Camino Bakery is located at 310 West Fourth Street in Winston Salem, North Carolina. They are well known for their fresh pastries and coffee drinks made with Krankies Railhead espresso (also local), housemade syrups, and Homeland Creamery (Julien, NC) milk.
Food: <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 Local color: <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
The smell of cinnamon and flour assaulted Lucy first, then the espresso, followed by the cacophony of voices. A veritable gaggle of locals mostly—all trying to escape the harsh winter winds that brought single digit temperatures but no snow.
North Carolina didn’t know what to do with snow anyway—ice, sure, but real snow was as rare as a three legged dog. And it shut everything down.
Lucy didn’t particularly like the cold, but she hated snow. Shivering in her hooded jacket, faux fur lined, she joined the line for a latte. The menu had changed again—winter drinks now. During the autumn she’d had a honey and cinnamon latte that she could still taste, and had dreams about every now and then. Now she would have to try something new.
Studying the menu she tried to ignore the delicacies in the clear case before her. Perfectly crafted soufflés, scones, custom pastries—at lunch she would sometimes duck in for the quiche, which (given the melt in your mouth pastry crust) she would never have guessed was flourless like many of their delectable treats. For this morning though, all she needed was the latte. It was going to be a long day working on the Miller-Jones wedding and she needed a good pick-me-up.
“What can I get you?”
Lucy smiled at the question. “French toast latte, please,” she ordered, pulling out a twenty to pay. Her phone rang as the girl handed back her change and Lucy slid to the side to wait on her order. Looking down at her work phone, Lucy groaned. She would be at the office soon, why couldn’t this wait for fifteen minutes until she got there?
“What is it, Mark?” she asked a little impatiently—she listened as her assistant started to hyperventilate. Finally she interrupted. “Mark, you’re going to have to breathe. I can’t really understand you. I’ll be there in like twenty minutes.”
“Lucy, the flowers, they delivered the wrong flowers,” Mark managed to say more coherently this time.
“Then call them and tell them to correct the mistake. Who signed for them?” Lucy shifted the phone to her other ear as she balanced her laptop bag on her shoulder.
“Theresa. The florist says they won’t take them back since someone signed for them,” Mark’s voice raised an octave. Lucy looked up at the ceiling. Working with dramatic people drove her batty sometimes—but she was an event planner at the Marriot. Dramatics came with the territory. Weddings were the worst.
“Get the wedding planner on the phone,” Lucy sighed. And working with a third party never worked out well—Theresa had a good eye, but she was flaky. “Tell her to meet me in the ballroom in thirty minutes. We’ll talk to the florist together. And Mark, you need to calm down. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened and I doubt it will be the last.”
Lucy hung up the phone.
“Americano. French toast latte.”
Adjusting her bag, Lucy turned back toward the counter to get her latte, her hand brushing the hand of Americano’s owner as she did so.
“Sorry,” Lucy murmured without looking up from her latte.
“No problem,” his smooth voice floated over her, sparking something in her memory. Lucy’s forehead wrinkled, as her eyes flickered up. Saul’s smile reached all the way to the corners of his mossy green eyes. “So is that why you didn’t call me?”
“I—“ Lucy blinked, her bag dropped from her shoulder to the crook of her elbow, spilling droplet of latte from the top of the lid to her thumb. Saul reached for a napkin and handed it to her while she readjusted the bag on her arm.
“Okay?” he asked.
“Yeah,” she murmured.
“So, how are the wedding plans?”
Lucy’s head popped up again. “What wedding plans?”
“I couldn’t help but overhear. Mark, wasn’t it?” He pointed to the phone that she still held in her hand. Saul was casually mixing the tiniest bit of cream into his coffee and not even enough sugar to taste. “I assume that’s why you never called.” He flashed her his dimpled grin.
Lucy looked stupidly at her phone. “Mark?”
“Your fiancé?” he asked.
“My what?” Lucy shook her head. “Oh no, Mark is my assistant.” She laughed now, shaking her phone back and forth. “We were talking about work.”
“Oh?” Saul leaned against the counter.
“Excuse me,” a little woman with a tight bun leaned in between them and grabbed the cappuccino, but neither Saul nor Lucy moved far—just enough to allow her to get her beverage.
“So, Mark is your assistant. You are a…”
“I’m an event planner,” Lucy supplied. “I work for the Marriot.” She gestured with the latte, then looked down, flustered, and grateful it hadn’t spilled again.
“Ah, that explains the flowers and wedding planner comment then.”
“Yes. We do all kinds of events there, weddings, conferences, fundraisers…” Lucy trailed off, realizing she was rambling.
“So why didn’t you call then?” he asked, taking a sip of his coffee.
“Café latte. Americano. French toast latte.”
“I think we’re in the way,” Lucy said. Looking at the three drinks on the counter in front of them. Saul smiled, a dimple forming on his left cheek. He took a step closer to her so people could get to their drinks at the counter. Lucy could no longer smell the spices of the coffee shop, as her senses filled with cologne—fresh, but masculine. Tommy maybe?
“You’re evading,” he said.
“It’s weird,” she said. Lucy looked at her latte cup.
“To call a stranger? It felt weird.”
“Well,” he glanced up. “We’re not strangers any more. I’m Saul and I work at Hutch and Harris when I’m not attending classes at Wake for Med School, and you’re Lucy—you work at the Marriot as an event planner. And we’re standing in Camino Bakery under the mistletoe.”
“We’re what,” Lucy followed his gaze. Hanging right above their head was a sprig of mistletoe.
“Must be left over from the holidays,” he shrugged. Lucy’s eyes dropped back down to his. He leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. “Call me?”
Lucy was still standing there, mouth open as Saul waved from the other side of the window, hurrying down the sidewalk of Fourth Street.