But for a silent partner, Zeke seemed to be in the shop a lot.
“Nice seeing you, Ruby,” Zeke called. “Keep making the cinnamon rolls for me.”
I smiled as he disappeared through the back door. He seemed like such a nice guy.
“He’s such a good partner,” Lia said wistfully.
“He is,” I agreed. “I’m surprised you’re not a couple. What’s your fiancé like?”
“Oh, Stuart is nothing like Zeke,” she said as she leaned back against the counter. “Stuart is so organized. He never would have lost his phone. He’s perfect in every way.”
Honestly, I think I preferred somebody who was human, but Lia obviously appreciated her fiancé’s perfection. “Are they friends? Zeke and Stuart?”
“Oh, God, no. Stuart says Zeke is brash and annoying, but he doesn’t understand Zeke. Stuart doesn’t really have a sense of humor, and Zeke loves to joke.”
“I think you like that, too,” I commented.
“Only with Zeke,” she said hesitantly.
Lia was so upbeat that it was hard to believe that she didn’t like to trade amusing things with the man she loved, but I didn’t really know her well enough to say anything else.
“So about this pastry deal…” Lia said. “Zeke was right. I’m going to have to persuade you to give us those pastries.”
She started to talk, naming a price that seemed like a small fortune to me.
“Let me think about it,” I told her when she was done laying out her plan. “I’d really like to do it, but I want to talk to Jett about it first.”
“What are you talking to me about?” Jett’s voice sounded from the entrance. “Whatever you want, you know it’s always going to be a yes.”
I sighed as I turned around and saw Jett near the door. He was dressed in a pair of black jeans and a green button-down shirt that made his eyes look even sexier than they were already.
“Is everything okay?” I asked, wondering why he’d come to find me.
“It’s good now. I was just getting a little worried. It’s after seven.”
I’d told Jett that I’d be stopping here, but that I’d be home before six. “I’m sorry. Time got away from me.”
“Actually,” Lia chimed in. “I was holding her hostage until she agreed to make her pastries for us. They’re incredible.”
Jett stopped in front of me and kissed me on the forehead. “I couldn’t agree more. And did you get her to agree?”
“Not yet. But I’m working on it,” Lia replied.
“She doesn’t need my approval,” Jett told Lia. “So you’ll just have to convince her.”
Lia beamed at him as she folded her arms. “A trial run?” she suggested. “If everything goes well, then we can make the deal.”
I nodded. “Let’s do it.”
We decided to make the following week the trial, and I wasn’t about to argue about her price.
Jett waited patiently without speaking until we’d hammered out the details.
“I’m proud of you,” he said as we left the shop. People began pouring in as we were leaving, obviously the after-work crowd that Lia had warned me about earlier.
“For what?” I asked as I took his hand.
I still wasn’t used to Jett’s frequent compliments, but I was learning not to brush them off like I used to.
Counseling was assisting me to navigate through the real world, and helping me understand that my own negative thoughts and self-perception were sabotaging me. I was trying to do everything I could to change that.
“You don’t have any business experience, yet you’ve managed to get a contract with one of the most popular coffee shops in the city,” he explained.
“It was kind of a happy accident,” I replied.
“Don’t brush this off, Ruby,” Jett said sternly. “This was all you. You gave without expecting anything back. You were just trying to help Lia. But your pastries are so amazing that they sell themselves. That’s your work, your special skill. You should be proud of yourself.”
“I’m nervous,” I confessed as we waited for the light to cross the street.