“That’ll be twenty-five,” the taxi driver said.
Bethany turned back to the taxi. “Of course.” She reached into her wallet and pulled out the fare, plus a generous tip. “Thank you.”
The taxi driver grunted and stuffed the money into his pocket. Bethany decided the grunt meant thank you in taxi-speak and turned her attention back to the sky. She closed her eyes and smiled as the sun warmed her cheeks. As she opened her eyes, she looked at the white stucco patisserie in front of her. The fanciful, painted script was still there on the side of the building, just like she remembered, and the bush in front was now flowering.
“Perfect,” Bethany said as she picked up her two bags and walked to the front door. A whisk stuck out of one of the bags as she set it down to fiddle with the lock.
A few hours and few bangs of pots, cupboards, and doors later, the unmistakable scent of baking sweets curled out from the patisserie’s doors. And, for the first time in many years, people stopped and sniffed the air with puzzled, but hopeful smiles on their faces.
One man was bold enough to knock on the door and, finding it unlocked, popped his head inside. “Hello?” he called, more question than greeting.
“Oh, hello,” Bethany said, sticking her head around the doorframe to the kitchen. “Come on in. I just finished the first batch of madelines and would love a taste tester.”
“Madelines?” His face lit up with a smile half-hidden on his lips.
Bethany smiled and nodded.
“They’re my favorites. My wife used to make them.”
“Then you must try mine. Perhaps they’ll be half as good as hers.” She set down her bowl and brought out a plate of delicate madelines.
A few minutes later, the sound of laughter combined with the smell of pastries and sweets swept out the front door and into the street. The patisserie was perfect indeed.