Lisa loved the atmosphere of the charming, erratic street, populated with non-matching little stores, many of them in the same family for generations. She passed the fromagerie and smiled at the elderly man who was placing cheeses in the window. As she approached the boulangerie/pâtisserie, she sighed. Philippe, the owner of the shop, and a respected master baker and pâtissier, was leaning against the doorjamb, arms crossed, with a smile on his face.
“Bonjour, Lisa.” His luminous eyes sparkled with mischief.
“Bonjour, Philippe.” She bit back a smile of her own and braced herself for the newest onslaught. “What is it today?”
“Just a little thing – a very little thing.” Philippe walked out to stand beside her on the sidewalk. He put an arm around her and pointed at the display.
Lisa peered at the assembled sweets. Sure enough, he’d paid attention to her slip of the tongue the week before. I just had to tell him I liked cherries. This week’s temptation was a cute, tiny cheesecake, covered with miniature cherries he had to have charmed out of one of the vendors at the marché.
She bent closer– it was a piece of artistry to look at, regardless of what it tasted like – and sighed again. “Philippe, you know how hard I worked to lose weight. I can’t give in and eat sweets again or I’ll get fat.” She puffed her cheeks out and held her arms away from her side for emphasis.
“Fat! One little tiny cheesecake is not going to make you fat.” He shot her a sideways glance.
Lisa pondered for a moment. Just then, a man walked by wearing an HNIC t-shirt with a picture of Don Cherry on it.
Philippe saw her notice and leaned in. “That’s an omen, you know,” he said, sotto voce.
She smiled, and then chuckled and the two of them burst into laughter at the same time.
“I might have put “Don Cherry” and “omen” in the same sentence, but not that way.” They shared another laugh, and finally, she reached out to touch him gently on the arm. “Merci, Philippe, for thinking of me. I’ll take it.”
He led her back into the shop and carefully took the little delicacy from the window, placing it in a small box.
She took it from him. “Now I’ll have to do an extra workout, you know,” she said, teasing.
“No, you won’t.” He brushed a stray lock of hair from her forehead. “You’re perfect just the way you are.”