Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Long Toast

WARNING:  THIS STORY HINTS TO SOME ADULT THEMES.

It's Valentine's Day evening.  Ember is home after having been out with Parker.  She's in the bathroom soaking in the tub, which she felt like she needed when she got home.  She thought it would relax her.  She's trying to pull herself together and be as quiet as possible.  She doesn't want Erwyn to hear her crying.

Ember is still trying gather her thoughts considering her dinner with Parker this evening and how it went.  She finds it interesting that it was Valentine's Day when her sister, Henna, found herself in a similar situation (you can read the story here).  Ember has so many emotions going through her right now.

As Ember sits, letting the heat from the water warm and soothe her   The evening turned out so different than she thought it would.

Ember places the wash cloth over her face and puts her head back to relax and reflect on the evening...

Let's join her in her reflection...


Ember and Parker are enjoying the dinner he planned for them.  It's Valentine's Day, almost like a the Valentine's Day when they left and became intimate for the first time (you can read that story here).

The mood and the ambiance are lovely.  As always, Parker is a gentleman, but Ember has noticed he's a little strange.  There's something about him that's a little unsure, almost nervous.  Ember isn't sure if she's correct or just misreading him.  She doesn't believe so, but she's still not sure.

Ember:  Dinner is delicious.  I'm glad you were able to get us seating Select Spaces. I would have thought for sure they would be terribly booked tonight.  They really out did themselves on the menu and the décor.  It's so perfect.
Parker: I'm glad to hear you think so.  I wanted everything to be perfect.  It's a special night.
Ember: Yes, Valentine's Day is certainly that.  It's interesting how much is poured into this day for so many people.  It's like they need it to show how much they love someone.  
Parker: Some do and some like it for a reason to make things even more special.
Ember:  True.

Parker:  Do you remember our special Valentine's Day?  Our first time?
Ember:  I sure do.  I think about it sometimes and I treasure it.  But I'm pretty sure we've topped it since then.  
Parker:  We'll keep topping it.  So, do you want some dessert tonight?  I'm pretty sure it comes with the package.  
Ember:  Maybe some here and the rest may have to go.  We've had so much, I think I will burst I'm so full.  I felt like licking the plate with everything we had. So satisfying.
Parker:  Mmm.  Save that thought about licking.  I have some ideas which will be satisfying, but not fill you up.

Ember:  Oh, really? Well, I was thinking I have some ideas which may make you want you to take dessert home instead of having it here.  
Parker:  Are you sure Elaina can't stay with Erwyn for the rest of the evening?  We could see if our room is available.
Ember (laughing):  No, she cannot stay.  I was lucky she could even come this evening.  Her man will be home early tomorrow morning and she hasn't seen him in a long time.  Besides, I need to get Erwyn off to school in the morning. 
Parker:  Okay.  But if you change your mind, the offer still stands.

Ember and Parker enjoy chatting and then the server comes to clear off the table and take their dessert order.  They decide to enjoy some champagne.

Parker:  I'd like to propose a toast, if you don't mind.
Ember:  Of course I don't mind, Sweetheart.  What would you like to toast to?
Parker (taking her glass):  This toast may take a minute, so I don't want you to drink before I'm done, please.
Ember (curious):  Okay...

Parker (looking deeply into Ember's eyes):  I want to toast to being more happy than I ever thought I could be with a woman I truly love with all my heart.  I want to toast to us spending a long life together with you as my wife.  I want to toast to your giving me a child now, my daughter, Erwyn, and to our future children.  I want us to toast to your doing me the honor of becoming my wife.
Ember:  Your wife?
Parker:  Yes, will you marry me?

Ember looks at Parker intensely for a moment.  She wasn't expecting this at all.  It was truly a surprise.  After losing Evan, Ember promised herself she would never get married again. And now this man whom she would never want to hurt.  This man with whom she has spent so much time, who has invested himself in her and her child was asking her to spend her life with him.  He deserved an answer and she needed be able to bring sound to her throat and respond.    It took her a minute to muster it with tears welling up in her eyes, but she finally did.

Now, Ember is in her bathroom done reflecting and out of the tub and drying off.  She has controlled her tears and pulled herself together.

There's a knock at the door and Ember is concerned that she has awakened her daughter.  She softly responds.
Ember:  Come in.

Parker:  Babe, you're keeping me waiting.  And you smell so good.
Ember:  I'm sorry.  I was just thinking.
Parker:  Thinking about what?  Penny for your thoughts.

Parker has Ember turn around so he can look at her and notices her eyes are slightly red.

Parker (concerned):  Are you okay?
Ember:  Yes, I was just crying, but I'm fine.
Parker:  You're still crying.?I hope they are still the same tears of joy.
Ember (laughs):  Yes, they are.  I have it together now.  I know I've been a little emotional, but I'm just so happy.  I never thought I'd be so happy again. I never thought I would get married again. There are just a lot of emotions flowing through me right now.  All good emotions, but a bit overwhelming.  I can't wait to walk down the aisle and be your wife.  I love you so much.
Parker:  I love you too.  Thank you for making ME so happy. Now I think I can be helpful with applying that lotion you're always putting on. Come to the room so we can continue celebrating. Then we can tell Erwyn the good news in the morning.
Ember:  Yes, Sweetheart.  I think she'll be very happy too.

Woo hoo!!!  So there will be a wedding after all.

Thanks for stopping by. ~ Jaye

Saturday, February 9, 2019

A New Acquaintance

Today, Ember is waiting to have lunch with a new acquaintance for business, Somali Stewart.  Somali and her husband, Crain, moved to the area a few months ago and are living in temporary housing until they decide where to move for a longer term.

Somali is an operations consultant who specializes in the fashion industry.  She is brought in when companies need help with setting up design spaces, putting together fashion shoots, fashion styling, coordinating the accessories and organizing the team.  She creates and brings things together.  Being new to the area, she is still learning it and still trying to settle down.

Her husband, Crain, is a property developer.  His company relocated them to the area so he could work on a rather large multi-building campus for them.  He earns well into the six figures, so Somali doesn't have to work, but she enjoys it.  She is good at what she does and was very popular where she used to live.  She is building up contacts in the area and Ember was fortunate to have been provided with her information via Leera Medina, another business partner and owner of LeeMa Designs.

Somali also happens to be the cousin of the supermodel, Zain Bello.

Zain and Somali

Somali has not yet found a sitter, so she has to work with Crain's schedule when she would prefer not to take their daughter, Azure, with her somewhere.  She explained the situation to Ember when Ember asked to meet with her as soon as possible.  Ember, being a single mother herself, understood and invited her to bring Azure to their lunch meeting.

Since Ember arrived first, she had the hostess switch out a chair for a high chair for the baby.  She's checking on business items while she waits.

Ember:  It's okay, Zenia.  Just be sure you make it to the shoot on time.  We'll handle the contract for the Burn shoot later.  We still have time.  Just read it over thoroughly.
Zenia (on the phone):  I'm excited.  This is going to be a real boost for me.  Jye said she was asked to do the same shoot, but had to turn it down for something else.
Ember:  Yes, unfortunately, but that's okay.  Sani is available and still building up her reputation, so she's going to be there with you. 

Ember looks up and sees Somali approaching with Azure in her arms.  She tells Zenia she needs to get off the phone.

Ember:  I'm sorry.  I'll have to call you back a little later, Zenia.  My appointment has arrived.  Get some rest and don't forget to double check your bag for tomorrow's walk.  Okay?
Zenia:  Okay.  Thanks, Ember.  Bye.
Ember:  Bye.


Somali:  Hello, Ember.
Ember:  Hi, Somali.  How are you?
Somali:  I'm good.  I'm glad you were able to make it today.  I'm looking forward to working with you on some projects.
Ember:  And this is Azure?
Somali:  Yes.  Say 'Hi', Azure.
Ember:  She's so pretty.

Azure just smiles and giggles.

Ember:  Do you need any help?
Somali:  Thank you, but I have it under control.  I am, however, very hungry.  I hope the server comes soon.  It's been a busy morning.  I had some marketing items to get out.  A prior client tried to talking me into flying to Seattle to work for an entire week, which I can't do right now.
Ember:  That says something about your skill.
Somali:  Possibly, but I can't go for a week.  It's okay, there will be other opportunities.

They chat for a while and the server comes and takes their order.  They start talking business.


Somali:  I can create story boards, provide photos and sketches of the scenes or displays I recommend.  It helps my clients to have a better visual of what things will look like. I can also provide the model placement and pose suggestions.  I worked with several photographers where I used to do business, but here, I have only worked with one so far, Teagan.  But she's good.
Ember:  I have a photographer I like as well, Dallas.  He's good and the ladies like him.  Unfortunately, he can be hard to book, but he's my first choice.
Somali:  Well, maybe we can invite them both to do a shoot and then we'll have to first choice photographers available.
Ember:  That sounds good.

Ember and Somali talk about upcoming plans.  After a while the server returns with drinks and the food they ordered.  Somali feeds herself and Azure (with baby foo she brought with her) while they talk.


Ember:  There are some really key shoots for the summer.  I do think outdoor spaces will be part of the theme at least one of my clients is looking for.  One of my business partners, Chambray, will be launching her line this year.  Which is so exciting.  It has taken her a while, mostly because she's been busy with modeling contracts, but she's ready to get her own line out there.
Somali:  Good for her.  I love that entrepreneur spirit. I have it myself, you have it.  It's great to be surrounded by women who have that same drive.
Ember:  I agree.  My sister, Henna, also owns her own business.  We learn from each other.  Seeing her success was big part of why I realized I could start my own business and pursue my dream.  I'm so glad I did it.  Just a lot of hard work, but it does pay off.
Somali:  It sure does.

Somali and Ember continue to chat about business, until dessert.  They both couldn't resist the options available.  Azure has been pretty good until now, but she's fidgety so Somali has to take her out of the chair to keep her calm.


Somali:  So, on a more personal note, I could use some insight into some good places to shop here.  I'm also looking for things to do.  We do have family pretty close, well about an hour's ride away.  But not right here.  So they don't really know this area enough to guide us. If you have any recommendations, please let me know.
Ember:  I think I can help you with that. It depends on what you're looking for, but here are my suggestions.  If you want a casual dinner with good food, try Color Burst.  For a nice secluded experience, whether romantic or just a few friends, there's Select Spaces.  Oh, and for some food you just want to grab during the day or bring home for dinner, there's the Flavor Café.  I love that place.  It's only open Monday through Friday until 5 or 6.  They also cater.  
Somali: I'll have to try those out.

Ember:  I haven't been there, but I hear Lila's is good. It's also a nice place for a quiet intimate evening. Oh, and how could I forget.  Artaste is a very good restaurant.  Parker and I had our first date there. They make this absolutely delicious gelatin dessert.  
Somali:  Is Parker your husband?
Ember:  No.  We are dating and in a committed relationship.
Somali:  Okay.  Well, maybe if you and he have time, we can go to dinner together.  My husband doesn't know very many people in this area either, other than those with whom he works.
Ember:  I like that.  We can definitely do that.

(If you want to relive Parker's and Ember's first date you can find it here:  link)

The ladies chat a little longer and, after finishing their dessert, decide it's time to leave.  Somali dresses Azure in her snowsuit to get ready to go back out in the cold.

Ember:  That is such a cute snowsuit.
Somali:  Thank you.  I had to order it online and get it shipped here fast.  We are not used to this cold weather and I haven't had time to find a baby clothing store yet.  I like for her to look pretty.  
Ember:  I just so happen to know of a boutique baby store called, In Style Baby.  They do specialize in more neutral baby items, but for clothing, they do have more gender specific items. Very cute baby clothes.  My friend, Avery, who also happens to be Parker's sister, recently had a baby and she shops there.  They do have a website as well.
Somali:  I'll have to check it out. Thank you.


Ember:  Thank you so much for meeting with me.  I think we'll be able to do some great things together.  And, it will be nice to go out and get to know you better.  So I'll definitely call you to set something up.
Somali:  I'm looking forward to it.  
Ember:  Bye, Azure.  

The ladies leave the restaurant to go about the rest of their day.

Thanks for stopping by. ~ Jaye