"Don't. Don't even go there,” I threatened, pointing my finger in her face so she knew I was serious. “I am so not ready to have this discussion with you right now. I'm still wondering if last night was a dream and that wasn't really him. Maybe I was just imagining things in the haze of alcohol. I mean, in all the bars, in all the towns, in all the world…"

"Easy there, Humphrey Bogart, it was him. I immediately recognized him and the friend he had with him. That was the guy who tried to make out with me that night right after telling me he usually liked girls with bigger tits but since I was pretty he would make an exception."

I knew I was full of shit trying to convince myself that maybe it wasn't him. But having Liz confirm it made me feel like a dumb ass.

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"Fuck. Fuck, f**k, f**k. Did you see his eyes? God, those were Gavin's eyes. They were that same weird blue-grey color with a black outline. What the f**k am I going to do?" I asked in a panic.

"TEN!"

"Gavin, four comes after three," Liz yelled to him while I tried not to throw up on the floor.

"That's boring," he announced.

"Come on, let me give you the tour before he starts showing his penis to all the people walking by and gets an indecent exposure ticket before the ink is dry on this place," Liz said as she grabbed my hand. "You're going to stop worrying about this right now and just enjoy taking a look at your dreams coming true. We'll worry about blue-eyes later."

I was still in shock and awe mode as I drove us home two hours later. Gavin fell asleep as soon as the car started, so I didn't have any nonsense chatter about wieners and nuts coming from the backseat to break up my thoughts. The kitchen at the store was much nicer than I remembered from the years I spent stopping in there for a cup of coffee and a muffin, and it was stocked with supplies I only dreamed of using, let alone owning. There was an industrial-sized, two-door reach-in freezer with a matching three-door reach-in-fridge, a heavy-duty electric range with six burners, two Cyclone convection ovens, a holding cabinet that could keep sixteen trays of chocolates cool, a refrigerated bakery case that was right below the front counter and two copper kettles to melt chocolate, caramel or pretty much anything I needed. Right in the middle of the room was a four-foot by six-foot island with a cooling marble countertop - perfect for making candy. In all the time I’d patronized Andrea’s Bakery, I always loved the open floor-plan. I loved how when you were at the counter paying you could see into the kitchen and watch someone making cakes or pies.

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It was too much and I told Liz that as I walked around the kitchen, letting my hand trail over all of the equipment. She tried to tell me that the previous owners recently upgraded everything so all of the stuff in the kitchen came with the space, but I knew she was lying. I’d been in Andrea’s Bakery not that long ago and spoke with the manager. I knew for a fact they didn’t upgrade. Plus, Liz could never look me in the eyes when she lied and she swore twice as much.

"Liz, this is too much. I can't let you do this."

"Oh for f**k's sake, Claire. This f**king shit came with the f**king place and the previous f**king owners just want to f**king get rid of it."

Liar liar, f**king pants on f**king fire.

Liz’s side of the store was just as nice, only without the amazeballs kitchen that my side had. She showed me where she wanted the wall to go that would separate the two spaces right down the middle, but not extend all the way to the front. She wanted enough room up by the windows for customers to walk back and forth between the two stores. It would provide just enough privacy in case my customers weren't too keen on looking at the dildos, lingerie and lube on Liz’s side and she said we could put a door back by my kitchen where the two of us could easily go back and forth without going to the main parts of the stores. The front of both of our sides had a counter where a cash register would go. Liz’s side had display tables littered throughout the front so she could display the items she would have for sale. Mine was left empty right now, so I could possibly add some tables for people to sit down in the future. I realized she made changes to the place long before she clued me in, knowing full well I wouldn’t be able to turn it down once I saw the hard work she put in to it. Where my side was wide open so when you were standing in front, you could see the entire kitchen in the back, Liz’s side had a wall right behind the front counter since the only thing in the back of her store would be inventory. She’d thought of everything and I was completely amazed at all she’d done in such a short amount of time.

While Gavin ran amok, we sat down on the floor with all of the paperwork strewn around us. We were knee deep in zoning permits, sales tax licenses, business plans, insurance policies and a hundred other different forms that made my head spin. This dream was so close I could touch it, but the fear of not being able to afford it had me biting my fingernails down to stubs. I could take up extra shifts at Fosters to save some more money and of course there was the additional income I would get from suffering through a bunch of Liz’s sex toy parties, but it still wouldn’t be enough to swing the rent and I refused to let Liz invest any more of her money for me. Liz called my father before I could protest and he met us up at the shop to take a look around.

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“So, what do you think?” I asked him as he opened up the fuse box and took a look inside.

“Wiring is good. The kitchen is on a separate circuit from the security system,” he replied.

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