The bell on the door tinkles and is quickly followed by the familiar taptap of expensive high heels.

Not lifting my eyes from the piping bag, I greet her with nonchalance. “Morning, Mrs Roseberg.”

“Hello, Emily.”

The tone, as sharp as the diamonds that pierce her lobes, makes me stiffen despite being used to it.

Craning her long neck over the display case, she asks, “What’s that you’re working on? Is that buttercream?”

Mousseline buttercream,” I correct. “It’s for the Davis’s 50th anniversary.”

“What’s the difference?” she asks with an interest her surgically enhanced features can’t mimic.

“It has a richer, more luxurious texture.”

When the pink of her tongue meets the expertly drawn-on lips, the core of me involuntarily clenches.

The first time we met, she came to the shop to order a cake for her daughter, Mitzi’s, Sweet 16. Two weeks later, she was back for a baby shower. After that, it was under the guise of a bat mitzvah that she pushed me into the back cooler and mashed her tits against mine. The aggressiveness would have been offensive if I hadn’t experienced such a visceral reaction to the lost animal look in her eyes.

Haughtily, she clicks her tongue. “I don’t have all day, Emily. I have important things to do.” Though there’s an underlying hint of desperation.

With a nod, I lay the piping bag on my work table and walk to the back cooler. Behind me, the tap of her heels follows and stops when the cooler door closes behind.

“Oh, Emily.” Her eyes widen and glaze. The mask falls. “You’ve outdone yourself this time.”

I know. The patterns are intricate. The peaks crisp and high. Inside, the cake is delicate and spongy with layers of oozing apricot and fig.

It’s three feet high. Because size does matter to Mrs Roseberg.

Wasting no time, she unzips the back of the black pencil skirt and shimmies it down her narrow hips. Beneath her sex is smooth and slightly red, telling me she waxed for the occasion. Hurriedly, she unbuttons the white silk top and removes the lace camisole beneath. Her breasts are tiny and pert. Her body is toned, courtesy, I’m sure, of a personal trainer.

While my cakes aren’t sexual to me, I’m affected by how aroused they make her feel. Historically, I have no interest in sex—I find it an awkward non-event—but there’s a clenching between my legs as I watch her straddle, lower, and mash into the tower of cake. It grows with the lowering of her eyes; the way she rubs the frosting over her nipples and between her legs. It’s in the little hitches of breath and whimpers she makes as she rides.

I imagine it’s like being told you have the biggest and best dick in town.

When the cake is demolished and she’s done scooting across the floor, I hand her a towel as a courtesy. Out of breath, she wipes the frosting from between her legs, her breasts, and bottom.

I often wonder where she stops to wash it all off before she goes home?

“Did you enjoy your cake, Mrs Roseberg?”

The question is caustic. It’s meant to be. Shame is as important as presentation and texture.

“It was a bit dry,” she retorts. “Next time make it moist and use that mousseline buttercream.”

Though when she hands me the envelope of cash, she avoids my eyes.

Thoughtfully, I listen to the retreating tap of her heels and then the tinkle of the shop bell.

Later, I’ll go home and think about her lying in bed next to Mr Roseberg and wonder if he’s ever met the sad animal living inside her eyes.

I grab the mop and get to cleaning up.

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