Dani had a way of coaxing a life story out of anyone. People felt at ease and relaxed in her presence. Her amiable countenance felt open, cordial and they always let down their guard and effortlessly chatted while selecting their chocolates. She knew most customers by name and warmly welcomed them whenever she worked the front of the house.
By the time Dani filled the rather large box meticulously with handmade confections, she had learned the young man’s name, whereabouts he resided, what he did for a living and some idea about his relationship with his mother.
Nicholas lived in the stylish North Berkeley neighborhood. He was staying at his family homestead while he spoke and gave lectures for the Archeological Department at the University. He had just come back from a dig and a long furlough in Pompeii, Italy. He was writing his first book on his findings and conclusions.
“I’m sure you have tried all the chocolates. What’s your favorite, Dani?” He inquired. He had four spots left to fill and peeked at her nameplate pinned to her pastel, aqua smock.
She didn’t hesitate. “Oh, I have tried everything, indeed and my top favorites have to be the Coconut Macadamia squares and the Hot Chili Pepper with Lime.” Clients always wanted to know what her favorite morsel was and the question was common. She never wavered and knew the answer by heart.
“Ok. I’ll take your word for it and try them. They sound intriguing, not too safe, but possibly delicious. I’ll take two of each, please.”
Dani smiled pleasingly. She liked a man who tried new things and braved the unknown with such assurance. She asked politely. “Is there anything else, Nicholas?”
“Yes.” He coughed and put his right fist up to his lips. “ I was just wondering if you were available anytime this weekend for a cup of coffee or tea or whatever?” he stammered out rather awkwardly. “I’m sure you have plans, just throwing it out there. Are you? Available?”