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‘It was me. I wasn’t looking where I was going. You watch, they’ll be a rush on the pasties and sausage rolls now. It’s the freshly baked smell, it changes people’s minds about what they want.’

‘Does it really?’

Diane laughed. ‘I’ve no idea, but it always seems to be that when we have something fresh out of the oven, everyone suddenly wants one.’

Jessie grinned and shook her head. It made sense. If she wasn’t so rushed off her feet, she’d definitely be picking up a freshly baked cheese and onion pasty.

‘Here you go. One fresh pasty.’

‘Thank you, dear.’ Counting out the change onto the countertop, the man picked up the small paper bag and left.

Chapter Twenty Three

Sliding the coins intothe till, Jessie shoved the drawer closed with her hip. ‘Morning. What can I... Mum?’

‘Jess, dear. Have you got time for a word?’

A word? Her mum was here. At the bakery. At Elsie’s bakery in Cornwall. The bakery which was over a hundred miles away from her hometown. ‘Mum? What? What are you doing here?’

‘Have you got a minute? Just one?’ Her mum held up her index finger.

‘I don’t understand. You’re miles away from home. You can’t just pop in here and ask for a minute. Not without an explanation.’ Jessie shook her head. She didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Her mum had never driven further than the five-mile perimeter around their home she’d appeared to set herself years ago. In fact, she couldn’t remember her ever driving this far. Not even when Jessie had been a child. It had always been her dad who had driven. ‘Did you drive?’

‘I came in a car.’ Her mum glanced towards the door, quickly pulling her attention back to Jessie.

What was she hiding? Jessie looked towards the door. All she could see was a sea of customers, customers she should be serving. ‘Mum, I can’t. I’ve got to serve...’

‘Go and take five minutes. I’ll cover for you. All the coffee and cake tables are full, anyway.’ Teresa made her way behind the counter. ‘Go on, Diane and I have got this.’

‘Are you sure?’ Jessie frowned. She glanced from Teresa to the tables in the middle of the bakery. It was true, every single table was full.

‘Perfectly sure.’ Teresa nodded and turned to the next customer in line.

Shaking her head, Jessie shrugged. ‘Okay, we’ve got five minutes.’ Making her way around the counter, Jessie nodded towards the kitchen door. ‘We can go and talk in the courtyard round the back.’

‘Oh no, I’d rather step outside. Talk on the promenade.’ Her mum clutched her handbag. ‘We’ll have the view of the sea there.’

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