+ Add to Library
+ Add to Library

C2 Start Over

Bursa - Turkiye, 3 years later

"Welcome. What kind of cake would you like—" Zanara's sentence was cut short when she saw who was standing in front of her. The man flashed the most charming smile, then held a bill to Zanara standing at the counter.

"What do you want?" Zanara hissed sharply. The look in her eyes exuded annoyance. The man seemed to be out of work for coming in almost every day at lunchtime and ordering a portion of shortcake and tiramisu to share with Marion—Zanara's daughter. And Zanara's biggest mistake was bringing Marion to work again today.

"Calm down, Zee ... I want to see Marion; you don't need to be so angry. Strawberry shortcake for my date and tiramisu for me. Thank you."

Zanara grabbed the money in Jayme's hand irritably. "Don't forget that Marion is my daughter, Doctor Demir."

"Ah, you have such a heart for me. Even now, you still call me that formally." Jayme sighed loudly. "I don't know what else to do to melt your heart."

"Don't digress. My customers will be reluctant to buy cakes at my shop if you keep coming in like a mentally ill person. Eat, then get out of here!"

Zanara thrust the tray with two pieces of cake in front of Jayme and was about to turn around, but Jayme's hand caught Zanara's arm.

"You ... don't want to come to eat with me? Have you eaten yet? You must take care of your health for Marion's sake, otherwise—"

"PAPA ..."

Jayme turned her head instantly when he heard Marion's call, which was like an alarm for Jayme. He liked the little girl, apart from liking her strict mother. Let's say that Marion comforted him after getting those offensive words from Zanara.

Jayme squatted down to align his height with the little girl wearing a tutu skirt with her reddish hair tied up. There was a small ribbon decorated there; Marion was indeed lovely like her mother.

"Hi ... here comes my favorite girl. How are you? Did you and your mom have lunch? Why don't you take mommy out to eat with you?" Jayme leaned closer to Marion's ear while squinting, then whispered. "Your mama won't take me to lunch."

"Don't influence my daughter with your nonsense, Doctor Demir!" snapped Zanara, busily arranging the cakes in the display case. The shop was quiet this afternoon, and the cakes were almost run out. Maybe in the afternoon, she could close up her shop and return to their apartment.

Jayme stood in front of the counter, facing Zanara and staring into her beautiful hazel eyes.

"Let's have lunch with me. I know you'll make time for that; I mean eating and resting. However, I just wanted to make sure you did. Please."

Zanara didn't reply but sank further into a deliberate preoccupation because she was nervous about Jayme coming to her shop. It wasn't that she liked him, it was that she had closed herself and her life off from men for so long, but this one guy kept sticking to her like used gum.

"Don't push me, Doctor Demir! Marion and I are fine."

Jayme sighed; he walked out of the shop, then dialed a number on his cell phone. A motorcycle with a big box with 'PizzaPaw' written on it stopped in front of Jayme, who was still standing where he was.

He received two pizza boxes and brought them inside, thrusting them in front of Zanara, who still couldn't get enough of the man.

"You don't want to eat out, so that means you want to eat here, right? Come with Marion and me. We'll eat together."

Zanara wanted to refuse, but it would be useless to do so when dealing with this man. This stubborn man had not stopped approaching her for the past two and a half years, to the point where Marion thought of him as her father. However, it was no loss for Zanara because Jayme loved Marion like her daughter.

As proof, he is now enjoying his meal while holding Marion on his lap and feeding the little girl a slice of pizza while she does her doll's hair.

"Marion, you can eat by yourself, right? Sit in your place and eat properly, okay? Let papa—I mean, let uncle Jayme enjoy his meal," she admonished, then sat down opposite Marion and Jayme, who was now sharing a smile.

Hearing Zanara—who, even though she had only casually called him papa—already made him feel as if he was flying to the seventh heaven.

He was so tacky and embarrassing right now. But that did not matter. It allowed him to enjoy his lunch and finish the few slices of pizza in front of him. He didn't like pizza much; he would rather eat kebabs or Zanara's butter sauce chicken. However, Zanara and Marion loved pizza.

"Enjoy it," Jayme said as he gently rubbed the top of Marion's head.

He then got up, and exhaled, relieved that Zanara had finally—albeit half-heartedly—agreed to sit and eat with her.

"All right, Marion. Papa has to go to work; you're fine here with Mama. If you need anything, you know where to call, okay?" Jayme whispered to the little girl. Marion nodded, then smiled, showing her neat teeth.

Jayme then turned his attention to Zanara, who was still eating her pizza. He didn't want to disturb Zanara, but it didn't feel right to leave. Although, in the end, his goodbyes would only be met with a cold or stony response, he was used to that. That was the Zanara he knew, and Jayme was okay with that.

"Zee ... I'll take my leave. I have a lot of things to take care of, and I hope you won't hesitate to call me if you or Marion need anything. Thank you for the cake."

Jayme smiled without waiting for a response from Zanara; he then carried his briefcase and turned around to leave the woman's pastry shop.

Today his task was done, but there was still tomorrow and beyond to face. It would probably be the same as today, with no fresh air, just a grumpy and unfriendly attitude from Zanara. But He was okay with that. He liked Zanara just the way she was.

Although Jayme's life was complicated, even too complicated—because, after all, he was a man who also needed an outlet, but only to that extent, he still could not deny that he could not get rid of Zanara's shadow since the first time he met her.

Zanara's cell phone rang loudly just as Jayme was about to step out. The man failed to leave but turned around and stood directly behind Zanara.

Although the woman had never told him about the terror of the unknown number, Jayme knew all about it. He assumed it was the work of someone from Zanara's past.

"Same number?" the man asked, which made Zanara almost drop the flat object in her hand. She turned to Jayme, who had been behind her back.

"How did you know?" she replied, curious because she had never once given Jayme any information about her problems.

"Give me your cell phone."

"W-what are you going to do?" Zanara tried to snatch her phone back, but her efforts were futile, and she was now very close to the man.

The two stared at each other, and it was as if time had stopped at that moment. Neither Jayme nor Zanara realized it. Both stood still until Zanara remembered the object in Jayme's hand.

"My cell phone is ..." Zanara extended her hand while bowing. However, not Jayme.

The man still locked his gaze on one object. Only on Zanara. And soon, he handed over the object he had been asking for.

"Zee," he called without looking away. The woman answered briefly. "You have something on your face."

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
Page with