Chapter 2: Part 1/4

Chances

If there were a time to be lucky, the time would be now, Jade thought as she arranged the books back into their shelves after a bustling day at the bookstore. Today a book club of mothers and children was held at the store and the lively energy made Jade yearn for something more; for a sense of belonging and need. The women welcomed her in like their own and encouraged her to join them next month when they met to discuss the book of that month. One of the members gave her the book as a gift and the rest signed it. Jade didn’t know what to do, being on her own for so long any form of affection was foreign and scared her. She swallowed her fears and continued to sort the books the children enjoyed. Her heart ached at the visions of the little ones with their mothers, the safety they had was unmarred by the cruelty of the world. Knowing they would always be protected by the ones who gave them life, and loved for who they are brought tears to her eyes. Sometimes she wished she had that unconditional pure love. She hoped that she had it in her to give when the day came, that she wasn’t so much of a cynic that her well of love had dried out. That in her yearning for love she drained her own reserves. Jade tried to distract herself by thinking of the fair, it was drawing near, yet she hadn’t received the letter of acceptance, but she was holding out hope so she had stayed up almost every night crafting and creating the most delicate pieces of jewelry. The rush of beauty appearing between her hands dissipated some of the frustration she was feeling and gave her a sense of purpose. “see I am worth something” she would say under her breath as she worked.

it was an hour before closing when the bell chimed indicating someone entered the shop, but Jade was immersed in her little bubble she paid it no heed. Her skin jumped when a large form squatted down next to her and picked up one of the scattered books. She quelled her surprise as her eyes locked with the beautiful stranger from the other day. What was his name? She racked her brain trying to remember, a name that rolled around in her mouth, breathe Jade breathe James! Yes that’s his name.

She tilted her head to the side and smiled “Hello, James right?”

Her heart tripped as he flashed a wide smile “Yes it is, Jade”

The way he said her name made her feel like the only one in the world. Like everything quieted and vanished. The trees stopped dancing with the wind and the stars held their twinkling. The world caught it’s breath and so did she. Then as soon as it began it went on like nothing happened. But the blow was etched in her, Jade took it and closed the door on it to examine later. She straightened and dusted off her legs. He stood next to her reaching his full height, a foot and a bit towering over her ‘no need to show off’ she thought to herself smiling at her silliness.

James saw her try to suppress her smile “something funny?” he asked

She gave him her brightest one, “nope” she said shaking her head trying to be serious but failing.

Her smile undid him a bit, it lit up her face and transformed her, he swallowed whatever he was about to say, knowing it would’ve been unseemly to tell a perfect stranger what their smile did to them.

She realized that they were just standing there staring at each other, each not knowing what to do next. At a loss for words, Jade went back to work, arranging the books back in the shelves.

“It was very nice seeing you again James” she said dismissing him.

“You too Jade” he was frowning and Jade resisted the urge to apologize and ask what the matter was.

James shook his head at the absurdity of his thoughts and went into the bakery, she could see him talk to Jeremiah and leave with a box of pastries a few minutes later. Was it odd to feel like a piece of her was missing? She looked around her thinking she might find it under her desk or lying on the floor waiting for her to return it. Then shook her head attempting to clear it. She sat at her desk and inhaled deeply letting it out slowly as she opened her email… Please please please be here she hummed to her inbox as it loaded. Closing her eyes envisioning the invitation there and prolonging the inevitable a few more seconds.

“what are you doing?” Jeremiah whispered

She resisted the urge to be startled “Willing the invitation to be in my inbox”

“Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news … but you don’t posses magical powers… unless you’ve been keeping them from me.” a smile played down his serious tone

That made Jade laugh “Oh, it always slips my mind” she said peeking between her fingers “will you stay and check with me?”

“Of course, I’m here for you”

She took a deep breath and clicked”new Messages” and scrolled to the bottom, reading every new entry title slowly her heartbeat began the drum of anticipation “its here, I can feel it” and lo and behold it was there. Jade wanted to freeze the moment and scribble BEFORE on it; The moment before all the good things to come would pour into her life. Opening it, she asked Jeremiah to read it for her.

“Dear Jade,

We are honored to have received your application to The 32nd Annual Craftsmanship Gala. As you well know the Gala is a yearly event hosted by the prestigious arts community here in Aurora. The patrons are some of the world’s greatest artists and critics, and every year the select only a handful of designers to present and sell their work, They have reviewed your submission pieces and are proud to announce your acceptance in this year’s event.

The specifics of your contribution are as follows:

  1. A fee of 250 dollars is to be paid in order to reserve your spot for the event, it includes:
    1. A name tag
    2. A booth
    3. Seven exclusive minutes with the movers and shakers.
  2. You are expected to arrive a day before to prepare your booth, and 3 hours before the event to set everything up. Having an organized space is key to a successful business.
  3. The revenue you collect is ALL yours.
  4. In the case of a last minute cancellation a fee of 150 dollars must be paid.

We look forward to seeing you.

Sincerely,

The Annual Craftsmanship Gala Committee”

Jade couldn’t believe what she heard, she could feel the happy radiating from jeremiah so she turned around and asked him if it was true. He chuckled and pulled her in a bear hug, and started twirling her.

She felt like her heart was soaring, like little wings were trying to help it escape her chest so she let out all her joy and laughed.

Her mind was buzzing with ideas and plans so when he set her down she didn’t notice the look in his eyes or the language it was speaking. It was a millisecond that could’ve changed everything and she missed it.

“Oh Jer, I’m so excited! I have to go home and finish my pieces and I have to call Luther and tell him too, oh my I feel dizzy and alert all at the same time, listen to me babbling, I’m going to stop now” she did a happy dance, kissed Jeremiah goodbye and gathered her things. At the door she looked back “Hey ‘Miah, thank you”

He smiled at her use of his favorite nickname, it soothed the sting of rejection.

“Anytime, Jay, anytime”

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