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   Chapter 6 Training the Walker Cassie Wilson Book 2

Training the Walker: Cassie Wilson Book 2 By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 20614

Updated: 2018-03-14 11:01

Chapter 6

Cassie walked through the district. After her first period observance, Enki, Oliver and Mr. Babbin kept their distance. She wasn't quite certain where they went and wasn't entirely certain she cared. 'I'll just ask on Saturday, ' she reminded herself. As she walked she wondered exactly who would be arriving at her place on Saturday. If it was just Bert, he might not know why Oliver followed Enki into her school.

'Of course he could know and just not tell me, ' she thought as she reached the central plaza that gave the District its name.

There were fewer strange looking others about, but the few who were there lingered on the cold concrete benches. Despite their physical oddities like beaks and scales, they were easier to ignore as they stayed on the benches and didn't follow her around sniffing to see if she smelled like the gates. There was also no talking. They seemed content to wait in silence.

'I guess I'm of less interest when Ina isn't with me, ' she thought as she walked. Cassie half expected to see the cloaked man with the fiery eyes, but he wasn't in the plaza. Cassie could feel the gate by the concession stand, even though she deliberately kept her eyes from looking in its direction. With fewer people, and those that were there not talking, the plaza was quieter. This made the hum of the closed gate louder. The sound vibrated through Cassie's bones and even though she could control her urge to look at the concession stand, the desire to hum along with the gate was more difficult to ignore.

She clamped her teeth down and counted slowly in her head, the count helping her not to speed her steps and race out of the plaza to avoid accidentally humming. She made it through the central plaza and as she continued to walk, the hum faded away with the distance and Cassie let out a small sigh of relief. She kept walking. She passed by the closed and dark Imports Unlimited and deliberately looked across the street to Intelligent Fitness. No one who wasn't other paid the building any attention and she thought a blocker of sort must have been put on it to keep people from wondering about her grandfather's absence.

"If not the district manager would have been by to comment on its look of abandonment, " Cassie muttered to herself.

The Sunrise Bakery was further towards the other end of the district so Cassie continued walking. She didn't often come this far to this side of the district. The book store and kitchen wares shop she favored were on the other side of the plaza, closer to the parking lot. Until this year she only visited her grandfather's shop on this side of the district, then she added Oliver's studio. As the two were across from each other, it didn't add too much to her knowledge of this end of the district.

As she walked, Cassie passed The Gray Cat and tried not to stare and wonder who was currently inside. 'I doubt Jacob is still sitting at the table waiting for me to come back and snoop around again, ' she told herself, trying to talk herself out of the worry she felt inside. She felt a little safer with the bar on the opposite side of the street, but not much.

The building next to the bar was some sort of gift shop. The large windows were set up with furniture and well-arranged knickknacks. Looking past the display in the left window, Cassie could see an array of candles and what looked like scented oils. Through the right window, Cassie looked past the display and saw Oliver, Enki and a tall, thin older man talking to the clerk or shop owner who stood behind the counter. The woman was petite and pretty and seemed to be listening with polite interest as the men talked to her. Cassie watched the woman trying to decide if she was the Aite who was causing trouble with the charms. As though sensing she was observed, the woman looked up and through the window and into the street. Her smile widened slightly at the sight of Cassie. Cassie turned away as the woman said something to the men.

'I was looking at the book stand in the window display. It might make a good Christmas present for one of my parents, ' Cassie told herself. 'I was not watching three potentially invisible people have a discussion with the shop clerk.' She wondered if she should stop by the store on her way back to the car or if that would look more suspicious.

'If they were pretending to be invisible though, why would they be talking to the clerk? Unless the clerk is one of them and no one else was in the store. Maybe that means they weren't invisible and I just happened to notice my self-defense teacher.'

Cassie reached the bakery and decided to worry about who she could or couldn't see later. She shoved the thoughts aside, took a deep breath and pushed the door to open it. The door didn't budge. It was locked.

"She said they weren't open yet, " Cassie remembered. She knocked on the glass and wondered if she should have gone to a back door or something. The woman on the phone hadn't mentioned it, just that she was to knock and ask for Hester. As Cassie debated her options, a woman walked through the door behind the counter and saw Cassie waiting at the exterior glass doors.

She was drying her hands on a towel and wore a flour dusted apron. Her black hair was braided and wrapped around her head. She wore a white scarf covering most of her hair, but Cassie could see the indentions of the braid in the cloth. The woman reminded Cassie of the women painted on the Greek vases she saw in a museum exhibit her grandfather took her to see. The woman walked to the door, unlocked it and opened it wide.

"We aren't yet open to the public, " the woman told her. The voice was more melodious than it sounded on the phone, especially without the static, but Cassie recognized her as the woman she spoke with earlier. The scent of warm, freshly baked bread floated through the open door making Cassie's mouth water.

"I'm Cassie Wilson. I called about the after school job. I was told to meet with Hester, " Cassie said.

"Ah, of course, please come in, " The woman stepped back allowing Cassie to step into the front of the bakery

ng the stand around so she could study it from every angle. She nodded.

"Presentation is lovely, " Hester announced causing Cassie to sigh in relief. "But the proof is in the tasting."

Cassie nodded and tensed up slightly as Hester walked to a cabinet, returning a moment later with a slicing knife, a fork and a plate. Cassie swallowed hard as she watched the first slice come out of the cake. Hester transferred the wedge to the plate, studied its appearance and then used the fork to take a bite from it. She closed her eyes as she chewed and Cassie could see she was thinking about it. Hester swallowed her bite and put the plate down on the counter.

"Moist, very chocolaty, almost fudgy, but not too dense, " Hester said. "You kept the filling tart so it wasn't too rich. Was that lemon mixed in with the raspberries?"

"Yes, I put lemon zest in with them, " Cassie replied, relieved by the positive feedback.

"Good choice, " Hester replied. She walked to the cabinet and returned a moment later with a bread knife. She moved to Cassie's cooling bread loaf and tapped the top, nodding in approval at the hollow sound that issued forth. She sliced into it the middle of the loaf and pulled the two halves apart as though opening a book. She studied the texture of the bread and poked the interior to make certain it was cooked all of the way. She then cut a slice and bit into it, chewing in the same considered way as she had the bite of cake.

"Not bad, " she pronounced. "This is the recipe you use for sandwich bread?"

"Yes, " Cassie replied. She felt slightly disheartened that the loaf was only pronounced not bad, but figured that was better than not good.

"In addition to opening the front of the shop for individual patrons we will be providing bread for various establishments and eateries, " Hester began as she set the slice of bread down next to the knife. "To achieve maximum flavor we let out dough rise overnight." She looked at the cake and bread loaf and nodded to herself. "You have potential. The job is part time. On Saturdays you would need to be here from five in the morning until one in the afternoon. Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays we would require you from four in the afternoon until eight in the evening. If you find this acceptable, you would start tomorrow. We can go over some of the basic recipes we will be using to fill the cases up front as well as the bread recipes."

She turned to Cassie. "The job is yours if you want it."

"I do want it, " Cassie replied, the words shooting out of her mouth immediately.

Hester nodded. "Good. I will send you home with paperwork to fill out covering all of the details including pay and then I will see you in the morning."

Hester walked back to the office, Cassie following her. Cassie tried to smother the grin that wanted to break out and remain calm looking and professional. In the office, Cassie was handed a folder. She picked up her school bag and slid the folder inside before slinging the bag's strap across her body.

"Tomorrow, come to the bakery door in back, " Hester said. They left the office and Hester showed her where the door was. "It should be unlocked. If it isn't then just knock."

"Okay, " Cassie said. As she was already at the door, she slipped out of the building and into the small alley running behind Sunrise Bakery. For a second, Cassie thought about cutting through the alley and then into the plaza once she passed the gift shop and fitness studio, but decided against it.

'It would look too much like I was trying to avoid being seen, ' she decided. Cassie turned and walked between the buildings until she was on the edge of the main side walk, still sheltered by the shadows between the buildings. Standing on the opposite side of the street were the three men. Even though they were talking quietly to themselves, Cassie could see them watching the front door.

'Maybe I better stop by the gift shop to prove why I was looking in the window, " Cassie thought. She took a deep breath and stepped out of the shadows and onto the sidewalk.

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