“I’m Brody and this is Max and Emma.” Brody pointed to each of them as he spoke.
“I’m very pleased to meet you,” Heniretta handed them each a cup of cocoa then set three plates of breakfast goodies on the table in front of them. Next, she placed a bowl of water and a huge platter of bread and meat on the floor for Aspen.
“Here. Let me pay you.” Brody held out the twenty dollar bill.
“Nonsense, my kids are grown and gone so it is nice to have young people in here with me this early.”
“Thank you,” Emma, Brody, and Max said together as Aspen wagged her tail. Heniretta smiled and then retreated to the back of the shop while the kids ate. Twenty minutes later the kids were full and Aspen had cleaned her platter then nestled in front of the breadbaskets for a quick nap. With full bellies, Brody, Max, and Emma carried the dishes to the back of the shop and helped Heniretta clean and put them away in the cabinets. They were finishing the last cups when they heard Aspen’s low growl. Max’s eyes widened. She glanced quickly from Brody to Max.
“Something’s wrong,” Max said to Heniretta.
“I’ll go,” Brody said.
“No, this is my place. I’ll go first,” Heniretta said swatting at him with a kitchen towel. One by one the group filed silently out of the back of the bakery and into the storefront. They saw Aspen munching on a loaf of bread and a young girl, roughly Max’s age, stuffing her pockets full of pastries. Her back was to the kitchen and she did not hear them coming up behind.
“Hey,” Heniretta yelled. “What are you doing?”
The young girl froze for a moment then spun on her heels and raced out of the bakery.
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