FIC: "As Yeast to Bread" for katmarajade Recipient:katmarajade Author: ??? Title: As Yeast to Bread Rating: Soft R Pairings: Gregory Goyle/Millicent Bulstrode Word Count: 5325 Warnings/Content Information (Highlight to View): * None *. Summary: Greg watched her go, too gobsmacked to reply, feeling his face grow warm. What the bloody hell did she mean, he was her hero? Author's Notes:katmarajade, it was a pleasure to write for you. I hope you enjoy the story! Many thanks to bethbethbeth for her patience, and to Z for giving this a proper once-over.
It was still dark when Greg arrived for his shift at Good Grains bakery, but then, it was always dark at four in the morning. He was used to it by now.
Sally and Kelly were already there, rolling out the cheese rolls and knotting the brioche. Melissa had begun mixing the day’s selection of scones, along with the whole grain breads, while Damon cut English muffins and shaped focaccia. They all greeted him as he entered the kitchen and slipped an apron over his head, and before long he was elbow-deep in flour, shaping sourdough loaves and baguettes.
Once the loaves were shaped, Greg set them on shelves to proof and went to help Melissa with the scones and cinnamon buns and muffins, placing pans in the oven and pulling them out. The air was filled with the sweet scent of spices and sugar and yeast. Once the quick breads were done, Greg began baking loaves, slashing the tops in diagonal stripes with his lame just before popping them into the ovens. It was hot, sweaty, floury work, but Greg liked it. He liked the feel of dough under his hands, the mixing and shaping, knowing when the loaves were just brown and crusty enough to pull from the oven. He liked seeing his efforts set out on the shelves, ready for the first customers of the day when the bakery opened for business at seven.
Greg was still busy baking when the place opened, but he could hear the customers come in for their morning coffee or tea and a blueberry scone or apple fritter or cinnamon roll. Owen loaded the first loaves into the van, preparing for the day’s deliveries to various restaurants and cafes. Mitch arrived, already planning which types of pizza he would make today for the lunch crowd.
Greg continued mixing, kneading, proofing, baking. It was what he knew, it was what he was good at doing, and it made people happy, even if they didn’t know his name or who he was or who he had once been. That was the best part. Here, Greg Goyle was just a person who made bread.
At nine he slipped out the back door and into the alley for a cigarette. It was a Muggle habit he’d picked up after the war and he’d had his wand confiscated. With little money left to him, he’d been forced to make his way in a new and alien world. He found the act of smoking and the small rituals associated with it soothing. Strangely enough, it had helped him socialise faster, since rarely a day passed without someone asking if they could bum a fag from him. On the days he didn’t have a packet of smokes, people were just as happy to give him one.
Lunchtime meant the end of Greg’s work day. He helped Mitch pull pizzas from the ovens while the second shift arrived and went to work. Eddie shaped and baked the afternoon’s breads, while Annie began mixing the next day’s loaves, setting them aside to rest overnight for Greg to bake in the morning.
Once the bulk of the lunch crowd was gone, Greg left, usually with a couple slices of pizza or a sandwich for dinner, and leftover scones or cinnamon buns for breakfast the next day. He bought them at a good discount, he didn’t have to cook anything, and it meant he hardly ever had to brave a journey to the local grocer’s. He’d go home, watch a few shows on the telly, and was usually in bed by eight. The next day he’d do it all over again.
Well, not on Mondays. He had Mondays off. It was a plain life, an uncomplicated life. It suited Greg just fine. He didn’t even mind the lack of company...much.
Today so far had been the same as any other day. Greg headed out for his morning cigarette, trying and failing to blow smoke rings. He wanted to learn how, but felt too stupid to ask for advice. He’d received enough strange and suspicious looks during his first few weeks on the job to learn not to ask. More often than not, he’d learned the ins and outs of Muggle life from watching the telly. It had been a better teacher than most of his professors at Hogwarts, in his opinion.
Exhaling a thin stream of smoke, he glanced over to the alleyway’s entrance, where two young women stood arguing. One had her back turned to him, but he could see the other clearly enough to know she seemed vaguely familiar.
Probably one of the everyday customers, he thought idly, lifting his cigarette up to his lips.
Vaguely Familiar Girl smirked at her companion. Brushing a bit of mousy brown hair from her face, she commented, “So how’s that blood traitor friend of yours? You haven’t mentioned him much lately. I figured I’d have seen him around at some of the anniversary celebrations, goody-goody war hero like that.”
The other girl’s fingers tightened around the strap of her purse. “He hates those things, always has. I’m surprised you noticed, considering how you feel about him. I thought you spent time at other...celebrations. Maybe some of them were even with your fiancé.”
Greg’s eyes widened as recognition struck. Vaguely Mousy Girl was none other than Astoria Greengrass, and even though he could only see the other girl’s back, few women had such a distinctive voice, like gravel mixed with honey. She turned slightly to one side, enough for Greg to see her face in profile, and knew he was correct. Astoria Greengrass was speaking with Millicent Bulstrode, right outside the bakery he worked at in the middle of Muggle London.
It made no sense, however. Millicent and the Greengrass sisters had despised each other during their school days, especially once it had been discovered after the war’s end that the rumoured Slytherin spy in their midst had been none other than Bulstrode. Greg had felt betrayed at the time, but ten years of living among the Muggles had ameliorated that somewhat.
Still, it was a small world, watching the two of them now. Clearly, time hadn’t healed all animosities. Greg wondered if he shouldn’t speak up to let them know there was an audience, one who understood such terms as ‘blood traitor’. He was pretty sure if he didn’t say something there would be bloodshed, and the owner of Good Grains wouldn’t be shy about pressing charges of disturbing the peace.
Looking from one to the other, Greg cleared his throat, although neither woman seemed to hear.
Astoria folded her arms, glaring. “Funny, I wouldn’t think a thick-witted snitch like you would know anything about celebrating.”
Millicent leant forward. With her greater height, she had no difficulty whatsoever in appearing more menacing. Greg approved. It was a technique he’d used often during his school days. When it was him and Crabbe...Greg stopped before the thought progressed further. It still hurt to think about Vince, even after so long.
“Proves just how little you know,” Millicent was saying. “Surely you didn’t think you had a monopoly on such things, did you?” She paused, and added with false thoughtfulness, “I must admit, though, I probably don’t know celebrations quite as well as you surely do.”
Things were going downhill fast. The pair would degenerate to name-calling any time now. Greg sighed, missing Draco and his more inventive insults for a brief moment. It seemed he, Greg Goyle, would have to step in and play referee; and wouldn’t Vince have laughed his arse off at that?
Scowling, he ground out his cigarette and stepped forward, crossing his arms in front of his chest as he looked between his former schoolmates. “Enough, you two. You both sound like harpies, and you’re going to make a scene if you keep up.”
Astoria didn’t even glance at Greg, her attention focused entirely on Millicent.
“Hmm,” she murmured, looking Millicent up and down in an obvious and insulting manner. “I probably know a good bit more than you about quite a few things,” she said smugly. “Who have you celebrated with, Bulstrode? Surely not your shyly heroic employer Longbottom? He probably doesn’t even know where to stick it.”
Millicent’s eyes narrowed. “I can assure it wasn’t with every Quidditch player at Hogwarts.”
Astoria gasped, eyes rounding in outrage as she slapped Millicent across the face. Millicent didn’t even blink, curling her hand into a fist and punching Astoria in the eye.
Bloody hell, these two moved quickly. Greg wasn’t nearly as surprised by Millicent as he was Astoria, who was supposed to be so prissy and refined. Either way, he was well acquainted with fist-fights, enough to know the front of a bakery was not the best place for fisticuffs. Glowering, he seized Astoria around her waist before she could scratch out Millicent’s eyes with her perfectly manicured nails.
“I suggest you go home and put some bruise paste on your eye. I can’t believe you forgot how wicked Millie’s right hook could be.”
“Don’t call me Millie,” Millicent growled. “And what the hell are you doing here?”
“I work here,” Greg growled back.
Astoria shrugged out of Greg’s grasp, glaring icily at Millicent the entire time. She did spare an equally frosty glance toward Greg. “Figured you would go into trade,” she sneered. Hitching her purse back onto her shoulder, she stalked away. Greg hoped she’d take his advice about the bruise paste.
“Stupid bitch,” Millicent muttered, cradling her cheek. Meeting Greg’s eyes, she shrugged. “I’m sorry. I know you never slept with her, even if you did play Beater for Slytherin once. She just...I was angry.”
Greg’s face hardened at her apology. Of course he’d never slept with Astoria. What would the likes of her have anything to do with the likes of him, anyway? “Yeah, you were both angry, I could tell,” he said instead.
Millicent must have noticed the tightening of his jaw, because she winced. “I’m sorry,” she said again. “I only meant you probably have better taste. I should probably go now, before you get in trouble at your work. I think I’ve caused enough trouble for one day.”
“Yeah, probably,” Greg agreed.
She made a short, huffing sound that almost sounded like amusement. “You know, it’s not often girls like me get rescued. When do you get off from work? We could meet at the Leaky Cauldron, have a beer, catch up a bit, if you wanted to.”
“Sure, we could meet at the pub,” Greg replied. “I keep odd hours though. Work from four in the morning until one in the afternoon, so I have to be in bed early. It’s probably completely at odds with your work hours.” He hesitated. “Was Astoria right? You work for Longbottom now?”
“I do.” Millicent shrugged again, complacent. “So what of it? I needed a job, he had a business, and we were both ace at Herbology. It works.” Looking at Greg, she said, “Anyway, thanks for keeping me out of trouble. I’ll meet you at the Leaky Cauldron at five, so you can still get to bed on time. The beer’s on me. I owe you that much.” Shockingly, she leant forward and kissed Greg’s cheek. “You’re my hero.”
She hurried away. Greg watched her go, too gobsmacked to reply, feeling his face grow warm. What the bloody hell did she mean, he was her hero? Had consorting with Gryffindors driven her utterly insane?
Shaking his head, Greg stepped back into the alleyway. Maybe he could get away with another cigarette before he headed back to work. He knew he could use one.
Greg met with Millicent at the Leaky Cauldron later that afternoon, just before the evening rush. Old Tom served him, albeit brusquely. He ignored the balding man and found a table, settling into his seat just as Millicent arrived.
“So, how did you end up working at a bakery in Muggle London?” she asked as soon as she had her beer in hand. “I have to admit, baker’s whites suit you.”
“I couldn’t find a job anywhere in Diagon, or anywhere else. The Ministry confiscated my wand for five years, so I couldn’t do magic. They confiscated my father’s finances, so I had no money. I had to find something somewhere, and Good Grains was the first place to hire me. It’s not so bad. I don’t even miss my wand anymore.” Greg swallowed some beer, unused to speaking so much at one time.
“It’s been ten years since the war. You’ve been without your wand intentionally for five years?” Millicent sat back in her chair in astonishment. “How did you manage?”
“It wasn’t as though I was all that great with magic in the first place. I got used to doing things without it. Besides, I like working with my hands. There’s something about beating and kneading dough that’s...” he paused, searching for the right word. “It makes me happy.”
“I can’t imagine living without my wand if I didn’t have to.” Millicent shuddered. “So that’s what you do all day? Knead dough?”
“And bake it. And people buy the bread and eat it, and the next day they come back for more, so I must be doing something right.”
“Of course you are. I wasn’t implying otherwise.” She reached across the table, resting her large hand over his. Greg looked at it, surprised. The Millicent Bulstrode he’d known in school hadn’t been known for touchy-feeliness. Clearly, Longbottom had had some sort of influence on her. She even had dirt under her nails.
“I mean, I did other stuff at first,” he said, trying to cover his startlement. “They started me on muffins and scones at first before showing me how to make yeast breads. They’re not all alike. Some need more kneading than others, and some take longer to rise, and some have eggs in the dough and others don’t, and sometimes it can seem really complicated, but after a while it becomes easy.”
Merlin, he was babbling. He drank more beer to make it stop.
“What about you?” he asked. “How did you end up working with Longbottom? I mean, I know about you working with him against the Carrows, but you actually stayed friends with him, after?”
“You don’t seem too upset about that.”
Greg looked away, uncomfortable. The war still had its sore spots, even now, and Vince being dead was only the largest of them. “I was, at first. But...we survived the best we knew how, didn’t we? I mean, some of us chose the wrong side and paid for it, some more than others. We were kids then, how were we supposed to know? You just made a better choice than the rest of us, and maybe Astoria and others are still bitter about it. I really don’t care any more, either way, so long as they keep me out of it.”
“Yeah, well.” Millicent traced circles on the table, following the patterns of condensation rings left long ago. “Not everyone on the other side is like Neville. I still get nasty looks from people I meet, including Potter and Granger and most of the Weasleys. Some people hold grudges better than others, I guess, and Neville isn’t one of them. We worked together during the war, and afterward, when he opened his plant shop, he asked me if I’d like to work with him. I’m actually his business partner now. I told you, we were both good at Herbology. You like working with your hands. So do I. We just do it in different ways.”
“Oh.” It made sense, spoken like that. “You haven’t...”
“Dated him?” Millicent laughed. “Oh Salazar, no! We’re friends, nothing more. He’s not my type, anyway, and I know I’m not his. He’s seeing Lavender Brown now, remember her?”
“She was the one who actually liked Divination, right?”
“The same. She used to date that Finnigan boy until she found out he was cheating on her with Pansy, of all people, so that ended that.”
“Parkinson?” Greg’s jaw dropped, and Millicent laughed again.
“Clearly, you’re behind on the gossip,” she said, and proceeded to fill him in on all he’d missed.
A month passed, then two. Greg met with Millicent one or two afternoons a week for a pint after he left work for the day. He was surprised, however, when she also arranged to have her Mondays off as well so they could spend mornings together.
“Does Longbottom know who you’re spending your free time with?” Greg asked when she first announced that bit of news during breakfast at a 24-hour diner. “If I was him I’d have you work a double shift that day.”
“You don’t know him,” Millicent said, yet again. She seemed convinced Longbottom was different from most of the ‘Light’ side who had won the war. “He can let bygones be bygones unless proven otherwise.”
Greg harrumphed in disbelief. “Yeah, but you didn’t have the same interactions with him I did. I doubt he has any fond memories of me.”
“Probably not,” Millicent admitted after a moment. “But he still let me have Mondays off.”
“And it shouldn’t be wasted. I’m grateful, really. Surprised, but grateful.” Greg smiled at her, taking Millicent’s hand in his. His thumb stroked her palm as she finished her coffee and stood, pulling him with her. “I take it you’re done eating?”
“Yes. I think it’s your turn to pay the bill.”
“You said that last week!”
“Did not.” Millicent punched him playfully in the shoulder. “I said that last week, not you!”
“Oh. That’s right.” Greg grinned, rubbing his shoulder, and went to pay the bill.
“Where to today?” Millicent asked as they left, linking her arm through his. “The park? Window shopping in Diagon Alley? Perusing the food market?”
“How about all three?” Greg answered, feeling magnanimous. “It’s Monday, we have all day.”
“You know, it’s probably a good thing you don’t fancy anyone,” Millicent said, stopping and facing him, pressing one hand to his chest. “It means I won’t feel guilty about doing this.”
Her lips brushed his, hand moving from his chest and up to his shoulder, clasping his nape.
Bloody hell, she was kissing him, and it felt fantastic. Greg unlinked his arm so he could rest his hands on her hips, holding her in place. His lips opened and he kissed her back, really kissed her, ignoring the passersby around them and without waiting for further encouragement. Their tongues slid against each other, and before he quite realised what was happening, he had Millicent inside an alley and pressed up against the wall.
She was soft and warm and pliant in his arms, and snogging was fucking brilliant.
She didn’t even seem to mind the fact he’d never done this before. Maybe she didn’t know, and right now he wasn’t about to tell her as he plundered her mouth.
“Greg,” she murmured, voice muffled. “Greg...”
Greg drew back reluctantly, his heart slamming in his chest as he looked at her. Lifting a hand, he let his fingers ghost gently over her cheek. Millicent wasn’t conventionally pretty, her eyes too close-set and her jaw too heavy, but she had the most flawless complexion he’d ever seen, pale and creamy and completely without blemish. Her lips were swollen from kissing, and Greg felt a small thrill at the sight. He’d done that, kissed her until her cheeks flushed and her lips parted, and he leant forward, giving her another kiss.
“Yes?” He heard a giggle from the street and realised they should probably get out of here. Kissing was nice, and he definitely wanted more, but he figured a bit of privacy might be nice.
“The bricks were cold,” Millicent explained, sounding a little breathless. Straightening, she touched his cheek as well, her fingers tracing its curve before pressing lightly against his mouth. “Hard, too. I imagine your place or mine would be more comfortable. I have a coffeepot at mine.”
“All right. Okay. I like coffee,” Greg said. Something strange yet not unpleasant fluttered in his stomach at her touch. No girl had ever touched him like that, if they touched him at all. Shoving his hands into his pockets, he tried to hold back a grin.
They were going back to Millicent’s flat. And if he was lucky, he’d get to kiss her again once they were there.
“Let’s go, then.” Millicent smiled at him.
They started walking along the pavement. Greg hesitated a moment, then slid his arm around her shoulders.
“All right?” he asked as they walked. “You’re not still cold from being pressed against the wall?”
“I’m fine, thanks,” she replied, snuggling against him. The air was cool and the sun was bright. Greg was nearly dizzy with unexpected delight. He had a girl on his arm who didn’t mind being kissed by him. It was incredible. It was the best day ever.
He kept peeking over at Millicent as they walked, observing the juxtaposition of sunlight and shadow on her blunt face. She seemed relaxed, happy to be in his company. Smiling, he tightened his arm around her.
“You look...really pretty today,” he said. Millicent had chosen to wear a dress today for some strange reason, a dark midnight blue with short cap sleeves. The colour suited her. “Really.”
“No, I don’t, but thank you anyway. It’s sweet of you to say.” Millicent gave him a shy smile. “There are loads of girls prettier than I am.”
“But none of them are wearing blue and walking with me.” She looked like she could use another kiss. He closed the distance between them, capturing her lips with his own.
“Blue’s my favourite colour,” she confessed when the kiss ended. “I didn’t get to wear it much while we were in school. I’ve noticed I hardly ever wear green any more. What of you?”
“I really don’t think about it much. White mostly, but that’s because we have to at work. After that I just wear what’s comfortable. You should wear blue more often.”
They paused to kiss several times during the walk to Millicent’s first-storey flat. Some were sweet and shy, others hungry and demanding. Eventually they made it inside, and as soon as Millicent had shut the door behind them Greg promptly kissed her again.
“I...I suppose I should put the coffee on,” she said. She looked nervous, uncertain, but not ready to end the day. This was entirely new territory for him, Greg thought, possibly for both of them. He wasn’t quite sure how to proceed.
“Coffee’s good,” he replied, and cleared his throat. “Do, um, do you want me to get out the cream and sugar?” Belatedly, he remembered she took her coffee black, while he liked his sweet and blond.
Millicent seemed to have made the same realisation. She bit her lip, glancing around the small kitchen. “Don’t have cream,” she said at last. “There’s still some milk, though. Sugar’s in the canister on the counter, next to the flour. I don’t have a sugar bowl, sorry.”
“I’ll use a cereal bowl, then. It’s not a problem.” It was odd, but Greg found seeing the typically gruff and blunt Millicent so flustered almost endearing. He wondered if she thought the same about him.
He got the milk, sugar, and two chipped mugs together while Millicent brewed the coffee. Afterward he carried everything on a tray into the tiny sitting room, where he set it on top of the coffee table before joining her on the sofa. They drank in silence for a time, glancing shyly at each other and just as quickly away.
“The coffee’s good,” Greg offered when the silence grew too awkward.
All right, to hell with propriety or manners. Setting down his mug, Greg scooted down the length of the sofa. His hand slid down Millicent’s back, curling around her waist as his lips found hers again, threading the fingers of his other hand through her thick black hair.
Millicent barely had enough time to set down her coffee before it spilled everywhere. She pressed close, lips parting beneath his, one hand going to his chest and rubbing. Her fingers brushed over his nipple, and he twitched at the sudden, unexpected jolt of sensation.
Merlin, that felt amazing. Greg wondered if he could get her to do it again. He moved his lips from her, skimming across her prominent jaw to her neck. Millicent let out a long sigh of pleasure, so obviously he was doing something right.
Slowly, almost without realising he was doing it, Greg pushed her back against the sofa cushions, following her down. His hand slid from her hair to her shoulder, lips exploring the pale, smooth column of her neck while his fingers toyed with the cap sleeve of her dress. He felt her hand on the back of his head, fingers stroking his hair momentarily before they drifted over his shoulders and down his spine to the waistband of his trousers. Greg hardly dared breathe, and then her hand moved even lower, cupping one arse cheek and giving it a squeeze, pulling him even closer.
She was touching him. She was touching him. Merlin, this was incredible.
Greg’s lips continued moving over her throat, kissing and licking and nipping here and there. He wasn’t quite sure if he was doing it right. His only point of reference had been dirty magazines, and those hadn’t included much kissing, preferring to go straight to the main attraction, as it were. Millicent seemed to enjoy it well enough, considering the way her hands tightened against him, and then she made a tiny noise in her throat, the sound going straight to his cock.
Wow, he’d done that to her. She’d made that sexy little noise because of him.
Emboldened, he kissed his way down further, trailing over the arch of Millicent’s collarbone, pushing the little cap sleeve out of the way so he could kiss all the way to her shoulder without impediment. His hand slid down her arm and over the dress, coming to rest just beneath the swell of one breast.
He moved his mouth back to her neck, wondering if she would let him. His fingers stroked the underside gently, hoping she would, because, fuck, he’d never been so turned on in his life.
He very nearly swallowed his tongue when she covered his hand with hers, guiding it just that little bit higher, until his palm pressed firmly over her breast. She gave his fingers a squeeze, holding his hand there.
“It’s okay,” she whispered, looking up at him with wide hazel eyes.
“I’ve never done this before,” Greg admitted. His fingers closed gingerly over her breast.
“That’s all right,” Millicent said. “Neither have I.”
Stifling a groan, Greg gave her breast another careful squeeze, unsure of what to do, but Millicent shifted beneath him just enough so that a moment later he found himself rubbing a thumb over one stiffening nipple.
“You remember what you said earlier, about it being a good thing I didn’t fancy anyone?” Greg asked quietly.
“You were wrong.” Greg bent his head and kissed her again.
“And that’s everything.” Millicent gave a small twirl, indicating the shop and everything in it. “The grand tour. What I do during my days while you’re off making bread.”
Greg looked at his airy surroundings, filled with leaves and fronds in every shade of green imaginable, along with the accompanying riotously coloured profusion of blooms in every shape and size. “It’s like being in Herbology all over again, only with customers instead of students.”
Millicent laughed and kissed his cheek. “That’s one way of putting it, I suppose. Rather apt, too. Oh look, there’s Neville.”
Greg did his best not to pull a face. Instead, he busied himself studying the pale blue petals of a nearby larkspur. It preened under the attention, trilling a little tune. He whistled back to it note for note, sending the plant and its companions into paroxysms of joyful trilling.
“I didn’t know you could whistle.” Neville was smiling as he said it, but Greg noticed it didn’t reach his eyes.
“Never had reason to in school.” Greg eyed him warily. The years since the end of the war had been kind to Neville, despite the scars on his face. Some of those scars had been given to him by Greg. There was definitely no love lost between them.
“True enough.” Neville still wore that edged smile. “Millicent, remember those seed packets I special-ordered for you for your container garden? They’ve arrived. Why don’t you go ahead and grab them before you leave today?”
“All right.” Millicent looked first at Neville, then to Greg. “Don’t kill each other while I’m gone. I’d have to hurt you both.”
They watched her walk away toward the back storeroom. “I’ve never seen her happier than she’s been these past couple of months,” Neville commented. “She fairly glows. Millicent isn’t exactly the glowing type. She hums under her breath when she thinks no one’s listening, and she actually jokes with the customers now. She never did that before.”
Greg shuffled his feet, unsure of how to respond. He recalled a comment his co-worker Sally had made only a couple of days ago, that he always seemed in a good mood now that he’d found himself a girlfriend, and that she was happy for him. “I’ve been told the same thing at my job,” he said at last. “She makes me happy. You got a problem with that?”
“No, no problem. I’m glad she’s happy. She’s my friend, after all. I want her to be happy.”
“So do I. I think I love her.” Greg felt his face heat up at the admission, feeling almost as though he was at an interview. “Look, I’m not going to hurt her or anything, if that’s what you want to know. I might never have had a girlfriend before, and half the time I have no idea what I’m doing, but I’d never hurt her on purpose.”
Shockingly, Neville chuckled with what sounded like real amusement. “Sounds familiar. Welcome to the club. Birds have a way of keeping blokes like us on our toes.”
Greg’s eyes narrowed. “Is this the part where you warn me if I ever hurt her you’ll make me wish I’d never been born? Because I don’t plan to. Hurt her, that is.”
“Keep it that way.” Neville’s smile this time was genuine. “There’s Millicent. She looks rather relieved.”
“Do you blame her?” Greg felt a small smile cross his lips, despite his best effort. “We have a past.”
“What’s so funny?” Millicent demanded as they both started laughing. Greg noticed she had a small bag filled with seed packets, and automatically reached over to carry it for her.
“Nothing,” Neville replied innocently. “We were just talking.”
“Hmph.” She obviously didn’t believe them, and for some reason that only made Greg laugh harder.
The alarm went off at 3 A.M., the incessant ringing drilling into Greg’s ears. Reaching over, he shut off the clock as Millicent shifted beside him, murmuring drowsily. Greg kissed her cheek, watching her drift back to sleep before leaving the warm cocoon of the blankets and her soft warmth. Her thick hair spread over the pillow in a black tide, and Greg smiled, remembering the previous evening, Millicent riding him slowly while he cupped her heavy breasts in his hands, her flawless skin golden in the waning evening light.
It had been brilliant. Greg’s smile widened as he started toward the bathroom, ready for a new day, new possibilities rising before him just like a fresh loaf of bread, kneaded and shaped to perfection. Greg hoped all his days would be as fulfilling, as yeast to bread.