A Beautiful Day
As the cacophony of sounds emanating from the streets of Manila reverberated like a discordant symphony, the sun began to emerge from the horizon. With this, Andrea pranced towards her destination with a joyful bounce.
The short queue at the cafe brought out a smile on Andrea's face as she entered her friend Susan's quaint bakeshop where she first met her beau almost three years ago. The baristas looked fresh and ready to face the deluge of coffee-loving customers for the day. The aroma of roasted coffee beans filled the air much like how a baby's smile fills a room with joy and happiness. It was the perfect morning.
Where could he be? Andrea looked at her phone: no missed calls nor message notification to be found.
Alex is a stickler for being on time, but I got here ahead of him. Andrea was now worried so she tried calling him, but his cellphone was turned off. She sent him a message instead: Hi honey. I'm already here. Where are you now?
Looking alternately at her phone and the entrance door, the now anxious Andrea decided to order carrot cake and a tall cafe mocha and sat at a table near the windows facing the street. Her phone rang after a few minutes.
"Hey, homie! How are you doing?" Nina's bright voice was a calming presence.
"I'm waiting for Alex here at Blossoms. Where are you?"
"Oh, I just saw Alex walk by past our store here in Binondo around fifteen minutes ago. There's a crazy traffic jam so he will be late, for sure." This reassured Andrea.
Maybe he forgot to charge his cellphone. Andrea thought.
Thirty minutes went by and Alex finally arrived huffing and puffing. Andrea wiped the sweat on his face with a tissue and planted a soft kiss on her beau.
"I got some orange juice and bagels for you."
"Thanks, babe. There was an urgent document to sign at the office so I had to drop by before going here. Thanks for waiting."
"It's fine. Nina called so I wasn't bored while waiting." Andrea dropped their friend's name to get a reaction - nada. What's happening? Andrea vowed to get to the bottom of things.
The weird breakfast with Alex was on Andrea's mind the whole day. Why was Alex in Binondo and why did he tell me otherwise? Is he having problems at work? Is he having an affair? Nah, Alex wouldn't do such a thing. He's too nice and a gentleman for that. This is driving me nuts. She called Nina.
"Hey, homie. Are you sure that the guy you saw this morning was Alex?"
"Yes, I'm certain it was him. He was wearing white polo shirt and those khaki pants that he loves so much."
"That's right. Thanks, Nina. I have to go. I'm hanging up now."
Hell Has No Fury Like A Woman Scorned
Nina saw him in Binondo, for sure. His office is an hour away from there. What's going on here? Andrea is genuinely perplexed so she clocked out early to investigate.
Andrea was now sitting at the coffee shop across Alex's office where she had a good vantage point of the building. No one gets in or out without her noticing. She then called Alex.
"Hey, babe. Do you want to have dinner later tonight?"
"Sorry, babe. I have to stay at the office to close out my backlogs before the weekend. Let's have dinner tomorrow night instead, if you are up for it?"
"Okay. See you tomorrow then. Love you, babe. Bye." Andrea's jaw dropped. She couldn't believe what was happening because she was looking at Alex standing in front of their office building, and hailing a taxi cab at that. Andrea followed him and was surprised that Alex got off at Blossoms Cafe.
What the heck is going on here?! Is Alex cheating on me with Susan? Andrea's mind is spinning around. She bought bottled water at the convenience store across the street and observed from afar. She was furious so she called her bestie.
"Hello, Nina! I can't believe what's happening. Alex is cheating on me with Susan."
"Alex said that he's going to work late at the office but I'm right here across Blossoms watching them eat triple chocolate cake. He's dead meat. That bitch will also get what she deserves."
"Calm down girl and wait for me there." Nina always had her back.
"I don't know if I can wait, girl. My head is about to explode."
"I'm on my way now. Wait for me, okay?"
"Okay. Hurry up. Text me when you arrive. Bye."
Alex and Susan went out together while Andrea followed them to a flower shop. She was waiting for her friend to arrive before she let all hell break loose.
That scum! He has the nerve to buy her flowers.
"Where are you at, girl? I'm here at the convenience store already."
"I'm at the corner of 1st and Pablo Ocampo Street. Come here quickly."
Andrea and Nina hatched a plan and waited for the traitors to come out. After an hour of waiting, they went inside to catch them red-handed. The staff told them that all of the customers had left already. There was another exit at the other side of the building.
They went back to the cafe but it was already closed for the night. Andrea was even more infuriated. The besties drank until the wee hours of the morning where they planned and schemed and talked smack at the traitors. The bartender called a taxi cab and sent them home after having a few drinks too many.
Andrea's phone was set to medium but their hangover magnified it ten times. She answered in a soft tone.
"Hi, babe. Are you sick? The office said that you filed for a leave today."
"I was with Nina last night and have a nasty hangover. Let's meet at Blossoms after you get off from work, okay?"
"Perfect. See you later, me love. Bye." Alex seemed oblivious that they are aware of his two-timing ways.
"That two-timing, lying, S.O.B. Ouch, my head feels like it will split in two." Andrea headed back to bed. It was almost four o'clock in the afternoon when they were able to get up.
The light drizzle cooled the air and the amber lights from the lamp-post created a lovely mood where people could easily fall in love. But this was the opposite of the pent up emotion in Andrea's chest. She was boiling up inside and was ready to explode.
The music from the string quartet was soothing, calming, and festive. The small entourage occupying the ground floor were celebrating the 50th wedding anniversary of their grandparents. A toast was interrupted when Andrea barged in forcefully with Nina coming in behind her. They had no idea that Alex was waiting at the second floor.
"Uh, um... I'm sorry." Andrea apologized to the group.
The music filled the room with joyful music while Andrea prepared to release vitriol.
Alex saw Andrea at the top landing and immediately grabbed a gigantic bouquet of flowers. He walked towards her with the brightest smile ever while Andrea was ready to pounce on him.
Image by waldryano
"Happy anniversary, babe!" Andrea was utterly dumbfounded when Alex gave her the bouquet of flowers.
Andrea began to cry while Alex hugged her, dropped down on one knee, and pulled out a small box from his pocket.
"Andrea Alonzo, my best friend and confidant, fellow dreamer, and the love of my life. You bring out the best in me. I cannot help but smile whenever you are around. This was supposed to be for later, but I can't wait any longer. I've always wanted to say these words since the first time we met. Will. You. Marry. Me?"
"Aren't you breaking up with me?" Andrea's voice cracked while softly speaking.
"Why would I do that? I just asked you to marry me."
"Aren't you secretly dating Susan? I saw you yesterday eating cake and going to the flower shop."
"Look around, Andy." Andrea looked and saw for the first time that the room was filled with white and pink roses. "The roses had to be ordered in advance. Susan asked the flower shop to deliver and arrange the place for us."
"So why did you lie to me about signing documents at the office before we met for breakfast?"
"I went to pick up this engagement ring that I ordered in Binondo."
"You're a fool, Alex!"
"Yes... I will marry you."
Cheers and applause filled the room where family and friends witnessed love in full bloom. Best bud, Nina, was the happiest among the group. She knew about the party but did not want to ruin the surprise, as best friends often do.
The Ink Well Prompt #59: Blossom. Skill challenge: story setting.