Chapter 1: I get a 3rd leg in a coffee shop.
“Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?”
_ Danielle La Porte
I crossed a park full of laughter while moving towards the coffee shop across from it.
I was in Brooklyn now.
My New York visit had gone well. The doctors said that I was good. I only had to go for another check-up next month. Cool summer breeze fluttered the ends of my long cardigan and I involuntarily smiled.
I had been cooped up in the hospital for nearly 4 hours, and I needed the fresh air and the solitude.
Reaching the coffee shop, I pulled the door open and stepped inside. The chatter of kids from the park turned faint.
I went to the barista and ordered a cafe latte. Just as I was about to turn, something small and giggling collided with my legs. I saved my coffee in record time and looked down. A small 5-year-old girl with black hair in pigtails and sparkling blue eyes looked up at me.
“Hey,” I said smiling at her. She giggled.
“I am hiding.” She said whispering. I smiled at her adorable nature.
“From who?” I asked her. She looked towards the doors.
“My brother.” She whispered. I grinned at her.
“Don’t worry I will help you hide,” I said.
Her face split into a beautiful grin. Then she looked at the doors and squealed. She hid behind my legs wrapping my cardigan tail around her body like a curtain vampire. I looked at the doors to see a guy approaching us.
He looked like a Greek god; no kidding.
He was tall and well built; his soft blue shirt perfectly flaunted his toned physique. he was probably an athlete. Dark hair flopped over a tan chiseled face with bright blue deep-set eyes. I suddenly felt ten times warm and shy. But I willed my face into neutrality.
I will not fawn over him like crazed fangirls, which by the way many girls in the shop were doing.
“Leah, come here right now.” He said looking at the girl who was wrapped in the seams of my cardigan.
She- Leah, giggled. I remembered my promise and snapped out of my reverie.
“Uh...she is not here,” I said addressing the guy in front of me.
His eyes rested on me and I felt a warm fuzzy feeling in my stomach. One perfect eyebrow rose and he looked back at Leah.
“That is my third leg,” I said firmly folding my hands over the tank top underneath my cardigan.
“Your third leg?” he asked, a small smile formed on his lips, and ‘my third leg’ started giggling.
“Yeah...don’t stare at it. It’s rude!!!” I exclaimed and widened my eyes at him for effect.
Leah giggled and peeked up at her brother.
“Well look now, your third leg has a face.” He said dryly.
I looked at the ceiling and whistled a tune.
“Leah, don’t disturb strangers.” He chided.
Leah’s face scrunched up.
“But she is not a stranger,” Leah said.
This time the boy and I both looked down at Leah. Was I supposed to know her?
“Yeah? Tell me what’s her name?” he asked Leah.
Leah gestured me to come closer. I knelt down to her level.
“What is your name?” she whispered.
I suppressed my smile and whispered back, “Crystal”
She looked up at her brother and confidently said, “Crystal”
“You asked her, this is cheating,” the boy said, his eyes narrowing at her.
“You did not cover your eyes while you were counting.” She pointed out mirroring his actions.
“We were in the middle of a park, Leah.” He said and I couldn’t help the bubble of laughter that came to my lips.
Both the siblings looked at me.
“I am so sorry. But I really like Leah. She is smart.” I said to the guy.
Then I bent down to give Leah a high five. She hopped a little and returned it.
“So now you are supposed to pay a penalty,” I told the guy. His brows furrowed.
“A penalty?” he asked.
“A penalty for cheating on your five-year-old sister,” I told him.
Leah squealed in confirmation. The guy looked amused. I might have been flirting with him. But when you are young dumb and broke, what's the harm?
“Leah, what do you want?” I asked the little girl.
“A baby elephant, a peacock, and a raccoon.” She replied.
My eyebrows rose at her weird request. “eh...”
“She is obsessed with Barbie: an island princess. For now.” The guy sighed and clarified.
“Yeah, let’s get you something other than those,” I said.
Leah pouted then smiled again, “Chocolates!!!” she squealed.
“Yes!!! That’s my girl.” I told Leah.
“Let’s go to the chocolate room,” Leah said tugging my hand and her brother’s hand.
“Chocolate room?” I asked quizzically.
A vision of Hansel and Gretel’s gingerbread house flashed in my mind.
“It’s a confectionery shop. They sell all sorts of chocolates in different shapes and flavors.” The guy clarified again. I nodded.
After 5 minutes of walking which was filled with an overly enthusiastic 5-year-old’s chatter and the silent amused presence of her brother, we reached the store, and just as he had said the place had chocolates in all shapes and sizes. It was breath-taking
“This is like Honey duke’s...” I murmured, with a smile on my lips.
“Honey duke’s?” the guy asked glancing at me.
I turned to him and he blinked twice at me.
“You know Harry potter....wait you haven’t read Harry Potter?!” I asked him when he looked at me in confusion.
“No...” he replied slowly.
“Read it NOW,” I told him and I was sure that at that moment I looked like a psychopath.
“Okay...okay,” he said.
“Good” I replied to him and turned back towards all the chocolates kept around me.
Heaven. Chocolate heaven. Leah was pointing at chocolates and ordering the guy behind the counter to pack them. I went to the shelf holding dark chocolates. There were so many varieties. Finally, I chose dark chocolate delight.
“I promise that I would come back for you,” I promised solemnly to the chocolates.
“I am sure they will miss your company.” The guy said. I turned to look at him, he had an amused smile on his face.
“What is your favorite?” I asked looking straight into his eyes. They were a beautiful shade of blue, sparkling like clear water.
“I like any sort of chocolate. Doesn’t matter to me.” he shrugged his strong shoulders.
I nodded at him and paid my bill. The moment my parcel was in my hand Leah tugged my cardigan. I knelt down in front of her; she kissed me on my cheek.
“Thank you for getting me chocolates.” She said smiling. I laughed at her.
“Thank you for showing me this amazing place,” I said and kissed her on the cheek.
“Bye Leah. I hope I see you again.” I said
“See you later, crystal!” Leah smiled at me.
The guy held on to his little sister’s hand. I turned to go back to my mom’s house when someone tugged on my wrist. I turned back to see Leah’s brother close to me. He smelled like mint and something fresh. I took a deep breath.
“I hope I get my deserved kiss very soon, too, Crystal.” He said looking down at my lips then back into my eyes.
My cheeks flamed. He gave me a cocky grin and turned back to his sister.
After walking for a few minutes in shock, my mind came down from its high and I muttered a sensible response, in my numb mind.
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