This was planned as a short ficlet but then it got out of control ;)
Title: Rainbow Bagels
Fandom: The Faculty
Character: Zeke & Casey
Word Count: 2632 words
Author's note: The Rainbow Bagels belong to Scott Rossilo who is already making them since 20 years
Disclaimer: Of course, I don't own The Faculty nor the character :( - I'm just borrowing them for some fun
Present time, about 6.00 p.m.
Casey stared at his mother, feeling flabbergasted. The woman was standing in the middle of the chaos which was supposed to be the always tidy, small but comfortable kitchen area of the Connor's home. Her blonde hair slightly messed up, her cheeks reddened, she was jotting something down into a notebook, thoughtfully chewing on her bottom lip. So busy that she hadn't even noticed him coming home from the photo club.
"Mom? What are you doing?"
Finally, she looked up, her eyes were sparkling hilariously.
"You are back early today."
"Ähm .... is almost six o'clock."
His mother blinked surprised.
"Oh, really. Well, I guess we will order a pizza today, I was a bit too distracted for cooking. Guess you don't mind."
Casey smirked. That was even more strange. His mom was for sure not a big fan of fast food.
"Everything okay," he asked tentatively.
She nodded, beaming with joy. It was a while that Casey had seen her that happy. Not since she had lost her job at the small K-Mart of Herrington two months ago when it was closed until further notice. She tried to hide her worries, as always, but Casey knew better. Their little savings would be eaten up rather sooner than later. And he would have to make a hard decision, CAL Tech or the Community College in Columbus, even with a full scholarship, L.A. would be a luxury they could ill afford at the moment.
"I just wish your dad would have had a chance to get to know Zeke," she said.
"He is such a good boy."
"Ähm ... Zeke," Casey repeated, feeling even more confused. Not that he had ever put this into question. But despite his mom had always respected his friendship with him, he had always known that she was not totally happy about it.
"He's upstairs," she murmured and turned away quickly to hide the tears which were suddenly standing in her eyes.
Okay, this was enough. Casey turned around and rushed to the stairs. His boyfriend was sitting in the old but comfy chair in front of the window, reading a comic. When Casey stormed into his room, he looked up and smiled.
"Hey, geek boy."
"What the heck is going on here?"
Casey glared at him.
"What kind of drugs did you give my mom?"
Two weeks earlier.
Casey was sitting in the last row of the bleachers, lost in a book, a large lunchbox beside him. Zeke didn't take his eyes off him while getting closer and smiled. Casey was a senior now, soon enough he would graduate, next year, this time, he would already go to College. It was somehow strange, embarrassing even, that his mom still made him a lunch box every day, with healthy apples and boxed orange juice.
Zeke, though, had long stopped to laugh about that. Since he had realized that there was a special bond between Casey and his mom. Probably it was because his father died much too early; for sure it had been a difficult time for Mrs. Connor and her five-year-old little son. But maybe they just were this special kind of people who wholeheartedly cared for others. Not everyone could be as distant as his parents, who were convinced that financial security was much more important than love and closeness.
When he dropped down on the bench next to Casey, his boyfriend looked up.
"Hey. How did the test go?"
"Boring as hell."
"Good old Furlong. I guess, he wants to give everyone a fair chance to improve the grades last minute."
Then he pointed at his lunch packet.
"Are you hungry? Obviously, my mom is afraid that I'm starving."
Zeke grinned. For sure he wouldn't say 'no' to this offer. Mrs. Connor was a good cook and even her sandwiches were delicious. But when his eyes fell on the ... ähm ... multicolored thing ... in Casey's hand he blinked confusedly. What the hell was that? His mind refused to call it a bagel, even if looked like one.
Casey chuckled, obviously amused when he noticed his stunned face.
"It's a first try. For the birthday of my little cousin next Sunday. My mom has promised to make her something special for the buffet. I call it rainbow bagels. Wanna try? It's good."
"Sure. When you are a five-year-old little girl. Or when you have a sweet tooth. What is this on the cream? Cotton candy?"
"That's brilliant, don't you think so?"
Grinning Casey took a hearty bite from the colorful bagel and smacked his lips.
"Cotton candy and creamy cheese with sugar sprinkles. Sooo good."
Zeke shuddered at the thought alone.
"I guess I will go and buy me a sandwich in the cafeteria."
"I knew you'd say that."
Casey reached into the lunchbox and took out another bagel, lime green this time, but at least without a cotton candy topping.
"Just try this. Creamy cheese with spring onions. No sugary ingredients."
Zeke noticed his hopeful look and finally gave in. He closed his eyes and dared a tentatively first bite. Another one. Wow. As a teenager who was used to it to live on his own, fast food was his best friend, and he loved bagels; almost every morning he made a stop at Starbucks to get his favorite one with asiago cheese, garlic and onions. But he had to admit: this one was even better.
Casey laughed satisfied.
"And, what do you think?"
"Can you ask your mom, to make some of these for my next birthday?"
Present time, two hours ago, about 4:00 p.m.
Mrs. Connor stopped surprised when she opened the door; actually, she had expected UPS with a parcel, for sure not Zeke, the best friend of Casey. Well, actually he was more than just that, she was sure of that. From the very first moment, she had noticed the way Casey looked at him, the way his eyes were sparkling when he talked about him.
She was still not sure what to think about this. It was not the realization, that Casey might be gay; he was a good boy and she didn't care with whom he fall in love with. As long as it made him happy. It was obvious that Zeke could do that; even more, Casey seemed to be more open and self-confident since he was together with him. But there were a lot of rumours about Zeke. He always was on guard when she was around, but he was polite and helpful. So she finally had decided to make the best of the situation and to give him a fair chance, but to keep an eye on him.
"Hey, Mrs. C."
"Hello, Zeke. Casey isn't at home yet. Tuesday, you know, his Photo-Club."
"I know, and I'm not here because of him. Do you have a minute?"
For a moment she kept quiet surprised, wondering where this would go to. Then she nodded.
"Sure. Come on in. I've just made myself a coffee. Would you like a cup as well?"
Only some moments later Zeke was sitting at the kitchen counter, a mug of steaming coffee and a donut in front of him.
"So, what can I do for you," asked Mrs. Connor.
"Casey has recently brought along some bagels in his lunch box. They were ... fancy."
"I know. My niece wanted something special for her birthday buffet and it seemed to be a funny idea. It was a hit, the little girls were crazy about it."
"Doesn't makes me wonder. Ever thought about it to bring them to market?"
Zeke nodded, an open smile on his lips. No wonder that Casey felt attracted by him.
"Yeah. I'm sure they would be the hit not only at a children's party."
Mrs. Connor laughed.
"Thanks for the compliment, Zeke."
"It's not meant as one, it's an offer. Close to the City College is a little snack bar, great location, but I wouldn't be surprised if they have to close soon. Boring sandwiches and overpriced, packaged salads from the supermarket are not exactly a runaway success. A great place for a Bagel Shop."
Was he serious? Mrs. Connor wasn't sure what to think about Zeke's idea. Did she get it right and he planned to open a shop to sell bagels?
"Of course, you will have to offer some normal bagels, too, but the rainbow bagels would be the hit."
"Rainbow ... what?"
"Rainbow bagels. Casey calls them like that," Zeke explained.
"I think the name is perfect. Sounds like fun and holidays, exactly what a college student is looking for after hours of boring lessons.
So, what do you mean?"
Mrs. Connor smiled.
"Well, I guess I could help you out with some of my bakery secrets."
"Better not. I can repair cars and I know how to use to microwave. But for sure I'm not a baker. You should open the shop. Casey says you were often talking about having a little catering service. This shop wouldn't be so different."
Slightly stunned Mrs. Connor shook her head, this talk went into an unexpected direction.
"Really, Zeke, that's a nice idea. But, you know, Casey is going to College next year. When all things go well he will get a full scholarship at CAL TECH, but this will not cover all and ..."
She paused for a moment, before continuing.
"Well, the big storm last winter, when the tree crashed into our garage, did eat up most of my savings. I can't risk the rest of the money for my long forgotten dream. Casey has a great future ahead, that's all that counts."
Inwardly sighed Zeke. When everything went like planned, it wouldn't be only Casey who would go to California next year. And he wouldn't mind to help him out with money. But he knew all too well that neither Casey nor his mom would accept this offer. There had to be another way to help both of them. The shop was a brilliant plan, he was sure, that it could work, he would just have to convince her.
"You don't need to risk your money for the shop," he said deliberately.
"My parents send me a generous check every month, much more than I need. And I don't mind to ..."
Mrs. Connor interrupted him, suddenly looking stern.
"No! I would never take any money from you."
"But I don't want to give it to you," he answered quickly.
"It's more about a partnership. I have the money to get the business started. But I need you. Because you have the knowledge and the talent, and that's actually even more important for success.
Of course, we will pool the profits fifty-fifty, that's only fair."
Satisfied he noticed Mrs. Connor relaxing again; still a bit unsure what she should think about all this, but it was obvious that her interest was piqued.
"You think there will be profit?"
"Sure, this idea is worth its weight in gold.
Well, maybe not right from the start. I guess, we should better do it step by step. Just opening for one or two times the week. Maybe you can come up with Mini-Bagels, we could offer as a taster for free at the College. I know the girls will get crazy about it. And the guys want the girls to be happy. So they will invite them for a bagel at lunchtime."
Zeke grinned wide while continuing.
"I'm sure it will last only a few weeks and we will have to expand the opening time. We will offer some temp jobs; college students always can need some extra money. They can take over the shop while you will concentrate fully on producing. And don't worry, I'm sure it won't get boring."
Mrs. Connor blinked. The idea was weird, wasn't it? But she couldn't help it, Zeke's enthusiasm was contagious. Her heart beat faster and in her mind she already started to think about the bagels she would offer. Only a small selection, but special. Some normal bagels with lettuce, cheese and ham. Rainbow bagels ... She smiled, what a nice name. In different variations; for sure the sweet one with candy cotton. Her favorite, to be honest, but probably not for everyone's fancy. But she already had some ideas for compromises.
Suddenly she felt Zeke's eyes resting on her, the soft smile on his lips told volumes. It was as if he could read her mind. Good God. Was it that obvious that she almost was giddy with excitement? She cleared her throat.
"So, your plan is already well thought out, huh?"
"Sure. All what I still need is your okay."
Present time, about 6:30 p.m.
Casey had listened to his friend silently; now he slowly shook his head, still waiting to finally wake up out of a weird dream. Zeke chuckled slightly.
"So, what do you think?"
"You want to open a shop together with my mom?"
"That's the idea. But to be honest, I'm thinking about it to bring you in, too. We can need every kind of advertising. Flyers for College and Highschool. Later a website where we offer our specials. Catering for birthdays and any other occasion; the bagels extra designed for it."
"Imagine a photo shoot with rainbow bagels. Might be fun."
Casey gasped for air.
"You can't be serious!"
Zeke got up and pulled him into his arms.
"Do you trust me?"
"Of course, but ..."
A quick kiss was placed on Casey's nose.
"You know, I'm not perfect, but when it comes to business, I have good instincts."
"Yeah," growled Casey, but couldn't suppress a grin.
"Porn and Scat, the hit at the school's parking lot."
"Oh, that's history. Like Mr. Furlong said recently. 'I don't know what's happened to you lately, Mr. Tyler, but it was high time that you start to use your smart mind.'"
Another kiss, this time placed on soft, warm lips.
"This bagel shop is one of the best ideas I ever had. And it will make your mom happy."
Casey thought about her, how she had looked like this evening. So excited, all smiles, because a future was lying ahead of her which could make all the dreams come true she had given up a long time ago. She had been a good mom, the best he could imagine, she had cared for him, had always worked hard to give him the best childhood. The bagel shop was her chance to finally do what she wanted; she loved cooking and baking and trying out new recipes. But what when Zeke was wrong when the shop would be a flop?
He couldn't take his eyes from his brilliant friend who looked as self-confident as ever. Never before Casey had put in question, that Zeke always would get what he wanted, even if the way to get there not always was an easy one. Slowly he relaxed again. When Zeke did believe that this shop would be a success he would believe this, too.
He tiptoed and put his arms around Zeke's neck; his soft lips, his hazelnut-brown eyes so close and he didn't know how to put it into words how much he did love him.
"Thank you," he murmured.
"Thanks, for doing this for my mom."
"You should know me better, Case," snarled Zeke, but his eyes sparkled softly.
"I never do anything to make other people happy. This shop will turn me into a rich guy."
Instead of an answer, Casey pulled him down into a soft, endless kiss.