Dear Carlos, The days are passing by quicker and quicker and I still have 2 more grandsons to be married off. I might need your help in setting up this one, my charming grandson Jaye. Hope to hear from you soon. Yours truly, HMC **************************** Well, the day just started as usual for the people of St.Rains street. There, the most popular place was the merged Dean building, where 3 stores are built side-by-side with connecting door and customer exchanges happens. The first shop is a flower shop run by an elderly man who goes by the name Mr.Dean, who is passionate about flowers and one of the most visited places by the couples; then comes the Brooke's Bookade, an interactive library which was recently renovated with an attached café, the third shop, a relaxing place for readers as well as coffee lovers and more popular for their pastries and services. Around nine in the morning, there was a slight change in the atmosphere. A wealthy car was parked outside the bookade and walking inside was a man so handsome that no Greek god could compare to. He is seen talking to someone over the phone, with so much warmth, and care that one would think that it's a lover on the other side. To prove it all wrong, he speaks a bit louder " .....grandpa I got it all down...no...no... I'm here now..yes ..yes..the Bookade is open... yes....Ms.Blanchett....okay I'll ask her about the books...yes I'll be on my best behavior. Okay bye, she is here. I'll call you later. Yes...convey my love to grandma" He walks inside feeling the same old warmth he received many years ago when he first came there with his mother, this used to be his special place, his getaway place. The train of thoughts was interrupted when he bumped into a girl who was profusely apologizing to him. A quick scan of her outfit showed that she seems to be a worker there. "No need for apologies, I wasn't looking where I was going. Is Miss.Blanchett here? I'm here to meet her " The girl mistook him for her employer's date, the one woman she looked up to the most. She was the one who introduced her to the land of books, gave her a place to stay, and the motivation to challenge her boring and already planned out life by her step-parents. Her employer is already a sister to her as she had already adopted her; she was so engrossed in making the bookade a success that she forgets to enjoy her life. She was aware of a date her sister had, so badly tried to keep it a secret. No, her sister is going to have a date with this man! "Yes sir, I know exactly where she is. Follow me please" and started walking upstairs with him following her. The second floor was not what he expected it to be, it was more organized and cleaner than he remembered. She led him to the far corner of the room, lined with bookcases and little stools; there he saw the girl, no the woman, he was searching for, arranging book on the top shelf using a stair ladder. She looked so fragile yet so strong to do her own chores, releasing an aura of an independent woman. "Sister! Someone is here to meet you." She turned around and walked back downstairs leaving him with the person he was looking for. "Just a moment sir, I'll be right there with you" she started stepping down the ladder. Being a perfect gentleman he helped her down the ladder and introduce himself. "I'm running an errand for my grandpa Mr.McCallan and you must be Miss. Blanchett. My name is Triston McCallan. A pleasure to meet you" Well, now she knows why her adopted sister, Alice had a high-pitched tone. He was handsome and a perfect gentleman. She felt his warmth thru' the handshake they shared. "Ah yes, I was waiting for you but got a bit engaged in work. I'm Asia Brooke Blanchett, you can call me Asia. The pleasure is all mine, that you have chosen our library. So what can I help you with?" Ah straight to point. Good! Triston thought. So this was not his grandpa's usual date set-up. The thing with his grandpa is that he feels that he is the matchmaker of the family. He introduces suitable matches in the most innovative way that one wouldn't see it coming yet fall for the match and marries them. Let's say grandpa wants more and more grandchildren. He has already married four of his cousins and his two elder sisters and is on a mission to get him and his other cousin Danielle to be married off. All of his uncles and aunts were victims even his parents. But that fox was always right with his matching. He was very suspicious when he got a call yesterday afternoon asking him to run an errand for his grandpa, even though there is no actual need for it. But hearing his grandpa's complaints about him always on duty, running from construction sites to sites he actually agreed to do it. " My grandpa is actually building a private library in his mansion and he trusts that you could help him. He told me that you have already sorted out the books?" Asia couldn't help but adore him. The warmth and care ooze from him whenever he mentions his grandpa. Asia just turned twenty-three when she took over bookade against all the objections raised by the family members. The only one who was in support of her was her grandmère who saw how much the library meant to her. She renovated the whole thing while keeping its original touch yet keeping it modern and thanks to Mr.Norton who lent her a small portion of his shop to start an attached café for the readers. She was glad that she met Mr.McCallan a week ago during her visit along with her grandmère to celebrate his resignation post of chairman of Mc. Callan. co. He made her feel safe and sound which she hadn't experienced in a long time. She talked about her dream of taking over the bookade which he showed appreciation of and agreed to buy books from her. He was her savior because she was given a time period of 3 months to prove that she was capable of bringing profit and she had already lost 2 months on renovating it. "Yes, but a few books will only reach by today night or latest by tomorrow morning. I can send some of the books available right now if it's urgent?..." Triston couldn't help but feel attracted to her, not in any physical way, that was there too but the way she carried herself, the professional way she sorted the things, etc... He feels a familiarity with her company but didn't know where he met her! Being a good host she is, she led him to the café and sat down ordering a coffee for herself and an Indian chai for her guest. " Have we met before Miss Asia? " He enquired. She wasn't shocked to know that he didn't remember her. She was very different before, a person one wouldn't even spare a second glance on. She lacked confidence and was something she herself classified as an average. She has changed a lot since then. " Yes, remember the code name Hiraeth?" She said smilingly. "It's been so long Triston.....how are you? " He couldn't help but stare at her for a moment before he composed himself. This wasn't the Hiraeth he knew; she was a skinny, round glassed girl with two side braided pigtails, ready to meet him with a cup of coffee and cookies, whenever his mother left him to pick up her books. She was shy, too shy to share her name that she picked out a word she thought was beautiful: HIRAETH. It's been so long since he met her. " Ah, so your real name was Asia? Such a beautiful name yet you deprived me of the pleasure of using it." He looked around again. He had heard about this café place and hadn't had the chance to visit it yet. "This is some nice work you have done with the library, the smell of coffee still lingers in mind. It hasn't changed at all!". His favorite part of the library was the coffee distribution; he loved watching the workers make coffee, the smell of it and how the milk is added to the coffee, and how it swirls. She couldn't help but laugh. He is still the same except for puberty hitting him like a freaking truck! She was getting to know him better when she saw Mr.Norton walk towards them. She felt a blush rising to her cheeks. She just took a rain check on a date, set by Mr.Norton saying how busy her schedule was, and yet here she was, chatting live with a handsome man. Triston noticed this too that he turned around to see who was making her blush like that. He felt something he shouldn't have: jealousy! Mr.Norton walked over to them and said, "darling, I see that you are free today ? Your date will be here by 4, be ready don't disappoint me" and walked away and sat two tables away from them. Triston felt some kind of anger. He controlled it and asked, "what was it all about? A date set-up? Why? " "He likes to think he is a great matchmaker. He thinks I'm too indulged in bookade that I forgot to live my life." Just as she finished speaking 2 cups were placed on the deck with little heart swirls by none other than Alice. She winked at both, said something about packing the books required, and made a dash to the library before Asia could correct her. How embarrassing! To hide her embarrassment, she launched towards her coffee and taking a sip, hoping he would fill in the silence. Triston couldn't help but feel amused at her actions. He took his own sip of chai and laughed at her through his eyes. Hmm, the chai is delicious! He decided to fill in the silence by the only thing he could think of; "Asia, did you know about the art of coffee seduction? It was popular in Japan and India, some say it's called Whispers of coffee seduction." Asia was glad he took on a topic to talk about because she wasn't going to, any time soon anyway. " Oh really? Tell me more about it" Seeing that she was genuinely interested he continued, "it's all about how one should enjoy drinking coffee, well in my case chai! The first step is about having coffee powder with all its glory and smell. Then comes the hot milk with 2 or 3 sugar cubes. To one cup, add 2 teaspoons of coffee powder, to it add a little to milk, just enough to form a paste and stir. Here comes the first seduction whisper, the raw smell and look. Once it is enjoyed, add the rest of the milk along with the sugar cubes in a high beat fashion, the second seduction whisper, the mixing phase of coffee paste and milk with hot steam playing between the interphase. The last seduction is about how we drink it; a big sniff and savoring the drink. There, that's the art of coffee seduction!" Asia was so engrossed in him talking about it that she didn't notice her phone ringing. She excused herself to attend it, only to know that it was her date calling to confirm his visit. Fixing it up she went back to her seat. "I'm sorry to cut it short but I'm having a date in 10mins. I can't get out of it." Triston again felt the same feeling, the sour vinegar feeling. " I know that you don't like to but you feel obligated to do so. I can help you deal with your date. Let me be here, with you, this way you'll have a safe getaway." He couldn't believe he said that. Seeing the scrutiny look on her face he started to explain himself when she agreed to it and said, "it's a good idea, and I hope it would work. Thank you, Triston." They took off from where they left it, talking about each other's life and their memories. The regular customers and readers could feel the vibrant energy and happiness bouncing off them, what today's generation would call love. But too bad they haven't recognized it themselves. At exactly 11:20 am, the bell chimes to the door of the café and walks in a man as handsome as Triston yet in some ways couldn't reach out to his level. Still engrossed in their talking, it took the help of Mr.Norton to introduce the date he had chosen for the young Miss. Asia. The first one to react was none other than Triston. "You! What are you doing here? And you are her so-called date!?" Asia was all confused. She turned around to ask Mr.Norton what was going on only to see him seated back at his usual table. The two-man was interpreting what their meeting meant. Asia looked around to see all the eyes on their table. She silenced them and told them to take a seat. "Do you know each other?" She finally asked. Triston started to speak up when he was interrupted by her so-called date," Let me do the honor, I'm Danni, Dannielle Fortune McCallan, Triston's cousin" Looking more closely she could see some resemblance. No wonder Triston was surprised by the appearance of her date. To make it less awkward she excused herself to order another round of coffee, which was all the time needed for Triston. "Lad, I thought when you said you had a date I never meant Asia! Come on who set you up? Spill the beans!" That little rat Danni thought. It was all his grandfather's set up and he was the threading wheel! He was sent to buy flowers from here a week ago by his grandfather Haden for his resignation party. And made a date set up when he knew that the actual date will be with his cousin Triston. But that doesn't keep him from toying with Triston's feelings. " I met her at the party a week ago at grandfather's and saw her again in this flower shop. It was Mr.Norton who said he would set me up with her, seeing the longing in my heart. We are such a perfect match don't you see? Mr.Norton has good eyes, unlike our grandfather! " Oh, no words could describe the smug feeling he got from his cousin, trying not to punch him straight in the face. Triston calmed himself down before he would hurt his little cousin. He couldn't believe the audacity of his cousin to go after what was his! Wait...his?? No...no... I'm just helping her out! She isn't mine, is she? Maybe in the future but....oh future with her? What's happening!!!!! His thoughts disappeared when she returned with the drinks. After a bit of silence, Asia and Danni hit it off leaving him rethinking. They looked liked they enjoyed each other's company a little too much for Triston's liking, that he would try to butt in but would be left hanging somewhere out. Danni was enjoying the struggle his cousin put himself in and felt sorry for him but not enough to let him off the hook. "The books are ready so if you can come and collect it..oh I didn't know we had another guest" Right on time Triston thought when he saw Alice enquiring about the books. He nodded towards Danni and winked at her hoping she got the message and apparently she did which he guessed must be the reason she dragged Danni out with her and winked back at him. Thank you, he mouthed at her when they disappeared into the bookade. "Wow, that was awkward! I wish you were my date rather than him, I mean he is good and all but we don't hit it off as well as you and I do" god she had to do that! It was awkward. And she couldn't believe she flirted with Triston! " You didn't enjoy my cousin's company? It's a miracle! And I wouldn't mind being your date, so care to join me for dinner at my family's table? And this way you'll be let off the grandpa's matchmaking hooks. So do I, Triston Jaye McCallan has the pleasure of dining with you?" She acted like thinking it through to avoid her eagerness to accept the invitation which she finally said yes. After finishing their whispers of coffee seduction act they went back in the library to rescue Danni from the clutches of Alice only to find them fighting over comics characters which earned a big round of laughter from Asia and Triston. They finally bid farewell to each other, fixing their plan on picking her and her sister up for the family dinner and Danni seeing no use of himself being there any longer left with Triston. The rest of the day passed away on its usual routine until the time of the dinner invitation arrived. ************************* Dear Haden McCallan, I have set up a starting point for them and the rest is up to you to carry on. Hope it works out just fine for them because they make a wonderful couple. Wishing you good luck on your mission and praying for your good health as well as for your family. P.S: I have found one more blooming couple in Alice and Danni, do must you should do! Yours sincerely, Carlos Dean Norton Minna Miriya Cemarajh I DC B.Voc food processing technology St.Teresa's college Ernakulam
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