Gabriella winced as she tried to cross the street. There was a light at the center of Westport Road and Pennsylvania, but the sidewalks were full of young women of all sizes in all manner of dress. The young men driving by never seemed to keep their eyes on the road; and certainly not on the one light above the intersection.
She had gone back to her car to get some more boxes of chocolate. She had run out earlier than she was used to. She had a small shop she had inherited from her parents when they died. Her parents had inherited the shop from her mother's parents when they died.
Gabriella had grown up making confectionary since she could put a candy in the middle of a confectionary foil. The paper was actually Gabriella's invention. They took a thin aluminum foil and had flowers and other designs with their shop name, "Guinevere's Chocolates" silk screened on it.
The way they wrapped the chocolate came from watching them do it in Paris. The graphics came from Gabriella's graphics class during her college years. She had majored in Architectural Graphics with a separate degree from Le Cordon Bleu in the Culinary Arts.
She had longed to work for one of the local architects, but felt trapped to help her mother when she fell into poor health and refused to sell. Actually they couldn't sell it. Nobody really knew how to make all the assorted Swiss chocolate variations they offered.
Her grandparents and parents refused to upgrade their equipment through the years. Most of the work was done by hand. Once her mother gave up trying to oversee everything, Gabriella managed to put in several chairs and small tables. She got up so early to start the chocolate; she also began serving many more expensive coffees as well.
Lately she started offering a line of ice cream she had been developing. She hadn't worked out very many flavors, but didn't have much room either. The kids got a kick out of her actually making the chocolate covered cones right in front of them.
The coffee advertised in the gourmet sections of the expensive specialty stores and coffee shops didn't display the fact that their "Kona" coffee was less than 1% coffee from Kona, Hawaii. Gabriella's Kona Coffee was 100% pure beans from Kona. They were about $70.00 per pound for the beans, so the coffee was much more expensive than the beans from Costa Rico, Brazil or Togo.
One day, she was making some chocolate covered strawberries when the bell over the door tingled. She looked up to see one of the biggest, meanest looking black men she had ever seen.
She had seen his picture in the paper when the Chief's had picked him up. He had bounced around the league for a few years. He must have been 6'-6" tall and about 260 pounds. He was one of the few men to have beaten the world record holder from Jamaica. After that, every pro football team in the NFL was after the Nigerian track star. Tony Olakandi looked bigger in real life than the newspaper clippings.
The sides of his head had been shaved. His kinky Mohawk was wide on his head, and the back of it was combed almost like a ducktail from the 1960's. The top was more like a flat-top, with the edges longer and curled back up over the top.
His long muscled legs still bulged with muscle under his Levis that hung over his lizard skin boots. His white, starched button collar oxford cloth dress shirt was starched almost as stiff as a board. The darts in the sides made it fit like a glove. His Dolce and Gabanna dark glasses gave no hint where he was looking.
The girl he was holding the door for was spectacular. She had obviously dyed blond hair that was permed and looked like it was ready to take wing. If her hair couldn't get her off the ground, her water wings could. She looked like she had both elbows stuck in her blouse; a tough job for something cut that low.
Her short skirt barely covered her ass and her high heel shoes were tall enough to cause serious injury if she fell. Aside from that, she was truly a beautiful girl. It was a shame she couldn't let her natural beauty show.
Bambi, as she heard Tony call her, was intent on getting an ice cream cone and a couple of pieces of Belgian chocolate. She sampled the Marzipan, the Gianduia, the Dark Chocolate Cherry Cordial, the Raspberry Truffle, and some of the Dark Chocolate rolled in Cocoa Powder.
It wasn't so much that she was a discerning shopper as she didn't know what anything was and might as well have been picking over the shelving at Wal-Mart.
With all his hostile and threatening appearance, Tony Olakandi was twice as sophisticated as she was. "What a pathetic pair." Gabriella thought to herself. "It looks like he got himself a sure fire lay tonight, she thought to herself as she tried to present her most sincere smile.
"Can I help you folks?" she smiled.
Tony tried to look interested, but it was hard. It was hard to tell behind the Dolce & Cabanas, but he actually was checking out Gabriella. She was like looking at Susan Aniston next to Courtney Cox. Courtney Cox is so blindingly beautiful; you don't notice Susan at first. Her dingy mannerisms, her humorous dialogue have a tendency to minimize her actual looks.
Tony took a closer look at the middle aged woman with a blue denim apron behind the counter. She was probably a little over forty years old. Her long reddish brown hair was done in a long French braid; obviously to keep it out of her work. She wore no makeup; maybe a slight touch of lipstick. Her green eyes were framed by her wire rimmed glasses. She had no jewelry.
Her blue Levis concealed some high heeled lizard skin boots. They were almost identical to his; except the heels were higher. "I like your shoes." He said with a faint smile that was hard to tell with his dark glasses on.
"Thanks." She replied as she peered over the counter and noticed his.
"I'm working on some new ice cream. When you're through with the candy, why don't you try some? No charge." She said as she turned and went to the next display case. She pulled out a small plastic bottle and took off the top to pour some batter onto the griddle and drew a dark brown wooden stick across it. It was the same wooden tool the French use to make crepes.
She wrapped them around some wooden cones to cool. "This is my version of Dark Belgian Ice Cream." She said as she dipped it in a canister of chocolate and then sprinkled some chopped up macadamia nuts over the top. The chocolate dip was still soft and the macadamia sprinkles stuck to it to create a nice garnish of white in the dark chocolate.
"Where did you learn to do all this?" Tony asked as he took the two cones from her.
"My mom and grandmother used to take me to France and Belgium when I was a little girl. I used to watch them make this stuff. I am working on several more ideas. I'm trying to find a way of combining puff pastry with the chocolate and ice cream. There is only so much you can do when one person is doing everything and it is all handmade." She said as she wiped her hands on her apron.
There was also only so much attention he could give another woman if he wanted to get laid with the one he was with. He thanked her for the free ice cream and went back to sit with his date at a wrought iron table for two against the window.
The young girl at the table sensed the interest between her date and the shop proprietor, so when he turned around to sit down with her, the short dress was probably a little higher than it needed to be as she sat with her legs crossed. "This ice cream is delicious. Where did it come from?" she asked.
"The woman made it; along with the candy, the coffee and everything else." She probably decorated this place as well" he said as he glanced slowly at the all-white sheetrock walls, tables, counters and chairs. The all white background contrasted dramatically with the dark chocolate confectionary on display. It was a subtle and almost subconscious display that was lost on most customers.
The smell of fresh chocolate, and fresh coffee brewing was intoxicating. Tony was getting laid for sure today. This was the most sophisticated little shop he had been in since he had come back from taking his mother through Europe.
While Bambi was being impressed with Tony's selection of a nice eating place, Tony was becoming interested in the proprietor. Barbie leaned forward, raising her spoon of ice cream for Tony to sample, while raising her dress in a subtle effort to divert his attention from Gabriella. When she felt she was losing the struggle, she insisted they go for a walk.
Several days later, Tony was there at about 6:00am when they opened. He had on nearly the same clothes he had on before; except for the shirt now being blue. He had a USA Today paper and ordered a cup of coffee. Gabriella let him finish his coffee and came by to offer him a refill. "I got some glazed doughnuts on the way in and can't possibly finish them myself." She said and offered him one without even asking him if he wanted one.
"Several of the older retired men come by in the morning and spend half the morning drinking coffee and fighting about politics. It doesn't look like they're going to make it in today." She said. "I usually get them some doughnuts because they are real good about eating everything else I have."
Tony smiled but didn't say anything. When he was done with the paper, he put it back in the rack with the Kansas City star, which others had left to share.
He left a tip of $100.00 under his coffee cup. She was stunned to see the tip after he left.
.... There is more of this story ...