C: Busy tonight?
K: Not really. Just another rerun sesh of Friends with Ben & Jerry.
K: What’s wrong? Drew?
C: You guessed it.
K: I’ll bring Ben & Jerry with, too. They’re good company.
C: Bring their friend, Vodka, too.
K: I’m on it.
I smile as I drive back to the firm. While I’m working, I pick at my salad, but barely make a dent in it. Knowing I need more coffee, I get up and swiftly walk to the break room. On the way there, I run smack into the office secretary Kelsey, and she loses her footing. “Oh, my goodness. I’m so sorry, Kels,” I say.
She turns around and sweetly gives me a smile. “No biggie. I know you’ve been out of it today.”
Her words catch me off guard. I scrunch my face and give her a look. “Huh?”
“You’ve just been in la-la land. It’s obvious something’s up.”
I playfully roll my eyes at her and give a laugh, but I’m really dying inside and apparently on the outside too. I walk in the break room and grab a Styrofoam cup from the cabinet and pour a huge glass of coffee.
“Hey, Court,” Jayden says behind me, and I knock the coffee off the counter and spill it down my skirt. He rushes over and starts putting paper towels all over the counter and floor.
“Are you okay?” he asks.
And as soon as I open my mouth, I realize how much truth begins flooding out of my mouth. His eyes go wide, and he’s staring at me like I’ve lost my mind before I realize I’ve told him I slept with my roommate and best friend, who everyone at the firm just happens to know.
“I was talking about the coffee on your skirt,” he says with a smile.
“Oh, right.” I swallow hard and know I’m slowly breaking and should probably not talk to people before I get my thoughts together. Yes, I’m known for keeping calm and cool, but when it comes to my love life—completely different story.
“It’s cool. Your secret is safe with me,” he says, and I really hope he’s telling the truth, but I don’t know him well enough to know. Drew comes to the firm every Friday and delivers lunch, and as soon as he walks in, it’ll be way too obvious for those who haven’t heard me blab if I can’t get my shit together.
The rest of the day I stay in my office and try to concentrate while avoiding everyone. Once the clock hits four, I grab my things and head out. On the way home, I stop by the grocery store and before I know it my basket is full of enough ingredients to feed muffins to a small army for a week, but it doesn’t even faze me. It’s like I don’t even know what I’m doing. I’m a self-diagnosed stress baker. When life throws you lemons, squeeze them into a margarita and make muffins. At least that’s what I do.
I pull into the driveway and see Drew’s already gone. It’s not uncommon for us to not cross paths with each other when he’s working swing shift. I’m not sure if I’m happy or sad we haven’t seen each other. Perhaps it’s best.
I bought so much stuff it takes several trips for me to bring it all inside. There’s barely room on the counter, and I start organizing it in order as I preheat the oven and pull out muffin tins. I grab an extra mixing bowl and the one from my professional mixer that’s always set up in our kitchen and start adding flour, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, I add the sugar and eggs until they’re foamy, then I add my secret ingredient—butter. I laugh as I think about Drew eating my muffins like he was starving and then my mind wanders to what happened right here on this counter.
My heart begins to race, and the oven starts beeping. I place all the ingredients together slowly and begin pouring the batter into the tins, forty-eight muffins and forty-eight to go. I place them in the oven then lean against the counter like I just successfully made the fastest batch of muffins on Hell’s Kitchen and Gordon Ramsay himself is going to be eating them. I take a deep breath and release it and basically scream when I hear Kayla say ‘hey’ behind me.
“Holy fucking shit.” I press the oven mitt against my chest and pant. “You scared the crap out of me. Seriously, I nearly saw my life flash before my eyes.”
She’s laughing. “Sorry! You left the door unlocked.” Drew always flips out when I do that. She steps farther into the kitchen.
“What’s all this mess?” Her eyes go wide as she looks around. There’s sugar and flour on my face and the floor. Mixing bowls and ripped open bags. Actually, it does look like a mini disaster area.