Say You Want Me(16)

by Corinne Michaels

“Knock, knock,” I hear someone say from the doorway.

I stand and see Wyatt’s mama pop her head in. “Mrs. Hennington! Come in, please!” I smile, glad to have someone here to keep me from buying anything else.

“Hi there, darlin’! I wanted to come see how you were getting along here.” She smiles with the warmth of the sun. “Also, I brought you a pie.”

She’s probably one of the sweetest women in the world, and her Southern charm is infectious. I’ve met her a few times with Presley before I claimed my door prize, and it’s clear where her boys get their good hearts from. Macie Hennington has raised her kids with honor and respect.

“I’m hanging in there.”

“You’ll love it here, I just know it.”

Fat chance in hell. I still have no access to a Caramel Macchiato or the cupcakes. I also miss my store, which means I’m getting crankier by the day. Instead of actually telling her that, I decide to grin. If there’s one person I really want to like me—it’s her. She’s close to her boys, and she’s the grandma I want for my baby. The one who will bake cookies, give sewing lessons, and smother grandbabies with love. Unlike my mother, who will teach my child how to ignore people properly.

“Oh, you’ve already made this house so much better.” Mrs. Hennington looks around. “Wyatt’s room always looked like one of those dorm rooms with white walls and awful posters.” She waves her hand. “But you’ve done such a beautiful job just puttin’ a woman’s touch around here.”

“Thank you.” I grin.

“I can’t wait to see what you two do for a nursery.” Her eyes are light with excitement. “I’m sorry, honey. I’m just so happy. I know it’s a little unconventional and all, but it’ll be my first grandbaby. After I chewed Wyatt’s hide over how this could happen, I couldn’t stop myself from being . . . happy. I hope you understand.”

“I’m glad you’re excited.” Someone should be out of our parents.

“I wasn’t sure you would be,” I confess.

She laughs and pats my leg. “Sugar, Wyatt’s a grown man, and I’ve warned that boy time and time again about carryin’ on with women. But of all the girls I could pick to be givin’ me my first grandbaby . . . I’m glad it’s you. You’re a smart, strong, and beautiful girl with a big heart.”

“I don’t know what to say.”

Mrs. Hennington shrugs. “Just tell me you’ll be careful with his heart and take care of that baby inside you.” She glances at my belly.

“I will,” I promise.

“Good. Now, tell me about what you’ve been up to.” She takes my hand as we catch up.

I fill her in on all my very boring and uneventful days. I’ve gone by the Townsend’s each day, had lunch with Presley or Wyatt if he wasn’t busy, hung out with the boys, and then came home before him. It’s fun, but I need purpose. I can’t handle feeling like I’m useless. I’m not the stay-at-home kind of girl. I’m always busy, and if I have a lull, I find some new project to take on. Idle hands and all that.

She’s excited to hear that Erin and I are mapping out a possible new location for the bakery. I don’t tell her about how tight our timeframe is or how worried I am about being able to open while we’re still relevant. The demand is high right now, and For Cup’s Cakes is more than willing to be the supply. But I’m here and can’t help Erin much.

I need to do something. Decorating Wyatt’s bachelor pad isn’t as interesting as it sounds, even though he’s demanded that any purchase be paid for by him. I would’ve thought that spending his money would be fun . . . but it’s not.

“What’s wrong?” Mrs. Hennington pushes.

I debate not telling her, but the way she’s looking at me makes it clear she’s worried. “I’m bored. I work really hard back home and being here, sitting around, makes me a little stir crazy.”

“Oh, sugar, I understand. I worked for Rhett since we bought the farm. It was one thing being a mother and looking after three boys, but I needed to really have something of my own. When I would go into the office, it was like I was livin’ again.”

“Exactly.” She totally gets me, which is nice to have. Presley thinks I’m insane for feeling like this. She stayed home until the twins were in school, and even after she had her afternoons free, she didn’t really work until we opened the bakery. She was content being a wife and mom. I would’ve chewed my arm off.

She nods in understanding. “Have you gone into town?”

“And be gawked at?”

Her head pulls back. “Don’t tell me those girls are bein’ mean.”

“No, no.” I try to laugh it off, but she doesn’t look like she believes me. “I just feel like everyone is looking at me.”

“You pay them no mind,” she commands. She sits quiet, and then her eyes brighten again. “Have you thought about working at the bakery in town? I’m sure they’d love to have you!”

It’s a good idea. I can maybe learn a few things, too. My business has only been around a fraction of the time that bakery has, and there is a lot I could learn about how they’ve managed it. Sometimes it’s not about how much money you make that determines success, it’s about how you weather the storm. I feel this way about all things. When something is easy, it’s not worth as much to me. It’s the things I have to fight for that have the most value. On the other hand, I don’t plan to stay here long so there’s no point.

“I don’t know. I would hate to leave them in a bind.”

She tsks and pats my leg. “You don’t even worry about that. I’ll call Becca right away. Since Charlotte left, she’s been lookin’ for someone. Especially with the festival coming up next week. I’m sure havin’ you around would be a godsend.”

Charlotte. The girl with big boobs and a fake smile. After Wyatt snubbed her, I was the object of all her hate. She bumped into me once, which didn’t go unnoticed by my best friend. Presley marched right over and laid into her. I saw Charlotte’s breath hitch as she nodded feverously. I can only imagine what was said, but it didn’t stop her from the constant dirty looks and whispers.