Mayhem, Chaos, and Cupcakes

Mayhem, Chaos, and Cupcakes

A Story by Angel-Is-Alive

Bobby Drake didn’t hate his job, not really. At least the coffee shop with the cute barista across the street made his life a little less miserable - or did it?

At the ripe and young age of seventeen, Bobby had been thrust into the working world via his parents and a plethora of excuses. Really, Bobby couldn’t have been less interested in the idea if he’d tried. So when his mother came into his room one night and sat on the edge of his bed, rubbing his leg like she always did before she gave him a Big Special Talk, Bobby knew his days of unemployed freedom were numbered.

“There’s a bakery that just opened downtown a few weeks ago,” she said in what she probably thought was a soothing tone. “I’ve seen several kids your age hanging out there!”

But Bobby just groaned and shoved his covers up over his head. As if the promise of people - several people - around his age working there should have reassured him. He glared up at his mother when she tugged the blankets back.

“Bobby, you know we don’t have a lot saved up for college.”

He nodded after a minute. “I know, Mom.”

“And you need to get some work experience before you end up leaving the house.”

“I know.” Bobby slumped defeatedly against his pillows.

“...And I already called them and told them you were going in for an interview.”

Bobby’s eyes snapped open and he stared at his mother. “Sorry, it sounded like you just said-”

She sighed and hugged him tightly around the shoulders. “It’s at 8 o’clock tomorrow morning. Mister Xavier - the owner - sounded very nice.”

Bobby sighed loudly, massaging his temples with one hand. Silence returned to the bedroom. His mother held tightly to his arm and rubbed circles into the muscles.

“Just… give it a shot?” she asked with pleading eyes, before adding on, “For me?”

Bitterly, one Robert Drake dragged his a*s out of bed and down to the square the next morning at 8am, dressed in an ironed button-up shirt and the cleanest pair of black jeans he could find.


The first thing Bobby noticed when he walked into the bakery (after the shrill ding of the bell above the door, which very nearly sent him into cardiac arrest), was the posters on the wall. They were all variations of the letter “X” in different artistic styles and mediums. “Alright, it’s an ‘X’ theme,” he thought aloud as he approached the empty counter. “I can deal.” He shifted from one foot to the other while glancing around for any sign of life.

After a concerning and confidence-crushing two minutes, Bobby turned on his heel and went to walk back out when he heard a crash followed by shouting and then arguing. He set his printed-out resume - thank you, Mom, but I don’t think a bakery is gonna want my resume - down next to the register and creeped around the counter.

“Hello?” he asked as he approached an open room behind a thick wall, and the voices stopped abruptly. The smell of sweet dough caressed Bobby’s face and floated up into his head. He couldn’t help but step a little further into the room, still mostly hidden from the sight of whoever was ahead. “Hey, is someone back there? I’m… here for my interview. Bobby Drake?”

The voices started up again, more concentrated this time. With a cry and a shout of “Warren, what the hell!”, a short kid with tinted red glasses came stumbling out from behind the concrete wall. He very nearly ran directly into Bobby, but the kid caught himself on a cart of cupcakes before he face-planted. Bobby blinked as he straightened up and fixed his glasses.

“Sorry about that. I’m Scott, and you’re the new guy?” he asked, wiping a powder-covered hand on his pants before reaching out to shake Bobby’s. Bobby introduced himself and took the hand lightly, then forced a smile.

“Well, I’m hoping to be the new guy. Still need to do my interview, though.”

Scott frowned at that. “Interview? Yeah, what about that?”

It hit Bobby that the guy was dressed in nothing fancier than a pair of jeans, worn-out sneakers and a t-shirt that had definitely seen better days. He felt a little overdressed in his current outfit, and he coughed into his arm once Scott dropped his hand.

“I mean, you have to interview for a job, right?” Bobby laughed nervously. Scott continued to stare. “...Right?”

“I… well, not really. People sort of just walk in here and we judge ‘em before we employ them, but, well… I can show you around, if you’d like?”

Bobby wrung his hands behind his back, a nervous habit he’d developed as a kid from being so restless. So who in the hell did his mom talk to on the phone? “Sure?” It came out as more of a question than an answer, but Scott still smiled up at him as he led them both out to the front.

Scott asked him about himself and Bobby answered with as much interesting information as he could give, which, granted, wasn’t a whole lot. Bobby had no baking experience aside from canned cinnamon rolls and cookies. At least Scott enjoyed talking about himself and about the bakery to fill the awkward space around them as Bobby was led around.

The shop was void of customers, but it felt full in the sense that the wood paneling had captured the smell of bread and dough and sugar in them; the lights were dimmed in the best sort of way; the windows gave Bobby a clear view of the street. People passed by on the sidewalk, staring into the shop, probably wondering why an idiot in business casual was inside the bakery before hours, blindly following a kid covered in flour. Please, Bobby wanted to say, you are looking at a soon-to-be employee of X-traordinary Cakes & Bakery, have some respect.

Though if Scott’s general dorky mannerisms were anything to go by, it wasn’t exactly that cool of a career.

After showing Bobby the front room, Scott led him back behind the concrete wall and into the main baking section of the shop. Bobby’s chest tightened a little when he noticed a very blond, very shirtless guy lifting a tray of dough into one of the ovens. He swore his jaw didn’t drop at the sight, but really, he couldn’t be sure of anything when the guy turned around and flashed a (perfect!) smile his way.

Okay, so maybe Bobby had a type.

“Hey, dude!” said Mr. Shirtless. “So, Scotty’s been showing you the ropes, huh?”

Bobby swallowed and nodded, tongue thick in his mouth. “Yep, the ropes. Love ‘em.”

“Well, don’t feel too intimidated by what I’m working on,” he preened, stepping back. “The new guys normally work up front and help clean up after hours rather than bake.” The information was followed by a sharp glare in Scott’s direction. “Because some people can’t move around a damn kitchen without spilling cake batter!”

“Accident, accident! And that one was totally on you! You shoved me while you were trying to strip!” Scott shot back, and an argument ensued as Bobby stood meekly to the side.

“Did not!”

“Yeah, you did!”

“Shut up, I did not!”

“Boys!” came the holler of a distinctly older-sounding man. Immediately, the two men straightened and stepped away from each other (albeit with muttered insults) and faced the front of the store as a man in a wheelchair rolled in, being pushed by yet another guy who looked to be Bobby’s age.

“Prof,” Mr. Shirtless greeted the man with a nod, then promptly sneezed. ‘Prof’ winced and turned his head away.

“...Warren, what have I told you about working without a top on?” Ah, he does have a name, thought Bobby, then flushed a little as Warren turned a bright smile his way.

“To not to,” Warren recited, then added, “...but I wanted to show off for… uh…” A pained look was shot towards Scott, who crossed his arms smugly.

“Bobby. Bobby Drake,” Bobby offered.

Warren nodded vigorously. “Yeah, Bobby! It was on the tip of my tongue.” He stuck out said tongue in Scott’s direction. Scott flipped him off with a sigh.

Bobby was so focused on the tattoo that covered Warren’s back - navy angel wings that started at the tip of his shoulder blades and spiraled downwards, trailing off into the waistband of low-resting slacks - that he didn’t realize the new guy had walked directly in front of him.

This guy was massive, all muscle and height. Bobby swallowed and blinked up at the man.

“Pardon, I don’t believe we’ve met,” the guy said, and for the first time Bobby noticed the textbook tucked under his arm. A free hand stretched out to Bobby, who shook it. “My name is Henry, however my companions here call me Hank.”

“Sweet,” Bobby choked out. “I, ah, guess you already know my name.”

“Yes, yes we do,” said the man in the wheelchair. The man wheeled over to Bobby and smiled warmly up at him. Bobby was both comforted and creeped out at the same time; it was like the guy was reading his mind or something. He cleared his throat and gestured to the front room with his hand. “Might you come with me, so we may discuss your job here?” Bobby nodded and followed him out, throwing a glance over his shoulder to the three boys who were now quietly arguing about the sprinkle count on a batch of cupcakes.

Sitting down gently in a chair across from Wheelchair Guy, Bobby slowly recounted the events from the morning. A gentle pulsing began in his forehead and he massaged it out.

“Allow me to introduce myself,” came the voice that broke the silence, and Bobby learned that this was Mister Xavier, the owner and founder of X-traordinary Cakes & Bakery. Bobby squinted at the man, studying him; he looked to be in his late forties, but his hair (or lack thereof) might've said otherwise: he was completely bald save for his eyebrows. The next thing Bobby wondered about was the wheelchair, and how in the world someone could run a busy bakery in a wheelchair. The gentle smile that spread across Xavier’s face when he noticed Bobby staring, made Bobby flush and quickly apologize.

“You're likely wondering about my mobile situation, yes?” Xavier suggested, and Bobby nodded. God, this guy really can read my mind! “Well, it's a long story…” And Bobby sat for fifteen minutes, listening intently to this man’s life tale.

His full name was Charles Xavier, but because he used to teach at the local university, most people referred to him as Professor Xavier. (Bobby interjected to ask if he should be calling Xavier “Professor”, but the man just laughed and reassured him that he didn't mind what Bobby addressed him as.)

Charles was an activist for civil and human rights, and attended rallies and peaceful protests in his younger days. At one such protest is where he met his husband, Erik Lehnsherr. Bobby perked up at that name; he'd seen it on the news and all over Twitter occasionally, the guy was a very vocal activist and didn't have the best reputation.

An unfortunate car accident had paralyzed Charles from the waist-down, but with the help of his husband he had found his way out of the depressive rut he was stuck in, via baking and volunteering at the local children's home. After befriending several of the occupants of the home, Charles had opened his own home to the orphans.

A small, sad smile stretched Charles’ lips. “Those boys in the back room, I treat like my sons. They have no parents or family to care for them, but I have rehabilitated them like my dear Erik did for me.

“I opened this bakery two months ago, and it serves as a safe place for all people to come and stay.” Charles gestured to the Xs on the walls. “These paintings represent the employees who have worked here.”

Bobby was wonderstruck. “If I work here, am I gonna get an X on the wall, too?” And Charles nodded with another warm smile.

“If you so choose. Our designer, Jean, she will sort that out with you when the time comes.”

Bobby grinned widely as Charles wheeled off into the back room, then laughed under his breath as he heard Scott’s voice echo against the walls. He watched as everyone came pouring out of the back, carrying trays of bread and cupcakes and, Bobby noticed, a very nice-smelling cart of chocolate chip cookies.

The bell above the door jingled merrily as Hank went to prop the door open and flip the neon sign on. Almost immediately after he did so, people began pouring into the shop.

Scott stood behind the counter, ringing up customers and balancing plates of cakes and breads on his arms. Warren (now clothed, damn) brought out a bare chocolate cake and began frosting it, much to the customers’ delights. Charles wheeled around the shop making conversation with the customers, while Hank busied himself with wiping down empty tables and clearing dishes.

Bobby melted into the scene and let himself be consumed by the smell of warm dough and the sound of people chattering. After the morning rush of people had come through, Bobby walked up to the counter and grinned widely at Scott, who gave him a teasing look.

“So, newbie, you ready to take over for me? I've been staring at Warren’s banana nut bread all morning, and I'm starving.”

“Keep staring at my nut bread and see where it gets you,” Warren called, running behind Scott and smacking him on the a*s. The boys chased each other around the mostly empty shop while Bobby laughed to himself.

Maybe this won't be too terrible, he thought to himself, watching Charles wheel a stack of dirty plates into the back room to be washed.

“Do you think you'd be ready to begin tomorrow?” Charles asked him once he wheeled back out, and Bobby grinned and nodded.

“I can be a taste-tester!” he joked and grabbed one of the cupcakes from the display, licking the creamy frosting off the top. Charles laughed heartily and patted him on the arm in farewell. The boys waved and shouted their own goodbyes as Bobby exited the shop, feeling lighter and happier than he had in weeks.

Glancing at his phone - it read 10:57am - Bobby scurried across the street and headed into the coffee shop. He had a need for some hot chocolate, and even though this place was no Starbucks, he would make do.

Fantastic Frappés was a cozy little coffeehouse, with warm lighting and soft music playing. Young teenagers sat in high-rise tables and barstools, chatting over tall cups of caffeinated concoctions. Bobby had never traveled to this place; his local Starbucks fulfilled his hot chocolate needs quite completely, thank you. In fact, he never had noticed this shop before today, and wondered where it had come from.

He stepped up to the counter after waiting in line for three minutes; evidently he was the only one who didn't know about this place prior to today, because it was packed. A cute brown-eyed boy with huge glasses took Bobby’s order and handed the slip of paper off to another guy. The boy grinned through the glass at Bobby, who flushed and turned away.

Stop this, Bobby’s inner conscious reprimanded.

But boys, was Bobby’s reply, and neither could argue with that logic.

Cute Blonde Boy called Bobby’s name and he stepped up to the counter. God, he's even prettier up close, an evil thought bubble pointed out, and really, Bobby couldn't help staring into crystal blue eyes as he took his drink. Hastily, Bobby glanced down at the guy’s chest, searching for a nametag. He found none. Bobby squeaked a little when the guy flexed underneath his tight, blue t-shirt, likely on purpose.

“Thanks, man!” Bobby spit out, then promptly spun on his heel and made a beeline for the door, head down and face flaming. Out into the open air, Bobby inhaled deeply and attempted to calm his racing heart.

“There's just too many cute boys in this world for a poor Bobbo to handle,” he decided as he walked along the storefronts, taking in the warm sun and slight chill of the wind. He ran his tongue along the lid of his hot chocolate and licked the whipped cream from the opening.

Something in Bobby’s gut told him that it wouldn't be the last time he’d run into the blonde barista. And for whatever reason, he didn't have a problem with that.

© 2017 Angel-Is-Alive

Author's Note

WIP, comments and constructive criticism appreciated!

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