Chapter 20

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Ophelia sat at her mother's dining table looking through the memory book Ellen had made of Anna and Phillip's wedding. They both looked so happy and in love. She came across a picture of her and Justin holding hands and they had that same happy, blissful look on their faces as well. Her heart clenched.

Ellen sat down next to her at the table. "Miss him?"

"Yes," Ophelia said.

"You two were good together," Ellen said. "Both your dad and I liked him."

"Well, as usual, I messed everything up, so it doesn't matter."

"Have you thought more about moving out of state?"

"Yes, but I still can't bring myself to do it."

Ophelia turned to the page where the photographer had taken a picture of Anna and Phillip's wedding cake.

"I have to say, honey, everyone was impressed with your cake. You have such a talent not only to make things taste good but look beautiful too."

"Well, if I had the money then I'd be able to run my own bakery and then I wouldn't need to worry about getting fired."

Ellen squeezed her daughter's shoulder. "Mind if I bring my magazine and sit with you for a while?"

"You know I like hanging out with you any time, mom," Ophelia said.

Ophelia set aside the memory book and opened her bakery binder. All those dreams just flushed down the toilet with a single no. She didn't even need to look at the pictures she drew. She saw it all in her head as if it really existed. On a blank piece of paper, she started to write down her favorite cake flavors - boring vanilla and chocolate, amaretto, coconut milk, almond pound cake, red velvet, butter pecan, and black forest. Then she started writing down frosting flavors - boring vanilla and chocolate, lavender, coconut, white chocolate, whipped marshmallow with just a little browning on the top with a torch, salted caramel, espresso. She sketched Anna's cake on the paper including the little statue that Marg and Hank had given them as a cake topper. With the right tools and enough fridge space, putting together wedding cakes would be so easy.

Ellen gasped. Ophelia looked over at her mother. "What?"

"I can't believe none of us thought of this before," Ellen exclaimed.

"What?"

"Look at this." Ellen handed Ophelia the magazine she'd been reading. The page was open to an article entitled "10 Best Online Bakeries in the US". Ophelia's jaw dropped. She scanned the article.

"Listen to this, mom," Ophelia said. "This gal said that her county didn't allow for home bakeries so she found a restaurant that allowed her to rent space from them when they were closed. This gal said there are sometimes cooking schools and outreach programs that have rental kitchens."

Ophelia's mind churned. She started to write down all the things she'd need to make cakes with - pans, flour, flavorings, piping bags and tips, a mixer, oven and refrigerator space, sugar, and on and on. She was practically starting from scratch so the list just kept getting bigger and bigger. She looked up the prices for all the implements she'd need. The amount was staggering. That didn't include a website, business license, food handler's permit, and rental kitchen. She threw her pencil across the kitchen table and stomped off to her bedroom.

It wasn't a bad idea. With a website you didn't have to have the brick and mortar store. The trick was to find business. That was the part that was the most intimidating besides the actual cost of start-up. Mike was the one that knew everyone. He was the one that usually drummed up business and then threw the purchase orders at Ophelia to complete. Most of his clientele was businesses, upper-middle class and rich patrons and the all the business that came along with the wedding season. She didn't have any contacts with any businesses. Her parents were comfortable but definitely not part of the upper crust in the valley. Weddings would be easiest to start with but people had to know you existed before they'd order from you. Mike always had a booth at this or that wedding expo, and it was way past season for those.

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