Tasty - Bella Cruise
My grandmother always said, “Men are like cupcakes. You have to lick a lot of icing to find one worth finishing off.” I think Grams knew plenty about variety (the spice of life!) but fuck-all about love. She was especially no help when it came to staying in a relationship. She had six husbands, and was engaged to be married to a seventh when she passed away at the ripe old age of ninety-two. God bless her. I got her recipe cards and first edition Joy of Cooking when she died. But I have to admit, sometimes I wish she’d passed down the secret of real, honest-to-goodness love, too. Maybe if she had, I wouldn’t be leaning over my laptop on a slow day at my bakery, trying to come up with a dirty metaphor for buttercream.
You there, muffin?
But fuck it. Maybe Grams had the right idea. I’m pretty finished with love these days, anyway. Sexting and cybering are plenty for me, especially after I went through some traumatic heartbreak a few years ago. It’s healthier, safer, and a hell of a lot more fun. Smiling wickedly, my eyes scan the shop for some inspiration.
Rock n Roll Cakes is a cozy little place, decked out in retro decor, with a checkerboard floor and a fifties vibe. We even have a vintage Wedgewood stove in back, which adds to the charm, even though my shop assistant, Summer, is always threatening to leave it on the curb. Anyway, my shop offers lots of inspiration for poodle skirt jokes, but that isn’t quite what I’m looking for. Not today, and not with this guy. At last, my gaze falls on the icing injector tool on the counter.
Sorry! I was just cleaning up the icing. Was finishing off a big order and it got alllllll over me. It’s everywhere. I’m dripping in it.
There’s a long pause. I let my eyes linger out the front window of my shop. It’s a beautiful Friday in Key West. The sky has just started to go orange and pink at the corners. The palm trees are shivering in the breeze. The sidewalks are packed with tourists, and while usually that would get me a little bit panicked about the lack of business, today I’m content to sit on my laptop and flirt with my anonymous online paramour. Let Summer finish up the groom’s cake for a client’s wedding. I have bigger cakes to bake.
. . . where?
Hidden in some unusual places. You know those icing injector tools?
I feel my wicked grin grow. Of course he knows about icing injector tools. I met this guy on the biggest bakery industry forum on the internet. He was arguing against the proliferation of gluten-free bakeshops in New York City. Those Williamsburg hipsters and their food allergies! I chimed in over direct messages in enthusiastic agreement, and sparks flew from there. We quickly took things off board to g-chat, and I know he’ll always back me up when it comes to crunchy Key West mamas and their disgusting penchant for agave syrup.
Or maybe I should say I “met” cupcakecasanova because I know almost nothing about him. I know that he lives in New York. I know that he hates food substitutions with a passion that borders on demonic. I know that he prefers chocolate to vanilla, strawberry to raspberry, oral to almost everything else . . . but I don’t even know his name.
My hands fly over the keys.
Ours is just *so* hard and shiny and big. I can hardly get a grip on it.
Twelve, thirteen inches . . .
Usually I have no problem handling something that size, but my hands just get so slippery when I’m working. Today I managed to squirt chocolate ganache right up my—
Before I can finish that thought, the bell on our front door jangles. I slam my laptop shut, and look up with a perfect, professional smile. A familiar face greets me: Wes Lansing, a high school buddy of mine. Okay, maybe we were more than buddies once. But he’s got a wife and a gut and a gaggle of kids now keeping him busy. All I have are my innuendos and my cake stands. Still, I’m always happy to see his face.
“Wes!” I say, leaning over the counter to press a kiss to his stubbly cheek. He lets out a low, easy chuckle. When I pull away, I see how he’s blushing a faint red. Some things never change.
“ ’ello Jules,” he rumbles.