Cookies and romance? Fine. Whatever.
“I told you he worked here,” Brittney said.
Brittney thought she was the brains of this little operation.
“Everyone knows he works here,” Harry, short for Harriet, grumbled. She was the only one allowed to drive us to the shopping complex.
“Well Brittney found out when he’d be here,” I said with a smile.
“Someone brought money right?” Harry asked.
“Duh.” Brittney waved her phone. “I’ve got it covered.”
“Do they take phone payments?” Harry asked.
“The last three places you’ve tried to pay at.”
I put my hand up, cutting off their bickering. The three of us were slouched down in Harry’s family’s old mini-van. It smelled faintly of pizza and dog, but at least we didn’t have to ride our bikes or beg someone else for a ride, like the flock of girls who had just walked into the shop did.
Brittney scoffed. “Ametures.”
I raised my head to see what they’d done. The flock, six strong, had split up. Half of them stood in line to order while the other half lurked near the little counter where orders went out.
“He’s so handsome,” Brittney said in a breathless voice.
Harry gave me a hard look.
I smiled. Yes, I owed her. She knew I was good for it.
“Just look at the way he boxes those cookies!” Brittney squealed.
Why had I come back as a teenage girl? I hadn’t squealed in millennia. Still, Brittney’s excitement rolled over me like bad perfume, and I took a moment to study the target of our operation.
Tall with bronzed skin and bleached hair from being outside so much, Zack gave the flock before him half a wave as he kept filling orders for the other customers, which the flock had moved in front of.
I had to admit, he was handsome. Chiseled jaw, nice muscle lines and those dimples…
“Here comes the manager,” Harry said.
The woman, a thin woman in her mid-thirties, came up next to Zack and smiled at the girls. I could imagine the conversation.
“Have you girls ordered?”
They looked down.
“Well, these nice people behind you have orders to pick up, so if you have nothing to pick up, would you please move to the door or go outside.”
The crestfallen faces filled my mind, and I grinned as half of the flock came outside.
“There’s a lull,” Brittney said.
She was right. The rest of the flock moved to wait for their order. Only two people stood in line. “Let’s go,” I said.
The three of us got out of the minivan and slammed the doors shut in perfect sync. We strode down the aisle of parked cars, made sure no one was coming along the front side of the strip mall, and then crossed to the cookie store.
The scent of sugar, dough and chocolate came all the way to the edge of the sidewalk. It rolled out the door as Harry opened it. I inhaled and took a moment to enjoy the fact that I could eat food again.
Zack looked up, smiled at Brittney, then went back to boxing cookies.
Brittney immediately pressed up against me, her body trembling. “Did you see that? He smiled at me.”
I patted her on the arm. “I saw it. Nice job.”
Harry rolled her eyes.
I watched Zack for a second, looking for anything besides his painfully attractive appearance that was out of the ordinary, then joined Brittney at the counter to order.
“Don’t you have anything smaller?” Brittney asked.
Harry scoffed. “We’ll take one chocolate chip, one sugar cookie and one of the orange dream ones.”
“Great choices,” the girl at the register said.
Brittney held up her phone. “You guys take phone payments, right?”
The girl smiled. “Sure do.”
Brittney stuck her tongue out at Harry.
Really smooth, I thought. Then we got to go into the waiting line, and that’s when I got my first good look at the guy everyone in school was talking about. No one knew where he went to school. He’d only revealed his first name, and he seemed like the nicest guy in the world.
The man before I picked up his order.
“Have a nice day,” Zack said.
The hair on the back of my neck rose. It sure sounded like him.
Brittney stepped up to the counter. “Hey.”
“Hey,” Zack said. “You ordered three cookies?” He frowned.
“You do know that four is a better bargain, right?”
Brittney laughed. “We only need one each.”
Zack leaned forward and winked. “Everyone needs another cookie.”
The air around him shimmered. Brittney’s eyes went glassy.
I suppressed a groan and gritted my teeth.
How had Loki gotten here?
His eyes darted to me, and he gave me a wink.
I’m sure he expected me to freak out, but instead I gave him a little nod. Then I held my thumb up to my ear and mouthed, “Call me.”
Zack raised an eyebrow.
I went to get some napkins and left a little card with my number on it.
Brittney continued to talk to Zack, who responded with more enthusiasm than he had any other customer. I was sure Harry and I would hear about it all the way home.
That was fine.
Now the question was, would Loki help me? If so, what would he want in return?
A few months ago, as I may or may not have been picking up a cookie from Crumbl in the middle of the day, I had the idea for this story.
The kid boxing up cookies was way too young for me, but he was seriously handsome, and this little ditty came to mind. Someday you might get more.