Sunday, April 30, 2017

The First Date: Brett and Marlin

Brett and Marlin had their first date weeks ago, but it's taken a while to post the story.  They are having dinner at Color Burst.  They have already ordered and received their food and drinks.  They have been talking about one of the things they have in common, work.

Brett and Marlin have been exchanging stories about customers they've served, including the best tips they've received, the cutest couples, and interesting events.

Brett:  Those women were the best.  I guess since it was a bachelorette party and they weren't having a stripper, I was the next best thing.  All I had to do was smile.  They were making up for not dolling out dollars on a half-naked man by tipping me every time I came back with something.
Marlin:  That is too funny!  I wonder what would have happened had I been assigned to their event.
Brett:  You never knowYou could have scored just the same.
Marlin:  Well, I doubt they would have been just as happy. said you have a secret to increasing tips.
Brett:  It's not a secret anymore.  I told Bryce and he says it's been working out for him.
Marlin:  Good for him.  I need the secret too.
Brett:  Okay.  Here it is.  The secret sauce.  I wear a tie.
Marlin (staring for a few seconds):  What?  You're kidding, right? A tie.  That is the big tip secret?
Brett (winking):  It sure is.  It enhances the experience and seems, well, black tie.  For lack of a better term.  My uncle gave me that tip.
Marlin (laughing):  I love it!  Is your uncle a server?

Brett:  No, but he's in the restaurant business and he does very well. So is serving a long-term career for you?
Marlin:  It's what I've been doing for a while.  I haven't thought about doing something else.  At least not seriously.  But who knows?  Maybe I will find something else I would like to do.  But serving pays the bills, the tips are good and I enjoy the interaction with people.  What about you?
Brett:  I'm just in it to learn the business from the ground up.  I want to manage a restaurant one day. 
Marlin:  That's nice.  Are you taking courses for restaurant management?
Brett:  No, I plan to get hands-on, nose on the ground training.  I know I'll be ready for the next step soon.
Marlin:  Good for you.

Brett:  This food is delicious.  Don't forget we have to try those rolled bacon appetizers. 
Marlin: I won't.
Brett: So, are you having a good time?
Marlin:  I am.  A very good time.  I'll be honest.  I sat at this very table on my first date with someone else. 
Brett (frowning):  That last guy?
Marlin:  Yes.  But I feel so much more relaxed and I'm loving the conversation.  I guess it's because I've known you for a while.  It feels like I'm spending time with a friend.  I like that.
Brett:  Good.  I'm glad. Then maybe we can do this again?  Well, something else.  Like a movie or something.
Marlin (grinning):  Sure.  That would be fun.

Brett:  You know, this has to be the most delicious drink they make here.
Marlin:  I don't know. My lemonade is pretty good. 
Brett:  I may have to order that next.  Hey, that reminds me.  I think I saw some mixology event coming up in my special events notifications from this website I registered for.  What do you think of doing that?  We can go head to head and see who mixes the best.
Marlin:  That would be fun.  But, I have to warn you.  My best friend loves mixing up drinks.  I've picked up some tips from her, which will make me pretty hard to beat.
Brett:  I'll take you up on that challenge.  Besides, I don't mind being beat by a beautiful woman. 
Marlin (blushing):  That's so sweet of you.  Thank you!
Brett:  I'm just calling it like I see it. 

Brett and Marlin enjoy the rest of their date.  Brett takes Marlin home and then heads home excited about and looking forward to their next date.

Thanks for stopping by.~ Jaye

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The First Date - Rowan and Rahim

Rowan and Rahim are on their first date.  Rahim made reservations at Select Spaces.  Although he chose the 'Romantic' package, he was specific about dialing it back a little so Rowan wouldn't feel pressured about the date.  He's very much interested in seeing her and doesn't want to ruin his chances, especially not on the first day. 

Rahim has been sure to be a gentleman.  He picked Rowan up, made sure she was seated and continued to ask if she needed anything.  Rowan is very impressed.  Bryce is their server this evening.  He has welcomed them, provided them with the specials and is asking about their order.

Rowan:  I would love to try the lamb.  Instead of the normal jelly, do you have a light barbeque sauce to pair with it?  I'd also like the potatoes cooked with olive oil, not butter, please.  The broccoli can be steamed with garlic, but not too heavy.  I'd only like some water, no lemon, please.
Bryce:  Certainly.  Would you like bread with it?
Rowan:  No, thank you.
Bryce:  And for you, Sir.
Rahim: I would like the sirloin special, medium rare, with au jus.  The rice pilaf, no salt, but please add steamed shrimp.  I'll salt it myself.  Oh, an dfor the vegetable, I would like the creamed spinach,
Bryce:  Certainly.  And for your drink?
Rahim:  I would like Raspberry Tea, please.
Bryce:  I will get your drinks, place your food order and be back shortly.  I am here to be sure you enjoy your evening, so please to not hesitate to let me know if you need anything.  Can I take your menus?
Rowan:  I would like to keep mine a little longer to look over the desserts, please.
Bryce:  No problem.  I'll leave them for you.

Rahim:  Have you ever been here before?
Rowan:  No, never.  I was aware they were opening it last year, but I haven't had a chance or a reason to come here. 
Rahim:  I hope you like it here.  I thought about taking you to the restaurant where I work, but I thought that would be too distracting.  The staff would all be curious about you and I wouldn't get peace all night. 
Rowan:  I can understand that.  Maybe at some point you will feel comfortable to have me dine with you at the restaurant where you work.
Rahim:  I hope so.  Of course, it's a little different if I'm not the chef working that evening.  I would like chance to cook for you myself one day.
Rowan:  Well, I would certainly like that. If you play your cards right, that could happen.
Rahim:  Oh, I'm definitely the cards master.  You'll taste my cooking for sure.  So, why don't you tell me a little about yourself.

Rowan:  I have one sister.  She's only one year younger than me.  I'm the eldest.  I'm fortunate we're close.  I love having my own business.  My business seems to be my life right now.  Marisol is wonderful and one of the best business partners someone could have.
Rahim:  You co-own the Flavor Café?
Rowan:  No, I own it myself and Marisol technically works for me at the Café.  However, she also has her own business wherein she makes cakes and other desserts.  So we work together when I cater a wedding or large event.  I'm better at general food and Marisol is better with cakes and desserts, so I subcontract with her to provide wedding and special cakes along with other desserts.  Hence the cake testing with Marisol for your sister's wedding.
Rahim:  Nice set up.
Rowan:  Thank you.  So tell me about yourself.

Rahim: I also have only one sister, no brothers.  I'm very protective of Isis.  She's my little sister.  She trusts me and my opinion.  Especially when it comes to food.  She's marrying a guy I really like, Tyson.  I'm glad she's happy.  I also know she'll be happy for me to find someone I'd like to be with.
Rowan:  That's so sweet. 
Rahim:  I'm also a one woman man.  So when I say I'm interested, that's it.  No field playing.  So I'm expecting the same.
Rowan (smiling):  I understand and agree.  I want that respect too.
Rahim: Cool.  So what are you looking for in a relationship?

Rowan:  Honestly, I'm not into the dating game.  I really want a husband, a settled down life and children.  I enjoy my business and don't want to ever give it up, but I would be willing to figure out how to manage my career with a family life.
Rahim:  I don't think you should have to sacrifice your dream for a family.  You can have both.  I like that you have your business.  One day I'd like my own restaurant.
Rowan:  Really?  Do tell.

Rahim:  I have my own style of cooking and where I currently work, I know I bring in the crowd.  But I'd like that pleasure every day.  I want to manage my own hours and time.  I want to impart my skills to others and mentor other chefs to recognize their full potential.  I know my cooking talent can be merged with my business sense.  Just like you've done.  I like your café and I want something similar, but larger scale.
Rowan:  Well, it seems we both share a love for cooking.
Rahim:  It does, doesn't it? 

Rowan:  What else would you like to know about me? 
Rahim:  Other than I'm attracted to you?
Rowan (laughing): Yes, other than that.
Rahim:  I like to travel, I love my family.  By the way, I think my mother would love you.  Isis likes you, so I know my mother will.
Rowan:  Is your father around?
Rahim:  Unfortunately not.  But he raised us well before he passed.  He was a great man.  He taught me to be gentleman, to care for my mother and sister and to respect women.  I miss him so much, but my mother always says she sees him living in me.  I'm very proud of that.
Rowan (smiling):  It sounds like you should be.

Rowan:  I think I'm really feeling a vibe between us. I like cooking, you do.  I like respectful men, you are one.  Should I be worried I'm missing something?
Rahim:  Not that I'm aware of.  So tell me, why are you currently single?
Rowan (hesitating):  Well, the last man I dated was intimidated by me. He couldn't handle a woman with her own business and path in life.
Rahim:  That's sad for him.  What a loss.  You are clearly a beautiful, intelligent, self-sufficient woman who appreciates family.  I wouldn't sleep on that.
Rowan:  Some men do.
Rahim:  Yes, some do, but I wouldn't
Rowan (feeling her cheeks get hot):  I like that.

Rowan and Rahim exchange a silent moment.

Rowan:  I like this restaurant.  It's very nice.  I love this private room, not to mention seeing my name on the board.  You really planned well.
Rahim: And I'm just getting started.  Give me a chance and I think you'll like what you see.
Rowan:  I hope so. I'd like to see you again.
Rahim:  As I you.

Rowan and Rahim enjoy the rest of their date.  At least the first date went well. We'll have to see how things go with these two.

Thanks for stopping by. ~ Jaye

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Finally We'll Know

It's Saturday afternoon and Craig and Avery are at the restaurant where they made plans to meet Parker.  Avery is so excited because Parker is bringing the new lady in his life, whom he has yet to reveal to her and Craig.  Cyann is caring for Aviana. 

Of course, Cyann has known for a while that Ember is seeing Parker, so she was happy when Avery shared with her why she needed a sitter for Aviana.   It was hard for Cyann not to tell, since she is good friends with both Avery and Ember.  But she managed to keep her word to Ember about remaining quiet, not even hinting when Avery has mentioned being curious about who Parker is seeing.  Cyann will also be relieved she doesn't have to keep that secret any longer since she's so happy for Ember.

Parker has not arrived with Ember yet, so while they wait Craig and Avery are chatting.  The server has already brought over the sweet raisin bread they are known for serving. 

Avery:  I'm so anxious.  Isn't this exciting? Finally we'll know who Parker is dating. I wonder what she'll be like. I wonder how they met.  I hope I like her.  No, I don't have to wonder.  If Parker likes her, I will.  I mean, as long as I can tell she's not out to use him or anything, I should.  I guess we'll see.  I so hope she's a good person.  I mean, my brother really likes her or he wouldn't be introducing her, I guess. I don't know.  What do you think, Craig?
Craig (smiling, amused at his wife's excitement):  I think that Parker is old enough to know what he wants and make his own decisions.  Older than you, as a matter of fact.  So you have to respect his decisions.
Avery: I know, but I, well, I just remember the last time he was in love.  She turned out to be not so great.  I mean she was nice, but it didn't work out and she broke his heart.
Craig:  My heart was broken before too, Ave.  But then I met you.  And even if you ever break my heart in the future, it will all have been worth it.  So let him enjoy being happy with whomever for however long.
Avery (beaming lovingly at Craig):  You know I wouldn't break your heart, but that is so sweet of you, Honey.
Avery:  This bread looks so delicious. 
Craig:  Don't wait.  Go ahead and have some.
Avery (reaching for the bread):  I sure will.  I hear it's really good.  Do you want some, Honey?
Craig:  No, thank you.  I'm saving room for dessert.  (pauses) I think I'll order some champagne to toast meeting this woman. 
Avery:  Good idea.  Maybe one day you can bring up this toast while making another one at Parker's wedding.
Craig:  Ave, while that may be a possibility, don't get your hopes up until they have time to figure it out.  Besides, you have more immediate things to concentrate on, like our new addition.  We don't have anything for the baby yet.  We need to get a crib and stuff.
Avery: I know.  We do need to do that.  Do you mind if I go with Cyann to the store to look around without you?

Craig:  No, not at all.  As excited as I am about the baby, I am perfectly fine with not shopping.  I just know that there are heavy things to get and I am responsible for getting them.  So if you find a crib and anything big and heavy, just let me know so I can go get them.  I don't want you lifting anything heavy.  That's my job.  Agreed?
Avery:  Of course.  So, I was thinking...

Avery is looking toward the door as she speaks and sees Parker.  Seeing her staring, Craig turns to look too.  They are both very surprised and momentarily speechless as Parker approaches the table with Ember.  As they arrive at the table, Craig stands up.  Both he and Avery have surprised looks on their face.

Parker (grinning widely with his arms loving around Ember):  Hi!  So here's my lady, whom you've been waiting to meet.  I believe you know her.
Avery:  Hi, Ember.
Craig:  Hi, Ember.  Now this is a surprise!  A pleasant one, but still a surprise.  Wow!
Avery:  Wow is certainly an understatement. You two hid this one well.
Ember:  Hi!  I'm sorry about the big surprise, but we had reasons to wait to tell you. 
Craig:  Well, all that matters is you two are together and looking happy, I might add.  Please have a seat and Avery's inquisition can begin.
Ember (laughing):  I'm sure she has lots of questions.  I understand.

Parker helps Ember to her seat then walks over to Avery to give her a kiss on the cheek.  He and Craig then take their seats.

Avery: I don't even know where to start.  When did this happen?  How long you been seeing each other.  I know at least before Christmas.  I still think of you as the elf who helped him get his shopping completed.  By the way, I loved the gifts.  He made some great choices. 
Craig:  Ave, take a breath and let them answer for a minute.  Then you can ask more questions.
Avery (sheepishly): You're right. 
Parker:  I had been attracted to Ember for a while and finally got up the nerve to ask her if I could get to know her.  I was fortunate, and I'm still happy, that she said yes. 
Avery:  What about Erwyn?  This has to be a big change for her.  Does she know?
Ember: Yes, I spoke with her about it and she's fine with it.  We haven't quite all started building that part of the relationship yet.

Parker:  But we will.  If there's a possibility we will be a family, that's important to me.  She'll know I want to be her father, but not replace her father.  I know it will take time, but that's what I want if we get to that point.
Ember (gazing at Parker lovingly): Well, I think she will understand that as long we make it clear through both our actions.  But we have time.
Parker:  Yes, we have time.  No rush, I'm not going anywhere.

As Avery feels her cheeks hurting from smiling so much as she watches Parker and Ember looking at each other, a thought hits her.

Avery: Hey, wait a minute!  When I last saw you at Cyann's, I mentioned wondering who Parker was seeing.  You didn't even flinch. 
Ember (giggling):  I know.  I didn't think I should say anything if Parker didn't tell you.  You're his sister and I respect that.  I respect it the same way he works with my sister, Henna, yet never said a thing.  He left it up to me.  I owed him that in return.
Avery:  Oh! I see.
Craig:  Besides, wouldn't you have rather heard it from Parker?  You know you would have just been chomping at the bit to say something to him.  If Ember respected Parker's need to tell you in his own time, she did the right thing.
Avery: I know you're right.  But I can't help but think I would have known sooner.  Cyann was there, I guess she didn't know either.
Ember:  Please don't hold it against Cyann, but she knew.  She's been my best friend since we were kids.  She knew before my sisters and mother.  I know she's your friend too, but she was between a rock and a hard place.
Avery: She could have at least hinted so I could figure it out, but I get it. 

Parker:  So now that we've hashed that out.  I'm hungry.  We need to order soon.
Avery:  I'm hungry too, although this bread is delicious.  I need a little more.
Craig:  We need to feed her and the alien she's carrying who seems to be dictating quite a lot.
Parker:  Hey, that's my niece or nephew in there.
Ember (laughing):  I have to agree though, babies do a lot of dictating.  It's amazing something so small and new has all that power.
Avery:  Right?  It's crazy.  (to Parker) When are you going to tell Dad? 
Parker: I already called him.  He knows. 
Avery: It figures I'm the last to know. 

The server returns and takes their food order.  Craig also asks for champagne, a sweet blush, so they can toast.  Avery asks for lemonade.  They chat while the server gets puts the order in and gets the drinks.  The server brings the drinks and even brings Avery's lemonade in the same type of glass as the champagne so she won't feel so different from the group. 

Parker:  So what would you like to toast to?
Avery:  We should toast to the stars aligning for a wedding one day. Oh, and future children.  A toast to the future and my soon to be sister-in-law.

Ember's cheeks get hot, she blushes.  Parker just smiles.  Craig shakes his head because Avery can't help but push for what she wants.

Craig:  That sounds like a nice toast, Honey.  But, we can toast to a wedding on the wedding day, should it happen.  Today, let's just pick something more immediately appropriate, shall we?

Craig:  Parker and Ember, I hope that your happiness continues, that you get what you want out of this relationship and that you survive Avery while doing so. 
Avery:  Hey!
Parker:  I'll toast to that!
Ember (laughing):  I have to toast to that too.

Well, Avery finally knows.  She seems to be happy, although she did call Ember out on not telling her. 

By the way, I couldn't have empty glasses for the champagne, so it hit me to put hair gel in the glasses.  That way I have the right color (blush), but with the possibility of spills with knocking over little things (full of liquid), there was less chance spillage if I knocked over any of these glasses. Fortunately, I didn't knock these glasses over and I'm not sure if you can see the 'champagne' since it's so light, but it worked like a charm.  Now you know I'm going to have to try this with future drinks and adding color I may need. 

Thanks for stopping by. ~ Jaye

Avery:  Did you all know Parker and Ember were dating before I knew?  Some readers you are. Someone could have clued me in, sent an anonymous message, dropped me a note, done something to help me out.  That's okay.  That's exactly why you're all going to wait until after the baby is born to find out the baby's gender.  So there.  I'll know something before you.  How does that feel?  Next time you're in on the secret and don't want to help me out, remember that. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Henna's Support Team

It's Saturday night and Henna is relaxing with her friend's Onyx Cahill and Peyton Adams at Peyton's condo.  Onyx and Peyton are both being supportive of their friend as she continues to heal after her break up with Maurice. 

Before we see what they're talking about, you may want to know a little about each of them.  Peyton is a television and move producer.  She used to produce files and television shows for a company called, 'Scene It.'  She has won award from that company for excellent projects she has produced.  Because she'd like to settle down and have a long-term relationship, she chose to leaves Scene It to take a job with a local television network.  It pays well and with her savings from her prior company, Peyton lives very comfortably.

Onyx is an Operations Manager at a major food company.  She manages lines which earn billions of dollars.  She travels the country visiting the plants for which she has responsibility.  She loves her job.  She is currently in a relationship, but like Henna, not ready for marriage at this time.

What are these ladies talking about?  Let's see.

Peyton:  I understand that you're going through it right now about Maurice, but you know you had the chance to change the outcome.
Henna:  I know.  But that's not the outcome I'm ready for right now.  What should I have done, strung him along with a long-term engagement until I was ready?
Onyx:  Heck, no!  You know that would only have made things worse.  Look, I know you're still trying to pull it together, but you need to figure out how you're going to move on now.
Peyton:  Yes, Onyx is right.  No need to wallow in the pain.  What shall we do to help you move forward.  You know, the get back on the horse thing?
Henna:  Okay.  Maybe that's not a good idea.

Peyton:  I'm not saying rush into a relationship, but maybe you should consider options.
Henna:  I know.  You're right.  I'm just so tired of feeling like this.
Peyton:  Well, you did love him.  But, Girl, you should have let go a long time ago.  You knew he wanted marriage and you didn't. You have to take responsibility for that.

Henna: I know.  It just hurts so much.  I mean, why can't I love him and want him in my life without having to get married.  I shouldn't blame him, but I feel like he messed up what we had.  If what he wanted was me in his life, he had it.  So why be so adamant about a piece of paper.
Onyx:  It's not just a piece of paper.
Henna (sighing):  I know.  I guess I feel like marriage right now will take me away from my business and I'm not ready for that.  He has a business to keep growing too.  So I thought at some point he would see how our relationship could work.  We both have businesses to run. I miss himHe's such a sweetheart. So thoughtful.

Peyton:  Henna, you know I love ya and all that good stuff, but you need someone who thinks like you.  A man who wants a long-term relationship but not worried about being married.  But don't forget, one day you may want children.  You can't wait too long to make that decision.
Henna:  I know.  I want children.  I do.
Peyton:  Then you should really give some thought to why you don't want to get married. Are you really not going to be able to grow your business just because you have a family? 

Onyx: Yes, doesn't your sister have a business that she started with a child?
Henna: Yes.  And she wasn't in a relationship because of losing her husband.  But she does have Erwyn.
Onyx:  See?  It doesn't have to be all or nothing.  Now, you know I'm right where you are right now.  Not getting married any time soon.  But there are different strokes for different folks.  I really believe if I find someone I love that much, marriage can be put on the table.
Henna:  I'm sure you're right.  Well, I made my bed.
Onyx:  Yes, now after you've laid in it and you're ready to get out of it, it's time for some fun. We need to do something to take your mind off of Maurice.

Peyton:  I love it!  Let's do something fun.  We need more than a girl's night.  We need a vacation. 
Onyx:  I'm so in!  Where should we go?
Peyton:  Well, it just so happens I'm going to do a short production project on the side which requires my presence in California this July.  I think it would be cool if we all went.  The room will be paid for, I'm getting a lovely suite.  We can stay for a few days, go to the beach, party.  Oh!  We'll live it up on the West Coast.
Onyx:  You don't have to convince me.  Now we just need the third amigo to buy in.

Peyton:  Well, Amigo? Que Pasa?
Henna (laughing):  I guess that sounds good.  I could do California.
Peyton:  Great!  We'll have a good time.  Now, aside from Cali, we'll also need to start getting out more locally.  I, myself, am in the market for a stable man.  Unlike you two, marriage is on the menu for me. 

Peyton:  Can you start dating again?  At least some flirting?
Henna:  I think I'm up for that.  I can take a page from Ember's book.  She lost the love of her life and while it took her a while to get there, she is dating again.  I think her heartbreak was worse than mine.
Peyton:  That's a good way to look at it.

Onyx: So that's the plan?  Cali in July and some evenings out before and after?  Right?
Peyton:  That's the plan.  We're in for a hot summer! 
Henna:  Okay. That's the plan. We're in for a hot summer.

Well, it looks like Henna's friends are going to find a way to help her move on from her break up.  Good for her.

Thanks for stopping by. ~ Jaye

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Spilling the Beans

It's Thursday, late afternoon and Parker and Ember are meeting to discuss construction and design for a client.  Henna has plans for dinner at Ember's house that evening, so she has picked up some desserts.  However, to keep the desserts fresh, Ember needs to pick them up and take them home with her.  She will be arriving any minute now.

Parker:  This wall is load bearing so, the idea you had about expanding here will be more expensive.  We'd have to create another way to bear the load.
Henna:  Well, I guess I'll have to come up with another option. What I'm thinking of proposing could still work, but if they don't want to add on, I need a back up plan.  Darn! 
Parker: Your clients don't normally wince at the costs if it gets them what they want.
Henna:  You're right.  What about this idea?

While they are talking, Ember arrives.

Carly:  Hi, Ember!  How are you?
Ember:  Hello, Miss Carly.  It's good to see you.  I'm just dropping by to pick up some food Henna bought.
Carly:  Yes, she's in a meeting right now, but she said she to just get her on the intercom to let her know you're here.
Ember:  Okay, great.  I'm not staying long.  Thank you.

Carly pages Henna.

Carly:  Excuse me, Henna.
Henna:  Yes?
Carly:  Ember's here.
Henna:  You can send her in, Carly.  Thank you.
Carly:  Okay.  Thank you.
Henna:  I hope you don't mind, Parker, but Ember's just picking up those desserts for dinner tonight.  She's having us, her sisters and our mother over.  She'll be just a few minutes and then we can continue our conversation.
Parker:  That's not a problem. 

Henna stands up and moves toward the table where the desserts are. Ember walks in and closes the door behind her.

Ember:  Hey, Henna.  Hi, Parker.
Henna:  Hey.
Parker:  Hi, Ember.
Ember:  I know you're meeting, I won't be but a minute.  Sorry to interrupt.
Parker: No problem.
Henna:  Thanks for stopping by to get these.  Sy's going to be very happy.
Ember (laughing):  You know she will.  I bet you a dollar she grabs a cream puff the moment she sees the box.
Henna:  Why would I bet against that?  I know better.  Hey, do you mind making a quick stop to grab one more thing?  It's for this evening.  I'll give you the money.

Henna moves to get her wallet out of her purse.

Ember:  Sure.  Why not?  What do you need?
Henna:  Hot wings.  I don't know why I'm in the mood, but I want some for the potato salad you said you're making.
Ember:  Okay.  Blue cheese or ranch?

As Henna goes to reply, she notices Parker looking at Ember.  She knows that look and she is amused.  It reminds her of how she would catch Maurice looking at her sometimes. 

Henna:  Ummm.  Both, please. 
Ember: Okay.

Henna hands Ember the money, which she puts in her purse and then grabs the boxes.  Parker rushes to the door to open it for her.

Parker:  Let me get that for you.  Do you need help taking these to your car?
Ember (smiling):  Thank you, but I can handle them.  I appreciate the offer.
Parker:  Of course.  Well, enjoy your evening.

Henna just stares at the two of them.  Ember leaves and Parker and Henna get back to work.


Eliana has taken Erwyn out for dinner and a movie.  They will be back in time for Erwyn to take her bath and be in bed for school the next day.  Ember wanted to be able to talk to her sisters and mother without Erywn there. 

Ember's mother, Fatima, and sister, Henna have already arrived and are chatting in the living room while they wait for Syren, Henna's and Ember's youngest sister to arrive.

Fatima:  So, this ought to be interesting.  I wonder what's on Ember's mind.  She said she had something to share with us, but I wonder what it is.  Maybe her business is expanding. I hope it's not that she's moving.  I like being able to see you all when I visit.  Speaking of which, I'll be going home in two weeks.
Henna:  I'm glad you stayed this long.  You should move up here.
Fatima:  I love Florida, but I've been thinking maybe moving closer would be a good idea.
Henna:  It would be.  But, on another note, I don't think Ember is moving.  I doubt she will anytime soon.  But I think I know why she wants to talk to us. 
Fatima:  Really?  Well, what's your guess?
Henna:  I'm 99 percent sure I'm right.  I have a good feeling.  I'm going to tell you just so you can confirm if I'm right, but if I'm not, we don't say anything, okay?
Fatima:  Okay. What is it?

In the kitchen, Ember is mixing up the potato salad.  Henna's requested hot wings are sitting with the ham in the oven.  It's off, but warm enough to keep the meat warm.  Ember is repeating what she plans to say over and over again in her head.  Her thoughts are interrupted when she hears the doorbell.  She goes to answer it and let Syren in.

After Ember lets Syren in, she leads her to the kitchen to set down the drinks she brought with her.  Then Ember says she has to get a chair from her office and she head to the living room so they can all and talk.  Syren says she be right behind her. 

Fatima:  Is that Syren?
Ember:  Yes, she was supposed to be right behind me, and I stopped to go get this chair.  I suspect she couldn't help herself when she saw the box in the refrigerator.
Henna:  See?  And that's exactly why I don't take losing bets.
Ember:  So much for the dollar I would have won.
Fatima:  Are you going to tell us what's on your mind?
Ember:  Yes, as soon as Syren gets in here.  I don't want anyone to say they were the last to know.

Syren enters the living room, kicking off her shoes and greeting everyone.  To no one's surprise, she has a plate with a cream puff on it and a beer in her hand.  She's happy.

Henna:  Yep, there she goes with her Achilles' Heel.  You just can't pass one up, can you?
Syren:  I'm a woman of simple tastes.  This little creamy dream just calls to me.  How can I say no?
Henna:  Well, I bought them because I was thinking of you.
Syren:  That makes you the bestest biggest sister ever.  I love you.
Henna (smiling):  I love you too. 
Fatima (laughing):  Sy, Baby, you crack me up.
Ember:  I tried to bet Henna a dollar you would grab one the moment you saw those, but she refused.  What does that say about your predictability?
Syren:  It says you just know me so well.  But, I wish I could say the same about you.  Why are we here?  I have been trying to guess what you're up to.  Do spill the beans, Darling Sister.

 Ember takes a deep breath and then tries to remember what she rehearsed in her head.

Ember:  I'm dating again.
Syren:  And?
Fatima:  Syren, let her finish.
Ember:  I'm seeing someone I think could be long-term.  I'm in a relationship and I wanted you all to know.  We were keeping it quiet until we, mostly me, were sure it was worth discussing.
Fatima:  Congratulations, Honey!  I'm very happy for you.
Syren:  Me too.  It's about time.  Girl, get your life!
Henna:  I'm happy for you too.  So, who is it?  When will we meet him?
Ember (pausing):  You have met him...It's Parker.
Henna (yelling):  Yes!!!!

Everyone looks at her shocked, because of her outburst.

Henna:  I knew it!
Ember (laughing):  No you didn't.
Henna:  Mom?
Fatima:  Yes, she did tell me, right before you came in here, that's what you were going to tell us.  She wasn't going to say anything if she was wrong, but she did say it.
Syren:  Wait a minute. You knew and you didn't tell me?
Ember:  How did you know?
Henna:  Well, I honestly didn't know until today.  It was very clear to me from your interaction with Parker today.  He was all googly eyed.  And that's not Parker.  He's normally so laid back and cool.  But the way he reacted to you, he may as well have worn a t-shirt that said he was totally tripping over you.

Everyone laughs.

Syren:  We need details.  How long have you been seeing him?  Is he good to you?  What made you two start dating in the first place?
Fatima:  We just need high level details.  Does Erwyn know?
Henna:  Are you thinking you two could end up getting married?  Wait, that could mean I'll end up working with my brother-in-law.  Like a family business thing or something.
Ember (trying to take in all the questions):  Okay, okay.  I'll tell you some, as Mom called them, high level things.  No deep details, Syren. 
Syren: I'll take it.  I have my food and drink.  I'm ready.  Spill more beans.

Ember provides the high level details and they enjoy dinner together.  They have a fun evening.  It's also time for Fatima to go home.  I don't think there will be any going away parties for her this year. 
Oh, and Parker needs to tell.  We'll have to see how that goes.

Thanks for stopping by. ~ Jaye