New Story – “The French Toast Emergencies”
Arthur Cain has removed himself from a social life littered with mistakes and unhappiness. When a freak April snowstorm hits, he just wants to stock up on the basics so he can get back to writing his thesis. Samuel Richards is a musician with a wicked sense of humor and he knows how to use it. The last thing he expected was to have it save him when he heads out for supplies and everything falls apart. The storm sends both to the grocery store, but neither had a “date” on their shopping list.
It’s one disaster after another for Samuel, but the history student comes to his rescue. If only Arthur was as good dealing with live men as he was with dead Vikings.
He glanced at the rapidly emptying shelves and sighed heavily. With some effort, he finally squeezed through the traffic snarl and reached for the last loaf of bread right as another hand closed in on it. His gaze flew to the man beside him. He looked to be in his mid-twenties, like Arthur, but taller and lankier. His brown hair was curly and long-ish, sticking up every which way. He had brown eyes and scruffy facial hair. His grin nearly made Arthur let go of the bread. “Uhm, I think this was mine,” the cute guy said, tugging on the loaf. “No, pretty sure it was mine,” Arthur protested, tightening his grip. He always rewarded a particularly productive day’s work with grilled cheese and tomato soup. “You could get raisin bread,” the other guy suggested. “Eww, you can’t make grilled cheese with raisin bread.” “Sure you can. Just think, melty cheddar with raisin bread. Mmm.” On second thought, maybe that didn’t sound so bad. However … “Still gross with tomato soup,” Arthur pointed out, gesturing to the half dozen cans in his cart with the hand that wasn’t clutching the bread. The other guy made a face but didn’t let go. “Fair enough.” Arthur tugged at the loaf gently. “So you’re going to give me the bread?” The other guy laughed, leaning against the shelves as if he was getting comfortable. “Nope.” “Uhm—” Arthur mentally calculated how long the storm would last and the number of slices he’d need before then “—we could split the loaf.” “Fine. You let me have the loaf, I’ll pay for it, and we can split it after we go through the register.” Arthur hesitated. “I really need this bread. How do I know you won’t disappear with my half?” He shook his head. “No deal.” “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.” Arthur broke into a grin. “Are you quoting Princess Bride to me?” “Maybe.” The answering grin was cheeky.
Arthur and Samuel’s story began on Facebook. In the midst of a discussion about weather, the topic of people panicking before a storm and rushing out to stock up on bread, milk, and eggs came up. Allison Hickman used the phrase “French Toast Emergencies” to describe it, and a story title was born. We joked around a little and a plot jumped into my head. It didn’t take long for the ideas to start rolling and Allison was a huge help through the whole process. I was so flattered when she asked to pre-read for me and she did a fantastic job at it, pointing out a few areas that needed tweaking. It’s a much stronger story because of it and I am so grateful for all of her help. As always, Shelly gave me fantastic reactions to the characters and Sally did a beautiful job editing. Sally claims I’ve found my niche in stories combining food, humor, and sweet men. What do you think?