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 Judy looked down at the slice of warm apple pie on her plate, a scoop of ice cream nestled beside it, and worried her incisors against her lower lip. “Maybe I shouldn’t have this,” she said.

 

Nick looked up from his own slice of apple pie, mouth already full with a bite, and mumbled around it, “Y’ gonna inshult t’ chef like ‘at?” He nodded towards Gideon Grey, who was whistling happily as he filled a cherry pie with filling behind the counter of his bakery. Judy was sitting with Nick at one of the small tables set near the front window of the shop, for customers coming in for a quick snack. He swallowed and continued, “Besides, you earned this reward.”

 

She had actually. Judy had jogged the six miles or so from the farm to the edge of town, huffing and sucking on a water bottle as Nick kept pace with her. It had been her furthest sustained run since she’d come back home four months ago. Better still, she’d finished it feeling exhilarated rather than exhausted like when she’d first begun her rehabilitation.

 

“I know I did,” Judy admitted. “I’m just not sure I want to run back home on a full stomach.”

 

“Walk back, we’re walking back,” Nick corrected with a grin. “Try not to run your old partner into the ground.”

 

“Thirty-two isn’t old,” she teased.

 

“Try telling me that again when you’re thirty-two.” He curled his lips over his fangs, like they were missing, and waved an imaginary cane, muttering feebly, “You gosh durned kids with your fancy computer phones and weird music. Back in my day we had to use CD players to annoy our parents!”

 

“All right, all right!” she said, laughing. “I’ll finish my pie.” She dug in and started chewing, Nick joining in, and conversation was put on hold for a while. You just did not waste time talking when eating one of Gideon’s creations.

 

Her right ear flicked back towards the front door as the bell above the sill chimed. Behind the counter, Gideon wiped his paws on the front of his apron and said, “Hey there, what can I do for… Oh, hello Travis.” She turned her head, to see Gideon looking dismayed as his former weasel friend approached the counter.

 “Hey, Gid,” Travis said, his grin too sharp to be friendly. “Gimme one of those cherry pies I know you’re baking today.”

Escaping your past )

September 2017

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