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Cora was never quite sure whether they ran a bakery or a glorified coffee shop. Sure, there were baked goods aplenty, and they did cakes for delivery, but there was also a large number of coffee orders, and some small tables and chairs upon which to drink said coffee on the premises. So Hazelnuts was a little bit of a hybrid.

‘We’re a mashup of both,’ Laura explained, as she balanced a three-tiered cake in her hands. ‘Just like we’re a mashup of good and bad employees.’

Stiles narrowed his eyes from where he was counting coins. ‘Who are the good employees?’

Laura shrugged, sliding past him to place the cake on the counter. ‘Well, me.’

‘Uh huh. And the bad?’

‘The rest of you.’

‘I want a union,’ stormed Stiles, turning on his heel and going into the kitchen, no doubt to complain to Derek about unethical working conditions. Scott, bless him, just smiled and continued cleaning espresso cups. 

‘You spend your time flirting with the customers!’ exclaimed Laura. ‘A union would kick your ass out.’

‘Don’t say that too loudly in front of Derek,’ Cora said lightly, hefting a bag of flour. ‘He might think you’re victimising his beloved and sulk for days.’

‘Not his beloved yet,’ Laura corrected, pointing a finger. 

Yet,’ emphasised Cora. ‘Give them time. And some more of my heart-shaped chocolate and raspberry cupcakes.’

‘Cora’s like Cupid,’ Scott said thoughtfully, wiping his hands on his apron. ‘You’re just lucky they actually want to, you know.’

‘Do the do?’ supplied Laura. 

‘Yeah, that.’

‘Well of course they want to,’ replied Cora irritably. Just because she couldn’t see the attraction, doesn’t mean they couldn’t. ‘They’re just stupid.’

‘No arguments there,’ said Laura, making a note on her clipboard. ‘Ok, that’s all the bakes out. Ready to open?’

The usual stream of customers poured in, almost as soon as they flipped the sign. Cora was kept busy in the kitchen all morning and well into the afternoon, churning out pastry after pastry with barely time to snatch a coffee and hot roll for herself. Scott passed her one hot out of the oven, baked lovingly with his own hands. 

That’s usually the way it went at Hazelnuts; Cora, Derek, and Scott working in the kitchen, Stiles on the registers, and Laura making the coffees. Usually, Derek flitted in and out (more out than in, but that was just because Stiles was out there) to “help” make coffees, but there was so much to do that Cora didn’t know how he found the time to flirt. Despite her own workload, she still managed to find time to slip two heart-shaped cupcakes, one marked D, the other S, into Stiles and Derek’s spaces. They didn’t have to know that neither had commissioned the other’s cupcake. They were too dumb to even suspect foul play. 

By the time 7pm rolled around, Cora was shattered. She let Laura close up, and crawled home to eat something that wasn’t carbohydrate-based, before showering to remove all the flour and stickiness, and falling into bed. That was her usual routine. It was tiring, but it worked for her. 

Until, the next day, she discovered that her plan had both succeeded and backfired. 

‘No Stiles today,’ Laura grumbled, already in bad form. ‘No Derek either.’

Cora frowned. ‘It’s Derek’s day off. What’s Stiles’s excuse?’

Laura glared at her over her checklist. ‘Well, from what I could gather, he’s “sick”, but given the muffled laughter in the background, I’d say your little plan has royally fucked us today, Cora. So you can work the registers in Stiles’s place. Have fun with that.’ She tossed her the flower-pattered apron that Stiles usually rocked, and disappeared into the kitchens.

Cora was conflicted. On the one hand, finally. And Scott owed her twenty bucks. On the other hand, she hadn’t worked the registers in four years. They’d almost certainly upgraded since then. And she didn’t know how much anything was. She knew pastry and icing, not prices and discounts. How many types of credit cards were there?

In the end, she made a lot of it up. But Laura was too busy flying around trying to make coffee and take up Derek’s slack to reprimand her for charging five dollars for a cupcake and ninety cent for a loaf of banana bread. 

Cora was just starting to enjoy herself when the most perfect specimen of female beauty rolled right up to her till and stole every coherent thought that had ever existed in Cora’s head. 

‘Two flat whites, please,’ said the redhead. ‘And two chocolate croissants.’

Cora just stared. Her skin was so pale and perfect, and her lips were so utterly kissable. Was she dreaming? Had she passed out from the coffee fumes? 

‘Uh …’ Cora couldn’t function.

‘Coming up,’ snapped Laura, elbowing Cora out of the way and stabbing the order into the system. Cora tried examining the countertop, but her eyes kept straying up to where the girl was watching her intently. 

Laura finished the order, then scrambled to actually make it.

‘Cora, move,’ she reminded her, in a tone that said “I’m going to strangle you in five minutes”, and all Cora could do was smile helplessly at the girl, trying to banish thoughts of what her lips might feel like, and say ‘Thanks for - I hope - I mean, have a nice morning.’

A slow smile crept across the girl’s face as she listened to Cora verbally crucify herself. 

‘It’s already pretty good,’ she said, eyes never leaving Cora. ‘Thanks.’

Cora remained non-functional until the girl had taken her purchases and left. She even watched her after the door had swung shut.

Laura rounded on her.

‘Well?’ she demanded. ‘What was that about?’

‘I think I’m gay,’ said Cora, blankly. 

Laura blinked. ‘Well,’ she said slowly. ‘Just so long as you’re not going to have a crisis about it right now. Save it for your break, yeah?’

‘Sure,’ said Cora, still slightly dazed.

‘Good for you, dear,’ piped up the old man who was next in the queue. ‘Have you got any of that banana bread left for me?’

Cora’s performance after that was distinctly sub-standard. After an hour, Laura pulled her off the tills for Scott and hissed, ‘In case you’ve forgotten, we’re a man down. While Stiles is getting slammed somewhere else, we’re getting slammed right here, so can you please get your head out of that girl’s ass and work?’

Cora barely heard her. 

It was just coincidental that the girl came back in that evening. Cora was just wandering out into the kitchen to see how many scones were left, when she caught a flash of red at the door. Instantly she shouldered Scott away from the till, throwing him a look that said “Disappear or murder will happen”. Scott wisely legged it, and Cora tried to compose her face as the girl approached the till.

‘Hello again,’ the girl said, smiling that same smile that made Cora want to weep.

‘Hi,’ she croaked. She cleared her throat, disgusted with herself. ‘What can I do for you?’

‘Isn’t that a question,’ murmured the girl, eyes wandering, and Cora blushed. 

I hope that’s not a lesbian crisis I’m hearing,’ yelled Laura from on high. Cora cringed, but it startled a bell-like laugh out of the girl, so it was worth it. 

‘Sorry,’ Cora said, lowering her eyes. ‘That’s my sister. I’m Cora’

The girl looked intrigued. ‘And her brother works here too, doesn’t he?’ she asked. ‘Well, your brother too, I suppose. I’m Lydia, by the way.’

Cora nodded, head spinning at knowing her - Lydia’s - name. ‘Yeah, Derek. He’s, um, off today. And so is Stiles. The guy who’s usually on the till.’

Lydia looked pleased. ‘Are they off together? Because, finally.’

‘That’s what I said!’ Cora exclaimed. ‘I actually made that happen. I baked heart-shaped cupcakes which I’m pretty confident sealed the deal.’

Lydia looked amused. ‘So you’re taking credit for your brother’s love life?’

Cora snorted. ‘Absolutely,’ she confirmed. ‘Trust me, if you knew Derek like I do, you’d know it’s something that deserves a lot of credit.’

Lydia smiled. ‘You all run this place together?’ she asked, idly examining the pastries behind the glass to Cora’s right.

Cora nodded. ‘Yeah, Laura’s the owner. She inherited from our parents after they died. Derek and I bullied her into giving us jobs and hiring our friends. She’s never been able to get rid of us, despite the long hours and tyrannical rule.’

Lydia snorted. ‘Sounds better than my job. I work at the research lab down the street. I spent three hours today bent over a petri-dish. At least your working environment smells nice.’

‘Smells nice, tastes nice.’ Cora shrugged. ‘Sometimes batches have to be redone. For … reasons.’

Lydia laughed again, and Cora honestly felt like singing. 

‘Well, I would love some of those macarons, please,’ she said, eyes lighting up adorably as she pointed out the delicate little colourful meringues. ‘Two champagne, and one rose, please.’

Cora scrambled for the tongues and a paper bag. She went so slowly as she reached for the first macaron, terrified of messing it up by dropping it or squeezing it too hard. Macarons safely deposited in their bag and handed over, Cora took Lydia’s card and rang up the purchase. 

‘Normally I never get pastries twice in one day,’ Lydia explained, as she took her change. ‘But today just felt kind of special. Made me want to come back.’

‘Oh?’ Cora asked, hope soaring in her chest. 

Lydia smiled. ‘Yeah,’ she agreed. ‘See you around, Cora.’

Cora sailed through the kitchen lighter than air, and refused to take anything seriously even when Laura threw a muffin at her.

 

Stiles and Derek graced them with their presence the next morning, arriving exactly twelve minutes apart and fooling no one. Scott and Cora were huddled up in the warm break room, eating croissants and drinking hot chocolate when Derek arrived, doing his best not to glance at Stiles, who was taking off his coat. 

‘Hey Derek,’ Cora greeted him, keeping her voice carefully neutral. ‘Pull up a chair, come hear the news.’

‘I’d rather stand,’ muttered Derek, and then flushed bright red as Stiles’s eyes flew open. ‘Uh, what I mean is - ’

‘Can somebody answer the phone?’ Cora interrupted loudly. 

Scott frowned. ‘What? Why?’

‘Because I FUCKING CALLED IT,’ yelled Cora, punching the air. Derek turned into a tomato as Stiles buried his head in his hands. 

‘Jesus Christ,’ whispered Laura, backing slowly out of the break room, coffee in hand. 

‘So Cora, I hear you’re gay,’ Derek blurted out, voice tinged with desperation.

Cora rolled her eyes. ‘Jesus, Laura, get a hobby!’ she snapped after her sister’s rapidly retreating footsteps. 

Stiles looked intrigued, and delighted that the conversation had moved away from him, and the necessity of having to explain the hickeys that were covering his neck like leprosy. ‘Wow, Cora. What prompted this revelation?’

Scott smirked as Cora sipped her hot chocolate, suddenly tight-lipped. Stiles’s sharp eyes didn’t miss a thing.

‘What?’ he said, looking between the two of them. ‘Scott? Scottyyyy. You have to tell me. Come on, you know you have to tell me. I told you about Derek!’

Derek looked up from his standing position of shame. ‘Wait, what? When did you get time to - ‘

Stiles smiled fondly up at him. ‘Relax,’ he said. ‘This was weeks ago.’

‘You’ve been marked for a while, bro,’ Cora grinned, when Derek looked dumbfounded. 

‘Yeah, all this diversion is great,’ interrupted Stiles. ‘But one of you needs to ‘fess up.’

‘It’s the redhead from the research lab!’

Laura!’ yelled Cora, angrily. ‘Can you please shut up!’

Stiles was gaping. ‘Wait, Lydia? Lydia Martin?’ He sat back in his chair, looking impressed. ‘Well, I guess if anyone could prompt a late realisation of homosexuality, she could. Did you guys talk?’

Cora nodded, slightly embarrassed. ‘Yeah, kind of.’

‘Twice!’ Scott added, looking thrilled. 

Stiles raised his eyebrows. ‘Twice? Dude.’ He nodded importantly. ‘That never happens. She only ever comes once a day. She’s totally into you. Dibs on bridesmaid.’

‘You mean groomsman,’ Cora pointed out, not really thinking beyond “she’s totally into you”. 

Stiles smirked. ‘You clearly haven’t seen me in a dress.’ Derek started coughing uncontrollably. 

‘You need some help there, Derek?’ Cora asked dryly. ‘Maybe a cough drop? Another day off?’

‘I’m fine,’ said Derek hoarsely, slightly red in the face.

‘Oh man, I’d like another day off,’ muttered Stiles, eyes glazing over as he looked Derek up and down. 

‘You lose holiday privileges for a whole month, Stilinski,’ called Laura.

‘If you’re not in this room, you’re not part of this conversation!’ shouted Cora, still annoyed. 

Cora was briefly surprised when Stiles bustled into the kitchen a few hours later and grabbed her arm, begging her to take the register for him. 

‘If this is an excuse to make out with Derek,’ warned Cora, but Stiles was shaking his head rapidly. 

‘I swear it’s not, scout’s honour,’ he said, tugging on her arm. ‘Here, uh, you need to take these spoons out for Laura anyways. Get out there, quick.’

Cora felt like the most naive fool in the world when she saw Lydia standing at the counter, looking gorgeous in a little pink dress under her lab coat. It was pristine and she wore it the way some women might wear Gucci. 

‘I’m gonna kill Stiles,’ she muttered through her smile, which was not entirely forced.

‘Uh, hi Lydia,’ she said, clutching the little bag of teaspoons like a lifeline and wondering if one day she might be able to start a sentence and not sound like she was five. Butterflies were having a rave in her stomach at the thought that Lydia might be into her. It was entirely possible that it was all Stiles getting overexcited and seeing romance everywhere, due to his own fledgling relationship with Derek. Still, seeing Lydia smile at her stupid introduction, eyes raking over her body, Cora felt hope. 

‘So, how come you’re on the till now?’ Lydia asked, innocently. Cora coloured, but was determined not to stammer herself into oblivion. 

‘Stiles likes to sneak in back and flirt with Derek,’ Cora explained, which wasn’t entirely a lie. ‘And I like being out here. Sometimes a customer can make your day, you know?’

Was she being too obvious? Lydia didn’t seem to think so.

‘But aren’t they missing you in the back?’ she asked, playing idly with her hair but never taking her eyes off Cora. She had a hypnotic stare; Cora couldn’t look away.

‘Kind of,’ Cora shrugged. ‘I bake most of my specialties in the morning, and ever since Scott learned how to make bread and Derek took an interest in cakes, we’ve been able to handle things a lot better back there. Mostly. I still make the best macarons, though.’

Lydia’s eyes lit up. ‘Oh, so you’re the evil genius behind those,’ she said, mouth forming a tiny, perfect O, before the tip of her pink tongue darted out to lick the corner, just once. Cora’s knees nearly buckled. 

‘Guilty,’ she said, weakly. ‘I eat like, a third of every batch.’

Lydia’s eyes sparkled. ‘Well, I’d love to see what else you can bake.’

Cora could only nod. 

‘I mean, I’d really like to taste everything,’ Lydia continued, voice dripping with intent but her face innocent, like she really was just discussing pastry. Surely they weren’t just discussing pastry?

‘Whatever you want,’ said Cora, voice almost at a whisper. She felt like she was leaning over the counter, but she couldn’t be sure. 

‘I’ll take anything you can give me,’ replied Lydia, lips full and red and wet. Cora dropped the spoons. 

‘Oh no,’ she said, belatedly, looking at the spoons covering the floor. She looked up to find Laura glaring at her.

‘What the hell are you even doing out here?’ she demanded. ‘Sort that out, then go separate Derek and Stiles, forcibly if you have to. You have macarons to make.’

Cora knelt down, shamefaced, to gather up the spoons, as Laura stepped over her to help the next customer. Lydia, instead of ordering, had stepped out of the queue and was now crouching down to help Cora. Cora would actually rather Lydia step on her than have to touch their gross floor and pick up spoons, but suddenly Lydia’s face was very close to hers. Cora inhaled her light, flowery scent, and felt small tendrils of her hair tickling her face, and very nearly went into heat. She’d never reacted this way to a girl before. She’d never reacted this way to anyone before. She dared not look up, in case she was seized by the uncontrollable urge to kiss Lydia. Laura would definitely fire her for that. 

‘Hey,’ Lydia said quietly. Their knees were brushing; Lydia’s were bare, and perfect. The hem of her dress was riding up her thigh. Cora felt like she might topple over. Losing her job was suddenly absolutely worth it. 

‘Hey,’ she whispered back.

‘HEY, Cora?’ Laura said loudly, as she slammed the register shut and startling them both into almost toppling over. They automatically grabbed on to each other, and Cora looked up, shocked to be actually touching Lydia.

‘I’m not sure if you’re aware,’ Laura continued, ‘but this is a bakery. You know, where people come to buy our delicious baked goods. Not watch a bad reenactment of every rom-com they wish they’d never seen.’

There were polite chuckles from the queue as Cora straightened up, face on fire, and clutching the bundle of spoons in her apron. Lydia stood with her, and handed over the few clutched in her own hand. 

‘Bye,’ Cora muttered, utterly mortified. She raced back into the kitchen and straight through to the washing up room. She dumped the spoons into the sink and stood there, breathing hard and gripping the rim. What the hell was wrong with her?

A brief movement to her left, from the slightly darkened corner of the room, drew her gaze. 

‘This isn’t what it looks like,’ Stiles said quietly, from where he was wrapped around a mortified Derek. ‘We’ll just, um. Get out of your hair.’

Cora rolled her eyes. ‘It’s fine,’ she muttered, though amusement coloured her tone. ‘I can go be a mess somewhere else. But Laura wants you back outside, Stiles.’

‘Yes, right,’ Stiles confirmed quickly, straightening his clothes and zipping up. Cora pinched the bridge of her nose as the two shuffled quickly past her.

Laura showed her displeasure at Cora being an utter homosexual disaster - ‘You are the worst kind of late bloomer, Cora’ - by making her stay in the kitchen all day, not even allowed to peek out to see if Lydia would come back. Cora was now so thirsty that she let three batches burn, and messed up three orders that were only saved by Scott, who was starting to double check everything Cora produced. 

By the time 7pm rolled around, Cora was grumpy and disappointed and thoroughly ready to go home. When Laura came in to announce that they’d received a last minute, very expensive order for a huge red velvet cake, due early the next morning, and guess who has to stay here late to make it, Cora, the aforementioned Cora threw a cupcake at her.

‘This isn’t fair!’ she yelled, as Laura stalked away, chin in the air. ‘This is homophobia.’

Laura barked a laugh. ‘Please,’ she said. ‘This is Coraphobia. You were gross today, you ruined like four batches. Ingredients I pay for, Cora. You’re lucky it’s not coming out of your paycheque.’

Cora grumbled and bitched and whined and glared daggers at Stiles, who bolted so fast in case Cora decided to spill the beans about his own grossness with Derek. Her brother squeezed her shoulder, but didn’t look as sympathetic as he ought to.

‘Oh, go away,’ said Cora bitterly. ‘Leave me to die alone in cake batter.’

‘Cheer up,’ Derek said, nudging her. ‘It won’t be so bad.’

‘Easy for you to say,’ Cora growled. ‘You get to go home and have sex.’

Derek shrugged, allowing that. Cora pushed him out before his smug, happy expression turned her stomach. 

So she worked. She turned on her music and blasted it obnoxiously loud, pretending that Laura was in the other room having to deal with it, and she whipped up the best goddamn red velvet cake mixture, so good she had to taste it several times, just to make sure it really was that good. She was just about to put it into the cake tin when she heard the door of the shop unlock, and footsteps approaching through the front of the shop. 

‘Laura I’m DOING IT,’ she hollered over the music. ‘Please GO AWAY, I don’t want to see your stupid face telling me how to do the icing AGAIN - ’

She turned to find Lydia in the doorway of the kitchen, gold key dangling from her finger, one elegant eyebrow raised. 

Cora swallowed, hard, feeling like she’d just fallen back to earth with a very solid bump. She fumbled to turn down the music, and Lydia watched her, amused. 

‘Your sister gave me a key,’ Lydia said, slowly, taking in the angry mess Cora had made. Cora was suddenly horribly aware that there was flour in her hair and on her hands, and she was very sticky. ‘She said I should stop by this evening, to see where the magic happens.’

Cora’s mouth was very dry. ‘You work in a lab, but you want to see how cakes are made?’ she asked, skeptical.

Lydia shrugged. ‘I’m interested in a lot of things. I can make bacterial cultures grow from almost nothing, but I can barely make toast.’

Cora decided to stand tall. ‘Well, I’ll show you,’ she said bravely. Then she hesitated. ‘You don’t have any of those bacterial cultures on your hands right now though, do you?’

Lydia laughed, and Cora fell in love. 

‘Nope, freshly sterilised,’ Lydia smiled. ‘I have to, every day before I leave.’

‘Like a chemical shower?’ Cora wrinkled her nose, as though the idea of Lydia naked in a shower wasn’t incredibly arousing and borderline too distracting, god why had she even suggested that, what was she doing.

Lydia raised her eyebrows. ‘What kind of a lab do you think I work in?’

Cora felt supremely foolish. ‘Hey, I thought you were here to learn about cakes,’ she said defensively. 

Lydia nodded, conceding the point, and shrugged out of her beautiful dove-grey coat, hanging it up neatly beside the spare aprons. Her pink dress had mid-length sleeves and a round neck, and clung to her so tantalisingly that Cora had to remind herself that staring was not polite, even when Lydia freely stared at her. 

‘Alright,’ she announced, smoothing her skirt. ‘Let’s do this.’

So Cora showed Lydia how to mix, and told her what ingredients went in, and how to smooth the mixture into the tin and set the timer, and let Lydia put on the big gloves and slide it into the oven. She thought she’d be able to relax a little more as she began to explain, but having Lydia so close to her was actually so hard to deal with. She smelled amazing, despite spending all day in a lab, and her body was so soft and round and tempting and Cora just wanted to touch, and grab and squeeze and caress and kiss until Lydia had abandoned all her composure in favour of whimpering and squealing and crying Cora’s name. 

‘But this is the best part though,’ Cora said, as they straightened up from the oven.

Lydia looked at her curiously. ‘What’s that?’ she asked. 

Cora held up the mixing spoon. ‘Licking the bowl,’ she smirked, winking at Lydia, who’s face lit up at the prospect.

‘That, I can do,’ she said. 

Cora turned around to get spoons, but when she turned back, Lydia had a scoop of red batter on her finger. Eyes locked with Cora, she slowly put it into her mouth, far more than she really needed to, and sucked the icing right off. Cora knew breathing was a thing that she had to do, but right now she had no idea how to do it. 

‘Um… Yeah I guess you can … do that too.’ Abandoning the spoons, Cora stuck her own finger into the bowl and repeated what Lydia did, with considerable less grace and finesse than Lydia. It seemed to work though; Lydia swallowed, all amusement gone from her face. Her lips were parted slightly as she dipped her finger in again, scooping out a bigger fingerful of icing this time and eating it. Again Cora copied her, eyes never leaving Lydia’s. It was getting warm in the kitchen, and not just from the oven. 

It was rather absurd, both of them scraping red batter out of the mixing bowl and dragging their fingers through their mouths, getting all messy and wet - very wet - and staring so hard into each other’s eyes that Cora missed the bowl a few times. Their bodies were angled towards each other, but not touching, and that was killing her. 

Finally, Lydia said, ‘What happens when we run out of icing?’

Cora paused, finger in her mouth. ‘I guess we could replace it with something else.’

Lydia grabbed the bowl and, eyes on Cora the whole time, knocked it to the floor. 

‘Let’s do that now,’ she said. She stood perfectly still, waiting. 

Cora’s heart was pounding. All she wanted to do was grab Lydia and claim that pretty little mouth. But her dress, her hair, they were so pristine and beautiful. She was so afraid that she’d wreck her, getting her mess everywhere, and it would totally turn Lydia off. 

But she had to say something. Lydia had made all the moves. It was Cora’s turn, now. She desperately wanted to show Lydia that she could play too, because she could, and she wanted to, but truthfully she’d never been so intimidated in her life. 

‘I really want to kiss you,’ she admitted, voice low, almost pained. ‘You are so beautiful.’

Lydia’s breathing had picked up, and her beautiful lips were still slightly parted.

‘Then why don’t you,’ she asked, quietly. Her voice was daring Cora to do it; her whole body trembled with the desire to. 

‘Because … I’m all, you know.’ She spread her hands slightly, gesturing to all of herself. ‘And you’re so.’ She gestured again. ‘Perfect.’ Her voice was admiring, almost fervently so. 

Lydia raised her eyebrows. Then she ducked down - Cora almost lost her mind - only to reappear again almost immediately, both hands now slathered with the remains of the cake mixture. As Cora watched, she pressed her hands to the front of her dress, right over her breasts, squeezing until there were two messy red hand-smears over the pink of her dress. 

Cora’s brain exploded. She honestly lost cognitive abilities for a few moments as she stared at Lydia, unable to comprehend what was being offered. 

‘Well?’ Lydia demanded, stiffening slightly. ‘What are you waiting for?’

Cora pounced. She got her hands on Lydia, finally, wonderfully, feeling her soft curves under her fingers as Lydia’s lips met her own. She tasted like cake and flowers, so wonderfully warm and wet, and Cora had to grip her waist, her ass, even harder, just to keep from tumbling down to the ground with her. 

Lydia’s hands cupped Cora’s face, bits of batter crumbling and sliding against her skin and in her hair. They kissed soft and small, little presses of their lips as Cora calmed down slightly and they tasted each other, tested out how they liked it and how each other felt. Lydia nipped Cora’s lip, tiny little stings of pain that Cora returned by digging her fingers into her hip and her ass. The feel of her body was incredible; her breasts were so firm against her own, and the heat and scent from her skin was intoxicating, filling Cora’s head and making it hard to focus on anything but the girl in her arms. Her hair tickled her skin as Lydia guided their kisses, turning Cora’s head for a better angle as she pushed up against her. 

Cora turned Lydia around and pushed her up against the work counter, hoping Lydia would do exactly what she did, which was to hop up on to the counter and wrap her legs around Cora. She was so eager and grabby and delicious, Cora wanted to weep. 

Lydia’s soft, bare thighs were pressed against her waist, and as Cora moved in as close as she could she suddenly found herself flush against Lydia’s warmth. She didn’t know exactly what to do, but when her hand started to stray down to explore, she didn’t exactly stop it. Lydia wrapped her arms around Cora’s neck, kissing her lips and her face and everywhere else as Cora’s fingers grazed against the front of her underwear. She was already wet; Cora felt a shiver wrack both their bodies as she pressed lightly against her, then a little harder as Lydia whimpered. Her finger’s tightened in Cora’s hair, tugging as Cora pressed again. Her other arm was still around Lydia’s waist, and she buried her face in her neck to press a kiss to that smooth, warm skin. Lydia tugged her head up to kiss her full on the mouth again, and when Cora rubbed her finger right down the front of her undewear, she was able to swallow Lydia’s gasp. 

This, she decided, was something she could do forever. Make Lydia unravel thread by delicate thread, nestled between her legs and feeling her body pressed up against her. There was flour and cake batter on their skin and clothes and in their hair, and the warmth of the oven was like a comforting caress. Almost as welcome as Lydia, who was now fumbling with the buttons on the front of Cora’s shirt. She popped them all open with incredible ease, until Cora’s shirt was hanging open, black lace bra visible underneath. Now Cora was the one shivering as Lydia covered Cora’s breasts with her hands and squeezed, first gently and then harder as Cora started making little shocked noises. Just knowing it was Lydia getting her hands all over Cora, cake batter and all, made everything so much hotter for Cora. 

She stroked Lydia over her underwear, moving faster now that Lydia was contributing to the mess. She angled her hand so she could add a second finger, pressing firmly against her and just dying to push her underwear aside and stick one in, but unable to resist the little gasps Lydia was making against her mouth. Surely they would turn to cries once Cora entered her. Her whole body shook with just the thought of that, and she bit Lydia’s lip, the temptation almost too much. 

Lydia’s fingers found her nipples, and pulled gently on them. Her breasts were pushed up over her bra and Lydia was going to town. They were breathing hard against each other, working each other up to the point where Cora thought they might both explode if something didn’t give.

So she decided to give. She slipped a finger around Lydia’s underwear and inside of her. She was so wet and ready for her that Cora barely gave Lydia a time to gasp before she added a second. The shocked, soft cries of pleasure that Lydia made were like physical hands on Cora, in her, and her knees trembled with desire. Not quite knowing the best way to do it, she let her hand kind of cup all of Lydia as best she could while still fingering her, trying to keep up a rhythm that produced maximum volume of squeals. Lydia’s legs tightened around her and one hand moved to grip her shoulder.

The very fact that she was fingering Lydia on the kitchen worktop was probably enough to make Cora come by itself. But then Lydia started to lean back on the counter, pulling Cora with her, kissing her soft and wet until they were horizontal, Cora’s fingers still working slowly inside of her. Cora shimmed herself until they were both on the worktop, Cora on her hands and knees, hovering over her as low as she could without actually lying on her. Lydia’s dress was hiked up around her waist, her legs still around Cora’s hips, but now she was able to lift her head and get one of Cora’s nipples into her mouth. 

Cora’s mouth dropped open in a silent cry as Lydia’s tongue and teeth went to work. Her fingers stuttered and stalled as Lydia used her other hand to massage her breast, the one that wasn’t being mauled by her tongue. She sucked hard, tongue flicking the tip, and Cora felt lines of pleasure spike through her abdomen and legs, heat pooling in her belly. 

She managed to get her limbs working again, shoving another finger inside Lydia and stretching her until Lydia was crying out again, mouth muffled against Cora’s breast. Her thumb was rubbing her clit, very gently and only after every third or fourth thrust because Lydia nearly bucked them right off the counter with a shriek the first time Cora touched it. 

Lydia had rediscovered movement too, and her mouth was merciless on Cora’s nipples, switching back and forth to suck at each breasts, and Cora had to fuck her harder in retaliation as her need to come increased. Her fingers crooked inside Lydia and she fucked her until she was shrieking her name - it was more goddamn wonderful than Cora could had imagined. And when she came, so beautiful and so perfect, her mouth open in a silent scream as her eyes screwed up and her hips lifted off the counter, meeting Cora’s hand thrust for thrust, Cora felt like she might die just from seeing Lydia utterly undone by her hands. 

Cora thought they were done now; she was, truthfully, exhausted, and making Lydia come had felt like every birthday and Christmas at once. But Lydia, who was panting hard, a delicate sheen of sweat on her face, her hair a mess, was looking up at her with the promise of something Cora didn’t know if she was prepared for. Her lips were bitten and red, her pupils blown, and Cora trembled. 

‘Take off your pants,’ Lydia whispered. ‘Now.’

Cora couldn’t do anything but obey. She hopped down off the counter - Lydia remained where she was, bare legs and thighs everywhere, leaking on to the counter oh god - and tore her jeans and underwear off like they were on fire. 

‘Now what?’ she asked, body still shivering excitedly. 

‘Get back where you were,’ Lydia instructed. Cora didn’t quite understand, but she got back up on the counter obediently - with more difficulty, now that Lydia was apparently promising an orgasm - and crawled up Lydia’s body until they were face to face. 

‘Hi,’ she said, pressing a quick kiss to her lips. Lydia smiled against the kiss, slipping her tongue in, hot and filthy. Cora moaned, embarrassingly. 

‘Keep moving up,’ murmured Lydia against her. Cora didn’t understand, but there were many things her brain wasn’t capable of right now, and logic wasn’t one of them. The counter was one of those great long affairs that stretched half way through the kitchen, and was generally swept clean at night. But due to Cora’s late-night baking antics, it was still covered in flour and other baking things, so they were both disastrously messy as Cora slithered her body up over Lydia. 

Lydia guided her legs as she did so, and Cora cursed quietly as she realised where this was going. Lydia’s hands were hot on her bare legs and ass, and she pushed her right up until she was hovering over Lydia’s face. And probably dripping right down into her mouth. God

Lydia’s tongue flicked out to taste, and Cora yelped in shock at the fucking feel of it. The situation was so hot, so unreal, and she had to grip the edge of the counter just to stay upright. 

Lydia didn’t waste time, which Cora was grateful for because she was almost shaking apart from desire. Gripping her thighs, she kissed and sucked on Cora’s lips, tonguing between them and up inside of her mercilessly until Cora was shrieking, trying desperately not to clench her legs. Lydia’s tongue was grazing her clit too, and Cora found herself crying for Lydia to fuck her harder.

‘Oh god, Lydia,’ she panted, almost bend over under the pressure in her abdomen. ‘Fuck, I need more, please. I’m so close.’

Lydia squeezed her thighs, and then slipped one hand around the back and down to push in beside her tongue. 

‘Fuck,’ whimpered Cora, almost totally gone. ‘Oh god, right there. Right there. Fuck I’m - I’m gonna come. Oh god Lydia, I’m gonna come - oh, Lydia - oh - ’

She broke off with a shriek, throwing her head back as her orgasm rolled and pulsed through her. She gasped wordlessly, moaning nonsense as Lydia’s tongue caressed and stroked her as she shuddered, rocked by her own tremors. Her vision had almost whited out, and as she began to see colours again, the first thing she noticed was the shock of red hair against the counter underneath her. 

Slowly, unsteadily, she raised herself off Lydia and crawled back down her body until their faces were level again. Lydia was licking her lips clean of tell-tale white traces, and Cora dived in for a kiss, desperate to taste herself in Lydia’s mouth.

‘That was good,’ Lydia said, stretching beneath her luxuriously. ‘You were so good.’

Cora made a little mmm noise, stroking Lydia’s hair and pressing kisses to her neck and cheek. All she wanted to do was worship this girl right now, and possibly forever, who knows.

‘Cora?’

‘Mm?’

‘I think the timer went off when you were screaming my name.’

Cora froze. 

‘FUCK.’

She struggled off Lydia with the greatest difficulty, a combination of jelly-legs and an almost overwhelming reluctance to leave Lydia’s warm embrace. 

She managed to make it over to the oven wearing just her bra, still tucked beneath her breasts, and crouched down to whip it out. 

‘Be careful,’ laughed Lydia, as Cora hissed; the heat blasted her sensitive skin. ‘What’s the damage?’

Cora frowned at the cake. ‘It’s a little burned,’ she admitted, sliding it on to a wire rack on top of the hob and shutting the oven door, then crouching down to turn it off. ‘Shit, I’ll have to make it again. Laura will kill me, she never allows anything to leave in less than perfect condition.’

Lydia’s heels clacked on the tiles as she hopped off the counter. It seemed absurd that she should still be fully dressed. She crouched down beside Cora and draped an arm around her, cuddling them close together before the warmth of the oven.

‘Don’t worry,’ she said, nosing her hair. ‘The customer won’t mind.’

Cora frowned at her, one hand absent-mindedly stroking her knee. ‘How do you know?’

Lydia kissed her nose. ‘Because I ordered it,’ she said simply. ‘And once it’s iced, I’m taking both of you home with me. Cake after sex is always preferable, so we’ll probably be having it for breakfast too, and lunch, possibly dinner if you’re up for it.’

‘But I - ‘

‘I persuaded Laura to give you the day off,’ Lydia smiled, stroking the back of Cora’s head. ‘Call it a reward for my loyal … service.’ 

‘Fuck,’ muttered Cora, shaking her head and smiling wryly. ‘I can’t believe that worked.’ Her heart was still pounding from the sex, but now she had more butterflies at the thought of getting to do it all over again, perhaps several times, with cake in between. 

Lydia shrugged. ‘It wasn’t that hard. She wants you to be happy. I’m fairly sure every customer who’s ever seen us interact would agree, it needed to happen. And it needs to happen again, on multiple occasions, wouldn’t you say?’

‘Lydia, are you asking me to go steady with you,’ Cora asked seriously, and Lydia laughed. ‘Because I ain’t never had no ladyfriend like that before.’ Lydia was still giggling as Cora lowered her to the floor, kissing her neck and tickling her. She writhed, shrieking with laughter, until their coordination dissolved into helpless, soft kissing and hugging. 

‘Better ice that cake then,’ Cora said a little later, against Lydia’s collarbone. Lydia was stroking her back lightly, fingers trailing up and down her spine. Their naked legs were tangled together, and Cora kept having to restrain herself from reaching down between Lydia’s legs and making things happen, because otherwise they’d never get out of there. She had a feeling that the sex was going to be excessive for the next few days, and shivered happily at the prospect. 

‘Yeah,’ Lydia agreed quietly. ‘As cute as this is right here with you, I really want to see what you look like in my bed. And on my floor.’ She kissed Cora’s head. ‘And in my shower.’ She kissed it again, and Cora had to find her lips and kiss her back until they were both breathless.

‘It’s probably stone cold by now,’ murmured Cora.

‘Who the hell cares,’ Lydia replied. ‘We’re hot enough for five damn cakes.’

 

By the time Cora came back to work - she actually took two days off, and dared anyone to say anything about it - she’d gained about a stone in post-sex cake weight, and felt lighter than air. She didn’t say anything about it, but she started leaving earlier in the evenings, and got in extra early in the mornings to make sure there were three macarons, made by her hands only, in three shades of pink, left out on a gold tiered plate, with a handmade sign on thick, creamy card propped up that said “Reserved for VIP” in swirly, pink calligraphy. Laura rolled her eyes and bitched about giving away free pastries, and Stiles openly teased her about having gone soft, but seeing Lydia eat them in bed every night, often using Cora’s naked stomach and breasts as a plate, was more payment than Cora would ever need.