‘I’m Wendy and this is my partner, Connor.’ Standing up, Wendy walked across and hugged her. ‘I work in the bakery too.’
‘Great to meet you.’ Pulling away from Wendy’s embrace, she shook Connor’s hand.
‘Now the introductions are out of the way, let’s eat.’ Elsie clapped her hands before leading the way into the kitchen.
LYING BACK AGAINSTthe pillow, Jessie looked around her. The cosy glow from the bedside lamp bathed the bedroom in enough light to illuminate the framed quotes hanging from the white walls. She couldn’t quite make out what they said, but she’d read one earlier, which had been a lovely quote about dancing in the rain, and she assumed the others were similarly positive and encouraging. Turning, she glanced at the pale green wallpaper behind her and traced her finger over one of the embossed birds flying from branch to branch before she unplugged her phone from the charger and sunk her head back against the soft pillows.
She’d caved in. The moment Elsie had left the room after showing her to it, Jessie had plugged her charger in. The message from Tabby had been playing on her mind throughout the dinner at the lighthouse. She just needed to know what it was. What Tabby had been referring to, but as from tomorrow, she really wouldn’t look at it again.
Scrolling through her social media newsfeed, she shook her head. So, this was what Tabby had been trying to protect her from—a post from Jessie’s younger sister, Kelly. Slamming her phone screen down on the bedside table, Jessie closed her eyes, steadying her breathing. It was no good. She’d seen it now. She’d seen the scan photo. She’d seen Kelly and her mum’s faces grinning from ear to ear.
She should have taken Tabby’s advice. She shouldn’t have looked at her social media account.
It should have been her. She should have been the one holding the scan photo. It should have been her happy day. Her day to find out the gender of her baby. Not Kelly.
It was too late, though. She’d seen it, so she might as well check his account. She might as well see if Brad had shared the news, too. Picking her phone back up, she tapped ‘B’ into the search bar, the miniature photo of her ex-fiancé being the first on the list of suggestions.
Clicking his name, she scrolled down. Nope. Nothing. Well, not nothing. There was a photo of some football pitch, a photo of a group of beer glasses on a pub table somewhere, but no photos of Kelly or the scan. Nothing to suggest he was twenty weeks off from being a father. Nothing to even hint at the way he’d blown Jessie and her family apart. Nothing.
Huh. Nothing had changed then. He was still burying his head in the sand. He was still being the same selfish Brad. Create chaos wherever he roamed and then run before the clean-up began.
Narrowing her eyes at his smiling face, she shook her head. He didn’t really care about anyone. He hadn’t about her. Nor her sister and now not his baby either.
Clicking her phone off, she rolled over and closed her eyes.
As she walked downthe stairs, Jessie trailed the tips of her fingers across the brightly coloured parrots, their red and blue wings punctuating the dark foliage of the wallpaper. The nearer she got to the door leading into the bakery, the more she could hear. She could hear two voices, two people chatting and laughing, and the occasional knock of crockery.
Not that they were being loud. It hadn’t been the voices which had woken her this early. No, that had been a dog barking excitedly shortly followed by its owner’s attempts to quieten it. When she’d peeked out of the window and watched the large Labrador swimming in the ocean, she hadn’t been able to stop smiling. There was something contagious about the excitement of being beside the seaside and to see the pure enjoyment of the dog splashing in the waves had been just the start to her first full day in Penworth Bay that she’d needed. Especially after last night.
After pulling the door into the bakery open, she paused. Elsie had shown her around when they’d got back from the lighthouse last night, but she hadn’t really taken it all in. Now, as she looked around, she realised how huge it was. After expecting to be spending her time in Cornwall helping out in a small traditional bakery, she could see it was anything but.
The door had opened up behind a large bakery counter, trays of freshly baked cookies and cupcakes suggested that Elsie and whoever else was in the kitchen had begun baking earlier than she’d woken. Beyond the counter, tables and chairs filled the middle area of the bakery with a smaller counter at the back of the large room. Elsie had told her they served coffee and cakes from that counter, presumably providing an inside haven for the local residents and tourists who wanted to escape the heat of a day on the beach.