Priyanka let out a small sigh of relief as she saw Zel come around the corner and start walking towards her and her other friends. She hadn’t been worried about Zel, of course. Zel was always fine. But if they’d been any later, Andrea might have thrown a fit. She glanced at Andrea, and sure enough the blonde girl had her arms folded over her chest and was tapping her foot slightly, wearing her impatience on her sleeve. It was typical of her to always expect everyone to be operating on a precise timetable, even when it was the weekend and they were supposed to be doing something fun. Once Zel was closer, Andrea offered a friendly wave and smiled.
“Hey Zel,” she said. “What time do you call this?”
She sounded jovial, but Priyanka could sense the slight edge of tension underneath. Andrea didn’t like to be kept waiting, not for anyone. Zel waved back, and then yawned. Zel looked tired, but that was no surprise. They always looked tired. When Priyanka had first met them she’d assumed Zel was ill, but she’d grown used to the idea that the dark bags under their eyes were normal, rather than cause for concern.
“Hey,” Zel replied. “Sorry. I didn’t get a lot of sleep. Up late working again.” Zel looked past Andrea and smiled at Priyanka and Misty. “Hey everyone.”
“Hey.” Priyanka returned the wave, and greeted her friend with a warm smile.
“Hey.” Misty didn’t wave, but a smile flickered across her face for a moment. She and Zel were close. Priyanka like seeing Misty happy for a moment, instead of just nervous.
“OK, well we’re already late, so we’d better not keep Sasha waiting any longer,” Andrea announced, somewhat pointedly. “Let’s head inside.”
The rest of the group nodded, and they each turned to face the small building they were standing outside of. The Omdanne Bakery & Cafe, the pink-on-white sign over the door proudly announced. It had opened just a couple of months earlier, and none of them had ever been there before. It seemed like a fairly normal upmarket bakery, but Priyanka couldn’t help feeling a certain sense of trepidation about the place. They were coming based on the eager, insistent invitation of a former co-worker of theirs, Sasha. The five of them - Priyanka, Andrea, Misty, Zel and Sasha - had all worked together, at a small IT firm with an office not far from the bakery. One day, a few weeks before, Sasha claimed to have discovered a wonderful new bakery, making rapturously delicious pastries and cakes. Not long after, Sasha had unceremoniously quit her job, citing stress and lack of fulfillment. Now, it seemed Sasha had found a job working at that very same bakery. Priyanka and her friends had all raised an eyebrow at the change of career, and they’d decided to accept her invitation to visit the bakery - as much to check on Sasha as to try the pastries she’d raved about so enthusiastically.
Unsurprisingly, Andrea took the lead. As she opened the door to the bakery, a small bell chimed from inside, announcing their arrival. Watching her blonde friend step inside, Priyanka noted that even though it was the weekend, she was hardly dressed any less formally than she was at work, despite their office’s casual dress sense. She had to wonder if Andrea owned anything besides suit pants, fancy shirts, and impressive-looking jackets. Zel followed her, and couldn’t have been more of a contrast, in their oversized sweatshirt and leggings. Priyanka waited for Misty to go ahead of her, resting her hand comfortingly on the trans girl’s shoulders as she followed her inside. She knew Misty would appreciate the gesture. She often had a hard time with new places, especially places with unfamiliar people.
Once Priyanka crossed the threshold, the first thing she noticed was the smell. It hit her like wave, making her pause mid-step and blink in surprise. It was incredible. The enticing scent of fresh-baked bread was so strong it was almost overwhelming, and besides that the aromas of all different kinds of sweet foods - fruits, cream, chocolate, marzipan - all seemed to hang in the air. It was almost dizzying. Priyanka couldn’t recall having ever encountered a more wonderful smell. It was making her stomach start to rumble, just standing there. But as she felt the first pangs of hunger, her pleasure turned to embarrassment, and a faint blush touched her cheeks. Reflexively, her hand went to her belly, and she forcefully reminded herself that she supposed to be trying to lose weight. Not that it had ever done her much good before.
“Oh my gosh!” a slightly familiar, high-pitched voice rang out from the far side of the bakery. “You all came!”
Priyanka turned her head to look, and did a double take. At first, she thought it was Sasha. Then, she realized she didn’t recognize the woman at all. Then, she realized it was Sasha after all, but she had changed to an almost unbelievable degree. The first thing that stood out to Priyanka was Sasha’s hair. She knew Sasha was a natural brunette, but now she was sporting a platinum blonde ponytail. The second thing that stood out to Priyanka was what Sasha was wearing. She was dressed in what looked like a waitress’s uniform from a retro diner, all bright pink, and with a scandalously short skirt. It was a far cry from the entirely ordinary outfits Sasha had always used to prefer. The third thing Priyanka noticed was Sasha’s chest. Her former co-worker had never been lacking in that department, but now her boobs were absolutely huge. Priyanka was a little embarrassed to find herself staring, but she just couldn’t help herself. How had Sasha’s breasts grown so much, so quickly? She kept doubting that it was really Sasha at all, but when she looked her in the face she was sure: underneath the bright red lipstick and prominent eyeshadow, it was her friend.
“S-Sasha?” Misty said, sounding like she wasn’t sure if she was making a statement or asking a question. Priyanka glanced around at her friends, and was a little comforted to see that they were all just as surprised as she was. Zel’s eyes, normally half closed, were wide open.
“It’s me!” Sasha giggled, and made a little flourish gesture with her hand. “I know, I had a little, like, makeover.”
“Yeah, that’s for sure,” Priyanka heard Zel say under their breath.
“I’m, like, so happy to see you all!” Sasha cried, seemingly oblivious to their shock. Her voice was higher-pitched and girlier than Priyanka remembered. Before any of them could say anything, Sasha rushed forward and started embracing each of them in a big, warm hug, one by one. When it was Priyanka’s turn, she found herself blushed slightly at the sensation of Sasha’s huge boobs pressing against her own considerable chest. Moreover, she noticed that the sweet, enticing scents of the bakery seemed to hang heavy around Sasha, like she’d been working in the kitchen for hours. It was such a nice aroma, Priyanka almost felt like she never wanted the hug to end. “It’s been, like, too long.”
“Yes, way too long,” Andrea agreed, openly staring at Sasha’s chest. “You’ve… um… how are you?”
“First things first!” Sasha said brightly. Priyanka noticed that her pitch rose at the end of everything she said, like she was putting on a slight valley girl accent. “Let me, like, get you sitting down. Over here!”
Sasha guided them towards a small, round table in the corner of the bakery, with five seats. The style of it was rather quaint, like the rest of the bakery. Priyanka had been too distracted by the aroma and by Sasha to notice it at first, but the place was covered with kitschy wooden ornamentation. It was a little like being in a gingerbread house, she thought. At Sasha’s urging, Priyanka and her friends all sat around the table. As she took her seat, Priyanka was careful to pull her arms and stomach in, and sit a little further back than most people would. She was always worried about taking up too much space. Misty, sitting next to her, seemed to notice her discomfort, if not the cause, and the two of them shared a slight smile. Priyanka noticed Misty’s eyes darting all around the bakery, and that the trans girl was hunched over the table, trying to make herself small.
“So,” Priyanka spoke up after a moment, “how have you been, Sasha?”
“Totally great!” Sasha was beaming from ear to ear. She looked just as happy as she sounded, although her eyes were slightly dull and vapid. “No offense, but I feel, like, so much better than I ever did working at Nelco with you guys.”
“You like working here?” Andrea asked, doing a bad job keeping the incredulity out of her voice.
“I like the uniform,” Misty put in. She sounded completely serious.
“Thanks!” Sasha said to Misty, and then turned to Andrea to answer her question. “Yeah! It’s, like, really amazing. I love the uniform - isn’t it just so cute? And I love this bakery, it’s so adorable and relaxing! And I love being a waitress, ‘cause the stuff they make here is just, like, the yummiest food ever, and it makes me so happy to bring it to people and watch them smile!”
Priyanka and Andrea exchanged glances. Priyanka could tell Andrea was thinking the same thing as her: who was this cheerful girl, and what had she done with the real Sasha? It was like a completely different personality had inhabited her body, and given her huge breasts in the process. The Sasha that Priyanka remembered was always stressed, always unfulfilled, and always complaining. She was glad that the change of career had suited Sasha, of course, but the transformation she had undergone was uncanny. It seemed impossible. Additionally, Priyanka had worked as a waitress herself during college, and several of her friends had done the same. She’d never known anyone who’d found waitressing to be their dream job, and in her experience it was about as far from that as anything could be. It was tiring, stressful, and it didn’t pay well. Perhaps a small bakery like this was a little better, but Priyanka had a hard time believing it was as amazing as Sasha was describing. It seemed fanciful, but Priyanka was starting to wonder if something had happened to Sasha. Something she wasn’t telling them about.
“Oh, that reminds me!” Sasha said, before any of them had a chance to speak. “I’ve got some pastries all picked out for you all to try! You totally have to give them a taste. It’ll, like, change your whole life!”
With that, she stood up from the table and waltzed off towards the kitchen. Priyanka watched her go, and her eyes went wide when she saw that as she walked, Sasha’s short skirt bounced up almost far enough to reveal her ass. What kind of bakery would have such a slutty uniform? When Sasha was out of sight, Priyanka, Andrea, Zel and Misty all leaned in conspiratorially.
“Wow. What’s up with her?” Zel asked.
“I have no idea,” Priyanka replied. “Has anyone talked to her much since she quit Nelco?” All of them shook their heads.
“I’m happy for her,” Misty said quietly. “She seems so happy now.”
“No.” Andrea spoke so forcefully that Misty shrank back a little in her seat. “I think something’s wrong. Just look at her! It’s like she’s on drugs or something. I mean, what’s up with her breasts, for one thing? There’s clearly something more going on than just a change of attitude.”
“Yeah…” Misty agreed, looking down.
“But what?” Zel asked. “What could make her this way? I don’t think there’s any drug that does that - especially not the growth in the chest department.”
“Shush! She’s coming back,” Andrea said. Sure enough, Sasha had re-emerged from the kitchen, and was bearing a large tray covered in dishes.
“Sorry to keep you all waiting!” Sasha sang out happily. “I had to, like, make sure I got the right thing for each of you.”
“Right thing?” Andrea repeated quizzically. “But we didn’t order anything yet.”
“Nope!” Sasha agreed, and then giggled. “I picked something special out for each of you. Think of it like a super personal special selection!”
“Oh.” Andrea frowned slightly. “I think I would have preferred to pick my own.”
“Thank you Sasha!” Misty sounded slightly agitated. “That’s so nice of you.”
“Yeah,” Zel agreed. “I’m happy to just try whatever you got for us.”
“Well, OK then.” Andrea sat back in her seat, looking slightly disgruntled.
“Yay!” Sasha set down the tray in the center of the table, and started handing the dishes on it out to each of them. Priyanka was astounded by how good they all looked, and the amazing smell of the freshly-baked treats was threatening to make her stomach rumble again. The sight of the dish Sasha put in front of her, though, made her a little anxious. She wasn’t sure what it was, but it looked like it was incredibly sweet and incredibly unhealthy. Priyanka thought again about how she was supposed to be losing weight.
“Wow,” Zel said, sounding impressed. “What are all of these?”
“Let me see!” Sasha giggled. “First of all, for you, Zel, a dark chocolate tart, topped with some whipped cream! I had a feeling something a little bitter would suit you just right.”
“Huh.” Zel looked at the dish in front of them. On a little round plate was a circle of crimped pastry, and within that a perfectly smooth filling of chocolate so dark it was almost black. In the very centre of it was a helping of whipped cream, artfully worked into the shape of a little spiral. The white of the cream against the dark chocolate made for an elegant contrast. The smell coming from it was heavenly, but even from across the table Priyanka could tell how bitter it must be. “Well, I normally prefer milk chocolate, but I’ll give it a go!”
“Andrea, for you, a little ornamental vanilla cupcake,” Sasha continued. “Isn’t it cute!”
“Sure,” Andrea conceded. Her dish was smaller than the others, but the presentation was no less impressive. On top of her plate was a large cupcake, smelling faintly of vanilla, covered with delicious-looking icing. But what made it really special was that the icing on the cake had been crafted into the shape of a very cute puppy’s face. It was almost like a little sculpture. Light brown icing somehow worked into strands made up its fur, some black icing made its eyes and adorable button nose, and there was even a little sliver of pink icing to represent its tongue, as if the puppy was panting happily. It was enormously detailed. Priyanka had no idea how it was possible to make food that looked so elaborate. “It… it’s something, alright.” Even Andrea sounded a little impressed.
“And then for you, Misty, I picked out some sweet milk buns!”
Before Misty was a small bowl, in which was stacked a small heap of buns. They looked a little plain, compared to the rest of the dishes Sasha had brought, but they smelled truly incredible. Each one was shaped into a perfect little round dome, with a small X-shape carved into the top, and they were decorated with little sprinklings of sugar beads. They were so fresh they were practically still steaming from the oven, and when Misty brought her head down to sniff them, a big smile spread across her face. “They seem lovely!”
“Yay!” Sasha exclaimed again, then turned to Priyanka. “And, last of all, for Priyanka, religieuse.”
“Reli… what?” Priyanka didn’t recognize the word. Based on Sasha’s pronunciation, it sounded French.
“Religieuse,” Sasha repeated excitedly. “Stacks of light pastry buns stuffed with pastry cream, topped with, like, chocolate, mocha and praline ganache, and with a marzipan swirl on top!”
On Priyanka’s plate were three stacks of pastry buns. Each one consisted of three layers, with a large bun on the bottom, a smaller one in the middle, and an even smaller one on top. Between each layer was a generous helping of warm, sticky frosting, keeping everything stuck together, and on the top of each stack was a little bit of fudge-like marzipan, worked into the shape of a swirl that wound up to a single peak, as if topping off the mountain of confection underneath. The mixture of scents coming off of the religieuse was nothing short of rapturous. Fresh-baked choux pastry, rich, milky chocolate, dark, intoxicating coffee and delicate, mouth-watering almond and hazelnut all blended together into a heady aroma that would have been overpowering if not for the way all the flavors were delicately balanced against one another in the perfect proportions. From the smell alone, Priyanka was sure the dessert was the work of master chef. The was only one thing stopping her being utterly filled with joy at the sight of something that looked so delicious. It looked like the tastiest thing she’d ever seen, but it also looked like the sweetest, unhealthiest thing she’d ever seen. None of the dishes Sasha had brought were health foods, by any standards, but Priyanka’s was the most decadent of the lot, and by far the largest. A sinking feeling started to set in her stomach as she realized she couldn’t eat it, not without breaking all the promises she’d made to herself.
“Well, that’s it!” Sasha announced. “Tuck in! I bet you’ll love them.” She giggled.
Priyanka looked down at her pastries. She wanted to try them so badly, and she didn’t want to be rude by refusing. Perhaps just a few bites wouldn’t be too bad. She picked up the small spoon on the side of the plate and used it to carve out a portion of one of the pastry buns. The pastry was light and fluffy, and on the inside it was stuffed with cream that was clearly flavored with chocolate. On the outside, the pastry was coated with praline ganache. Priyanka didn’t want to think about how many calories she was holding right there in her spoon, let alone in the rest of the dish. Shoving the thought to one side, she took a bite. Her eyes went wide. She’d been prepared for something amazing but even so, the explosion of flavor that filled her mouth was beyond her wildest dreams. The chocolate, the cream, the pastry, the hazelnut - it was like an orgasm in her mouth. Priyanka closed her eyes, and made an appreciative sound that was almost a moan as she fully savored the mouthful of bliss she was experiencing. Once she swallowed it, its absence was almost upsetting. All thoughts of austerity forgotten, she immediately carved out another portion with her spoon, and then ate it. And then another one, and then another one, and then another. Each mouthful brought her fresh joy, along with a new mixture of flavors to try - chocolate, cream, almonds, hazelnuts, coffee. Priyanka was practically squirming in her seat at how incredible it all tasted. It was the best thing she’d ever eaten, and it wasn’t even close.
She kept eating almost automatically, as if she was in a ravenous trance. But after a time, her sense returned to her. Priyanka opened her eyes fully and sighed contentedly at how full and happy she felt. Then, she saw that her plate was empty. She’d eaten the whole thing. Instantly, she was so mortified that her sense of contentedness almost vanished, and Priyanka glanced around the table to see if anyone else was staring at her. Fortunately, none of them were. Instead, Zel, Misty and Andrea all seemed to be experiencing the same reaction as her. They’d all cleared their plates, and were now staring around at each other with a mixture of amazement and shock on their faces.
“Holy shit,” Zel breathed. “That. Was. Amazing.”
“Yeah,” Priyanka and Misty both said at once, their voices filled with near-religious awe.
Sasha clapped her hands together eagerly. “Oh, I’m so, like, glad! Andrea, how ‘bout you?”
“Yes. Um… wow.” Andrea looked perhaps more shocked than any of the rest of them. “That was… wow. You definitely made the right choice.”
“Yay!” Sasha exclaimed. “Oh, that’s so wonderful! I, like, totally knew you’d love them.”
The rest of them all nodded. Priyanka slumped back into her seat. She was so full she was starting to feel tired. Misty did the same.
“OK, well, I need to get back to work,” Sasha said, collecting their plates back onto her tray. “But you can all sit here for as long as you want. Let me know if you want anything else!”
None of them did. They were all stuffed. They were all so full and so drained that they barely had energy to exchange words, until they eventually managed to drag themselves to their feet and leave the bakery, each going their separate ways. As they left, they muttered a few farewells to each other, along with a few extra words of praise about the bakery’s cooking. Misty timidly suggested that they should go back and see Sasha again sometime soon, and the rest of them agreed. They all decided to discuss it further the next day, when they would all back in the office for work.
None of them had any idea what was about to happen to them.