I flipped the closed sign to open before tightening the apron that was wrapped around my waist. The black apron matched well with the black skinny jeans and the baby pink top with the label, ‘Angels Delights’ written on the left side and my name badge on the other.
I love the simplicity of the uniforms, I didn’t want them to be uncomfortable or too restricting. I wanted my bakery to be a safe space for customers and employees.
I took over my parents bakery about 3 years ago. This bakery means the world to them and all I’ve ever wanted was to make them proud and knowing I’m doing that every day warms my heart. I wish I knew when I was younger that time was valuable and that you shouldn’t take anything for granted. Especially your loved ones.
Any breath could be someone’s last.
“Good morning” I hear Alexa’s chirpy voice as she walks in through the door. I had just finished wiping down the counter.
“Good morning, have a good night?” I ask her knowing it was her boyfriends 27th birthday. Alexa was a gorgeous 28 year old half filipino woman, I had hired her when I took over as I needed extra hands. Before it was just my father, mother and myself when I had the free time.
She’s an amazing baker and always comes up with new ideas and recipes.
“Yeah, not too bad. How about you?”
“It was boring, I read and got an early night” I respond and she laughs before going out back to put her stuff in her locker.
Out the back we have a kitchen, my office and a section for employees with a bathroom and lockers. Employees being Alexa, Stephen and myself.
I heard the bell chime and in walked our first customer of the day. I put on a smile,
“Hello, welcome to Angels delights. What can I get for you today?”
It was 4:50, Alexa left 30 minutes ago and I was putting away all the left over bakery items that I deliver to different homeless shelters near by, at least then they don’t go to waste. I complete everything I need to do for closing time, including wiping down benches.
I send a text to my mother saying I was going home to have a shower first then I’d be over at their house for dinner. I try to visit them as often as possible.
Just as I was about to go over and flip the sign again I hear the bell chime and I sigh, technically we don’t close until 5 but it’s 4:55.
I walk back out to the counter and start to speak but my jaw closed immediately as my eyes took in the man in front of me. He held his head up high and walked in with dominance to match his tall, muscular build, tattoos covered any exposed skin that his dark grey suit, that was tailored to perfection, didn’t cover. He walked over and his eyes captivated me, they were a grey, almost like a cloudy day but I couldn’t read his emotions behind the colour. Yet they were beautiful.
A dangerous kind of beautiful.
“Hello, I’m well aware you’re about to close but to be honest I’ve been so busy today I just needed something to eat” he spoke, accent thick with his voice husky and low but theres also a rich tone to it. That when I became aware to his exhausted state.
“Well, I can’t let you leave hungry. Any allergies?” I ask, just in case. I’ve made that mistake before. He nods,
Who would’ve thought, a man as scary as him has a raspberry allergy.
“Okay, I’ll be back out in a minute” I smile at him before going out to the kitchen and opening a container that had savoury scones in it, I butter it then I grab a sugar cookie as well and put them in separate bags. While I was at it I grabbed him a bottle of water from the fridge and made my way back to the counter.
He was stood there looking around my shop. It’s a vintage style with, pinks, greys and blacks. Lots of people compliment it and say it has a warm feel to it all.
As his backs to me, I notice his hair in a messy manner It’s a pity it’s almost the same colour as.....
There was blood everywhere.
“Here you go, I hope this satisfies you” I speak up and he turns around quickly with a small smile, eyeing what I placed on the counter top.
“I believe it will satisfy me, what do I owe you?” He asks dragging out the ‘satisfy’ while getting out an expensive looking wallet from his pocket.
Not like I would know...the only ‘expensive’ or ‘designer’ things I have, my parents gifted me.
“Don’t worry about it, It’s on me” I tell him and he raises his brow. It’s late and they would’ve gone to shelters anyway...I have plenty left.
“Won’t your manager mind?” He asks and I smile at him.
“No, I don’t think she will”
He looks confused before putting his wallet back in his pant suit pocket,
“Well then, one day I shall come back and thank the owner and the maravillosa woman who served me” he said, ah, Spanish.
“We’ll be expecting you” I reply before pushing his things closer to him and walking away only to hear the bell chime again indicating he had left. I lean against the wall and smile like an idiot.
Why did I get butterflies?
How ridiculous, we’re strangers and I’m not ready for another relationship.
But when will I ever be ready?
“I’m here” I yell as I enter my parents house, taking off my shoes. When I left work I dropped off the left overs and then went to my apartment and showered, just putting on a simple black dress before making my way to my parents small home. It was a two bedroom house I had grown up in and it wasn’t too far from my bakery or my apartment building.
“In the kitchen” my mother yelled back and I made my way from the entry, passing the small lounge and hallway to see my mother in the kitchen and my dad sitting in his wheelchair at the dinner table already.
“Hey, do you need any help?” I ask my mother, glancing over at the most modern part of the house. The kitchen.
The best room in the house, not only in looks but every time I’m baking it brings joy and I know my father misses it. Now that he’s wheelchair-bound all he can do is watch my mother. He used to be able to walk but he got too weak as his kidney cancer got worse and spread.
I can tell my fathers suffering, we all are but I know he’s staying strong for us especially for mum. I know that deep down he wants the suffering and pain to end, I just wish we caught the cancer earlier. Maybe then he could’ve been okay but now it’s a waiting game.
I try to hold back tears at the thought of losing my father as my mother responds,
“No Angel, I’m just dishing it up. Go and sit by your father”
I walk over to my father, hugging him before I sit at their 4 chair, round wooden table that they’ve had forever.
“How was work?” My father asks me, making conversation to distract him and hearing me talk about the bakery they opened together brings him joy and I can see that in his eyes every time I mention it.
“Good, all’s running smoothly” I respond and he nods with a small smile that doesn’t reach his eyes.
“Dinner is served” my mother says placing a plate in front of each of us. It was roast beef with vegetables. I smile at my mother,
She goes to get her plate and sits down, before we all start to dig in.
“So Lia, have you started looking to get back into the dating scene?” My mother questions half way through dinner. I hate when they ask this because all I want is a relationship like they have
I shrug, “I don’t know, I don’t want to rush into it again”
“That’s understandable...just know not every man is like him Lia and—
She takes a deep breath and looks at my dad quickly before continuing,
“I think your father would like to see you happy before, time runs out”
My heart sank, I can’t believe she has to think about my father leaving so soon.
“I’m already happy. If I find someone I’ll let you know” I tell them both. My mother nods as well as my father.
I stare at him; his once toffee blonde hair has been balding and some parts grey, he was much skinnier and looked a lot older than 62. It’s almost hard to believe how handsome he used to be. I smile as my mother talks to him, one day I strive for a love like they have.
They met in a bakery, the bakery they bought together. My mothers originally from Brazil but she moved to New Jersey. They fell in love and their spot was that same bakery, when one day they saw it was for sale and they bought it and called it Angels Delights. It was almost like a movie.
Then years later they had me and to this day they call me their Angel.