Keep It In The Family – Episode 21

While Rosie’s and Alice’s friendship was almost as old as they were, Sarah and Freya were just getting to know each other.Sarah had confided in her about her new romance with Paul, and his confession about working for Willson’s big rival, Radley Transport, and if Sarah had feared what Adam might have to say about it, Freya couldn’t have been more sympathetic.“Do you trust him?” she’d asked. Sarah had popped into the wholefood caf where Freya was covering for Adam while he was busy with Willson’s, and the welcoming aromas of coffee and freshly baked muffins had set her mouth watering.“I do,” she’d said simply. “He didn’t have to tell me, and he had no idea how I’d react. So it took nerve and, it sounds a bit worthy, but a sense of what’s right and wrong.”Sarah couldn’t have imagined herself talking like that with anyone else, and a bond had been forged from that moment.The fact that Freya had sympathised completely and supported her decision to keep seeing Paul had won Sarah’s friendship for life.Now she found she gravitated towards the coffee shop whenever she was free from college. She loved listening to Freya’s slightly offbeat, and yet so sensible, take on life.As soon as she stepped in the door, Freya would whisk a mug off the rack and start pouring Sarah’s favourite hot chocolate drink.“I’ve been trying a new cookie recipe today,” Freya greeted her this time. “Those ones with the white chocolate chunks on top. Try one and tell me what you think.”Sarah munched obediently and considered.“Mmm, pretty good. Pretty sweet. I bet they’re fabulous dunked in my hot chocolate! Wait . . .” She dipped her biscuit tentatively in the steaming mug and bit into it, and a look of bliss spread over her face.“Oh, wow! If you could bake both those flavours into them, you’d have a winner!”Freya laughed.“I’ve never known anyone with such a sweet tooth as you! So, how’s Paul? Have you seen him today?”“Not yet. We’re going ten-pin bowling later, though. I had a few texts today. He’s heard the gossip about Willson’s that the business is on the road to nowhere, was what he heard. But he doesn’t know where it’s coming from. He’s still worried that everyone at Willson’s will think it’s his doing somehow. But we don’t talk about the business when we’re together.”Freya stroked Sarah’s hair in the warm, comforting way that came so naturally to her.“Everyone knows that, don’t worry. Though I must admit I haven’t mentioned it to Adam yet. Do you have any free time tomorrow?” Freya asked. “I want to design some new posters for the craft mart to bring in more business, and I could use your input from a marketing point of view.”“Sure. I’d love to help. Are you trying to appeal to customers or exhibitors?”“Both. We have a few vacant stands just now, and bringing in new sellers with fresh product could really give the mart a boost. And then we could use that to pull in new customers.”“OK. I’ll put some ideas together. Though you’ve worked wonders on this place since you’ve been standing in for Adam, so I’m not sure you really need my help!”It was true. The coffee shop had always been popular enough with a constant passing trade, but now it was becoming a favourite haunt with a growing number of regulars.Freya waved a hand, dismissive.“A few posters and flowers, some interesting music and leaflets. It’s amazing what can draw people in.”“Don’t be so modest, Freya. You have an eye for the simple things that can really make a difference.”“The boss is pleased,” she confessed, looking around. White crockery was neatly stacked above the steaming coffee maker. Delicious-looking cakes, breads and cookies were artfully arranged under gleaming glass domes. Most of the tables had customers seated at them, some reading the newspapers and magazines she had arranged to be delivered. “He’s given me a raise already.”“Great. The only problem is, he might not want Adam back when he’s finished his stint at Willson’s!”Freya grew serious.“How do you think he’s doing? He doesn’t talk about it much when he comes home, and it’s hard to read his mood. All I know is he’s working later and later. Has your mum said anything?”Sarah shook her head.“Not to me. She’s had a few confabs with Rosie, but I’m never included. I don’t think they’ll ever stop treating me like a kid,” she finished with a sigh, and the other girl laughed in rueful sympathy.“Oh, I know what you mean. I know I can come across as a bit of an airhead, but I do have a brain!”


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