“It’s too early to be outside.”

“It’s just early enough to be sure we can have our pick of freshly baked bread, if you’re still tired when we get home after that, you can go back to bed, stop complaining.”

“I’m not complaining.”

Oh sure, he’s not complaining. I’m not holding it against him, we were in bed late into the night but I’d planned a few days ago to come to the bread place as early as I could manage on this day because their choice of breads on this day is the one that appeals the most to me. Quentin following me is just an extra, he was clinging to me when I got out of bed, whining that I was abandoning him so I told him that if he didn’t want to be ‘abandoned’ he only had to follow me. So he did. Mock-grumbling and complaining all the way. It amuses me more than anything else.

The moment we step into the bakery, he goes quiet and he breathes in deeply. I chuckle softly and greet the worker behind the counter. Their team is small though now and again they’ll have interns, I guess. Folks whose face I really don’t know.
While Quentin is absorbing in the scents of our trip and I suppose now it makes it all worth it, I step up and I get my usual order. I end up with five different loaves and that’s just how I want it. They won’t last very long.

I hand him one of the bags as I prepare to step back outside and I have to drag him along with me to get him to step back outside. I can only laugh as he pouts the moment we step out and the door closes behind us. “Awake now, yes?”

“This place smells heavenly.”

“And you complain every time when you come with me until you step inside.”

“Sorry?” He doesn’t sound it and I don’t care, it all is more amusing than irritating.

“All forgiven, can we go home now?”

“Sure, so long as you tell me what this guy is doing.”

I blink and look in the direction he’s looking at and I see someone, hard to tell if it’s a guy or a girl, in what looks like a suit. I think it’s supposed to be a dog. It crinkles as he walks, makes me wonder if it’s not made of cut up strips of paper or something, it doesn’t look like it’s made of soft material. I’ve seen a few ‘suits’ before. I think they called them fur suits. More power to those who feel comfortable in them. I don’t think that’s one of them.

“I have to assume that he’s pretending he’s a dog?” As if to prove my point, the stranger barked at an incoming car. I shake my head and turn away to start heading back to our place. This town has odd folks at times. I’m not saying they’re bad but they are honestly strange, I don’t know what to make of them most of the time.

“What does he get from pretending to be a dog?” He sounds puzzled and I’m just as puzzled I can only shrug as I hook my arm through his to get him to walk with me. Quentin usually isn’t a curious person. When he sees something that puzzles him, most of the time it falls into his ‘what an idiot’ category until we can make sense of it. Most of the time it stays in that category but at times I can manage to change his mind. I’m in no mood to try to change his mind about that.

“That’s stupid.”

“I can imagine it is, I’m sure that whoever is under there has their reason.”

“Like they’re missing a few bits in their brain.”

“Quentin, don’t. Some people are just different. Some are sick, it’s hard to know which is which, you really shouldn’t judge them.”

“All right, all right, I’m sorry.”

I try not to judge people based on their looks, it only hurts in the end.

Caelan nearly manages to run past us and outside once we’re in the foyer when we get back home. I don’t know what he was doing in there. We have a double door, so to speak. There’s the door leading outside, the slight foyer though it’s more of an entryway with a wardrobe for coats and another door. We never open one door without closing the other one. It helps us in keeping the cats inside.

I was holding both of the bags with our bread when he came jumping by and slinking along our legs. Quentin closed the door quicker than I remember him ever before and he snagged the wandering cat up with a soft tsk.

“We’ll have to check the walls and see if they haven’t found a way through.”

“That or we were both still semi-asleep when we went outside and he might have followed us in the foyer and waited for us to get back so he could get back inside.” He could have a point but now I’m worried about them slipping by us when we step outside. I just want my cats to be well and healthy, can’t help it. He opens the inner door and there goes Caelan jumping from his arms and running back inside.

I guess it is a possibility that somehow we locked him in the foyer when we were stepping outside. I’m just glad he didn’t try to slip out while we were going out. I’m glad he’s inside.

“Let’s slice us some bread and bring out the fresh strawberry jam.”

“No more thoughts of going back to bed, huh?”

“You’re kidding right? It’s hard enough to stay asleep when your nose is assaulted with all these fresh and warm scents. I mean, it’s a good kind of assault but it’s still assault, you should have warned me.”

I quirk a brow and laugh softly. I shake my head as I put the loaves on the counter. I know he’ll pick whichever he likes best at this point and I don’t mind, he deserves that much for having walked with me to the bakery and then back. “I warn you every single time you come with me, Quentin. ‘Just remember, it’ll all come back to you the moment we step inside, there’s a reason your brain tells you that you want to come with me even if you’re so tired you’d rather just sleep for a few more hours’. Recall?”

He sticks his tongue out as he plucks out the cheddar and bacon loaf. He cuts it into thick slices and I chuckle softly. At least these slices fit into the toaster but they don’t need toasting at this point, they’re so fresh and you could just eat them that way and be done with it. Though I admit he has some strange tastebuds, wanting to mix cheddar, bacon and strawberry but I love him just the way he is. I’ll stick to adding just a bit of butter to my slices at this point, it’ll be more than enough. Now the cranberry-pecan bread, that’s different. I’ll eat that with jam any day.


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