“Here you go!” I said cheerily as I slid a white box with a black and pink logo across the counter. It said “Sofia’s Bakery” in a beautiful curly font that had taken me ages to pick out. The old man smiled and grabbed the box before heading out the door.
I watched him go, my own smile easily in place. I heard someone come up behind me. “We really need to get the plans organized for the one year anniversary party,” my mom said. She set a large binder down on the counter in front of me. “We only have two months!”
“I told you mom, I don’t want a party.”
“Baby, one year of owning your own business is a big deal!” She opened up the notebook and flipped to a middle page. “Now I think some decorations like this would be perfect.” She rattled on about the decor and I couldn’t help but smile. The last two years hadn’t been easy. Learning to work with my mother had been a challenge. She really was a godsend though.
I’d lived with my parents for a few months until I found an apartment. Rex and I had settled in comfortably. The bakery had taken a bit longer but we’d finally found the perfect place. With some slight renovations we’d been ready for opening day. It had been a true dream made real and everyday I got to be my own boss. I was even starting to pay my dad back for the loan he’d given me.
“Whatever you think mom,” I finally said. She looked at me, mouth gaping.
“Your going to let me plan it?” I nodded. “And you won’t throw a fit like after I’d planned your quincenera?” At that I laughed.
“No mom. Have fun. Thanks for all your help. I think today’s pretty much done, why don’t you head home.” She squeezed my arm gently before collecting up her binder and heading out the door.
“See you later baby,” she called over her shoulder. I smiled as I watched her walk to her car.
The bakery was quiet as I looked around. The cream colored walls had splashes of color from the large framed photos hanging. The black and pink bistro chairs matched my logo perfectly. The white marble counter tops gleamed. I looked at all my beautiful baked good lined up under their glass case and felt peace settle over me.
It had been a tough decision but I was glad to be home. Getting to see my siblings and their kids everyday was more fun than I thought it would be. I’d even reconnected with some old friends. My days were kept busy between baking and family. I was finally feeling at peace with myself. With a content sigh I walked into the back to start some cleanup. My niece Lily was staring in her school play and I had plans to be front row.
The bells above the door chimed cheerily. “Be right there!” I called. I walked to the sink and washed my hands quickly. With a smile I walked through the doors into the store front and stopped dead in my tracks.
“Hey stranger,” his deep voice hit me and settled into my stomach like a ton of bricks.
“Jax, What are you doing here?” We hadn’t spoken in almost 2 years. He looked the same. Tall and tanned, his tattoos scrolled across his muscular arms. His hair was longer, falling just over his forehead. His dark eyes focused on me.
He shrugged. “I was in the neighborhood. Heard about this great locally owned bakery and had to come see for myself.” He glided up easily to the counter and set both hands on the top. “What’s good here?”
I shook myself slightly and grabbed a small box. “I’m partial to the chocolate cake myself,” I shrugged with a smile.
His smile brightened as he leaned over the counter towards me. “You read my mind.” I walked to the glass case and he followed me, standing in front while I boxed up a slice of cake. “How have you been?” He asked softly.
“Really good. Moving home was an adjustment but it’s been worth it. I’m finally doing what I’ve always wanted to do.” He nodded gently.
“It looks like it. This place is amazing.”
“Thank you.” I walked toward the register and slid the box across the counter. “How have you been?” He gave me another bright smile and I felt my stomach clench in desire. Even after all this time he still turned me on. I wondered what he’d been doing since our breakup. If he’d missed me as much as I’d missed him at first. It had gotten easier but he was always there in my mind.
“Doing well. I’ve actually started my own business as well.” I raised my eyebrows.
“Wow, congratulations. What are you doing now?”
He leaned further over the counter. “Still doing construction. Just my own company now. It’s nice to have more say in what projects I do.” I nodded, feeling my breath shorten at the closeness between us. His eyes narrowed on my lips and I found myself wishing he would kiss me. He pulled away quickly and pulled out his wallet. “What do I owe you?”
“Don’t worry, it’s on the house.”
Jax picked up the box and opened it. He took a deep breath, smelling the cake. “This looks amazing.” I smiled brightly. I reached under the cabinet and pulled out a disposable fork. I held it out to him.
With a smile he took the fork and took a big bite. He rolled his eyes and groaned. “This is amazing Sof.” His tongue flicked out to clean the chocolate off his bottom lip and I clenched my legs tightly. The memory of that tongue between my thighs had me practically panting. I hadn’t dated in the last two years. Between getting my business up and running and spending time catching up with my family I’d decided to focus on me. It had been beneficial for me but I was definitely feeling the lack of intimacy now.
“I’m glad you like it.” He took another big bite.
“Could I get another slice for later?”
I nodded and hurried over to get him another piece. “How is everyone doing?” I asked gently. I’d texted the girls on occasion but it just wasn’t the same.
Jax set the now empty box down on the counter. “Have you seen pictures of El and Zane’s baby?” I shook my head softly.
“I’d heard they had a little girl.”
“She’s beautiful.” He pulled out his phone and scrolled through it. “Here’s Madeline.” A beautiful green eyed, dark haired little girl mid laugh filled the screen. My heart ached a bit, missing El, Zane, and Aiden.
“I sure miss them.” Jax leaned over the counter slightly. He looked at the space between us biting his lip gently.
“Anyone else you miss?”
I felt frozen in place. I stared at him quietly until his eyes flickered up to mine uncertainly. He stood quickly and grabbed his second box. “Sorry Sof, it’s good to see you. Thanks again.” He gestured with the box and turned for the door. I felt myself unfreeze and I ran around the counter, catching his arm before he left the bakery.
“Why are you here Jax?” I asked again sternly. He looked down at me, his face softening.
“Just thought since I’m new to the area I’d find a familiar face.”
I frowned. “New to the area?”
He smiled slightly. “Didn’t I tell you? My company is based here.” I felt light headed. My eyes widened as I looked at his handsome face, the face I hadn’t forgotten. The spark was still there between us. I felt it red hot as we stood mere inches apart.
“So you live here now?” He nodded, turning to face me fully.
“I do.” We stood there, both of us afraid to move. Finally I smiled up at him. His body shifted, pulling me closer to him. “Is that ok?”
I nodded, feeling like I was soaring. He was here permanently and it had been his own choice. I pushed myself against his firm chest. “Welcome to the neighborhood.”
Authors Note: Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed it, feel free to leave comments or reviews! The next story in the series follows Adrienne as she tries to discover who she is. Look for The Switch Up!