It was 3:00 in the morning. The stars wer gone, but the night was still stained a hopeless black. I'd just opened the family bakery 3 years ago, and now I was setting to work on rolling dough.

Brushing poweder off my hair, I sighed as the front door opened. The ring of the front doors and footsteps were what followed.

"Welcome to Sharpe's Bakery," I said in that monotone voice.


My hands froze. My eyes widened and my knees weakend...there was that oh so familiar soft and kind voice...

I lifted my head from my station. There se was, staring back at me through the plexiglass. Her eyes wer the same as I'd remembered...she looked the same: beautiful.

I slipped my hands under a faucted and beckoned her to a booth.

"Joy," I said. "It's nice to see you."


We spent a few moments just sipping our sperate coffees until I said, "I've never seen you in here before..."

"I usually don't eat breakfast out," she replied, wiping her mouth. "But I had to go to work early..."

"Where do you work?"

"NASA," she replied. "The space progam..."

"I see. That's nice."

"And you, um, work here?"

"No. I'm an editor in chief for the city newspaper. This is just a side job, you know...for the children."

"You have children?" she said quietly.


"Where's your wife?"


"Oh...I'm sorry-" she began, but I stopped her.

"Don't be. She walked out on us when Lilly was born...I woke up one Anya...just Lilly, Xavier, and I..."

"Oh Jasper, I-"

"How are you and Mason?" I said, not wanting her to sympathize for me.

"We're good, good. We just moved into a house a couple of blocks away."

"Nice...any kids?"

"No. Not yet. We just got marr-oh.." She stopped, realizing her mistake. "I'm..Jasper..."

"Don't say sorry, Joy," I said, a small sack of pain bursting in my heart. "It's fine. I wouldn't have made it even if you had invited me...we're tight on money, and my children come first..."

She nodded.

Then suddenly time flew by. We talked about adulthood and work. We talked about stupid things we did as kids and teens, how schol had gone well for both of us...we never once brought up our relationships...

"Oh god!" she yelled. "I'm going to be late!"

As she stood, I extened my hand. "Goodbye, Joy-"

And then she hugged me.

When she withdrew she said, "Jasper...that's all in the past. The past is behind us, okay?"

I nodded and she hugged me once more.

"See you Jasper!" she sadi, driving off into the sunrise.

I sighed. "See you Joy..." As I began to roll dough again, I thought to myself, To start anew...

And for the next five years, she came into that bakery almost every morning...

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