The girl at the gelato bar smiles at him as she hands over the lemon sorbet. Each scoop she digs for in the chilled vats is plopped into the waffle cones while the tiniest of smiles is playing with the corners of her lips. She always gives him an extra scoop of boysenberry because she knows that’s just how he likes it. He only orders it that way because it reminds him of her perfume.
He works across the road in a little bakery. He can see her; lovely face pressed against her hand as she rests on the bench, between boredom and daydreams. He thinks she can’t see him through the painted glass. But she leans against her fist and watches through the slit in the doors as he kneads dough in the back room. His muscles tighten underneath the white shirt. His forehead always seems to have a streak of flour branding it. She imagines his lips taste like the cream puffs she buys for morning tea on Saturdays.
She thinks he has a thing for her best friend. He flirted a little with the redhead when she’d come in for the poppy-seed buns but he never gave any indication he’d take the flirting further. She listened while her friend gushed about the delicious dough boy who always gave a wink when he handed over the bread rolls.
One summer Saturday afternoon, he’d closed up shop and made his trek across the road to get his weekly gelato. She wasn’t there. He panicked. The brown haired girl behind the counter gave him the plain lemon sorbet. He sat on a chair outside the gelato bar, despairing. He couldn’t get through the week without seeing her weekly smile. The sorbet didn’t smell the same.
He made a quick decision, ducking back inside to plead with the brunette to tell him where the blonde girl had gone.
“Buffy? She’s on a picnic date at Restfield. She promised to lend me her red sweater if I took over her shift. Do you know her?”
He ran to Restfield, faster than he’d ever run before.
He screamed her name, dodging between the couples on blankets, children’s soccer games, open picnic baskets and noisy dogs. He saw her, being fed boysenberries by a lunkhead beneath a grand old tree he’d always longed to climb.
She looked up, beyond surprised. Her heart lifted just the tiniest smidge. Her breath was caught as her lungs tried to catch up with the movement of her heart.
Without looking at the man beside her, he pulled her up from the blanket and into his arms, smothering her face with kisses.
The outraged man stood up with a huff but she paid him no heed. The breathless kisses had their minds reeling. She took one look into his eyes and leaned in for more passion. He denied her, angling their foreheads together.
“Hi, I’m Will.”
“Hi, I’m Buffy.”
Her lungs never stopped trying to catch her heart.
He’d been up since 3:30am. He had already soiled his white tee with flour and jelly. Too bad he couldn’t take it off.
His brow housed suicidal sweat droplets, threatening to jump off his forehead as his strong, baker arms kneaded the dough.
He knew she was watching. She couldn’t help herself. Her boyfriend was hotter than the ovens he used to bake those scrumptious buns.
She was meant to be studying. Dawn had taken her shift because of the upcoming finals. But there she was, camped out on the bench outside of the gelato bar, surrounded by her books and staring longingly at the bakery.
He had read her La Nausée last night, holding the book in one hand and pinching her nipple every time her mind wandered with the other. She was going to ace the French exam. He had the silkiest French accent.
“Get in here, Buffy.” He called, starling her away from the naughty thoughts of their late night activities.
He always knew when she wanted him.
She bustled into the bakery. He cleared a spot and sat her down.
“Ca me plairait beaucoup que ma copine, qui est canon mais parfois un peu bête, écoute ce que je lui raconte et arrête de me distraire avec ses seins et sa langue pendant que je bosse.”
“I’m not sure that’s going to be on the exam, Will. You aren’t helping.”
“I’ll have you know I said ‘can my gorgeous girlfriend please stop distracting me with her beautiful cleavage and naughty tongue.”
“Pfft. Yeah right.”
She poked out her rapid-fire quip appendage and the dough was forgotten as he swooped down to plant a big, passionate wet one on her lips.
Their kisses were always so intense. Like the lake of fire beneath the earth’s crust had bubbled upwards, travelling up their limbs to explode in their mouths. So much fire. It took away her breath, captured within his chest.
He took a step away, breathing heavily. He noticed the specks of flour that migrated from his cheek to her nose. Every time he took her in, he knew he was the luckiest bloke in the world.
After he caught up with her at the park, he had a loss of confidence. Their sweet kisses had lasted as long as it took the bulky man to realise he no longer stood a chance with the beautiful blonde woman.
With the man’s parting ‘harrumph’, the pair realised they were in the middle of a park and barely knew one another. They simultaneously blushed and parted. What followed was a joint stuttering fumble of a proposal for a date.
They’d been seeing each other for six months.
He brushed the flour from her nose and jumped into the depth of her smiling eyes.
“I love you.”
She was shocked for not even a microsecond, responding in kind with absolute happiness covering her smile.
“I love you too, Will.”
Yeah, they thought as their lips found one another’s, this was way better than studying.
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