Zimbits coffee shop au please!
Jack pulled his hoodie down lower over his forehead and glanced around nervously. He hoped no one recognized him. He better not recognize anyone here either, he silently added.
A new bakery-slash-coffee-shop had opened in the neighbourhood, just a block from Jack’s own bakery shop, and while he wasn’t concerned about losing any loyal customers, the competitive side of him got curious.
So, wearing what was probably the worst attempt ever at obscuring his identity, Jack had gone to the new coffee shop to see what they had to offer. He busy was glaring at the attractive display of lemon bars and danishes when his attention was suddenly caught by the small, blond guy at the front counter.
He wasn’t sure how long he was openly staring, but the
gorgeous specimen of a human being
had to ask him twice if he was okay. Jack flushed; he could feel his face turning pink.
“Sorry,” Jack apologized. “I was trying to decide. Um, so many choices.”
The guy gave a small smile and beckoned for Jack to come closer. Jack was like a moth to a flame. “I recommend the maple praline squares,” he said with a charming, southern drawl.
“And,” the guy whispered conspiratorially, as if he was sharing an important secret with Jack, “I’ll even let you have a sample, on the house today.”
Jack swallowed. “You really don’t have to,” he started.
“My treat,” he said, already wrapping up the largest piece of the dessert in wax paper and sliding it across the counter to Jack. “Just don’t tell my boss,” he added with a wink.
Jack was back the next day. He really shouldn’t be here, but now, he was even more curious than before. The maple praline square yesterday had been pure deliciousness and he’d even gone so far as to lick the wrapper for the last, sweet crumbs. He’d crumpled up the wax paper and hidden it deep in the garbage can so that no one would find out where he’d gone.
He justified the next visit as a reconnaissance mission. The more he knew about this bakery with the cute cashier, the better Jack could formulate a plan on how to manage his own business.
The guy recognized him and gave him a wide grin when Jack went in. Just like the day before, he gave a recommendation (apple pie with maple sugar crust), except Jack insisted on paying this time. When he refused to take the money, Jack dropped a twenty in tip jar. On his way out, he heard the guy call out, “See you tomorrow!”
Jack was so gone for this guy, it stopped being funny.
He eventually learned his name (”It’s Eric. Or my friends call me Bitty
too.”) and he couldn’t stop himself from thinking about Bitty all the
He went every afternoon to the competitor to buy their baked goods just for a chance to see the human embodiment of sunshine.
Jack wondered if he could persuade Bitty to quit and then come work for him. He’d be willing to pay a much higher wage if it meant he could see Bitty at his bakery everyday. Anything to have to Bitty close.
It got harder and harder to hide this from his coworkers. Shitty, who’d started the bakery with Jack and co-owned it, had started giving him shifty looks every time he came back from seeing Bitty. Lardo, on the other hand, gave him knowing looks, and Jack supposed she already knew. Lardo knew everything.
He needed to consider what he was doing. Jack stopped going to the other bakery for a couple of days. He felt miserable, but he realized that he needed to stop fixating on the other business so much. He had his own bakery to manage, and it was probably better for him the long run anyways.
On the fourth day, Jack was working the late morning shift. The bakery had quieted down after the initial early morning rush. The door opened, and to Jack’s utter surprise, Bitty walked in.
“There you are! I thought you were sick or dead,” Bitty said.
“I–” Jack’s heart started beating like it wanted to escape his chest. Bitty was here. Bitty realized he was the rival bakery.
“Well, what do you have to say for yourself?” Bitty casually hopped on one of the counter stools and looked expectantly at Jack.
“Aren’t you supposed to be at work?” Jack managed to choke out.
“I took the morning off. I can do that.”
“But why are you here?”
Bitty raised an eyebrow. “I am here because the guy I have been outrageously flirting with suddenly disappeared so I decided to track you down myself.”
Jack actually spluttered, but after he regained control of his breathing, he said, “You aren’t mad?”
“Why would I be mad?”
“I own this place, Bitty. I’m your bakery’s competition and I never said anything. You probably shouldn’t even be here. Your boss could fire you or–”
“Jack,” Bitty said sweetly. “I know.”
“Oh.” Jack wasn’t sure how Bitty knew, but he wasn’t mad and that was all that really mattered.
“I’m the boss.” At Jack’s confused expression, Bitty clarified, “Of the bakery. I own it. I bake.”
Jack took a moment to process the information. “So, did you know who I was the entire time? That I’m your rival?”
Bitty laughed. “I knew the first day you walked in.”
Jack felt out of his depth. He wasn’t sure if this was some kind of cruel joke and now Bitty had come to gloat.
Bitty, sensing the shift in his mood, softened his expression. He slid off the stool and walked around the counter until he stood in front of Jack. “I came to ask you out,” he said. “I was thinking lunch at that really nice bistro on the east side of the river.”
“Really? You want me?”
Bitty was inching ever closer. “You think I’m going to let go of the guy who can make a pecan pie to rival mine?”
The answer was pretty self-explanatory after Bitty pulled Jack down to kiss him.