Coco, a struggling entrepreneur who bakes her way through business, falls for her gorgeous and ever so practical accountant, Rose. Coco hides her longing though because, as her mom always says, how could anyone be serious about such an unaccomplished “second best” like Coco?
When faced with a last-minute impossible wedding cake order, Coco seizes the make-or-break challenge and sets to work. Hours later, lonely, discouraged, and close to failure, Coco aches for Rose’s practical advice and alluring presence. When Rose arrives to save the cake, can Coco abandon her doubts and grasp her one chance to whip up a recipe that includes them both in the mix?
Note: This short story was originally published in the charity collection, Love Is Proud.
Coco stared at the jumbled stack of failed designs, and her stomach lurched. What if her mother was right? What if running a bakery and having someone as wonderful as Rose in her life was just a hopeless fantasy? Tears filled her eyes and overflowed.
The phone rang, and Coco whimpered. No more, please. But then she saw the display. It was Rose. Coco so needed to hear that sensible, calm voice. She wiped her eyes, arranged a watery smile on her face, and answered. “Hi, Rose. Need a cookie fix?”
“Thanks, but not tonight. I just haven’t heard from you in quite a while. Everything all right?”
“Oh, I’m just having some trouble with a cake order. Nothing to worry about.” More tears slid down her cheeks, and Coco held her breath so she wouldn’t sob out loud.
A few moments of silence followed. Then Rose answered slowly. “Okay. But you know if you need me, you can call me anytime.”
Coco released her breath long enough to choke out, “Sure. Thanks. I’ve got to go now.” The moment she disconnected the call, great unfettered sobs gushed out of her. What was wrong with her? Definitely too much wine -- it was making her feel sorry for herself. After the storm subsided, she blew her nose and took a few deep breaths. Time to pull herself together.
Since the sketches had been such a dismal failure, she retrieved a couple tubs of sculpting fondant and her tools and set them on the kitchen table. The tactile input of three dimensional modeling might spark an idea. For further inspiration, she put on some Mozart -- loud. But half an hour later, all she’d managed to produce was a decidedly not masculine-looking unicorn with a limp horn.
Disgusted with her lack of progress and ready to smash the sad excuse for a mystical creature, she swallowed the last of the wine and started feverishly crafting a giant set of fondant testicles for the forlorn unicorn. That should damn well make him look more masculine. Tears of frustration welled up in her eyes, blurring her vision.
She looked up and could make out movement and a figure approaching. Now what? With the music playing, she hadn’t heard anyone enter. Blinking to clear away the tears, she saw Rose smiling down at her.
Without a word, Rose leaned in, lifted Coco’s chin with one slender finger, and planted a warm, lingering kiss on her lips.
Shock seared her. When Rose released her, Coco gasped, “You kissed me!”
“Yes, I did.”
“But you never ... I mean...you...why?”
“Honey, you’re sad, you’re drinking alone, and you’re rolling unicorn balls.” Stroking Coco’s cheek gently, she said, “You needed to be kissed.