Love is sweet when expressed. But it is SWEETER when it is told in a piece of sweet cookie.
“Good morning Miss Charmaine.” Chef Woody greeted me as I entered the Wonderland Pastry shop. It was famous for their World Class Desserts and Goods.
I immediately looked around. I never get tired appreciating the place.
The shop was so amazing. It was colorful yet warm-hearted. They had lots of goodies and stuffs like cakes, cookies, pies, tarts, quiche and a lot more. No wonder they called it Wonderland. The name said it all. And the place? It was so cozy and sweet, very sweet. The walls were mostly made of glass. There were highly-designed columns in the corners like in Ancient times. Pictures and paints of sweets were placed there at the top. Their products were placed in a big glass cabinet in the counter, making it visible from the outside.
“I see, you’ve been checking out the place again?” Chef Woody smiled.
“Good morning Chef and sorry, I wasn’t paying attention at all. I just couldn’t get over it.” I said shyly with a smile.
He knew me very well as much as I do. He was my uncle but not in blood. He was in his late fifty’s yet he owned the place.
I had been in the city for almost a year already so it had been a while. And I always came here whenever I had free time. He was the greatest Pastry Chef for me. As much as I wanted to be one like him, I couldn’t. I only knew how to eat. Good thing I didn’t get fat even though I ate too much.
I rapidly went to the counter when something just caught my eye.
“A STRAWBERRY PAVLOVA?!” I screamed in delight as I leaned on the shelf where it was located with its name on the front. It was circular in shape, looked as white as snow on the sides. It was garnished with perfectly ripe strawberries glazed on top and drizzled with caramel, making it yummy by just looking.
Chef Woody chuckled. “You like it, right?”
“Of course! Is this the one you’ve been talking, Chef?” I asked him astoundingly. He nodded in response.
“This looks delicious. Give me one, please.” I ordered. My eyes were shimmering in delight.
“Fat woman.” I suddenly stiff when I heard that eerie voice of a man, Austin Woody, twenty-three year old stone-hearted person. He was Chef’s son. He was irritating like hell. I had been suffering to his tantrums since I first landed my feet here. He kept on giving me cold treatment. He was like mad every single day like nothing good happened to him at all.
I faced him as I put my hands on my waist. “You called this lady, fat?” I frowned, posing to him my sexy body despite of being obsess to sweets.
“Obviously, you have lots of fats with you.” Calmly, he alleged. He never stopped teasing me even though it was insensible. I sighed in submission. I would be just wasting my time arguing with him.
“Well done making it, son.” Chef was pleased to him. Then I just noticed that he was holding a plate full of cookies. I didn’t see this kind of cookie before. It was like a moon-shaped cookie. Too plain if you look at it. “What’s that, by the way?” I wondered.
“Fortune cookie, fat.” I told you he never stopped. I just had to calm myself. I didn’t want to ruin my appetite as for the moment. I deeply sighed.
“I actually never heard of that. Why do you call it fortune cookie anyway?” I picked one as Austin put the plate on top of the shelf. “Will people be lucky if they eat one?” I did a thorough check-up on the cookie.
“No, but it cheers and encourages those people who are down when they eat one. There’s a paper inside it that gives pieces of advice.” Chef enlightened me. That made me wondered.
I was about to eat the cookie when Austin covered my mouth.
“What was that for?” I questioned him irritatingly when I was able to remove his hand from my mouth. And Eew, it was gross but smelled good.
“Miss Charmaine, the cookie can’t be eaten directly. You might ruin the paper inside it. You should break it into two.” Chef clarified. “You heard the old man, Fat. Don’t ruin what I just baked.” Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Austin was Chef’s apprentice. They were both an artisans.
“Should I break this into two then?” I gave Austin the interrogating yet pissed look. He nodded in respond.
I did what I suspected to be done. I found a piece of paper after breaking it into halves.
Someone loves you out there. That was written. I gasped. Was this even true?
I showed them the piece of paper.
“Someone is lucky in love.” Chef grinned widely at me. He looked suspicious.
“Che..” I was about to ask Chef when Austin just put the cookie that I was holding inside my mouth to interrupt me. I was forced to chew it.
“What the..” and for the nth time, I was again interrupted. Not because of the rudeness of Austin but the deliciousness of the cookie. It took a while before things sunk in my mind. I had never tasted a cookie like these before.
Austin raised an eyebrow on me.
I ignored his intimidating look. “You really made this?” I asked him since it was unbelievable. I can’t actually believe that this plain-looked cookie tastes so good. In my twenty years of existence, I never tasted a cookie that tasted so, so, so, good. Its appearance never speaks at all.
Austin just rolled his eyes. That made me chuckled. I never thought Austin would look so gorgeous even doing that. He was actually handsome enough for the ladies to drool at him. Well I think that ‘handsome’ was an understatement. But he was rude, A LOT.
“Here’s your Strawberry Pavlova anyway.” Chef handed me the Pavlova I just ordered.
“Can I get another fortune cookie?” I pleaded Chef.
But Austin gestured ten in his hand.
“Ten?” I wondered.
“Ten bucks each.”
“What?!” I complained loudly. Who wouldn’t be? It was pretty expensive for just a cookie. Well, the taste was worth it, but still.
“Ten bucks or no cookies.” He kept on insisting it. I frowned.
But then, Chef put a cookie on my plate, weird because it was bigger than the others. I let it slipped on my mind.
I rejoiced silently for Chef’s goodness. He was a total opposite of his son.
Austin questioned his dad through looks. “A cookie won’t kill you Austin.” Then Chef smiled at me.
I teased Austin by sticking my tongue out.
I mouthed my thanks to Chef then went to my favorite spot in the shop, my beloved corner. I just loved it there. The place was quiet, peaceful and distant from others. I could totally concentrate on eating my favorite dessert and my new favorite cookie.
I kept on looking unto my cookie and wondered what would be the words of wisdom inside it this time. I chose to wrap it in a tissue and just eat it later in my place.
I made a slice in my pavlova and was about to eat it when someone sit in front of me.
And here he came again to annoy me.
He just stared at me intently.
And that gave me a time to examine Austin’s features. He was definitely handsome. His thick brows, long eyelashes and I envy him for that, pointed nose and for the second time I envy him for that, and his lushes but thin lips. It was pretty kissable just by looking at it; I wondered what it feels to land those lips of him into mine. It sent me an electrifying sensation with just thinking about it. I shook my head in disgust. What was I thinking?
“You’re not paying attention at all.” He was annoyed now. Wait, what did he said?
“Pardon? I actually didn’t catch up the thing you just said.” Shamed on me.
“I asked you if you have already eaten the cookie.” He was pretty frustrated.
I shook my head in response. What’s with him?
He opened his palm towards me, gesturing like he was expecting me to put something on it.
“What?” I glared at him.
“Hand it over.” He commanded.
“Big no.” I got it for free and now he was getting it back from me, over my dead body.
“Give it to me and I’ll give these all to you.” He showed me a plate full of fortune cookies but all of it was open. No more traces of the papers with words of wisdom.
“What’s so special about the cookie and why are you giving me all of that? You had just wasted your entire effort mister.”
“Just give it to me.” He said in authority. I can’t argue with him anymore. I was in my leisure time and he was ruining it. In the end, I gave him what he was asking for. It’s okay though. It was bartered with a lot of it just no paper inside it though. It was okay; I was planning to buy one next time, for sure with a paper inside it.
He left me in my table without even saying a word.
“THANK YOU!” I shouted at him. Why was it so hard for him to be a little kind to me? He was only rude to me. ONLY TO ME. It made me so pissed.
I went to Wonderland Pastry Shop again the next day. I was planning to eat a Chocolate Tiramisu and a lot of fortune cookies. I was craving for more yesterday even though I had eaten all of it. I actually ate it at home.
“Good morning Chef.” I smiled at Chef Woody as I entered the shop.
“Good morning. What do you want for today?” Pleasantly, he asked.
“One Chocolate Tiramisu and fortune cookies.” I grinned widely.
“But Austin is still baking it. If you want, you can actually go to the kitchen while I prepare your order.” He suggested.
“That would be wonderful Chef.”
I immediately went to the kitchen. There were a lot of Chefs working there. But Austin was not that hard to find since he had his own spot here in the kitchen, it was pretty hidden. I actually couldn’t see him but still I went to his counter. I wanted to know how he baked the cookies. It was pretty intriguing. Before I reached into his counter I saw the cookie I bargained with him yesterday. I was sure it was the one since it was still wrapped in a tissue. I saw a little of his back when I glanced a little at his counter, I bet he was working right now. I was about to approach him when I saw him with a girl, they are hugging each other.
A pain pricked my heart. I didn’t even know why. I just realized that I was crying silently already and found myself running away from them.
“Are you okay dear?” Chef asked me when I get passed to him.
I ignored him even it was very a dishonored act. Yet I didn’t want him seeing me vulnerable. No, I actually didn’t want people seeing me vulnerable. What they knew about me was that I was cheerful and not this state of me right now.
I stopped running when I reached to a wide place. It was the park, a hundred meters away from the store. I was gasping for air at the moment so I decided to rest in a swing.
I went into a deep thinking while swaying softly on it.
I actually recalling my actions and why did I just did it. I didn’t know. I couldn’t tell myself on what I really feel towards him. I heaved a deep sigh.
Well to tell you honestly, I was star-struck at him when I first saw him. Was it counted ‘love at first sight’? I didn’t know. That time, my heart was beating recklessly. Beating like there was no tomorrow.
I guessed no matter how rude he was to me; I still couldn’t get away from my feelings to him. If love was inevitable, same goes through with pain.
I looked down. Pain was all over me. I silently sobbed when I realized I was holding into something. It was the cookie. I didn’t even know that I brought it with me.
“I know I would find you here.” A baritone voice intruded my thoughts. I knew it was Austin.
“What are you doing here?” I kept on looking at the ground. Again, I didn’t want someone to see me at this state, especially not him.
Instead of answering me, he knelt in front of me. “Look at me.” His voice was so caring. I mean, it was like caressing my heart. Was he worrying about me? Totally not the Austin I knew.
He held up my chin when I didn’t follow him, to meet his eyes.
How did he know where I was? Was he searching for me? I mean, he didn’t know I was there at the kitchen a while ago, right?
“If you’re asking why I was looking for you this whole time is because my father barged into my counter in the kitchen, looking worried. If you are asking me why I knew you were here, I just know that this is your favorite place when you wanted to think about things thoroughly.” Was he reading my mind? Well, I did that frequently, alone.
“I’m not reading your mind, okay? You’re just easy to read.” Again, he was answering all the doubts in my mind.
“Are you a psychic or something?” This time, I chose to be vocal. It would be too awkward knowing we were still in an intimate position. Intimate because his face was just a centimeter away from me. My pounding heart went berserk again.
He chuckled, “silly.” He pinched my nose lightly. Oh my. It was my first time to see him laughed. I found it cute. “Handsome, right?” He teased. I didn’t know that I was looking at him that long. Well it was true that he was but I wouldn’t tell him that.
“But seriously, are you? It’s because you just answered all my questions in mind. Well not all actually.”
He shook his head. “My turn to ask you then. Why did you go to the kitchen? Why did you run away? Why are you crying?”
“Woah, woah, woah, easy, okay? One question at a time. Okay?” I asked him sweetly. He smiled back at me. In which I found it unusual.
“Okay,” I deeply sighed, unleashing my agitated feelings. “I went to the kitchen because Chef said you were there. I was planning to buy a lot of fortune cookies. But he said you were still baking it. So I checked it out myself because I’m curious on how you make it.”
I looked away before continuing what I was going to say. “I run away crying because I saw you with someone in the kitchen. You were both hugging.” It was almost a whisper. What I did was pretty humiliating. Now I wanted to be eaten by land beneath me and just disappear.
He laughed at me loudly. I gave him a death glare he deserved.
“Were you jealous?” his eyes were glistening in happiness when I looked at him.
Was I really jealous? “Of course not.” I insisted.
“You think I will buy that?” he was still laughing at me.
“Cut it out. Stop laughing, it’s not even funny.” I hit him lightly in his broad chest.
“So you were jealous?”
“I told you I’m not.”
“Okay. I am. You happy?” I frowned at him.
“Are you making fun of me?” I was a little bit of disappointed of what he responded. So he was happy seeing me in desperate times.
“Nope, not at all.” He widely grinned at me.
“Well then, why are you happy?” I questioned him.
“Because you like me.” He said without hesitation.
“How can you be so sure?”
“Because you got jealous. Unless you like Mia and not me.” He was pretty confident.
“It’s not worth it. It’s unfair.” I started crying again. “Yes I like you. No, I love you. But knowing the fact that it’s impossible for you to love me back hurts me. That’s why it’s unfair.” I was sobbing in front of him. I could see he was pretty shocked at first then gave me his most genuine smile.
I just felt his fingers wiping my tears away. “Sshh. Please don’t cry. It pains me seeing you cry.”
I was about to asked him again when he looked down and noticed the cookie that I was holding from the start.
And I did. And it surprised me. The cookie didn’t just have words of wisdom. There was a rolled paper on it, three inches long. No wonder it was big. It won’t fit on a normal size fortune cookie.
Charmaine, you might not believe me, knowing that I always annoy you every time our paths crossed. You know why I always keep on doing that? Because I wanted to have your attention all the time. I first saw you in the park, having deep thoughts. I still didn’t know that you knew my father at that time. When I looked at you, I was like seeing an angel who fell from above. You have this angelic face that would really make the guys fall for you. I wanted to talk to you at that time but I was so timid. That’s why I chose to just look at you from afar. I tried to be nice at you. All those desserts you ordered, I all baked them just to please you. But still I’m so shy to talk to you nicely. I was contented at first to just look at you and observe you on your daily routines. But then I started to annoy you. I was happy because in that way, I would be able to talk to you. It was a selfish act. But I guess I don’t want to stay that long. I wanted to go inside your circle. I wanted to be with you. But because of my nervousness, I chose to put all my feelings to you in this fortune cookie. It was not a fortune cookie to begin with. It’s a love confession cookie.
Charmaine, I love you till forever. I really do. That’s why I am putting all my hopes to this cookie. I’m sorry that I had hurt you. I’m sorry. Don’t worry, it won’t happen again. I won’t hurt you again. I won’t expect you to love me back. But I was hoping. I hope you would reconsider my feelings.
I couldn’t believe it at first. It was pretty unbelievable. Believe me; I tried waking up myself in my mind.
I was still weeping but not anymore with sadness nor with pain but with happiness and love. Austin loved me. He loved me as much I do. We both feel the same.
I didn’t know what to say. The man who loved to annoy me till death actually loved me till eternity, with all his heart.
I looked at him intently in the eye. All I could see was Love.
“I love you Charmaine.” He finally said it. Hearing it personally from him was something electrifying. I was like in cloud nine.
“I love you too Austin.” And with that, we shared a warm-loving hug. We embraced each other so tightly like there was no tomorrow for us anymore. Everything was unbelievable.
“Who was Mia by the way?” I asked him while we were still hugging.
“My cousin. She actually just came here from the countryside. She plans on having a vacation here. She actually wanted to know you also.”
“So I was jealous for nothing?” I frowned when I broke from our hug.
“If you weren’t jealous, I wouldn’t be this happy.”
“You’re right. We wouldn’t be this happy and loving. Be thankful to me.” I proudly said.
“Thank you and I love you.”
“I love you.”
Then we shared our loving kiss for the first time.