Sighing, I sink into the couch. My New Year's weekend didn't turn out as bad as it started. Once we'd left the falling apart hotel, it all seemed comical.
Man, I was glad of having Amelia so cool-headed. I was so embarrassed at having to make her spend the night there but she was cool with it, treated it as a joke actually.
What was it that she'd said?
"We can look back at this and have something to laugh at! Mistakes are what make memories."
The next day, we'd checked out, the receptionist didn't seem surprised at all, and I'd gotten us a much better in a billion and one ways compared to the previous one, hotel room. We'd gone skiing and snowboarding. Amelia was great at skiing, I kind of needed help. Snowboarding was new to the both of us and we laughed more than we spent time standing on the board. Then I took her ice skating in the night. It was beautiful, with the fairy lights reflecting on the snow and all. And it was Amelia's first time skating surprisingly. I helped her and by the time we finished, she was getting the hang of it. As she left the rink to change back into her shoes, I skated one last round, skidding to a stop in front her.
"Show off." Amelia had muttered, rolling her eyes and drawing out a chuckle from the old man sitting near her.
Hearing the front door open, I sit up. Chloe comes floating into the living room, all smiles. She's glowing, not just in a happy way but in the way suggesting that she and Jacob have been up to something. Recently.
I chuckle, watching her.
"Hey!" She walks over to me and deposits herself into my lap.
"Hey sweet-thing. How are you?" Tucking a lock of hair behind her ear, I kiss her cheek.
"Great. How about you? How was your weekend?"
I grin. "I'm fine. The weekend was great."
When I chuckle, she raises her eyebrows. "What happened?"
I shake my head, smiling. "I'll tell you later. You first. How was the party?"
Chloe sits back, turning to me. "Amazing! I really missed you!"
"Yeah, right." I roll my eyes. "You were most probably wrapped up in Jacob's arms all night. So I'm going to believe that."
"I was." She admits, blushing. "But I did miss you! And I've got something to show you!" Jumping up, she leaves the room and appears moments later with her handbag. Sitting beside me, she pulls out a newspaper and flips through it before laying it in my lap.
Shooting her a glance, I lift it up.
The entertainment section.
Okaaay... Hmmm.. Oh!
Huge New Year Bash a Success!
I skim through the article before turning to the next page, which is filled with photos.
"Oh my God!" I gasp, holding the paper up closer. "Shut UP! That's you and Jacob!" I look up at Chloe to see her smiling, "Told you, you'd be draped all over him." She chuckles and I turn back to the photo. "You look amazing! Is that the dress he got you? From New York?"
"Yup." She nods.
"Wow. Look at you! Coming on newspapers now... Before long you'll be on TV and I'll be going round saying 'she's my best friend'."
Chloe laughs and chuckling, I look over the rest of the page. "Anymore pics? Oh, there's a caption here.. Hmmm.. Here you are! Jacob Skyes, Chief Finance Officer of Smithson West Co., with his girlfriend, Chloe Stevens. Wow." Closing the paper, I hand it to her. "You've had quite the weekend! How did you feel when you saw that?"
"Shocked. And then excited." She grins. "For some reason!"
I smile, "Hey, you deserve it girlie. If only he'd mentioned Little Miracles, you'd be a millionaire in hours!"
She laughs, shaking her head. "So what happened with you?"
I turn around, facing her. "You're not going to believe where that stupid agent got us booked. The hotel was falling apart. It can't even be called a hotel! It should be a setting for a Halloween, haunted house. It was terrible."
Chloe's eyes widen. "Oh my gosh! And then?"
"Well, I didn't want to stay. I was so embarrassed! But there were no cabs around, it was like an abandoned place. Amelia didn't really seem to mind. She found it funny actually. So we spent the night there and the next morning, we were out."
Chloe chuckles, "Yeah, Amelia doesn't seem the type to want 5-star luxury."
"She isn't. That was the main consolation. She was completely fine with it. And the rest of the vacation went by smoothly. We were out a lot, skiing, skating, sightseeing. It was fun."
Chloe grins. "Sutherland, I think you've found your girl."
"One Omelet Special!" I call into the back before going back to the till. "Good morning! How may I help you?" I ask a balding guy in a gray suit.
He smiles. "A black coffee and a cream cheese bagel please."
"One Coffee, black. And a bagel. Coming right up." He hands me the money and I give the order to Foster who yells it out at the back before making the coffee.
"Not our usual, eh?" Handing it to a waiter, he leans against the counter beside me.
"No, never seen him before."
"And he doesn't seem to be in a hurry."
"No, he doesn't." I glance at my watch. Quarter past eleven.
Since there's no one else lined up to order, I pull out my phone.
One new message.
I'll be coming into the bakery with a business contact. I've got a meeting yeah? Reserve a table for me.
What? He's having a meeting here? Why?
"Yeah?" She sets the empty tray in the rack and turns to me.
"The second last booth by the window?"
"Yeah?" She glances towards it. "It's empty."
"Yeah, it's reserved okay? Jacob's meeting someone here."
She nods, "Okay."
Half an hour later, Jacob walks into the bakery, dressed in a white linen shirt and blue dress pants. He looks YUM.
A woman enters behind him. Tall, blond, in straight black tailored pants and a white shirt. That is buttoned down very low.
Claire leads them to the table and then places two menus in front of each of them. Jacob looks at me as he removes his shades and his lips turn up as his eyes meet mine.
Claire stands opposite me. "Business?"
"Yup. Did they say anything?"
"No." She shakes her head and then reaches for the notebook and pencil. "Let me go and take their order."
Forty minutes later, they get up to leave. Jacob glances over his shoulder and blows me a kiss, following the woman out.
"Okay, that man has been sitting here for the better part of two hours." Tarek comes up behind my shoulder and I follow his gaze to see the gray suit man.
"Yeah, he has. Did he order anything else?"
Tarek shakes his head and I frown. The man looks up at us just then and I tactfully glance away.
"I know." Shrugging, I turn around and head to check out the kitchen at the back.
"Chlooeee!!" Tarek calls into the kitchen, fifteen minutes later. "Your boyfriend's here."
Smiling, I drop the veggies I'm chopping and hurry to the front. Jacob's leaning against the counter at the far end, his eyes trained on the door and then me as I walk towards him. He smiles as I reach him.
Leaning over the counter, I cover his lips with mine. "Mmmm... Hey."
Jacob's smile widens. "That was an agonizingly long meeting! You standing just feet away and me not being able to come! I wanted to but that was a really important business contact. Sorry."
I grin. "It's fine! But why here?"
He shrugs, "It's the first place I could think of and hey, more publicity to you."
Pleased, I lean over, my face inches from his. "Thank you."
Ray walks in once he's done work and straight over to the counter.
"Hey!" I grin. "How's work?"
He nods. "Great."
"No, don't." I place a hand on his arm as he makes to come around.
"Why?" He shoots me a puzzled look. "That guy's been here all day. I'm thinking he's from the health and safety but I dunno. Why don't you come around from the back?"
Ray looks over his shoulder and nods. The man doesn't see him thankfully and Ray makes his way outside.
"What's he been doing?" Ray asks when I meet him at the back.
"Ordering things and eating. He walked out in the afternoon but when Darren and Alice dropped by they saw him sitting on the opposite street, watching the place."
"Not very discreet is he?"
I laugh, "No, he isn't."
Jacob walks in, flicking his shades up onto his head. I watch him from where I'm slouched in the corner booth, sipping my coffee. His eyes trail around the bakery when he doesn't see me and he frowns. Smiling, I watch as he talks to Foster who gestures in my direction. Turning around, Jacob sees me and his face lights up.
Grinning, I sit up as he slips into the booth right beside me.
"You were watching me the whole time weren't you?"
He narrows his eyes. "You don't seem sorry."
"I'm not. Why should I be?"
"Because you made me worry. I was worried something had happened or maybe you weren't feeling well."
"Hm... You think too much."
He raises his eyebrows and stares at me. "Oh, really?" When I just shrug, he leans in, brushing his lips over mine. "That's too bad." As I lean forward to kiss him properly, Jacob pulls back, grinning. He's evil. That's a horrible way of getting revenge.
"Have you had breakfast?" When I gesture at the coffee mug he smiles and then turns and calls a waiter. "A garden cream cheese bagel for Chloe and pancakes for me. And a glass of orange juice." Jotting it down, the waiter leaves. I raise an eyebrow as Jacob turns to me. "What? I'm hungry okay?"
"What happened to your usual coffee?"
He shrugs, "Already had it." He smiles, sitting back, an arm resting behind me. "Any plans today?"
"Yup. I'm going to find out who that guy is. It's getting on my nerves." I glance around the bakery to see he isn't here.
"Hey, maybe he has a crush on you."
I roll my eyes. "And you're just going to let him ogle at me if it's true? Doesn't bother you?"
"As long as he's keeping his distance and not talking to you, I'm cool with it."
I shake my head. "You're unbelievable."
"Thank you gorgeous." He sits up as his pancakes arrive. The waiter, Tom, places my bagel in front of me, just how I like it, and the glass of juice in front of Jacob.
"Anything I can get you Chloe? Any drink?"
I shake my head, shooting him a smile. "I'm fine, thanks."
"So, I was wondering..."
"Yeah?" I glance at Jacob.
"There's somewhere I want to take you. If you're not free, it's alright..."
"No, I'm free. I don't mind. Where do you want to go?"
"Oh, that's a surprise."
I groan. "Of course."
"So, is it somewhere I've been to before?" I ask as Jacob starts driving down the road.
"Nope." He shakes his head.
"Okay...uh.." He thinks, turning to me as he pulls to a stop at a stop light. "I'm not sure what you're reactions going to be."
"That's not a clue!"
He shrugs, "It's all I got."
"Jacob, tell me!"
Groaning, I glare at him. "There should be a thing saying you have to tell your girlfriend what the surprise is."
"Then it wouldn't be a surprise anymore sweetheart."
"Don't act smart."
"Why? Am I dumb when I don't?"
Glaring at him, I turn my face away. Minutes later, his fingers brush along the length of my jaw, sending sparks through my skin, and curl around my chin.
"I'm not talking to you."
Sighing, I turn to him, keeping my expression impassive.
"Don't be upset."
"Because, I'm already nervous you won't like it. And I love surprising you."
"Because," he leans over, his eyes holding mine. "I love that expression of pure happiness, surprise on your face when you find out. And the way you look at me."
I sigh. I hate him. How does he expect me to stay angry when he says things like that?
That's just it, he doesn't want me upset.
"Now smile. Give me that gorgeous smile I fell for. Come on."
I push my lips up into a smile and Jacob shakes his head. "No, that's not right. Not that one."
I grin and he shakes his head. Sighing, I smile properly and his face lights up. "There we go!" I roll my eyes, smiling.
He kisses my cheek. "Are you alright?"
I nod. "Yes."
"Okay, then. Come on. I really want to see your reaction."
He pulls back into the road and try as I might, I can't guess where we're heading.
Turning down a street, a huge brown building appears, that's surrounded by a well kept lawn. As we near it, I see the sign put up in front of it.
I turn to see Jacob and see him looking at me.
"Why are we here?" I ask slowly.
He shrugs, his eyes searching my face. "I thought maybe you'd like to see Rosalyn again. I know you've been thinking about her."
"I spoke to Caroline, the woman we met and she said we could."
"So, the cake's for her?" I ask as he pulls into an empty spot.
Jacob nods. "I thought it would be a good idea."
He seems unsure so I smile and nod encouragingly. "Great idea!"
We get out and Jacob takes my hand and leads me inside. Caroline's just passing by the front desk and she smiles when she sees us.
"Just the couple I've been waiting for. She's in the playroom. Right this way."
Jacob squeezes my hand reassuringly as we stand in front of the door. Caroline opens it and we step into the room.
I'm not sure what I was expecting.
There's sunlight pouring into the room from the huge french windows. Most of the floor is littered with toys, children are everywhere, chasing each other, playing on their own. There's a corner where there's a fireplace and two couches set in front of it. A huge bookshelf full of books covers one wall, pictures hung up on rest of the walls, covering every inch of it.
"She's over there. Playing by herself. Come on."
I glance at Jacob, taking in a deep breath, and he shoots me a smile.
"Rosalyn. Look who's here to see you!" Caroline exclaims as we reach her.
The little girl looks up and once again I'm stunned by her beauty. She's so beautiful for such a little girl. She looks up, tucking locks of her long brown wavy hair behind her ear.
"Hey Rosalyn." I crouch down in front of her, smiling.
"Hi." She looks up at Jacob and then turns back to the doll in her hands.
"Hey sweetie." Jacob smiles.
She looks up and stares at him for few moments before breaking into a huge smile.
"Is this your doll?" I ask, sitting down in front of her. She nods, smiling shyly and glancing at Jacob. "What's her name?"
"Aw that's such a pretty name!"
I look across the room at Chloe sitting on the ground and reading a book to Rosalyn, who's leaning into her side.
As with everything else, Chloe's great with children as well.
Is there anything this woman cannot do?
Cook, manage a business, take care of her best friend, take care of me, look after an apartment, be cheerful with each and every customer of hers. And now make children fall in love with her.
As I watch, a few other children walk over to where the two of them are and sit and listen.
As the story comes to an end, Rosalyn looks up at her and says something. Chloe turns around and looks towards me, gesturing for me to come over. I walk over to them and sit down opposite the two girls.
"Did you like the story?" I ask, just as a bell rings.
Rosalyn nods and then turns towards the door. Caroline comes in just then and starts calling the children before heading towards us.
"Sorry I'm going to have to ask you to leave. The children have school. You could wait if you like."
"No," glancing at Chloe, I rise to my feet. "We'll leave."
"I'll give you few minutes. I want you in class in five minutes Rosalyn."
"Oh, Jacob, where's the..?" Chloe looks at me as Caroline walks out.
"The bag? It should be by the couch." Walking over to it, I lift it up.
"Rosalyn, we got something for you."
"What is it?" She asks, looking up at her.
"Do you like cake?" I ask, smiling at her.
She nods, smiling. "For me only?"
"Yes, how about I give it to Caroline and she keeps it for you?"
Rosalyn nods and Chloe takes her hand as we head out of the room. Rosalyn leads us to a room where sounds of children reciting something are coming from.
She turns to us, looking earnestly up at the two of us. "Will you come again?"
"Do you want us to?" Chloe asks, bending down so that she's in level with the little girl.
"Okay then sweetheart. We'll come." Leaning forward she kisses the little girl's forehead.
Rosalyn smiles and then turns and heads into the classroom that's filled with thirty kids or so.
"So did you like the surprise?" I ask, taking her hand as we walk to my car.
Chloe turns to me, smiling. "Yes. Thank you."
"You're welcome sweetheart. I knew you wanted to see her. And truthfully, I did too."
"She's adorable. But she doesn't say much. I was starting to think she didn't enjoy it."
"I know, I was kind of worried too. But she wants us back, that's a good thing." I hold the door open for her and Chloe slides in.
"You're coming home tonight. Tell me when you're done and I'll pick you up, alright?"
"Yeah, you haven't been home for so long!"
"I was there in the weekend!"
"And today is Tuesday. It's been ages. You're coming whether you want to or not."
"Okay, if you're going to bully me into it, I don't think I have much of a choice."
Chuckling, I lean over and press my lips to hers. "Miss you already."
Yawning, I squint at the clock on my table, trying to see the time clearly through my sleep.
I turn to my side and Chloe nuzzles closer, her head resting on my forearm.
Smiling, I run a finger down her cheek lightly, not wanting to wake her up.
We've been going out for what? Six, seven months? I don't think I've ever felt so complete as I do when I wake up and see her next to me.
It's funny how true the saying, 'you don't know what you can't live without until you've got it' is! I'd never dreamed, me, Jacob Skyes, would find a girl who'd mean the world to me. Someone who would make me value life so much more.
After my father had died, I'd become more focused on my work. That's why I haven't been in a relationship for so many years. My main priorities became looking after my Mom and working. And that's what I've been doing for almost three years.
And then this girl comes dancing into my life that night at the club, all smiles and laughter, and I find myself not getting enough of her from just a glance.
Admittedly, I was uncomfortable at the beginning at the thought of her living with her best friend, who's a guy. But seeing the two of them together, it's pretty obvious they love each other more as brother and sister than anything else.
Chloe's a woman like no other. Seriously, she's so compassionate and understanding. I've messed up with her so many times and she's been upset, yes, she's had a complete right to be, but she's forgiven me and never brought it up like some women do every time they're angry.
Being with her is so magical, yet terrifying.
Is this what being in love feels like?
I reach over and grab the envelope after turning off the engine. Smiling, I get out and lock my car before walking up to Little Miracles, excited.
Tarek grins as he flips over the closed sign and holds the door open for me.
"Hey, is she here?"
He nods, "Yup. Let me go get her."
Taking in a deep breath, I walk over to the closest booth and set the envelope on the table, sitting down.
"What's the hurry?" Chloe asks as she walks into the front. Seeing me she smiles. "Hey! What are you doing here?"
I get to my feet as she makes her way over to me and pull her into my arms, "Hi." Leaning in, I kiss her. She was in bed with me just a few hours ago and it still feels so long. "I missed you."
Chloe chuckles, pulling back. "Have you had breakfast?"
"Chlo, you know I never have breakfast if I come over here. But first..." I hold my arm out to the booth and she slides in, looking at me.
"What is it?"
I sit down opposite her, my eyes flicking over her shoulder just in time to see Tarek quietly ushering her clueless staff into the bakery. Turning back to her, I push the envelope towards her. "This is for you."
"What is it?"
She looks at me, searchingly before turning to the envelope. Pulling it in front of her, she opens it and pulls out a magazine. Chloe shoots me a puzzled look as she turns it around to look at the cover.
Her gasp is really loud in the silent bakery and she just stares at the cover, frozen.
"Oh my God.. What-?" She looks up at me, bewilderment and shock clear in her eyes.
Blinking, she looks down at the cover. Which has a picture of her, in an apron, her chef's hat straight, her hair pulled back and a beautiful smile on her face. The cover's filled with headlines but the biggest and the one at the bottom in bold says,
"Little Miracles, New Sensations on the Block"
Chloe runs her fingers over the words and then opens the magazine, flipping through the pages. Finding page 46, she leans forward.
I know the whole article by heart by now.
"Read it out loud!" Foster exclaims from behind her.
Running her tongue over her lips, she begins,
Chloe turns around, only then spotting her whole staff behind her and Tarek with the camera.
"I didn't know she was a journalist! She was ordering and asked me about you!"
She turns back to the page and reads,
Chloe looks up at me, her eyes shining. "But how?"
Tarek snorts, "Your boyfriend of course! Who else would have the contacts?"
She turns to me, her eyes searching my face and I nod. "Remember that meeting I had here a week ago? It was with the journalist. And the man hanging out here everyday since? He was the one who talked to a few customers, didn't bother any." I quickly add, knowing how important her customers are to her, "and confirmed everything I said. It isn't out yet. I got the first copy. It'll be out tomorrow and 50 copies are getting delivered here first thing in the morning."
"Thank you." Chloe says softly, her eyes filled with tears.
She closes the magazine and looks down at it. When she turns back up to me, Foster takes it and the staff look through it. Getting up, Chloe walks around the table and sits down in my lap.
"Chloe, your boyfriend is amazing!" Alice says, looking up from the magazine.
Chloe shoots her a triumphant look. "Yup, he is." Turning to me, she places a hand on my cheek, leaning in. "And all mine."
When she presses her lips onto mine, I pull her close.
Nothing gives me more pleasure than when I make her happy.
This has got to be love.
Replies to comments
Praiser - Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it!
Jar - So generous isn't he? He's amazing. I know it's so sad about the little girl, exactly! Ray wouldn't listen to any other woman (except Chloe) and Amelia keeps him in place and happy, haha neither do I! Imagine how I feel!
BriBri - Haha do you blush easily? That would be very cute to watch.
Lucy - No way! Why didn't it get posted?! Not fair! Wish I could have read it! But thanks!
Grace - Haha yes, I'm not sure why! I read each comment about five times. Yes, I'm very lucky to have each and everyone of you all! Thanks so much! Haha, yeah that was unfortunate what happened to Ray and Amelia! It is a great idea! Let's see where the story goes yeah? Enjoy!
Anjana - Yeah, he's a complete sweetheart! Thanks so much! The 'I love you' is on its way.
PH - Getting obsessive are we? No one ever leaves my own guys for me to have. Thanks so much! I know it's so sad you're going to have to wait to find out! Aaah, you don't know how I look forward to reading your comments!
Maddz - Hey, hey! Thanks so much! I know it's so sad what happened to her! Yeah she does seem really upset. You're going to have to read and find out. Jacob has got to be the best boyfriend there ever was! He's simply great in every way isn't he? Thanks so much!
MayJuneJuly - Thanks so much Junie! Missed you comment girlie, imagine it was surprise trip to New york! Amelia is amazing! No other woman would have put up with it so happily! She's a gem I agree. Haha yeah he was! Thanks so much, love you.
Tamika - My Raloe fan? Missing your feedback girl!