Chapter 1: Sweet Surprise
Controlled breaths. Keep the pace steady. He's going to tease you. Don't let him goad you, it never-
"You're a little slow there, Eivor. What's wrong, put on too much weight?"
"It's called muscle, you twig," Eivor growled, shoving her idiot brother, but he just laughed.
"Oh is that what it is? I didn't realize 'muscles' made you so slow."
"I'll show you slow!" Eivor shouted, pushing herself harder as she shot past her laughing brother. Laughter that stayed annoyingly close behind.
So he'd goaded her again, taken advantage of her competitive nature. So what? This time would be different. She'd show that twig.
It was a nice morning, the smell of baking made Randvi smile. Weather wasn't too chilly but it wasn’t scorching. A perfect spring morning. It meant people took their time walking to their destinations. Time enough to stop and buy themselves a snack.
The brune pinner were doing well. It was usually a Christmas treat but the people here didn't know or care. Serinakaker were selling extremely fast, but she'd baked plenty today. She'd learned from last week. She had coffee and tea but maybe she should offer some more options. Drink carts always did very well.
Randvi hummed to herself, stepping away from the counter to check the ovens. The fyrstekake was almost done--she hoped they sold well.
She blew out a breath, trying in a futile attempt to move an errant curl from her eye. She gave up and just pushed it away, hopefully not getting anything on her face in the process.
Thankfully the bell for the door dinged and she hurried back to the counter, preventing her from ruminating on her choices.
New country, new shop, new beginning. She'd had enough of her family controlling her, trying to decide her entire life for her. As if picking her school and career path weren't enough, they wanted to pick her husband too? That had been the final straw. She'd packed up all her things, left her family a note, and left.
Thankfully she'd had plenty of savings for the move and living after. She'd worked at a few local restaurants the first two years, saving even more, living as frugally as possible. All for this. Her own bakery, her own future.
This was her second week open and she was hopeful. Of course, new business booms were always misleading. She knew that from her years prepping to take over the family restaurant business and her studies. But she'd gotten a good location and done her share of scouting the city to find out what competitors were in the area, along with the local demographics. Different age groups always shopped uniquely.
Still, the first week had been very successful, and the second week was shaping up to be more of the same. Randvi simply had to keep herself from spiraling thoughts during the quiet times.
She bid goodbye to her last customer, waiting for the door to close fully until walking back to the ovens and waiting. Only a minute until the tarts were done. It was only thirty seconds before the bell dinged again.
"I'll be right there!" she shouted over the laughter of a man, her view of him blocked by the ovens.
"Every time!" the man laughed heartily, his accent so familiar that it had Randvi smiling already. What were the odds she would find some fellow countrymen here in her shop?
"Fuck...you…" someone wheezed through gasping breaths. A woman's voice, Randvi thought, though it sounded quite rough.
"We need to work on that temper of yours." The man chuckled again. Randvi opened the oven and quickly began pulling out the tarts.
"I...don't have...a temper. And... I still...won…"
"Yes, you look like a real winner right now. You're sweating on the floor!"
Randvi set the last of the tarts onto the counter and hurried back around, her steps halting as she stared at her customers. Her eyes locked on the very tall, very muscular one. Something that was emphasized by the fact that she was lifting up her shirt to wipe her face, exposing the expanse of her stomach that looked like it had to be made of steel.
Her arms were corded with bulging muscles and painted with a beautiful canvas of tattoos from her fingers to her shoulders.
When she dropped her shirt back down, it didn't help Randvi's heart from beating too fast by any means. The woman's wheat blonde, almost white hair was shaved bald on both sides, the tattoo of a raven curving over her ear on the right side. The top was long and pulled back into three thick braids.
Her salt-blue eyes were intense and drew Randvi in until they were all she could see. But she had to force her gaze away, allowing her to take in the large scar across her cheek and near her lips.
She was...stunning. So stunning it took the man elbowing her in the ribs, which made her flinch, and scolding her to draw Randvi out of her trance enough to plaster a smile on her face.
"You have the manners of a troll!" the man scolded, but he was grinning in an amused fashion.
But the woman didn't answer. She stared at Randvi with wide eyes and...it was hard to tell because her face had already been red but...did it get redder?
"Is that fyrstekake I smell?" the man asked, excitement in his handsome features.
"Yes, I just took it out of the oven." Randvi smiled brighter, glancing back to the woman who was still staring.
"Oh finally some culture in this city!" The man raised his arms to the sky in a dramatic fashion, making Randvi chuckle. "I'll have to take one. It's been years since I've had this. Since this one can't cook for shit." The man elbowed the woman who finally seemed to snap out of her trance to glare at him.
"Cook for yourself! I'm not your maid." Oh. Oh her voice was. Oh. Randvi felt herself blush at the sound. What right did any human have to sound like that ?
"So, one fyrstekake, anything else?" She glanced over at the woman, willing the blush away and making sure her friendly smile was in place.
"What's your favorite?" the woman asked suddenly, overtop of whatever the man was going to say.
Randvi couldn’t help but laugh at the abruptness of the woman's voice. It was almost cute.
"I've always had a weakness for kvæfjordkake."
"I'll take that." The woman nodded, her voice quiet and in what Randvi assumed was her low, gravely timbre.
"Coming right up." She smiled at the pair and went to pack up their orders.
"So how long have you been here?” the man asked, his tone light and friendly. “We come running here all the time and never noticed before."
"Just two weeks. There was a problem with getting the sign delivered so the first week I didn't have one." Randvi glanced up at the pair again, this time taking note of the jogging pants both wore and their sweat stained tank-tops. The woman's had large print scrawled across it 'Sun's out, guns out, gay out.' It had Randvi smirking to hide her laughter.
"Well you may be responsible for ruining my diet now," the man laughed. "Which part of Norway are you from? I'm trying to place your accent."
Randvi laughed. "Bergen, originally. But I travelled lots when I was younger so my accent can be confusing."
"It's a gorgeous city," the woman said this time, a tiny smile curling up at the left corner of her mouth. "Have you lived here long?"
"Oh no, only coming on my third year now." Randvi paused as she closed the boxes. "I didn't even think to ask, do you want to stay here?" She gestured to the tables and chairs off in the corner. Only six people could sit inside, but she thought it was a nice touch. So few bakeries let people sit.
"We'd love to!" the man said loudly, a large grin on his face. "If it's not too much trouble, of course."
"No, not at all." Randvi smiled at them both. Did the woman look more pale suddenly?
"Thank you very much...we didn't get your name."
"Randvi," she offered, taking the treats back from the boxes and dishing them onto plates.
"Well, Randvi, it's a pleasure to meet you. I'm Sigurd, and this troll is my sister, Eivor." Sigurd grinned, slapping his hand down on his sister's shoulder.
The two were roughly the same height, which was exceptional, but Eivor was quite a bit broader. Randvi didn't see the family resemblance, but the way they bickered certainly marked them as siblings.
"Lovely to meet you both." She slid them both their plates with a smile. "We do have drinks, just tea and coffee right now."
"Nothing for me, thank you." Sigurd gave a friendly smile, collecting his plate.
"Green tea, if you have any."
"Sure, I'll bring it to you." Randvi smiled again at the woman, and this time she definitely saw the blush.
Eivor nodded, hurrying to follow her brother to one of the small tables.
"Asshole," Eivor muttered, causing Randvi's head to shoot over her shoulder quick enough that it caused a twinge of pain to shoot up her neck. She let out a quiet breath of relief when she saw Eivor glaring squarely at her brother.
" What did I do?" Sigurd asked with an unrepentant chuckle. The two were hardly whispering, speaking in Norwegian, clearly forgetting where they were. Or rather, that Randvi understood them perfectly.
" You know exactly."
"Oh quiet and eat your treat." Sigurd laughed again. " Why did you even order it? You don't eat this stuff."
"I wasn't-she's gorgeous Sigurd!"
Randvi chuckled under her breath, grabbing the steaming mug and carrying it over to the table. "Here you go." She grinned down at Eivor, utterly unable to resist. " And thank you. You're not so bad looking yourself."
The blonde blushed so brightly that she must have been lightheaded. In contrast to her embarrassment, Sigurd howled in laughter that filled the bakery.
"I-I wasn-I'm so-fuck." Eivor's head thumped loudly on the table, almost drowning out her groan.
Randvi couldn’t hold in her laughter, joining Sigurd. But she did at least have some sympathy for Eivor, unlike her brother. Ok. This woman was definitely cute.
"We're going to have to watch ourselves around you." Sigurd grinned at Randvi through his laughter.
"So am I." Randvi chuckled. "Too used to being able to mutter curse words under my breath without anyone understanding."
"Are you okay there, Eivor?" Sigurd still seemed wholly amused, taking what could only be described as a very smug bite from his treat. "Don't forget about your kvæfjordkake." He grinned brightly.
Randvi looked over as the bell dinged, a trio of customers coming in. "I'll leave you both to it." She smiled back at the siblings before hurrying back to the counter.
Still, she couldn’t help but sneak glances over at the siblings. Eivor had lifted her head and was eating at her food, occasionally her eyes would flick over to catch Randvi staring. Rather than look away, she met the blonde's stare with her own, occasionally throwing in a wink which had Eivor quickly looking away.
Unfortunately she didn't get a chance to talk to the pair again--a sudden lunch rush saw to that. She barely managed to wave goodbye to the pair as they set their dishes on the counter, both giving Randvi a smile before leaving. Hopefully she would see them again soon.
"Sigurd I swear I will kill you." Eivor growled, shoving at her annoying brother, who easily dodged the movement.
"The mighty Eivor reduced to nothing in the face of a pretty woman!"
Eivor said nothing, shoving her hands into the pockets of her sweats. So maybe she had been less than smooth with Randvi. But...gods she'd never seen a woman so stunning. The way her red hair practically glowed in the sunlight, or her eyes, warm sea blue eyes that she wanted to drown in.
She was bright and funny, even if she did somewhat manage to tease Evior. But there was a fierce intelligence that lit the fires behind them. Eivor was enamored. Perhaps too enamoured…she really shouldn't have-
"So, how are you feeling?" Sigurd asked with a damn shit eating grin. Eivor swore she would shave his beard in his sleep.
"Shut up," she grumbled, although she could already feel her insides churning.
"Honestly, you couldn't have just asked if she had gluten-free?"
"There wasn’t any on the menu. I looked."
"Did you? I never saw your eyes leave the lovely baker."
"It...it was really good." Gods it had been so delicious. It would be worth what was about to happen to her. Next time she visited-wait, next time?
Eivor shook her head. Who was she kidding. There would be a next time. She'd just...just make sure to ask about gluten-free options next time.
"So, still wanna go to the gym?"
"I hate you." Eivor glared at her brother. They both stopped at a cross walk, where they usually parted ways. Luckily Eivor only lived a few blocks away. "Just...let’s go later."
Sigurd laughed loudly, slapping her back before hitting the cross walk signal. "I'll text you to check in on you."
"Thanks." She stared at him flatly, only making him laugh more as he crossed the street.
"Have a fun afternoon, Eivor!"
She simply flipped her brother off before turning and continuing to her apartment. She really needed to get home. Despite her impending doom, she didn't regret it. She would just not be an idiot next time she visited Randvi. Absolutely not.
Chapter 2: A Snack
Eivor just can't stay away. Randvi has decided Eivor is a whole meal.
More gay mess Eivor? If you all say so.
Eivor found herself at the bakery the next day. There was absolutely nothing wrong with it, she reasoned. After all, it wasn't her fault that Randvi's bakery just happened to be along the same path she ran every morning. And really, what was the harm in stopping in? The treat yesterday had been delicious, even if it had made her sick. What if she's just missed the gluten-free option on the menu? There was no way she could not double check. Besides, she could also just get a drink and say hi. There was nothing wrong with that. Randvi had been incredibly sweet and kind and funny, and there was no reason for Eivor not to be friendly in return. Absolutely none.
She tied Mouse's leash around the lamp post outside, mostly just to make other people chill out. Eivor knew she wouldn't go anywhere.
" Stay and be good." She grinned at the dog, ruffling her ears before stepping inside, the cute little bell above the door ringing with her entrance. It was such a classic touch, Eivor loved it. The smells that filled the bakery were absolutely mouthwatering.
Her steps paused, eyes blinking at the person behind the counter who certainly was not Randvi. It was a young man, couldn’t be any older than 20. He had a warm smile on his face as soon as he spotted Eivor.
"Good morning!" he greeted cheerfully.
Of course Randvi had employees. Why wouldn’t she? Oh god now what did she-no! She could still...be normal. It's not like she just came here to see Randvi. No, she came here because she wanted to look at the menu again and maybe get a drink and because it smelled delicious in here and it reminded her a bit of home.
Shit, she needed to say something still.
"Good morning," Eivor replied, walking up to the counter.
"What can I get for you?"
"Umm…" Eivor cleared her throat, looking at the menu closely. There weren't any gluten-free options written anywhere. Maybe she could just ask? She should, it was fine to ask, she did it all the time.
Gods, even her voice was beautiful. Randvi came around the corner, dirtied apron covering her front, hair done in the same manner as before, one side pulled back and braided, the rest pulled back into a ponytail. And her smile was more enchanting than the northern lights. Eivor nearly forgot how to breathe.
"Randvi," she managed to say, her voice nearly a whisper. It had to be illegal to be so attractive.
"Nice to see you again so soon." There was a teasing smirk to the redhead’s lips that matched her voice. She walked over next to the young man, leaning both hands on the counter.
Eivor swallowed, her mouth felt dry. "Yeah well, it was so good last time, I couldn't stay away."
Randvi's eyes seemed to light up ever so slightly at the compliment. Making those gorgeous eyes of greens and blues even more hypnotic than before. It wasn’t even like Eivor lied. Despite the...after effects, it had been amazing. Now all she needed to do was ask-
"Oh I just finished making some muesli buns, would you like some?"
No, she needed to say no. Ask if there was anything gluten-free, surely there was, there was rye buns on the menu, she could just ask for those instead. But gods her eyes sparkled and her smile was brighter than the damn sun.
"I'd love some." Eivor felt her lips pulling up even as her mind yelled at her for being an idiot.
"How many? We have a special if you get half a dozen."
"Half a dozen is perfect," Eivor forced a quiet, strained chuckle. "I can eat lots."
The smirk that slowly pulled in Randvi's lips as her eyes scanned over Eivor in what could only be described as a languid motion, had the blonde's knees shaking. Fuck .
"Well, you need something to feed all those muscles."
Gods it was so hot in here. Her face especially. Eivor tried to not make a total ass of herself but there was no way Randvi missed her blush. Maybe she would think it was just from the run…but judging by that smirk which went from sultry to downright devilish, she didn't.
Randvi clearly possessed some form of mercy, since she gave a soft chuckle, and turned. Her grin didn't waver though.
"Ceolbert can ring you up. I'll grab your buns," the baker said, disappearing to the back.
The kid, Ceolbert she guessed, gave Eivor another smile as she paid. The fighter had to take a breath and try tonot be a total mess when Randvi came back. Gods, how did this woman fluster her so much? It wasn't like Eivor was some blushing maiden.
"Did you want to stay?" Randvi's voice broke through Eivor's thoughts as the baker came back to the counter with a brown bag in hand. "They are still warm."
"I shouldn't." Eivor did her best to sound apologetic. She wouldn’t exactly turn down an invitation to spend more time with Randvi. But…"I don't want to leave her alone," she pointed her thumb over her shoulder to where Mouse lay on the ground outside, staring up at all the passing pedestrians.
Randvi's eyes followed her thumb, smile shining through the entire building. "Oh, may I say hello?"
"Of course!" Eivor's response was immediate, barely aware of the excitement in her own voice.
The moment Eivor opened the door, Mouse jumped to her feet, staring up happily at Eivor, her whole butt wagging with excitement as she let out a pleased bark.
"I was gone for five minutes." Eivor grinned, crouching down and ruffling her friend's head. "Want to meet a friend?" She grinned up at Randvi. "Randvi, this is Mouse. Mouse, Randvi."
"Well aren't you the cutest." Randvi gave a quiet titter, crouching down to hold her hand to Mouse, a step that was not needed as the dog relentlessly began licking at her face.
"Well, somebody knows what she wants," Randvi laughed, scratching at Mouse's ears, fingers running through her fur. Eivor couldn't believe she was jealous of her dog.
"And even cuter than your mum," Randvi winked at the blonde, eliciting another damn blush. Randvi thought she was cute? Nobody...well that was a first. Eivor didn't even realize she was smiling until she felt the strain of a wide smile on her cheeks. Gods, this woman…
"Well, I shouldn't keep you both too long," Randvi gave Mouse's ears a final scratch before standing, smiling up at the blonde. "I do hope you'll both visit again though."
"We will." Eivor didn't even think or hesitate before answering. Randvi really wanted her to come by again? Okay, no reason to read too much into it, she was probably just being polite.
"Good." How could that smile get even more dazzling? "Oh and let me know what you think of the buns."
"Of course." Eivor didn't even balk at the idea of eating all of them, not in the face of Randvi's brilliant smile, with the sun shining on her face and lighting up her golden red hair.
"Bye Mouse," she smiled down at the dog and stared back up at the blonde, smile shifting into a smirk that had Eivor's heart thudding loudly in her ears. "Bye, Eivor. Don't keep me waiting too long."
Eivor's throat felt dry. How...gods was Randvi magic or something? How could just a stare and a few simple words…
"I won’t," Eivor rasped, watching Randvi as she walked back into the bakery. Yup, it was official. She was an absolute gay disaster for Randvi and didn't mind one bit.
"What's got you so happy?" Ceolbert asked, looking over at Randvi as she moved behind the counter. Her eyes finally moved from where the tall, gorgeous, adorable, tattooed, and oh so muscular blonde had disappeared from view.
Randvi chuckled, shaking her head and turning at least some of her attention to looking over their stock. "Oh she's just adorable."
"Adorable? I wouldn't think...I mean, I think most people would be pretty intimidated by her. I was."
Randvi laughed fully this time, moving to the back to get to work on a few things, Ceolbert following. "Oh she's just a big puppy dog."
"How do you know her?" Ceolbert took his position beside her, eagerly awaiting instructions.
"That dough still needs a good workover." She nodded to the sealed bowl nearby. "And I just met her yesterday, her and her brother stopped by after their run. They're both from Norway, too." Meeting the siblings had definitely been a treat. Although Eivor was turning out to be a whole meal.
"She looks familiar." Ceolbert hummed, looking deeply thoughtful as he got to work. "Her name was Eivor?"
Randvi hummed in acknowledgement, prepping a tray of muffins. "They've never been in before."
"I swear I've seen her...or maybe heard her name?" The kid looked genuinely distressed for a moment before he smiled. "Randvi, can I use my phone for a moment?"
"Ceolbert, you don't need to ask." Randvi smiled at the young man. He was such a sweet boy, and a hard worker. She'd lucked out the day he nervously stopped by and asked about a job.
He smiled bashfully, wiping his hands on a towel and grabbing his phone, fingers moving rapidly as they typed. It only took a second.
"Yes! I knew I recognized her. One of my father’s friends talks about her lots. She's a fighter."
"She what?" Randvi abandoned her work, hurrying over to Ceolbert, looking over his shoulder at the device.
Sure enough, there was Eivor all over the screen. Eivor Varinsdoughtter. Links to her bio in Wikipedia, social medias, and plenty of pictures. Well, that certainly explained all the muscles.
"She's really good. Current champion actually."
"I didn't take you for being a fan of fighting."
"I'm not. But my father and his friends...sometimes I had to socialize."
Randvi nodded in understanding. She'd come from a similar situation. But at least Ceolbert's father seemed somewhat more supportive of his son's independence than Randvi's parents had been.
On a whim, Randvi reached out and clicked the link to Eivor's instagram. Oh. Oh . Well then. Wow. Apparently Eivor liked to post a great many pictures and videos of herself working out. Which at first struck Randvi as odd, the blonde hadn't struck her as vain. But a quick look through a few posts answered that. It seems she mostly did it for instructional purposes. Not that Randvi would complain either way. Nor it seemed would the hordes of very thirsty fans.
"Ummm...Randvi? The muffins are done…"
Randvi blinked, turning to the oven just as it chimed. Gods, how long had she been…well, that was a little embarrassing.
"Sorry about that, Ceolbert. I suppose I got carried away."
"It's ok." He smiled at her, not a hint of judgement. Such a good kid. "She's very nice."
"Yes," Randvi chuckled, stepping back and doing her best to put thoughts of a tall, muscular and utterly adorable blonde from her mind. For now.
Once they finished and Ceolbert was leaving for the day, heading off to his afternoon classes, Randvi allowed herself to indulge a little more. She used her phone to pull up Eivor's social media again, making sure to follow her instagram before looking at her twitter. When her eyes saw the latest tweet, Randvi's grin was so large it hurt. Oh this was going to be fun.