Chad came with the cleaning materials and got to work on it in a jiffy. It was fortunate only the glass of water spilled—a spare cloth for the table and map for the floor was enough to get things right back on track.
Nathalie could see his stern gaze as he mopped the floor with diligence like it was not an easy stain to deal with it. "Thank you, Chad."
Chad breathed out soon as the floor was dry and polished. "I'm sorry—"
"I told you, I'm alright." She waved her hand lightly, dismissing the worry plastered on his face. "You can count on me. Daisy won't reprimand you or of the sort."
Words of hers spoken on the latter had him lit up in joy. He took a deep bow with a cry of gratitude and shuffled out after Daisy took a deep sigh and let him off the hook.
"Are you that weak when it comes to handsome men?"
"Excuse me?" She leaned back; her head shirked away from her question. "I'm surrounded by handsome men, even at work, but there was no way I'm hooked by such." She then ended her speech with a hair flip. "Besides, it wasn't his fault. I saw it."
"Alright, I believe you. Take your time eating, okay?" Daisy's chair creaked from moving out. "I would entertain a few customers today."
"Sure thing!" Nathalie took a sip from her bubble tea. "Oh! Please have the order ready for Jonathan."
"I know you will. Got it covered." Without looking back, she gestured a thumbs up.
'My, she had that keen gaze, is she suspicious about it? I do too.'
Thereon, she started to indulge in the sweet treats. Starting from the chocolate tart, she almost shed tears, hands covering her mouth, from the nuance of sweetness that melted in her mouth.
'So good—I'm glad I ordered this—' She blinked a couple of times when she noticed someone was staring at her. In her peripheral vision, there found none but cars driving back and forth in one path.
'That's strange. Oh, well. Time to eat.'
For the most part, Nathalie's train of thought about the food she ate could go on for several days. That was as much as she enjoyed the dessert, and it somehow relieved the stress that burdened her heart.
While at it, she took a glance at the sudden changes in the interior. Fireworks and the decorations alike replaced the Christmas accessories. There, she recalled its almost new year—In fact, the day after tomorrow was New Year's Eve.
'The cafe's base interior meshed well with her designs, as expected of my best gal.'
She found not even a single drop of bubble tea and spec of crumbs and took out her plain black handkerchief and tapped around her mouth.
It was her time to leave.
She beckoned Chad for the bill and her take-out, which he complied shortly after. After paying, she grabbed the one for Jonathan and tipped him for his services.
Seeing him delighted, she couldn't help but smile as well. That said, she strutted her way to the exit.
Jonathan stood upright as he awaited for Nathalie's return. When she drew close, he gestured a curt bow.
"Here, Jonathan. This is for you."
"Thank you, Miss Quinn." He then grabbed it and opened the door for her.
'What a tiresome day.' In the back seat, she sat with coziness. 'I still have to do it, 'Manuscript,' huh?'
"I wonder what would be his reaction when I already had a manuscript I drafted a long time ago?" She squinted, mumbling.
"Pardon, Miss Quinn?"
Red lights were flashing afore them, which halted their car in the intersection. Similarly, Jonathan held the steering wheel and took a glimpse of her troubled face.
"Don't worry; I was just talking to myself. Go drive."
"Miss Quinn, it's still flashing a red light."
More than anything, she was stumped as she took a peek and what he said bore nothing but the truth. "... Right."
"Is there anywhere you would like to go?"
"I'd rather go straight home." A groan left her lips as she threw her arm on her nose bridge.
When the green light flashed this time around, he revved up the engine and drove off straight to her destination.
'I feel so drained today…'
It took a quarter an hour for them to reach a large plot of land with more flowery meadows, growing in profusion beside the road.
They were out of the city. She arched her neck and noticed the searing colors stretched far and wide, of rich tangerines and marigold, painting the sky. The sun retreated towards the horizon, sitting on its throne with its halo of fire hearth.
She affixed her hand, squinting, as she tried to admire the beauty of it. It was, but a sudden surge of creative thoughts ebbed her mind.
Without her knowing, Jonathan beeped at the towering gate. The guards opened the gate, welcoming the front lawn with a massive fountain displayed as its centerpiece. With its, every gush reflected off a glint of gold.
What bore to their sight was an encompassing mansion that stood with towering brick walls and tall windows that scoured the far-end sceneries.
Jonathan pulled up the car as soon as they reached the front door. He then opened the door for her and assisted her in a staggering position.
"Thank you, Jonathan."
"It must have been a tiresome day; please rest, Miss Quinn."
"I will do that. Have a good day."
She checked her mobile phone, and it was almost evening. Several messages and missed calls from Tyler, Daisy, surprisingly a while ago, and lastly was from her mother.
Of all things, what worried her was the latter—perhaps the majority of her family members held them with low regard. Her hand trembled, gripping her phone, from the thought of it.
'I need to take a rest.'
In a classic white tailcoat and trousers, there found a person standing no different from Jonathan's. But she already knew who it was as she trudged and almost threw her sling bag.
"Ma'am." In thick black hair, the head butler quiffed, with white streaks; green eyes; neatly trimmed beard—drew inches closer, bowed, and received her sling bag on his white-gloved hands.
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