Young Hearts (Chapter 5, page 1 of 4)

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Chapter 5

Molly and Mama Becky hadn't visited the bakery in over two weeks, not since the big storm. Now that the snow had melted enough for everyone to come out of hiding, Mama Becky had reopened the bakery. She sent Molly over to ask Ugly Phyllis for a bushel of apples to make pies. "Why?" Molly asked.

"I thought I'd make everyone a treat," Mama Becky said.

Molly rubbed her hands together with glee and then ran to get her jacket. Mama Becky's apple pie was one of her favorite dishes. The way the sweet scent of the apples filled the bakery left her mouth watering for hours in anticipation. Then came that first slice, still warm enough for the crust to melt in her mouth. She wished Mama Becky could make apple pie every day.

She made her way over to the pantry without once sinking into the snow. She wished Aunt Samantha were here to see she'd made it all by herself. But Aunt Samantha had gone away across the sea without her. She'll come back, Molly thought. She promised she would.

Molly knocked on the door to the pantry, waiting for Ugly Phyllis to answer. She hated Phyllis. Ugly Phyllis was fat like Mama Becky and Aunt Prudence, but her face always looked as if she'd eaten a lemon. When Mama Becky or Aunt Samantha weren't around, Ugly Phyllis called Molly names like "Carrothead" or "Freckleface." One of her favorite hobbies was to sneaking behind Molly to yank one of her curls straight until she cried out.

Ugly Phyllis wasn't as bad as Hateful Helena, who more often than not would show up in the pantry when she should be doing laundry. Hateful Helena pinched Molly's cheeks until she cried and then dragged her by the hair into the cellar. She locked Molly down there for hours. Molly had tried telling Mama Becky, but she thought Molly was making up a story. When Hateful Helena found out Molly had told, she took Molly's clothes and then hauled her down to the cellar. Since then, Molly hadn't tried to tell anyone.

Ugly Phyllis answered the door and to Molly's relief she didn't see Hateful Helena around. "What do you want, Freckles?"

"Mama sent me to ask for a bushel of apples."

"We only have one bushel left."

"She wants to make pie for everyone."

"She does?" Ugly Phyllis licked her lips, drawing attention to a line of dark fuzz over her top lip. Molly cringed at this sight. "Well, I suppose I can let her have them then. Tell Becky I'll bring them over in a little bit. I wouldn't want you to carry them. You'd spill them all over."

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