Chapter 5: Heavy Heart

FG icon
This item is sold out!
Add to Wishlist
Add To Wishlist
  • Scent Notes
    Decadent black forest cake with brown sugar, juicy cherries, and a hearty splash of cherry kirsch.
  • Description

      New to the story? Start with Chapter 1, Broken Heart, here. Catching up? Reread Chapter 4, Beating Heart, here.

      Scent Notes: Decadent black forest cake with brown sugar, juicy cherries, and a hearty splash of cherry kirsch.

      The past two years had been hard on the Broken Heart. In a time of global sickness and unrest, a locally owned bar and restaurant in a small town had it rough, but they were determined to stay open. They’d had to pivot to a totally takeaway-based system, implemented and learned a whole new point of sale that predominantly took online and mobile orders, and they were really kept afloat by their state allowing customers to buy alcoholic beverages that they could take to-go. Emma and her friends had opened the bar years back, and over time, she’d bought out her friends until it was just her and her partner, Alex, running the place. They’d sadly had to furlough 90% of the staff, and they themselves worked day in, day out, doing everything. By the time the world was opening back up again, they were exhausted. And then, of course, everything shut back down again as the world kept being ravaged by disease. At least that kept the police from coming and snooping around every so often. 

      They shut the Broken Heart down for a few days to discuss the future. They’d had a man, Kevin Knox, stop by several times over the last year. He was offering to buy the bar and the land around it for a hefty price. It was about two weeks until Valentine’s Day, traditionally their busiest season, but without the supplies to make their famous drink, the Bleeding Heart, and not being able to be open to the general public, they were losing money every day. (Whenever customers asked why they couldn’t have one, they’d respond with, “Supply chain issues,” which was technically the truth.) What could they possibly do? Keep on fighting the good fight and rebel against The Man (literally and figuratively)? Or should they cash out now while they can and make some money and finally have some time to relax with one less thing to worry about? But the man who had offered to buy the place was a notorious mafioso. He’d swept into town a few years ago with a reputation of “turning towns around,” but he was becoming infamous for buying up local places and turning them into subpar chains, or buying land and then getting caught up in red tape so thick he just gave up and the buildings would sit empty. Or, he would flip the land for an even larger sum of money, leaving the original owners feeling like they got screwed over. 

      He wasn’t actually in the mafia, as he was too crude to even be a member of such an organization. Nobody seemed to like the man, he just had tons of money and took advantage of people who had been working hard all their lives and were still poor. It was upsetting and against their moral code, and yet, the thought of taking the money and moving or just going on an extravagant vacation was so tempting. They understood why so many people they had known forever had given up their businesses to such a man. Plus, the more they held out, the more money he kept offering. Currently, the offer was more than they could ever fathom earning from owning the restaurant, or running any possible business, or working anywhere else. The temptation had been real, and after the past few weeks of slower-than-usual-even-during-terrible-times business, it was now nearly irresistible. 

      Emma’s heart was heavy, so Alex went behind the bar and whipped up a new drink just to cheer her up. It was based on Emma’s favorite, absolutely decadent dessert: Black Forest cake. “Think of it as cake you can drink,” Alex said as they set it down gently in front of Emma. She gleefully picked it up, took a sip, then chugged the whole thing down before setting the glass down and yelling, “Another!” (If she hadn’t owned the place, she would’ve smashed the glass for emphasis.) Alex laughed, took the glass, and went back behind the bar to whip up a large batch they could sell as a special for the days leading up to Valentine’s Day. Alex even had the perfect name: the Heavy Heart, based on the heftiness of the cake that gave the drink its flavor, and the heavy hearts they were currently carrying. It was also heavy on the booze, but that was not a surprise. After mixing up a bulk batch, taking some stylized photos of two Heavy Hearts, and making an informal price for the drink, Alex came back with one for each of them. “I think these would be a fantastic special for the next two weeks, through Valentine’s Day,” they said to Emma. Emma grabbed her glass, chugged half of it, and nodded. “We need to invite Kevin in to talk to him about his proposal,” she said. “We seriously need to consider his offer. We’re running out of funds; we can’t keep working ourselves to the bone for nothing.” Alex nodded, and picked up the phone.

      The next day, Kevin Knox showed up at the door of the Broken Heart, holding an ostentatiously shiny leather briefcase. He was not a young man, and his face was etched with wrinkles that made his face seem permanently mean. It looked like he was incapable of smiling. His white hair was patchy; his suit was ill-fitting. He certainly didn’t look like an extremely wealthy man, but then again, the truly wealthy people usually don’t flaunt their wealth. Before they could even greet him properly, he started in. “It’s about time I heard from you, I’ve never had to work this hard to get someone to give up their worthless business before!” Both Emma and Alex were taken aback. He continued. “Wow, look at this dump. You’ll be so happy when it’s gone and you have lots of money. Of course, not as much money as I have, and I’ll get even richer when I sell this place myself, but you don’t have to concern yourselves with all that.” He walked over to the closest booth to sit down. “Is it safe to sit here? It looks … disgusting,” he said while sitting down anyway. Emma and Alex were furious. They liked that their place was a local dive bar, and they did keep it quite clean, but it’s not like they could afford to replace the booths when they could barely afford to stay open. “Thanks for coming,” Emma said quietly. “We just wanted to talk to you more about what you’re proposing, exactly, for buying this place from us.” 

      “Well, if I bought this place and wanted to keep it going, I’d use your back parking lot and set up a whole little outdoor situation there with portable heaters and a large canopy without the sides on so you could have a whole experience back there. I’d bring back that drink you’re known for, and I’d raise the prices of everything. That’s what you should’ve done to stay open, but nobody brings me in unless they’re going to sell. So I’m going to raze this place to the ground, buy the surrounding properties and land, and then sell it all to a mega online corporation so they can put in a warehouse here. They don’t have one in this area, and this would be a prime location,” he said with a wink. “You don’t mind, do you? Why keep this charade up? Just sell to me. I’ll give you the amount upfront, in cash, and you could offload this place today.” He opened his briefcase; Alex could swear they saw a faint yellow glow from inside as he took out a pad of paper and a pen. He ripped off a piece of paper, wrote something down, then folded the paper in half and placed it in front of Emma and Alex. Emma opened it and her eyes popped out of her head. It was an obscene amount of money, nearly as obscene as the man seated across the booth from her. She passed the paper to Alex, who nearly burst out laughing from just seeing that amount of money written down. Kevin looked pleased. “Something tells me we might have a deal,” he said smugly. Then, Emma felt his hand under the table on her knee, his other hand covering both of her hands. “I think we could have a beautiful, wonderful friendship, darling,” he said straight to Emma with a raise of his eyebrows. Emma slapped his hands away and stood up abruptly. “Alex, perhaps we should take Mr. Knox into our supply room to show him around and gather some paperwork,” she said a little too loudly. “Please follow me,” she said to Kevin, and he followed her like a puppy. Alex grinned and followed behind, locking the door behind them. 

      A few days later, the Broken Heart announced on their social media that they’d be hosting a grand reopening on Valentine’s Day weekend, rain or shine, with a brand new drink special called the Heavy Heart, and the return of their infamous Bleeding Heart, all on their revamped “back patio” aka the parking lot. They’d bought a huge canopy tent, patio furniture, standing heaters, lights, even made an outdoor bar area to make it easier to serve people. It turned into an absolutely gorgeous space, and in the days leading up, they posted all over their social media to let the world know that the Broken Heart was back and better than ever. Indeed, that weekend, they were absolutely packed. Their regulars were thrilled to see the place doing so well, and both drink specials were a huge hit. All the Valentine’s dates were out in full force, and their supply chain issues seemed to resolve themselves for the time being at least. The gossip on the patio was about Kevin Knox reportedly having left town in a hurry due to some bad business deals, and everyone expressed how happy they were that their favorite place was still standing and hadn’t caved like so many others had. As the weeks progressed, Alex and Emma were able to hire back their staff, keep the business open, and make plans for an expansion and a proper patio. After all, they’d just bought the empty lot next door, so there was plenty of room to make the Broken Heart the biggest and best place in town … no matter what it took to do so.

      Scent Notes: Decadent black forest cake with brown sugar, juicy cherries, and a hearty splash of cherry kirsch.

You may also like

What’s your scent style?

Choose a category and see what we have in store for you…if you dare.