Claire was on her way back from an errand.
It was to bring chocolate muffins and banana pudding to Count Norton’s house.
These errands were usually up to Drew, the husband of Brenda, the boss, but Drew couldn’t come to the store today because he was feeling sick.
She couldn’t put it off because it was a dessert for a tea party at the Count of Norton this afternoon.
That’s why Claire had to go instead.
Claire left the forest path surrounding the Count, stopped for a moment, put two large baskets on the floor, and tapped her arm.
It was stiff because the muscles that were not normally used were overworked.
She tapped her arm and looked up at the slender birch tree.
The green leaves looked fresh.
When she looked up, the blue sky was pretty through the freshness.
She didn’t have much time to be like this, and she had to return to the Lemon House and help with the afternoon business.
‘Tomorrow is my payday.
I have to work hard today.’
With that thought, she inhaled the forest air deep into her lungs.
As Claire bowed her head to pick up the basket again, an old necklace caught her eye.
The chain had lost its shine, and the purple glass was also turbid.
It didn’t look expensive, but it looked like it would be fine if you wiped it clean.
Claire thought the necklace would look good on Isabelle, so she put it in her pocket and picked up the basket again.
Lemon House was a bakery run by Brenda, and although it was small in size, it was a popular place in Studehill.
It was a place to make desserts for the Count’s Tea Party.
She was glad it was a small tea party today.
If it was a large scale, Claire could have had to visit several times or ask for someone to drive a cart instead of Drew.
Gladly, Claire opened the door to the Lemon House.
Brenda, who was putting brownies in the display case, found Claire.
“Claire, did you have a good trip?”
Millie’s maid was satisfied that the quantity was right and the shape came out well.”
Millie was a hard-nosed maid who guarded Count Norton for decades.
Claire recalled the reaction when she opened the basket and showed it to Millie, whom she met for the second time.
Millie, scrutinizing with fierce eyes, said she suffered with a less hard face than at first.
“That’s a relief.
It must have been heavy, but you worked hard.”
Brenda also said that she had a hard time.
Claire was paid a weekly wage and did what she had to do as an employee, but it wasn’t bad to say that her hard work was recognized.
“The birch forest path was pretty, so it was okay.”
The wood smelled good, thinking, Claire put the basket down in the corner of the workshop and wrapped her apron around her.
Brenda, who was cleaning out the display case and entering the kitchen, saw her and stopped her.
“There are no customers now, so please sit down and have a cup of tea.”
Watching Brenda start kneading the cake without a break, Claire hesitated a little before boiling water in a kettle.
She cooled the boiling kettle a little bit, put tea leaves in it, and took out two glasses.
“Is Uncle Drew okay?”
“I went to the doctor earlier, and he said that if I take medicine and rest for a day, I will be fine.”
“What a relief.”
The sound of pouring tea was pleasant.
Claire placed the yellow teacup on the workbench where Brenda was kneading.
“Take a break, boss.”
The rest of the tea was poured into a green teacup, which belonged to Claire.
Claire liked her dark blue-green teacup.
Putting her work aside for a moment, Brenda picked up her teacup.
A dark red liquid ran down Brenda’s mouth.
Brenda, as usual, praised Claire with a happy face.
“The tea you make is always good.”
“I think I got the timing right to put the tea leaves.”
Claire always smiled, accepting compliments with similar words.
“But I can’t do a tea house.
I don’t know varieties very well.”
Claire interrupted Brenda’s mouth before she could ask her to open a tea house.
“Would I have been used to making desserts from the beginning?”
“I think the boss must have been good at making things from the time she was born.”
Brenda burst out laughing at the sly Claire’s words, and the bell on the door rang, and it was a customer.
Claire put down her teacup and got up.
Two ladies looked around the shelves and carefully selected a brownie and an almond muffin.
Claire wrapped brownies and muffins and handed them over, and the ladies paid with happy faces.
It looked like they were going to a picnic in flashy outfits.
It was perfect weather for a picnic, and she returned to the workshop.
Brenda had already finished drinking her tea and started making cakes again.
Claire went to the store with a teacup that had cooled in the meantime.
Brenda and Drew praised that the tea Claire made was delicious even when cooled.
In fact, Claire also thought that no one could brew cheap black tea better than she did.
Because it was delicious even when she drank it.
Claire glanced around the store that smelled of fragrant bread.
The best-selling wheat bread at Lemon House was the lemon cake, which was the most delicious.
Lemon cake topped with fresh lemon curd.
Today, the popularity of lemon cake was low, so there were still many left.
On the way home from work, Claire shuffled the leftover tea from the green teacup, thinking it would be nice to pack the leftover pieces and share them with Isabelle.
A man bought wheat bread, a young man bought a slice of lemon cake, and an old woman bought banana pudding.
At some point, the time flew by in a sudden rush of customers, and it was time to close the shop door.
While Brenda cleaned the ingredients and workbench, Claire cleaned the store and wiped the workshop floor.
Sweat formed on my forehead after washing the mop that wiped the floor.
“Boss, can I take the remaining lemon cake?”
Fortunately, only one piece of lemon cake was left until closing.
Brenda handed Claire a prepackaged lemon cake while she cleaned the mop.
“I knew it would happen, so I packed it up in advance.
It would have been nice if there were two pieces left so Isabelle and you could eat one piece each.”
From the beginning, Claire wanted at least one piece to be left behind, so she happily took the cake and left the Lemon House.
Lemon House continued to attract customers despite its location on the back side of Belford Street, lined with shops.
After locking the door of the Lemon House through the window, she could see Brenda’s back as she went up to the second floor.
Claire started walking down Belford Street in the twilight hour when the soldiers turned on their gas lights.
Soon she passed the Elder Street and entered the residential Hesperos Street.
She could see the red-roofed two-story house that Claire and Isabelle had nestled in.
Looking inside the dimly lit house, it seemed that Isabelle had not yet returned.
With her hand, not holding her lemon cake, she pulled the key out of her pocket when she touched a metal object that wasn’t the key.
Wanting something, she took it out in a bundle with the key and found that it was the necklace she picked up earlier in the birch forest.
She had forgotten about it.
Claire opened the door with the key, put the lemon cake down on the table, and turned on the gas light.
She thought it would be good to heat up the leftover lentil stew from breakfast for dinner.
As she took out the wheat bread she bought yesterday, the door opened, and the cold night air came in.
“Are you here, sister?”
When Claire turned around, she saw Isabelle, who had brown eyes that resembled her, walking in.
Her sister had brown eyes she had inherited from her mother.
However, unlike Claire, who had brown hair the same colour as her eyes, Isabelle had slightly paler wheat-coloured hair.
With her white face and rosy cheeks that matched her wheat-coloured hair, Isabelle easily won the hearts of those around her for her bright personality.
She had recently been courted by two men.
Claire loved Isabelle like that.
“I was going to come sooner today.”
She used to prepare her meals for her because Isabelle was working in a bookstore where she was about a half-hour walk, and she usually had Claire come back first.
“It doesn’t matter who comes sooner.”
Claire answered, putting the hot stew on a plate.
Claire, with her lovely chestnut brown hair resembling her father, was shy.
So it was always a pity for Isabelle that people didn’t know her sister’s charms well.
Some might say that lobster is on the side.
“There was a lemon cake left today, so the boss gave it to me.
Let’s eat and share.”
“Oh, really? I need to start eating right away.
Lemon cake is waiting for me.”
Isabelle set the fork and spoon and hurried to prepare her meal.
The meal was ready when Claire placed the plate of appetizing stew on the table.
Claire and Isabelle sat facing each other at the simple but warm table.
“I went to deliver dessert to the Count of Norton today.”
“The Count of Norton? How about Uncle Drew?”
“I went instead of him because he wasn’t feeling well today.
It was good that I only had to go once with two baskets.”
“It would have been heavy, though.”
Claire skipped Isabelle’s worries lightly and lit her eyes.
“I picked up one necklace on the way home, and I think it would suit sister.”
Isabelle came to eye contact with Claire, tearing the wheat bread.
“I don’t know who lost it or just threw it away, but I think it’s been a long time since I rolled around on the road.”
“It doesn’t look expensive, so I don’t think the owner will be looking for it.
You can wipe it well and use it.”
“Can you not report it as lost?”
“I’ll show later.
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