Morning May 19th
A plaintive call from upstairs stopped her in her tracks. Serena put down the frosting and ran upstairs. Adrienne was a frightful task master at times. Today she was fretting about lunch. She'd had a long spell of nothing being good enough and it was exhausting. Today it was the soup. Yesterday it was the pillows. The sunlight seamed through the curtains and haloed her contrary figure and Serena reflected on how wrong a picture it made. She looked out of the window for a distraction and was rewarded with the sight of a new houseboat gliding into view. She couldn't make out the name but it was mainly black and white with a few stripes of pale blue. That was something different. Maybe it was a hipster couple. They'd had a few recently. Maybe they liked cake.
Serena was a stress baker and had put it to good use by setting up a cake shop in the garden. Medical receptionist by weekday, baker by weekend, she managed to make it work. Visitors to the canal streamed in, lured by the scent of sugar and the cheery sign urging them to take a break. It paid for her mother's weekday carer. No rest for the wicked, she reasoned. Adrienne sometimes called her that. Wicked girl. Maybe she was confusing her with her sister. Adrienne had never liked her sister. Serena hadn't even met Marjorie and never knew why.
She re-seasoned the soup and fluffed up the pillows.
'I'll just be baking so ring me if you need me.'
Adrienne mumbled and started slurping. Serena set off to complete the coffee frosting for the upcoming birthday cake for a 65 year old man. Her assistant, Frieda, was busy with Victoria sponge fairy cakes. Despite her goth girl demeanour, she baked like a dream and was very popular with the guests as a novelty. Serena viewed her as her right hand woman. Black clad and plain talking, she had been invaluable in all sorts of ways. She could even handle Adrienne in her own way, no matter how rude she was. Serena cast the thought aside and turned her attention to the cake stand. She was a bit of a perfectionist.
She looked out of the window hoping for a glimpse of the possible new customers. Maybe they could try some fresh pineapple upside down cake that was still in the oven. She could eat cakes and pastries anytime of the day and night so she was prime taster but she liked other people's opinions. No sign of life from the new boat and she sighed, suddenly hit with that pulse of disappointment she seemed to be experiencing a lot lately. Her boyfriend, Robbie, often worked away from home and she'd spent too much time recently draining a bottle of Shiraz with the TV for company. Her daughter contacted her when she wanted money, her ex-husband was a dick and her mother was a pain in the arse. She'd been so melancholy recently that even a visit from Robbie hadn't cheered her up. Half the time he prattled on and didn't notice how quiet she could be but the last time he'd picked up on her weariness, asking at the end of the night if she was alright. She claimed tiredness and he'd never asked since. She needed something new and distracting in her life to wake her up. She wandered outside still holding a plate of cakes.