At first Andrew had to shield his eyes as it seemed to be much brighter once he opened the door. However, that soon faded and he was able to take a look at his new surroundings.
He looked in genuine surprise at the inside of the shop, he could tell something was different about this place. It looked like the grand entry hall of an old Victorian house you’d see is some historical drama. Carved woodwork, heavy ornamentation, colorful wallpaper, and an elegant staircase at the end of the hall leading up to unknown rooms above him. Along one side of the hall was a large display cabinet with an old fashioned register and counter. Andrew saw doors leading back to what he thought must be the kitchen behind the counter. On either side of him were large archways leading off into rooms set up with overstuffed chairs and clothed tables, places for people to sit and enjoy their treats and drinks he assumed.
“Well, this is not quite what I was expecting,” mused Andrew, thinking he would find some kind of standard chain shop with quirky decorations. “It’s almost like a movie set in here.”
It was an old fashioned, but pleasant space. Lots of plants, curios, and furniture that appeared a bit formal but comfortable. Andrew approached the counter and saw there was no one behind it. In fact he registered that there was nobody else at all in the shop, could this place have just opened perhaps? Large windows covered in closed, lace curtains let in natural light but blocked all view of the outside. Andrew thought that was a bit odd as it seemed showing off the inside of the place would draw curious people in. In fact the very atmosphere of this place gave Andrew an odd feeling, nothing bad, just… different and he couldn’t explain it.
Looking at the display cabinet of various baked goods he saw several mouthwatering displays, but noted that there were no cards describing what they were, and no price tags either. Andrew was starting to worry if this was going to be one of those shops that charged high prices for luxury sweets. The phrase “if you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it” passed through his mind.
Looking around the counter he saw a small arrow shaped sign pointing to an old fashioned desk bell that said, “Ring for Service”. Andrew reached out a hand for the bell, and just has he hit the little button on top, he felt a small shock and withdrew his hand quickly as the sound of the bell rang through the hall.
Rubbing his hand in surprise more than pain Andrew started as the door behind the counter slid open, and what stepped out was not a sweet little grandma in a pointy hat.
“Welcome to my shop,” beamed the man. “I apologize for not being up front to greet you right away” The shopkeeper stopped and smiled when he saw Andrew standing there slack jawed and staring. Andrew couldn’t help but stare at the massive man in front of him. He looked to be almost 7 ft tall and built like someone you’d see conquering a bodybuilding competition for sure. His long black hair drawn back into braids and a pony tail keeping it from his handsome face. The apron he wore on top of his simple button up strained just as much as the shirt to contain massive pecs, and his arms looked like he would have no trouble shredding the sleeves if he wasn’t careful. Piercing yellow eyes gazed back at Andrew and the smile the man wore showed of a near perfect smile, although with rather sharp canines.
“Hello, my name is Ferin,” the man’s deep tenor was almost melodic and extremely pleasant on the ears, “how may I help you today?”
Snapped from his reverie, Andrew stumbled with his words and unconsciously looked around as if he forgot where he was for a moment. “I just noticed this place and figured I’d come in and see what you got,” muttered Andrew slightly embarrassed as he shifted his stance to deter his dick from its threat of getting hard.
“Well, I can tell you we’ve got quite a lot to offer here,” stated Ferin as he moved behind the display cabinet, “I do my absolute best to provide a wide variety of baked goods, pastries, sweets, and the like.” He flashed another grin and added, “I can assure you though my sweets have always been highly praised, life changing some would say.” Ferin suddenly noticed the now livid bruise on Andrew’s arm from before and threw in, “it looks like you could use something sweet, bad day?”
Instinctively covering the bruise, Andrew chuckled awkwardly. “Yeah, kinda ran into someone who doesn’t really like me. Got any suggestions on what to have?” he charged on, desperate to change the subject. “I’ve never really seen so many different baked goods, so I’m not sure what to get.”
Ferin’s golden eyes raked the young man before him and he smiled. “You’re in luck, then. I’ve got a special I do for customers who don’t really know what they want,” the shop keep said as he looked up and down the cabinet. “It’s like a tasting flight, a few samples of various treats I pick for you to give you a unique experience, included with a drink. It makes for a good first try at something new”
Andrew liked this idea, but then remembered something and cautiously asked “uhh… how much would that be, I haven’t seen any prices and I can only do so much.” Ferin just smiled pleasantly and stated, “for you it’s on the house today.” His golden eyes flashed to the now covered bruise. “Like I said, it looks like you could use something sweet.”
Andrew was shocked at this statement, but being a college kid he wasn’t about to turn down something like this for free. “If you’re sure, that sounds wonderful,” he said, smiling broadly. “I don’t want to put you out or anything.”
Ferin only smiled and took out a small notepad. “No trouble at all if I can help make someone’s day better. Just follow me, please.” The enormous man stepped from behind the counter and headed towards the foot of the stairs. Andrew seemed a bit confused as the table and chairs were in the rooms to either side of the hall.
Seeing the young man’s confusion, Ferin explained, “I prefer to do these tasting experiences in a few private rooms I have upstairs. It allows me to cater more to my customer’s needs and gives you a nice, specialized experience.” Not seeing anything wrong with that, Andrew proceeded to follow Ferin up the majestic staircase and to the next floor above.
Hoping to fill the silence, Andrew decided to throw out some small talk. “This shop is really something, and you don’t see places like this anymore.” Then without thinking Andrew added, “Bet the high ceilings are a godsend for someone as tall as you.”
Chuckling softly, Ferin replied, “Yeah, this place and I kind of found each other and I’ve been running this bakery ever since, here we are!” They had stopped in front of a heavy wooden door with a plaque that said the “Sapphire Room”.
Ferin opened the door and inside was something like a bedroom that had been converted into a small sitting/dining room. A large fireplace was crackling merrily and a few squashy arm chairs were placed around a lace topped table. An extremely comfortable looking bed sat in a corner and Andrew noted that it was quite large, more than enough even for someone like Ferin to fit just fine. Like downstairs, there were curios, plants, and other various decorations all over. The walls were covered in a blue velvet with a pattern of golden stars. “This must be where the room got its name,” thought Andrew as he sat in one of the chairs at the table, while Ferin made sure the fire was in good order.
Ferin pointed out the private bathroom off to one side and said, “Just make yourself comfortable and I’ll bring up your tasting flight.” With that the large man left the room, closing the door with a soft snap.
Andrew took in the room around him, it was warm and cozy, far from the stuffy feeling you would normally get in one of these old fashioned buildings. He appreciated the private bathroom as Andrew had forgotten to ask where it was in case he needed it. However, he confirmed his theory that this place must have once been a home as it was a full bathroom with a shower. He passed the time looking around at the old knickknacks around the room, all had been chosen to fit the overall style of the room, lots of things related to astronomy by the look of it. Just as he was examining a rather elaborate telescope in a glass case there was a small knock on the door. Ferin quietly opened the door and pushed in a cart with a covered dish and full tea service. Andrew quickly returned to his seat and waited for Ferin to finish setting things up for him.
“I’ve gone ahead and chosen several treats I don’t think you’ll have had the chance to try,” Ferin explained. “I’ve also selected a type of tea that should complement the sweets quite nicely.” He took the time to pour Andrew a fresh cup of perfectly warm tea and motioned to have as much sugar and milk as he would like. Then he placed the large covered dish before Andrew and lifted the lid. Andrew took in really elegant selection of various slices of cake and other treats, none of which he had ever seen before. Ferin took the time to explain each one at hand so Andrew knew what he was getting into.
“Starting here we have a strawberry and chocolate Buffenberg Cake,” Ferin pointed to a thick slice of checkerboard cake in pink and brown wrapped in smooth frosting. “Next we have a slice of Matcha Barash Cake, I think the earthy tones will help balance the sweetness of the rest of the desserts” he pointed to a slice of green cake covered in a green mirror glaze with flecks of edible gold on top. He then motioned to a layered confection of cream and what looked like meringue. “Over here we have a hazelnut Dicquoise, and last but not least a small assortment of cookies” He finished by pointing over to a few cookies on a small plate, one decorated with tiny lettering that said Eat Me. “All wrapped up with our house blend of lavender tea,” he finished and placed the delicate cup and saucer within Andrew’s reach.
The spread looked and smelled amazing, and soon Andrew felt his mouth begin to water. “I recommend you eat each one at a time and all in one sitting, then follow it up with the tea,” Ferin explained. Andrew thought it a bit odd he was given instructions on how to eat the offerings, but then again, he wasn’t the expert here. “Thank you very much, this all looks too good to be true,” Andrew beamed back at the unusual baker.
“Like I said before,” said Ferin with a small wink as he wheeled the cart back into the hall, “most people find my treats to be life changing, do enjoy and ring the bell should you need anything.” Ferin made a final gesture at a pull cord by the door and saw himself out.
Andrew could not wait to dig in, something about these sweets seemed to be calling out to him, his stomach was growling now in anticipation. He had never felt so enthusiastic about this kind of thing before, but he knew he was in for something really special. He picked up the fork provided and began looking to see what to attack first.