Emma and Clara have been best friends since they were very young; but with Emma being the baker’s daughter and Clara being a rich young woman, their lives run in very different circles. The question is, will these circles continue to overlap, or will the girls eventually go their separate ways?
“Emma!” Clara shouted in excitement, opening the bakery door. Her curly brown hair lay tangled on her perfectly white dress. As the little bell jingled, Mrs. Price hushed her. “Clara Young, you better be thankful no customers were here or I would have turned you out.” Her words proved harsher than her expression, for a playful smile lit her face.
Throwing a gloved hand over her mouth, the ten year old girl tried to compose herself. “Sorry ma’am. Emma is here, isn’t she?”
“Upstairs,” Mrs. Price answered. She quickly pounded up the old wooden stairs as Emma’s mother rolled her eyes, shaking her head while continuing to knead the bread dough. As Clara entered the room, Emma looked up. Jumping up and embracing Clara, she took her hand and pulled her over to the small tea table, decorated with one of her mother’s lace handkerchiefs and several small teacups. Emma sat cross-legged, her pale blue dress setting off the teal in her eyes. Suddenly remembering Clara’s doll, she anxiously asked “You bring Evelyn, right?”
Holding the small porcelain doll up, Clara responded, “Yes, I have her right here.”
Taking the expensive doll in her small hands, Emma gazed into her eyes before sitting her down into a little chair. Emma smiled brightly and began pouring the tea. Such a fine doll was beyond her parents’ income, but she adored Clara’s doll. “Clara, Evelyn, how good of you to come. Please take a seat.”
Clara and Emma never went a day without seeing each other. As soon as Clara and her family moved into Alberson Estate, a small mansion just outside of Randers, they became the best of friends, promising with all of their ten year old hearts that they would never be separated.
Eight years later, Emma evaluated herself in the small looking glass mounted on the wall in her room. Her light blonde hair had darkened into a light brown and she wore a beige dress. Though not as elaborate as many of Clara’s gowns, Emma contented herself with the plain attire she could afford. Clasping a locket around her neck, she heard her mother calling from the kitchen. “Emma, could you help me with this cake?”
“Coming.” Emma finished the bow perfectly. Sliding down the rail, hands by her sides, she smiled. As she swung around the corner into the kitchen, her mother instructed her. “Dear, make a batch of that buttercream icing that the Mersons like. Little Danny’s birthday is this coming weekend and you know how they spoil that child,” she smirked. As Emma pulled the ingredients out, she peered out the window. Ugh, Ada Wilkins. Even since they were young, Ada always thought she was better than the rest, flirting with every eligible man and always joining in on adult conversations. She never had fun. The young lady now twirled her parasol as she slowly walked toward the bakery. The shop bell jingled and Emma walked out to the front counter. “Ada. What can I help you with,” she smiled. Just because I don’t like her doesn’t mean I
have to be rude.
“I’ll have one of your Danish rolls, if you please.” As Emma placed the roll in a small brown bag, someone else walked into the shop. Looking up, it was Clara. Her smile brightened and she opened her mouth, but Ada cut in. “Clara! How are you today, dear?”
“I’m fine, how are you Ada?”
“Wonderful. You dinner party last night was simply splendid. I hope you throw another one soon.” As they continued conversing, Emma’s brow furrowed. Clara has always disliked Ada. Her mind raced back to when they were sixteen. Sharing a bowl of ripe strawberries, Clara and Emma relaxed on the sofa in Clara’s bedroom. “That girl – ugh! She just thinks she’s so good.” Emma wanted to smile at the memory, but she couldn’t. Clara’s throwing dinner parties and inviting her? The only thing that made it worse was that Emma had not been invited.Clara’s voice cut through her thoughts. “I was so happy you could come. It wouldn’t have been complete without you.” Her smile looked genuine and her words sounded sweet. Ada smiled knowingly and took the paper bag off the counter. Bidding Clara goodbye, she walked out of the shop. Stunned, Emma watched Ada walk away through the glass window. As soon as she was out of sight, she looked at Clara. An awkward silence filled the small shop before Emma broke it. “Dinner party?”
“Yeah, it was just my parents’ idea,” she replied. Smiling slightly, she ordered a cinnamon roll and quietly departed. Emma’s mind raced with thoughts, but she tried to assure herself that Clara’s kindness towards Ada was fake. I’ll call tomorrow.
Clara walked back to her home, her white dress swishing along with every step. The parasol she held in her hand twirled with each step and her new shoes peeked from underneath the fine lace at the bottom of her dress. Her thoughts moved to Emma—the baker’s daughter. She doesn’t understand that we can’t just ‘be friends’ anymore. I need to spend more time with people in my class. I can’t be seen with the baker’s daughter everyday like when we were little. Turning the corner, Clara stepped up to her home. Her dainty gloved hand turned the knob on the large oak door and she entered, passing her mother and heading straight for her room. I need to make it clear to her. It will probably hurt her, but there isn’t another way. She needs to take the hint and find friends more suited to her class. It won’t be hard for Emma; she’s a very likeable person.
The warm scent of cinnamon rolls filled the small bakery early the next morning. They were Clara’s favorite. Emma carefully glazed them, each one looking like little masterpieces. Arranging them carefully in a basket, she let them dry and then placed a white cloth over them and began making her way toward Clara’s home. Emma looked forward to spending time with Clara. Though best friends growing up, their visits had diminished so much since last year, and she barely saw Clara at all. As she knocked on the large door, she brushed away the few stray hairs that lay across her face. Clara opened the door and Emma smiled, “I brought cinnamon rolls.” She held them up temptingly, “I thought we could have tea and just talk.” Nothing followed her playful suggestion and Clara’s face remained solemn. “Is anything wrong?”
“I…I’m a little busy right now, Emma.”
“Oh.” Her voice echoed inside her head and she tried to peek inside for a hint at what Clara was so busy with, but the door was only slightly ajar. However, Emma’s quick eyes picked up on a figure in the background. Ada? Regaining her thoughts, she hastened in responding. “That’s fine.” Emma turned and tried to contain herself, slowly walking down the path. As soon as she could no longer see Clara, her pace increased. Each step came quicker than the next and Emma soon found herself running through fields and pastures. Hot tears welled in her eyes, eventually spilling over and leaving a cool path on her face. Clara changed. She never realized it, but Clara had. Her actions proved she cared more about image than friends.Clara forfeited their friendship to be accepted in the higher classes of society – so that she would not be looked down on for being friends with Emma – the baker’s daughter. It hurt. More than anything. She didn’t like what happened. She wanted to resist it all. She wanted to fix their broken friendship, but it wasn’t worth it. She couldn’t change Clara. It would be better not to dwell on the past and just move on with a fresh start.