That's How The Cookie Crumbles

North Portland 
For Tiff/Jalista

With summer still underway, Bas had too much free time on his hands. Part of the day consisted of him going over the cork boards in his room. There had been a series of thefts going on campus during certain parts in the year - the beginning of fall term, just before Christmas, and halfway through the second term into the new year prior to Spring Break. He figured in his down time he could study the known reports (i.e. the ones mentioned by the Campus Police Bulletins or the University newspaper) while school wasn't in session to check for any correlations. So far many seem to unconnected though he did tie together the ones where the stolen item was the same or similar and those that happened around the same defined area. It wasn't the most interesting thing to do and to be honest it was just going over different reports, articles, and a list of mind-numbing statistics, but something about it made him feel more alive.

Still, he couldn't spend all day at his apartment, so he soon left, trying to walk off all his excess energy, it was making him a little jittery and restless. Mostly because he wasn't making much progress which only fueled Bas' frustration. Technically he could've been working an intern job at his father's company over the summer too but he didn't want to take the opportunity away from those that actually worked for it. He didn't need the money anyway and he had his own priorities, even if those priorities weren't something his father understood. Despite the weather, Bas was stubborn about wearing his light hoodie. Most places had air conditioning anyway and if not, he could just tie it around his waist, no problem. When he finally reached his destination, Bas stepped inside.

Sweet Tooth Bakery hadn't been around too long but it was a place he decided was worth his visits. Having a love for sweets, he popped in for their cookies and cakes often. Bread was fine too but it had to have a defining flavor to keep him interest. Bas pushed his hood back, his unkempt curly hair appearing before he placed his idle hands in his pockets and checked out the display case, his eyes scanning the items for sale. It was feast for the eyes and his olfaction so those two senses were usually what led him to make his purchases here. Well, that and whatever he could be lured into buying, sometimes the special wasn't too bad either and when it came to sweets, Bas wasn't as picky as he would be with anything else. He would see what would win out today.

Theophania had not bothered to hire any help for the bakery. Doing so would defeat its function as a distraction from her suddenly empty life. As such, she split her time between everything from prepping dough and ordering supplies, to cleaning tables and wrangling customers. Not every customer received a prompt response, including regulars like the college kid that had just walked in. His name was Basilio, and he had a fluffy head of hair, and based on his pulse, an equally fluffy animal side. Sometimes he could be convinced to try out her ‘specials,’ which were more often than not experimental pastries her beloved taste tester had not expressly banned from touching a human tongue.

She finished wiping off the newly vacated tables and returned to the counter.

“Welcome back,” she said, and meant it. She was pleased to see one of her regular guinea pigs browsing the displays. “Special of the day is lavender cake.” The baking shows she liked to watch had many bakers using rose this and lavender that, and failing miserably. Tiffany thought it was a great idea to try it for herself, though the recipe she had found made her doubt anyone could actually stomach such a thing, since it had ingredients like sour cream and dried plant bits. Lavender cake wasn’t even the most outlandish thing she had tried to sell, though, and so it sat on her little chalkboard: Special of the day: Lavender Cake. Helps reduce anxiety and stress. Hipsters loved healthy food, and Tiffany loved seeing what people would choke down in the name of longevity or gut health.

She settled on her stool and watched where his eyes lingered.

Sweets were more popular than savory pastries, especially at night, so he had much to choose from. Opera cake, and scones, and croissants, and donuts; everything sat being warmed within the display case.

“How’ve you been, kid?” she asked, as if she didn’t look a scarce handful of years older than him.

Theophania was ever the indulgent sales person when it came to her good it seemed. Bas had grown used to her usual banter though her choice in ingredients surprised him. Perhaps it was because he didn't cook or bake much himself since he was often studying and it didn't even register half the time but it was nice to try new things that weren't the usual flavors. "Good to be back." It would've been sooner but his mind was back on the cork board in his apartment. A thought he tried to push away for the time being, he needed a mental break and thinking about it while being away from home didn't help at all.

Lavender...what did that even taste like? He couldn't imagine it and purple seemed like a dumb answer since it wasn't exactly something most people could taste. "You can put a cake?" Pastries were plant-based anyway for the most part but it was far more adventurous than say a lemon square or a eclair. "I guess I'll have to order a slice of that...among other things." He would've gotten a slice for Lio and maybe Mia too...but he wasn't exactly talking to them right now and it felt odd to even think about it. It made his heart hurt a little but again, it was another thought he pushed aside. He was just hear to buy some great pastries and clear his head. Bas' mind needed to stop dragging his thoughts through the mire.

This particular baker's age was always a guessing game to Bas. She couldn't be more than twenty-five, right? Maybe? People had baby-faces maybe thirty? As much as the term 'kid' made him wrinkle his nose since he certainly felt like an adult, Bas didn't comment on that. "I've been better. I'm actually looking forward to term starting." He couldn't quite keep eye-contact as he said that, a shadow falling over his features. "What about you? Anything big happening?" Bas wasn't sure how he really felt but term starting meant he'd be busy and he wouldn't have to think about his problems. Even if it was his last year before he graduated from college and it wouldn't help one of the burning issues on the horizon. At least he could runaway from the one he was facing right now.

Tiffany glanced over her shoulder at the chalkboard display.

“Sure can,” she said, though she had asked much the same thing when she watched someone dump lavender in a cake on a baking show. She appreciated that Basilio was the type of customer to voice his incredulity. She enjoyed seeing customers’ reactions to her experiments almost as much as she enjoyed watching her taste tester try not to barf after one of her intentionally disgusting confections.

She slid half off her stool, so her feet touched the ground, but moved no further, content to let him browse and make conversation until someone else came in to order.

Theophania wasn’t so dense that she missed how pensive the kid was; hell, the dark cloud he brought in with him would have been enough to block the sun.

“The bakery is my big happening,” she said, tilting her head and smiling a ghost smile as she redirected. “I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone to be excited about school starting back up, and I know you just said you were, but you’ve got a pretty long face. The kind that could use some opera cake.”

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