Too Tasty

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I Plead the 5th

“Woohoo!!!” I screamed as I pressed the button to put the BMW’s top-down. I was speeding at 100 mph and there was not a single police car out on the street at 4:30 am.

Initially, Knox seemed to relax when I hit the threshold of 70 mph but then his eyes widened when I went way past that.

“Jesus Christ woman, you’re giving road rage a new definition,” Knox shouted over the loud wind that was whistling in our ears as I drove out to the next town’s coffee shop.

I grinned and enjoyed the way the wind rushed through my hair. I could feel Knox looking at me intensely but I didn’t take my eyes off the road.

I hit 150 mph and didn’t even bat an eye. Driving fast gave me the feeling of being alive and it genuinely made me appreciate life. I live my life for the thrill whenever I can. The only time I feel free is when I’m baking and when I’m on a racetrack. Even if I’m not happy, I can still enjoy my time on Earth before I die like everyone else.

I laughed when Knox let out a hoot with me and turned on his music, steering with one hand. I’d had seven years of street racing practice so I was confident in my ability to keep my passenger alive.

PnB Rock’s song started blaring through Knox’s speakers and I bopped my head along because hey, Knox may be a stranger, but his music was fire. And yes, my mom taught me to be cautious of strangers but you know what? This stranger was my favorite stranger, hands down.

I finally slowed down when I spotted the Laker Avenue sign. I could see the cafe’s “OPEN” sign blinking from a few meters away.

I shifted the gear to “park” and got out of the car after turning the engine off. I practically pranced in joy as I felt the adrenaline rush moving through my veins, even after I’d stopped driving.

Knox followed closely behind me, shaking his head in disbelief at my wild tendencies.

The smell of freshly brewed coffee wafted into my nose as I entered Noella’s Café. That’s honestly a cool name for a café.

“Hey there gorgeous, what can I get you this fine morning?” said a petite young lady with waist-length blonde hair and meticulously perfected makeup.

“I’d like an espresso and a scone please,” I said as I looked at the menu above my head. I glanced at Knox and he seemed to be contemplating what he wanted.

“I’d like a frappucino with a bagel and cream cheese. Thanks,” Knox answered the woman. He began to pull out his wallet to pay for both of our treats but I put my hand on top of his to stop him.

“I’ve got it today. After all, you did let me take your car for a test run,” I said with a wink, and Knox seemed surprised at my response.

I handed the cashier the money and waited to receive my change which I’d leave for her because everybody deserves a tip sometimes.

Every penny adds up. Those tips have saved me countless times from having to starve because I had to use my paycheck for rent money. But that was a couple of years ago. I may not be rich right now but I was doing better now that I worked for Mario.

“Does this mean there will be a next time? Because I’m not going to lie but your driving was kind of hot,” Knox asked mischievously eying me up and down.

I snickered but sobered up as I realized that he may interpret this as a date.

But don't you want to see if you could handle a relationship?

...

No, he deserves to be happy with someone permanent. I'm temporary.

We walked towards a cozy window booth and sat down across from each other. I liked the way the cafe’s yellow lights added warmth to the room because I felt as though the sun was already shining down on me.

I was quiet for a minute. “Look Knox, thank you for helping me when I had a panic attack. But I can’t possibly even consider a relationship right now when I’m...not ready. If you want to be friends, I’m down but even then, you’ll find yourself running away from me, not towards me,” I responded quietly. I looked down at the table as I waited for his answer.

Maybe he’ll snap at me and tell me to get out.

Or he might even laugh in my face for speaking freely.

That’s what my father did when I told him that I wanted to go to a birthday party with a friend.

Knox grabbed my hand and said, “I’ll take the friendship you’re offering Karina. You’re worth knowing, baggage or not.”

I still didn’t look up at him but I squeezed his hand to show my appreciation.

I didn’t have a single friend. Not one. Why?

Because I was too afraid to let people in.

In my experience, people want to get to know you only when they want something from you. Money, sex, a favor, etc.

In the end, all of my friends leave me. Knox won’t be any different.

But I did promise my mom that I’d live life to the fullest. So this was me trying to fulfill that promise.

“Your orders are ready,” called the waitress.

Saved by the waitress. Thank you!

“I’ve got it,” I said with a quick smile as I rose to grab our coffees and treats.

I walked back to our booth and handed Knox his order.

“So where did you learn to drive like that?” Knox asked as he sipped his coffee. A boyish grin filled his face as he relished the sweet taste of his sugary drink.

“I met someone at Too Tasty who was a NASCAR racer and he offered to teach me. It was my dream to learn and when I did, it felt like driving was exactly what would set me free,” I responded.

I took a bite of my scone and felt a bunch of flavors explode on my tongue. It was absolutely delicious.

“Damn so you can run and drive fast. I like you already,” Knox said with a chuckle.

“Yup. So you said you’re a businessman but what do you do exactly?” I asked, curious to hear his answer.

Deep breaths Karina. Knox may be a businessman but he’s been nothing but respectful towards you. Reflect the same attitude.

“Well, I work for Quinton Thompson at his security firm in Woodland among other things. The commute from Burberry isn’t that long but I had to go in at midnight because of a special client’s needs. I also negotiate contracts,” Knox said with a brazen smile.

I gasped and said, “You work for the Thompsons? They own the most famous security firm Tera10! That’s so cool!! Are you a security guard or one of the people who analyzes situations with a bunch of tech?”

“Wow, somebody knows their stuff. I’m more of a behind the scenes guy so yeah, I mostly do threat analysis and occasionally head out into the field with the clients,” Quinton responded with a shrug.

“Still that’s super cool,” I said with a smile. My smile grew as I saw the sun start to rise. It was a beautiful sight to see as the rays of light hit the cherry blossom trees along the town’s street.

Knox followed my line of sight and grinned with me. “Yep, I like what I do. If you think that sunrise is good looking, you should hike up to the Sugarloaf mountain upstate. It’s a riveting sight to see,” he said, finishing off the rest of his breakfast.

“I’ve heard of it but never been there,” I responded, rising to throw out my trash.

“Maybe you should go there during Memorial weekend in May,” Knox said as he walked me towards the door. I waved at the waitress as we walked out.

“Or maybe you can go with me,” I suggested as I contemplated that idea. It would be fun to take a three-day vacation considering that in my 27 years of life, I’d never experienced one. And nor was I offered to accompany my father when he went to NYC several times. Not that I'd want to be around him but still, escaping the suburbs of NY would've been nice.

I tossed Knox his car keys after unlocking his car and climbed into the passenger seat. The sleek seats reminded me that Knox was out of my league especially when it came to lifestyles.

I can't live the way he does and that will probably impact whether he chooses to stay in my life.

“You’re not driving?” Knox asked bemused at my choice to sit in the passenger’s seat.

“Nah, I figured I’ve endangered your life enough. Plus, I think I want to experience the way you drive,” I said with a small laugh. I pulled an elastic off of my wrist and tied my hair into a high ponytail as Knox turned the engine on.

“Nope, I think your good looks killed me the first time I saw you yesterday. Not your driving today,” Knox responded with a smirk.

I blushed but felt slightly irked. I knew he must've seen parts of my body!

“You better not have let your eyes wander mister,” I said as my cheeks heated up.

Knox pouted and said, “Your lack of faith in my morals wounds me milady but to be fair, your six pack is well defined.”

My eyes flashed in mock outrage and Knox laughed at me.

I sniggered and said, “Well, can you blame me? It was definitely awkward to flash my shit to a complete stranger. Speaking of which, next time you should knock.”

“Hey, to be fair, who changes inside of a storage closet where food is supposed to be kept? There’s a bathroom in the diner for a reason,” Knox responded, flicking a silly look in my direction as he drove.

“It’s not my fault that it rained. But it was my choice to sit outside on my range rovers hood to enjoy the storm. What can I say, I’m a magnet for inconvenient situations,” I playfully snapped back.

That right there was the biggest truth I'd ever revealed to someone. I found myself in all sorts of WEIRD and FUCKED UP situations all the goddamn time.

“So it was your fault, not mine. You just confirmed it,” Knox said, grinning at me as he drove me back to Burberry Street for my next shift at the bakery.

“I plead the fifth amendment. Case closed,” I said with a smirk.

Knox did a victory air pump and I snorted at his childish tendencies.

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