“Layla, drop it.”
Her friend said something, who knew what. Attempting to vocalize an intelligible denial of guilt while hiding a mouth full of cinnamon bun – not easy.
“You’ve already had one. The whole building is about to descend and I’m not spending another Sunday at the E.R.”
“Roomies should get special dispensation. Especially since you ruined your roomies life.”
Oh no, not this again. “Layla your life is plenty good.”
“I’ve got no jacuzzi. I’ve got no Quiche Lorraine and I’ve got no coffee. NO. Coffee. You owe me sister.”
“You had coffee this morning.”
“You call that crap coffee?” That “crap” was ten dollars a half pound and Layla’s favorite brew before she’d tried Barker’s. “Why would you want to come back here? I don’t get it. You two are in love and you want to be apart. What the hell? I mean, I can understand not wanting to marry him right away but shit, live in sin why don’t you.”
“Layla, enough. Hand me the milk please.”
“Just sayin.” Layla whined, moving to the fridge. “HA! Pie!”
A stampede of bare uncoordinated feet and Jose’s bed head appeared around the corner, “Don’t you dare eat my pie.”
“I don’t see your name on it.”
“Excuse me missy,” Jose snatched the pie from Layla’s hands, “But some of us didn’t eat half a pie last night and would like to have it for dessert.”
“Who’s got pie?” Little Mama waddled in followed by Dee and Jane. And right behind them came the flood. The entire building was here to welcome her home… and eat buns.
The bounty was laid out and brunch was about to start when Ted stomped in, “Where is he?”
“Where’s who?” Andie looked up from whipping icing to ask.
“That boyfriend of yours.”
“Uh, he said he might be delayed.”
“Well, if he thinks he can just back out of our deal, he’s got another thing coming. I’ve already got my place in the Keys picked out.”
“Uh….” Was she supposed to know what Ted was talking about.
“Okay.” Layla nodded and gave Ted the look she gave women when they arrived at the shelter distraught and injured and refused medical care.
It was Jose who came through with the relevant question, “What deal?”
“It’s nothing.” Damien waltzed in looking all casually gorgeous in jeans and a leather jacket. Everything stopped for a moment as all female and a good portion of male eyes blinked away the Demi-dazzle.
“It might seem like nothing to you,” Ted wasn’t at all dazzled. Well, he was straight, “But the Mrs. is downstairs crying her eyes out.”
“I’ll find you another buyer.”
“Wait,” Andie came around the counter spatula and icing bowl in hand, her interest piqued. Ted was not known to tantrums, “What are you buying?”
“You sure as shit are.” Ted was shouting now, “You can’t back out. You offered to buy. We’re under contract.”
“What are you buying?”
“Nothing.” Damien repeated his tight-lipped denial. It was lost in Ted’s outraged bellow, “The building.”
“The building? This building?” Andie did some shouting of her own, slinging the spatula. A glop icing slid off and plopped to the floor.
Somewhere, a Sunday Bruncher groaned, “Oh, that’s a shame, that is.”
What-the-fuck ever. She raised the spatula swinging it in a circle, “As in the roof over my head?”
Another Bruncher shrieked, “Hey, watch where your slinging icing.” Then Layla was there snatching the spatula and bowl from her, “Don’t be wasting the cream cheese.”
Andie made a mental note to roll her eyes later. “You’re buying the building I live in and you weren’t even going consult me?”.
“Okaaay,” Jose’s double clap double cracked, “Everybody, grab a dish. We’re taking this party next door.” He grabbed the pan of rolls and snatched the bowl of icing from Layla, “I don’t think so, Missy. Here, carry the eggs.”
With some low rumbling and Layla grumbling, the Brunchers left her alone with the Demi. And Ted.
She turned to her landlord, “Ted, could we have a minute please?”
“Yeah Okay.” Ted agreed, “I’ll go grab a roll before they’re all gone.”
Wow, that was easy. The power of cinnamon, sugar and cream cheese was a wonder to behold. Andie faced down her Demi. “I’m assuming you have an explanation.”
“Andie, sweetheart, it wasn’t my idea. I made an offer a few years ago. Ted turned me down. Nate made a run at him and he accepted. I didn’t even know about it until yesterday. I suspected you would feel smothered, so I canceled the deal.”
“You canceled the deal.
“So I wouldn’t feel smothered.”
“You said you needed space.”
“Wow, okay. See, here is our problem. Again. Did it occur to you to talk to me about this before you made your decision?”
“I well, no.”
“You had already made your feelings clear about being overwhelmed and unsure about where “home” was. I didn’t want to add to that.”
The Demi had a point. “Okay. Fair enough.”
“He went ape-shit.” Nate strolled through the door cinnamon roll in hand
The Demi did some throat clearing, “I was merely concerned about Andie’s reaction…”
“Bro, that wasn’t concern. It was blind panic.” Nate grabbed his hair with his free hand, crossed his eyes and stomped around the room, “Andie won’t like this. She won’t like this at all. No, no she won’t.”
More throat clearing and holy shit, was the Demi blushing? “You’re exaggerating.”
“Not by much.” Nate ceased his floor show to take a bite of his roll. Moaned chewed swallowed. “Man, these things are good. Anyway – I told him he should bribe you with a kitchen remodel and that’s when he punched me.”
“You punched your broth… wait, kitchen remodel?”
The Demi was too busy scowling and scolding to hear the hope in her voice, “You should have talked to me first.”
A new kitchen…
“I told you I was going to make another run at him. You said fine.”
…with a farmhouse sink…
“That was before.”
… an island…
“Well, how was I supposed to know.”
“You couldn’t know! That’s why you ask, dumbass!”
“Hey, don’t be blaming your lack of communication skills on me.”
“You’re the one who failed to communicate.”
“I said. I’m going to make a run at him. You said Go ahead. Shit, how much more communication do you need?”
They were nose to nose now. If she didn’t head this off somebody was going to be hospitalized and somebody else would be jailed and that would surely delay any plans to renovate. She took a deep breath and shouted from her diaphragm, “Damien!”
The Demi finally looked her way, “Yes?”
“Do I really get a new kitchen?”
“A new… well yes, of course, if you’d like.”
If she’d like? Wow, he was adorables, “Yes, yes I would like. I would like very much. I want double ovens, a farmhouse sink and an island.”
Andie strolled up to her Demi and placed a kiss on the cheek of his beautiful befuddled face, “I’m going to brunch. Maybe I’ll actually get a roll this time.”
“Oh, you’re out of luck.” Nate waved his cinnamon bun in the air, “I snagged the last on. Had to be sneaky about it too.”
“YOU!” The screech came from the doorway. Andie looked over her shoulder knowing what she’d find. Yep. The She-devil filled it, her evil glare of death landing on Nate who was grinning like a baboon, “Who? Me?”
“That is my roll.”
Nate made a show of inspecting the roll, “I don’t see your name on it.”
“It was on my plate.”
“Finders keepers.” Nate took a hefty bite.
Layla charged. Nate danced back, roll held over his head, cackling like a mad man on crack.
Jose appeared beside them. “That boy doesn’t have a bit of sense.”
“I’m aware.” Damien said with a sigh, “You know, the solarium at EverMay is peaceful on Sunday mornings. Barker was brewing coffee when I left, and I believe he had zucchini bread baking.”
“Oh, honey, that sounds divine. Dee-Vine.” Jose gushed, taking them each by the arm and marching them across the room, “You two kids go have some private time. I’ll take care of any E.R. runs, body dumping, and or bail posting.” They were then shoved into the hall the door shut firmly behind them.
Damien blinked at the door.
Andie tapped on it, “Uh… Jose I need my….”
The door flipped open and Jose’s hand appeared holding her purse. Andie took it.With a “Toodles” and a finger wave the hand slipped inside the door and shut it with a firm snick.
“Is there a reason he’s so invested in our “private time”?” The Demi asked.
“Jose misses Barker.”
“Ah yes, well that zucchini bread is tasty.”