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Chapter 64: But you like… baking….
I sat in my truck for a while, watching the front door of the bakery apprehensively.
So how would I act around Jasper?
Would he know?
Would Alice tell him I knew?
What would I say?
Hey, Jasper, easy with that spatula….
You sure know how to tie up those pretzels!
You definitely know how to whip an egg…
I was worried something would slip and then it would be even more awkward.
Of course, Jasper and Alice could be a good resource too.
Of course talking with my boss about what that lifestyle meant would be weird.
I didn't want to think about what Alice and Jasper got into.
I sat in my truck that still reminded me of the night prior until I knew I would start to worry Jasper.
I'd just pretend I didn't know. I could do that.
Maybe Alice wouldn't say anything.
Client confidentiality and all, right?
Of course, did she want me to know?
I shouldn't have asked.
Now I was feeling weird.
I'd just have to suck it up and deal with whatever I found in there.
Even if it dealt with inappropriate use of wooden spoons or spatulas.
I was reminded by Edward's spatula and spoons.
Okay, not all uses were inappropriate.
I took one more breath before opening up the door and stepping in to find Jasper watching me as I walked in.
He knew, didn't he?
"Morning!" he said pleasantly. "I thought you'd stay in your truck all morning!"
I looked down from his cheerful demeanor and shook my head.
"No, I just had to prepare for today," I mumbled.
"You had to prepare to make muffins and cookies?" he asked quizzically?
So he didn't know?
Could Alice really not tell him?
Warn him even?
Surely she must think I had questions?
This was so confusing.
"You look sort of out of it," he said as we walked back towards the kitchen. "Long night?"
"Um, sorta," I said. "Long day yesterday. A lot to take in."
He nodded and offered me a sympathetic smile.
"You must be going through a lot given you're dating the Cullen kid," he said.
I looked at him strangely.
"Not that he's the problem," he amended quickly. "Just that with his parents getting a divorce and all."
"Yeah, it's been a little dramatic," I mumbled and put on my apron.
Jasper moved around as he normally did, whistling that same 80's band song about sugar as he worked. He eyed me when I didn't move in to help.
"Are you sure you're okay?" he asked, a friendly smile on his face.
I nodded and went to work mixing the batter for the muffins he wanted to make. We worked quietly, save the whistling. I poured the batter into the extra large tins he had, scraping out the last of it with the spatula.
I smirked as I flicked the last of the batter into the remaining tin, startled when I heard Jasper laughing across the room.
"You have a great wrist flick! What's what I call whipping it!" he teased, making me blush.
Oh my god I bet he liked to whip Alice.
"You're in charge of the icing, with that flair, you'll have it under submission in no time!" he continued, seemingly oblivious to the innuendos.
At least I think he was.
Maybe he was egging me on.
To see if I would crack.
Scramble my thoughts.
The egg jokes were killing me.
He went back to whistling, rolling out the dough for his different cookies he made on Saturday morning. I watched him a little more closely, knowing what he was involved in now.
Jasper Whitlock was a little odd, it was obvious in how he seemed so at ease with bakery dough. Not that being happy with baking was odd, but Jasper Whitlock looked more like he would enjoy surfing or extreme sports than with baking. He was tall and muscled, and looked like he could take someone out with just a simple right hook.
And he whistled that stupid song all the time. Especially when he seemed to need to concentrate. He used the cookie cutter with ease, twisting it with precision and popping the cutouts onto the sheet. He was really pretty normal when you looked at him.
So what was he into?
"All right!" he said and slapped his hands together. "Let's get baking!"
He was in to baking. That's what.
Maybe he was out of the lifestyle. Maybe it was just Alice that lived it.
Maybe he and Alice had lived that lifestyle and something tragic happened, sending Jasper into some baking therapy.
Maybe Alice treated him for some addiction.
Maybe Jasper was in some kinky witness protection program.
That could explain why he knew Dr. Creepy.
Maybe Alice was still treating Jasper, even though they were married and that was a little unethical.
Maybe I was overthinking this way too much and it was none of my business.
What he and Alice did didn't hurt me any.
I needed to forget about what Jasper and Alice did behind closed doors.
With the ovens full and baked goods rotating into the display cases, we were ready to open doors to the customers.
The morning was like most of the others.
Our regulars came in early, between eight and ten in the morning, leaving us a little reprieve at ten when Jasper usually let me go on a break. It was this morning with all that was in my head that I decided to maybe do a little research. I pulled out my laptop in the eating area and was just booting up when Jasper came out to sit with me, two cups of coffee in hand.
"What are you working on?" he asked, all smiles.
"Um," I stammered.
Think think think.
"Homework?" I said, more as a question than a statement.
"Biology?" he said, winking.
Well sort of.
"I was pretty good in school, if you have any questions," he said, sipping his coffee. "I was more into history than science, but I was always a good learner. I remember everything."
I paused on getting online to look at him again.
"What did you study in school?" I asked, genuinely intrigued by the history of Jasper Whitlock.
His smile wavered slightly and he swallowed his coffee a little hard.
"History, actually," he answered. "Civil War specifically."
"What made you get into baking?" I asked, wonderingwhat would make him make such a large leap..
Was he always a baker? Just recreationally?
He frowned and looked down at his cup.
"I guess I needed something that I enjoyed. Something I could do myself that made other people happy," he said quietly. "Not a lot of work for Civil War historians."
"Did you always like to cook?" I asked, sensing a deeper story between the Whitlocks.
He shook his head and toyed with the top of his cup, avoiding my gaze.
Like night and day, his mood had changed.
"I was a personal…chef, for… someone," he said and straightened a little. "I dropped out of school studying history to take that position."
"That's a big leap in jobs," I said, wondering what would make him drop out of school.
The money must have been really good.
"Well, she was very committed to service," he said and let out a long breath. "She was very particular about the people serving her. It was the 24/7 sort of thing."
"Did you already know how to cook before you started to work for her?" I asked.
We weren't talking about being a chef anymore. I knew that.
He shook his head.
"No, she taught me. From day one. She taught me everything."
"So she was a…. cook as well?"
He chuckled and eyed me curiously.
Did he know that I understood what we were talking about?
"No, she was more like a control freak. She liked everything done a certain way. So she taught those under her how she preferred… things. She was patient most of the time at my failures."
"And when she wasn't patient? She didn't…fire you?" I asked.
He chuckled low and shook his head.
"Firing me wasn't really an option."
"And you stayed?"
"I could have quit, but I was one of those people that felt that was just another way of being a loser," he said and frowned again.
"I can't see you ever being a loser," I said, enjoying his smile creep up the side of his face once more.
"Well thank you," he said and relaxed a bit.
"When did you meet Alice?" I asked softly, knowing that she had something to do with getting him out of whatever he was into.
His smile returned, a little softer as he looked out the window, as if imagining a memory.
"She was at a social engagement," he said, glancing at me for a moment before clearing his throat. "I was looking for another boss, you see."
"And Alice needed a personal chef?"
He smiled wryly. He knew that I knew exactly what he was talking about.
"She needed a lot of things," he said. "But she liked her cupcakes."
I smiled at the way we were speaking about his past.
"So she took you for your excellent baking skills," I said.
He sighed and looked out again.
"Well, I had been taught a different style than she liked," he said.
"Different tastes for different people," I replied, thinking about Edward and how he had changed since meeting me.
"Tastes change. It's just a matter of learning what your partner likes. And you adapt. They do the same," he said and smiled ruefully. "It takes some getting used to. And sometimes it's tough, especially if you had been specifically trained for one thing. But you do what you can to please your partner."
"But you like…baking," I said, sure that I was going too far in asking this.
His smile wavered and he let out a long sigh.
"Oh yes. I like it a lot. Too much sometimes. Alice helped me to see how moderate my needs. That's how I started this business. It's an outlet," he said.
"So, you and Alice experiment in tastes, to see what you both like?" I asked.
He chuckled and nodded.
"We have a pretty spicy variety, yes."
"Certainly not vanilla," I said, earning a wide eyed look from him.
He cleared his throat and looked back down at his coffee cup.
"Vanilla is a very vibrant and complex flavor," he murmured. "It's special. And there are different kinds of vanilla. Oh no, vanilla is one of my favorites because it goes with so many other flavors."
I smiled and closed up my laptop.
I didn't need to do research on the lifestyle.
I learned everything I needed to know by talking with Jasper Whitlock.
I knew he had a much deeper history, something that turned him away from it to some degree. But to know that he and Alice had a healthy sex life, regardless of any baking metaphors, I knew it was going to be okay.
Our little break was broken up by the phone ringing, Jasper smiling and heading to answer it. I took the time to head back to the back and pull out the rest of the muffins in the oven, pleased with my hard work.
I wondered how Edward's session was going with Alice, and how much he would talk about what we had talked about.
I knew he had made great leaps in the last week or so, even with the set back with my dad. I was sure that dinner would be a little awkward, but Charlie had promised to behave and have an open mind.
And Edward was feeling more confident.
Tonight would go well.
I was bringing out more of the muffins for the late morning rush when Jasper hung up the phone, scribbling down something on a piece of paper.
"Hey, how do you feel about making a delivery?" he asked, his head bent low over the counter as he wrote.
He looked up and nodded.
"Birthday party. I guess the mom had a fiasco in the kitchen and just ordered up a cake. She needs it delivered by 1. I know you get off at 1, but I rode my bike in today," he said and shrugged.
"I never took you for the bike rider," I said, smirking. "What do you got? A Schwinn?"
"I am all Harley, little missy," he said, wagging his pen at me.
Oh that kind of bike.
Yeah, Jasper just kept getting cooler.
"I'll pay you for the afternoon and you can just head home after you deliver," he said, enticing me with the extra cash.
"Okay," I agreed and smiled when he high fived me and went in the back to start on the cake.
I took care of the customers as they came in, enjoying the smiles from everyone as they purchased our hard work. Whatever Jasper's past, he was certainly successful here now. I could only hope that I could do something like that one day.
If I ever went.
I thought again about that scholarship that Tanya had talked about.
Yeah, I was sure it never existed.
Cake in hand, I set it on the floorboard of my trusty truck and was on my way.
The address was out of town, almost halfway to Port Angeles off the main road towards the logging areas deep in the Olympic Peninsula. Why anyone would live out this way I didn't know, but it was pretty with its winding roads.
When logging trucks weren't barreling down the road at you.
It had started raining as soon as I had left the bakery, which was always my luck. So I drove a little more carefully as I made my way down the long road. It was nearing one o'clock when I found the address, a long driveway similar to the Cullens to a home set off the road.
I pulled up to the front of the house, stepping out into the rain to come around the passenger side to carefully pull the cake out. Regardless of it being in the box, I wanted to make sure it didn't get ruined for the party. Covering it with my jacket I hurried up to the porch to knock on the door.
I looked around while I waited for someone to answer the door.
There were no cars here for the party.
My body tensed at a strange thought just as I heard the door open behind me.
I almost expected who I saw when I turned.
"I was hoping you would be the one to come, Bella."
My eyes narrowed at the pretty woman in front of me.
"Tanya," I growled.
"I know what you are going to say," she started.
"You have no idea what I want to say to you!" I hissed.
"Bella, I just wanted to warn you," she said hurriedly.
"I don't need warnings from you, you sick bitch. You have no right to even speak to me after all you've done!" I exclaimed and shoved the cake box at her roughly, not caring that it was being crushed into her abdomen.
I really wanted to shove at her and make her land on her ass.
Maybe smear that nice cake all over her.
Make her choke on it.
But she'd probably enjoy it too much.
"I didn't want to hurt you, Bella! Or Edward. I do care about him," she said, her words meaning a lot less with cake all over her.
"You don't care about Edward!" I yelled. "If you did, you wouldn't have done what you did with him! You and his father did so much to hurt him, you don't deserve any of my time to try and lie to me! You belong in jail."
"I was upset then, Bella. Carlisle promised me that if I came down here to help him get Esme back, I'd be able to make it up to Edward. I didn't realize he was involved with you until Carlisle told me what he wanted," she said, still holding the cake like a lame ass.
"And what did he want you to do?" I spat out.
"He wanted me to break you up," she confessed. "But I had no idea, Bella, once I met you. You don't understand. I do what he says. He is…"
"Nuts is what he is. Grow a backbone and be your own person, Tanya," I growled and made to leave. She grabbed me, the icing making it hard for her to hold onto me.
"I never wanted to hurt you, Bella. I just wanted Edward. I couldn't have Carlisle."
"You'll never have Edward. He's mine," I hissed.
That's when she had the audacity to smile.
Well, spoken like a true Domme," she said smugly.
I will vehemently deny punching her.
Well, only if my dad asked me.
Otherwise. Yes. I punched her. Hard.
Hopefully I broke her nose.
I didn't wait to see the blood.
I turned on my heel and bolted for my truck, turning when I got to my door to shout at her through the rain.
"You stay away from us! You come anywhere close to me or Edward and I will enjoy spending the night in jail after what I do to you! Just stay out of our life!"
I jumped into my truck and started it up, wishing for once that I had some high-powered big truck that could sling mud back at her. All I could manage was a good backfire before slowly making my way back down the driveway. It started to pour rain as soon as I reached the highway.
I started on my way back to town, the logging trucks blowing past me even in the rain. I couldn't think too much about them though.
I was pissed.
Finding Tanya at the door was the last thing I wanted to deal with.
Having to talk to her was even worse.
But hitting made it a little better.
But having her still around just made me wonder what was going on.
Charlie had said she was leaving town.
Why wasn't she gone?
Or was outside city limits being out of town?
I growled over the steering wheel at that idea.
It would be just like Dr. Creepy to think like that.
So with Tanya remaining in town, it meant that Dr. Creepy still had something planned.
Why couldn't he just….
A flash of headlights behind me got my attention.
High beams coming up on me fast.
Too fast on this wet and twisting turning road.
Another logging truck zipped past me, causing me to grip the steering wheel harder from the wind pushing against me from its passing.
The car behind me caught up, pulling in dangerously close behind me. I recognized the car as soon as it pulled in close.
I could see his blond hair in the mirror.
Why couldn't he just leave us alone?
What did he hope to gain by chasing my down the freeway?
Had he been there with Tanya?
Did he see what I did to her?
What was he doing?
I tried to push the truck a little faster, knowing this was getting dangerous fast.
The turns on the road were bad on a good day. But in the rain, with logging trucks charging past us, it was deadly.
Charlie had to come out for more wrecks on this stretch than he did any other calls.
Dr. Creepy was going to kill us if he kept this up.
All because he was mad I was dating Edward?
That he was getting a divorce with his wife?
Why did he feel the need to punish me over his failings?
Because he liked to punish, idiot.
Should I slow down?
Should I speed up?
I couldn't call Charlie, my hands were too occupied with keeping the steering wheel steady. We made it to one of the straight drags when the clouds seem to open up over us. I slowed on instinct, refusing to let him push me any faster. He pulled out from behind me and came up beside me, the Mercedes having much better acceleration than my poor truck. I tried to ignore him beside me, concentrating on the road.
It was that or get hysterical and crash.
I didn't want to die on the highway.
Not by Mr. Creepy.
He paced alongside beside me, my only glace towards him revealing that creepy smile he had.
I couldn't think about that.
He was breaking all sorts of laws and the only thing I could think about….
Was the truck that suddenly appeared speeding towards us in his lane.
I barely had time to register it through the rain before I slammed on my brakes, feeling the truck fishtail and veer off towards the embankment of trees beside the road.
I didn't have time to see if Dr. Creepy had seen the truck.
I could only register the muted browns and greens flashing past me as I careened into the forest beside the road, the deep embankment causing the truck to accelerate as it crashed through the undergrowth. I couldn't hear anything but my screaming as I plummeted down and down.
Strangely through the screaming I could only think about one thing.
I could only think about my dad and Edward sitting awkwardly waiting for me to get home.
I could only think about what they might say when they heard I had crashed.
I could only wait until something stopped my runaway truck.
Like a tree.
A really big tree met up with the front corner causing the back end to pop up off its tires from the impact, forcing me forward violently in my seat, saved from catapulting through the windshield by the seat belt across my lap.
It didn't however keep me from hitting my head on the side window.
Everything went dark.
Not really black, like they say.
Just a really muffled darkness like seeing through your eyelids on a cloudy day.
I wasn't thinking about me though.
I was thinking about Edward.
With my dad.
That was going to be so so awkward without me there.
I needed to get home.
Before Edward got there.
Before Charlie said something.
And then it all went black.
To be continued.....