“What can I get from you?” the guy behind the counter asked. He looked like a cowboy with longish blond hair and gray-blue eyes, like flint. Nicky was pretty sure the guy was older than him, mid-thirties maybe, and damn was he built like he lived in a gym. His flannel shirt and jeans fit snug and showed off his defined build even with the black apron he wore over it.
“What kind of pie do you have?” Nicky asked.
“Boston Cream, French silk, cherry and apple.”
The man’s voice was a lazy drawl and Nicky found it a little arousing.
Nicky tried to give the man a smile. “I’ll take a slice of French silk and a slice of Boston crème please.”
The big man chuckled, “Got a sweet tooth do you?”
“More like depressed as hell,” Nicky muttered.
“Oh, well then, you sure I can’t bring you a slice of each?”
Nicky laughed. “Nope, two will do. I don’t need to get fat on top of everything else.”
The guy’s eyes raked over him and Nicky was sure he didn’t misinterpret the way that he was being appraised. Nicky watched as he cut the pie and brought it over. “Whipped cream?”
“No thanks,” Nicky said.
“Doubt it would pack on any extra pounds,” the man quipped.
“Fine, whipped cream,” Nicky relented, his eyes widening a little as the guy piled it on.
“Eat up,” the big man chuckled before he resumed wiping down the counters.
Nicky ate the pie slowly, savoring it. It was very good and he couldn’t help but close his eyes and slowly chew several bites, allowing the flavors to roll over his tongue as the anger and tension of the day slowly began to melt away.
“Wow, you really love pie, don’t you?”
Nicky’s eyes popped open to find the man watching him. He felt his cheeks heat up a bit as he averted his eyes.
“It’s umm, really good,” Nicky said. “Chef must be awesome.”
“I am, thanks,” the man quipped, then chuckled as Nicky blushed more.
“They are really good,” Nicky responded, and then blushed more when he realized that he was just sitting there repeating himself.
“Where are you from?” the man asked.
Nicky swiveled in his seat and gestured towards the east, “The valley.”
“Long way to drive for some pie.”
“Pie like this I might drive for more often,” Nicky quipped. “Really though, I was almost out of gas. Figured I’d fill me and the truck and be on my way.”
“Where you headed?”
“No fuckin’ clue,” Nicky admitted.
The guy raised an eyebrow. “So what are you running from?”
Nicky laughed bitterly. “My life, which is an epic fuckin’ mess right now and since the shitstorm keeps getting worse, I decided to drive.”
The guy chuckled at hearing that. “I know that story my friend. About five years back I came home to find my stuff on the lawn and a foreclosure sign outside. Guess there was a second mortgage I didn’t know about. Tossed most of the crap in the dumpster, packed my clothes and music in my trunk and lived in my car for a while, until the owner sold the restaurant I was working at and the new management brought in their own people and a menu I couldn’t even pronounce. They turned it into some snazzy upscale thing and me, I just started driving. Saw a help wanted sign in the window when I stopped for gas and I’ve been here ever since.”
“Hopefully not still living in the same old car,” Nicky commented.
“Nope, I have a trailer out back,” the guy said. “So, what happened that you’ve got no place to go back to?”
“I guess it isn’t that bad,” Nicky relented. “I mean I’ve got a place to live and I’ve got a job even if I did just quit my day job this morning.”
“Ahh, so it’s a woman then?” the man fished.
Nicky shook his head. “Not a woman.”
“Not a woman but someone, ‘cause I’m sensing that if it isn’t home and it isn’t work than a relationship tanked somewhere.
Nicky looked down, “yeah.”
“How long were you and he together?”
Nicky blushed a little, “Since high school.”
The man studied Nicky for a moment, a small smile on his face when he saw the other man blush. “First and only relationship, huh?”
“Well, time heals all things kid. Was with my guy for twelve years before I came home to that foreclosure sign. It don’t get any easier the older you get. It still sucks when it all blows up in your face.”
“Just wish he wouldn’t rub my nose in it every time I turn around,” Nicky muttered.
“He can only rub your nose in it if you let him,” the guy pointed out.