Four years ago
"Jade, Juliette, aren't you girls ready yet? We're hosting the party. We should go there early," said Jaden Meyers to his two sisters, Juliette Meyers who was a year older than him and Jade Meyers who was only sixteen. It was his 21 st birthday and he had invited all his friends to his old classmate Dustin Moore's restaurant and bar to celebrate.
"We're ready, let's go," said Juliette and Jade, walking towards the main door.
"Dad, we're leaving," shouted Juliette from the door.
"Enjoy but not too much drinking. And you know what time to return home," said their dad. "Take care of Jade, please," said Christopher Meyers, their dad, who had retired as a lawyer, handing his law firm to his oldest son, Jayson Meyers. Jayson was away on a case and couldn't attend the birthday celebrations.
They trooped out to Jaden's RAM 2500 and climbed in. They soon were on their way to the venue.
"Just how many friends did you invite, Jady?" Asked Juliette.
"Around 25, but please don't call me that in front of everyone," he said, glaring at Juliette.
"Why am I even going?" Said Juliette, rolling her eyes.
"Please Jules, don't be a spoilsport," grumbled Jaden as he parked the truck in the parking lot of Dustin's restaurant.
It was a picture perfect little restaurant painted in white, with it's glass doors and windows. Two white lanterns hung on either side of the white panelled glass door. Jade liked the simple beauty of the place. She hated loud, harsh and extravagantly decorated bars and restaurants but this one stood out in its simplicity.
She picked a small pink buttercup from a flower pot near the door and followed the others inside. She fixed the flower to her long cascading golden locks that reached to her waist. The interiors had been tastefully decorated with white chairs and tables. Each table had a small vase of buttercups, hydrangeas and roses. There was a big birthday banner put up for Jaden. He didn't want any more birthday decorations.
She bumped into someone while staring at the decorations. "Oops sorry," she said, looking at whom she bumped into.
He stared at her without a blink and stood there just holding her waist lightly, to stop her stumble. His dark chocolate brown piercing eyes, his sharp chiseled jawline, unshaven stubble, and short chocolate brown hair made him look very gorgeous. She could feel his muscles where her hand touched his arm to arrest her fall.
"I I'm sorry, I didn't s see yyou," she stammered again but he kept on staring, as if in a trance. Her cheeks coloured and she released her hold on him.
"Oh, there you are," said Jaden. "Oh, you two have met already? Still, Jade, meet Dustin Moore, the owner of this place," he introduced. "Dustin, this is Jade, my little sister. She just turned 16."
Dustin's hand left her waist. He gave her a small nod in acknowledgement and disappeared with Jaden. Jade stood there mesmerised by him, by his touch. He was of Jaden's age, she knew as he was Jaden's classmate at school. She heard that he dropped out of school in his final year when his parents died. He had to clear all their debts as well as take care of an ailing grandmother.
He and his grandmother sold their sprawling house and bought this small property at the marketplace of their hometown, Travis Springs in Hays county, Texas. They turned it into a restaurant with a bar, naming it Jenny's Restaurant and Bar.
They cleared their dues with the rest of the money. At the backside of the restaurant they lived in two small bedrooms, with a bathroom to share. It was all they could afford.
Jenny's restaurant and bar catered to parties and get-togethers and also provided home deliveries. It provided good, wholesome meals at affordable prices, carving a name for itself over the last few years.
Jaden's friends came pouring in. They all wished Jaden, hugging him and fist bumping with him. Jade stuck with Juliette and they sat with some of the girls that Jaden had invited. They all were Jaden's school and college friends.
The cake was brought in and cut. Jade and Juliette stood next to Jaden as he cut the cake. They fed him a piece. Jade could feel Dustin's eyes on her throughout the cake cutting ceremony. Whenever she looked up at him, he looked away.
She moved away when Jaden's friends smeared the rest of the cake on his face. She went to the washroom to wash her hands. She had just reached the corridor when a husky voice arrested her.
"You have cake on your mouth too," he said and she turned around to find none other than Dustin Moore, standing in her personal space.
"Oh," she said, shyly. He was so handsome and so brave. He handled everything that came his way so well. She couldn't believe that he followed her out of the party. Was she crushing on him already? Maybe. She was just 16. She was surprised that a twenty-one year old entrepreneur would talk to her.
"Here, let me," he said, raising his hand to wipe the cake from her mouth. His thumb brushed her lower lip to wipe the cream away, causing a tingling sensation all over her. His piercing brown eyes took in her reaction to his touch.
"T T Thank you," she said, blushing furiously and lowering her eyes.
"You're very beautiful. The most beautiful girl, I've ever seen," he whispered.
"I got to go," she whispered back.
She blushed more and ran into the washroom, closing it as her heartbeat thundered in her chest. She might be falling for him. She didn't have much experience with men. She wasn't interested in her rowdy classmates. Being soft natured and gentle she stayed away from them. So when Dustin touched her, she felt strange emotions in her very soul. Emotions she never felt before.
She came out of the washroom and returned back to the party. All the time she could feel Dustin's eyes upon her, but the moment she turned to check, he looked away.
The party was a huge success. Liquor was served in moderation. Jade didn't touch it as she was just 16. Even Juliette didn't drink to give her company.
The food was very good and everyone praised Dustin for his efforts. He brought his grandma from the kitchen and introduced her to everyone. She was the one who helped cook up the dishes. All the food served were her recipes actually.
Afterwards, when the guests started leaving, Dustin led his grandma towards Jade who was busy helping the attendants clear the mess the guests had made. It wasn't her duty to do it but she was a very sweet, gentle and helpful girl. She helped anyone and everyone without asking. That was her nature.
"Granny, this is Jade, she's Jaden's sister," he said, blushing a little.
"Oh, aren't you a darling? How old are you, sweetheart?" His grandma asked.
"I'm sixteen, granny," she said, shyly, looking at granny's happy face.
Granny touched her cheek and pulled her into a hug."God has made you with so much care. He's taken his time, I can see. You're beautiful, both inside and outside, " said granny, hugging her tightly.
"Thank you granny," she said, blushing. She felt oddly self-conscious with Dustin's eyes never leaving her face.
"Leave it, they will clean everything, " she said, leading her towards the kitchen. "Come, I have something special for you," she said.
"What granny?" Jade asked.
Granny went to a glass showcase and brought out a batch of chocolate walnut brownies, and packed them up for her.
"This is for you, sweetheart. My special batch of brownies," said grandma, handing her the pack.
Jade squealed with delight. She hugged granny and thanked her profusely. Dustin stood staring, mesmerised by her. Granny didn't miss the way her grandson stared at the young girl. She beamed with happiness at the prospect of a future grand daughter-in-law.
They came out of the kitchen and found a worried Juliette looking for her. She smiled with relief upon seeing her. They all thanked Dustin and his grandma and left.
Jade couldn't forget Dustin. She couldn't concentrate on anything. His piercing brown eyes followed her even in her dreams. She felt a weird longing to see him, to be in his arms, to talk to him, to hold his hand. She couldn't understand the feeling at all and became restless as ever.
There had to be a way to meet him again. She would die if she didn't see him again.
Suggested cast: Theo James as Dustin Moore