It’d been a busy morning. The coffeemaker had run dry and it was only a bit past noon. I made my way through to the kitchen door, smiling at Meghan as she served the growing queue of customers. Deciding to hire Meghan as a barista was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. She was such a friendly presence, so diligent at what she did that I haven’t managed to fault her even once.
As the kitchen door closed behind me, I let out a small sigh. Running a cafe was hard work, no matter how much fun I have from talking to everyone and anyone from Long Meadow. I stepped over to the cupboard and grabbed a new bag of organic coffee to fill my overworked coffeemakers. Walking out of the kitchen, I was assaulted with a mile-long line of customers. Meghan swiftly took the coffee bag from my hands, and shooed my back inside the kitchen.
“Here, let me refill it,” she said, “We need more of those salami and rocket sandwiches, and another tray of your famous fetta and spinach puff pastries.”
I hurried back inside, whirling around the kitchen to grab all the ingredients that I needed. With a knife, three loaves of bread, salami and a whole bag of rocket balancing precariously in my arms, I settled myself on one of the marble benches and began my sandwich making. People always wondered why I never make the sandwiches beforehand, but the secret of the trade was that the best taste is only achieved if the bread wasn’t soggy with the juice from the filling. Usually making the sandwiches wasn’t my job. Josie, my not-so-little little sister, was always the one to make them while I reheat and serve my puff pastries. But she hadn’t been home at all since last night, and didn’t pick up her phone when I tried calling. The slamming sound of the oven door made me jump, and I turned around to face Josie. Talk of the devil.
“I’ve put the pastries in,” she said, her eyes heavy with bags, “Here, I’ll take over with the sandwiches.”
“Where were you this morning?” I asked, taking in her dishevelled hair and the faint scent of alcohol on her breath.
“I was over at Cherry’s place. They threw a surprise birthday party for Fiona,” she answered, yawning, “The thing went til four, and I had a few too many shots to drive back here.”
“Ah. So Jo, anything interesting happened last night?” I asked. I couldn’t help it; a party’s a breeding ground for good gossip.
“Well, Cherry hooked up with Tyler,” she said.
I let out a small gasp. Tyler Hanson? Really?
“To be honest I had no idea how he got in. Am kinda jealous of Cherry actually. He’s pretty hot, even though he’s too young for any of us,” Jo continued, unaware of my gasp, “Here, the sandwiches are done. I think I’ll stay in here for a while with my mug of coffee.”
I walked out with the trays of food, my head reeling. This was big stuff. Sliding the trays into their respective cabinets, I walked out from behind the counter.
“Charli! How are you going?” asked Amy Weilert, the mayor’s wife. She was having lunch with her daughters on the table nearest to the counter.
“I’m great, thanks. My god Amy, you won’t believe what happened last night...”