Home > On the Sweet Side (Wish #3)

On the Sweet Side (Wish #3)
Author: Audrey Carlan

 

One


   I would never forget the exact moment my life changed forever. There wasn’t anything particularly special about the day. Jasper, my best friend in all things, and I had been celebrating our graduation from culinary school with some homemade donuts at my fathers’ place. We’d each planned to stay with our parents until we got jobs as fabulous pastry chefs in the city and could afford a place together.

   The ultimate dream—the one we’d been planning since the day we met in kindergarten and had dared each other to eat our disgustingly crafted mud pies—was to one day open our own bakery. We talked about it incessantly. Jasper had two mothers, and I two fathers. Naturally, we were the oddballs on the playground, and we gravitated toward one another as the weird kids with the same-sex parents. Through the years we realized our parents were no different than those in any other happy home. They were strict, loving, supportive and most of all, always encouraged us to chase after our dreams.

   We’d been inseparable ever since. Best friends for life and we had the tattoos to prove it. Me with the word Soul inscribed just above my elbow on my right arm—my baking arm. Jasper with the word Mates on his left in the same spot, so that when we stood side by side, everyone knew we were soul mates. From hobbies, to friends, to our taste in men, Jasper and I shared nearly everything—including our dream to co-own a bakery and do what we love: make everything in life taste sweet.

   So it wasn’t uncommon for Jasper to have slept on my fathers’ couch. We’d gotten drunk on bottle after bottle of champagne while celebrating our graduation with my parents late into the night. My fathers may have been strict over the years, but they loved to socialize, kick off their shoes, dance and drink until dawn if the circumstances warranted. And after six years of an intensive culinary program, complete with two years abroad working under grandmaster pastry chefs, our graduation was absolutely a warranted event.

   Which brought me to the moment when it all changed.

   Elbow deep in pastry dough, Jasper prattling on about some hot Black guy he’d met recently, I didn’t see them at first. I felt them. The air in the room changed as if someone had turned off the fan, cut off the AC. All of a sudden the space was filled with tension.

   I glanced up as my dad Casey entered the room with two gorgeous women in tow. Jasper kept prattling on, his shiny silver bomber jacket, golden spiked hair and crystal-blue eyes not capable of taking my attention away from the two women standing behind my dad.

   One was tall with an athletic build and looked like she’d just walked off the Paris runway. Her long golden hair hung over her shoulders in perfect beachy waves. Her skin seemed to glow a tanned bronze as if she’d been lit up from within by the very sun itself. She wore perfectly tailored white capri pants, a peach silk tank that complemented her coloring in ways I’d never be able to achieve without Jasper’s instruction, and gold accessories. Her eyes were a startling icy blue and rather cold, the exact opposite of the woman standing beside her, whose hand she was holding.

   I tipped my head as I stared at the brunette beauty before me. She was familiar in a way that would make you tap on her shoulder if she were, say, on the L train heading the same direction as you into the city and you couldn’t get over how much she looked like someone you knew. There was a pull, a tether to her, that had me focusing on more detail. She wore a brilliant, flowing maxi dress in a riot of reds, oranges and a teal tone that fell beautifully around her curves. Her hair fell nearly to her waist, a couple inches longer than the hair of the woman beside her. Her eyes, however, were amber, a color I recognized instantly.

   My heart started to pound and I gasped as the two women stood in my kitchen looking painfully nervous and maybe even a little scared.

   It was my papa who reacted first, dropping his newspaper on the table and standing with a flourish. Ian Collins was the perfect dark to my dad’s light. Casey was glow-in-the-dark pearlescent white befitting his full Irish genetics, much like my own, whereas my papa was a beautiful mix of Caucasian, Indian and Egyptian. His skin tone was a rich, luxurious brown accompanied by espresso-colored hair and effervescent golden eyes.

   The brunette made a startled-sounding noise and placed her hand to her chest as though the mere sight of my papa gouged her very soul.

   “These ladies were sitting out in front of the house and said they were here to see Izzy.” My dad set down the ingredients I needed to finish the donuts I was working on when the blonde finally spoke.

   “Um, maybe we, uh, should come back another time?” Her voice sounded strained and uncertain. These two random strangers being in my house, in my kitchen, was odd but she seemed genuinely fearful.

   “I’m sorry,” I said while wiping my hands on a towel and focusing on the two women. “Have we met before?”

   “You look so much like her,” my papa whispered, edging closer to the two ladies. “Catori.” He raised his hand close to the brunette’s face as though he was studying a famous work of art and was completely in awe of it. The hairs on the back of my neck tingled as I watched the woman step back, pulling the blonde with her as tears fell down her cheeks. “Suda Kaye?” He choked out what I assumed was her name as tears filled his eyes.

   What in the heck was going on?

   “It can’t be?” My dad went to his husband and wrapped an arm around Papa’s back in a loving, supportive hold.

   Momentarily, I was stunned into a daze as I watched Papa’s gaze switch to the pretty blonde. “Evie?”

   She nodded.

   Okay. So the blonde was Evie and the brunette was Suda Kaye. Two names I’d never heard in my entire life.

   “Anyone going to tell me what’s going on?” I reached out to Jasper, needing my best friend’s support, though I wasn’t sure why.

   “Izzy, baby girl, your father and I have something to tell you,” my dad announced to the entire room.

   The two women stayed deathly silent until one of them dug through the big purse she was carrying.

   “Excuse us for coming without calling. Unfortunately, I have some things I need to give you.” The blonde’s tone was all business even though I could tell by the tightness in her shoulders that she was incredibly uncomfortable.

   I frowned and narrowed my gaze, trying to figure out what was going on while my fathers acted weirder than normal. “Who are you?”

   “I’m Evie Ross and this is my sister Suda Kaye. We’ll let your dads explain in more detail.” She pulled out a stack of pink letters tied with a ribbon and handed them to my dad. Then she removed a folder, and her voice shook when she said, “This is our father’s last will and testament...”

   My papa winced and looked at Suda Kaye as though she were a living dream he couldn’t quite touch.

   “And Catori?” my papa asked, a hint of sadness in his tone.

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