The annual holiday festival was approaching and even though I have had lots of practice, I am still scared. I have been baking at the festival's bake-off for 2 years, but I lost both times. I know I should give up, but I am losing customers day by day to my rival. Max Willow. He has a bakery on the other side of town. His shop, Max's sweet treats, might have a ring to it then, Annablelas baked cakes and cookies. But that is no reason not to come to my shop. I don't think. Anyways, the only way I can get my customers back, (and my money,) is to win the bake-off. The prize is $20,000 enough to renovate my place and make it a little more... inviting.
The big holiday festival was the next day, so I set a timer and started to practice.
The contestants only have 3 hours to bake their favorite cake, Christmas cookies, cupcake, and one more dessert we get to pick. So working as fast as I could, I whipped up my favorite brownie batter cake. Along with gingerbread cookies, and some raspberry chocolate cupcakes. For the last dessert, I choose to make a white chocolate ganache tart.
One of the most stressful parts of the bake-off was the cameras. They are constantly around you, distracting you from your work.
By the time the timer dinged, I hadn't finished yet. My heart broke, how would I even win the competition?
That night was sleepless. All I could think about was how much I would fail, that I shouldn't go. When morning finally came, I wasn't a single bit ready for the day ahead.
Instead of prepping, I stayed in my apartment watching tv. I knew that when the clock struck 4 I would have to leave. Finally, I did, packing quickly all my supplies and ingredients in duffle bags. When I arrived at the park where the festival was being held, the competitors were already there. I quickly ran over to the big tent where only 3 kitchens were set up, less than usual. There were 2 people per kitchen, that was odd. When I reached the kitchen with only one person, I stopped in my tracks. He was there, Max.
I hadn't seen him since last year, and he looked different. His hair was not the sandy blond I remembered but a dark brown. His face seemed even more handsome. He looked more muscular and his shirt (a white tee) fit him better.
"You made it, finally!" One of the judges said smiling.
"What is going on? Why aren't there 6 kitchens like the years before?" I crossed my arms.
"Did you not get the text, we are switching things up. We have assigned you partners that will work with you to create your masterpieces." The Judge said, I frowned.
"Wait, does that mean I am with Max!" I asked a little too loudly. I was becoming mad.
"Yes, we know that you too have had some rough patches, so we made you and Max partners." The word 'parters' and 'Max' made me sick to the stomach. We did not work together. I remembered the year before when Max I had gotten are selves in a fight. Him claiming I was cheating, and me denying it.
I looked over at Max, he seemed to be mad too. "Fine," I said in an angry voice. I dragged my bags over to the kitchen and started taking out the supplies. He scooted away to the end of the kitchen.
"Ok contestants, just like last year you need to bake one cake, a batch of Christmas cookies, cupcakes, and a dessert of your choice." The Judge said. "You will have only 3 hours, your time starts now," he honked a horn. I noticed that the cameras weren't around. I gave a brief smile to myself, but then began to work.
First, the cake. Without talking to him I started on the batter. After I was finished I poured it into the pan and decided to talk.
"I am making the cake," he nodded and for a second our eyes met.
"I am making the cupcakes." He said matter factly.
After an hour, things started to become less tense. I told him about all my recipes and we decided on my cake, his cheesecake cupcakes, my cookies, and his truffles. After the second -hour things became laughable. We were making jokes and telling each other stories about our year. The tenseness I had felt in the beginning was gone. Max was funny, smart, and a good baker.
By the end of the 3 hour, we finished everything. I was confident about our desserts. By then the townspeople had joined us in the park and were dancing and talking to each other. The loud Christmas music overpowered my fear, and I was happy.
"The winner of the holiday festival bake-off is Max and Annabella!" The crowd of people surrounding the tent clapped. I couldn't believe it, my dream came true.
That night I partied and drank too much wine. At 11:30 at night, Max grabbed my hand, a shock of electricity went through me.
"what are you doing," I asked cluelessly.
"I am taking you to the garden," he replied a smile on his face. The park garden was a beautiful place filled with roses and all sorts of flowers. Making it a romantic place for anyone. He picked a rose off the bush and handed it to me. A smile formed on my face. He took my hands and I knew he was for me. Our eyes locked together, the love streaming through each other's veins.
He bent towards me, but there was a bright flash all of a sudden. It blinded me for a second, some had taken a picture. We looked around, a man around our age came from around a bush.
"Wow, this will be perfect for the newspaper, the 2 baking rivals becoming lovers!" The man said a camera in his hand. Max and I looked at each other and ran. We ran out of the garden through the park. Holding hands we sat on the curb. Finally alone, he bent over and our lips finally met.