Summer had spent the majority of her summer holidays helping Elizabeth with the finishing touches to the bakery. It looked wonderful. It was a warm peach, just like before. The kitchen was warm and inviting. The lay out was fluid and relaxed. Everything looked as good as before, but now it had more of a country comfort feeling.
Elizabeth knew in her heart there was just one person missing, one person who should have seen the bakery as it is. Elizabeth had smuggled an awkward bundle into the bakery in the middle of the night. It was a beautiful portrait for the baker
With all permits in place, the bakery was ready to open. Elizabeth had handed it over to the town to decide when to open the bakery, it was chosen to be on the anniversary of the fire and of Caroline’s passing.
Elizabeth was touched by the sentiment, they had a week to wait. Everything was in preparation mode. Elizabeth had been making something special, a particular homage to everything Caroline had taught her. A special cake just for the grand opening, to be placed in front of the covered portrait of Caroline, all to be revealed on the opening. Elizabeth insisted she had to make this particular cake, by herself.
Summer would find Elizabeth building the cake, she would recognise the pangs of sadness sweeping over Elizabeth in waves. Simon and Summer tried to sooth and distract her. Often by bringing snacks.
The week flew by and the cake was ready at the last minute.
The town gathered before Elizabeth. She knew she had to say something. Summer took her hand to steady her. “I want to thank you for coming today. It is a bittersweet day. I will be opening Oak’s doors for the first time since the heartbeat and soul of the bakery passed, rebirthed by the fire. Perhaps there is a day that will never be more appropriate than today. This bakery and its patrons filled Caroline’s heart with joy.” Elizabeth swallowed trying to sound much more confident than what she felt. “This town, is nothing short of amazing. You are not just neighbours but each one of you standing here has become part of our lives, welcoming us into the town. I want you to know that I am truly grateful to be able to declare Oaks bakery officially open.”
Elizabeth opened the doors and strode towards the wall with the covered painting welcoming everyone in, the large cake beside her.
“Caroline taught me everything you can see in this cake, all of the flowers, the tiny details. This cake is a thank you to her. She was the heartbeat of Oaks, she will always have a place here, in our hearts. Caroline gave me the best advice, always. So, what I want to show you is this” Elizabeth removed the portrait covering to reveal a smiling, welcoming photo of Caroline, doing what she did so very well, baking a cake. “This is the first wedding cake she let me help with. But the joy in her eyes at finishing this gorgeous cake, its unrivalled. She was an amazing woman. This is an amazing town. So please, let us delight in this moment by sharing into Caroline’s cake.”
The bakery swarmed from opening to close. Summer, Elizabeth, the bakery girls and Simon slumped into the chairs, the bakery was ready for another day. But in this moment they were far too tired to do anything more.
Simon handed Elizabeth the champagne bottle. With the cork popped everyone was sipping champagne from to-go coffee cups with smiles on their faces knowing they wouldn’t need to wash up.
Summer took hold of the champagne cork. With a bit of effort, she put a shining silver coin into the cork. A smile crossed her face as she put it in her pocket to take to the framing shop to get a box frame for. She knew exactly what the box frame would have to say and where exactly she wanted to put it. Right beside Caroline, “Champagne from the reopening of Oaks bakery”. That was her plan.
An hour into the happy buzz of the champagne Elizabeth’s phone began to ring. Elizabeth answered to a police officer on the other end of the line. Elizabeth turned white, the colour drained from her face. She leaned against the counter. Putting down the phone Summer was the first to ask what was wrong. “Nothing, nothing is wrong. They caught him. They finally arrested him. It’s over.”
A few weeks passed, with Summer helping Elizabeth in the bakery. Summer couldn’t quite get used to feeling like there was sugar in every pore of her skin. But she didn’t need to, she was on her way back to Darling soon. She didn’t particularly want to leave Elizabeth. She had settled into a rhythm all the same.
Things were going really well with Elizabeth, she had even started reading the transcript by Archie. It was like a gone wrong romance novel that just shouldn’t have existed in a good way. Or at least that was how Summer described it.
For those of you wanting to get your hands on the ending… here is the pre-order link for Darling Daughters! Releasing 22nd August 2018