I don’t think I’ve ever blogged about Bruce, which is a shame because he’s my imaginary boyfriend.
That is to say, he’s a real person who exists, but he’s only my boyfriend in my mind. (And yes, I’ve been called ‘stalker’ before. It doesn’t offend me in the least.)
The first time I saw Bruce (April 13th, 2011) I made a Facebook status about him which somehow offended a few of my guy friends, making me both irate and greatly amused. Now that I’m dedicating a whole blog post to him, I’ll probably doubly offend them since I not only swooning over Soldier Man again, but also admitted to being thoroughly amused by their displeasure.
Oh well. I don’t need friends. I have Bruce. *psychotic grin*
So the story goes…
I was working the late shift and the cafe was pretty much empty. In the midst of my loneliness and boredom walked Mr. Dreamboat in full military uniform with the boots, cap… y’know, all the normal things that make women giddy. At this stage in my work I was not entirely comfortable with the register or filling more-than-standard orders, so whenever anyone at all walked up to the register, I’d get a little nervous. The man’s stance and expression were only making me more flustered. His hands were clasped behind his back, he was standing to attention, his eyes scanned the bakery like he was honing in on a target, and all in all, he was, as my brother’s like to say, “so legit.”
He asked for a whole loaf of Asiago cheese bread toasted and that’s when the trouble really began.
Me: You want the entire loaf… toasted?
My Brain: How do I do that? How do I do that? I burn bagels! How do I toast the entire loaf without setting it on fire? I’m going to burn the place down! Wait… he looks trained for that kind of thing. He can carry my unconscious body out of harm’s way…
Him: Yes. The whole thing. Toasted.
Me: I could try… slicing it… I guess…
My Brain: Act like you know what you’re talking about. He’s just a guy who wants toast. Don’t look stupid. Too late. You’re stuttering. Burning Panera down might be worth it…
Me: If I toast it in half, like… *making completely unhelpful gestures with my hands* this… then, maybe the loaf won’t catch on fire.
Him: I’ll trust the expert fire marshal on this one.
My Brain: Omg. I love you.
Me: Heh… okay, lemme just…*staring at the bread without a clue*
Through the entire conversation he was looking at me with an eyebrow raised as if making a valiant effort not to laugh at my foolish attempts to slice bread. By then, my manager had run out (she has a ‘hot boy radar’ as she calls it) to ask what the problem was.
My Brain: No, Kristin! Go back to washing dishes!
Me: Uh… he’s wants the… that bread… um…
Him: I would like the loaf of asiago cheese bread toasted, but there was some conflict as to how it should be sliced, *looking straight at me* was there not, Bethany?
My Brain: Marry me.
Kristin finally got the man situated with his toasted loaf, (though not before cutting herself on the knife and thus bleeding for him) but flustered as I was I accidentally rang him up for three loaves instead of the one, to which he said I was setting his credit card on fire. The card in question had Bruce printed as the first name, and my stalker-senses told me to remember it.
He left after purchasing one loaf and a bottled water and as soon as he had, Kristin and I turned to each other and basically squealed like idiots. We were also floating three inches off the ground for the rest of the evening.
Monday afternoon, (August 29th. 2011) during a lunch rush, a man approached my register. He was in a gray t-shirt and he was looking at me like I should recognize him. Not only that, but he was doing this smirky face that I could only describe in my mind as “the smoulder.”
The words, “Okay, here comes the smoulder” were actually going through my mind as he was looking at me. And as my favorite writer of Indian captivity stories likes to write, “It was such a look that I had to look away.“
Actually, I was very confused and though not as flustered as the first time, still flustered, but mostly trying not to start beaming for no reason. Fit, handsome men do not ordinarily walk up to my register and look at me like that.
He ordered one pecan roll. I was a little disappointed because the pecan rolls are my least favorite of all the pastries we have. It’s a bit dry for my tastes. But I was in such a mental flurry trying to figure out why on earth a man was looking at me like I was attractive that I didn’t say anything. I reached for his credit card. He let me grab it and then pulled it back. He did that twice.
I’m just about to ask him what his deal is and if he wants the pecan roll or my entire hand/arm when he finally gives me the card and I swipe it before he changes his mind.
The name on there was Bruce. (I would just like to point out that I never remember names or orders. It took me three full months of a lady coming in every single day before I remembered her name and that she likes one iced tea.)
So first this guy blows my hair back by talking like he escaped from a literary novel, and then he gives me the sort of look that got Christine to walk through a mirror.
My Brain: Everyone is busy, I have you all to myself, and dibs because the other girls have boyfriends! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!
Yeah, so by now we’re both smirking. I sigh and shake my head a little and say, “No asiago bread today?”
“No. Just the roll.”
“Do you want me to slice and toast that weirdly, too?”
And he threw his crumpled up receipt at me while maintaining the most wonderfully sarcastic expression I have yet seen. There were so many things I could have said at that point. (Like was he going to flog me for my insubordination.) But I chose not to. I was afraid it would come out in a weird stutter and no longer be intelligible.
He said yes to the toasting, but I ignored that. I figured if he was serious about toasting a pecan roll he could come back to complain and I’d willfully stick it in the toaster while glaring at him, knowing full well it would burst into flames.
So I brought him his roll and a couple napkins and utensils, and I let him reach for the box and then pulled it back. But I only did it once. But the look on his face was priceless. If it could be verbally translated, I think it would say, “Well played.”
Then he left me for the second time and I hope I see him again before too long. He gives me a high. I don’t even remember what the next ten orders were like. I was busy keeping my head down and biting my lip so my cheeky grin didn’t explode off my face.
When I gushed to my mother about it she asked, “What if he just bought that uniform online and wears it to impress girls?”
I answered with another set of questions. “What if a guy walked into work wearing Victorian clothes and talked like Mr. Darcy? Would I care that he wasn’t really from the 19th century?”
(Answer: Only a little.)
Excuse me while I sing this for the next 48 hours.