The wind was everywhere. Sometimes it was stronger than others, but it never stopped for more than a brief second. While she walked along the promenade, though, the wind seemed to only blow stronger still. She buried her hands into the pockets of her thick cardigan made of wool and leaned forward against the wind. Bloody wind, she thought and smiled to herself. Even after spending all her life in this town, Mary was still not used to the wind. She could see the little café already, with the bright red sign saying Gerry’s. She tried to walk even faster while searching her old leather bag for the keys. At the door she stopped and fiddled until she caught the right one to open the red painted wooden door.
As soon as she had opened it and walked through the door, she had to lean against it to close it again. But it was too late; the wind had swept half the tables free of menu cards and paper tissues already.
‘Bloody wind,’ she cursed aloud this time and threw the keys on the counter. Mary decided to take off her cardigan first before starting to put everything back in its place. It didn’t take her long, so then she switched on all the lights and coffee machines and prepared herself for another working day at Galway’s best coffee shop. That’s what her regular customers called it anyway. She didn’t know if it was because of the coffee or the service but she was happy the people enjoyed stopping by for a cup and a chat – after all, that’s why she and Gerry opened this café twenty years ago. Gerry had been her husband, her only love and best friend until the day he died of a heart attack six years ago. It had been a shock to her, but as it is so often with life’s tougher sides, work had kept her busy and eventually she had learned to live without him. Sometimes she wished she had left this place after her husband passed away. Mary had spent all her life in Galway and she caught herself daydreaming more and more of places she wanted to see and things she wanted to do. In fact, she was thinking about it now, while looking out the only window of the café towards the beach with its broad and winding promenade and the waves crashing fast and hard against the rocky coast. She was thinking of all the countries and their big cities she never got to see and all the people she never got to meet and make friends. She didn’t know why she was longing for a distant and unknown place so much – especially as she knew it would scare her more than anything else. Here in Galway Mary had everything she needed. She had her friends, she knew the place and she felt safe – almost as safe as if Gerry was standing next to her behind the counter day by day. Actually, it didn’t take her long to recall why she had opened a café with her husband. Even now, with her fifty something years, Mary felt she was doing the job she could do best. Make people feel welcome and serve them with coffee and confectionary that would sooth their souls. Sometimes she felt old, rusty and unwanted by the hip, young and modern world, but when she was at the beach in Galway, drinking free coffee and going to the local pub after work, she knew that this was her home. For a moment, she gazed towards the lighthouse on the far left side of the little bay with its white tower and the long pier that led to the small and rocky island it was situated on.
As she looked up and down the beach she also saw the small pier made of rocks reaching some twenty meters into the ocean. Normally people climbed the rocks only on good days, to enjoy the view and walk back. However, since a couple of days she had noticed the figure of a person, sitting on the far end of the stone pier without moving. Whether it was a man or a woman she couldn’t tell, because the person was always facing the sea. The only thing Mary could make out was a dark sweater and a black scarf which would sometimes swing in the wind. She was surprised to see the figure on a stormy day like this, sitting in the cold wind for hours without moving. She hadn’t wondered the first few days because it had been sunny, but today the dark clouds and strong wind suggested heavy rain. She never actually got to see the person going onto or leaving the rocks, but in the evenings after Mary had shut down the café for the night and looked to the pier, the mysterious figure would be gone.
This particular and stormy day she was looking to the rocks many times, wondering why anyone would sit on them all day and every day, especially on a day like this. Finally, after confusing three customers’ orders and serving them to the wrong tables, she decided to find out. Mary was a nosy woman by nature. As the time passed and the day was coming to an end, she was already thinking of ways to close the café earlier and approach the pier. So far, the figure hadn’t moved so much as an inch, resisting the icy wind and occasional rain. As it had been a very cold day and only a handful of customers, Mary thought she wouldn’t do any harm by closing half an hour earlier. She owned this place after all.
Suddenly, the door of the café was being smashed open and someone was almost carried in by the wind. Mary jumped and ran towards the door to help the guest close the door. Together they managed to cut the shouting wind out, but as they moved away from the door she noticed that the guest was a young woman dressed in jeans, what seemed to be three layers of sweaters and a black scarf.
Oh dear – it’s her, she thought to herself and froze immediately.
‘I’m sorry,’ the girl mumbled and Mary could tell she wasn’t Irish.
So the mysterious figure sitting there all day turns out to be a tourist, she mused. It made sense, in a way. No native would have enjoyed the view that much.
‘No, don’t worry,’ Mary said. ‘It’s not your fault the weather is horrible. Please, do come in.’
As she stepped into the café and sat down at a free table in the corner, she noticed two things about this girl. First, by the way she looked with her long, brown and wet hair – she must be barely out of her teens. And secondly, Mary supposed that she was very shy. Both of these observations did not fit into the picture she had about this brave, mysterious figure out on the rocks. She pulled herself together and went behind the counter, only to return with her notebook and walk to the girl’s table.
‘Is there anything I can get you, dear,’ she asked politely. The girl took a look around, avoiding Mary’s eyes, and answered in a voice so low, it was almost inaudible.
‘A glass of water, please.’
‘Sure,’ she replied but decided to bring her a cup of hot tea as well. A few moments later she put both cups down at the girl’s table and smiled at her encouragingly.
‘The tea’s on the house, dear. I think you need something hot to warm you up after sitting on the beach the whole day in this weather.’
The girl’s frightened look told her she had gone too far.
‘Sorry,’ she added. ‘I know it’s none of my business, but I saw you coming over from the window.’
‘Thank you,’ she whispered and folded her freezing hands around the hot drink. Her hair and jeans were wet, but she didn’t seem to care.
Mary quickly turned around and walked back behind the counter. She busied herself tidying up the surfaces and the small sideboard where customers could take more sugar, paper tissues and spoons. She didn’t look into the direction of the corner in which the girl was sipping on her tea silently until the only other customer, old Mr. Costello, came up to the counter to say goodbye like every other day.
‘Cheers Peter, take care,’ Mary called after him while holding the door open for him. It was only then that she realized she was alone with the mysterious stranger. As Mary never cleaned up the café while there was still a customer, she decided she would walk over to the girl.
‘You must be freezing. Can I get you a towel or something else,’ she offered, but the girl declined by shaking her head.
So she’s a talkative one, she mused and decided not to bother her anymore. Mary picked up a newspaper someone had left behind on a table and started leafing through it behind the counter, for lack of something to do. The girl stayed a few minutes longer, sipping slowly on her tea and warming her hands on the cup. All this time, she was looking out onto the ocean, as if she was still sitting out there. Mary looked over to her a few times over the paper, but she wasn’t sure if the girl was deep in thoughts, merely relaxing or insane. Whatever it was, there was definitely something bothering her. Mary suddenly realized that she was actually worried about a complete stranger’s happiness.
Wow, this is customer service. I should be made barista of the month, she thought and smiled to herself.
Although she wanted to break the silence, she didn’t know how, so she just kept browsing the newspaper until a customer was swept into the coffee shop and Mary had to take his order. By the time she had served him, the girl had stood up and left the coffee shop. Mary looked after her through the window and, funny enough, she didn’t return to the rocks but walked down the street towards the city centre, fighting the wind. Mary was disappointed. Normally she was good at interpreting people’s moods and guessing their worries and troubles, but this girl was different. She just wouldn’t talk. Mary also didn’t know, however, that she would be seeing more of this girl in the next few days.
As much as the girl was keeping her distance, she came back to Gerry’s every single day after that. She would still sit on the rocky pier but in the afternoons she would walk into the coffee shop, order a latte or a tea and drink it quietly at a corner table. She didn’t know why, but somehow Mary knew that she shouldn’t press a conversation with her. Maybe she just liked being on her own and living in silence. If so, she thought, this coffee shop was definitely the right choice, as it was rarely crowded. During the day, if there were no customers, Mary would roll a few cigarettes and smoke them outside, leaning on the wall next to the café. She would watch the people stroll up and down the prom. Some of them were clearly tourists; others walked their dogs or hurried to and from work. Mary would mostly look at the ocean, or rather the mysterious girl always sitting on the rocks at the beach now and listen to the seagulls singing their crazy songs.
They never really talked, but on the fifth day Mary had her coffee ready for her exactly as she entered the shop. The girl looked surprised, of course, but as Mary motioned towards the window she had seen her through, she smiled and thanked her. Her smile encouraged the elderly woman, so she decided this was the moment to talk to her. After setting down her coffee at the usual corner table, she said, ’So you’re a big fan of the beach. It seems like nothing can separate the both of you. ’
The girl looked taken aback, but she replied, ‘It’s a beautiful place for thinking,’ and sat down on a chair.
‘Well then, I suppose you have a lot to think about,’ said Mary, wanting her to continue talking.
‘I guess so,’ was her only answer.
No, Mary thought, you won’t get out of it today.
‘I believe you’re here for vacation? Have you been to any other places in Ireland?’
The girl looked at her for a few moments before she replied.
‘No, only Galway.’
‘You should definitely go to the Aran Islands. They’re not far from here, near the coast. A ferry will take you there and you should do the bike tour across the island,’ said Mary and smiled at the girl.
She thanked her for the recommendation and said she would try to go onto the islands if she would be here long enough.
‘Are you going to some other place,’ Mary asked the girl and inclined her head to one side. The girl looked away and out the window for a moment before she said, ‘No, I don’t have any place to go to.’
Mary didn’t know what to make of it or what to say. She felt that the girl needed to talk to someone, so she went back behind the counter, took a paper napkin and chose the biggest chocolate chip muffin she had in her shop.
‘I think you need one now,’ she simply said and set it down on the table in front of the girl.
‘How much is it,’ the girl said but Mary didn’t answer and only winked at her. She went back behind the counter and started rearranging the bakery products in the window and adding some of the flavors which had only a few muffins left.
The girl didn’t touch the muffin at first. Then suddenly, so many customers came in all at the same time that it seemed like the whole of Galway had decided to gather and keep Mary from being bored. They all looked like they belonged together, not only because of their bright yellow t-shirts but also because they were all listening to one tall guy speaking in a foreign language. Mary waited patiently to receive their orders until the tall man with the big round glasses on his nose and the huge camera around his neck came up to the counter.
‘Hello, we are Germans. We would like to order five café lattes, three cappuccinos and two espressos.’
Mary could not help but smile. ‘Of course, do you want to drink them here or takeaway?’
The group leader with the glasses was confused for a moment. Then he turned around and said something to the group. All of the yellow t-shirts looked at each other for a second and then replied in unison. The tall man turned around to face Mary again and told her in English that they wanted them for takeaway.
‘Of course,’ Mary said again and started preparing the order. She was still smiling to herself in amazement of this perfect order. Italian groups were usually shouting different orders across the café and always got the price wrong. Naturally, Mary was not surprised to receive the right amount of money for the whole order from the yellow group leader right down to the second decimal place. As she handed the group their cups of coffees, they handed them around until every single one of them had his own cup and then they left in complete order and silence. Mary watched them leave and continued looking after them in amazement until her gaze fell on the corner table again and she noticed the girl smile after the group in exactly the same way.
‘Aren’t they cute,’ she said aloud.
‘They’re everywhere, that’s for sure,’ the girl answered and continued picking at her muffin.
Mary took the chance and went across the room, pretending to put the small menu cards back in their place on the tables.
‘Did you like the muffin,’ Mary asked nonchalant and glanced over her shoulder. The girl hesitated for a moment. ‘Yes, it was very good. Thank you very much.’
‘I’m glad to hear that. Even after all these years of having this café, I’m still not sure about the muffins sometimes,’ Mary said and shook her head.
‘People never believe me, but my husband was much better at making them than I am.’
‘Where is he now,’ the girl asked politely.
‘Oh dear, he’s long gone. It must be about six years now.’
‘I’m sorry to hear that,’ the girl said and she sounded honest.
‘Don’t worry dear,’ said Mary and smiled at her across the room. ‘I’ve made my peace with it.’
‘I can’t imagine how anyone can make peace with it.’
Mary sensed that the girl wanted to talk about something but she wasn’t sure if she should tell a complete stranger. Maybe she didn’t have anyone else, so Mary decided to go over at her table and sit down opposite to her.
‘It’s been a long day today. I’ll sit down here for a second if you don’t mind,’ she said but as she was sitting already there wasn’t much the girl could say.
‘My name’s Mary, by the way,’ she laughed and held out her hand.
‘Louise,’ the girl answered and shook it.
‘It’s nice to meet you, Louise. So you like my little café at the beach?’
‘I do. It’s a very nice and warm place,’ said Louise and smiled at the older lady.
‘Oh well, in the winter it can get quite chilly in here as well with the wind blowing in every few seconds.’
Louise smiled and said, ‘I can imagine, but I meant more the atmosphere and the people who work here.’
As Mary was the only person working in this café, she thought it fair to consider it a personal compliment and smiled from ear to ear.
‘Oh dear,’ she suddenly exclaimed and stopped smiling.
Louise jumped in her seat almost expecting the older lady to have a heart attack.
‘What’s wrong,’ she asked with a worrying voice.
‘I can feel all my wrinkles when I’m smiling. It’s like my face is one big raisin,’ said Mary and touched her face carefully with both her hands.
Louise frowned at her for a second but then started laughing heartily.
‘That’s not funny. I used to be very beautiful when I was your age,’ Mary complained but she was laughing as well.
‘I’m sorry,’ said Louise. ‘I shouldn’t laugh.’
‘Don’t worry, dear. I guess I’m really not used to smiling much anymore.’
‘Why?’
Mary thought about it for a second. ‘Ah, you know running the café all by myself these days is very exhausting. I even had to start buying most of my bakery products because I never had the time and energy to make them myself so early in the morning.’
‘Hmm, it must be hard to run it all by yourself,’ said Louise and frowned.
In this moment, someone entered the café and Mary stood up to serve him. It must have been a regular customer because they exchanged a few trivialities before the man took his coffee and left again. As Mary was walking back to the corner table she said, ‘So now, what about you? Why are you sitting at the rocks all day?’
‘I don’t know,’ she said. ‘I don’t know where else to go.’
‘That’s nonsense, dear. Of course you have somewhere to go, what about your family? Where are they?’
‘I don’t have family.’
Mary was surprised. She didn’t say anything but waited for the girl to continue, and eventually she did.
‘My mother was the only family I ever had. She died of a stroke one year ago.’
Stranger or not, the girl suddenly appeared very sad to her, so Mary reached out her hand and patted Louise’s right arm softly.
‘Oh dear,’ she said and shook her head. ‘Young people like you shouldn’t have to go through such a hard time.’
Louise smiled at her, but it was a sad smile. They both sat in silence for a while, looking out the window and watching the passers-by fight the wind and the waves dance in the distance.
Suddenly, a thought crossed Mary’s mind and she asked the girl what she had been doing the whole last year after her mother’s death.
‘Travelling,’ she answered. ‘I’ve lived in the same town all my life, and after the funeral I just couldn’t stay there any longer. Nothing was holding me there anymore.’
‘And what places did you travel,’ Mary asked curiously.
‘Not too many. I went across Europe and tried to build a new home a few times, but it didn’t work out or I couldn’t find a job. And now I’m here with my last money and no idea where to go next.’
‘Like a stranded whale,’ Mary giggled and winked at her.
‘Exactly,’ Louise laughed and leaned back in her chair.
Again, a customer was swept in the little café by the wind so Mary had to go behind the counter. After that lady, a few more customers came in and wanted to be served. The girl got up from the table, waved and smiled at Mary and left the café silently. Again, she went into the direction of Galway’s town center, away from the beach.
By the time the day had finally come to an end, Mary had taken a decision and she couldn’t wait to find out if it was possible. She hurried back to her little house a few streets away as fast as the wind against her wrinkled cheeks would let her. She threw open the door to her little office where she kept all her books and accounts for the café and went to work. It was long past midnight and half a dozen of coffees later when Mary finally leaned back in her armchair and smiled in satisfaction. Everything in the books told her that she would be able to afford an employee in the café. If she was careful with the expenses the next few months, she could even let the little room in the back of the coffee shop. Of course, the girl would have to share the space with cartons full of paper tissues and paper cups, but it would be manageable. Mary was happy with herself and couldn’t wait for the next day.
In the morning, Mary was excited on the way to work. This definitely hadn’t happened to her in a long time. At first, she blamed it on the unusually warm weather and sunshine. She could almost smell the spring in the air while she walked down the street towards the beach. She even felt warm wearing her scarf and wool cardigan and the seagulls also seemed to scream in a warmer way.
However, Mary knew that the reason for her uplifting mood on this day was due to the prospect of not being alone anymore. Of course, she also wanted to help this lost and lonely girl. Probably, it was a mixture of both. Mary and Gerry had never had children and after his death she had started wondering what she would leave behind in this world when it was her turn to go. The little café had been their life, and Mary wanted to know it would be in good hands. So when she opened the red door and changed the little sign to ‘open’, she was hoping Louise would come in soon.
Luckily, she was sitting on the rocks soon enough, and on this day even longer. Mary guessed it must be because of the shining sun and warmer weather over Galway. When Louise finally came into the coffee shop, she appeared unusually down.
‘What’s wrong,’ said Mary straight away.
‘I will have to change the hostel soon,’ Louise answered. ‘Or change the place entirely. I don’t know yet.’
Mary had to turn away to hide her smile. Nevertheless, she couldn’t help herself.
‘Well, then you might like to hear what I came up with.’
Louise looked puzzled, but sat down on the usual corner table. There were a few customers sitting on the other tables, so Mary had to wait until they finished their coffees and left the café before she could sit down opposite to Louise.
She brought some cinnamon cookies and two paper cups of tea for the both of them, and Louise smiled happily.
‘You know, I love the cookies and muffins you have in your café,’ she said and munched away.
‘I’m glad you like them,’ said Mary. ‘Otherwise you might not have come into Gerry’s every day for one week now.’
Louise didn’t answer but smiled with her mouth full.
‘I have something to tell you,’ Mary continued. Louise immediately stopped smiling.
‘It’s nothing bad,’ Mary laughed. ‘At least I hope you will like my suggestion.’
‘What suggestion?’
Mary took a deep breath and was the direct and honest person she had always been.
‘I want you to work in my café. I can’t really afford a second person, so I can only offer you a very low wage. On the other hand, there is a small room with a bathroom in the back of the coffee shop where you could stay if you like.’
Mary waited for Louise’s reaction, but she just stared at her with eyes wide open. A whole minute passed, before Louise shook her head.
‘I can’t accept this. I’m sorry.’
Mary was sure her face showed the disappointment that she felt.
‘Why not? I’m offering you a job, that’s all. I’m old and I could use someone to help me out in the café.’
Louise appeared more and more distant with every second. She moved uncomfortably in her chair and frowned.
‘I’m not an orphan you have to take care of, Mary. And I am not broke either,’ she said between clenched teeth.
Mary was hurt. She had thought it a great idea that would help both of them and she had been looking forward to having a friend that doesn’t complain about health problems all the time like her other – and considerably older – friends. She didn’t know why this girl was so stubborn and wouldn’t let anyone be kind to her. Mary got up from her chair and went back behind the counter. Obviously, the girl didn’t need anything or anyone. She was once again rearranging the paper cups and bakery products, when Louise came across the café with both cups and held out one of them to Mary.
‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to be rude. You’ve been so kind to me, but I don’t want to be anyone’s project,’ Louise said and looked away. To Mary, she did actually look like an orphan with her torn jeans and sweaters that were much too large for her small figure.
‘You’re a silly girl, you know that,’ said Mary angrily. ‘I’m not making you my project. And I’m not trying to be like a mother either. All I did was offering you a paid job and a place to stay. I really need someone to help me with this coffee shop so I can start baking all of my sweets again.’
The girl had flinched at the word mother, but when Mary had mentioned baking she seemed curious.
‘I can bake,’ she said matter of fact. ‘My mother taught me when I was younger.’
‘See? We would be a perfect team,’ said Mary and smiled at her. Louise sipped on her tea and looked out the window. It seemed she had run out of arguments to decline this offer, and the older woman was satisfied. Mary had never liked fights but she liked winning them.
The girl turned back to her and gave her a serious look.
‘So, where is that room you were talking about?’
Mary jumped and clapped her hands, laughing.
‘I knew it! No one can say no to an old hag like me,’ she joked and almost sprinted to the only door behind the counter. Louise followed her behind the counter and through the door into another room that was half the size of the small café. It had a rather big window in the left wall, and there was another door to a tiny bathroom on the right. On the third wall there was an old and dusty oven and along the wall to the left there was an even older and dustier dark blue sofa. It wasn’t very big, but it was big enough for Louise to sleep on. The rest of the room was occupied by bigger and smaller cartons full of paper cups, paper tissues, coffee packets and cleaning utensils.
‘Wow,’ said Louise. ‘It’s small indeed.’ Mary scratched her head and smiled apologetically.
‘Yes, well I can store most of that stuff in my house, but I admit it is very small.’
Louise shook her head and told her it would be big enough for her. She had sold or given away all her stuff apart from one backpack of clothes and some keep sakes she had, so she didn’t need a lot of space.
‘Besides, I will be spending most of the time in the café or on the beach anyway.’
It seemed like the two women had woken up from a trance and routine that had lasted too long. Louise spent the rest of the working day behind the counter together with Mary and watched her make the lattes, cappuccinos, americanos and tea for the customers who trailed in the shop.
After they closed the café, they cleaned and tidied the back room and bathroom until it was almost midnight. As Louise was still staying in a hostel in town, they parted at the front door.
‘See you tomorrow, honey,’ said Mary and waved. Louise smiled at her and waved back.
The next day they took on the challenge of making the old oven work. As Mary remembered, there was something wrong with the ventilator inside the oven so they agreed to hire a mechanic. Luckily, there were also advantages of living in the same town all her life, so Mary knew exactly whom to call. His name was Bryan and he was the son of the owner of the gas station nearby. He was still in his teens but he could repair anything you placed in his hands.
Mary decided she would quickly go over to the gas station and also say hi to his father, who she knew for twenty years now.
Louise took over at the café for her and went behind the counter. She thought she could get used to this job very soon and she didn’t mind staying in that small room for a while. If nothing else, she wouldn’t have to worry about the way to work at least. But Louise was worried. She didn’t need another mother, and she hoped Mary wouldn’t try to act like one. What she needed was a friend, someone to talk to. After her mother’s death she had sold their home and everything they had owned or given it away. It had stopped being her home the moment her mum had gone. What Louise hadn’t known at first, was that it wasn’t that easy building a new home somewhere else. She had continued travelling for a year now, but when she came to Galway she began feeling tired of moving places. She got literally stuck at the rocks along the prom, not knowing what else to do. Louise felt save in this café and it might actually turn out to be the right thing to do and the right place to be. On the other hand, Louise had no idea what to do if this turned out to be a failure and she messed it up.
In that moment, someone stormed into the café followed by Mary. Louise had expected a small but agile teenage boy but the person standing in front of her was a rock of a man. His tall figure mounted over her and she had to look up to see his face. He wasn’t massively built or very muscular, but everything about him seemed much more mature than his age. Even his long dark hair was falling in his eyes in a mature way. His eyes, however, gave his age away. They were much too optimistic and restless.
‘You must be the new girl in town,’ said Bryan and punched her softly in the arm.
‘I’m Bryan, but I guess Mary already told you everything about me.’
‘Not really,’ said Louise and got immediately infected by his good spirits.
‘She just told me you had a talent for fixing stuff.’
‘Well,’ he answered with a huge grin on his face. ‘We will see.’
Louise stepped aside to let him enter the back room and take a look at the oven. Mary followed him into the room but the girl stayed leaning in the doorway.
The boy kneeled down and opened the oven door. He leaned into the oven to take a closer look, and it seemed as if only his butt and legs were sticking out of it. Louise and Mary both inclined their heads to have a better look, and then they looked at each other and started laughing at the same time.
‘What’s up, ladies? You’re not staring at my sexy bum, are you,’ it came from inside of the oven.
At that, both women started laughing even harder, so the boy lifted his head and turned around. He was full of ash, which didn’t improve the giggling situation at all.
‘That’s what you get for being nice. Laughter and ash in the face,’ he joked.
‘I am awfully sorry, dear. But it looked like out of some fairy tale,’ Mary defended herself and wiped a tear from her left eye. Louise contended herself with walking back into the café and hiding her smile.
‘Well, I can fix it for you but I will need some spare parts and tools,’ Bryan explained while wiping his face and hands clean with a paper tissue from the counter.
‘Oh wonderful, that’s more than I expected. Thank you so much, Bryan!’ Mary exclaimed and clapped her hands. Before he left the café, he turned around again and winked at Louise.
‘If you need a guide around town, lady, you know where to find me.’
Louise smiled and gave him thumbs up.
The next day came, as days usually do in Galway. The wind and clouds were everywhere. Bryan really came back with what seemed like a trunk full of tools. Louise and Mary were busy keeping the café running and helping him out whenever he needed something. The regular customers were surprised but pleased that Mary had finally decided to hire someone new to work in Gerry’s and they welcomed Louise in Galway. In the afternoon, Bryan announced that the oven was working properly again and Mary promised him free chocolate and cinnamon muffins from now on.
‘Nice one,’ he approved and collected his tools.
Louise liked that boy. She had been in this town not even for two weeks and found friends already. He was always in a good mood and he was always cheeky.
Again, he turned to her before leaving the café.
‘I’m glad you’re here now,’ he whispered. ‘Mary’s a lot more cheerful and generous since you’re working here.’
Louise frowned at him and punched him jokingly in the arm, but secretly she was happy to hear that. She liked this place and its people more with each day that passed and she began to start hoping for a happy end.
‘What were you two young folks gossiping about?’
‘Nothing,’ Bryan grinned and hurried out the coffee shop.
‘Don’t forget to set your alarm to three a.m. tomorrow, honey. We’re selling our own muffins and cookies from tomorrow on,’ said Mary and appeared to Louise more cheerful and hands-on than ever before.