The Old WoundsFox Bread
Minjeong watches the red digits climb on the scale as she drains the last bit of sugar from the bag. Luckily, she hears footsteps approaching her from behind, so she quickly glances over her shoulder to confirm who it is. “Oh, Jimin! Could you grab me another bag of sugar?” she asks before turning back around to check the numbers once more.
Rather than receive what she asked for though, Minjeong tenses up as hands land on her waist and Jimin presses her front up against the baker’s back. The blonde almost knocks over the entire bowl of sugar that she’s just measured out as she whirls around. Eyes wide, she meets Jimin’s fixated gaze, staring her down like some sort of predator.
“Wh-what’re you doing?” Minjeong wheezes as the taller woman’s arms encircle her. She can feel Jimin’s fingers fidget with the knot of the apron against her lower back.
“I’ve seen the way that you’ve been looking at me,” Jimin hums, now pulling the grey apron off of the baker.
Minjeong swallows hard, face deeply flushed like she’s just been caught red-handed. “L-looking?” It’s undeniable that she’s been attracted to the stranger since they met, but she had deeply tried not to think of Jimin in such a base manner.
“Why are you trying to play stupid?” Jimin laughs, flinging the apron over her shoulder.
As the fabric lands somewhere in the distance, Minjeong hears it clatter against some metal pans, but she’s too distracted to care. She tries to calm her racing heart by telling herself not to assume that something is about to happen, but Jimin makes it really hard for her to push those kinds of thoughts away as her fingertips suddenly trail down the blonde’s stomach before landing right onto the button of her jeans. Minjeong swallows hard again and grips the steel tabletop behind her as she tries to keep her knees from wobbling.
“J-jimin, you—” the blonde gasps as the button on her jeans gets popped open and pale fingers drag the zipper down. She watches Jimin’s pretty lips press together in anticipation before splitting into a wicked grin. As fingertips start to dip past her waistband, Minjeong feels a lump lodge in throat as her entire body tenses out of apprehension.
“J-jimin,” Minjeong wheezes. She watches the other woman’s face start to turn blurry as fingers dip down farther, turning the blonde’s brain into complete mush.
Jimin’s wicked smirk suddenly dissolves away as Minjeong opens her eyes, wincing as her sensitive pupils take in the bright light on her ceiling. She blinks a few times, allowing her eyes to adjust and for her mind to stir to consciousness as well.
When the baker finally focuses though, she finds Jimin sitting on the edge of her bed and leaning over her. Realizing the position that she’s in, her graphic dream immediately comes rushing back to the surface of her memory, and she hastily pulls the covers up to conceal her now scarlet cheeks.
She peeks her eyes over the edge of the blanket. “Wh-what’re you doing?” she croaks out, deeply praying that she doesn’t look too flustered.
“Your alarm’s been ringing for a while,” Jimin tells her.
Oh. Beyond her own thundering heartbeat, Minjeong suddenly hears the chime of her cellphone from the spot beside her in bed. “Sorry, I don’t usually sleep through my alarm like that,” she says, reaching over to unplug it from the charger before she goes to switch it off.
“It must’ve been an intense dream,” Jimin remarks. “You were mumbling a lot.”
“I-I was?!” Minjeong suddenly shouts, now very awake. “D-did I…say anything embarrassing?”
Looking rather confused, the raven-haired woman leans away as the baker sits upright. “No. Just mumbling.”
Thank ing god. “S-sorry. I must’ve woken you.”
The other woman shakes her head. “It’s okay, I was half-awake anyways. Should we go get ready?”
As soon as Jimin is across the unit, Minjeong sighs as she drags her palms down her flushed face. She internally curses at herself when she realizes she hasn’t gotten laid in months and her mind is torturing her in the worst way possible.
Standing in the kitchen of Minjeong’s loft, the fox has her arms folded over her chest as stares out of the window. The sky is still black, still an hour before sunrise and though she can’t physically see it, she sees the school in her mind. What was wrong with her? Days have already passed, but Jimin still keeps debating with herself whether her decision not to kill the teenager was because of perfectly logical reasoning…or was it completely intuitive when she got that weird feeling in her gut? Something just felt so wrong at that moment.
Jimin lightly flinches when a warm hand suddenly touches her lower back.
Minjeong, now dressed for work with her blonde hair neatly tied up into a high ponytail, steps up beside her houseguest. “Hey, you alright?”
“Did you remember something?”
The fox realizes that she must look troubled. She plays along with her amnesia charade. “Fragments. I’m not really sure.”
“Do you…” Minjeong pauses, fingers gently flexing against Jimin’s back before she continues to say, “Do you want to talk about it?”
Jimin pulls away from the affectionate touch so that she can look at the blonde. “I’d rather go bake,” she says, masking her worries with a smile.
Thanks to Minjeong’s persistent cell phone alarm, Jimin’s up earlier than usual today and is helping the blonde prepare dough before the other bakers arrive at the store. It’s annoying how long this part takes. Jimin likes the satisfaction of pulling the pretty baked goods out of the oven, but all the mixing, kneading, proofing, and whatever the hell ‘letting the gluten relax’ prior to that is annoying for the impatient fox.
With ever watchful eyes, Jimin notices that the shop owner is rather…clumsy this morning. Minjeong’s been dropping bowls and fumbling spatulas whenever the fox stares for too long or steps in too close. Has she always been this clumsy? It gets to the point where Jimin stomps over and takes over measuring out the ingredients when she’s fed up with seeing Minjeong cursing under her breath when she makes another mistake—like mixing up the flour and sugar quantities. Jimin’s only been here a week, but she already has all of the blonde’s recipes memorized.
Humans are so stupid, she internally sighs while watching Minjeong drop a measuring teaspoon to the table when Jimin had reached over to take it from the blonde’s hand.
The distinct sound of the shop’s front door unlocking followed by the sound of jingling bells alerts the fox that Yizhuo and Aeri have arrived for work. However, it’s neither of their voices that come booming into the kitchen.
“Unnie!” Minjeong shouts, bouncing up and down in her spot before running over to a small brunette woman that Jimin has never seen before in the kitchen. “Welcome back! Is everything okay with your family?”
“Yeah! It’s all good. Grandma just gave us a scare.” The unfamiliar woman, who has her chestnut-brown hair tied up into a bun, eventually lets go of crushing Minjeong in a hug so that she can stare at the new face in the kitchen. “And you must be Jimin!”
The fox rapidly blinks. “Do you…know me?”
“Yizhuo told me on the ride over!” she enthusiastically explains.
Jimin glances over the small woman at the kitchen door, but sees no sign of the other bakers.
“Oh! Yizhuo and Aeri are just grabbing coffee, they’ll be here in a bit,” the woman clarifies before she approaches Jimin with quick feet. The fox takes a cautious step back, but doesn’t know what to do when the tiny woman suddenly throws her arms around her and hugs her tightly. “Welcome to the family, Jimin! I’m Seungwan!”
“O-oh, hello, Seungwan.” From the doorway of the kitchen, Jimin sees Minjeong with her wide gummy smile and that instantly relaxes the fox when she realizes that this stranger probably is as much of a threat as all of the other soft-hearted bakers.
“You poor thing!” Seungwan coos, giving the fox another squeeze before letting go and stepping back. “If there’s anything you need, you just let me know, okay?”
“O-oh, okay,” Jimin replies, rather dazed by the flurry of attention.
As the day passes, it turns out Jimin really likes Seungwan.
The fox had already thought everyone at the bakery was already nice and friendly, but Seungwan really takes it to another level. The woman’s full of praise and fawns over Jimin so much that the narcissistic fox always finds herself grinning from ear to ear at the other end of a compliment.
“Yah, Jimin-ie, you’re the best!” Seungwan shouts, fist pumping into the air when Jimin helps the baker with bringing over another bag of flour to her. The woman is so animated with her excessive praise, like when Seungwan goes to firmly pat the fox’s bicep while telling Minjeong, “Why didn’t you find this girl sooner?! She’s stronger than most of the boys that have worked here! Jimin’s awesome!”
It’s probably just her swelling pride, but Jimin happily gobbles up the compliments just as much as she would enjoy a meal.
The kitchen is a little fuller today, but Jimin finds the company nice. With Seungwan’s addition, everyone is extra cheerful this morning as they converse, and Jimin drinks up as much information as she can retain—for the sake of her research on human women.
At some point later in the morning, Minjeong walks into the kitchen with a small parcel and approaches the fox with it. “Hey Jimin, I got you a new apron,” she says as she opens the newly delivered package.
“You don’t like this one on me?” the fox pouts, fishing for a compliment.
Instead, Minjeong laughs. “If you want to hang out at the front more, I’d really rather customers not have to see you in something that reads, ‘This Can Bake.’” She hands over the new apron to Jimin. “I saw this online and thought you’d like it.”
Jimin takes the new apron, stretches her arms out, and lets it unfold in the air so that she can see it better. This one is checkered with baby-blue and white squares while the straps and the center pocket are solid blue to break up the overall look. “It’s pretty,” Jimin says, looking it over. “Thank you.”
Once the fox has tied on her new apron and smoothed down the front, she notices Minjeong standing with her arms folded over her chest and inspecting the new attire.
“Does it look nice?” the fox asks, seeking praise.
The blonde smiles as she enthusiastically nods. “You look really pretty in blue. It’s definitely your color.”
There’s no fist pumping or excessive shouting like Seungwan, but Jimin likes that it makes her ego swell just as wonderfully.
Before the lunch rush begins, Jimin notices something irregular as she catches Aeri removing her apron and grabbing her purse. Slightly apprehensive about the change in their usual routine at the bakery, the fox quickly approaches the woman and asks her why she’s leaving early.
“Seungwan’s back, so I’m switching back down to part-time. I’m usually just here to help out in the morning.”
“Oh,” Jimin responds. “Where are you going?”
“Back to my main job.”
“You have another job?”
“Yeah, I’m actually a photographer, so my schedule’s pretty flexible depending on my bookings. Minjeong just needed the extra help last week while the other girls were away. I just did all my edits in the evening instead.”
Jimin’s never wondered about any of the other women’s lives outside of the bakery since it seems to be Minjeong’s entire l