narrated by: Paloma
Earlier this year, Janelle sold Planet Java to Ginny Pacelli. Ginny has been working here since it first opened the doors, and so Janelle offered her the opportunity to buy it first. I’m not in a situation to buy my own place yet, but one day I hope to be able to buy or start my own bakery. In the mean time, I get to practice my baking skills here. Ginny put me in charge of the baked treats after I brought a marble cheesecake to a company party one time.
I arrive at four am on baking days, and my co-worker Bobbi comes in to help with the clean up, and I guess we are safer together for insurance purposes.
When we didn’t have any food in the house, and were starving, I would join cooking contests so that me and Linnea could binge eat. It’s how I found out that I loved baking, and had a real talent for it. It’s funny how life works, that something that started out as a hardship has given me an edge to my job.
Daniel cooks the soups and sandwiches for the day and comes in just before we open the doors at six. I have gotten the closest to him and Bobbi since we work so many hours alone before we open.
We do work hard, but we are all young twenty-somethings, so we goof off some too. It was one early morning, that we were goofing off downstairs, that I somehow caught the stove on fire. I’m still not certain what went wrong, worse that should have happened was a burnt cheesecake.
Benjamin was the one who answered our panicked phone call. I wish it hadn’t been him, it’s hard for me to see any of the McCarthy family. I loved them all so much, and had no doubt that one day they would be my family too. Whenever I see them, it feels like a slap in the face. It is good to catch up with him though, I didn’t know that he’d had a third daughter, I couldn’t believe that when he told me.
We were able to talk around our obvious connection, Oliver. Since he ran into me working here, he has never come back to my knowledge. Before Benjamin left though he told me that everyone was doing well, and the way he locked his eyes with mine, I know he was referring to Oliver. I’m thankful for that, but hateful at myself for still caring.
Ginny came into work in a full rage over the incident. She threatened to fire me, but we both know that my baked goods are what has kept the regulars from leaving. She needs me, just like I need this job.
When everyone arrived, she cheerfully called our Saturday morning meeting into session. I’m beginning to suspect that she’s bi-polar, her mood swings have been steep lately, and that’s when she announces that she’s pregnant, and due in September.
All of the staff look at each other. As excited as Ginny apparently is, we are all cringing internally. Her daughter Gemma is enough of a brat, that the world will do just fine without two of them around. Bobbi thought faster than us, and told Ginny congratulations, and we all muttered it along afterward.
I’m no longer the new kid, Paul is, and he is really lousy. I love being experienced at the job, it’s much less stressful. It generally helps to keep Ginny off my back, but catching the kitchen on fire has brought back some of her eagle eye critiquing.
She gives me the cold shoulder, and seems to be screaming at my pies in the display case as she does inventory. I think that she resents my ability to bake more than ever before. I feel like I need to start saving for my own bakery soon, because I don’t think she will keep me if I lose my leverage.
We have our regulars, and one is this guy Adam who comes in every day, and flirts with me. I always tell him no, I don’t know what he gets from it.
Maybe he thinks that I am joking with him, or playing hard to get. I’m really not though.
He seems extra hurt this time though, and just asks me outright why I won’t go on a simple date with him. I can’t tell him that I say no because he works at Hazel’s Diner, and that Hazel is my ex-boyfriends Aunt. That just sounds crazy, so I just tell him that I don’t know why.
Saturday night we have a local performer come in and entertain, it’s always chaos and makes Ginny especially keen to bark orders. If I’m not too busy, I like people watching, especially teenagers, mostly because I’m not one anymore. Julius McCarthy comes in, and I can’t help but spy on him. He clearly didn’t pick this venue to visit with his friend, but I’m happy that she’s enjoying the show.
A bit later, he tries to make some moves on her, and she turns him down flat. I don’t feel an ounce of pity for him. It’s obvious that Julius is nothing like his big brother Oliver.
The musician this week doesn’t play bad, which is not always a guarantee. I tell Ginny that we need to book Meme Popper again, because everyone enjoyed her.
Tradition guarantees that Ginny’s husband Enzo and daughter Gemma will come in for a visit, just to make our lives miserable. She acts like such a spoiled princess, treating the staff like her personal waitstaff, and her Mom encourages it.
All the customers seem to love her though, well mostly the older crowd of women. I think they are admiring Enzo more than Gemma though if anyone asked me.
After work, me and Bobbi go out on the town. We both live alone, and don’t relish nights alone in our apartments.
She picks the place, and it’s not one we have visited before, so I wasn’t expecting to see anyone I knew. And I definitely wasn’t expecting to see the guy I hooked up with a few years ago. He was technically my rebound, and I never even got his name. But that didn’t stop me from wondering about him, or picking the same bar I met him at, hoping to reconnect.
He clearly hadn’t spent two years traipsing South Port on a hunt for me though, and when I saw him look in my direction, I hid.
Bobbi told me when I was in the clear, and then I made my way to the bar. This was going to be a long night, I could already tell. On my way back, lo, there is Adam from Hazel’s Diner, of course.
Maybe it’s seeing my rebound with a girl in his arms, but I actually allow Adam to try and flirt with me. Is there a technical term for a new rebound to recover from an old rebound? I’m wondering this while I plaster on a smile for him.
If I won’t date him just because of where he works, then I may not ever date anyone, because the McCarthy’s are everywhere. I can’t even get a wedding dress without going to Zoe-Gen’s Bridal, which is owned by Oliver’s Mom.
No sooner that we get out on the dance floor, when my old rebound is interrupting us. I would never have the audacity to do that, and I’m shocked that he does it. He gives me this manly handshake, that I fumble through, feeling completely off balance by him treating me like an old buddy.
For all I can tell, Adam doesn’t mind in the least, but it seems like he’s watching my reaction and I try to hide my emotions over the ordeal. Brandon is the rebounds name, and he starts telling me about some crap that happened to his roommate, that was over there, behind my shoulder dancing with his girlfriend. In the meantime, his girlfriend comes over, and Adam starts talking to her. Apparently they both work at diners, and have so much in common.
I feel like I’m going to curl up and die right here, so I excuse myself to the bar. In a normal world, Brandon would take his girlfriend back in his arms, and dance the night away, and Adam would ether come sit by me, or not, he just asked for a dance, and isn’t obligated to me.
Instead Brandon follows me, and starts talking to the back of my head. I ignore him pretending the music is too loud and I can’t possibly hear anybody but the bartender. So then he goes on the bartender side and stands in front me to ask me if he did anything wrong.
I don’t even have an answer. We were a one night stand, he was my rebound. He made me feel better, like I wouldn’t always be alone, and that others could like me too, which I needed sorely at that time. But I can’t hate him for that? And it’s not his fault, that I started to build that one night up into something larger.
I just played it off cool, like I didn’t know what he was talking about. And then he came around to ask if he could call me sometime, to hang out as friends. The entire time I was screaming heck yes, please, but instead I told him no. I thought I might die from it, but what happened was obviously nothing in the grand scheme of life, and there was no reason to start a friendship from it. Talk about awkward.
In all of this, Bobbi had gotten hit on by a few too many men, and she was calling it a night. She offered to share a cab with me, but I decided to stay.
I had lost Adam somehow in the night, never finishing the dance since we had been interrupted, so I decided to stay and do just that. It wasn’t necessarily that I really wanted Adam, if I had the choice between him and Brandon, it would be Brandon without a second thought, but he was clearly with someone else, and so I had only one option.
He accused me of liking Brandon, asked if we had seen each other. I didn’t ask in what sense, and just nodded. We had seen each other in bed before, but not on any real date. I didn’t want to admit that to him, or have him get the wrong idea about me.
I tried moving in closer to him, letting him know that I was interested in finishing the evening with him, but he seemed amused by my gesture and not really moved. I realized that I didn’t know Adam outside of Planet Java and his order of an Americana.
He asked me why I always said no before, but not tonight. He didn’t want to be my rebound, he had said. So I told him about Hazel being my ex-boyfriend, Oliver’s Aunt, because it seemed less embarrassing then saying he was my rebound from my rebound. He loosened up after that confession.
I do find him attractive, which I guess at this point I didn’t need to tell him, but a few beers in my system and I did anyway.
He isn’t a bad dancer, or kisser, and he told me that he doesn’t plan to cook at Hazel’s forever, so I shouldn’t let that stop me from seeing him.
By the time it was closing time, I had consumed too many beers, and we were being ushered out. I didn’t want the night to end, I’d had an unexpected evening of fun, and so I asked him back to my place.
I think he would have said no if he hadn’t been drinking as much as I have, but neither of us had our wits about us, and so we went to my place.
He was kind when he left the next morning he didn’t slip out in the night like Brandon had. But I don’t know what he is expecting from me now, a relationship? I felt sick with the realization that I’d only been with three men, and two of them were rebounds.
Before he left, I told him to not quit his day job, and he just chuckled. I don’t know him well enough to know if that means he won’t, or that he wasn’t serious when he joked it the night before. Probably the latter, which made me feel embarrassed to have said anything at all.
I’m just grateful that Sundays are my day off, so I don’t have to run into him again until Monday. Hopefully by then I have a better handle on myself, and know where I stand with seeing Adam.
Notes: Real life, we move into our new house first week of September, and I spend the last week of August/Labor Day at my Mom’s farm, fighting for internet. Getting closer! Can’t wait to be set up and settled in, the new house has an AWESOME room for all our hobbies!
Paloma is young, and single, and works all the time, just to make ends meet. I loved playing her. At the beginning of the round, all of her wants were for Oliver, minus one which was for Brandon. By the end, she was wanting to visit with her family, and had equal wants for Brandon and Adam. She is hit on all of the time, and she rejects ALL of the time.
Adam really kept flirting with her and coming after her, even though she rejected him almost constantly.
She also has a bad reputation, and I don’t know how… I haven’t played her in this hood yet, so she must be bad behind the scenes. Her rank is ‘lousy loser’ which is mean, and totally fits with her life of bad luck! A lot of customers didn’t like her at all (but they loved her pies).
She also died… which is nonsense, and so I didn’t save it. If she had died in the fire, I might have been like okay… but she didn’t. She was paying bills, then died. She was completely in the green, and had just been told she had a cold, then blam dead. Stupid, and not realistic so I feel okay not saving it. And now I feel like I have the wrong sickness hack in my game, so I need to look into that at some point.
And there was a little cameo of Meme playing the guitar, she is all grown up, over Luca, though still not dating anyone, and trying to make it as a musician.
Thanks for reading!
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