Bake Me A Cake, страница 1
Bake Me A Cake
© Copyright 2017 by Katie Simms - All rights reserved.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
This is a work of fiction and all names, places, businesses, events and incidents described are a product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead or actual events is purely coincidental.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Dean glanced over his shoulder at the beautiful blonde sitting on the back seat of his car and a smile ran across his lips. He still couldn't believe that he had been lucky enough to spend the day with her. In fact, he counted himself as lucky to have spent any time with her at all. The day was perfect, but now the day was over and he would be forced out of his blissful state, and to once again be thrown back into his cell of loneliness.
“Daddy?” she said with a small voice.
“Yes, honey,” he said with an adoring smile.
“Are you sick?”
“No, Daddy’s just sad to see you go.”
“Just ask Mommy if you can sleep over.”
Dean raised his eyebrows, as he knew very well that would never happen, and shook his head. “I’m sorry, baby. Daddy can’t do that. Besides, I think Mommy misses you.”
“But I miss you more, Daddy.”
“I know, honey.”
Dean turned forward in his seat because he didn't want his five-year-old daughter to see the tears that now completely filled his eyes. He unbuckled his seatbelt and climbed out of the car. He walked around to the back passenger door with a heavy heart and opened it.
He unbuckled little Cora’s seatbelt and she climbed out of the car. She immediately took his hand, clutched really, and Dean grabbed her pink princess backpack.
“I had a nice day, Daddy,” she said as they walked up the driveway of the house that Cora and her mother stayed in.
He glanced at the perfectly pruned hedges and scowled to himself. Is this what my maintenance has been paying for, Claire, he asked himself.
The front door opened and the female version of Satan appeared in a black jumpsuit. She literally only needed the pitchfork to complete the look.
“Hey baby,” Claire said with a smile and little Cora put her arms around her mother’s waist. “Did you have fun?”
“I did. We went to the beach and Daddy built a sandcastle and it was so big, but the water ruined it.”
“But it was fun. Then we went for ice cream and Daddy showed me how to jump high on the trampoline,” Cora explained excitedly.
“Wow, that’s great, Princess,” Claire said and shot a look of disapproval in Dean’s direction. “Why don’t you go inside? I just want to talk to your dad, okay?”
“Okay,” Cora nodded and ran back to Dean. He crouched down and put his arms around her. “Bye Daddy. I love you.”
“I love you too, kiddo,” he said and kissed the top of her head.
He watched as she went inside and slowly stood up.
“She loved it.”
“And what if she broke her arm or her neck?”
“But what if she did?”
“You’re doubting my competence to be a father again.”
“Well, your competence as a husband wasn't so great either, so do you blame me?”
“I’m not doing this again,” he said and held his hands up in surrender.
“Are you planning anything for her birthday?” Dean asked.
“Actually, yes. I wanted to talk to you about it.”
“Don’t look so surprised,” she said and glowered at him.
Dean didn't respond and crossed his arms.
“I’m having a party for her, here at the house, and I want you to pitch in.”
“That’s it? You’re not contending, or anything.”
“I would do anything for her, you should know that.”
“Hm,” she scoffed and crossed her arms, stepping into the house. She grabbed an envelope from the mantle and handed it to him.
“I don't need an invitation. I’ll be there.”
“It has the date, the place, and the theme.”
Dean opened the pink envelope and frowned at the glittery princess invitation. “A princess party?”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“She likes camping and fishing.”
“She’s a girl and she’ll have a princess party.”
“Even if she hates it.”
“Look, I am her mother-”
“And I’m her father, Claire. I think I know what my daughter likes.”
“She’s five, she doesn't know what she likes,” she retorted. “So, are you pitching in or not.”
“What do I have to pay for?”
“The birthday cake.”
“And make sure it fits in with the theme.”
Dean bit his bottom lip and nodded. “Yes, ma’am.”
“You better not screw this up.”
“What, like our marriage?”
“You are so petty. I am so glad I divorced you.”
Dean sighed and lowered his gaze. He was tired of all this back and forth slinging of insults. “Fine.”
“Oh, and one more thing,” Claire said and he glanced at her.
“Could you just cover those for her birthday,” she said and motioned to the tattoos on his arms.
“It’s summer, and will most probably be a hundred degrees outside,” he frowned. “Why does it matter?”
“Just cover them.”
“For Cora? She’s seen them a million times.”
Claire pursed her lips and crossed her arms.
“I get it. You don't want your high-class friends knowing what a lowlife your ex-husband is.”
“You said it,” she retorted and headed back into the house.
What a bitch, he thought to himself, but didn't react at all.
Claire thrived on reaction, and he wasn't going to give her the satisfaction of calling her a bitch to her face. Instead, he just turned around and walked back to his car.
It had been six months since their divorce was finalized. He knew nothing of his legal rights at the time, and never bother to contest her in anything when it came to the divorce itself, which resulted in him getting the house in the suburbs, along with the massive mortgage, and Claire got custody of Cora. He was allowed a weekly visit, and every third Saturday he could spend the day with Cora, unsupervised, which was all he wanted.
He opened the window of his vintage Camaro and sighed in relief as the cool breeze blew onto his face, as he reminisced about the great day he and Cora had spent together.
Of all the things he lost in the divorce, including his manhood, because of Claire’s ruthless lawyer, Cora was the one thing he missed the most. His relationship with Claire had never been a good one, even though they were married for nearly seven years.
He was young, as was she, and things were not always as simple and rose-colored as they thought it would be.
Claire came from an affluent family, and he never quite understood why she fell in love with a guy from a lower-middle-class home. Dean loved the outdoors, liked camping and fishing, and he used to surf a lot before he met Claire. Claire, on the other hand, was not the outdoorsy type at all, and she was too concerned with material things, hence why they misunderstood one another so much and fought so often.
There was nothing more to understand any longer, as it was only a matter of time until the bomb exploded and their lives, mostly his, would be left in the rubble.
“At least you got the house,” his friends said.
He got the house, yes, but he also got the massive mortgage on the house.
He drove up the driveway, opened the garage door and parked his car inside. The sounds of the television could be heard from the garage, and Dean smiled slightly. He stepped into the house through the inter-leading door and grinned at the scene in front of him.
His two best friends, and roommates, Devon and Kyle were watching football while arguing over whose team was the best. It wasn't a strange occurrence, as they disagreed about almost everything. Their different taste in women, football teams, and the thickness of pizza crust was intensely discussed every weekend.
“Hey, guys,” Dean greeted them with an absentminded wave.
“Dean, buddy, if you had to choose between UCLA and the USC, which one would you choose?”
“Obviously USC,” Kyle said before Dean could answer.
“Let Dean choose. He’s got a sensible head on his shoulders.”
“I don’t know about that,” Dean shrugged.
“Well, at least out of the three of us,” Kyle answered.
“True,” Dean answered.
It was true. Even though Devon and Kyle were the same age as Dean, they were not as mature as he was. They still enjoyed drinking, being rowdy and partying. Dean had been like that before Cora was born but soon changed his ways. Regardless of Claire’s accusations that Dean was a crappy husband, he was a devoted father to Cora, and anybody could vouch for that.
“So?” Devon said and looked at Dean expectantly.
“Well, if you’re referring to this season’s team, then I’d definitely go with the UCLA. USC is nowhere near where they should be.”
“See, I told you,” Kyle laughed, and cheered in a rather barbaric, frat-boy type of way.
“Now, wait a minute, USC has appeared way more times than UCLA.”
“Yeah, like twenty years ago. Anyway, it doesn't matter,” Kyle said.
“Of course it does. They’re experienced.”
“I guess we’ll just have to see,” Kyle said confidently.
Devon narrowed his eyes and nodded.
“How was your day with Cora?” Kyle said, abruptly changing the subject.
“It was great.”
“And how is the female version of Satan?” Devon asked.
“Exhausting,” Dean sighed and sat down on the couch between Kyle and Devon. “Look,” he held up the pink invitation.
“What the hell is that?”
“Cora’s sixth birthday invitation.”
“It’s so pink, it’s almost blinding.”
“Tell me about it.”
“A princess party, huh?”
“Yeah,” Dean answered. “It’s almost like Claire doesn't even care what Cora likes. Claire's got her own ideas of what Cora should like.”
“She’s a bitch. Be glad that you're rid of her,”
Dean knew that was not true though. As long as Cora was there, he’d always have Claire in his life.
“What made you fall in love with her in the first place?” Kyle asked.
Dean chuckled and sat back against the cushions of the couch. “Once upon a time.”
“So, what is it she wants you to do for this party?”
“I have to provide the cake,” he answered and took out the list of specifics on how the cake should look.
Devon took it from him and cringed. “Those are pretty strict instructions.”
“I’d say. This cake is going to cost a fortune.”
“We could always bake it for you,” Devon chuckled.
“No, thanks. Then I'll never get to see Cora,” he said and stood up. “But thanks for the offer.”
“Anytime,” Devon saluted him. “We’re heading out in about an hour, you coming?”
“Nah, I’m good. Maybe next time.”
“You always say that.”
“And maybe someday, I’ll mean it,” Dean said to himself and headed up the stairs to his bedroom.
Even if he was in the mood to go out with Devon and Kyle, which he wasn’t, he knew that it would only end horribly. Devon and Kyle had no problems picking up women in bars, which usually meant Dean would be left out. It had been a while since Dean had talked to a woman in a bar, or anywhere for that matter, and he just felt out of practice. He wasn't even ready to start diving into the dating pool again. He knew from experience that there were a lot of sharks in there, especially ones named Claire.
Henley glanced up from wiping the smooth wood of the counter as Jess, her boss, and friend closed the front doors of the coffee shop and locked them securely. She had been working in her friend’s coffee shop for the past year after returning to her hometown of Oceanside after living in Sacramento for four years.
“Well, I’m glad this day is over,” Jess said with an exhausted sigh and approached the counter.
“You sound a little out of breath there, Jess,” Henley chuckled.
“Just a little. It was a really good day,” Jess answered. “Your brownies were a hit.”
Henley smiled wordlessly and hung the towelette she used over the small railing.
“That shouldn't surprise me. You did have your own mega-bakery back in Sacramento.”
“I wouldn't exactly call it a mega-bakery, but okay,” Henley answered.
“You’re being way too modest. You’re an amazing baker.”
“Thank you,” Henley answered modestly and bit her bottom lip in self-doubt.
“Hey,” Jess said and she glanced over at her.
“You did the right thing, okay.”
“I don’t really want to talk about it.”
“Okay, but I can see that you’re not yourself today.”
“I just feel stuck.”
“That’s because you are stuck.”
“Thanks for the support.”
“At least you’re not in denial,” Jess shrugged.
“I suppose,” she said with a nod. “Is it okay if I head home?”
“Of course, you’ve done so much today already.”
Henley took off her apron, folded it neatly and placed it on a shelf under the counter. She grabbed her handbag and walked around the counter.
“Henley?” Jess said.
Henley turned back and glanced at her friend.
“Thank you for your help.”
“No problem. Today was a lot busier than I thought it would be.”
“I’m not just talking about today. Just in general.”
“I’m the one who should say thank you. You gave me a job.”
“I know that you’re not used to working for someone, and this is probably not the direction you thought your life would be going in right now, but you’re doing great under the circumstances.”
“And I want you to know that I’m always here for you if you do decide that you want to talk about what happened, or about anything else for that matter.”
“Come here,” she said and opened her arms.
Henley smile and walked up to her, hugging her tight.
“You’re my friend, and I’m yours.”
“I won’t,” she said and pulled out of Jess’s embrace. “And I promise to talk to you about anything when I’m ready.”
Jess smiled and nodded. “Get out of here, and get some rest.”
“Thanks, Jess. Have a great night.”
“A great night of admin. Woo-hoo,” she cheered sarcastically.
“Are you sure you’ll be okay here by yourself?” Henley asked.
“Yes, of course,” Jess answered. “See you tomorrow.”
“Bye,” Henley said and she stepped outside.
The evening air was warm but still comfortable. Today had been a very hot day, especially inside the kitchen of the coffee shop, but it was to be expected this time of year.
She ran her fingers through her long blonde hair as she made her way to where her car was parked.
Her Beetle stood in a lonely little car park which was dimly lit by a nearby streetlight. She climbed in, feeling slightly anxious, and locked her doors immediately. She put her key in the ignition and turned it.
“Come on, Betty. Don’t do this to me now,” she sighed and tried again.
The engine crackled but went dead again after a few seconds.
“You can do this. Come on.”
She tried a few more times, silently begging the old Beetle to whip herself back into shape. Maybe it was more to ease her own mind, but she did it anyway.
Eventually, and much to her relief, the engine sputtered to life and she drove home in a cloud of carbon monoxide gas.
Her apartment building wasn't that far away, thankfully, as she knew that one day Betty would seize up and leave her stranded on the side of the road. She knew she needed to find a more reliable car, but her finances definitely did not allow for that at the moment. She was still recovering from her massive financial loss and sadly was reminded of that every single moment of the day.
Her apartment was small and grubby, no matter how many times and how well she cleaned it, it still looked that way.
At least she had a roof over her head, electricity and running water, she reminded herself as she stood under the hot water in her small shower.
It was after eleven when she fell down in bed and stared up at the picture frame that stood on her bedside table.
The picture was taken on the day her bakery and confectionary store, ‘Oh sweet Henley’s’, opened its doors almost four years ago. She had worked so hard to make that store a success, and it was. It was very popular, as it was situated in a prime position in Sacramento. Although that didn't stop people from driving from out of state to purchase her baked goods and custom cakes. She had never imagined that her bakery would become that popular, and her business thrived beyond her highest expectations. She glanced at her happy smile in the photograph and a tear ran down her cheek.