Here, my lovelies, is another peek at Brewing Trouble. I hope you enjoy!
It was Tuesday and the whole atmosphere of the shop was filled with absolute insanity in Sarah’s mind. She’d started getting phone calls while Sebastian served up dinner the night before. A couple of the kids in the Village had come down with something and Sarah had to spend the evening doing research instead of relaxing like they’d planned, before she finally gave up and called Doc’s phone since hospital visiting hours were long over.
Doc pointed Sarah in the right direction and it was a damn good thing, too. This bug going around wasn’t anything terrible, but it was still something that needed to be treated. Doc told her how to make up the medicine that the kids would need and how they should take it, and said it should start working for them pretty quickly. She also warned that the number of cases would increase before the kids started getting better. She hadn’t said anything about almost every kid in the Village coming down with it at the same time, nor that every one of their parents would be calling Sarah in a panic.
So, Sarah had been effectively trapped in the back of the shop all morning, mixing batch after batch of the potion that would help the kids get over the worst of it while they recovered. Now it was just after one in the afternoon and she’d had to field about thirty phone calls of varying intensity and reassure everyone that she was making the potion as fast as she could and would have the first batch ready by around 3 for Sebastian to come and pick up for delivery.
The fact that it just needed to simmer for a while inside the grid of magic that she’d set up around the portable cooktop on the workbench for an hour was more of a relief than Sarah had imagined it would be. It meant that she could sit down for a few minutes before hopping back up to make a few phone calls. She had run out of two ingredients, unfortunately, and needed to replace them before she could start the next batch.
Before that, though, she needed to check in with the actual shop. Gabe could handle most things, and she thanked all the gods she could think of that he was in today. Still, it was technically her job to be in charge, and they’d been busy every time she stuck her head out front. Not swamped enough to call for reinforcements, but busy enough that none of them had taken a break since opening. Sarah decided that she would let Meg take a break, then Gabe, then use her own break to go pick up the ingredients she needed. By the time she got back the first batch would be cool and ready to bottle.
As she approached the curtain that draped over the opening to the kitchen serving the cafe, she heard the normal hum of chatter die away and a man’s voice carried over top, raised in irritation.
“If you can’t even get my order right, what’s the damn point of taking it?” he said.
“Sir, I’m sorry you’re not—” Meg tried to answer, but just as Sarah emerged from the kitchen, the man who had been yelling reached out and shoved Meg’s shoulder hard enough to send her stepping back. The whole room full of people watched as she tried to keep the tray of used dishes steady while stumbling backwards to regain her balance. Even the nasty customer seemed somewhat surprised by the result of his actions as Meg took one last attempted step back and got her foot snagged on the leg of a chair.
That was all it took. Meg went tumbling back and caught her elbow on the edge of the cafe table on her way past. Cups and saucers and silverware went flying to land in a cacophony of splintering china that bounced and scattered all over the room. Meg grabbed at the table’s edge, trying and failing to save both it and herself. It landed heavily against the display case with Meg’s momentum behind it. The crack of shattering glass replaced the crash of the table once it smashed through the front of the display. Meg shrieked and let go of the table to wrap her arms protectively over her face to fend off the newly created daggers that fell around her like rain.
There was a moment of dead silence in the shop as everyone stared at the disaster that was still skittering to a halt in shards of glass and ceramic and a smear of chocolate cream where a cake had once been.