"It is not fattening," said Laurent.
"Certainly! It has only inside..." Marie brought her face closer to the case. "Pardon, what is the filling here?"
Mae took a shot at deciding which one the woman meant. "I think it's marionberry."
"No, not that one."
"Oh, prosciutto and cheese."
Marie laughed. "All wrapped in a nice beurre pastry, super low-cal!"
"What do you care, you're looking so wonderful!" said Laurent, and to Mae, "we'll have two."
"No, no, I don't want it!"
"Yes, you do," said Laurent, nodding at Mae. They were making light, now, but Laurent knew Marie-Therese was not out of the woods. She knew exactly what her sister liked, had liked since they were tiny girls, standing at the lip of their grandmere's baking table, accepting the pinches of unbaked brioche dough their mother forbade them, saying it would give them worms, a comment that drew from their grandmere a hum and, once her daughter -- cross, always cross -- was on the flagstone porch smoking, the story about how the baby birds had to find their own food after their mother was gone, and who they met in the woods, and how their courage always brought them to "la grande fete avec tous les animaux -- les ours, les lapins, les renards," and as she told it the girls holding open their mouths for little pops of sweets. Later, they would hear their mother arguing with her mother, accusing her of trying to make them fat, and their grandmere's voice steadily explaining that this problem was not of the children's making.
Marie-Therese was 27; she had almost not seen her 24th birthday. Laurent had seriously considered, the last time Marie went in-hospital, having their mother arrested. Their mother, who'd become so desiccated she looked like a broken wooden chair, the white cigarette now held by the teeth, all lip fat having been cannibalized.
"Also a scone, avec raisin," said Laurent.
"Ca va," answered Mae, and smiled at the young women. They were, Mae thought, so put-together, the way French girls always were.