So, I this idea randomly occurred to me one night, and I decided I had to write it down immediately before I got distracted or forgot about it (both are very viable options for me ;D).
In no way did I intend for this oneshot to be so freaking long though- I seriously was planning only this being a drabble kind of thing. Of course, that always seems to happen with me- I want to make a drabble, it winds up being 3,000. I want a long oneshot, it doesn't even make it to 1,000.
Ah, such is fanfiction.
This was partly inspired by an old episode of The Office (American edition, of course), waaay back during the second season, before Jim and Pam were even together. It doesn't really come up until the very end of this oneshot, but props to anyone that cares enough to notice it. :)
Well, I do my best to understand here
And I wanna know why
I pick myself up off the ground
To have you knock me back down
- "Cruel to Be Kind," by Letters to Cleo (A cover, obviously not the original :D)
"Now, don't worry, the chances of your other bakers catching hepatitis is very slim," Divya said with a patient smile, collecting her medical supplies as Jessie Marks, the baker and owner of Let Them Eat Cake, the Hamptons oldest third-generation bakery, scrubbed her hands nervously with a dishrag. "You were smart to send your brother home the second you thought he might be sick."
Jessie smiled, bright blue eyes crinkling in the corners as she hooked a few loose strands of dark hair behind her ear. "Thank you so much for helping us out here. You HankMed guys are a godsend."
Divya grinned back, closing her smart black medicine bag just as Evan pushed through the metal double doors, tapping away on a new BlackBerry. "Divya, have you tasted Jessie's lemon bars? They're freaking mind-blowing. You gotta try one."
She sighed, shooting Evan a disapproving glare. "Is that all you've been doing this whole time? Eating Jessie out of business?" she asked, shouldering her bag as she shifted weight to one hip and crossed her arms. Honestly, Evan could be so unprofessional at times.
Evan opened his mouth, most likely to argue, but Jessie cut in first. "Wait, are you Divya Katdare? The one that's getting married in a month?"
Both she and Evan immediately froze. Divya didn't really like discuss her upcoming nuptials in front of Evan- she knew he didn't approve of her arranged marriage, and for some odd reason his opinion was fast becoming one of the ones that bothered her the most.
Realizing that Jessie required an answer, Divya blushed heavily under her olive skin and said, "Yes. Well, the wedding is in six weeks, but yes, I'm Divya Katdare."
Evan said nothing but leaned back heavily against the counter behind him. She didn't bother looking his way- she didn't have the heart to see the disappointment she knew was on his face.
Jessie looked from Divya to Evan and back again. "Since you're here, would you like to have a little cake tasting now to cross out anything you might not like for the official appointment?" she asked, setting down her dishrag and pointing towards the back of the kitchen, where Let Them Eat Cake got the biggest portion of their revenue: decorative cakes.
Also known as wedding cakes.
Divya frowned, full lips pursing. "I'm not so sure that's a good idea," she said slowly, brushing shoulders with Evan as she leaned back next to him. "Evan and I still have other stops to make today…"
"Divs!" Evan said, elbowing her gently. "You cannot tell me you are honestly turning down cake. Jessie Marks' cake. The woman is practically a legend in the Hamptons!" He gave her a dopey grin, that infectious one that made it almost impossible for her to not smile back.
Jessie grinned a little wider. "So… I'll take that as a yes?" she said. Turning around, grabbed a tiny notepad from the counter and pulled a pencil from a coffee cup. She quickly scribbled something on the paper, then quickly ripped it off the pad and tucked it into a pocket on her apron.
Divya quirked an eyebrow, a frown still on her face, but she couldn't miss Evan's puppy dog eyes if she tried. "Alright," she finally conceded. "But only a few. We have work to do after." She directed that last part to her insufferable CFO.
"Great," Jessie said, walking towards down the narrow kitchen and towards the back, where tables were set up, holding cakes of various shapes and sizes and at various stages of completion. "In case you were wondering what I just wrote, I like to play a little game with myself to see if I can guess what type of cake & icing a customer will pick ahead of time. I've actually got a pretty decent record."
Divya followed behind, Evan quick on her heels. She quickly wrote and sent a text message to Hank explaining that they would be a little late to meet him at the next appointment. It was supposed to be a routine check-up, so she had no doubt that Hank would be able to get by just fine without his PA and CFO.
"So what kind of cake does Raj like?" Evan asked quietly behind her. He was close to her, and while normally someone else's body heat would cause Divya to quicken her pace until they were out of her personal bubble, she found herself lagging behind slightly, until she could almost feel his breath against the back of her neck.
Divya cleared her throat, slipping her phone back into her bag. "Raj doesn't like cake," she said brusquely, preparing herself for the inevitable overreaction.
"He- he doesn't like cake?" he hissed, dropping his voice even lower than before, as though Jessie might overhear them and throw them out of the bakery. "Who doesn't like cake? Everyone likes cake!"
She sighed. "Raj does not like cake. Not everyone likes cake," she said, stopping at the last table, the only empty one. Jessie was already in the back, picking out cakes for them to try.
Evan sputtered, clearly unable to believe what he was hearing. "Divs, everyone likes cake. The only people that don't like cake are the poor souls allergic to cake and weird people." Clapping his hands together and grinning triumphantly, he asked, "Do you like cake?"
Damn. He had her there and he knew it. "Yes, I like cake," she admitted grudgingly. "But Raj is not 'weird' for disliking cake. Everyone is entitled to their opinion."
He rolled his eyes. "Yeah, yeah," he said, watching as Jessie brought out an armful of cakes, all evenly sliced and set on individual plates. "Just 'cuz he's entitled to his opinion doesn't make that opinion not weird."
Divya mustered up another sigh, but it was half-hearted at best because she was having such a tough time not letting him see her growing smile. "Stop being so childish, Evan," she said, trying to keep up her usual 'disappointed parent' façade. She was failing miserably.
"I know you are but what am I?" Evan quipped, grinning like the Cheshire cat. Despite the fact that Jessie was right in front of them setting out plates, Divya couldn't resist the desire to wind up and slug Evan on the arm. Which she did, as hard as she could.
Evan yelped, rubbing his arm. Jessie snickered, shaking her head at their antics. "You guys are hilarious together," she said.
Divya could feel a blush beginning to blossom high on her cheekbones, but instead busied herself with grabbing one of the plastic forks Jessie had set out and spearing a corner of the first slice of cake she saw.
"Yeah, we're just a regular Donny and Marie," Evan said, but there wasn't that typical brand of dry humor in his voice that she was used to hearing. If anything, he sounded almost… bitter.
She shoved the forkful of cake in her mouth and immediately winced. Evan cut off another piece of the same slice and made almost the exact same face. "I'm sorry," she said to Jessie, lowering her fork. "Does this have blueberries in it?"
Jessie studied their faces, a small, confident smile playing on her lips. "Yes, this our Berries and Cream cake. It's very popular with the socialite set. The cake is made with whole blueberries in it and the whipped cream icing has strawberry and boysenberry flavoring infused in it."
Wrinkling her perfect ski-slope nose, Divya said, "I'm afraid I'm not much of a blueberry fan."
"You don't?" Evan said, looking somewhat relieved. "Thank God. I don't, either. They just have a funny aftertaste, don't they?"
Jessie chuckled and picked up the discarded cake, setting it aside on the countertop behind her. "Well, luckily for you we have plenty of other types of cake that are blueberry-free."
Blinking, Divya remembered something important. "Oh, none of these recipes have any peanuts in them, right?" she asked. Raj had a serious peanut allergy and always carried around an Epi-pen in case of emergencies. It always made ordering Chinese food (her favorite kind of take-out) with him very tricky.
"Hmm," Jessie said thoughtfully, cocking her head as she studied the plates she had set out. "For the most part, I don't use peanuts other than for peanut butter filling, but just to be on the safe side let me take away the Nuts Over Chocolate cake and the Chocolate Covered Brownies cake. The brownies have chunks of walnuts in it," she added, picking up the offending plates and placing them next to the discarded berry cake.
They continued this for a few minutes, Divya and Evan taking bites of cake in between gentle jabs and jokes at the other's expense. Pretty soon, they were only down to one cake, the one they kept going back to for second and third bites.
"Hey!" Evan cried indignantly, just as Divya's fork swooped in and scooped up the last bite of the cake. She gave him a haughty smirk as she deposited the last of the cake into her mouth and dropped her fork on the plate.
"That was just delicious, Jessie," she said. "Especially that last cake. I think it was my favorite."
"Right?" Evan said, looking over at her excitedly. "That was easily, like, the best cake ever. You really are the master at this whole cake-icing-wedding thing, Jessie." He paused, looking like a kid at Christmas. "Is there any way we could get another slice?"
Running slender fingers through her dark brown hair, Jessie smiled at him. "How about I make you guys a real quick cake that you can take back with you? Consider it a thank you for helping my business."
"Wha-" He stared at her, pale blue eyes dramatically wide. Now he definitely looked like a kid at Christmas. "Y-you would-? Th-that would be-!"
Divya rolled her eyes. "That would be lovely," she said over Evan's excited sputtering. "Thank you so much for letting us try your wonderful cake."
Pulling out that scrap of paper from her apron, Jessie smiled wider. "And thank you for helping me current record up," she said, and Divya detected a hint of smugness in her voice. "The cake you both love so much is this new recipe I've been trying out. Cherry-infused chocolate cake with a lemon buttercream icing. I think the slight bitterness in the lemons cuts into the sweetness of the cherries and chocolate blends nicely together." She unfolded the paper, setting it down on the table in front of them. There, in neat, looping scrawl, was cherry chocolate cake w/ lemon icing.
"I think it really fits the both of you," she continued with a knowing look. "You guys like to bicker and fight, but it's all for show. In the end, you both really love each other. I think it's really sweet."
"Wha… what?" Divya asked, dark brown eyes wide and afraid. She nervously pushed her thick braid of hair over one shoulder and shifted her weight from one foot to the other. Because, seriously… what?
"Oh," Evan said, laughing nervously and waving his arms in the universal symbol for 'oh, HELL no.' At least, that was how it appeared to Divya. "We're-"
"It's okay," Jessie said, flattening a palm to her chest, right over her heart. "I think it's adorable how you guys fake-fight. You're definitely going to be one of those couples that makes it. I can tell."
She was blushing darkly now, mouth open and body frozen. She didn't even know what to say- where to begin to correct all of the many, many incorrect things that were coming out of Jessie's mouth.
Something chirped, and Jessie jumped, pulling out a sleek little phone from that same apron pocket and frowning apologetically. "Listen, I'm so sorry to call this short but I have another tasting in 10 minutes. I'm really looking forward to our actual meeting next week!"
She led them out of the kitchen, and Divya and Evan followed dumbstruck behind, unable to get the brain cells together to explain to Jessie just how wrong her assumption was.
As they left Let Them Eat Cake, Divya heaved a world-worn sigh. "That woman… thinking that we were engaged," she said, letting out a breathy, awkward laugh.
Evan laughed in response, but it sounded stilted and forced even to Divya's ears. And she was too busy trying to banish the last five minutes from her mind. "I know," he agreed, his voice strained. "Us? Together? That's- that's preposterous. We'd kill each other in the first five minutes, right?"
She realized in the back of her mind that he was staring at her, expecting a response, but she was scrambling to just put one foot in front of the other and (stagger) walk. "Right," she finally said weakly.
Because Evan was right. They would be terrible together. Simply awful.
A week later, Divya, Raj, and their respective parents all trekked into Jessie's bakery. After two earlier appointments with various wedding personnel, Divya was tired and impatient. Her parents disliked almost everything she chose for her wedding, and while she did love them, her wedding was the one moment she had left to control and she was not going to let them take that away from her, too.
Luckily, Jessie said nothing when she saw Raj. It was a small victory for the day, because she didn't need the added stress of having to explain to her parents why she was introducing someone else as her fiancé.
Like before, Jessie laid out an array of tasty slices of cake and icing combos, and, like before, Divya loved the chocolate cherry cake the best, and ate most of it herself. However, Raj thought it was too tart, her parents thought it was too sweet, and Raj's parents plain didn't like it.
So the cherry chocolate cake with lemon buttercream icing was out.
In the end, after a lot of long, tiring debate, they all settled on plain, vanilla cake with chocolate ganache. It was okay, but not amazing. It was a lot like her upcoming marriage to Raj- they were okay together (aka they wouldn't kill each other), but it was kind of boring.
Maybe if Divya hadn't been so tired, and in such an absolutely shitty mood, she might not have thought something so depressing. But she did, and that thought quickly brought her back to the time she spent with Evan a week ago. There was no stress with Evan when they were tasting cakes. They argued about flavors and fought over the last bite of cake, but it was fun and she didn't spend the whole time freaking out about all the tiny little details that had to go into her wedding.
He was actually pretty good at making her wedding… well, almost bearable.
That had to be the most depressing thought of them all.
So... what'd you guys think? Too long? Too short?