Chp. 6: Mr. Persistent
“And done!!!” I shout with euphoria, as I add the last bit of icing on the cake. Everyone turns and looks at me, annoyed. I laugh, awkwardly, and cower away at their stray glances, “Sorry...”
I’m currently in cooking class for adults, learning to ice a cake the ‘proper’ way, and it seems like I’m the first one finished.
I glance around me and notice a girl around my age, glaring at me. I smile awkwardly at her, pushing up my glasses.
I haven’t been to class in 2 weeks, so I figured I should come. Plus, Dad insisted that I go because it’s a dream of mine to become a baker.
Let’s not forget to mention that whole thing with Travis earlier. I need something to get my mind off things. Speaking of which, I haven’t seen him anymore since then.
Knowing him, he probably just skipped...
I wipe my forehead with the back of my hand, as I take a step back, staring at the three-layered Chocolate Truffle cake. I nod slowly, feeling proud.
Probably my greatest work yet...
I set down the knife I used to ice the cake on a napkin. Glancing around the room, I, sneakily, stick my finger in the icing on the knife and lick it. I swoon, tasting that chocolatey goodness.
“Tiffany!” I jump and quickly stick my hands into my white apron pockets. I look up, “I wasn’t eating the icing!” We make eye contact, and I smile, feeling relieved, “Ms. Adams, you scared me.”
Ms. Adams is my cooking class teacher and also was my mom’s best friend. They grew up together, and there was never a moment in my life that she wasn’t there. She’s like my second Mom.
Ms. Adams laughs softly, slicking her deep brown hair behind her ear, “I’m sorry sweetie, it’s just your cake looks fantastic! Plus, I haven’t seen you in class in over a week. How’ve you been?”
“I’ve been good! Just, busy with school and whatnot.”
Truth: I was being lazy, so I decided not to go.
“Oh, well glad to see you back! How’s your dad by the way?” Ms. Adams asks, smiling softly. “He’s doing great. He still asks for me to make dinner every night, so.”
“That sounds like Jonah,” Ms. Adams says, giggling, “Are you going to need a ride home?”
I shake my head, “No. Daniel said after practice, meet him near the mall. He’ll be there to pick me up.”
I originally walked here, which is a 10-minute walk from the school to the adult cooking class. The Mall and the Adult cooking class are about a 15-minute walk from each other.
I walk everywhere I go, sometimes, just to get a look at the city. Especially on the days the boys have football practice.
“OH MS. ADAMS!!” Victoria shouts from across the room. I glare at her, as Ms. Adams replies, sweetly, “Yes, Victoria?”
“Can you please come to look at my creation? I think it’s missing something.”
Victoria Frank, AKA another bitch in my life who hates me for no damn reason. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a better baker than her, or what but she has it out for me.
All she ever does is point out every little thing wrong with my work. She and I are on par with being the best bakers in this class, and I don’t particularly like sharing titles with someone like her.
“Of course, sweetheart. I’ll be right back, Tiffany,” Ms. Adams states, as she shuffles over to Victoria, who is glaring at me as well. She looks over at my cake and scoffs.
‘Yours is too simple’, She mouths, rolling her brown eyes.
‘Oh yeah? At least mine has three layers,’ I reply, raising three of my fingers to show just how many.
She draws her head back, ‘Well...my layers are the colors of the rainbow.’
‘So, you’re saying that there are only two colors in a rainbow?’ I reply, crossing my arms, confidently, as her face goes into thinking mode.
Truth be told, I didn’t want to join this class at first.
When I was younger, I used to cook with my mom often. We’d cook like there’s no tomorrow, and I remember telling her just how much I love doing it.
So long as I was doing it with her...
“BAKING IS SO AWESOME!” I had told Mom, as we sat in the kitchen waiting for the cake to finish baking.
“I’m happy you like being my little assistant,” Mom said, giggling, “Maybe you can make baking/cooking a career.”
“A Career is a job, and a job is something you do for money. That’s how we’re able to buy all of the cake mixes, and cookies, and other food items,” She explained, smiling a beautiful smile.
I stared into her hazel eyes, thoughtfully, “So I can make baking a job that I like?”
She nodded, her long, black braids falling over her shoulder, “Of course you can.”
“Then, why didn’t you make this your job? Don’t you like doing it?”
She paused, thinking, “Well...”
Picking me up, she sat me on her lap, and smiled, kind of sadly, “Sometimes things don’t work out the way you want them to, and you have to settle with what you’ve got, so you can work until you get your chance.”
I smiled, widely, as she continued to explain, “And though, it may take a long time before you see change, you’ll get that chance. Just keep working for it, and before you even know it, your chance will be there, ready, just for you.”
“Rweally?” I asked, excitedly.
“Of course, Anni. You just gotta have faith,” She said, giggling, as she ran her hand through my curly hair, “You have to believe, and soon you’ll succeed.”
“Hey! You just rhymed!” I laughed.
“I did, didn’t I?” She said, thoughtfully.
Suddenly, the kitchen timer buzzed loudly, and I clapped with excitement, “THE CAKE IS READY!!!”
Always smiling, always laughing, always doing something for others...
I aspire to be just like her. She taught me everything I needed to know, and I didn’t think I’d be joining this cooking class because of her.
When she passed unexpectedly, I made a promise to not just myself, but to her. I decided I was going to open up my very own bakery for her. She was a phenomenal baker, and much of her skills were that of a professional.
And I know how much she wished she had opened her bakery. She talked about it sometimes, and how much she would’ve loved doing that. Buts she never got to do it because she never had the money to, so she let it go.
I want to make that dream a reality for the both of us.
“Very nice, Victoria, but if it’s a rainbow cake, you need to have all of the colors incorporated in your cake,” Ms. Adam says, writing in her notebook. Walking up to the front of the classroom, Ms. Adams leaves Victoria speechless.
I giggle, “Who’s cake is simple now?”
“Yes, Ms. Adams, I’m sure,” I reply, smiling, as I grab my backpack.
“I know, it’s just it is a bit dark outside. I don’t want anything happening to you while you’re on your way,” She explains, as she grabs her purse and keys.
She then ties her long dark hair up into a bun. I smile at her concern, “I promise Ms. Adams, nothing is going to happen. I’ll give you a call when I get there.”
I walk over, and give her a tight hug, “I’ll be safe.”
“Okay. Love you,” She says, as we untangle ourselves from each other.
I say my final goodbye and walk out the class, and onto the sidewalk. I grip my backpack straps as I travel down the well-lit street.
My mind of course wandering.
Cars zoom past me, as I make a turn to the left on the corner. I quickly shuffle further down the route and make another left turn before I cross the road, and finally arrive at my destination.
The City Mall.
I walk into the large building and greeted with lights and people.
I take a deep breath, feeling a bit overwhelmed if I were being completely honest.
Being around a lot of people tires me out...
I look to my right and notice the smoothie shop is still open.
I’ve never been so excited for something in my entire life...
I bounce up and down excitedly, “Hell Yeah! Mama’s going to get herself something to drink!”
“You over here talking to yourself?”
I yelp in shock and whip my head around to find Travis standing behind me. I sigh with relief, as he cracks up.
What does he want???
I figured after our little encounter; we wouldn’t speak to each other anymore.
Clearly, I was wrong.
I stare at him, breathing heavily, “What the hell!! You can’t just stand there like a creep!!”
“Uh, yes, I can. And I just did.” He states, in a mocking tone, grinning. I frown, and roll my eyes, “Can I help you with something?”
“No, not really...”
He shrugs, “Yeah, I mean...I saw you in the crowd, and I kind of wanted to come over and talk to you about it earlier. I don’t need anything.”
“But we cleared things up, didn’t we? You aren’t mad at me for spilling my drink, so now we can go back to not knowing each other.” I state, confused, and he raises a brow.
He shakes his head, slightly, his black fluffy hair falling into his face. A confused look slowly comes to his face as he mumbles, thoughtfully, ” ‘Go back to not knowing each other’? Ouch. You sure are hurting my feelings. And, yeah, no, I can’t do that.”
“No.” He replies, smirking a bit, stuffing his hand in his black, jacket pockets, “You’re not particularly easy to forget, Little One.”
Here he goes with this Little One name again...
“It’s Tiffany as stated from earlier,” I reply, rolling my eyes.
“Right, Tiffany. Got it.” He replies, leaning in a little closer. His eyes stay on mine, and I start feeling nervous. Voice low, Travis states, “I’ll be sure to remember that, Tiffany.”
I blush, swallowing hard. His eyes search mine, and I quickly step back. I then ask, shyly looking away, “And...why is that you can’t forget me?”
He pauses, thinking, biting the inside of his cheek. He stands upright, I watch, feeling increasingly worried by the second.
“Well,” He suddenly chuckles, his eyes softening, “after our little encounter at the party, and in the classroom, I haven’t really forgotten about you.”
Slowly my glasses begin sliding down my nose, as he continues, “In other words, you’ve left a lasting impression on me, Tiffany Green.”
He’s being serious...
I stare at him as he casually looks around the mall area, continuing, “So, no. I can’t go back to not knowing you. I just can’t, so that’s not happening.”
This can’t be happening!!
He tilts his head slightly to the right, looking back at me. His face then softens with concern as he asks, raising a brow, “What’s with the panic on your face?”
“But what about Daniel?” I ask, frantically, pushing up my glasses. “What about him?” He asks, brows furrowing.
“You and Daniel really don’t like each other! And if he saw you with me, that’s going to end terribly!” I reply, anxiously, biting my lip.
“What? You embarrassed to be seen with me?” He asks, grinning, narrowing his eyes.
Suddenly, I yelp, feeling bad, “NO! I-”
“I’m kidding, Tiny,” He interrupts, holding back his laughs, “You take things too seriously.”
He looks back over toward the Smoothie Shop, “I know what you meant, and I honestly couldn’t give less of a shit about your brother’s opinion. And you shouldn’t either.”
True, but Fuck...
I open my mouth to protest, but he cuts in, “You were about to head to the Smoothie Shop, weren’t you?”
He looks at me from the corner of my eye, and I blush at his bright, green hues as they seem more intense than before.
Is it bad that I think he looks...
I nod, awkwardly, and he immediately grabs my hand. I yelp in surprise as he drags me, I stumbling close behind, “WHAT THE-”
“Keep up, Tiny,” He teases, as we walk past people. He grips my hand in his, my palms beginning to sweat.
After a few minutes of shuffling and protesting, we arrive at the Smoothie Shop. Immediately, we’re greeted with Daniel ordering himself a drink.
“Would you look that,” Travis says, letting go of my hand, “Dan, the Football Man, is here!”
With that, Daniel whips his head around, and growls, “Who the fuck just said that???”
Immediately, he looks to the door, and we make eye contact. He smiles as he looks from me to Travis. His smile soon disappears, as he grabs his drink, and stares daggers into Travis’s face. My stomach drops, as he looks from him to me, over and over again.
What I’ve feared has become a reality...
He stomps towards us and grabs my hand. He pulls me away from Travis, behind him, asking, angrily, “Tiffany, why did you come in with this guy?”
“I-” “It was by coincidence, Dan.” Travis interrupts, shrugging nonchalantly.
“Don’t call me Dan, you ass,” Daniel spits.
“Oh, and why not, Dan?” Travis asks, smugly. Daniel frowns, as he looks back and down at me, “Did this asshole say anything to you?”
“No, he didn’t, Daniel.” I reply, nervously, “We just came in together by coincidence as he said.”
“He wasn’t talking shit about me, was he?”
“Wait,” Travis laughs, brows raising. He begins belly laughing and Daniel whips his head back around to face him, “What’s so damn funny?”
After a little time passes of Travis laughing uncontrollably, he finally says, wiping away tears, “I think it’s funny, no, hilarious, that you think I’d waste my time talking shit about you.”
Daniel’s jaw tightens, and Travis smirks devilishly at him.
Daniel opens his mouth to speak, but Travis cuts in, “As a matter of fact, I don’t even need to ‘talk shit’ about you because you already embarrass yourself enough on that football field.”
Oh fuck, he did not just comment on Daniel’s Football skills...
Daniel’s face reddens, and his fist tightens, “The fuck you just say??? ”
Travis states more firmly, eyes cold, but a smile still etched across his face, “In simpler terms...I don’t want to make your school any sadder than it already is, Dan, and that is why I don’t do this ‘shit talking’ you speak of. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have better ‘shit’ to talk about.”
I squeeze my lips together feeling the tension build as Daniel just stares at him, angrily. Travis laughs again, but more coldly.
He turns to walk away, but suddenly says, “Oh! How rude of me, I almost forgot.” He looks over his shoulder at him, and grins, “I hope you, Dan, have a damn good night.”
He glances over at me, mouthing, ‘Check your pocket when you get home.’
He shoots me a wink, as he turns around, and walks out of the shop. My cheeks flush, profusely, as my mind wanders back to what he said before he left.
Check my pocket?
“Son of a bitch!” Daniel growls as I stand in complete shock, “That fucking...UGH!! I hate him!”
He turns around to face me, “He’s just jealous of my skills! As he should be!!”
He hands me his smoothie and grips my hand in his tightly, “Here, I bought this for you. Mango Pineapple, just how you like it.”
We begin to walk out of the shop as Daniel continues to rant, “Who does that guy think he is? Thinking he can talk to me however he wishes! I’m not the one to fuck with, and I hope he understands that! Fucking asshole! He thinks he’s better than me, well think again, bitch!”
I glance down at my sweater pocket, curiously.
What did he put in my pocket?