The Baking LessonsFox Bread
As a baker, Minjeong’s life is very routine.
Even without an alarm on her days off, she naturally wakes up before sunrise out of habit when her biological clock has been conditioned over so many years. Though waking up early isn’t out of the ordinary for her, trying not to wake her new houseguest while she gets ready in the morning is.
She tries her best to get ready in the dark, though she definitely bumps her shin on a table at some point. Even with the noise though, it doesn’t seem like Jimin wakes up, or perhaps she’s pretending to sleep through it. Either way, Minjeong tries to be as quiet as she can as she exits the loft and shuts the door behind her.
And just like every other workday, she spends about half an hour setting things up before Aeri and Yizhuo show up for work. In their routine, the two other women alternate with who brings coffee in the morning, and today, Aeri shows up with a tray of iced Americanos, which Minjeong happily takes to boost her energy this morning.
After Minjeong goes over what needs to be prepared for today, she turns on some music—but lowers the volume a touch with the thought of her guest upstairs—before the three chat as they get ready for the breakfast rush. It’s Monday morning, so one of them will always ask, “How was your weekend?” In which Minjeong never had much of a reply to offer. Today however…
“Wait, wait, wait!” Aeri shouts. “You took in a stranger?! Like some…hobo? What if she’s a serial killer?”
Minjeong laughs when her cousin is so predictable with the way she jumps to her worst-case scenarios. “She’s a woman! She’s not a serial killer, Aeri.”
“That’s iest.” Yizhuo remarks. “You don’t think serial killers can be women?”
“It’s highly unlikely,” Minjeong counters. “Besides, it’s been two days now and I’m not dead.”
“She’s a total freeloader then,” Aeri says as she flips the stand mixer onto a low setting.
“Why didn’t you take her to a hospital? Or call the police to help her out?” Yizhuo asks.
“I wanted to!” Minjeong reasons. “But as soon as I mentioned a hospital, Jimin freaked out. I said maybe someone at the hospital could help her find her family, and then she said something like, ‘I don’t have a family to go home to.’ It was…really depressing the way that she said it. I think something traumatic happened with her family, which is why she has amnesia.”
“Are you sure that she really has amnesia?” Aeri asks.
“I found her outside in the parking lot, in the pissing rain, just looking around like she was totally lost and confused. It was freezing on Saturday night too! What kind of scam artist would do that and just in hope that someone would take them in?”
Aeri kicks the setting up another speed as she beats the frosting. “Your dad’s shotgun is still strapped to the underside of your counter. You may as well wrap yourself with a bow for your hobo-serial killer.”
Minjeong blows a raspberry. “She’d kill me for what? To steal my baking pans?”
“Maybe she just likes the thrill of the kill,” Yizhuo suggests.
“She’s not a bad person! She saved me!”
“Saved you? From what?”
Relaxed with their usual bickering moments ago, Minjeong now feels a bit tense as she recalls the previous evening. “There was…this creepy drunk dude that cornered me in the parking lot last night.”
“What?!” Aeri shouts. “Oh my god, are you okay?”
“I’m fine!” Minjeong assures her friends. “Jimin like…ninja-ed his .”
“Ninja-ed?” Yizhuo asks.
“For real!” Minjeong laughs. “She was like a little ninja. Beat the out of him before he even got close to me.”
For having painted a portrait of a gun-wielding-psycho-serial-killer, Aeri breathes a small sigh of relief over this Jimin figure who has made herself at home in her cousin’s loft. “Well, I’m glad you’re okay.”
Minjeong gnaws on the straw of her iced americano. “Yeah…me too.”
“God!” Yizhuo shouts, now rubbing her temples with the outsides of her wrists—mindful of keeping good hygiene with her working hands. “I literally see you six days a week, and the one day I don’t see you, your life goes ing bananas. What’s next? Long lost twin suddenly going to show up on your doorstep?”
Minjeong snorts, but can’t deny that the past two days have been…a lot in comparison to her normally very predictable life. “Yeah it’s been a bit…strange,” she admits.
The three women suddenly hear the sound of the loft door opening, followed by the soft footsteps coming down the wooden steps, and when the footsteps reach the bottom, Jimin pokes her head out from around the wall to observe the company.
“Morning!” Minjeong greets, suddenly conscious about how much Jimin may have heard when the three of them are anything but quiet when they’re gathered together. “Sorry, did we wake you?”
The raven-haired woman shakes her head and Minjeong suddenly realizes how meek and shy Jimin appears with the way that she’s still hiding behind the wall—which is rather surprising since she didn’t seem very shy before. Minjeong decides to quickly introduce her two friends. “These are my two lackeys—”
“Best friends,” Yizhuo corrects, ignoring the blonde’s smart- giggling.
“Yizhuo and Aeri,” she says, pointing at the other girls. “I’ve known Yizhuo since elementary and Aeri’s my cousin. They work here with me. And this,” she says, gesturing to her new houseguest, “Is Jimin.”
“Nice to meet you.”
“You’re all bakers?” Jimin asks, now stepping out from around the stairwell.
As soon as the Jimin comes into full view, Minjeong’s eyes immediately ing drift because of all the things Jimin has decided to pull out of the baker’s closet, why the hell did she choose such a small shirt?! Not only is the tiny t-shirt obviously way too stretched over the woman’s full bust, but Jimin’s also tied up the hem of it as well so that her bare—wonderfully toned, Minjeong adds as a compliment and definitely not a erted observation—abdomen is completely exposed.
On either of Minjeong’s sides, she immediately hears the muttering of her two judgmental friends under their breaths.
“You are unbelievable, Kim Minjeong.”
“This is the hobo that you picked off of the streets?”
Hoping that the music was loud enough to drown out those traitors, the blonde quickly jabs her elbows into both of them before walking over to her houseguest. “H-hey, aren’t you cold wearing that?”
Jimin knits her brows together before wiping her forehead with the back of her hand. “No. I actually woke up cause it was so warm.”
“Oh,” the baker says, suddenly realizing why Jimin had been so uncomfortable. “Sorry, I totally forgot. It gets pretty warm upstairs once all the ovens down here get going. I think all the hot air travels up. The refrigerators and AC keep it pretty comfortable down here though. You can stay down in the bakery with us, if you want.”
Jimin’s very polite, but also very minimal in her responses, which always makes Minjeong feel the need to fill the void. “Hey! There’s a batch of cinnamon rolls coming out soon. Aeri’s just gotta frost them first. Want a fresh one?”
Slightly sleepy eyes suddenly blink wider and Jimin smiles before eagerly nodding. As she steps forth though, Minjeong’s hand bumps into her shoulder to halt the woman in her steps.
“Go tie your hair up before you come in here.”
Jimin pouts. “Why?”
“So that you don’t get hair in the food!” Minjeong laughs, finding the question absurd as she stares at Jimin’s incredibly long hair that she does not want all over her kitchen. “There are extra hair ties in the bathroom upstairs.” Minjeong pauses before she also adds, “A-and you can change into something more comfortable too. You’ll be cold down here wearing t-that.” Unsure of how to get her point across without telling Jimin that she’s showing too much skin, Minjeong just vaguely gestures to the woman’s small top.
With perfect synchronicity, the three bakers’ eyes follow Jimin as she heads back up the staircase and no one in the kitchen even breathes until the loft door clicks shut.
Aeri is the first to speak. “Yeah, okay….” She’s been frozen in her place for so long that she doesn’t even notice the frosting slip from the paddle attachment that she’s holding in her hand. “I see why you kept this girl around now,” she tells the shop owner.
“Shut up!” Minjeong yells before slapping her cousin’s shoulder.
“I said it to you when you were sixteen and I’m going to say it to you again right now, a decade later,” Yizhuo says. “Kim Minjeong, you are a hopeless lesbian.”
“Shut up!” the blonde barks again, kneeing her friend in the .
“You are seriously an idiot for a pretty face. Hot-hobo might get you just like Chaehyun,” Yizhuo adds.
“WHOA! WHOA!” both the other girls shout.
“How dare you say she-who-must-not-be-named in this kitchen!” Aeri gasps at the girl’s audacity.
“Oh come on!” Yizhuo rolls her eyes. “It’s been over a year already. And I never liked her anyways.”
Minjeong deeply frowns over the mention of her ex when it still makes her hurt all over