packing up his gear

I don’t care much for the idea of going back to clients to fix up their delivered pieces because somehow they couldn’t handle them properly or they hadn’t put them up in a place that had been cool enough to keep them from melting. Especially when those calls came in past a certain hour in the evening as it had the previous night. I’d just delivered my biggest piece of the month, it had taken me two days of near no rest to get it done because of the sheer amount of detail there was to it. I delivered it, the client looked pleased as could be and a few hours later, I was receiving a call to complain that some of the detail wasn’t right.

I asked them to know when they needed the piece done and I was given an hour in the mid-morning of the following day, so I told them I would stop be in the early morning to fix up the problem. Usually I didn’t bother with this because most of my pieces are sold as-is and I sent clear photos of the finished product before delivering so they could confirm it was as they liked, but the woman was the friend of a friend, she was marrying said friend though I hadn’t really spoken to him in some years. It was a little more difficult to say ‘no’.

After the call came, I gathered my working gear as it was, my carving tools mostly. There wasn’t anything else I could do while the piece was delivered. I was no miracle maker. Eoghan watched me pack everything up and flopped with a low whine on the slight seater closest to my working room. “I’ll be going in the morning, tonight I’m not going anywhere and we’re not leaving the bedroom. I promised you that much and I’m keeping my promise to you.”

He smiled at me, his eyes bright and adoring and that more or less set my mind. Even if I’d decided to go tonight, I would more than likely have delayed going. Last time a customer had called because the final piece wasn’t exactly like they’d wanted, I’d gone, oh I had and when I came in the tried to entice me to join their party. That wasn’t about to happen and I wasn’t the type. Though I later learned that just after I’d left, another guy came in and it was the stripper they’d hired so I supposed they might have mistaken me for the guy. It still hadn’t exactly been pleasant.

When morning came, just as the sun was starting to peek from behinds slight clouds, I dropped all my equipment into the car and I went on my way. I suppose it could be considered ironic that I’m not much a people’s person. It takes a while before I feel comfortable enough being around other people to want to trust them. Considering what I usually did for a living when I was not in the process of taking care of chocolate, it could be strange.

I knocked on their door and it was the groom, the old friend, who opened it. He looked slightly tired but he perked up when he recognized me. He stepped out fully and closed the door for a moment, he shivered and murmured an apology. “I recall what you’d told me years ago that you didn’t like to do house calls for fix-ups like these and I know that this is likely something you would have wanted to avoid. She loves it, she really does but when she compared the original piece, her dress, and the chocolate one, she saw that some of the details were different and she just started complaining and just, well you know.”

He shrugged, looking helpless for a few moments and I shrugged in turn, managing the ghost of a smile. “It’s fine, Hugh, let’s just head inside before you catch a cold. I’ll do what I can’t but I’m no miracle worker.”

“I know and I’m grateful you’re here though I told her you wouldn’t come, she insisted.” Women tend to be like that, from experience, at least most of the women I’d met who were getting ready to get married, I supposed it was one of those things.

“Just lead me to the piece and I’ll see what I can do.”

“You’re the best, Lex.”

I didn’t really consider myself ‘the best’, I was just someone who kept himself busy with things that didn’t bother him too much, kept busy with certain ways of lives that didn’t get tiresome after a decade or two. I’d known people who had picked a certain job to do and after a few years they were absolutely sick of that particular job because they hated it.

When he led me to the piece I’d delivered just the day before, I first noticed that it had been tampered with. Someone had tried to ‘fix it up’ using whatever means they’d tried. It wasn’t ruined but it wasn’t the piece I had dropped off. I looked it over while Hugh hovered behind me, almost worried that I might not be able to at least fix it up to a point.

“You have kids around, Hugh?” He blinked at the question, his face growing warm though he nodded slightly. “I’m thinking that someone didn’t keep this out of a kid’s reach because what I’m seeing here isn’t what I delivered. I can try to fix it up, I’ll do my best but I should be charging you for this because I’m not fixing up something I failed to do properly, I’m fixing up what someone else mucked with.”

He started apologizing but I shook my head and told him it was fine, I supposed that for this once I could at least try to be lenient, he was getting married in just a few hours and he looked frazzled. I didn’t know if all grooms were like this but I wondered if it was the best of decisions for him. Not that it was my place to ask him about that.

I took out my tools, set them out along the counter and I fixed up the sculpted chocolate as best as I could. I was rather proud of myself when I stepped back. It wasn’t an exact replica of the photo set up next to it but it was the best I could do after it had been handled by whoever had more or less destroyed the first finished product.

He looked at it and his eyes widened before they warmed. He smiled at me and I could tell he was relaxing. I could only assume that his soon-to-be might have been the ones making the decision in this relationship. It was a shame, he’d been a much more outgoing man than this before though I supposed that not everyone could find the perfect match.

“All right, I’m done, I’ll show myself out.” He still was staring at the fixed piece, gratitude almost pouring off of him. “Try to keep the kids away from it this time, I can’t come out here to fix it again before the big hour comes by, Hugh.”

He nodded, still staring at the sculpted copy of his soon-to-be and I slipped out of the door and into the sun’s warm embrace. The air was still cool, cold almost but the sun was warm enough that it was almost comfortable to be outside at this point.

On the way home, I stopped for some flowers, feeling no true need for them but telling myself that Eoghan could appreciate them now that I was back home and not working in an environment I wasn’t all that comfortable working in. The best place for chocolate making was my working studio and that was that, no one was going to change my mind on that one little fact.


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