Seeing Jacob behind the counter of his bakery was indescribable. It was like warm honey dimming the bitterness of an afternoon cup of tea, like melted chocolate caressing her gums. Like strudel filling her up until she was heavy and heady… that first moment where she wanted to reach across the table and grasp his hand, pillow her head on his chest and feel the beat of his heart, the motion of his fingers running through her hair. That home cooked meal fixed him right up, and maybe another would fix what had been forcefully broken between the two of them.
Queenie would no sooner leave her heart behind than she would Jacob. Damn MACUSA’s rules.
A beautiful day as it was and in no temptation to hurry, she stood outside for several moments, admiring the cozy atmosphere of the bakery as she peered inside its welcoming windows. Jacob exuded comfort and happiness as he bustled about, directing the action with such glorious ease it stole the breath from her very chest, squeezed her ribcage until she was left in a daze, the bustling crowd around her and ever-reaching line behind her fading far, far away until she was his again. And he was hers.
He just didn’t know it yet.
Every bakery good she laid adoring, wondrous eyes upon appeared as if it was stuffed with all the love and compassion Jacob had shown her in their short time together. It was everything she had hoped for, for him.
Well, not everything.
Queenie chewed on the inside of her lip, scanning the delicate and familiar whimsically shaped morsels laid out before her. Jacob commanded her attention, yet she wanted to see if he noticed her rather than draw quite unnecessary attention to herself. When she could no longer refuse her yearning to gaze upon him, their eyes locked across the counter and he stood frozen in place as if remembering her. Or at least an inkling.
The sweet scents consuming the bakery invaded her senses, sweeping her off her feet and only then propelling her gently forward until her gloved hands were stretched out on the counter. Her fingers hadn’t yet settled, outstretched and reaching for him instinctively. He continued to stare at her in bewilderment, and she felt somewhat shy under his intense stare because of all the promise it seemed to hold.
Queenie’s smile was stretched to unmaintainable levels, her joy refusing to be contained within her sole small form. Her fingers gripped the edges of the counter top, eyes never straying from Jacob.
Amazingly, Jacob broke out of his reverie before she. “What can I get you, Miss?” The question was the most thoughtful she had ever been asked.
He was thinking again of how beautiful she was, of the things he dreamed of doing to her, of all the pastries he wanted to introduce her to and share with only her. It wasn’t like Queenie to blush, used to the attentions of men as she was, but her cheeks heated with fire now, mostly because of excitement. When Jacob thought of her, he held her so completely in his mind and in his heart that she had known immediately he was like no other man. When he thought of her, his head was simply filled to brimming, incapable of thinking of anything else. Not that he would even if he possessed the choice. Jacob was incredibly considerate enough to devote his full attention to her, selfless to think of the well-being and happiness of others before his own.
And his bakery was so beautiful, she could not begin to tell him how delightful and sweet and just how beautiful it was.
She searched for words, confident they were the right ones when she found them. “I’ll have your top selling item, Mr. Kowalski.” Her gloved hand cupped one of his own within reach, forcing their eye-contact to deepen. A spark of recognition clouded his eyes before he broke away, mentally and physically.
She grinned. Jacob was extra adorable when he was unsure. “Sorry for what, sweetie?”
He swallowed heavily, fiddled with a box and prepared a bag. She could watch him for hours just like this. “I’ll have your order ready in no time, Miss…?”
“Goldstein. But please, call me Queenie.”
He nodded, an easy-going smile crossing his increasingly relaxed features as he lost himself in her presence again. She could feel it even when she turned away, that familiar warmth filling her up, more than enough to douse the ache of that memory… that kiss in the rain.
“Queenie,” he answered in little more than a breath, his tone questioning yet soft as silk.
And oh, how she heard her name in his voice in every living moment of her waking dreams.
The bakery was closed for the night, empty save for Queenie and Jacob sharing a table near the window. The darkness penetrated its interior but Queenie didn’t require the presence of light to see Jacob. He had his own light that complemented her own, and it pulsed and stretched and shimmered as they basked in each other’s company, filling the bakery until she was sure it was near bursting.
He avidly watched her eat without once partaking in his own meal. Queenie delighted in his fascination toward her, in the pride he felt knowing that she enjoyed what he had baked for her. She giggled as he continually stressed about whether he should have offered to take her coat, couldn’t help but press ever-closer to him when he startled from her giggle, growing even more spellbound at her presence.
His mustache curved in all the right places, smile always so welcoming and eyes sooo lovely.
“Tell me,” Queenie teased, as she popped a delightfully scrumptious piece of his bread into her overeager mouth. “Have you read the international bestseller Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them? The one written by that Newt Scamander?” She carried a copy of it everywhere she went, tucked in safely underneath her coat. She would, however, ease him into this. The excitement of slowing coaxing him back into her world would prove gratifying enough.
Of course Jacob wouldn’t have heard of it; the books of the wizarding world were kept all too hush hush from the desperate eyes and overactive imaginations of No-Majs. Queenie hoped the name would spark something in Jacob if anything. If her own name and eager company failed to do more than guide him in the right direction, then she needed some extra firepower.
“No, I…,” he broke off when she stole the piece of bread off his plate, dropped his head into his hand and continued to watch her eat, so much so that he lost himself for several moments. “Oh…,” he jumped. “I don’t believe I have, no.”
“Well, then I’ll just have to get you acquainted then, won’t I?” She winked. “I’m sure much of it will speak to you.”
He smiled at her dreamily, “I’m sure it will.”
Twenty minutes later and they were sitting beside each other, absorbed in a leather bound book.
The book’s pages were already creased and stained from significant use, despite that it had been released barely a month prior, but Jacob didn’t seem to mind as he reverently ran his fingers over the elaborate pencil drawn sketches of various creatures, ones which had unknowingly inspired his baked creations. “It’s a personal copy, sent from the author himself,” she elaborated with pride and anticipation, as he goggled over the signature donning the first page.
I hope you are in high spirits. Say hello to our mutual friend, Mr. Kowalski.
With much appreciation,
It served to tip Jacob over the ledge nicely. His fingers hurriedly grasped the edges of the pages, turning them until he found a detailed sketch of a Niffler, its cute snout seeming to poke out from beyond the confines of the pages that held it. “I remember… a suitcase. No, it wasn’t just a suitcase, was it? There was something quite magical about it.”
“See…,” she kissed the tip of his nose, her belly growing warm and full at the dazed smile on his handsomely adorable face. He was still transfixed on the page before him, but she could both hear and feel his love and his appreciation for her company even without his eyes on her. “I told you it would come back to you.”
Long moments of flipping back and forth between the pages, occasionally glancing over to his glass cases for confirmation, and then he seemed to remember she was beside him. She tampered down an urge to tease him as he inwardly chastised himself, embarrassed at having ignored her. Jacob might not realize it himself, but it wasn’t in his capability to completely forget her.
Queenie stripped herself of her coat at long last, brushing down the sleeves of her shirt. “Who are you?” Jacob marveled, watching her in confused though nonetheless appreciative admiration.
“You’re my end and I’m your beginning, Jacob Kowalski. Now…,” she closed the book and pushed it to the far end of their table. It wouldn’t do for further distractions between them. Still, he matched her smile for smile, echoed her heated gaze and her intense cravings. “How’s about you find us a bit of strudel?”