Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns all recognizable characters and settings. No copyright infringement is intended.
After the "incident," Angela and Rosalie forced me to take two weeks off. It really wasn't necessary—it's not like my injuries were any worse than usual. I'd done more damage tripping over my own feet. Honestly, it looked far worse than it felt. I pitched a huge fit, but in the end, they convinced me that I deserved a vacation. All right, so Rosalie threatened me within an inch of my life, and then she whipped out her phone and called her secretary, telling her to reschedule any clients she had over the next two weeks. Then she just looked at me, arching one elegant eyebrow, as if daring me to contradict her. Um, not me. No, thank you. That woman could be downright terrifying when she wanted to be.
I spent the next fourteen days doing absolutely nothing. And surprisingly, it was nice. It wasn't fabulous or anything, but it was nice. I read quite a bit, and I slept a lot. I ate a sickening amount of ice cream and generally did not much of anything. I worried a little about the store at times, but that just made my stomach hurt, so I tried not to think about it too often. Every day, Rosalie either called or stopped by with dinner to let me know how things were going. In other words, she told me the store was fine and to stop being such a whiny bitch about it.
And that was before I even had a chance to open my mouth.
All righty, then.
While she remained tight-lipped about my shop, Rosalie had no such qualms about discussing Cullen Music. Apparently having a brawl outside your store was a good way to gain some "street cred," because they were getting a pretty good amount of traffic now.
That just figured. I got a black eye, a concussion, and a future involving bankruptcy papers, and Edward hit the jackpot. Wasn't that the story of my life?
As for Edward, I did my best not to think about him at all. Whether I admitted it or not, I had believed at one time that there could be something special between us. At the very least, I'd thought we were friends. His actions since his store had opened had proven otherwise, and that hurt. It hurt a lot.
Time went by surprisingly quickly, what with sleeping twelve hours a day, and before I knew it, it was time for me to head back to the shop.
The alarm clock woke me up at what now felt obscenely early, and I rolled out of bed and shuffled to the bathroom. I went through my typical morning routine, only this time, I yawned every few minutes, wanting nothing more than to go back to bed for another six hours or so. I really shouldn't have screwed up with my biological clock … or circadian rhythm … or whatever it was that I'd messed up by going to bed in the wee hours of the morning and then sleeping until mid-afternoon.
Somehow I managed to shower, brush my teeth, and get dressed while half awake. I peered at myself in the mirror, wincing at the fading purple and yellow bruise under my left eye, but overall, I looked all right. Just a little … worse for wear, that was all.
With a pathetic groan, I left my apartment and drove to work. My fingers drummed against the steering wheel. I wasn't sure what I'd find when I got there. Logically, I realized it would be exactly the same, that nothing would have changed. But emotionally, something just felt … off. It didn't matter if it looked the same; the fact was, everything was different now. My time spent at A Likely Story was now tainted. I knew me, and so I knew that I would overanalyze—and overdramatize—every single moment from now until I closed the door for the last time. Which, given what had happened two weeks ago, could be any minute.
I stopped at a red light and sighed. I had to come to terms with the loss of the store … and my dream. It wasn't ideal, and it certainly was not what I wanted, but I was young and reasonably intelligent. I'd bounce back. I just had to come up with a new dream. The only problem was, whenever I felt brave enough to think about it, I came up blank. The bookstore had been my dream for as long as I could remember, and I had absolutely no clue what else I could possibly do with myself.
The car behind me honked, breaking me from my reverie; the light had turned green. Oops.
I pulled into my parking space behind the store and got out, locking my car before heading for the back entrance to the shop. Rosalie had taken my key to ensure I didn't try to sneak in while I was on "vacation," but she'd said she would meet me here this morning. I opened the door, which opened up into a narrow hallway, and immediately headed toward the kitchen. Laughter was echoing off the walls, and I found myself smiling as I hastened my steps, wanting to join my friends.
I'd expected to see Rosalie and Angela, chatting and laughing as they waited for me to arrive. They were there all right … along with Alice, Emmett, Ben, and … Jasper? What the hell was he doing in Seattle?
I was about to ask that very question when I noticed what they were doing. There was flour everywhere. And not just on the counters and floors either. Oh, no. They were all covered in the stuff. Then I noticed the metal objects sitting in front of a giggling Alice.
"Step away from the muffin tins," I said, deepening my voice in a lame attempt to sound authoritative. All eyes turned toward me, and I grinned.
Soon, I was covered in flour, too, since they immediately pounced, hugging and laughing and welcoming me back.
Jasper was the last to hug me, and I could tell he was feeling a little hesitant. He pulled back and then feathered his fingers along the bruise under my eye. "I'm sorry, Bella."
I fought the urge to roll my eyes. "It's not your fault, Jasper—who could have known your fans were so violent?" I joked.
It was a really bad joke, apparently, because Jasper winced. This time, I did roll my eyes. "Kidding! I mean it—it's not your fault. You have nothing to apologize for. Got it?"
He stared at me for a moment and then his face broke into a genuine smile; I sagged a little, relieved. "I'm just glad you're okay," he said.
I smiled and assured him that I was just fine. Then I tilted my head to one side and looked at him curiously. "What are you doing here?" I asked, then backpedaled quickly. "I mean, it's great that you're here and all … you know what I mean … but shouldn't you be home, working on your next best-seller?"
Jasper's cheeks flushed as he covertly glanced at Alice.
"Oh," I said. That was eloquent, Bella. Sheesh. I wasn't sure what I thought about that. I wondered if Alice felt the same way. They were polar opposites, personality-wise, anyway, but maybe that would be a good thing. Alice could draw Jasper out a little more, and Jasper could calm Alice down … hopefully a lot. Well, not too much, because I really did like her energy, but sometimes she could be a little over the top. I looked over the tiny, dark-haired woman and found her casting sideways glances at Jasper. It was then that I remembered her reaction to seeing him at the book reading.
Aha. And it all suddenly becomes clear, I thought.
I brushed the flour from my clothing and turned to ask Rosalie for my key back, but she was missing. I groaned internally; she was probably with Emmett, doing God knew what in some dark corner of the store. Yes, they were now a couple, which I found hysterical. Although, in some ways, they were like Jasper and Alice; they evened each other out. Rosalie had called me when it had first happened to thank me. Apparently they'd been arguing over me and Edward and who was to blame for the "night-which-shall-not-be-mentioned," when somehow they'd ended up making out on the couch in Edward's office. I smirked at the thought of him having to disinfect his furniture.
I shook my head as Emmett and an uncharacteristically disheveled but smiling Rosalie entered the kitchen. Something must have been in the water while I was gone to have them all couple up like that in only two weeks' time. Well, except for Ben and Angela, but only because they'd already been a couple. And thank goodness for that, because the UST in the room was already at an all-time high, and at least Ben and Angela were well past that point. I glanced over at them just in time to see Ben wrap Ang in his arms, his gaze smoldering …
I really had to stop reading so many trashy romances.
My nose suddenly itched, and I sneezed loudly. Stupid flour.
"Oh, please, please tell me you guys have not been attempting to bake muffins to sell while I was gone." Surely they wouldn't do that to me. The muffins were my specialty; nobody else knew the recipe. They couldn't be replicated, and if they'd tried to pass off of some mediocre-quality muffin instead …
I thought I was going to hyperventilate.
"Don't worry, Bella," Alice said. "We know better than to try to bake. We were just getting out the ingredients for you, but … well. We got a little carried away." She smiled apologetically.
My breathing calmed, and I nodded. "Okay. Good. That's good."
"Oh, but you might want to make double the normal amount today," she continued. "People have been asking about them, and they know you're coming back today."
"What?" I asked, shocked. "Really?"
Alice laughed, and the others looked at me like I was the most adorable thing they'd ever seen. I glared at them before turning my attention back to Alice.
"Yes, really. Now, we'll clean up this mess and get out of your hair for a while, so you can get those muffins done!"
She clapped her hands together, and instantly, everyone got to work cleaning up the flour that had been spilled all over every surface. And then there was a flurry of hugs as they left, leaving me alone in the sparkling clean kitchen. I blinked, thinking that I should have Alice come over more often, then shrugged and got to work.
I finished the last batch of muffins just before it was time to open. I put the cooled muffins on trays and then carried them to the bakery case, placing them inside. I smiled as I looked around the store; it never failed to make me happy. That sense of pride and accomplishment that I always felt when I was here was still present, but now it was bittersweet, knowing that in a few months' time it would all be over. I got the cash register ready for the day and then grabbed the keys and unlocked the door. With a wistful sigh, I turned the sign so that it read "open."
The morning was surprisingly busy, so much so that I was glad that Angela and Rosalie had stayed to help out. Usually, I was the only one who worked mornings, but yikes, we were busy! I couldn't help but wonder what the hell was going on, but I didn't have time to dwell on it too much, because Alice had been right about the muffins. I actually had to make a third batch, just to make it through the morning.
We were so busy, in fact, that it wasn't until late afternoon that I noticed the soft, soothing music that flowed from the ceiling speakers. It had been months since I'd even bothered to turn on the sound system—any music I'd played had been drowned out by the rock music from next door. That was when it hit me: it was so quiet.
What. The. Hell.
Where was the music that should have been blaring from next door?
I looked around the store—really looked—for the first time that day. There were people browsing … actually browsing! Many of the tables were occupied, and several had a muffin and a cup of coffee sitting next to open laptops.
It was just as I'd always imagined; it had to be a dream. I squeezed my eyes closed, then opened them to the same sight. I rang up a customer and then called Angela over to watch the register while I went to find Rosalie. I waited while she helped a customer and then jerked my head to the side, indicating to her to follow me.
I led her to a quiet, empty corner of the store and turned to face her. "What the hell is going on?"
She merely looked at me, a subtle smirk upon her face. "Why don't you tell me exactly what it is that's bothering you," she said.
My eyes narrowed at her smug tone, but I knew that if I wanted to know anything, I'd have to ask her directly. "Why are all these people here? And why is there no music playing next door? And while I'm at it, what the hell is going on with Jasper and Alice?"
Rose rolled her eyes. "I think it's obvious what's going on with Jasper and Alice. As for the other stuff, why are you asking me? Why don't you go ask him?"
I eyed her warily. "Him who?"
She shook her head and then started speaking very slowly, as if talking to a child. "If you want to know about what's going on next door, go over there and talk to Edward. As for what's going on here, I think you'll get your answer if you ask your other question first—to the right person, this time."
And with that, she flipped her hair over one shoulder and walked away.
I stood there for a minute, too stunned to move, and then decided to follow Rose's advice. She was right—if I wanted to know what was happening, I needed to ask the right person. Apparently that person was Edward Cullen.
I walked back to the front of the store and told Angela I was stepping out for a few minutes but that I'd be right back. I headed outside and once again made my way next door. My determination to get answers grew with every step—so did my apprehension. I paused outside the door to Cullen Music and took a few deep breaths. The last time I'd seen Edward, he was throwing the guy who'd accidentally blackened my eye against this very door.
That had to mean he liked me … at least a little. Right?
"Whatever," I mumbled under my breath. What did I care if Edward Cullen liked me or not? He was a jerk, and I didn't want anything to do with him. I ignored the little voice inside my head that kept asking who I was trying to convince.
I opened the door and a blast of music hit me, catching me completely by surprise. How could it possibly be this loud in here when I couldn't hear it at all from my side? I frowned and headed for the counter, where Emmett was manning the register.
"Yo, Bella!" he bellowed as I approached, causing my cheeks to flush bright red. "Eddie's back in the office, if that's who you're lookin' for."
Not knowing how to respond to that, I just nodded and walked in the direction of the office.
I found Edward hunched over his desk, reading over some paperwork. He looked like he'd seen better days. There was a deep furrow between his eyebrows and dark circles underneath his eyes. His complexion was even paler than usual, and his typically messy hair looked as if he'd run his hand through it multiple times, causing it to stand on end in every direction. Even his clothes were rumpled, which was really saying something because Edward was normally very meticulous about his clothing. I watched as he pinched the bridge of his nose and tossed a piece of paper onto the desktop. Yep, he was definitely stressed out about something.
I briefly considered coming back another time but then decided it was best to just be done with it. With that thought in mind, I rapped my knuckles against the doorframe and waited for him to acknowledge me.
"Go away, Emmett. I'm busy."
"Um, okay. I guess I can come back later," I said as I began to back out of the doorway.
His head snapped up, his gaze locking to mine. "Bella?"
I smiled hesitantly. "The one and only," I joked lamely.
He practically leapt out of the chair and made his way around to the front of the desk. "Sorry. I thought you were Emmett."
We stared at each other for almost a full minute before Edward seemed to snap out of it.
"Come in. How are you feeling?" he said as he sat down on the edge of the desk.
"I'm fine, thanks. I—" I paused and bit my lower lip, my gaze dropping to the floor. I hadn't been expecting him to care about my well-being. Okay, that really wasn't nice of me to think, because other than his indifference to my ranting about soundproofing and his refusal to cancel the live music, he hadn't ever shown himself to be uncaring. I sighed and then looked at him from beneath my lashes. "Really, it wasn't a big deal."
Edward frowned. "You were hurt. Of course it was a big deal."
I shrugged and looked away.
He was quiet for a minute, then folded his arms across his chest. "Was there a reason you stopped by?"
Well, crap. Now that I was here in front of him, I wasn't sure what I wanted to say or how I wanted to say it. I nodded and decided to jump right in. Looking anywhere but his eyes, I asked, "Why is the music so loud in here and so quiet in my shop? And do you know why I suddenly have a boatload of people over there? Why do you look like you've been run over by a semi, and why are you looking at me like that? And did anyone ever find out who called the cops that night? I guess … I guess that's it."
Edward's lips quirked a little, and I dared to meet his gaze. He was visibly amused by my little outburst.
"Well," he drawled, his velvety voice washing over me, "I hope you don't mind if I answer your questions out of order. First, it was someone in one of the apartments above the store across the street who called in the noise complaint."
My eyes widened; I hadn't even thought about them. "Oh. I see."
"As for why you can no longer hear the music in your store," he continued, pausing briefly to rub the back of his neck with his hand, "we installed the soundproofing while you were gone."
I stared at him, dumbfounded. "You—you what?"
He smiled crookedly, causing my already pounding heart to stutter. "We installed the soundproofing … like we should have from the beginning," he said, his expression chagrined. "We closed the store for a few days and just got it done. We had them put a double layer in the wall that's between our stores, just to make sure no sound carried through."
"But you said you couldn't afford it," I said stupidly.
He chuckled softly. "Turned out it wasn't as expensive as I'd thought it would be. And it helped that my parents agreed to lend me the money. Really, the labor costs and shutting down the store was the most expensive part, but I should have that paid off in a few months, if all goes well."
I was completely flabbergasted. I had no idea what to say, so I stood there in the doorway to his office, looking like a dork with my mouth hanging open. I'm sure it was quite a flattering sight. When I was able to gather my thoughts, I said, "Thank you. I don't know what else to say. It means a lot to me."
"You're welcome." Then he pinned me with his gaze and said, "You mean a lot to me."
He rose to his feet and strode toward me as I stared at him with wide, disbelieving eyes, unable to do anything but watch as he drew closer. He stopped when he was within arm's reach. "To answer two of your other questions, I haven't slept for the last two weeks, trying to figure out how to make things right. I've made a huge mess out of everything, I know, but I … I really like you, Bella. When we first met, I was instantly entranced by you, not just because you're so beautiful—"
"—but because of your intelligence and drive and spirit. You captured my heart and mind and soul in a way that no other has ever managed to do. And I messed it all up with one stupid, careless mistake after another. I've never been so frustrated and angry with myself as I have been over the last few months. Believe it or not, I have a reputation for being charming—"
I definitely believed that.
"—but when it comes to you, I seem accomplish the exact opposite of what I intend. It's maddening. First, I completely forgot to install the soundproofing, and then I took out my frustration about my mistake on you. I really am sorry for that."
I nodded, still unable to speak. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
"And then I attempted to fix things between us personally by trying to help you out with your business, but everything I did just seemed to make you even more angry with me. The coupons?" he asked.
As if I could forget.
"I thought they would bring in some extra business for you. It never occurred to me that you would take it as something malicious on my part. I'm so sorry that you felt that way for even a second. I would never do anything to intentionally hurt you."
My head was spinning with all this new information, and I felt like I was going to pass out with him so close to me, but I had to know everything. "Um … okay, what about the rest?"
He swallowed hard, his eyes shining with remorse. "The book shipment—I wasn't lying. I really did forget to bring it over. It was busy that week, and I just … forgot. And you said you thought I was turning up the music at night—I swear, I never did that. Not even once. I'm not sure why you would think that."
Because I was a paranoid freak, that's why.
"I can't ever tell you just how sorry I am for what happened two weeks ago. I wasn't intentionally trying to sabotage the book reading, Bella. It was an oversight on my part, and I was an idiot for not at least attempting to change the date. I just didn't see a way out of it. I tried to tell the band to keep it low, but apparently their definition of low is different from mine." He gave a small self-deprecating smile. "They started playing, and I instantly knew it was going to be a problem. I was about to go talk to them, to tell them turn it down, when Jasper's voice started drifting into the store."
Oops. My bad.
"And then they got annoyed and kept turning it up to drown Jasper out. It was … well, it was horrible, and I should have tried to control them better, but by then I was just as irritated as they were." He looked at me apologetically. "Then the police showed up and … well, you know the rest. I really am sorry, Bella, and I can only hope that someday you'll be able to forgive me."
What was I supposed to say to that? Everything I'd thought, every assumption I'd made, had been completely wrong. Not only that, but he liked me … liked me. Just the thought of it made me feel all giddy and warm and tingly inside. I could feel the idiotic grin tugging at my lips. "Edward—"
He lifted a finger and touched my lips, silencing me and causing my breath to hitch.
"One more thing to tell you, love."
I almost passed out when he called me "love." He must have sensed that my legs had turned to jelly, because he helped me to the chair in front of his desk. He gently pushed me back, and I collapsed more than sat in the chair. Edward knelt in front of me, that damn sexy, crooked smile firmly in place.
I sucked in a gasping breath and stared at him with wide eyes as he took my hands in his. He wasn't going to propose, was he? Holy crow! That would not be good, because of course, I'd have to say no. We hardly knew each other, and while we seemed to be finally on the same page, I wasn't ready for that; not by a long shot. Right? We hadn't even kissed yet! My heart betrayed my mind by imagining waking up to Edward Cullen every morning for the rest of my life. I could cook for him—he'd once said he was a miserable cook—and he could do the cleaning up. We'd listen to music together and argue over classic literature, and maybe we'd buy a cute little house in the suburbs and raise little music-loving bookworms who wore Converse sneakers and had perpetually disheveled hair. I was trying to decide the color for our imaginary living room walls when Edward's voice broke through my insane thoughts.
"… so I contacted the president of Jasper's fan club."
Huh? Why was he talking about Jasper when he was proposing marriage? Uh, maybe because he's not, dufus. Oh. "Why would you contact Jasper's fan club?" I asked, getting my head back in the real world.
He squeezed my hands a little tighter. "I felt bad for what happened, especially after talking with Angela. I didn't realize how much hinged on that night. So I called the president of Jasper's fan club and told her what happened and that it was entirely my fault. I'd already talked with Jasper, and I told her that he'd agreed to come out and do another reading … one that wasn't interrupted by the stupid idiot music store owner next door. The reading was last week, and there was a huge turnout." He looked away, his cheeks turning a light pink; I bit my lower lip to keep myself from smiling. "It went really well, and … well, I might have gone online to a few writers' groups and put in some favorable reviews for A Likely Story. I remembered you saying that you'd like the store to be a place for writers to come and work, so …." He shrugged it off as if it were nothing.
The smile I was attempting to restrain broke free, and my eyes filled with tears—happy ones, this time. He had remembered. Not only that, but he'd done all of those things, tried to help me as best he could, even if he had screwed it all up, because he knew how important the bookshop was to me. Because he cared about me. I sniffled as one fat tear made its way down my cheek.
Edward's gaze returned to mine, and his eyes filled with panic. "Bella, I'm sorry if I overstepped—oomph."
I hadn't been able to stop myself from throwing myself at him, knocking him on his ass, and kissing him with everything I had. I wriggled around, our mouths still locked together, until I was straddling his hips, my hands fisted in his hair. He was fairly unresponsive for, oh, about two seconds, and then one hand was in my hair, the other between my shoulder blades, pressing me more tightly to him. His mouth was hot and demanding as he took control of the kiss, sucking and nipping at my lips until I opened for his intrusion. Once I'd conceded to his demand, he gentled the kiss, his tongue sliding against mine as he tasted and savored. I don't know how long we sat there, kissing on the floor of his office, and I didn't really care because it was absolutely the most perfect kiss ever. Our lips were swollen and our breathing ragged when we finally came up for air, and I smiled as I laid my head on his shoulder, my face buried in his neck. He held me to him tightly, and I closed my eyes as my fingers released his hair, my hands sliding down his chest to clutch the front of his shirt.
"I forgive you," I whispered against his neck, smiling when I felt the tension seep from his body as he relaxed in relief. "But you have to forgive me for being a paranoid bitch who makes assumptions and … Muffins!" I shouted nonsensically as I finally remembered I had somewhere I was supposed to be.
I scrambled out of his lap and, although my legs were still wobbly from that fuckawesome kiss, I stumbled toward the door.
"Wait," I heard him say dazedly from his position on the floor. "Where are you going?"
I paused in the middle of his office, turned, and grinned at him. "I have to get back to work. Someone's magic lips made me forget I'm on the job for a while, but I need to get back over there. And I'm getting you a muffin—I think after all that, you more than deserve one."
"Magic lips, huh?" He looked pretty smug as he rose to his feet—elegantly, of course, as always—and brushed his hands against the back of his pants.
I could have done that for you, I thought lasciviously, my cheeks instantly turning pink at the thought of groping Edward's ass.
He stalked toward me—really, there was no other word for it—smiling crookedly as he wrapped me in his arms. I tilted back my head and looked up at him, already dazzled by his proximity.
"Is it all right if I come over later?" he asked, then pressed his lips to my forehead. "For my muffin, of course … among other things."
My eyes closed of their own volition, and I was about to reply when I inhaled that delicious scent that could only belong to Edward. "Uh … guh." I all but whimpered, completely incoherent by that point.
Get it together, girl! He's talking to you! "Um … sure. I'll save one just for you." You can have as many muffins as you want if you keep kissing me like that.
His lips quirked into that crooked grin, and his eyes shone with ... gah! I no longer even knew. But there was happiness and affection and …. Damn, he's sexy.
"Bella?" he asked again, and I blinked my eyes and tried to clear the fog from my brain.
He chuckled. "So I'll see you tonight?"
Edward continued to grin, and I didn't know how long I stood there, completely lost until he raised his eyebrows. Oh, yeah. Work. "M'kay. I'll just ... uh ... work." I began to slowly walk backward out the door.
"Just one more thing," he said, and I stopped where I was, backed against the wall next to the door.
He walked over, kissed my forehead again, then the tip of my nose, and then he pressed a lingering kiss on my mouth before easing away from me. I blinked several times, trying to gain my bearings, when he chuckled lightly and slung an arm across my shoulders as he led me back out to the main area of the store.
Emmett took one look at us—I was sure my hair looked like a haystack after Edward had run his hands through it—and began laughing raucously, causing Edward to glare at him spitefully, which only set Emmett off even more.
Edward rolled his eyes and looked down at me and smiled. He pulled me into a tight hug and kissed the top of my head before he released me and walked back toward his office. "I'll see you later, Bella," he called out over his shoulder.
I bit my lip as I watched him until he disappeared from my sight—his ass looked far too good in those jeans for me to have looked away even for a single second. I sighed happily and then practically floated out of the store, Emmett's loud guffaws echoing in my ears. It didn't bother me in the slightest.
I entered A Likely Story, ready to get to work on a special batch of muffins just for Edward—even thinking his name caused me to shiver deliciously from head to toe—but I was stopped by a three-woman inquisitorial squad. Angela, Rosalie, and Alice stood side by side, arms crossed, eyebrows raised expectantly.
I laughed and said, "Okay, okay. Maybe I was wrong about him."
Rosalie and Angela looked at each other, smirking, while Alice began bouncing on the balls of her feet, her eyes sparkling. "I knew it!" she squealed.
My smile widened as I walked past them, heading for the kitchen. I hummed off-key as I baked the best muffins I'd ever made in my life. When they were done, I took them out of the oven, the smell wafting through the kitchen, and grinned until my cheeks ached. I couldn't remember ever having been this happy about being wrong in my entire life. I couldn't help it—I did a little happy dance, right in the middle of my kitchen.
A soft chuckle interrupted my revelry.
I blushed as I looked up to see Edward casually leaning against the doorframe, his mouth curling into that damn sexy grin of his. Every bone in my body seemed to melt.
Yeah, I was more than happy to admit it—Edward Cullen was definitely muffin-worthy.
The End! Thanks again to GinnyW and DeeMichelle for beta reading and cheerleading. I love you both!
And thanks to anyone who might have read my little tale. :)