Chapter 23 - Gluten-Free

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LUKE

"This is just amazing. I knew that you could bake great things, but this is just... Can you hear it? I have angels singing in my mouth,"

I feel flattered at Marissa O'Brien's words. She is here at the bakery with the Morgans, plus Didier. They had a wedding to coordinate last Saturday and couldn't attend the official opening of the bakery.

"I will give you a shout out tomorrow during my show. This is worth spreading out. Sorry Marissa," says James, drinking the last of his coffee.

"I'm not offended, on the contrary. I loved working with Luke and Papa as well. We both knew that you needed a place of your own. Your talent is too big to be contained to just breakfast pastries and bread,"

"Thanks guys. You were all a big support on the transition," I say, feeling my cheeks getting warm.

"Well, Marissa and I wanted to ask you if you would like to do the sweets for our reception. We were not planning to have one at all, but have settled for a champagne and cake one. Well, just juice for this one," Thomas says, looking at Marissa and caressing her stomach lovingly.

"Am I interpreting that right?" I say, carefully trying to avoid a blunder.

"No, you saw that well. Bastards told us last Friday that they are having a baby. They have jumped ahead in the queue," says Autumn with a smile. Didier lifts her hand and she licks frosting from the side.

"Well, congratulations guys! Papa O'Brien must be over the moon,"

"He is, but he still hates Thomas," says Will while Thomas just shrugs.

"I have to head back before I eat your whole inventory," says Marissa with a laugh.

After getting some more sweets for the evening, my friends say goodbye and I'm left alone in the shop. I have a mix of feelings going through me: relief and anxiety. I finally have my dream come true, but I hope that it works and that I get a steady flow of customers.

I have only been open two days and of course, everything is new and people are curious. I have sold the day inventory, but I still need to find the rhythm and tastes of my visitors.

I head to the kitchen to work on some ingredient preparation for the menu of tomorrow. I have decided to make different offerings daily to see what sells the most. I need to blanch almonds, roast pecans and put some raisins in water. If a customer comes in, I will hear the bell on the door.

I begin my work and then hear the bell. Just when I'm about to abandon my task, Michael comes in the kitchen.

"Sorry that it took me so long. Everybody decided to have lunch late today,"

"Don't worry," I say, patting my brother's shoulder, feeling grateful that he went out to get us lunch.

"I just took a look at the cooler. Did somebody have a party? Many things are gone,"

"Marissa O'Brien and the people from Morgan Events were here. I have done some weddings for them while working at O'Brien's,"

"Oh yeah, I met this couple on Saturday during the opening. Carter and Dennis were the names. You made stuff for their wedding. The blonde one emptied the whole display of chocolate strawberries," Michael says with a smile, remembering the event.

"I got a really nice thank you note from them. Whenever I feel doubtful, I take it out and read it again,"

After finishing our lunch, Michael goes back to the front counter while I work in the kitchen. I hear the bell from time to time and hear him chatting with the customers. Michael reminds me of Mary, a charming old lady that used to work for Dad. When she passed away, it felt as if we lost a family member. People adored her and she was a great salesperson.

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