The rest of the weekend went by quickly for Mattie and she found herself at work preparing Minion cookies for a children’s birthday party on Monday morning at Winslow’s. As she piped on the outline of Stuart the Minion, her thoughts wandered. She reflected on Friday night and mentally scolded herself for having drank too much alcohol. She was worried that she made herself look like a fool in front of Ian and wondered what he thought of her now. She was rounding out Stuart’s eyeball when the thought occurred to her that she shouldn’t really care. It isn’t like I am interested in him anyway.
After talking with Anna about who else would be in the wedding party--Stacey and Jenn from college and Chris’s brother, Joe--they joined Derek, Chris, and Ian in the small eat-in-kitchen for breakfast. Mattie noticed that Ian didn’t say much while they were eating and she found herself wondering what might be going on in his head while he stared out the window of Derek’s apartment. While Chris, Anna, and Derek were chatting about some of the wedding details coming up, Mattie took a moment to study Ian’s features more closely. His brown hair was thick and looked soft. His nose was proportioned perfectly for his face and his side profile was marred only slightly by a small scar nestled in his left eyebrow. He’s sexy. Mattie had choked a bit on her coffee as the thought entered her mind.
“Mattie, are you okay?” Chris asked.
“Uh, yeah. Thanks,” she coughed, “just went down the wrong pipe.” Anna handed her a napkin which Mattie continued to cough into. She couldn’t believe that she had entertained that particular idea and immediately tried to squash the butterflies flying in her belly. She took another sip of coffee to soothe her fit and discreetly looked around to see if anyone might suspect her inner thoughts.
It didn’t appear that they had a clue, but she was quickly distracted when she felt a set of hands removing the cup from her grasp and a velvety voice say, “Let me make you another cup.” She felt disarmed and incapable of an audible response, so she simply released her hold on the mug.
“Just milk, right?” Mute, Mattie nodded. After it was prepared, Ian handed the coffee back to her and she smiled her thanks. It was piping hot, so she set it on the table to let it cool down. Attempting to look occupied, she grabbed some food and started to eat, but she could not keep her thoughts quiet and found herself trying to look at Ian at regular intervals. He caught her one time and held her gaze for a moment with a small smile on his face.
All weekend she thought of that smile and it distracted her now as she attempted to flood some of the cookies with yellow royal icing. She thought about the curve of his mouth and the light facial hair that he hadn’t shaved yet that morning. She imagined what it would be like to have his hair in her hands and to see if it was as soft as it seemed. She contemplated what it might be like to actually have a conversation with him. Maybe even to write him a note back that wasn’t crudely iced on a cake.
Her mind was so distracted that she didn’t realize that she had piped a good portion of the icing onto the table until she leaned into it with her hand.
“Shit!” The icing was sticky and oozed around her fingers, erasing her daydream from her mind. She walked quickly to the sink and washed her hands. When she was done, she gripped the edges of the sink and willed the thoughts of Ian out of her mind. No time for this, Mattie. No time.
“Are you okay?” Selene asked. Mattie jumped, unaware that someone had come into the kitchen.
“Yeah. I’m alright.”
“You seem tense.”
“I’m good. Just iced the cookie wrong. Got it on my hands.”
“Do you need any help?”
“Actually, yeah. I need some more royal icing. Can you make me some? I need it in yellow.”
“Sure thing.” Selene moved to the table and grabbed the mixing bowl Mattie had used before. “You made a mess over here.”
Mattie stuck her tongue out at Selene and blew a raspberry. “Shut it. I’m going to clean it up.” She got some paper towels and wiped down the table.
“Did you have a good weekend?”
“I did. Thanks for asking.”
“What did you do?”
“Went out with my sister,” Mattie paused. “Saw Ian.”
“Why did you wait to tell me?” Selene rushed over with the mixing bowl, full of new icing. Her eyes were wide and smile splayed across her face. “What happened?”
“Nothing. Nothing happened. I went to the bar with my sister and ran into him. Chris—Anna’s fiancé—is friends with him.”
Selene’s eyes widened to saucers. “Does that mean you’ll be spending more time with him?”
Mattie shrugged. “I guess so. Apparently he is in the wedding. Best man.”
“WHAT? Mattie! That is amazing. He is so cute and so friendly and his notes are so adorable!”
“I’m not sure I am going to be getting anymore of those.”
“Uhm. He had ordered a cake a little while ago. Something simple. Probably for a birthday party. Anyway, on the order he had asked if I would consider going out to dinner with him.”
“Oh yeah! I think Joan took that order.”
“She did. So, I wrote my reply in the icing.”
“Oh. I imagine it wasn’t a great response?”
“No. It wasn’t the nicest. And it wasn’t written neatly either…I also metaphorically stuck a fork in it. So, I’m not sure that it will go very far or that I want it to.”
“You sound like you regret it,” Selene said. She grabbed the piping bags and folded one into a cup to fill up with icing.
“I don’t regret it. Maybe I could have been nicer about it, but I don’t want to date anyone.”
“Think it’s gonna be awkward now that you will see each other a lot?” Selene finished filling one of the piping bags and handed it to Mattie.
“Maybe.” Mattie hadn’t considered that yet. It might be completely awkward to be around Ian for an extended period of time. They didn’t discuss what had happened at his job. Maybe they never would. “I’m not going to worry about it. I’ll see him at the wedding but I shouldn’t have to see him too much before that.”
“That’s fair.” Selene didn’t love confrontation and Mattie knew this statement to be one of her classic cop-outs. It was her way of letting Mattie know she didn’t agree without fully engaging in pushing back.
“What do you think?”
“Well,” said Selene, “It seems like he was interested in pursuing something. You think he is just going to drop that?”
“I would think so. I mean, it’s the right thing to do. I told him I’m not interested.”
“I don’t know. If I was you, I would need to make it right.”
“We will be fine. I’m sure. Is there a reason you’re pushing this?”
“Of course not! Anyway, does this look good to you?” Selene piped some of the icing out to show Mattie the consistency.
“Yeah. That looks perfect.”
“It should. I’ve been practicing.”
“That’s great. Practicing for anything in particular?”
“Well, to help you of course. And to…” Selene mumbled the rest of the sentence.
“To help you here and…”
“Selene, you need to speak louder.”
She took a deep breath before continuing, “to help you here and to help you win a competition.”
Mattie took a moment to process this new information. She had heard about a baking competition being hosted by a larger company within the area. The winner would get a large sum of money and the opportunity to bake for a larger event for the company later on. Mattie had thought about entering, but when news of Anna’s wedding was announced, decided it might be not be a good idea.
“The one hosted by Miller & Associates?”
“That would be the one.”
“Selene, I am going to murder you.”
“Well, it’s too late to say no now. And, given that the cake you made for Ian was delivered to said company, you should work to make some things right with him. You know, just in case he is going to be judging.”
“I can’t with you.”
“That’s fine. Just as long as you ‘can’ with Ian.” Selene handed Mattie the bag of icing, winked, and left the kitchen humming.
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