James knew he was in trouble when his mother called him the next day and woke him up from a dead sleep.
“James Donovan Duke” Uh-oh, whenever a sentence started with his whole name it didn’t bode well “what are you doing with your life? And why are you still asleep?” it was barely 7 am and last time he checked he was doing a great job
“Good morning mother, how are you?”
“Don’t change the subject young man, I’m fine thank you dear”
“Mother, it’s 7 am on a Saturday I’ve had a long week working my eyes out”
“Exactly! When was the last time you had a vacation?”
I spent spring break weekend with you and my brothers and sisters at the ranch.
That’s not what I mean and you know it. You’ve been working too hard for too long, take a vacation, meet a nice girl, fall in love and give me grand-babies, I’m not getting any younger and neither are you” she stopped to take a breath and James got up and made his way to the kitchen and poured a cup of steaming coffee.
“Mama, I don’t know what to tell you, but I am not in the frame of mind to look for a wife any time soon”
“That worries me honey”
“I apologize for worrying you, but there’s nothing to worry about, it’ll happen when the time is right. As for the vacationing I cant afford to leave just yet, we have a few books coming out next month and the work is satisfying yet time-consuming”
“Well, promise me you’ll take a vacation when you’re done?”
“I promise mama, and I’m coming over for dinner tonight, save me a place?”
“Always honey, I love you”
“I love you too, Bye mama”
He ended the call along with his coffee and took a shower, turning on the music on his way. Kip Moore’s Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck blared through the speakers across his apartment, the perks of working so hard it paid off.
He got dressed and left a note to the housekeeper that he wasn’t going to be needing dinner tonight on his way out.
Jade rushed into work at the Bookstore-slash-coffee-shop she worked at for three days a week, she felt the edge of the darkness closing in on her but when she took a lungful of the smell of fresh bagels and cinnamon tea it retreated, waiting in the corners for her to let her guard down.
Structure. The foundation of her new life, she needed it to survive the daily battle of doubt and insecurity that threatened to swallow her whole. It wasn’t enough that she was physically far from her past, she woke up in a cold sweat with nightmares that were the before part of her life, the pain was still there so was the fear that it all will catch up with her and drag her back into the abyss.
She put her things in the locker and checked herself in the mirror, dabbed lipgloss on her lips and flipped her long ponytail over her shoulder. Satisfied, she opened the store up and smiled to the elderly couple who entered like clockwork every morning.
“Hello Mr. And Mrs. Diamond, how are you this fine morning?”
“Wonderful Jade, you look lovely dear” Mrs. Diamond smiled warmly and Jade felt calm settle over her.
“Thank you, we have a lovely selection of croissants this morning and Jeremiah made blackberry and lemon marmalade to go with them. Would you like some?”
“Oh, yes that sound divine” Mr. Diamond replied as he helped his wife of 45 years into her seat “And some Chamomile tea dear”
“Right away sir”
She placed the order with Jeremiah who was placing the fluffy soft pastries on the counter to take care of the customers and moved to the book side of the store, turned on the computer and checked her email, She loved her job, it was exactly what she needed every day. Peace, pastries and Books.
She had a few inquiries about her new jewelry line but not the email she was anticipating. Jade was a jewelry maker, and every year the Jewels & Art community hosted and exclusive fair. She was fortunate to be one of the newcomers last year at the fair and was able to feature a few pieces. This year when she handed in her application and samples she was hoping to get an exclusive invitation which would mean her own booth and a bigger sale. She dreamed of owning her own boutique someday, until then she sold online and through referrals, this fair was going to be her big break, becoming known in the jewelry world and leaving her mark. They were scheduled to send her a reply this week she already started on the collection with the “Build it and they will come” mind-frame.
The door tinged as someone entered the shop, Jade looked up into the deepest blue eyes and something tingled inside her. She had to take a breath before speaking.
“Good morning” He beat her to it
“Good morning, how may I help you?”
“I’d like a cream cheese everything bagel and cinnamon tea please” James was a regular, but the woman behind the counter was new.
“Would you like it Toasted?”Jade inquired as she sliced the bagel in half
“Sure, Where’s Jeremiah?” he asked looking around
“He’s taking the bookstore shift today, he makes the best pastries, including this one”
“Yes, I have breakfast here almost everyday, You must be new, I’m James” he gave her his best smile and she felt its intensity all the way into her bones.
“I’m Jade, delighted to meet you, I’m usually at the bookstore side, Jeremiah will take over the business after his parents so he’s familiarizing himself with all its aspects” she studied him under her lashes as she wrapped his bagel, he was tall, much taller than her average 5’4’’ and had the body of an athlete, lean and sturdy. His shirt was soft and stretched across broad shoulders. Jeans that encased strong long legs. She looked up as she handed him his order, his hands brushed hers and she felt the oddest tingle and noticed how his face was one to be painted and hung in a gallery. All strong angles and high cheekbones, dark eyebrows and even darker eyelashes framing beautiful eyes that she could drown in, inky heavy black hair all mussed up as if begging to be run through with her fingertips fell over the side of his forehead and made her think of starry warm nights and whispered nothings.
“It’s very nice to meet you too Jade, She brought her attention back to the task at hand and smoothly said: “that’ll be 5 dollars and 45 cents” as if she wasn’t cataloguing his face like an idiot
“Here’s six-fifty, keep the change”
“Thank you, have a wonderful day”
“You’re welcome, you too” James said hello to Jeremiah on his way out.