“The Boss lady says she’ll be here in fifteen minutes.” The waitress at Crave Kitchen said to Lawrence. “Can I get you anything else?”
“Yes. More coffee please.” Lawrence responded. As the waitress turned to walk away, he raised his index finger to get her attention, “Uhm, tell her I’m not in a hurry, she can take her time.”
“Okay,” she smiled and walked towards the open kitchen at the front.
Neema was baking that early morning. Most customers loved her signature black forest cake made with a secret ingredient. Demand always poured in fast. Occasionally, she would step in and help her staff like today. Lawrence always found it interesting that her staff called her ‘Boss Lady’, yet they related so casually with her on any given day. She didn’t mind the name but preferred it better being called Neema.
Since the breakup happened, Lawrence hadn’t met her to talk about it and that’s part of the reason he was here. He was busy debating in his mind whether the offer he had gotten to resell at the jewellery shop was fair enough or would he simply keep the engagement ring and donate it or something.
His heart was slowly growing cold to the idea of love. Fuck love! He murmured to himself. He was slowly giving up and wondered if Neema would do anything to change all that he felt inside.
A couple minutes later Neema walked up to his table. She was done baking and looked eager to talk to him. He stood up to hug her. She’s the same height as Faith, a thought crossed his mind. They both sat down without taking their eyes off each other.
“Hey Boss Lady,” he had a cheeky smile on his face.
“You too? Stop it.” She laughed, “stick to Neema, I like it that way.”
“Okay Boss, Lady, oops, I meant Neema.” Lawrence laughed.
“You look happier than you sounded on phone. “She stopped one of the waiters walking past their table asking him to bring her a drink.
“Let’s just say I’m really trying to distract myself from the whole break-up thing,” Lawrence said.
Neema wanted to ask him for all the details, how it all happened, step by step. She paused when the waiter came back with a cup of mocha and almond cookies. “Thanks, Paul.”
‘You’re welcome.’ The waiter walked away.
She took a sip, then asked, “Did Stacy show any emotion when you broke up with her?”
Lawrence wasn’t quite sure how to respond. “I guess she did. Maybe I couldn’t decode it.”
“Guess that means there is no valentine’s for you tomorrow, huh?” Stacy realized that might have been too harsh a thing to say, so she continued, “But all is well handsome. Best believe it.”
She stretched out her hand to hold his. Normally, he never felt awkward when this happened to him even in public. For some near magical reason, it always made him think about Faith. It made it seem as though his guardian angel was there with him, present in Neema.
“I’m tired of this thing called love Neema. It’s too painful. I don’t want to engage in it anymore. That’s how I feel.”
“I know what you mean Lawrence but trust me when I say you can’t give up just yet. Stacy may not have been the right one for you but there is someone else out there. Give it time. You’ll definitely find her.”
“That’s easy for you to say, you know?” Lawrence protested.
“I agree. The last thing you want to hear is what I am telling you. But it’s the truth. You stand to lose when you give up on love Lawrence. I almost did when Brian passed on. I felt empty. Lost. And there was nothing that could replace that void. I turned to work to fill that emptiness and though I have built this business on my own, all that would never fill the void.” She looked around the restaurant as if confirming her own words to herself, then continued, “I thank God you’ve been here all along Lawrence. Things would be a whole lot different if you weren’t here with me.”
Lawrence placed his other hand on hers. As much as Neema was overprotective of him, he too loved and protected her the best way he knew how. “I dreamt about being at the cemetery a few days ago to see Brian and Faith. What time do we head there?”
“Let’s do it now, okay?’
Neema stood up to get her jacket. She drew some car keys from her jeans and tossed them to Lawrence, “You’re driving.”
“Yes, Boss Lady.”
NEXT: No Valentine’s | 14