The next morning, I woke up to the sound of Vivian’s melodic yoga music. Stumbling out of bed, I made my way past Viv’s room where she was stretched into some kind of weird flexible move. Ending up in the bathroom, I made sure the curtains were closed before stripping off my pajamas and hopping in the shower. Because of the California heat, my showers were often on the cooler side, but nevertheless felt amazing against my tanned skin.
I worked at a bakery called ‘Get Baked’ before and after school, and on weekends to keep myself busy. Because I loved the smell of fresh baked goods, I always volunteered for the opening shift, but since the opening shift was at five AM, I rarely had any customers. I pulled on a pair of black leggings and the bakery’s signature shirt with a big dopey looking muffin on the front.
“If you have any strawberry frosted doughnuts left over, bring me one back?” She batted her eyelashes at me and I rolled my eyes.
“I’ll see you at school.” I pulled on my white and black Adidas sneakers and shut the front door behind me. The drive to work was quiet, the only sound being the soft hum of the radio that was on its lowest volume. When I got to the bakery, I unlocked the door and turned on the lights. Display cases lit up, the kitchen illuminated and I set out to work. Dozens of muffins, cookies, and doughnuts were baking and frying within a half hour. I was frosting the last blueberry glazed doughnut when the entrance door jingled. “I’ll be right with you!” I called from the kitchen, setting the doughnut down on a rack and wiping my hands on the apron I was wearing. “You’re my first custom-”
There he was, in all his glory. Now wearing a pair of black jeans and a grey t-shirt that read ‘Santa Ana PD,’ Officer Rivera stood beautifully behind the counter. His green eyes were trained on me, a smirk on his lips.
“Good morning, Ms. Kingsley.” He said slowly, his mouth wrapping against my surname sensually.
“M-Morning.” I stuttered, my cheeks heating up again at the memory of our last talk. “What can I get yo-”
“I didn’t peg you for someone who worked at a bakery.” He interrupted, looking me up and down observantly. I frowned slightly, unintentionally crossing my arms over my chest. He noticed and chuckled. “Not that that’s a bad thing, it’s cute.” My cheeks heated up again and I cursed him for having this affect on me.
“Well I didn’t peg you for a pervert.” I shot back, a small amount of confidence seeping through my coyness. He smirked; there was that dimple again. It was then I noticed his arms were fully tattooed into sleeves of art that danced across his skin.
“I like it when you’re mouthy.” He leaned against the counter, crossing his arms over his chest as well. My brow furrowed in frustration.
“What can I get you.” I stated rather than questioned. He chuckled softly and looked through what I had put into the display cases. Biting his lip, he pointed to the doughnut rack.
“I’ll have one apple fritter and one French cruller.” I nodded and pulled out a bag, gently placing the two sweets inside.
“That’ll be three dollars.” I mumbled, avoiding his emerald colored eyes. He pulled out three bills and handed them over to me. “Thank you.”
“Baking sweets fits you, Princesa.” He whispered softly, taking the bag from my hand and softly running his thumb over my knuckles. “I can only imagine you taste just as sweet as your work.” He turned and walked out of the shop, the loud jingle from the door leaving me feeling lonely.
My shift was over seven hours later and right on schedule, I pulled up to University California-Davis. My hands trembled nervously as I walked into my animal anatomy class, knowing a heavily weighted test was about to be given. I missed my mom at times like these, she always knew what to say when I was stressed. The professor ranted on about the importance of doing well and that this test could either make or break this semester’s grade.
“Begin.” He said gruffly, scooting into his desk and correcting our projects from last week. I started by writing my name neatly above the questions and then gulped at the sight of the lengthy test. Ten pages, back to back, of questions relating from the anatomy of goldfish to the anatomy of a horse. Glancing at the clock quickly, I bit my lip with the knowledge that I only had an hour to complete this.
I breezed through the dog and cat questions, because frankly, they were the easiest. It was easy to remember the anatomy of animals that actually interested you. I could have done without the cows, the birds, and the pigs. After I had finished, I hesitantly walked up to the professor’s desk and handed in my test. When the last person had finished, he dismissed the class with annoyed wave. As I was walking out, someone gently tapped my shoulder.
“You’re Jane, right?” I turned, finding a boy around my age with tousled dirty blonde hair. His blue eyes watched me playfully as I nodded in response. A few freckles peppered his deeply tanned skin, his toned arms sticking out from the loose royal blue tank he was wearing.
“I’m Riley. Marine animal veterinarian to be.” He stuck his hand out to me and I shook it politely.
“Nice to meet you.” I smiled softly and began to walk away before he caught my wrist.
“Sorry, it’s just-” He paused, rethinking his word choice. “I’ve seen you around and I’ve seen how passionate you are about this. I guess I was just wondering if we could grab a coffee sometime?” He grimaced even before I replied, probably anticipating a rejection.
“Uh, yeah.” I nodded, biting my lip. “What’s your number, I’ll message you when I’m free.” After exchanging numbers, Riley and I parted ways. Riley was cute, polite, and sweet, which was everything I was looking for in a man. But somehow my mind wandered back to Officer Rivera and what he said.
“I can only imagine you taste just as sweet as the treats you prepare.”
What had he meant by that? I tried to talk myself into rationally believing he was a cannibal and was interested in me purely because I was his next victim. But I knew better and the worst part was, part of me wondered what he tasted like, too.