Chapter 8: Basket Case
Written by: Whitney Emeigh
Karl strained against the leather leash Adette had hastily acquired. It was his silent way of showing his disapproval of such a barbaric invention. Dogs should be allowed to roam free. He’d said it enough times that now that exact phrase kept rolling around in Adette’s head. She’d tried to explain her reasoning, but he simply wasn’t having it. Since he couldn’t talk in public, he settled for pulling her arm off in protest instead.
The basket on her arm threatened to slide down her arm which, of course, was Karl’s fault. Vegetables rolled around the bottom. Two long, green onions shifted. Their long ends flopped across the wicker. Adette had just managed to get everything right when Karl decided to tug again.
“I’m going to tie you to a tree and leave you there if you don’t knock it off,” she said through tightly clenched teeth. An awkward smile stayed plastered to her face as she tried to hide the fact that she was talking. Karl slowed begrudgingly, but they seemed to collect a few stares anyway as they made their way down the tiny main street.
At first, Adette hadn’t liked that she needed to get the basket back to Lana, but after a while she realized that it was a much needed in with some of the villagers. She couldn’t play the outsider forever. Based on her vague letter, she had no idea how long she might be living in the village. Lana was as good a person to start with as any. At least they were close in age.
Ahead, several roads split off from the corners of the square. The road on the right led to several of the larger family cottages. On the corner of the left road was her destination, the bakery. Even from across the square, Adette could smell bread and pastries baking. Behind the large windows, customers were buying things for lunch and dinner.
“I hope this doesn’t blow up in my face,” Adette said half to herself and half to Karl who, of course, couldn’t answer. She shifted the basket to her other arm as she reached the door to the bakery. Karl was already looking up at her, waiting for her to say the words.
“Karl,” Adette’s eyebrows rose in warning. “Sit. Stay.” He huffed but his fluffy dog butt reluctantly sank to the ground. “Good dog.” Adette scratched behind his ears for a few moments in apology before heading for the bakery door.
Adette stepped into the warm sunlit bakery shop room. Customers bustled about attempting to pretend as though they didn’t notice her standing there. They managed to do this for a few minutes before a few gave up and simply stared outright. Adette clutched the basket and stepped toward the counter.
“Is Lana in the back? I wanted to talk to her for just a moment, if that wouldn’t be a problem.” Adette stood awkwardly at the front counter for a full minute before the large man standing behind it finally reacted.
“Sure, let me go get her.”
From the way he spoke, Adette got the distinct feeling that the man felt she might explode at any second. A hush fell over the entire bakery. The patrons weren’t even bothering to hide the fact that they were watching her. Adette’s eyes floated to the ceiling. It was the only place where she wasn’t going to find a pair of staring eyes.
Lana came out first, looking confused. She stopped dead when she got a look at Adette and her father nearly ran into her.
“Oh,” she said and then saw the basket. “I’m taking a short break, Pa. You can hold up without me for five minutes, can’t you?”
The man’s jaw nearly landed on the floor. Lana didn’t wait for him to collect his brains. She grabbed hold of Adette’s arm and practically dragged her into the back of the shop. When they were clear of the majority of prying eyes, she pulled the curtain closed. Adette could hear Lana’s father gruffly ordering the remaining patrons to order something or find somewhere else to be.
“Are you mad?” Lana whispered angrily, “People already think I’m a flake. Why did you have to come barging in here like that?”
Adette held the basket full of onions out lamely.
“I only wanted to return your basket. I found it on one of my errands and didn’t want to be in trouble if it was missing.”