"Apple pie!" the pastor said, shaking our hands while Nathan and I put the pies on the table. "And they smell wonderful."
"Thanks," I said with a smile.
I looked around. There were five tables all full of desserts. I knew that bake sales weren't exactly huge money makers but they were fun to do. There was definitely an abundance of cookies and brownies.
"They're easier to make," the pastor said when I pointed it out. "We also have turnovers, muffins, cupcakes, and a couple cakes."
"Like, regular cakes?" I asked and he nodded, leading us to a table in the back.
"We're going to do it different, though," he explained. "People can buy a raffle ticket and we'll pull tickets at the end of the sale."
"Neat," Nathan said. "How much are the tickets?"
"Three dollars," he answered.
I passed over a ten, letting him keep the extra.
"You've just sold your first three," I said happily.
I passed them around to Nathan and my dad. We wandered among the desserts and snagged some brownies.
"Oh my God these are delicious," I moaned, taking a large bite. "Let's buy more."
My dad laughed and held me back. "Leave some for everyone else."
I pouted. "It's not my fault they didn't show up sooner," I said.
One of the church volunteers cut up our pies and I hovered close by to see how well they would sell. I bit my lower lip as the first person took a bite. They dragged their friends over. Our pies were the first ones gone.
"Success!" I cried and high-fived Nathan.
My father laughed. "It's not a competition you two."
"Everything is a competition," I joked.
The bake sale would last until 5 in the evening so we had time to kill. The church had provided some punch and we bought a cup. There was a small play area for kids and we strolled around. For a brief moment, I was naïve enough to think we'd be left alone.
"Hey, you're Nathaniel Banker," a woman said and he groaned quietly, turning around. "My name is Vickie."
She had long blond hair and pretty blue eyes. For some reason, I felt a jolt of jealousy as he shook her hand and she smiled flirtatiously at him.
"Nice to meet you," he said, letting go of him with some difficulty.
"What are you doing here?" she asked.
"Just enjoying a beautiful day with my friends," he said simply.
She frowned. "Haven't you seen the news lately?"
I gripped my cup tighter as he said, "Nope and I really don't care."
"Your mom said they're suing you," she said. "Is that a lie?"
I looked down and sighed loudly. Nathan looked at me curiously.
"Your purse is really cute!" I said.
She beamed. "Gucci," she said smugly.
"Man, I've always loved Gucci. I've told Nathan here a couple times that, anyone who has Gucci should be respected." Vickie's smug grin widened. "Say... can I see it?"
"Sure," she said.
I opened it and, sure enough, a video camera was pointing at me, the red light blinking. I snatched it out of her purse and, with a smirk at her horrified face, I threw it with all the force I could on the ground. She was staring at me with a mixture of fear and outrage.
"Do you know how much that cost!?" she screeched.
"Nope," I said, pushing the purse back into her hands. "And I don't care. I'm sure whatever studio you're working for will compensate you."
I drank my punch and put my free hand in my pocket casually, looking around. She stomped her foot and tossed her punch on me. I looked down at my white shirt, now stained pink from the red punch. I gasped dramatically.
"Look, Nathan!" I cried. "My poor shirt! It's terrible! Now I'll have to use bleach!"
Nathan and my father laughed while Vickie stormed off. I grinned and my dad put his arm around my shoulders.
"Thanks," Nathan said.
"Meh," I shrugged.
The pastor called everyone over for the raffle call. Everyone had purchased a ticket. There were three cakes and I crossed my fingers, linking my arms with my dad and Nathan. The pastor shook up the bowl they had put the tickets in and dug around for a second.
"The first cake goes to... Summer Indie!" he called and everyone applauded. A little girl went running to him, her hair in pigtails. "There you go, Summer."
"Thank you!" she said and walked carefully back to her parents. "Look!"
I smiled at the little girl.
"The second cake goes to... Justin Carr!"
An older man walked up and took his hat off in a thank you salute. The pastor dug around a little more for the last one.
"Our final one goes to... Aaron Turner!"
I clapped and whooped while my dad went forward to get it. He did a comical bow and everyone laughed.
"We're celebrating tonight," he said as we walked back to the house.
"Celebrating what?" I asked, still dabbing at my white shirt.
"Other than you smashing that camera?" he laughed. "Having a good time for the first time in a long time."
"I'll drink to that," I said happily.
"No you won't," Nathan said. "But you'll eat cake to that."
I rolled my eyes. "Oh, all right."
I sighed, though, thinking about Vickie and her damn camera. How many more undercover press people are we going to be followed by? I meant what I said to Nathan: eventually we would be left alone. But how long would it take? I was tired of looking over my shoulder and making sure that, when I was in public, I didn't do something stupid.
I didn't want to do more damage to our names. Now that the fact his parents were suing us was on the news, things were going to get worse. It would be like going back to square one: wearing beanies just to get groceries and fighting with people at the corral while trying to teach classes. I didn't want that.
I wanted what Nathan wanted: for things to go back to normal.
Suddenly, my father stopped walking and I bumped into him and Nathan bumped into me. I looked over his shoulder and dropped the napkins I was holding. Nathan shouted angrily and my father dropped the cake.