“Your hair is almost dried. You could go to sleep now,” Bernard informed.
“Okay,” Teddy muttered and slipped under the covers.
Bernard took the towel back to the bathroom to hang and found Teddy already asleep by the time he returned. Pulling the comforter up for Teddy, he switched off the light and went to sleep at his spot, on the floor.
Teddy woke up and glanced over at the floor to see if Bernard was awake. The comforter was folded and stacked with the pillow on top. ‘Where did he go this early in the morning? It’s not even six o’clock.’ He got out of bed and went to wash up before changing out of his pajamas. Heading downstairs, Teddy could smell the aroma of fresh bread and pastries filling the air. ‘Did Yunlin return early?’ Freezing at the sight of Bernard opening an oven to pull out a tray of breakfast rolls, Teddy stood there looking dumbfounded.
“Good morning,” Bernard greeted. “Did you sleep well?”
“Y-Yes,” Teddy sputtered. “What are you…?”
“You seemed very tired, so I decided to tackle your morning routine and let you sleep.”
“You didn’t have to do that.”
“I don’t mind helping you out.” Bernard carried the tray out and began putting the rolls in the pastry display cabinet to sell. “You hired me for a reason, right?”
“I suppose,” Teddy agreed. “How did you know what my morning routine was?”
“You already forgot?”
“Forgot what?” Teddy blinked in confusion.
Bernard placed the empty tray in the kitchen and brought out another one. “Last night, you said you needed to wake up early to get the pastries ready.”
“Oh.” Teddy adjusted the tray in the display and went to start the coffee machines. “How did you know the procedures to prepare the pastries?”
“I worked at a bakery before.” Bernard went back inside to put away the tray and Teddy followed him in.
“You’re a barista and a baker?” Teddy inquired.
“I had many part-time jobs while I was in school. University tuition was expensive.”
“Very.” Teddy nodded. “What else do you know how to do?”
“You really want to know?”
“That’s why I asked.”
“Alright, I’ll tell you then. I also know how to cook, do housework, draw, paint, sing, and,” Bernard paused momentarily as he leaned closer to Teddy, “I’m an amazing kisser.”
Teddy’s eyes widened as he felt Bernard’s breath on his lips. “You must have kissed many girls.”
Bernard straightened up and claimed, “I’ve only kissed three people in my life.”
“Yeah,” Bernard answered.
“Were they pretty?”
“Oh, yes. The prettiest was the one I kissed on the lips.”
Blinking in puzzlement, Teddy questioned. “If not the lips, where did you kiss the other two?”
“Well, I kissed my grandmother on her left cheek and my mother on her right cheek.” Bernard grinned.
Teddy smiled when he realized that they were both Bernard’s family members. “Are you with the girl you kissed on the lips?”
“It wasn’t a girl, but a guy. He currently doesn’t remember me, so I’m doing my best to help him regain his memory.”
“He forgot about you? Why?”
“He had an accident.”
“That’s…” Teddy lowered his gaze to the floor and furrowed his eyebrows, “unfortunate.”
“It is, but I’m happy that he’s alive. I still have a chance to help him recall who I am.”
“Yes.” Teddy nodded, yet he felt his heart aching in sorrow. “Where is he now?”
“Somewhere close, but at the same time, far away.”
“I hope he’ll remember you soon.”
“I hope so, too.” Bernard went over to brew a cup of coffee and placed it on the counter for Teddy. “Have some coffee to wake up before the morning crowd arrives.”
“Thank you.” Teddy inhaled the delicious aroma before taking a cautious sip of the hot beverage. “This is good coffee.”
“I could tell that you like it,” Bernard commented. “You’re kissing the mug.”
“I am not kissing the mug,” Teddy denied.
“You have your plump lips touching the rim as you absorb the caffeinated liquid.”
“That’s called drinking.”
“That’s called kissing,” argued Bernard.
“I don’t know how to kiss, so there’s no way I am kissing the mug.”
“You don’t know how to kiss?”
“No,” Teddy replied.
“Should I teach you how?” Bernard shortened their proximity and smirked at the sight of Teddy gulping in a panic.
“I…” Teddy took a step back to avoid further embarrassment.
“I’ll take that as a no.”
“I didn’t mean to…”
“It’s okay. I was only kidding.”
“Why would you…?”
Bernard lifted an inquisitive brow and queried, “Pardon?”
“Why would you offer to teach me?”
“I’m a nice guy.”
“But you already have a boyfriend. What would he think of you?”
“I don’t know. What do you think of me?”
“Never mind,” Bernard blurted and went to get a breakfast roll for Teddy. “Try it to see if it’s good.”
‘He’s changing the subject,’ Teddy thought and took a bite of the pastry. “It’s very good.”
“Awesome! Let me go put the other batch into the oven, while you finish eating.” Bernard headed to the back to do as he said.
‘My heart…’ Teddy pressed a palm over the left side of his chest and breathed, ‘is beating so fast. Why is it that whenever Bernard is near me, my heart would race? Why…?’
Bernard let a delivery guy carry supplies in through the rear door.
“Hey,” the young man greeted. “Is Teddy here?”
“He’s outside tending to the customers,” Bernard informed.
“I’m Duke, Yunlin’s friend. Are you new here?”
“Yes, I’m Bernard, the new live-in hire.”
“Live-in hire?” Duke seemed surprised. “That’s odd. Yunlin didn’t tell me he needed extra help.”
“Yunlin had to go run some errands, so Teddy hired me in the meantime. Since I didn’t have a place to stay, he was kind enough to let me bunk here.”
“I see. Tell Teddy that I brought the two bags of flour that he requested.”
“Take care of the kid, okay?” Duke threw Bernard a wink.
“I will,” Bernard promised.
“Alright, I better get going. That brother of mine will not stop nagging, if I take too long.”
“Okay.” Bernard waved and locked the door once Duke exited. Hearing Teddy calling for him, Bernard hurried out to assist him with the pouring customers.
Once the busy morning shift ended, foot traffic in the shop became much lighter. The two could finally take a break. Bernard took this opportunity to go whip up some pineapple fried rice for lunch. He brought out a plate for Teddy and told him to eat first, while he tended to the customers. Teddy refused at the beginning but Bernard’s insistence made him comply.
“What smells so good?” A lad approached the counter and tried to peek over.
“Hello, would you like something?” Bernard asked.
“I would like some of that rice that Teddy is eating.”
Hearing someone saying his name, Teddy looked up and noticed who it was. “
“No, I’m not looking for him. I made him keep shop, whilst I come over to get us coffee.”
Teddy stood up from his seat, but Bernard demanded that he sat back down. “What kind of coffee would you like?” Bernard smiled brightly at
“You must be Bernard,” he addressed. “Duke told me about you earlier.”
“You’re Duke’s brother,” Bernard derived.
“I’m his stepbrother, Edison.”
“He appears to be very fond of you.”
“He’s just afraid of my nagging, that’s all.”
“Let me go get you some.” Bernard disappeared to the back before
“I was only kidding.”
“I’m not skinny,” Teddy muttered in defense.
“Yes, you are,” Bernard added. “What kind of coffee would you like,
“One cold brew and an iced vanilla latte,”
“Coming right up,” Bernard chimed and went to make the drinks. Placing them on the counter, Bernard smiled. “Anything else?”
“Nope. That’s it. How much do I owe you?”
“Don’t take his money,” Teddy demanded.
“Hey, you’re running a business here,”
Teddy’s bottom up jutted out.
“He’s pouting.” Bernard pointed out. “It’s best that you listen to him.”
“See you around.”