Finally figured out how to post videos on here... so I'm posting the song (and some of the lyrics) to one of the songs I thought fit so well with this chapter. I had popped in the CD the other day and was singing along to it when I thought about the lyrics a little more and realized this explained Lana's feelings since she's kind of finding herself at a cross-roads in this chapter. I know, I am probably sounding silly, but I gotta say, if I don't get into these characters, the story doesn't come out half as good. So deal with my insanity and listen to the song. Besides, it's Mutemath and they have made it mainstream so now everyone can know how awesome they are!!
Clipping - Mutemath
Common sense failed again
Meddling in a foreign scene
Time won't spare another sun
Daring me with another choice another choice
Anymore, I don't know what I want anymore
I just don't know anymore
By Friday I was in need of an éclair and had the words I wanted to say to Lana. I felt really bad about the whole situation when Mikee informed me that Lana was now running the shop by herself and within a few short days, she was already looking dead tired. I couldn’t help but think some of this was my fault. I also felt the need to apologize for the Alzner comment. When I talked to him the next day, he said that he just took her home and didn’t even ask her out on a date because she didn’t seem overly interested in anything more.
Then there was also the dilemma that I kept finding myself in. I was constantly day-dreaming about her. Of course I didn’t tell anyone about this because I wasn’t even sure why I was thinking about her. By the end of the week I knew the only way I could put all the thoughts out of my head was to go and apologize to her. If I didn’t have anymore sorry feelings, I wouldn’t think of her anymore, right? Let’s hope so.
Of course Murphy’s Law was never kind to me, but then again, who is it friendly to? I was by myself at the shop and quickly I was reminded why I had an assistant. The week had been a total ship wreck and I was sinking quickly. With 3 holiday parties to cater for, including one for Eric Fehr’s wife, and a wedding cake for Saturday, it took everything to keep my head above water. I tried keeping a smile on my face for all my customers, but even for a happy southern girl, it didn’t come easily. I was running back and forth to wait on what seemed to be an abnormal amount of customers and the kitchen. Friday I was interrupted for what seemed to be the millionth time and my mood had quickly come to a head.
“What do we need to do to get some service around here?!” I heard a male voice yell loudly while I was pulling a cake from the oven. In a flash I was on the floor, on my butt, and my hard-work was now all over me and all over the bakery shop kitchen. I must have screamed. A few moments later, the same male voice, that I now realized had a Russian accent, was speaking my name, right beside me. “Shit, Lana, you okay?!”
I looked over and found Alex’s bright blue eyes filled with worry, but my view was skewed from the tears that were brimming up in my eyes.
“Are you hurt?” he asked.
I couldn’t say anything, I was too upset. I just looked down at my forearms, which had some bright red marks on them from the tray burning them before hitting the floor. I then noticed that the cake was also down the front of me. When I finally did find my voice, Alex already had his arms around me and pulling me up off the floor to get me over to the sink. He quickly turned on the cold faucet and pushed my arms underneath. I silently watched the water wash over my burns and hiccupped.
“Did Dawn quit?” he asked calmly.
“Of course Dawn quit. Her high school sweetheart dumped her unexpectedly and then some Russian hockey player sweet talked her into his bed before dropping her off at my house the next morning. Usually Friday’s are quiet, but with the on-going theme this week of an influx of customers and a crazy amount of orders…well, I must have slipped on something when I was hurriedly pulling out the cake so that I could come out and wait on the person yelling loudly in my shop.”
“I’m sorry, Lana. I was just playing around.”
I just shrugged. What was I going to say? “I’m sure your definition of playing around is a lot different than mine at the moment?!” “Damn you for coming in to my store?!” “Damn you for having the most beautiful blue eyes and an accent that seems to take my breath?” Oh and don’t forget the fact that he smelled absolutely amazing. Yeah, no, none of that was going to fly. In an attempt to clear my head from all the sudden craziness, I looked over at the cake lying on the floor and groaned. There obviously was a bigger dilemma at hand.
Alex pulled me from my thoughts when he began speaking again. “Look, how about I help? I watch the shop while you work back here…”
I took a step away from him to get some fresh air and laughed sarcastically. “Yeah, okay. How is that going to work?! You don’t even know how to run the register…”
“I can give change and write stuff down so you put in later,” he said seriously. He was obviously being sincere about this.
I put my hand on my hip and looked at him, biting my lip. Part of me wanted to yell at him and tell him to get out of my shop, but when I glanced back over at the cake, I knew I had no choice. “Fine. I close in an hour, so please don’t get yourself in too much trouble? If ya need anything, get me, pleeeeaaasssseeee.”
He nodded and gave me that goofy smile that somehow made him endearing but I’m not quite sure why. Maybe it was how his eyes lit up. Of course it probably didn’t hurt that he was looking really good in a pair custom jeans, tight black shirt with a tattoo pattern sewn into with silver and blue threads. Don’t forget the brand new Nike kicks and black baseball hat with his name written on the side of it, pressed down over his shaggy hair.
I felt his eyes boring into me as we walked back into the shop so that I could give him a quick run-through. The look on his face made me think he might have bit off a bigger piece than he could chew, but at the end of my fast spoken speech he grinned, grabbed me by the shoulders and turned me towards the kitchen and patted me on the butt. “Go back to your kitchen and bake, pretty Lana,” he said. To most women, they might have taken the comment as sexist, but I had no problem being in the kitchen. It was truly my happy place. But him touching me on the butt was slightly forward, right?
The first few customers that came in, I found myself spying on him through the little window in the kitchen door. After seeing how he handled the customers, even posing for some pictures and signing a few autographs, a sense of calmness came and allowed me to get back to baking. Too quickly the hour went by and Alex was back in the kitchen.
Overwhelmed and totally out of my realm. That was the perfect description of how I felt while waiting on customers at the bakery. I was a hockey player, not a coffee server, but after causing the kitchen accident, I had no choice but to step up to the plate and help her out. What was supposed to be a simple apology, turned into me getting frustrated in counting change and just telling people their orders were on me.
Happy customers bring more business, right?
“I owe you $150,” I announced as soon as I stepped back into the kitchen, seeming to startle Lana once again. Thankfully she didn’t have anything in her hand this time except for a spoon.
She turned slowly around and looked at me with a questioning look. “Why?”
“I didn’t make the customers pay.”
“What?!” she squeaked with horror taking over. “I thought you said you knew how to make change?!”
I walked over and placed a finger over her pouty lips to shush her. “No worries. I make sure you have money and then some. That is why I owe you $150. It is all good.”
She looked up at me, squinted at me and shook her head.
“You seem very stressed,” I commented, taking my finger away from her lips and a step back because I was afraid she might actually start swinging.”
“Very stressed is an understatement!” she freaked, turning back to the bowl of icing she was mixing. “It’s 4pm on a Friday and I have to stay here until that cake is done when all I wanted to do was leave on time since I have to be back in here at 5am tomorrow to finish and deliver a wedding cake tomorrow by 9am.”
“You hungry?” I asked, getting her to stop the gears in her head and to look back at me.
“Are-You-Hungry?” I asked slowly, enunciating every word of the sentence.
She shook her head and giggled. “Something about a Russian enunciating the English language sounds very awkward.”
I laughed and shrugged my shoulders. “It got you to stop stressing for a minute.”
She turned her back to the bowl of icing and then looked back at me again, this time with softer eyes. “I’m sorry, I’m not usually this spastic,” she frowned. “It’s just been a terrible week.”
“Well, I wait here with you while you finish and then we go get something to eat. Besides, I am probably somewhat to blame in this.” I said matter of fact.
She bit her lip and fidgeted a bit. “People make their own decisions,” she said quietly, pausing a bit before saying, “I will be fine…I will just grab something to eat at home…”
“I helped you, so now you have to say yes.”
A cute frown graced her face and soon she was rolling her eyes and letting out a quiet laugh. “You are manipulative.”
“I’m Russian,” I grinned.
He was too good. No wonder he had a new woman in his bed each night. Something with the way he looked at me left me at a disadvantage with this man and I was scared to death because of it. So much for hating him.
At my insistence, we walked down a block to a corner pub. I refused to get in his car or to go anywhere fancy because I for one did not feel comfortable being in a position where he was in complete control and the latter reason was the fact I still in my batter splattered clothing.
I pulled my coat tightly around me to keep off the fall chill and walked with my head down after we passed the first couple people who did double-takes when they noticed Alex.
“Doesn’t it bother you that people always make a big fuss when they recognize ya?” I asked quietly, after being seated in a dark corner of the pub at the request of Alex. I thought the swooning hostess was going to faint when Alex flashed his missing-tooth smile and a wink. I could only roll my eyes and hold back a loud, “Good Grief.”
He shrugged and shook his head. “It’s all apart of the business…ya know?”
“No, I wouldn’t know,” I answered. “I don’t understand it at all. You guys make all that money to do something you love and yet you’re human just like me and the rest of the people…”
He cocked his head and looked at me intently. “I work hard for what I get,” he said steadily. It was obvious I was probably one of the first people to say something like this to him.
I smiled and shook my head while picking up the menu to figure out what I wanted. My stomach was churning and I was hoping it was for the simple fact that I was starving. “I work hard too,” I noted.
“And it shows. You have a lucrative business.”
“I’m not rich.”
“Ah, but are you happy?” he asked, pulling my menu backwards to grab the attention of my eyes.
I looked at him and stared at his blue eyes when I spoke. “I have a roof over my head, good friends, and enough money to go and do most of the things I want to do. So yeah, I guess I am happy…”
“You guess?” he smiled curiously.
“Yeah. I guess,” I smiled back. “I mean I have days that I wish I was lying on the beach on an island in
, not having to worry about a
damn thing, but that’s not real life.” Fiji
He chuckled at this and shook his head in agreement. “No, that’s not real life, but it would be nice.”
“Yeah, it would be,” I grinned, going back to looking at the menu. A moment of silence fell between us while we made our food choices. Our waiter arrived, asked for Alex’s autograph and then took our orders. As soon as there wasn’t anything to hide my face behind, I began playing with the paper from my straw.
Alex reached out and placed his hand over mine, willing me to stop what I was doing. “You are nervous around me,” he spoke in a way that I wasn’t sure if he was asking a question or stating a fact.
I looked up and shrugged.
“Why? Is it because of me being famous?”
I snorted at this and shook my head. “You are not famous in my book,” I stated plainly. “Remember, I’m not a sports fanatic.”
“Then what is it?” he asked, this time leaning across the table, almost placing himself across that invisible personal space line that was somewhere in the middle of the table.
I slid my hand out from underneath his and shook my head. “Are you happy? I mean, are you happy with having so much money you could circle it across the US?” I asked, not caring if I sounded too forward. He had already crossed the line with the way he touched me on the dance floor and with asking the same question a few moments earlier.
He folded his hands and pressed his thumbs to his lips as if he was trying to hide a smile.
“Are you laughing at me for asking you the same question you just asked me?” I scoffed.
“I laugh because you totally just turned everything back to me. How do you do that?”
I shrugged my shoulders and took a sip of my soda. “Both of my parents were in the military, you have to be the master at turning the tables when you are getting punished for something you might or might not have done,” I smiled.
“You have siblings?”
“An older brother who would always get me in trouble for shit he usually did. He was my best friend but also my worst enemy when we were growing up,” I revealed with a laugh.
“I’m fairly certain you are the most honest and sincere person I have ever met, Lana.”
“We southerners have never been good at following the rules of society.”
Alex busted up laughing at this comment, causing me to laugh along with him. And that quickly, I found myself having a good time with Alex Ovechkin.