Dylan Hughes owns a small bakery. He's doing what he loves and business is good, but he's lonely. After a bad relationship, he's been keeping to himself, and things are worse during the Christmas season. Then there is his unrequited crush on Aaron Tyler.
Aaron is a successful event planner. He and Dylan met more than two years earlier and, after tasting Dylan's baking, Aaron proposed a collaboration. They've worked together ever since. Not willing to risk their friendship, Dylan has kept his feelings under wraps.
But a secret admirer begins to send Dylan thoughtful gifts twelve days before Christmas. The cute, clever gifts keep on coming and he's flattered, but they couldn't have come at a worse time. Aaron has finally asked him out.
What happens when the secret admirer’s identity is revealed on Christmas Day? Will Dylan's blossoming relationship with Aaron survive?
He had just finished arranging everything neatly when the bell tinkled, signaling that there was a customer in the bakery. He stood up to greet the customer, but the words died in his throat. There were eleven people lined up in one neat row in front of the counter. Each person was holding a flute.
“Are you Dylan Hughes?” an elderly woman asked. He nodded in confusion. He bet that this would be another bizarre afternoon. “Okay, people. On the count of three. One, two, three.”
He could only gape openly at the weirdness of this entire situation. He knew the song that they were playing though. It was “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” He hummed along to the melody and enjoyed himself thoroughly. He totally believed in the saying, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” He might as well enjoy this free entertainment.
Like the day before, passers-by were lured into the bakery by the music. They all clapped loudly when the last note died down. That was when he noticed Aaron standing by the door, grinning widely at him. He waved at the man, who was now walking towards him.
“Secret admirer again?”
“I don’t ...” He was surprised when Aaron’s finger pointed at an envelope on the counter. One of the eleven performers must have left it there for him when the performance was over.
“Read it, Dylan. I’ll take care of the performers. Besides, you have hungry customers to deal with.”
He agreed gratefully. There were not as many people today as the day before and he was done in less than twenty minutes. He then packed up Aaron’s usual favorites and handed the boxes to him.
“How much do I owe you, Aaron? I presume that you have paid the performers for two days in a row now or at least tipped them well.”
“Don’t worry about it.” Aaron shrugged it off and instead handed over his credit card to pay for his purchases.
“On the house, Aaron. You’ve helped me out twice and you’ve given me plenty of repeat customers, who in turn introduce my bakery to many more.”
“Alright then. Thanks, Dylan.”
“So what does it say?”
“You haven’t read it yet?”
Dylan was confused for a second before understanding dawned on him. Aaron had referred to the message within the envelope.
“Oh, not yet. Hold on a second.”
He took out another postcard from within the envelope and admired the picture of eleven bagpipes on it before reading aloud the message on the other side.
It is ten days before Christmas,
I hope you’ve enjoyed the flutists,
Sad that I cannot find eleven bagpipe players ...
Your secret admirer
“So?” Aaron prodded.
“So nothing,” Dylan insisted. “It’s nice to have a secret admirer, but I’m dating you.”
“Alright,” Aaron whispered.
Dylan smiled at the other man and leaned in for a brief, sweet kiss. He wished he could spend all his waking hours locking lips with Aaron, who had turned out to be an amazing kisser, but he had bills to pay.
“Any plans tonight?”
“Dinner at my place? I can bake a mean lasagna.”
“Sounds good, Dylan. I can be here by half-past six. My building is next to yours, but I have some last-minute things to take care of.”
“That’s fine. I’ll see you then.”
They said their goodbyes after sharing another gentle kiss. Dylan watched the other man walking out of the bakery before making his way into the kitchen. He might as well get started on dinner preparation.
He still remembered his first meeting with Aaron. His bakery had been open for business for slightly more than a year when the gorgeous, athletic man walked in. He sold almost every type of items available that day. The next day, Aaron had returned and proposed that they work together. As an event planner, the other man needed not only a reliable baker, but one who could bake delicious pastries. They hashed out the details that same day. It was one of the best business decisions he had ever made.