The warm air greeted her as she stepped out of the cab in frenzy. She fumbled through the pockets of her jean as she looked for money with which to pay the cab man. She found some notes, paid the driver, collected her change and hurried into the mall to get some supplies for a client’s cake.
Her client was a bank manager who ordered a thousand cupcakes in two different flavours: red velvet and vanilla, with frostings on top for their customer’s service day plus an eight inches cake to be cut after the day’s activities with other members of staff.
She gladly accepted the order on the notion that her apprentice would be available to help her out with the huge order. She received what seemed to be the greatest shock of her life very early this morning when her apprentice called to inform her that she was involved in a bike accident the previous night after they both closed from work and parted ways thus she will not be able to come to work.
She was eating breakfast when the call came in and the sweet vanilla custard she was taking tasted bland in her mouth. She pushed her bowl of custard away and thought about how she was going to do the job alone.
She had wasted enough time brooding and worrying about how unfortunate the day is going to be, she started hurrying towards getting to the mall then to her bakery to see what she could get done before the day ended. She was grateful she didn’t wear her wig; the humid sun was sultry and extremely unbearable.
She wore a visible frown as she fumbled through each section with her trolley looking for her supplies. She got white vinegar, cocoa powder, some milk and last on the list was farm fresh yoghurt.
She searched from section to section even when the label for a particular section read “cosmetics” when she eventually found the yoghurt; it was a different brand of the farm fresh yoghurt she wanted.
“What is this rubbish these people have started producing now” she said audibly and as she picked one, she reads through its ingredients and uses and hissed in a manner that is loud enough for the lady beside her to hear. The lady beside her turned back at her and flashed a smile.
“It is a nice product. I was also scared of buying it last week but I had no choice. My pudding came out nice after trying it” the lady assured.
“I’m just scared of trying out new products. I prefer sticking to the old ones I know with the perfect results” she lamented.
“Just try it first” she suggested. You’re a baker aren’t you?” She asked.
“Yes I am. What about you?” she also asked in order to sound a little bit friendly. “Not really. I enjoy doing my stuff at home not for commercial purposes” she explained.
“Oh I get it” she said smiling.
The lady’s words were not enough to convince her but her smile worked the magic. She ended up picking four packs of the yoghurt which she dropped into her trolley. She said a thank you to the lady and handed her a business card and the lady promised to patronize. She will never miss any opportunity to talk about what she does. She headed for the counter to pay for her items and headed out quickly to board a bike which to her will be much faster. She needed all the time she could get.
She alighted from the bike: her hair ruffled from uncurbed breeze that blew as they rode. She paid her fare then she walked up to her bakery which was located at a two storey shopping complex down the road with her supplies clutched to her chest.
The cellophane nylon which was used in packing the items was already thin. She passed by each shop silently praying that no one would call her name.
There are three shops before she gets to hers: Mopelola’s boutique which she dreads a great deal, then a salon which is always streaming with chattering girls then we get to Williams’ spot, that sweet black guy that keeps her in suspense about what exactly he was up to.
“Beccaaaaaaaa” a soft sweet masculine called out as she attempted to sneak stealthily into her shop. She stamped her feet lightly: “speak of the devil” she thought.
“Hey Willy, how’re you doing?” she greeted.
“I’m good.” He responded with a smile. “You are quite late today?”. “Am I that obvious” she asked still clutching her supplies tightly to her chest.
She beckoned to him to help her pick the keys to her shop in a small purse which hung on her shoulders loosely. Williams moved close to her, close enough for her to smell his scented cologne. He got the keys and helped her open the door and they both entered.
“Thank you” she heaved a sigh as she dropped the items on her work table which was a bit dusty with flour.
“You’re welcome. I missed the wonderful smell that comes from here. I was actually anticipating. Yesterday it was chocolate, what will today’s flavour be?” he guessed playfully looking at Becca’s face as he did. Becca laughed in return and started cleaning up her bowls.
She was grateful Oge cleaned up after yesterday’s work before she went home. All she has to do now was get to work as soon as possible.
“Where’s Oge?” William asked.
“She had an accident so she couldn’t come around” she said casually as she wiped her hands with a napkin.
“Oh my God!” he exclaimed.
“Relax, it’s nothing serious. She’ll be fine and now I’m left with the herculean task of making a thousand cupcakes against tomorrow”, she lamented and hissed as she started measuring ingredients, Flour, then sugar, then margarine, oh eggs. She was gradually losing her mind.
Meanwhile Williams stood watching her as she measured the ingredients meticulously. He later disappeared which she barely noticed only for him to show up again with rolled sleeves.
“Do you have an extra apron?” he asked as he suddenly appeared behind her. She was so engrossed with what she was doing that she didn’t notice when he later entered.
“Oh Willy” she said with the mock emotional tone ladies use as she looked him in the eyes. “What about the shop?” she asked with sincere concern.
“Gozie is around.” He assured.
“Well then, let’s start the mixing, I’ve already measured the ingredients” she said as moved on to the electric mixer with sugar and margarine. She poured in margarine with a wooden ladle and creamed it at slow speed before she added the sugar. She put the machine on medium speed while they both worked on other things.
Williams whisked the eggs till his hands ached.
“I never knew whisking eggs could be so tiring” he complained “the highest I’ve ever whisked is two or three eggs for an omelet”.
“You’re such a lazy boy. Keep whisking till it doubles its volume”. She instructed with mock seriousness as she turned off the whining mixer and it came to a halt.
“Yes my lady” he replied and continued whisking with all his energy.
With the eggs well whisked, she poured it into the creamy mixture and mixed till it was well incorporated then went the flour, milk and other ingredients.
Williams watched as her hands moved skillfully as she poured in each ingredients waiting for her next instructions. After mixing, she asked him to get her two bowls into which she divided the batter so she could add a different flavour and colour to each batter, the smell of vanilla rented the whole space. Williams sniffed greedily as he helped clean the baking trays and arrange the paper cups into the trays.
Thirty minutes later, some cakes were baking away in the oven while the remaining batches awaited their turn in the oven.
Becca opened her refrigerator and brought some bread and spread which she buttered lightly and passed it to Williams who was more than grateful for the just-in-time lunch. His well groomed afro was a bit dusty with flour and some batter stuck stubbornly to his hands but he did not care.
The first batch came out well and nice and the other batches took their turn as well. With those ones done, the large cake took its turn sitting in the oven and they stole the moment to make some frostings for the cake. The electricity went off few minutes after they finished mixing the frostings for the cake, Becca was grateful she had finished the tedious part of the work before the light went off.
Darkness began to set in and presence of the light didn’t allow them to notice that they had spent a long time in there. Gozie came around to inform Williams that he was leaving the shop. Williams instructed him to lock the shop and bring him his keys and backpack which contained his laptop, camera and phone.
“You have really tried for me today” she commended “You should start going home. I’ll just tidy up and arrange these cakes properly before I go home. I’ll do the frostings tomorrow” she said as she let out an exhausted yawn. She was so tired that she forgot her manners.
“Now someone intends to swallow us” he said jokingly. “How about you sit down and allow me help you out with the cleaning.” Williams said as he placed his hands on her shoulders and led her from the messy work table to a plastic chair in the room.
She was a bit mortified because he noticed her yawn but she waived it off: she was glad that at least it earned her some rest. She soon drifted to sleep on the chair while Williams did all the work. He allowed her sleep while he cleaned the pans and messy bowls and work table. By the time she woke up the whole work was done.
Continue >>>> Part Two
Author: Akanni Desola (TheStoryTeller)