‘Je suis désolée d’être en retard, Mademoiselle Mathilde! I’m so sorry!’ Taïga is late for class this morning, she couldn’t find her apron. After searching everywhere in the room she shares with Eveline and Charlotte, she finally found it – under Eveline’s bed!..
Mademoiselle Mathilde likes Taïga and she’s never been late before, so she’s reluctant to punish her. ‘Ça va. Go to your working space, Taïga – today we’ll bake muffins!’
‘What are you doing, Agnès?’ Agnès blushes and Taïga catches sight of Louis outside. Agnès and Louis? Oh…
‘He gave me this before class.’ Agnès fishes out a piece of paper and gives it to Taïga who discreetly puts it the pocket of her apron.
‘Girls, we’re here to learn how to cook, not how to use body language!’ Mademoiselle Mathilde sounds stern but her eyes are smiling. ‘And for your information – the way to a man’s heart goes through his stomach! Now let’s bake some delicious chocolate muffins…’
Louis blows a kiss to Taïga and runs off, he’s also late.
Clotilde hates to get her hands “dirty”. The very first day at school she explained that she couldn’t understand why she’d have to learn how to cook as her family has personnel for that kind of “dirty work”. Mademoiselle has some difficulty taking a liking to her ever since…
‘I’ll read the receipt today, Mademoiselle!’
‘Non, Clotilde. Jeanne lit la recette aujourd’hui. Give her the cook book. You read last week.’
Jeanne starts to read and soon the kitchen is bubbling with activity. ‘… beat in the eggs one at a time… stir in the melted chocolate…’
Hmm… muffins are so boring… what if I just glaze mine a bit?
Louise is first to finish, and everyone watches as she opens her oven. But the first whiff is not of tasty baking, but the foul smell of burnt…
Louise’s muffins are all burnt… and she is ashamed, as all the girls uneasily look at each other.
Mademoiselle Mathilde just glances at the disaster: ‘Eveline, help Louise take away the platter, s’il te plait.’
Clotilde stares at Taïga as if it was all her fault.
‘This is what happens when you try to do things too fast. Cooking is an art – you don’t hurry to paint a picture or sing a song…’ Mademoiselle Mathilde continues admonishing Louise…
Clotilde waits until Mademoiselle Mathilde has finished her lecture. ‘Don’t worry, Louise. I’ve got a plan…’
Taïga has finished the glazing and is just about to present it to Mademoiselle Mathilde, when Clotilde comes walking up to her. ‘Wait Taïga!’ What does she want?
Clotilde makes sure Mademoiselle Mathilde has her back turned. Then she just slaps Taïga in the face and rips away her cake at the same time.
Snickering she takes Taïga’s muffin and presents it to Mademoiselle Mathilde.
‘Mademoiselle Grosjean! Regarde! Look at my “oeuvre d’art”!’
Taïga starts after Clotilde, keeping her fists tightly clenched. I hate her! I’ll wipe that arrogant smile off her face – forever!
Mathilde is surprised. She doesn’t like Clotilde, but the muffin is a real masterpiece and as such should be encouraged: ‘Oh, quelle bonne idée! Look at Clotilde everyone. She’s has taken the initiative to glaze it…’
‘It was Louise’s idea, Mademoiselle!’ Clotilde glances at Taïga with a little evil smile.
Taïga stops in her tracks. Suddenly it’s all too much – the whole year Clotilde has been trying to sabotage everything. Everything! And she doesn’t want the other girls to know about Granny and Monsieur Lambert…
She turns around and flees the kitchen.
‘Taïga! Reviens! Come back!’ But Taïga doesn’t stop…
She runs straight into the big dance class and with tears pouring down her cheeks, she starts to dance… Louis was sitting at the piano, reading through a new partition when Taïga burst through the door. Silently he slips out…
… But he’s soon back with Mademoiselle Béjart.
‘See! Her ankle is OK! I think she’s worth the part at the Opera!’ Mademoiselle Béjart doesn’t say anything.
When Taïga finally stops and lets herself graciously collapse on the floor, Mademoiselle Béjart walks up to her. Taïga jumps up on her feet and dries her tears on her sleeve.
‘Oh… I’m sorry, Mademoiselle. I know I shouldn’t have left my shoes on, but I…’
‘I don’t care about your shoes, Taïga. I want to know why you said your ankle was hurt.’
Taïga doesn’t know what to say… ‘I guess I was scared…’
‘I think you should dance at the Opera.’
‘But I can’t! What about Louise?’
‘There are two parts! I know Monsieur Le Riche was disappointed when you fell and hurt your ankle… Let’s call him…’
Part I – End of Chapter 54