A delicate chime announced the eager entrance of another obsessed chocolate addict.
“Hello, welcome to Raven’s chocolate emporium where every day is a sweet dream, how may I help you?” My tone of voice sounded drearier than it had been yesterday, even to me, although I believed I had already won the award for how-bored-can-the-employee-behind-the-counter-get – I must be mistaken.
However being fervently enthusiastic about the delectable confectionary which was ingeniously displayed by the crystal, clear glass window, the customer didn’t perceive the note of bored out of my mind which rang deafeningly through my voice.
Don’t get me wrong I love working inside a chocolate shop! The infused scent of chocolate which enveloped everything in its syrupy goodness, the infectious bliss when the sugary shell cracks open revealing a smooth, creamy caramel laced with syrup and cocoa butter erupts within your mouth. I just can’t stand the dithering customers who just assume you can’t have anything better to do rather than stare at them hesitating on what to choose.
“Um…well…ur…” I was used to this by now. One in five regulars were the only ones who actually knew what they were going to purchase before they arrived at the counter. What I said before about the window exhibit being expertly arranged – I take it back. “Well…you see…”
“Have you made a choice sir, or will I have to grab you a bucket to collect your drool in?” I snapped. It had been a tedious day. Already three snobbish girls had entered my father’s treasured chocolate shop as if they owned the place (who appeared as if they had never seen a duster before in their life), and without even swiftly glancing at the treats had remarked,
“What’s up with your hair?”
“I thought ravens were black?”
“Chocolate gives you spots!” Before long my signature disinterested glare was enough to remove them unescorted from the building. I have heard every single joke about red heads already spoken by unimaginative classmates (all plain brown I might add) who seemed to believe having red hair made you the centre red target for ancient, unoriginal jokes. The one about ravens was the oldest one in the book.
My whole family has had jet black hair since the 12th century when my great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great (you get the idea) grandmother clandestinely married a Romany gypsy. Naturally at that time, everyone was appalled by the idea – and rumour has it (my many greats) grandfather fainted into the brook while he was travelling home after he discovered the news from a passing messenger and drowned– although it is just a rumour. Oh and if I didn’t mention, many greats grandmother was a princess which is why many citizens kicked up a fuss! I am related to royalty, and no one even says thank you when I collect their order, they just snatch the elaborately shimmering gold bag from my hand, rip it open and devour the contents in three seconds flat.
However, it was 16 years ago that I, Brooke Raven, broke that sacred family tradition on the 20th September 1996 and being on full view in a Raven chocolate shop just magnifies that I am different from my whole family - as if I wasn’t different enough already. “Oh sorry” apologised the client hastily “Everything just looks so good”
“Well, it will look good in a thousand years when you are still here!” I snapped sarcastically again. It was really a long day. If you would believe it, the indecisive shopper took another ten minutes deciding on what he would buy and only when I took drastic measures making him decide, (using the full song and dance for time wasters – finger drumming, watch checking, foot tapping) he finally determined (halleluiah!!) that after all he craved….
I could have throttled him. No doubt that he will be back in here tomorrow, I thought groaning, another half an hour of my life wasted that I will never get back.
That’s when I saw him. Positioned by the chocolate drops (which I will never be able to view the same ever again) intently staring at me, unblinking.
He definitely wasn’t here for the chocolate…