To brush up after our extremely long break, here is the link for Part 4
Hannistina had just had her culinary dreams squelched by the beastly Georgio Ghiradelli. Oh what will she do?
Also, for some reason I decided that this was the beginning of Chapter 2. No, it doesn't make any sense whatsoever, but I really like the title I picked out, so we'll leave it in!
Chapter 2: A Banged Up BonMuffin
Hannistina felt the cold wind prick her skin as she marched down the sidewalk. Her eyes were focused on her destination, not wavering from the Post Office doors which came into view. Her arms tightly gripped the packages she carried as her mind still reeled from the wild ride of the evening before. She wanted to banish all thoughts of the night from her mind, but little memories pelted her, repeatedly bruising her already sore psyche. She struggled to keep her mind from the disastrous evening. Her hopes had been so high for the future, her dreams of a bon-bon business, the man of her dreams...oh, Georgio Ghiradelli was not the man of her dreams! He was arrogant! His words were horrific and his tact was deficient. How was it that all the men in her life turned out to be such duds?
Hannistina reached for the Post Office door just as it came flying open. She felt the blow from the body that had torn through the now open doorway. The shock had sent her body flying down to the hard, cold concrete.
"Oh, Miss Hershey, are you okay? I am so, so sorry..." The words from the assailant rang through her ears. She knew that voice, but the world was spinning too quickly. She tried to focus and noticed instead that a crowd was gathering. She tried to intensify the face above her, but the sun in her eyes blocked her view.
"May I help you up? Please, Miss Hershey, are you wounded?". The sun put a halo around her assailant and his features glowed with concern as he reached his hand down to help her up. Her heart fluttered at the thought of this unknown man becoming her knight in shining armor. Her dreams of this day often filled her mind. Her mind raced with anticipation as she accepted his hand and tried to recover what little of her dignity she could. As her body righted, her breath escaped along with the few remaining dignity shreds.
"Dudley!" was the only word that she could manage. He gently held her hand as she stood up, looking deeply into her eyes. Was it only a dream? Had she hit her head harder than she thought? Suddenly this man she had known since second grade seemed all new to her. The events of last night were all forgotten, as he bent to gather her belongings. The sun again glinted off his head, and she realized that it wasn't a halo, but the shine off his balding head causing the glow. Hannistina furrowed her brow. Perhaps she was just too dreamy lately. There was no reason to go overboard. It was only Dudley. She calmed her overwhelmed, fantasy-wracked brain and adjusted her thoughts back to normal, yet still found herself agreeing to lunch in his shop after her business with the USPS. His presence was comforting, and it was good to know he would understand her disappointment.
As he maneuvered his stocky frame around the table to the kitchen area of the shop, she was amazed by her urge to pour out the events of the previous night. He brought out his new Thanksgiving dinner wrap, a creation of turkey, stuffing and cranberry. Hannistina gazed skeptically at the concoction, then took a bite. She was immediately reminded of her last Thanksgiving with her Dad and his staff. She had been excited to be working in Italy until Thanksgiving rolled around. The meal had seemed so cold and unfamiliar there. Her thoughts wandered as she demolished more and more of Dudley's specialty.
"Listen, Hannistina, I think you were in the right. After all, what is food without love? I think the best food brings back memories and feelings of family. I know how to make many gourmet items, but you know what? I find that it is things like this ridiculous wrap that people keep coming back for over and over. They feel a connection with the food because it is comforting, and there is nothing wrong with that. It's the backbone of my business, in fact. " Dudley noticed her gaze focus on him and immediately reddened. Hannistina, stunned by such plain common sense, had locked eyes with him for a moment. Perhaps here right in front of her, lay the answer --Dudley could give her his opinion of the chili. He would know what would sell for sure; his shop had always been extremely popular. That was her answer--she would ask him--besides, she had to return his dishes anyway.
"Dudley, would you consider coming to my rescue one more time?" Hannistina requested as she batted her eyes demurely. Dudley flushed once again and his features glowed with pleasure. He jumped up from the table, jarring it soundly in his haste. He did not even notice the drinks on the table sloshing as he grandly bowed and waved his arms with flourish. Hannistina choked back the urge to snort with laughter. She managed restraint for a change, and showed only a calm smile.
"Mr. Dudley BonMuffin, would you accompany me to my home to taste my homespun concoction that Mr. Georgio Ghiradelli cruelly pronounced as food fit only for those lacking in taste and refinement?" she asked.
In answer, Dudley hurried to get their coats and assist her in every possible way...
Oh, what will he think? And how does he become banged up himself? You'll just have to wait until the next installment!