“Jeez! You scared me,” I complained when I realized how close she was standing.
Amelia giggled and took a seat beside me. “How’s it coming?” she asked, gesturing to my plans.
I turned the papers to face her and launched into detail. I’d found suppliers, I had themes in mind, menus planned, I’d thought of every detail. The only thing that I was missing was a location. Well…that and the funds to get started. I had some money saved up, but not enough.
“Well, I think I can help you with one of those things,” Amelia said, her eyes flashing with excitement, “My parents have found a better location for the diner and they scored a deal on the rent that they couldn’t pass up.”
I furrowed my brow at her. “So what does that have to do with me?”
“Well, it would take a little bit of alteration to turn it from a diner into a bakery, but they had an arrangement with the owner where they were paying their rent six months in advance,” she continues, “And there are still three and a half months left, paid up.”
My heart stopped and my jaw hit my chest. I quickly ran some calculations in my head. Without rent as a factor, my savings might be enough.
I couldn’t believe my luck. It almost seemed too good to be true.
But, true it was and here I was two years later in that same space running a bakery. I’d gotten off to a great start and I saw profits almost immediately.
But, after two years, I found myself in a rut. I felt really stuck and stagnant in business. I hadn’t seen any losses, but then again, I hadn’t seen any significant gains, either. I made enough to stay afloat, but not enough to turn the little place into what I’d always dreamt of.
I sighed dejectedly and punched a button to slow the treadmill, thinking about my problem. It was impossible for my business to grow at its current location. While I did appreciate the lucky situation I’d stumbled into, and I’d built a great relationship with the owner of the building right away, I knew would have to move. There was a reason the location hadn’t worked out for Amelia’s parent’s long-term, and now I had hit the same wall. But, I found myself at the same place I’d been in back in college: I didn’t have the money I needed to buy the building that I’d set my sights on.
The ringing of my phone interrupted my thoughts.
“Hello?” I answered breathlessly, glancing at the caller id.
“Hey, Candy, it’s Amelia,” came the trembling voice of my best friend over the phone. “Listen, I just had a really big blowout with my parents and they kicked me out. I have nowhere to go. I was wondering if I could stay at your place until I can figure things out.”
I felt my heart break a little. I knew Amelia’s relationship with her parents had always been strained, but it was hard for me to wrap my head around the idea of any parent kicking out their kid to fend for themselves.
“Oh my gosh, Amelia, I’m so sorry! Of course you can stay with me. I’ve always told you that if you needed me, I’d be here for you,” I told her.
I relished the chance to help a friend, especially one as dear to me as Amelia. I hated to hear that she was having a hard time, but it made my heart glad that I could be there to give her a place to crash. I told Amelia to meet me at my place, glad I’d made a trip to the grocery store earlier that day.
And in an extra stroke of good fortune, I’d bought wine.
Secretly, I was a little glad to have someone else’s problems to focus on for a while. Compared to what Amelia was going through, my problems were nothing. I had a place to live and a solid business, which was more than what most people could say. I decided to be grateful.
While I waited for Amelia to arrive, I threw myself semi-reluctantly back into running. Truthfully, I hated working out, but as often as I sampled my own wares at the bakery, it was a necessary evil.
But I got into the zone, and was nearly finished when I heard knocking on my front door. I yelled for Amelia to come in and heard my front door swing open.
“I was wondering why you sounded so out-of-breath over the phone,” Amelia said upon seeing me.
“Yeah,” I panted, slapping my rear end and winking at her, “Gotta keep it tight somehow, and I ain’t giving up the sweets.”
Amelia laughed, shaking her head, and it warmed my heart to see the smile break through.
“I almost hung up, though, thinking that you were doing some other type of naughty aerobics,” she replied.