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“Yes, she dropped out of college and came to work here of all places.” I turn and glance at the woman, but it doesn’t faze her. She continues airing Carrie’s private business for the rest of the bakery patrons. That’s bad enough, but it gets worse, and I can’t stop from cringing.

“I tried to get her to work somewhere else because of her massive weight.”

There’s a few gasps around me, and I lower my head, but the calm that has come over the room doesn’t seem to faze the woman. She continues on talking about Carrie and her life decisions. I can feel the anger and rage inside me turning my face red, and with one glance at Carrie, I can see she is embarrassed. Every emotion flashes over her eyes: anger, hurt, disbelief. In that instant I want to take her in my arms and protect her. But I don’t dare draw any more attention to her than she has right now.

I don’t want to disrespect her mother, but I’m having a hard time containing myself.

With my fists clenched at my sides, I try to take calming breaths before I embarrass Carrie even more by saying something to her mother that I can’t take back.CarrieI’m mortified. How can my mother be so rude and careless? Does she have to announce her opinions to the world?

I’m angry, but I don’t want to make a scene in Patty’s bakery after everything Patty has done for me. I fill my mother’s order without saying much to her since I’m too mad to do more than minimal exchanges.

And Scott. I couldn’t even look him in the face when he got to the front of the line. And I know he heard my mom because he looks about as embarrassed as I do. He said he wanted to order lunch but needed a few minutes to decide and took off to sit at a table on the other end of the bakery.

I take care of the line, and luckily my mom and her friend were getting things to go, so they have left also.

I almost ask Patty to take over for me, but I don’t. I’m not a coward. I know Scott heard my mother. Probably half the town has heard about it by now. I’m not going to avoid him because of it.

I grab an ordering pad and pen and go out to the table where Scott is sitting.

My hands shake with nervousness, but relief hits me when he smiles up at me. At least he can look at me again. “Did you make any more breakfast burritos?”

“I put you one back… I mean, you weren’t here at your normal time, but I held one just in case you came in.” I ramble on, letting him know that I was thinking of him. “I’ll go get it.”

Just as I turn, he stops me. “Carrie, I’m sorry about your mother… what she said.”

I hold the ordering pad up in my hand. “No, please.” I do my best to keep my face from showing how truly embarrassed I am. “Please don’t worry about it. I’ve already forgotten about it.”ScottI can hardly eat I’m so furious.

I’m upset that I just stood there and let someone talk about her like that. I shouldn’t have cared if it was her mom or not. No one, blood relation or not, should ever speak to her or about her like that. Somehow, in that moment, I let the shock of it sway my better judgment.

I just stood there.

I can’t believe it.

I make sure to eat all of the burrito, even though I have to force myself to do it. It’s still really good, but I seem to have lost my appetite.

I try to catch her to pay, but she’s been in the back since she brought out my food.

“Where’s Carrie?” I ask Patty.

“She’s working on another recipe in the back,” she tells me, but I can tell by the worried look on her face that she’s upset with what happened earlier. I don’t remember seeing her here at the time, but obviously she’s heard about it.

“Okay. Well, will you tell her thanks for the burrito. It was really good.”

“Sure thing, Sheriff,” she says.

I walk out of the bakery wondering if this day can get any worse.10Carrie“Two dozen assorted donuts, please,” Lacy says.

I start packing her order. “You have a lot of guests?”

“Yes. And I don’t want to do breakfast in the morning. I’m going to pair this with some oatmeal and fruit and call it a day.”

“Sounds perfect to me,” I tell her. I know Lacy has been super busy since she took over the bed and breakfast for her parents.

We’re silent while I finish boxing up her goodies, and she looks at me with a small tilt to her head. “What’s wrong?”