space there.”
“You’re the master cake decorator, but I think there needs to be a rose or something there.” Kerry shrugged.
“Let me finish what I had in mind, and then you can tell me if you think there still needs to be a rose there.” I still had the border and another bunch of flowers to add to the cake before I wrote happy birthday.
“You’re the boss.” She held her hands in the air. “But I will tell you if it sucks when you’re done.”
I held up one finger. “Once in two years, you had to tell me that, Kerry, and I still argue that you were wrong.” I finally gave in that the cross I had piped looked slightly like a penis with flowers around it. Slightly.
“I saved you from serving that lady an Easter penis cake, Reese, and you damn well know it.”
I flitted my hand at her. “Go make sure Tessa and Rue are working while I finish this cake.”
Kerry pushed off the table and wiped her hands on her apron. “Fine, but you and I are going out tonight.”
I rolled my eyes and leaned over the cake. “Fine, Kerry. We’ll go out tonight, but I don’t want to be out past midnight. Jason is opening tomorrow, but I need to be here by nine to start on the cake orders for the weekend.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Kerry mumbled. “I’ll have you home by midnight, Cinderella. I work tomorrow, too.” She strutted through the swinging doors, and I was finally alone to finish this cake in peace.
I loved Kerry, but man, she could talk my ear off. And she was always trying to get me to go out with some random guy she met at the bar. This was new, however.
She usually went to some party without me and threw random guys she met but didn’t want for herself. Kerry was five years younger than me and still living her party days.
I was well past those days.
Hell, I never had those days.
Straight out of high school, I went to the local tech school, where I learned cake decorating. I worked wherever possible but always knew I wanted to own my bakery. For nine years, I worked two jobs at a time bouncing between grocery store bakeries and small bakeries until I had enough money for a down payment on my bakery. I didn’t have time to party and go out all the time.
Even now, I don’t have the time to do that.
I finished decorating the cake and called Kerry.
She pushed through the swinging doors with a donut and iced coffee in one hand. “I’m on break,” she called defensively.
As if I would say anything. Kerry talked nonstop, but she also worked her butt off. “Come look at this and tell me if you still think I need something in the corner?”
Kerry moved in front of the cake and took a huge bite of her donut. “Have I told you that Ben’s deep-fried croissant donuts are amazing?” she muttered.
I rolled my eyes and squirted my leftover icing into the large bowl. “Are you buttering me up before you tell me the cake isn’t good?”
She finished chewing and took a sip of her coffee.
“Kerry,” I whined. “Just tell me if it sucks or not.” I was confident in what I did, but I was still human. I knew that not everyone would like what I did and that I wasn’t always right. Maybe I did need something more in the corner besides just the border.
She tilted her head to the side and nibbled on the donut. “I mean…”
I was going to kick her in the shin if she didn’t spit it out. “You mean what?” I demanded.
“I mean, it’s gorgeous.”
I let out the breath I had been holding, and my shoulders sagged. “Thank god.”
Kerry moved to the side and leaned against the table. “As if you were actually worried. I’m just waiting for the day when I can find just one flaw in the amazing cakes you do.”
I emptied the rest of my bags and popped out the tips. “There are fifty flaws in that cake. I just covered them all with more buttercream.”
Kerry chuckled. “And I think that is what makes you a pro at this. You know how to make your mistakes into tiny little birds.”
I furrowed my brow. “There are no birds on the cake, Kerry.”
“That’s just Bob Ross coming out of me.”
“No idea what or who you are talking about.” I scrapped my spatula on the bowl and gathered all of my dirty tools.
“Drop those in the sink. Rue is on dish duty tonight,” Kerry advised.
I dumped all the dirty dishes in the sink and wiped down the table.
Kerry grabbed a pale yellow and lilac-colored Layers Bakery cake box and slid the cake into the box. “I’m going to split right away at six. I’ll be at your place by seven.”
I grimaced and plugged the sink. “I was hoping you would forget.”
Kerry blew out a raspberry. “As if I was going to forget about going to a party at SOS.”
I squirted some soap into the sink. “SOS?” I asked. I had no idea what that was other than a distress call. God knows I was in distress since Kerry was making me go to a party.
“Sons of Sin motorcycle club,” she shrugged.
“You say that as if it’s normal for you and me to go hang out with a bunch of bikers on a Wednesday night.” Kerry was insane. There was no way I would ever be able to marginally fit in at a motorcycle club.
My life was donuts, bread, coffee, and swirls of sugary buttercream. Motorcycles and the bikers who rode them didn’t enter into that world. Ever.
Kerry finished packing up the cake and set the order slip on top. “It’s not normal, but I’ve been to a few of their parties. They’re pretty fun.” She lifted the cake and walked to the walk-in cooler.
I followed her into the cooler and leaned against the wire shelf on the right. “I am not going to fit in at some Sons of Anarchy party, Kerry.”
“Sons of Sin,” she laughed. “I don’t think we’ll run into Opie and Jax tonight.”
I rolled my eyes. “That would be the only thing that could make me want to come with you.”
“Jax and Opie could totally make me come, too.” Kerry winked at me over her shoulder and set the cake on the pick-up rack. “Clay could even get a rise out of me on a good day.”
I cringed and shuddered. “Oh my god, Kerry. You are insane.” I had watched Sons of Anarchy when it was on TV, and I knew there was no way Clay could evoke any feeling in me other than vomiting.
She threw her hand up in the air. “Don’t kink shame me, Reese. I can’t help that I might have a type that could do it for me?”
“It’s not your type if you don’t know if you like it,” I reasoned.
“Well, you may be right. Maybe I’ll need to find a Clay tonight and see if he is my type.” She pointed her finger at me, and her eyes lit up. “And that is why you need to come with me. You need to be my wing woman. I need you there to ensure I find the right Clay and not some crusty Clay.”
I shook my head. “I think staying home and playing Monopoly is better than dodging crusty Clay’s at the local biker joint.”
Kerry cringed. “Don’t ever say biker joint again,” she winced. “I swear you are at least fifty.”
I raised my middle finger. “Does this look fifty to you?”
She shook her head. “No, but you staying home instead of coming out with me looks a hell of a lot like fifty. Might even look like seventy.”
That was it. If Kerry wanted me to go out with her tonight, and look for a Clay, then that was what she would get. “You better be at my door at six fifty-nine, or I’m not going.”
Kerry’s jaw dropped, and she clapped her hands together like a happy seal. “Yes,” she shouted.
I wasn’t sure I had made the best choice, but it would at least shut Kerry up. Hopefully, tonight was a major bust, and she would never ask me to go out with her again.
That was all I could hope for.