Early Access: The Taste Of A Smile Part 10 ‘Spring’ Excerpt



Time sure flies by when it’s spring! It’s excerpt day again!

Quick reminder: There will be an episode this Saturday, but I’m taking a short one-week break afterward. I’ll make sure to share some excerpts with the community, of course. 😉

Let’s go find out what Lex and Mary are up to this week…


Lex straightened her blouse and glanced down at her badge. It said ‘store manager trainee’ now, instead of just ‘trainee.’ She had corrected the title with a black pen. She was pretty satisfied with the result.

If Mary had noticed Lex’s title tweak, she had chosen not to comment on it. Then again, they had hardly spoken since their fight. They had both avoided each other in every way possible.

It was already Friday and Lex welcomed the upcoming weekend. Two days away from the store and its team would be a much-needed break from the complicated situation she was in. What came afterward, was a whole other story, of course.

Hannah had insisted Lex would join Mary on a trip to Washington next week. Lex suspected her scheming cousin had left Mary little choice too. She doubted Hannah had been as blunt as she had been with her, though.

And so Lex would be stuck with Mary for five whole days. They were leaving on Monday morning and wouldn’t return until Friday afternoon. Hannah’s assistant, Suzy, had sent Lex train tickets, hotel reservations and a detailed schedule.

Lex grimaced every time she pictured herself in the same room as Mary. Or the same train. The same restaurant! Now that avoiding each other was no longer an option, they were bound to start arguing again, she reckoned.

The doors of the store slid open with their usual whoosh, pulling Lex from her thoughts. She spotted an elderly woman limping into the store and hurried over.

“Good morning,” she said in the honeyed tone she had been instructed to use.

“Morning,” the old woman replied, glancing around. Her hair looked like it could use a new perm.

“Can I help you?” Lex asked.

Sad, brown eyes looked up at her from behind silver, thin-rimmed glasses.

“I want to buy my daughter a gift,” the woman explained. “She loves your chocolate.”

Lex forced herself to smile. “Any favorites you know of?”

“No, sorry. I don’t know,” she sighed.

A profound sadness was emanating from the woman, Lex noticed, and it made her chest ache a little. She couldn’t help but wanting to fix things for her.

“Okay, no problem,” she said, presenting her arm for the woman to hold onto. “We will find the perfect thing anyway.”

The woman’s lips curved up slightly. Her delicate fingers curled around Lex’s arm as they shuffled in the direction of the tables with the gift boxes.

“Any special occasion I should take into consideration?” Lex asked.

“Not a good one,” the woman croaked.

Lex glanced at her. Her eyes were filling with tears, Lex saw in alarm.

“My daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer yesterday.”

Lex’s lips parted. “Oh no,” she uttered. “I’m so sorry, ma’am.” They had stopped walking.

The lady pressed her lips together. Lex felt her own eyes starting to glisten with tears. Something about this woman’s pain hit her like a punch in the gut. They stood there, holding each other’s gazes, for ten long seconds.

The woman suddenly nodded and said, “She will beat this.”

Lex covered her hand. “Yes.”

The woman sniffled and continued, “And I am going to lift her spirits with a small gift every week. That’s my plan.”

“That’s a wonderful idea,” Lex said, her throat tight.

“Then help me choose my first gift, dear.”

“It would be my honor,” Lex stammered, goosebumps on her arm.

She got a warm smile in return.

“Okay,” Lex nodded, pointing at a table to their left. “How about a mixed gift box? I actually think we just got some new spring-themed ones!”

“That might be just what I’m looking for!” the woman beamed.

Lex looked around, scratching her hair and trying to remember where she had seen the new boxes. She scanned the walls and the tables, but couldn’t locate them.

“Hmm,” she muttered, “They might still be in the back.”

“Oh,” the lady said, squeezing Lex’s arm. “That’s okay. I’m sure we can …”

“No, no,” Lex interrupted her. She was convinced the spring-themed collection was perfect for this customer. “Let me go check if I can get you one anyway, okay?”

“You would do that for me?” the lady asked, folding her hands above her heart.

“Of course,” Lex replied, feeling much lighter all of a sudden. “That’s what I’m here for, ma’am.”


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