Sweet Expectations

Free Sweet Expectations by Mary Ellen Taylor

Book: Sweet Expectations by Mary Ellen Taylor Read Free Book Online
Authors: Mary Ellen Taylor
soda and I took a long sip. My stomach lurched but didn’t buck. I’d arrived at the sweet spot in the evening when I wasn’t exhausted or sick. Most nights I turned in by nine but tonight, with no store to open tomorrow, I could actually enjoy an adult bedtime.
    â€œDid you two go over the recipe box?” Margaret asked.
    â€œHonestly, demolishing the wall didn’t give us any time.”
    â€œI wish I had a little time to go through it,” Margaret said. “Like a mini–time capsule.”
    I glanced around the bar, hoping to spot the waitress who could bring me bread to soothe my stomach. As I did, I spotted Simon Davenport by the bar. Dressed in jeans, a V-neck sweater, and expensive loafers, he appeared to be alone.
    â€œRachel,” I said. “Don’t look now but Simon is at the bar.”
    â€œSimon Davenport. Remember, he’s the dude who hates sweets but who has placed five big orders in the last couple of months. The dude who must have a little crush on you.”
    Rachel moistened her lips. Beer had left her cheeks flushed. “Do you really think he likes me?”
    Margaret glanced in his direction, studying him as if he were an artifact found at a dig. “Totally.”
    Alone we were articulate woman in our thirties. Together we reverted to middle school and might as well have been standing by the hall lockers with our arms full of textbooks as we ogled the football quarterback.
    â€œYou should go over and talk to him,” Margaret said.
    â€œYeah,” I prodded. “I mean you do want another beer, and it would be so much easier to get it from the bar.”
    Rachel nodded. “I could get a beer from the bar.”
    Margaret handed her a ten-dollar bill. “Go get a beer and say hi to the nice man.”
    Rachel ran her fingers through her blond hair. “Do you really think he likes me?”
    A frown furrowed her brow. “How can you tell?”
    â€œRachel, go,” I said. “Worst-case scenario you get a beer, say hi, and come back here.”
    She nibbled her lip. “That’s not such a bad scenario.”
    â€œNo, it is not.”
    Rachel rose, swayed a little, and walked stiffly toward the bar.
    â€œShe’s not had a date since high school,” Margaret said.
    â€œI know. But she might as well practice, or she’ll spend the rest of her life in the bakery.”
    Rachel stood at the bar, her ten-dollar bill clutched in her hand. Simon leaned a fraction closer as he spoke to her. To Rachel’s credit she looked up at him with what looked like genuine surprise.
    â€œOur little girl is a player,” I said.
    â€œI’m so proud.” Margaret leaned forward, staring with open interest as Simon, head slightly tilted, spoke to Rachel. She tucked her hair behind her ear, rested her hand on her hip, and then slid it in her pocket as if she didn’t know what to do with it. She was a fluttering butterfly whereas he stood tall and strong like a hundred-year-old oak. Rachel needed a guy who could be fun and make her laugh. Simon’s fun-meter didn’t look like it registered high. But he was nice, and this wasn’t a marriage or a date. It was a little practice flirtation.
    Rachel took her beer from the bartender and gave him the ten. He put five back on the bar as change but she didn’t seem to notice.
    â€œShe’s not brothering to pick up the change.” Margaret slid to the edge of the seat as if to rise. “I should get five bucks back.”
    â€œDon’t you dare.”
    â€œFive bucks is a lot of money.” But Margaret halted, clutching the edge of the booth as if ready to sprint to get her five.
    Rachel tucked her hair behind her ear and laughed. He leaned a little closer to her. It looked good. Real good.
    And then a tall brunette approached Simon and slid her arm in his. He didn’t pull away. Didn’t blink. The

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