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Turning, Jessie watched as Elsie walked towards her. ‘Sorry, I was just taking a quick break. I’ll come back now.’

‘There’s no need to explain to me, love. I’m taking a few minutes out myself. I’m off to take Ian some lunch.’ She held up two paper bags.

‘Right, sorry. I just...’ Jessie smiled. ‘I’m not used to working for a boss who doesn’t keep tabs on breaks all the time.’

‘Oh, well, good riddance to them, I say.’ Slipping her shoes off, she stepped into the water next to Jessie. ‘Do you mind me asking if everything is okay?’

‘I’ve just spoken to my sister, and it got me thinking about when I go home.’

‘Oh, yes?’

Looking down at the clear water sploshing gently against her ankles, Jessie pinched the bridge of her nose. ‘And now I’m worried about whether I’ll be able to keep in touch with everyone.’

‘You will, love. We’re good at that here. The best, if I do say so myself.’ Elsie rubbed Jessie’s forearm. ‘You’re one of our bakery family now. You’ll always be welcome. In fact, you’ll be expected to visit and keep in touch.’

‘Thanks.’ Jessie wiped at a tear running down her cheek.

‘But I’m sensing this isn’t just about the bakery family, is it? This is about Simon?’

Glancing across at Elsie, she nodded. ‘With regards to love, things have a funny way of working out. Do you know what I’d do if I were you?’

‘What would you do?’

‘I’d push these thoughts aside and enjoy myself. I’m not saying these thoughts aren’t valid. Of course, they are. What I’m saying, though, is that if you let the fear of the future, of the unknown, consume you, you’ll lose your focus of the present. And if you do that, well, you’re giving up on what you’ve found with Simon before it’s really had any time to grow.’

Jessie nodded slowly. Elsie was right. If she kept worrying about how her and Simon’s relationship would cope when she went home, then she wouldn’t give it a chance to be anything but a holiday fling, something temporary. ‘Thank you.’

‘No worries, love. Right, I’d better get this lot over to Ian or he’ll be complaining that his stomach has turned inside out. See you later, love.’

‘See you.’

Chapter Twenty

‘Go on, Elsie. Please? I’m begging you. Have one of your macaroni cheese nights.’ Diane clasped her hands together in front of her.

‘This wouldn’t be anything to do with the fact that your shopping order didn’t arrive yesterday, and you haven’t anything for dinner, would it?’ Elsie squeezed the last of the icing from the piping bag, a final extravagant swirl on top of the coffee and walnut cake in front of her.

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