Sunlight touched my eyelids. I groaned when a hint of warmth hit my face. I rolled over and opened my eyes to a brightly lit room. According to my digital clock, it was time to get out of bed. I untangled the dog tag from my grasp and placed it on my nightstand. I’ve been clutching it as I slept last night, just another one of those late nights, when my brain decides to overthink things. After I’ve freshen up, I went downstairs and made a beeline for the coffee maker. It seems like Valerie already brewed a fresh pot before leaving for work this morning, so I pour out what was left in my pastel yellow mug. My fridge was almost out of supplies, but I managed to fix myself a bowl of Corn Flakes. You gotta love the classic cereal because I certainly do. I ate on the kitchen island, while silently browsing through my phone.
I didn’t have any decent sleep after that dream, which was kind of like a flashback. It was the night before Jake was leaving for Australia with his family. It was quite unusual. I didn’t know why I even dreamed of anything Jake-related and it was stressing me out a bit. After a quiet breakfast I went upstairs, took a shower, and got dressed. I wore a loose plain white tee tucked in my mom jeans and a pair of yellow old skool Vans. My tag glinted as rays of sunlight beamed on it.
Door chimes rang as I came in. The smell of freshly-baked goods, and coffee wafted through the air. Liam was cleaning up the tables when our eyes met. He smiled up at me.
“Good Morning, Ronnie.” he greeted. I smiled and greeted him as I made my way to the counter. Alice approached me immediately for our morning hugs. A flash of worry crossed her face as I approached her, but she immediately replaced it with a friendly smile.
“Hey, Ronnie.” she chirped and held me at arm’s length. She pursed her lips and studied me.
“You okay?” she asked. Damn, I can never get pass her. She reads emotions better than I do. I shrugged. “I’ve had better days.”
“We’ll talk later, yeah?” she asked.
“Is it okay if you could come over for dinner tonight? I need some company.” I asked her.
“I’d love to come over.” She chirped. I headed to the employees locker and grabbed my blue apron. When I headed back to the register, I felt an arm drape over my shoulder.
“I overheard you girls talk about dinner, and I was hoping if I could join in.” Liam said. I looked over the cash register and saw Alice glaring at Liam.
“Sorry, it’s ladies night.” Alice snapped. She squeezed in between me and Liam, moving me away from his grasp.
“You ladies enjoy your night then.” Liam raised his hands in defeat. Alice looked like she wanted to prolong the argument. So I chuckled and left those two lovebirds argue.
It was a typical day at the bakery. Our local customers have always been the first ones in for the freshly-baked pastries. The lovely lady, managing the flower shop down the block, went by to get some fresh bread. She was my favorite. Sometimes new people come by for coffee. Sometime during the afternoon, one of the new customers caught my attention. Someone passed by the shop and paused before coming in. The door chimes clanged and I delivered my line.
“Welcome to Aunt Jacky’s Bakery, sir. What’ll we have today?” I said while showing him my warmest, customer-friendly smile. He looked at the display of pastries, while I gave him a once over. Dark, ruffled hair, not much accessories on but he did have a bunch of bracelets on his left wrist and a necklace tucked in his shirt. A sudden knot in my gut made me feel weirdly nostalgic. I cleared my head of the silly thought. I’m being paranoid again.
“Got any bestsellers you can suggest for a non-local?” he asked. I suggested him a few items and as I did, he sort of gave me a once over as well. I tried my best not to stutter or blush. When I turned to look back at him, he smiled softly and went with my final suggestion.
“I’ll have a box of those cinnamon rolls and a brewed coffee to go.” he said. I punched in the order while Liam assembled it. He manages his payment and I return his change.
“Thank you for coming and have a nice day!” I beamed at him. He smiled, eyes crinkling in the most adorable way possible. I can’t help but swoon internally. I barely remember how long it had been since I got attracted to a good-looking guy.
“You too.” he winked, turned away and left. I gaped at the door.
“You can stop staring now. He’s gone.” he snapped me out my reverie. Yes, it had been a while.
We got some Chinese takeout after for dinner. Alice also joined me for a quick supply run to Fred Meyer’s. Thank goodness I had her around. I was already falling into a hole of loneliness again. Even if I did have a sister in the house, she leaves for work and only stays on weekends.
“What’s been bothering your thoughts today?” She asked. So I shared my weird ‘dream’ to her. Alice already knew about Jake. She got mad at me way back because I never referred to her as my best friend, when she would always refer to me as hers. Then I explained my situation about Jake. She understood and started calling me her only best girl.
“It’s probably déjà vu.” She suggested. It sounds about right. Still find it weird how I vividly dreamt about Jake. It had been a while since he came across my mind. The last time I remember talking about him was when Alice flirted with a guy named Jake, who kind of looked like my Jake, but acted like a total jerk. After a wonderful dinner filled with stories, we cleared up the table. Alice helped me clean up while we discuss something else. I was already intrigued by Alice’s stories about Liam, and his behavior towards him, when the doorbell rang.
“I swear if Liam shows at your doorstep. I’d be more than happy to kick his ass.” She said, furiously wiping her wet hand with a kitchen towel. I waited for a few minutes and went after hearing a familiar male voice.
“Liam got you some flowers didn’t he?” I trailed off and locked eyes with the guy at the door. It was the same guy from the bakery.
“Hey, you’re the pastry lady.” He smiled. “I didn’t mean to bother you ladies, but I was hoping to ask if you knew someone by the name Veronica Webber?” he asked. No way that it’s him. I looked at his chest for confirmation and saw the necklace now dangling above his black shirt. It was the same one as mine, but it had my nickname on it. Then realization hit me.