It was a few months before everything changed. I can't be quite sure when, as I think on it. The time I met Amber. It must have been October since my sister's boyfriend was turning twenty, or maybe it was their hundred days. Not quite sure. I don't always listen to Baily very well.
Naturally, Bai is a wealth of information. She talks nonstop, you know. She's the one who mentioned the cafe. She wanted to buy Tobey a cake. She went on and on about this baker. Seriously, I was bored out of my mind. I wouldn't even be there if it weren't for mumzy claiming we don't spend enough time with each other.
Of course, my little sister complains a lot. Everything has to be the way she sees it. I was so sure she'd be trouble. Especially, when she asked for the Bubble Tea and the waitress looked at her as if it weren't on the menu.
"Bai, we aren't in London, you know." I was really not sure I wanted to even spend twenty minutes with my cranky little sister. I told the waitress we'd have an Earl Grey with a spot of milk. After all, it was getting nippy out.
And then when I saw her I thought I might crumble. All I could do was clear my throat. Something about her was like seeing a very old soul in a very young body. I suddenly felt she'd been through a war or something. Her smile might have been weak, yet something so genuine remained. I couldn't quite put my finger on it.
Then Bai starts to gush. "It's her! She's the baker!" Bailey went on about the article in the paper. This was Amber Downs who won a bake-off in London, a champion in our little village and here she was waiting tables.
Now I know what you might be thinking, "You're a fit bloke, don't you have a flock of birds just waiting for your attention? Why this one?" And I would tell you, not so.
I've always felt like an outsider.
Oh, I'm that friend whose dad owns a pub. "We can drink there for free," is the first thought a mate has of me. Yeah, that's what they think And for all these birds..aw, as soon as they know "you've been a fighter"..they get a little uneasy. To the point of believing, they must be right and maybe I need to be just that friend. A listening ear on occasion and stay in my place behind the bar. (the mates pay up by the way.)
And yet at the moment, I couldn't manage to say a thing to Amber Downs. Sure, she showed my sister all sorts of cakes. Baily settled for a babycake in the end, cause Tobey might as well be a baby anyhow.
Suddenly, I realized, we'd met before. In the loo. Yeah, I gritted the very smile I did on that very late night when my mate Sal was puking in the women's sink because it was just disgusting in the loo across the hall.
I hope she forgot about that.