Supply and Demand
Nina’s POV 5 & ½ years ago
I was shocked as shit as I stared at the bitch standing on my porch in front of me.
Oh, Dean, why’d you have to delay your return home till later this evening … I needed my rock to settle my nerves.
Was I happy to hear that she and apparently a few of the council members had finished every single cookie I had made for her? Hell yeah, I was, Karma bitch.
Too bad this greed monger found a way to make my revenge bite me in the ass.
“So, what’d you think about my proposal?”
“I’m sorry, what proposal?”
“Were you NOT listening to me? I said that I shared your cookies with a few council members, and we ate them up like no tomorrow. They wanted more, which gave me the best idea ever. You and I should go into business together; You with your amazing cookies and me with my marketing skills and contacts.”
“Um. I don’t think so.”
Anabelle laughed. I could tell it wasn’t out of kindness either.
“I’m sorry, you seemed to have missed the part where this wasn’t actually a request. Your cookies are a gold mine, and I want to market them.”
“But I-I don’t think that’s a very good idea, Anabelle. I don’t even think I could replicate that cookie if I wanted to.”
Anabelle looked at me as if I’d grown two heads.
“What do you mean you couldn’t replicate them. You yourself said in your note that the cookies were from an old family recipe, so how would you not be able to? Is there something you’re hiding from me about them … were they store-bought, or did you steal someone else’s recipe?”
She totally bombarded me with her damn questions. The woman just couldn’t leave well enough alone and take no for an answer.
Nope. Anabelle’s eyesight was already filled with the prospect of dollar signs. I knew if I said yes to any of the questions before me, she’d surely retaliate in a manner that would more than likely harm my husband’s business. I had to do it. I had to make a deal with the devil if I wanted to live in peace. Well, at least as much peace as I was afforded for the sins, I was about to commit in order to protect my family.
Anabelle placed her hand on her hip and tapped her well-manicured long red painted nails on her thigh, impatiently awaiting my response to her demands.
I sighed, then slowly nodded my head, afraid of actually hearing the word vomit about to be discharged from my own lips.
“Fine, Anabelle. Whatever. Just tell me what I need to do.”
Her eyes lit up like a kid on Christmas, and she began clapping her hands excitedly.
“OH, perfect! Well, since you so graciously asked, I already have an order from three of the women from the council; they want a dozen each, one with no nuts. Since the holidays are swiftly approaching, I already put the word out that we would be taking requests for a dozen per order minimum, paid upfront, of course. We are charging twenty-five dollars per dozen.”
“I see. And how much of that are you claiming for yourself?” I deadpanned.
“Wow, Nina! I’m shocked. We’re a partnership, Nina; I would never cheat you out of what is rightfully yours. Fifty-fifty split across the board, and of course, we would split the cost of the ingredients, which I think is a rather generous offer, even if I say so myself.”
I just wanted to laugh at her preposterous delusions. This woman was seriously insane. Doing me a favor … being generous??? Yeah, right, and Caligula was a virtuous saint. I mentally rolled my eyes and shook my head.
Taking a deep breath, I responded, “fine. I will get started on the first three dozen and have them ready by tomorrow evening.”
“Perfect. I’ll send someone over with the tins we will be using as our packaging and will be placing an order for more of them to be delivered to your home; consider that my little gift to you for being such a good sport—pleasure doing business with you Nina. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to be heading back home. I can’t seem to find Princess anywhere. I have people coming over to help me search the area for her. You by chance haven’t seen her, have you?”
“Hmph, I see. Well, if you do, notify me as soon as possible; I’m really worried about her; my little Princess has been gone for a couple of days already.”
“Sure thing Anabelle. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have dinner to make for my husband and three dozen cookies to bake before I have to go to bed.”
My Dean arrived home at dinner time, just as he had promised. I missed him so much, even more so without Mitzy to keep me company. It was a bittersweet homecoming for him as all the joy of returning had been overpowered by the sad news of Mitzy’s demise. I feel bad; I lied to him about how she died; part of the sick promise I was coerced into with Anabelle. I simply asserted that she passed away when I was out shopping and that she seemed to have died in her sleep. I’d prefer for Dean to picture her peaceful slumber rather than the nightmare-inducing images that I would carry with me for the rest of my days. It was better this way. We had small talk over dinner, and again I pretended that everything between Anabelle and I was just peachy as pie, so much so that we even went as far as to embark on a joint business venture together. Yeah, he was shocked, to say the least. However, my using Anabelle’s own words regarding her marketing skills and contacts seemed to pacify his unease.
Thank heavens for small favors.
Thankfully, the necessary paperwork was now in place with both the City of Sandstone and Pine County on the upside. We were finally ready for business. Dean’s trip to Duluth had even partnered him with some amicable suppliers who provided a decent discount in exchange for exclusivity and advertisement from our funeral home. Things were finally looking up for my Dean. I couldn’t be prouder of him for all his hard work. After dinner, I made sure that my gentle giant was given a very, very special welcome home treat from yours truly.
What can I say? Handcuffs are the gift that keeps on giving.
Once Dean had drifted off to sleep, I silently slipped out of bed, threw on one of his tee-shirts and my Ugg slippers then quickly made my way downstairs into the kitchen. I grabbed the ingredients for the chocolate chunk cookies, including the last of the blood I had stored away in one of the cold-storage spaces down in the basement. I had just enough to make the three dozen I was charged with baking.
Now the cold hard question lingered in the air like a fart in a car.
What the fuck was I supposed to do for blood in the future?