Dazed

By: Kim Karr

Chapter 1

6-2



All of my senses engage as I wait in line and stare through the clear glass—the fragrance in the air from the foil wrapped treats wafts under my nose, the beauty of the lines of shelves decorated with tiny dots and colored sprinkles mesmerizes me, and the anticipation of the taste makes my mouth water. Mmmm . . . just thinking of the first bite of bittersweet Belgian chocolate complementing the flavor of the Madagascar bourbon vanilla that oozes from its inside has me trembling. The black-and-white cupcake—it’s simply perfection.

Amidst the skyscrapers in Los Angeles’ South Park neighborhood, Sprinkles is a gem tucked away for those of us who seek out a small piece of heaven. I don’t come here often, but when I do it’s for that one special treat. The menu describes it as “Yin and Yang.” There’s an ancient proverb that simply put says complementary opposites give rise to the other, and it’s true—opposites attract. Without the vanilla inside, one would not crave the chocolate as much, but looking at the two parts united has me drooling.

“You know what they say about staring through the glass,” a deep husky voice says from behind me.

His words tingle across my skin and my gaze snaps up. “Excuse me?” I stop short, in a daze, not even sure exactly what he just said I was so lost in my thoughts.

He chuckles. “You know what they say about staring through the glass,” he repeats.

My eyes blink and come into focus on the upward tilt of his full lips. Then I notice his smooth pale skin flecked with a light stubble, his sculpted nose even with a slight imperfection in its slope, large eyes with the most unusual gray color swirling from within, and chocolate brown colored hair framing his face—I’m not sure if he has just rolled out of bed or if product molds it just so. Either way, he is utterly beautiful.

“I’m sorry, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Just be careful so you don’t fall in like Alice.” He smiles, displaying his bright white teeth.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” I notice his eyes sweep over me and my heart starts pounding.

“Through the Looking Glass,” he responds in a dangerously husky voice.

This time when he speaks I catch a New York accent, ever so slight but extremely sexy. It reminds me of how Robert De Niro talks, just not as loud or fast. I continue to stare, unable to respond. I notice that his physique is long and lean. He’s dressed in worn jeans that fit him perfectly. His orange laced hiking boots scream “I don’t conform.” A pair of tortoiseshell sunglasses hang from the V of his gray sweater, which clings to his body perfectly. And an outdoor vest tops the outfit. It throws me off. It makes him look more like an Abercrombie model than a James Dean type. It’s navy blue down and quilted with a silver zipper. I don’t know why, but something about his outfit, about this man, captivates me.

“Number 98,” calls the girl from behind the counter.

He steps closer. His warm breath whispers across my neck. “Through the Looking Glass is the sequel to Alice in Wonderland. When Alice gets too close to the glass, she falls in and starts on a crazy journey,” he tells me as his arm waves in the air with a green ticket on display. Stepping closer, his gaze cuts from mine to the glass case as he hands his number to the clerk, who’s wearing a cute brown apron with the word Sprinkles scripted across it.

“Can I have a dozen of the black-and-white cupcakes?” he asks.

Suddenly alarmed, my eyes dart to the case as I watch the single remaining row of beautifully crafted cupcakes diminish until there are none left. My irritation flares as I glance at my number—97.

The beautiful stranger hands the clerk his credit card and waits to sign the slip.

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