The Icing on the Cake
happen’ person.  As a youngster, she had had
spunk.  Her dad used to get a kick out of his spirited young daughter.  But
that girl had been lost somewhere along the way.  Why had it happened?  Why had
she allowed it to happen?
    She couldn’t deny she was a pleaser, and
perhaps her desire to please outweighed everything else.  But why?
    She had to admit that having Joe express
an interest in her was an ego booster.  The man was drop-dead gorgeous and not
nearly as annoying as he’d been when they were kids.  He’d morphed into a
pretty good guy.  And that handsome, good guy seemed to like her.
    Unlike her sister, she preferred the
good guys.  She’d never been drawn to bad boys and didn’t intend to start now.
    “Hello, honey,” her mother said,
stepping into the living room from the kitchen.  “Did you and Joe have a good
time tonight?”
    She nodded.
    “Why didn’t you bring him inside when he
picked you up?  You know I wanted to speak with him, and Lori was especially eager
to see him.  You could have invited him in when he brought you home.”
    “Why?  I mean, I know why you wanted to
talk to him, but what did Lori want?”
    “Well, Kristine,” she said crisply, “as
you recall, Lori and Joe have a history.”
    What did that have to do with anything?  
“Yes.  They dated for awhile in high school,” she said.
    “For a year,” her mother clarified,
enunciating carefully.  “And during their senior year.  I was sure they were
going to get married someday.”
    Kristine gave an unconcerned shrug.  “I
guess you were wrong, Mom.”  She started for the stairway leading upstairs, but
paused.  “I’m sorry, Mom,” she said wearily.  “I don’t mean to sound so…”
    “Snotty,” her mother readily
interjected.
    “Yeah,” she sighed.  “I guess I’m just
tired.”
    “It’s not like you to be so curt.  And
it’s not like you to actively pursue Joe when you’re well aware he’s interested
in Lori,” her mother said.
    “WHAT?” Kristine cried, as she shook her
head in surprise.  “What?” she repeated, still too stunned to formulate a
complete and coherent sentence.
    “Kristine, you know exactly what I’m
talking about.  Joe stopped by the bakery looking for Lori originally.  Why
didn’t you tell her he was back in town?”
    “But, he didn’t come in looking for
her.”  Did he?   She racked her brain.  Had he come seeking her older
sister?  He had asked about her several times…
    “Yes, he did,” Lori said stiffly, as she
stepped out of the kitchen and joined them in the living room.  She glared at
Kristine with accusing eyes.  “I guess you flirted with him and gave him a
glimpse of that tiny little body of yours and he took the bait.”
    Kristine’s jaw dropped.  How could Lori
suggest such a thing?  She’d made no overtures to Joe.  In fact, she’d
initially avoided him like the plague.
    If it was bad enough Lori was making
accusations, it was blisteringly painful for her mother to do so.  Kristine had
taken full responsibility for running the bakery and the home, without help from
either of them.  She’d tried so hard to assure everyone’s needs were met. 
Lori, on the other hand, came and went as she pleased, without any regard for
the bakery or her mother’s mental state.  She seemed unconcerned about the toll
it was taking on Kristine to work around the clock attempting to keep them
afloat.   
    And this is how she was rewarded for her
efforts?  With false and unkind accusations from the two people closest to her.
    Tears sprang to her eyes.  She turned to
her mother.  “I can’t even fathom either of you talking to me like
this—especially you, Mom.  And I did not use my feminine wiles on Joe.  As Lori
has pointed out so often in the past, I don’t have any.”
    “Oh, come on,” Lori scoffed.  “You know
you’re beautiful.”
    Kristine froze in place.  “What did you
say?”
    “You heard her,” her mother

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