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The calm to my storm, my sun when it rains

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Serena felt much brighter when she unlocked the shop on Monday morning. She’d had a good evening with Fleur and Ric and she had a plan for the day. The first job was to sort out the banner. Fleur had been right about that, a bit of gaffer tape on the reverse and it was, while not as good as new, perfectly serviceable. She left it on the side hoping that she might be able to rope in some help to get it back up soon.

She looked around her workspace. Most of the shop was ready to start creating wonderful chocolates now with just one more door to be delivered that morning. In anticipation, Serena cleared a path to the door between the shop floor and the kitchen. Her phone beeped with a message from Bernie.

Cam says I must tell you that I am still alive. I love you. Looking forward to seeing the shop (and you) when I get back. xxxxx

Serena smiled at the message. She’d told Cameron that he must make sure his mother communicated with her while she was away, knowing all about Bernie’s tendency for radio silence from her last visit to Charlotte. Serena had been on the verge of calling the police after a string of missed calls and ignored text messages.

I love you too Bernie. Hope Cam isn’t working you too hard. Had a few problems over the last few days (don’t ask!) but all is sorted now. Ring me tonight and I’ll tell you all about it. xx

There was a knock on the door and she opened it to find the carpenter, Guy, she had employed to put in new doors.

“Here’s the last one,” he said, indicating the door currently resting against the wall. “I’ll just fit it for you and then I’ll be on my way.”

“Thanks,” Serena said, “I’ll just be in the back if you need anything.”

“Well a cup of tea wouldn’t go amiss now,” he said, looking at her expectantly.

She sighed and went into the kitchen to fill the kettle with water. When she returned with the steaming mug, Guy was routing through his toolbox looking confused.

“Anything wrong?” she asked, placing the mug on the countertop.

“No, no. Everything is fine. You just get on with your cleaning or whatever and leave me to sort out the difficult stuff.”

She spun on her heels and quickly exited the room before she did something she would regret. She’d known Guy was sexist from the moment she’d hired him but he was so much cheaper than the others. Next time though, she wanted to go with Bernie’s suggestion of only hiring women. It would save on the eventual costs of a lawyer for when she inevitably thumped Guy.

What really grated on her was the fact that she did indeed have some cleaning to do. The stock room shelves were dusty from all the building work and they needed to be cleaned ready for the stock delivery. All the ingredients she needed were arriving over the next few days and having a space to put them in that was clean and tidy was important.

Armed with a bucket of soapy water and a cloth, she began wiping down the surfaces, removing all the dust. Partway through the work, there was a shout from the other room.

“I’ve done the door so I’ll be off then,” Guy shouted through.

Serena pulled off her rubber gloves and walked out to see him off but he’d vanished before she got there, the newly fitted door standing open. She shrugged her shoulders, glad to see the back of him, before deciding to test the door. She shut it and then looked at it, her eyes growing wide. Because it was now obvious why Guy had shot off so quickly. And that reason was a six-inch gap at the bottom of the door.

She ran out onto the pavement and found Guy still loading up the van. He tried to jump into the cab and drive away but Serena blocked his way.

“Care to explain yourself?” she asked, hands on her hips.

“I don’t know what you mean,” he said.

Serena just raised an eyebrow.

“Thought you wanted some ventilation in the kitchen?” he tried.

She tapped her foot and he visibly shrivelled under her gaze.

“Look, I asked my friend to help me and his tape measure must be wrong or something. Tell you what, I’ll give you twenty percent off a new door.”

“No,” Serena said, “No. I’m going to tell you exactly what you are going to do. You are going to get straight back into that little van of yours and find me a new door. A new, matching door mind. And then you are going to drive back here and fit it correctly. And you will rip up any invoice you were planning on sending me. And if you do all that before 5 this afternoon, I might consider not reporting you to trading standards.”

Guy gaped at her and then nodded. She stepped aside to let him into the driver’s seat.

“I’ll see you back here this afternoon,” she stated as he went to close the door, “I’ve got a lawyer friend who might be very interested in what is going on here if you don’t return.”

Guy drove off looking like a kicked puppy.