Hugs Before Toast

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Chapter 7

The one thing that surprises Enjolras the most is that Bahorel seems to have a passion of some sort for baking. It is just that Bahorel doesn’t seem like the type of guy who would be glued to the telly during the Great British Bake Off or taking pride in having a cook book that has been signed by the apart queen of baking, Mary Berry. Maybe it is the fact that Bahorel seems like the typical macho man with his muscles, tattoos and the very impressive set of dreadlocks that he could probably use as a weapon, just by doing a Willow Smith and whipping his hair back and forward. Enjolras doesn’t really mean to judge a book by its cover, but when you look at Bahorel, you see wrestling and blood and not powdered sugar and angel cake.

But when Feuilly mentions his idea of having a bake sale to help raise money for the orphanage that he grew up in, Bahorel takes the idea in his stride. And after bothering Musichetta enough and getting Joly and Bossuet into the act, as to be honest, no one can say no to Joly, and if someone can then they must not have a soul. There are even times, when Enjolras himself struggles to say no to him, he doesn’t know what it is about Joly that makes it impossible to say no to him, it is like the action of kicking a puppy, and it doesn’t help that Joly has those puppy dog eyes as well. But with Joly and Bossuet’s assistance, Bahorel has managed to be able to use the kitchen in the Musian for baking, on the conditions that he doesn’t break anything or play catch with a flaming tennis ball in the kitchen.

Enjolras soon finds himself in the kitchen of the Musian wearing a ‘Hot Stuff’ apron with a picture of someone with a six pack on it, getting yelled at by Bahorel about the disciplines of baking. Even though Bahorel is wearing a pink flowery apron and he is talking about the dangers of having a soggy bottom , he is still is intimidating as hell. Courfeyrac and Jehan have made him a hat that says ‘ Baking Captain,’ on it in glittery writing, and Bahorel seems to be rather fond of it already, the evidence to prove it, is that Bahorel has taken countless selfies with it on and he has rubbed it in Feuilly’s face that he doesn’t have a cool hat. Feuilly only responded to that by throwing a handful of flour at Bahorel’s head.

As Combeferre had predicted on the car ride to the Musian, a food fight had broken out and it had only ended abruptly when Eponine had threated to part people in half like the red sea with her boot if food went into her direction. Within seconds, the egg that Jehan was holding and the whisk that Courfeyrac had in the perfect position to he could launch it like an arrow at Combeferre’s head, goes down onto the counter and the two of them take three steps away from the counter and put on their best innocent faces.

“Right you horrible lot,” Bahorel says as he walks up and down the kitchen, once he has put his ‘cadets,’ into a line. When someone is out of place in the line, Bahorel pokes them with his wooden spoon that is rather sore to have in your ribs that Enjolras soon finds out. “We are going to be baking for the orphans, so there better be love put into your cakes.”

“Sir,” Courfeyrac asks putting his hand in the air. “Where do you find this love you speak of? It is not in the recipe, and I don’t think that Marius and Cosette want us to use all of the love they have for another, just for some brownies.”

Bahorel goes up to up to Courfeyrac and looks down at him, which is an relatively easy thing for Bahorel to do considering that he is over six foot while Courfeyrac is only five foot six on a good day and depending on what shoes he has on. Bahorel shoves the wooden spoon close to Courfeyrac’s nose, and Enjolras reckons that if it is at the right angle it would be able to go up Courfeyrac’s nose rather easily. “There are no jokes in the kitchen Private, baking is a serious matter.” He removes the spoon from Courfeyrac’s face and gestures to the rest of the group. “And I am talking to all of you, there better be love in your cookies, compassion in your cupcakes and-“

“Tenderness in our Tiramisu?” Grantaire asks with enough sarcasm to knock out an elephant with a smirk forming, the usual way that Grantaire does. There are several snorts of laughter and as usual Joly and Bossuet are in near hysterics, and for some bizarre reason, Marius is in nearly the same state as Joly and Bossuet, but he soon shuts up when Cosette shoves her elbow in his ribs.

“Precisely solider.” Bahorel’s voice booms, clearly not picking up Grantaire’s sarcasm or just choosing not to, as he pats Grantaire on the shoulder and gives him a gold star sticker on his apron. Grantaire just looks so proud of himself, as if he has won an Oscar. Jehan takes out his phone and takes some pictures of Grantaire with the flash on, to share this momentous occasion on Facebook for everyone to see.

“You are going to go into teams and you are going to make different recipes ranging from brownies to fudge cake.” Bahorel says as he stars to write down the names of everyone who is in the kitchen and starts to pair them up with a recipient. “I am choosing the teams because I think that we need to be able to work with everyone in a group and not just the select people you hang about with all the time.” There is a sigh that echoes around the group, Enjolras makes sure that his one is the loudest as he was really wanting to work with Combeferre they spent the ride there talking about what they should make together, so that they could win. Well Combeferre spent most of the ride, repeating the phrase, ‘This is for charity and it is not a competition,’ but neither the less Enjolras is wanting to win by having the best cake.

“Looks like you are with me.” Grantaire says as he shoves one of the chocolate buttons that were reserved for decoration into his mouth, when Bahorel moves his head to talk to Marius who is complain about not being with Cosette, Cosette on the other hand seems to be rather cool with the fact she is with Bahorel, but anyone knows is that the two of them bake together on a regular basis and they talk together about anything and they both enjoy gossip, but every time when Enjolras imagines Bahorel and Cosette hanging out together and even just talking, they are both wearing face masks with cucumber over their eyes eating chocolate as a sassy man styles their hair for them. Even the concept of the two of them even being friends confuses Enjolras, as Cosette is only five foot gentle and kind, While Bahorel, well he is just Bahorel.

The recipes gets passed around and when Enjolras looks at the recipe for a chocolate brownies and realises that he is screwed and not in the good way as he has no idea on how to bake and there is no packet of brownie mix on the recipe.

“Can you bake?” Enjolras asks, as he shoves the recipe in Grantaire’s direction.

“Does buying a pie and heating it up in the oven count?”

“I am pretty sure that it doesn’t.”

“Then we are pretty much screwed then.” Grantaire sighs as he looks at Marius and Bossuet who have been given the recipe of rice crispy squares, and they look rather happy with it, mostly as it seems impossible to mess up cereal and chocolate. “Why do they get the easy recipe?” Grantaire wines.

“Have you tried Marius’s cooking?” Cosette happens with a shudder, as if she is trying to push back a horrible memory. “I still don’t understand how something can be burnt and frozen at the same time.”

“You know this sounds like something that we should do,” Joly chimes in excitedly nudging Combeferre’s side,

“For Science!” Combeferre shouts as he and Joly high five.

“Don’t burn off your eyebrows, as I don’t want to draw them on for you every morning, “ Jehan sighs. “Especially you Combeferre, you keep fidgeting.”

“I don’t hear whisks,” Bahorel shouts. “You shouldn’t be thinking about eyebrows, you should be thinking of the orphans. Think of Feuilly.” He turns to Feuilly and asks. “Is it cool if I can use you as an example bro? You are the first orphan I can think of who isn’t Annie.”

Feuilly only gives a long sigh and rolls eyes. “Why don’t we just bake?” he suggests.

“But first, we need to have some battle music.” Courfeyrac says he pulls out his phone. “ I have made a battle playlist of songs to play while we are baking, as we are doing some epic baking.”

“Mother Fuckin baking.” Bahorel agrees loudly.

Courfeyrac plugs his phone onto the dock and the battle music starts to play. It soon turns out that Courfeyrac’s battle music is just Beyoncé songs, but Enjolras has to admit that there is something about Single ladies that gets him pumped up to make some brownies.

Once they have melted the chocolate and successfully managed to not to burnt down the kitchen, so far. Enjolras looks up from the recipe when he hears Grantaire’s shouts, to find Grantaire struggling with a whisk and somehow managing to get more mixture on himself and rather in the bowl. Bahorel speed walks over and unplugs the whisk from the mains, and he just glares at Grantaire, possibly for interrupting his baking and gossip with Cosette.

“Oops.” Grantaire says with a bashful smile. “I think that Enjolras should be in charge of whisking.”

“I think so, “ Bahorel says gruffly. “Can you manage it or are you going to have trouble like you had with sieving?” Bahorel asks.

“My hand shook too much that is all.” Enjolras replies as he tries to brush off as much flour as he can off his apron that is more white than pink from the mushroom cloud of flour that formed when he sneezed and jolted his hand too much, Courfeyrac wasn’t too happy either as he was in the free fall of the flour cloud.

“Bahorel have I told you the story about this dress,” Cosette’s calls. “It is either blue and black, or white and gold.”

“No, but you have gotten me interested sister.” Bahorel shouts as he scurries over to his section of the bench where Cosette is icing a red velvet cake.

“Do you want to pretend that didn’t happen?” Grantaire asked.

Enjolras only nodded and decided to just whisk until the memory of Grantaire leaves his mind.

Much to their surprise , the brownies doesn’t even end up becoming burnt as Grantaire takes them out of the oven. When Grantaire wraps him in a hug to celebrate Enjolras feels his chest tighten, the pains become even worse when he looks over at Grantaire and he is covering the brownies in icing sugar and as he is doing it, Grantaire is bobbing his head slightly off time to Beyoncé’s Halo. Enjolras closes his eyes and looks in the other direction, knowing that he will have to tell Grantaire soon. Tell him what is on his mind and how much he cares for him. He knows that he will have to do it, but he doesn’t want to. Not out of the fear of rejection, but just the fact that he can’t do this emotions stuff.

He drags his eyes at Grantaire and decides that it would be better to look at the other cakes that his friends have made. Combeferre and Joly’s chocolate cake is in the shape of a heart, a human one, as the way to show that you love and care for orphans is do make a cake the shape of a human heart. Eponine and Jehan’s cookies are covered in icing and other sweets and they are different colours, resembling one of Jehan’s jumpers, one of the ones where it looks like a granny was on drugs while she was knitting. Marius and Bossuet’s chocolate rice squares are not even squares and just are squashed piles of chocolate covered rice. Courfeyrac and Feuilly’s cupcakes don’t even look like a cupcakes and they are completely burnt and Feuilly has sneaked out to buy some cakes from the cafe. And of course, Bahorel and Cosette’s cake looks perfect, as the two of them just seem to be perfect at baking and all things cooking related.

“I think that we did a good job here gang.” Bahorel says as he wipes an imaginary tear from his eyes. “Let’s go and sell some cake for orphans!”

Enjolras isn’t normally a man who would take pride in himself, but he is bloody proud of his brownies that he has made. When the group goes to the school court yard and they set up the table to put all of their cakes, Enjolras puts his and Grantaire’s brownies right next to the place of honour next to Cosette and Bahorel’s red velvet cake as they are so amazing and they deserve to have a place of honour by a red velvet cake.

He, Grantaire and Feuilly have been given the job of selling the cakes, as they were the ones who had lost the game of rock, paper, scissor, lizard, Spock , against everyone else and they had been given the boring job of staring at cakes until someone would come and buy them. Feuilly has been keeping his eyes focused on his text book and muttering to himself in a foreign language for the two hours that they have been by the cakes.

Grantaire pissed off a while ago claimed that he was going to go for a run, and he still hadn’t come back yet. Enjolras could have been revising, but he decided that he wasn’t that bored yet, so he decides to play a game on his phone instead. Stopping occasionally to sell a cake that wasn’t one of his brownies.

“Hey Enjolras, could you test me?” Feuilly asks holding out his text book, he is looking slightly stressed and he has gone a bit red in the face.

“Sure,” Enjolras says as he puts down his phone and picks up the book from Feuilly. “How do you say, where do you come from?” Enjolras asks.

Feuilly doesn’t say anything for a few moments before he flops down on the table. “I am going to fail.”

“Funny, that sounds a lot like English.” Grantaire says as he walks up to the table, still wearing his running clothes. Enjolras looks at him and doesn’t say anything and just opens and closes his mouth several times. Maybe he is spending too much time with Courfeyrac as the only thought that pops into his head is, ‘Dam I’d tap that.’ He shakes his head and counts to ten and forces his cheeks to turn to a more normal colour.

“Maybe you should stop looking at the books.” Enjolras suggests as he pats Feuilly’s back. “Why don’t you eat a cupcake and take a break.”

“Are those brownies.” Someone’s voice cuts through Feuilly’s ragged breaths as he slams his book closed. Enjolras looks up excitedly as finally someone is wanting to buy his brownies.

“Yes they are” he answers letting pride go into his voice.

“Hi,” says the girl who is speaking to him, Enjolras has seen her around the campus. Brenda he thinks her name is. He hasn’t spoken to her, well he has but that was to tell her that she had something in her teeth. She has rather big teeth and Enjolras though that she wouldn’t want people to know that she ate spinach. “I saw your posters for the cake sale, and I was wondering if I can donate some cakes for them.” She says as she pulls out a box of brownies from her hand bag.

“That is fine.” Feuilly says. “Might help get more money for the kids. We are buying Christmas presents for the children at the orphanage.”

“Do their carers not like them?” Brenda asks. “If they aren’t buying them presents and they need to rely on donations.”

“No,” Feuilly replies. “Presents cost money and there a lot kids and the state can’t afford that. Well they could, but they have to give up things such as food and heat for the rest of the year.”

“That could be child abuse then.” Brenda says. “I feel sorry for those orphans, imagine not having Christmas. I follow a blog of this boy who was in a care home. He said that it was like Oliver Twist.”

“I grew up an orphanage and I can reassure you that the children turn out fine and we didn’t become street robbers.” Feuilly says clenching his fist.

“Well you are a good one.” Brenda says laying a hand on Feuilly’s shoulder and he brushes her hand off . “You parent’s would be so proud of you.”

Feuilly just sits down on his chair, folds his arms against his chest and starts muttering underneath his breath in a foreign language, Enjolras can tell that Feuilly is saying a lot of unpleasant things, as with living for Feuilly for a while, you tend to learn all of the bad words of a foreign language before you learn the basics such as ‘hello,’ and ‘my name is.’ Enjolras puts a hand on Feuilly’s shoulder as Feuilly gets a bit weird is someone brings up his parents and he doesn’t want to talk to anyone after it, and Enjolras has no clue on what he should do to comfort him.

Brenda has no clue that she has upset Feuilly. Instead of asking if she should leave, she puts her brownies on one of the spare plates and moves the brownies that were on the table before, into her plastic container.

“What are you doing with my brownies?” Enjolras asks, as he points to his brownies that are getting man-handled by Brenda who is putting his brownies in a plastic tub with her nose turned up, as if touching the brownies are probably going to give her horrible mutant powers if she holds on to them for too long.

“I thought that we could sell my brownies,” Brenda says putting on a fake smile. “I make the best brownies. I won the award for best baking at school.”

“Our brownies are pretty good as well.” Grantaire says, as he takes the tub of brownies from Brenda. “We worked rather hard on our brownies.”

“If you are going to sell those to people, you need to consider the people’s needs, that is why I used the finest organic ingredients for my ones. I don’t even know if you used fair trade chocolate or if you even washed your hands when making them.”

“That doesn’t give you the excuse for taking my brownies.” Enjolras says. “We worked hard on our brownies and we used a proper recipe, we followed the recipe exactly and we used crunchy peanut butter.”

Brenda gasps. “Are you wanting to poison people? Peanut butter is one of the worst things that you could ever eat.”

“There is a label to let people know if they have nuts in them for allergies.” Grantaire says pointing to the sign on the table. “Anaphylaxis is not sexy.”

“ Peanut butter is the one of the worst foods in the world, if you can even call it food. It is one chemical from being plastic. You could be poisoning children with those brownies.”

“Don’t do anything stupid.” Grantaire warns him as he holds Enjolras’s shoulder. “She is just trying to get a rise out of you. You have fine brownies.”

“No they are not. They could kill others with the chemicals you have used. My health website says that brownies are one of the biggest killers of children.” Brenda says waving her arms about. “You are giving children plastic. These are just poison cakes!”

“What website did you source your bullshit from?” Enjolras asks pulling out his phone. “You can just tell me the address and I can look at it, and tell you why you are being wrong.”

“I am not being wrong, I just live a lifestyle that is free from poisons.” Brenda says throwing her nose up in the air. “When you die of cancers because of your evil brownies, you only have yourself to blame.”

“You know what,” Enjolras says as he stands up from his chair. He moves over to Brenda’s tray of brownies that are on the table and flips them over to the grass. No one tells him that his brownies could poison children and no one pisses off Feuilly without their ass from being kicked. There is a collective gasp from everyone. Feuilly’s gasps are the loudest.

“Go and fight me Brenda” Enjolras says in his most threating voice that he can muster. He looks over to Grantaire who is mouthing the words ‘back down,’ but Enjolras chooses to ignore him, he needs to avenge his brownies and more importantly Feuilly. Within two seconds of saying those fateful words, Brenda’s fist goes into his face.

“So you are now banned from participating in school fundraiser bake sales?” Courfeyrac asked slowly for the second time, as he looks at Enjolras with a look of confusion looking like a puppy that has just discovered its reflection for the first time. “God that must be embarrassing!”

“He should be, Brenda did hit him pretty hard.” Feuilly shouts from the other side of the room with a drink in his hand.

“Shut up!” Enjolras shouts over his shoulder, flipping Feuilly the bird. “I was going to fight her in your honour. She made

“Brenda should be banned; she only used store bought mix and claimed that a Betty Croker recipes was her own.” Bahorel mutters under his breath. “A crime that is worse than murder.” Joly shakes his head in sympathy as he pats Bahorel’s shoulder.

Enjolras takes the ice pack that Grantaire hands him and places it over his eye. He can feel a bruise that is starting to form and he knows that it is going to be a bad one and the eye has only started to change colour. He gives Grantaire a small smile, as he is positive that if he smiles any larger than just an upturn of his lips it is going to hurt. “I didn’t expect her to actually fight me.”

“You flipped her brownies off the table and shouted go and fight me Brenda.” Cosette says as she rolls her eyes. “When you tell people to fight you, there is the chance that they will actually fight you.”

“Guys, I think that Enjolras has learnt his lesson.” Combeferre says looing up from his book. “We should drop the subject.”

“I think that we have l all learnt something today,” Jehan’s voice drifts in dreamily. “We have learnt that Enjolras is a man of all bark and no bite and he will get his ass kicked in a fight.”

Laughter breaks through the serious composure of the group, even though he is completely embarrassed about what has just happened with the fight and how he got his ass kicked because of a tray of brownies, Enjolras joins in with the laughter. It is moments like these when Enjolras is thankful for his friends and getting punched in the face almost seems worth it just for the laughter. Even though moments like this are rare, as even though they are a relatively small group there is so much that is going on and it usually end up in sadness, where Joly is having a panic attack and he is convinced that he is going to die, or when Combeferre stays up for days studying as he is so worried about falling behind in his classes. Or when Courfeyrac’s smile just seems a little bit put on while his eyes look miserable. The moments like that the group has that are full of laughter and cheer, seem to be even better than they should be, and all the crap that they go through is just worth it in the end.

When Enjolras is at Brunch with Joly, Bossuet and Grantaire, at the Corinthe eating a rather large breakfast that he isn’t going to manage to eat all of, so he starts to put bits and pieces onto Grantaire’s plate as the man is a human garbage disposal when Joly starts to mention that it is thanksgiving in America.

“But none of us are American.” Bossuet says as he takes a swig of coffee. “We are from all around the world and we should be proud.”

“But America is this large melting pot of all different cultures, they have all of these holidays and all that, I think university is the same. We have all different back grounds and we come together for one common interest. I think we can celebrate thanksgiving.” Joly says.

“What are you thankful for Enjolras?” Grantaire asks.

There are so many things that Enjolras is thankful for this year. He is thankful for his friends, he is thankful for being able to go to school. He is thankful that he is being able to pass his classes even though he doesn’t finish all of his homework when he should. He is thankful that he has good roommates and he guesses that he is thankful for Grantaire in some extent-mostly as Grantaire can reach the high shelves, so he has a reason to be thankful for him. He is thankful for not getting food poisoning at Bossuet’s BBQ, that took down the rest of the group. He is thankful that he hasn’t gone through a starving student phase, he is thankful for a lot of things.

He looks at everyone at the table with a few moments of careful consideration and just says. “Everything.” Because he can’t narrow it down to one thing and he is grateful for everything in his life and all the people who have come into it during the last few months, even Grantaire. He is probably more thankful for Grantaire than he would like to admit though, but he is positive that there are a lot worse things in the world that he could be thankful for to be honest.

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