Part 7 in Thurmount Holiday (see the category “Thurmount Holiday” for the other entries).
Megan and I are returning from Christmas shopping in Winchester when she suggests we stop for coffee and a yummy baked good from Susie’s Bakery. There is something mystical about Susie’s baking. We are talking about the flakiest pie crusts with ingenious fillings; melt in your mouth eclairs with a light cream fillings; cakes that are light and fluffy with intriguing icings. It’s like they are made of magic. The more I think about the possibility of these desserts, the more I salivate.
There’s a parking spot almost right in front of the bakery and Megan pulls in. There are only a couple of patrons at the bakery seeing as how it’s noon and everyone is probably eating at the bistro or the diner. I eye all of the goodies in the display cases, knowing that I am going to be bad and have more than one. It’s not like I do this every day and everything looks so good. I choose a slice of German chocolate cake because it’s one of my favorites and I can’t even remember the last time I had the pecan-coconutty goodness of the icing and then I point to something called a hazelnut-almond dacquoise that Susie describes as a cake with espresso buttercream, chocolate ganache, and nuts. Armed with regular dark roast coffees, Megan and I sit at a table near the back so that the cold doesn’t hit us each time the door opens.
I am savoring the rich French cake when the bell above the door announces a new arrival. Will comes in, but he’s not alone. With him is a blond who is almost as tall as he is. He seems slightly taken aback to see Megan and me here. The easy smile curves his lips and he and the blonde come over to us.
He introduces her as Luanne. They met at the bistro because there was only one free table so they shared and then they decided to come to Susie’s to find dessert to take back to her place.
“Take back to her place,” I repeat after they’ve left.
“What do you think that means?” I ask Megan.
Megan’s nose wrinkles. “That they have dessert and are going to her place to eat it. That would be my educated guess.”
“Smartass. Do you think he’s into her?”
“No, of course not. Do you think he’s into her?”
Megan shakes her head as if I am a lost cause. “You’re not allowed to be jealous, you know.”
“Why in the name of Humphrey’s pig not? Not that I am.”
“Nah. You know you can’t have it both ways.”
“Which both ways?” I ask and then take a sip of coffee to counteract all of the rich sweetness I’ve been devouring.
Megan takes her time answering. She cuts a small bite of black cherry tart and then rolls her eyes and pronounces it scrumptious. “You can’t not want him and then be jealous when someone else does.”
“I have never stopped him from dating anyone. He’s dated plenty.”
“What about last night with Layla? You totally pushed her out of the picture.”
“He wanted me to.”
“I didn’t hear him say that.”
“I’ve known him for a long time. I can read him,” I say and then wonder if he really did want me to rescue him from Layla. Maybe I did jump in too soon. Maybe I am jealous of him going home with that blonde Luanne.
I wonder what they’re doing. Argh. I can’t believe I am doing this to myself.
Megan pats me on the arm. “You should make up your mind, Kay.”
“I am afraid of losing my best friend.”
“I don’t get that. You two are adults and you’ve known each other forever. If things don’t work out, you just shrug and move on. It never has to be the end of the world. There’s no way you two would stop being friends anyway.”
We put on our coats and enter the winter wonderland where it has begun to snow again.
“Don’t worry, be happy,” Megan sings at me as we walk to the car.
I sit in the passenger’s seat as we drive to our folks’ house and think maybe I’ll text Will and see if he wants to meet up later for a drink or some cross-country skiing or something else. Anything else. But I hesitate with my thumbs over the keyboard, wondering if it would be mistake. He seemed into that blonde.
“Text him already,” Megan says as she changes the radio station and Christmas music blares through the car.
I make it simple: Meet up later?
And then I wait a long time for a responding text that doesn’t come.