Author's note: This talks about the life of Kevin Drew before he met Rachel.
“No, no way.” I stated. “I don’t want to work in a bakery when I could achieve more in life.”
“But Kevin, all the boys in our family need to take care of the bakery.” My mother insisted.
“No, let Gail do that.” I countered.
Gail was my older brother, he unlike me did care about the prehistoric bakery that had been in our family for generations. My grandfather used to work there but he retired a few years ago after my father took over.
My brother sometimes helps dad with managing the old place. I never really cared about it as much. I had better things to do.
“Just sell it.” I would urge.
My parents would be persistent of me being part of the family-business, I didn’t and never will work there.
“You're my son, you need to make your family proud.” My parents constantly reminded me.
“I do...that’s why when I grow up I’m going to work at a business...a real one.” I proudly told them. “They pay good money as well.” I added.
“It’s not about the money son, it’s our family’s most prized possession, this old crumpled up building is my life.” My father would go on and on. I had enough of this. I had decided that I would go seek my future by myself, so I decided to leave my family. I was thirteen years old at that time. Would they let me?
“I’m leaving.” Those two words echoed through my ears. Was leaving a good idea? Will my dear mother survive without her youngest son?
“Kevin, my boy, what is wrong with you?” My father sternly asked. I wanted to leave as they were convincing me not to leave and one day take over El cafe amoroso which was the name of the bakery...ya right...translates to the loving cafe...what kind of name was that?
“I want to explore the world, I can’t be cooped up in a small town, in an old bakery all my life.” I explained to them the best of my ability.
“Your right.” My father said, I didn’t think he would give in so easily without a fight...not literally a fight...you get what I’m talking about.
“So...will you give me the freedom to do what I want with my future?” I asked impatiently.
“You're too young to be on your own, my brother Matt lives in Tennessee, why don’t you live with him for a while and finish school there?” He suggested.
“Really, I would love too.” I knew dad was hoping I’d say no and be a big baby about living with an uncle I've never met but I had made my final decision and I wanted to stick to it.
“Bye.” I had my luggage in one hand and a box of mom’s favorite chocolate chip cookies on the other.
“I hope you will be successful, I will miss you.” Dad sighed as he pulled me into a quick hug. Mom was more intimidated by my idea as she begged me not to leave but she knew I had to leave her side someday...and that day happened to be today.
Gail smiled at me as we did our signature handshake and finally embraced...bro style.
“I’ll miss you bud.” He called out. “Good luck.”
I flashed them a quick smile and got on my cab to go to the airport. It felt like a decade when finally I felt the smooth landing...I had reached Tennessee.
Derek, my aid on the plane helped me unload my things and search for this ‘uncle’.
I noticed him right away. Except his long brown hair tied in a ponytail and his eyes were deep blue he looked like my dad for sure.
“Hey kiddo, I’m glad you decided to pay a visit here.” He raised his hand for a high five but seeing no action from me he put his hand down.
“Let’s go, Martha’s waiting for you.” He took my bag in one hand and hustled through the airport to his old dingy truck. The paint was chipped off and the radio seemed to be broken but it still ran like a new truck at least.
“Who’s Martha?” I finally spoke, breaking the awkward silence.
“Why, she’s my wife...your aunt.” He narrowed his eyes at me as if I was insane. “You didn’t know?”
“My...dad never told me much about you guys.”
“Makes sense, your dad and I go way back but he was always about staying in one place and running that old cafe…”
“It’s a bakery.” I interrupted him. “Not a cafe.”
“Whatever, I never liked that old thing.”
“I feel the same way.” I silently whispered that even I couldn’t hear myself.
“So what are you doing all the way here?” He asked. “You don’t like Mississippi?”
“It’s not that, I wanted to explore, if I stayed there then I would have to work in…” I stopped because I knew he was understanding what I meant since he felt the same way.
“I get you kid, don’t worry, Martha and I will take care of you until you are able to fend for yourself.” He said as he parked the car. I looked around. The sun was hiding behind the clouds so it was very shady. The wind was picking up. I noticed the house, it had a retro style structure, the beams seemed cracked and old, the windows had cobwebs all over, the door was slightly ajar as uncle Matt led the way. He placed my luggage on the hard wooden floor as a young woman walked in. Her blond hair in a loose braid as she clutched a spatula covered with batter of some sort.
“Martha, meet my nephew Kevin.” He introduced me to his wife.
“It’s an honor to meet you Kevin.” she shook hands with me politely. “I always wanted to have kids but sadly I don’t, I’m sure you will have so much fun here.” With that she left, her spatula had dripped a few batter on the floor.
“I’ll show your room, let’s get you settled in.” He took me upstairs. “Hope you like it.”
I looked around my new room, it was small but definitely had potential. I loved the antique look of the bed. The windows were drawn so the room looked dark until uncle Matt turned on the lights. I was able to see clearly now. The bed was big enough for a thirteen year old boy for sure.
“Thank you...for your hospitality.” I realized I never thanked them, how rude of me.
“Ah, it’s no problem kid.” He said as he was leaving me to be. “Also...I arranged for you to go to Dove’s middle school right across the block.”
Ugh, school...I hated to be the new kid. Oh well, maybe I just needed to see some kids my age and interact with them.
“Bye, have fun.” Auntie Martha waved as I strapped on my new backpack uncle Matt found in the basement.
“Thanks.” I muttered, I don’t know about fun...maybe stressful.
“Class, we have a new student today...Kevin Drew.” My teacher declared my arrival. I rolled my eyes as I came forward of my class. With practically everyone staring at me I was beginning to feel faint.
“Introduce yourself dear.” My teacher insisted as I just stood there frozen with fear.
“Hi-hi, I’m Kevin and...I’m from Mississippi, I’m living with my uncle and aunt for now.” I finished, my face was flushed as I walked to my seat again wishing I wasn’t the center of attention.
I kept my head down for the rest of the day, no one really seemed to mind me, I was just a needle in a haystack.
I walked through the corridor, just minding my own business. I still had my head down so I didn’t realize someone wasn’t paying attention either as we bumped into each other.
“Hey.” She shouted, for a second I thought she was going to punch me in the face but after seeing my blank expression she quieted down.
Her light brown hair sparkled in the sunlight and deep brown eyes reminded me of my childhood dog's playful eyes. Her face seemed too young for her age as it was made by angels, her lips were the perfect rosy pink, she was beautiful...at least to me. She narrowed her eyes at me as she realized I was staring at her open-mouthed.
“May I pass?” I could hear her trying hard to be polite to me.
“Oh-shoot, sorry.” I replied, my face was now as red as a tomato as I got out of her way. She tried to turn right the same time I turned right, then she went left and I went left too!
“Oops, sorry.” I turned right as she rolled her eyes and walked past me annoyed.
Who was she?
I shrugged as I walked away. Whoever she was I felt...a connection. I didn’t know why?
I’d never felt like this about any girl. Why her?
I sometimes wished I could predict the future but I can’t. The future will always hold it’s mysteries but one thing’s for certain. I’m never going to work in El cafe amoroso, I’m going to make my family proud in a different way.
I know I will...one day...