A short piece for EdenLit’s Valentines Day. Nothing overly naughty, just a little bit of infatuation.
The rain pounded the car as I parked across the street from Gaia Chocolaterie. I stared out the passenger window, through the gray afternoon at the row of brick shops, Gaia in the center with its green and brown overhang and green door. Through the window I can see the glass cases holding the chocolate delights and even further the shop owner.
I don’t know how long I sat in the car, hesitant to move, just watching through window and window. I don’t know what I was waiting on or what finally shook me from my reverie to grab my purse and get out of the warm car into the cold spring rain. I do know that my heart was pounding harder than the rain or my heels on the pavement.
A bell chimed when I entered Gaia. I winced, though I’m not sure why I thought I could enter unnoticed. The shop was tiny, barely large enough for a customer and the cases of chocolates. Everything in the shop was green and brown from the tile to the pin-stripe wallpaper to the stamped tin ceiling. I looked around as I shook the rain from my jacket and hair.
“Hello.” Her voice made the butterflies in my stomach flutter maddeningly. Slowly I looked up, taking in the shop owner. She was short and curvaceous under her lavender dress. Her long brown hair was done in ringlet curls, an old fashioned look that made her face all the more cherub-like. Absolutely adorable. I swallowed hard and nodded in greeting, unable to find my voice.
“Is this your first time here?” Her voice was like the bell that had chimed when I entered. I nodded and stepped inside a little further, towards the center of the two large glass cases.
She grinned, a rosey blush on both cheeks. “Well, Let me give you a sampler then. Do you like white milk or dark?”At first I didn’t know how to respond. It was as if she had asked me in another language than my own. Finally, I swallowed again, trying to gain some moisture in my mouth, “D-dark, please.”
She spun around and took a green and brown box from the shelves behind her and began to open and close the glass cases, putting chocolates in the box. Finally she tied it all up in a gold bow and set it by the cash register. “On the house. Were you looking for something special? Maybe something for Valentines Day?”
I was focused on how red her lips were. Yet, they didn’t look like they had lipstick on them. I wondered how they would feel, how they would taste. It wasn’t a new query to my mind. I had thought of this since the first time I saw her, at the local natural foods store, talking to the manager about lavender oil and her shop that would soon open. She hadn’t noticed me. I wasn’t surprised.
I shook my head and shrugged. “No…just…curious.” I pulled my eyes away from her features and to the chocolates in the case. I felt I had to buy something, anything to excuse my trip from uptown to the historic district. Finally I pointed at a row of larger-than-average chocolate truffles. “Those…they’re awefully big…”
She giggled, it was such a beautiful sound. “Yea…they’re raspberry. There’s a whole raspberry in dark raspberry ganache in a dark or white chocolate shell.”
“I’ll take one of those. White chocolate,” porcelain white…like her skin.
I protected my brown paper bag under my coat and hurried back to my car. In the driver seat I took a few deep breaths, my stomach and chest shaking. I had paid in silence, grabbed her business card, nodded in thanks. Not once did I flirt or ask her out. I still had no clue if she was single, had an interest in dating, or even liked girls. I felt like the whole trip had been a waste of time.
Once I got home I shed my work clothes, throwing them in the washer by the front door. Naked, I took the chocolates to my bedroom and collapsed on the empty bed. My body ached all over and my head was full of the image of her.
Without opening my eyes, I felt for the brown bag, the smaller bag inside, the large raspberry truffle. Raising it to my lips, my nose filled with the scent of chocolate. I knew this was how she would smell. My tongue traced its smoothness, wondering how much sweeter she would taste.
I bit into it, breaking the white shell and filling my mouth and nose with the deeper, richer scent of cacao and ripe raspberries. I slid my tongue inside, finding the one berry, inserting my tongue in its sweet hollow. Tasting the ripe fruit, I moaned at its tart sweetness and swallowed the thick juices.