Sharing Cookies with You
"Hey, do you know who that is?" Philip asked his best friend who was busy scarfing down his sandwich. They were sitting in a small café, having met up after school and were having a late midday snack before dinner.
Christian looked up and glanced around before noticing the girl who was standing by herself in front of the counter, staring at the baked goods. He chewed quickly and swallowed before answering, "I think her name is Blossom, she's also a business major. Why?"
"Just, I've never seen her before this month." Philip shrugged nonchalantly, not quite ready to reveal to the dark-haired boy that whenever he managed to cross paths with the girl that had reddish-pink hair and almost glowing porcelain skin, his insides turned to goo because she basically smelled like delicious pastries. Cookies, ice cream cakes, cream puffs – whatever it was, it made Philip drool and it only managed to piss him off. He had no business getting infatuated by a girl when all he wanted to focus on was college and video games. And really, with college basically burying him in assignments and projects, he barely had time for the latter.
There was no way that he wanted to end up like Christian. Even though he was his best friend, Christian was, for lack of better words, an utter love sick fool who only seemed to ever really brightened up whenever he was around his girlfriend, who happened to be studying on the other side of the country. That basically meant that Christian seemed like a zombie most of the time, except when he was with his girlfriend on the phone. Christian barely even paid attention anymore when they were playing video games.
Christian nodded in understanding. "I think she just transferred here this semester. Something about her parents opening a business here close by."
Oh. That made sense. Feeling inclined to change the subject, Philip fished out his handheld console out of his bag. "The newest game just got released. Want to play with me? Y'know, to catch 'em all?"
Christian sent him an apologetic look before saying, "Can't. I'm skyping Melody this afternoon. It's difficult finding time to do so with college swamping both of us."
Philip sighed, stuffing his console back into his bag, "I understand. Say 'hi' to Melody for me."
"Will do," Christian grinned before picking up his bag from the floor. "See you tomorrow, alright?"
Nodding, he waved his best friend off. His gaze lingered on the girl before he shook his head, cleared the table and hiked the bag over one shoulder, leaving the café.
Late at night, when he was supposed to fall asleep because he had early classes in the morning, a certain girl plagued his thoughts. Philip tossed and turned in his bed, unable to get the image of her out of his head. He was confused. Why was she lingering on his mind? Slowly, but surely, Philip drifted onto dream land and, somehow, the girl with the reddish-pink hair had managed to follow him.
Philip wasn't sure how exactly it all happened. He was officially turning in to a stalker. A freaking stalker. Philip sighed as he glanced around the corner, trying not to get spotted by a certain red-headed girl. How had it ended up like this? He didn't know. But he found that he needed to catch a glimpse of her every single day so that his heart could be at ease. It was difficult, approaching her. She was so skittish, that it made him want to grit his teeth in frustration. So he ended up following her, whenever he had time.
He still remembered this morning, when she accidentally brushed his forearm trying to reach for a small pastry and he practically melted on the spot. Not only did she smell nicer than the whole pastry section in the café, she seemed to be sweeter than one too. Her face had flushed pink as she uttered a soft apology before scurrying away – rendering an attempt at conversation on Philip's side completely useless.
His eyes followed her as she walked towards a bakery she ended up at every end of the school day. He figured this was the business that Christian had mentioned. Her parents' bakery. Their familiarity made it obvious. The girl never actually helped them behind the counter – at least not at the cash register or with the baking, as far as Philip could tell. Sometimes, she helped her parents display the baked goods once they'd come out of the oven, but most of the time she was either reading a book in a far corner of the bakery or doing her homework.
Time flew by and before Philip knew it, it had already been two months since the girl first caught his interest. So far, they didn't have any interactions together, but today somehow felt different. Philip woke up with a determined mind today. He would try and approach her today, because he realized that he needed something more than just a glimpse of her each day. He needed to hear her voice and he needed to see her smile.
Philip decided to go straight to the campus café today, foregoing seeing the girl walk from her parents' bakery to school in the morning. He stared at the display, almost lost in thought when a familiar scent wrapped around him. She was here. He gulped as he straightened slightly and turned to the petite girl beside him.
"Hey, uhm, do you know what's good?" Philip asked nervously, trying to strike up a conversation.
The girl was startled so much, she basically jumped half a foot in the air.
Philip felt immediately bad, he hadn't meant to frighten her. He just wanted to talk. What an idiot he was. "Sorry." He mumbled as he cringed.
"It's okay." The girl replied so softly, Philip wasn't even sure she'd spoken to him. But by the quick flash of eye contact, he figured she had meant those words for him.
Philip rubbed the back of his neck, trying to calm his nerves down. He was still so absolutely nervous around her, he couldn't help it – even with his newfound courage. "D-do you have any suggestions? Since I noticed you visit this place a lot?" Crap, perhaps adding that last bit was a bit too much. Now he definitely seemed like a stalker.
The girl looked at him before quickly flickering her eyes to the pastry display. "I like this place." She replied softly.
Wow, she was really soft-spoken. Not that he minded, actually. Besides, he had really good hearing, so it wasn't like it was a problem.
"As for suggestions…," she continued as her eyes trailed over the baked goods, "Those little cream puffs are really delicious. As well as the sponge cakes. They taste like little clouds. Those two are probably my all-time favourites." Her cheeks tinged pink as she said that.
Hearing her talk about her favourite desserts made Philips mouth water. He didn't know how she managed it, it was like magic. "Philip." He introduced himself as he held out his hand for her.
She stared at his hands for a couple of excruciating long moments, which were probably just seconds in reality, before gently grasping his in hers. "Blossom."
It seemed like it took forever for him to get Blossom to return his greeting after that moment in the campus café. Every morning Philip passed by the bakery that her parents owned and waved at her through the glass window display. He could tell that she was startled at first, but on the thirtieth day, she finally returned his wave with a small reluctant one herself. Philip could still feel the little flip that his heart made when he thought back to that moment. He'd changed his schedule so he could catch a glimpse of her in the mornings, which amused his best friend greatly. Christian didn't really like waking up a half hour earlier than usual, so Philip always walked to college by himself. Not that he minded, at all. It meant that he could keep Blossom's small smiles and shy greetings all to himself.
"I noticed the café rolling out some new cupcakes today." Philip said as he joined Blossom at the small bench outside. Even though the weather was still chilly, it appeared that Blossom didn't quite mind the cold.
She was reading a book, but placed it down the second she'd noticed Philip sitting down next to her. "Really?" She asked as her eyes shined with interest.
"Yeah, here, I bought you one." Philip held out a small square box in front of her.
"Thanks, here let me pay you back. How much was it?" Blossom asked as she rummaged through her bag for her wallet.
Philip shook his head as he pushed the box to her, "Don't be silly. It's my treat."
Blossom looked up at him. "But you always buy me pastries, it makes me feel bad, because I know they're expensive."
Biting his lip, he just shrugged. "I like buying you stuff." He admitted with warm cheeks.
Blossom seemed at a loss for words and Philip was afraid he'd stepped over the line. "Let's share." She said after a few moments of silence.
Heart still thudding loudly in his chest, Philip nodded. "Sure."
Blossom gushed the moment she opened the box. "It's a cupcake wearing a snapback! That's so adorable!" She smiled, her eyes turning to crescents as she looked at Philip. "Thank you."
"Y-you're welcome." He replied, stunned at the beauty of her smile.
Time passed quickly and soon, summer had already arrived. Philip's friendship with Blossom had grown over the course of months, but it was still very much a friendship, which kind of saddened Philip. But he wasn't as gutted about it as he thought he would be, because he still could be in her presence. He knew that Blossom was aware of the fact that he was romantically interested in her – but she was wary about that and Philip could understand. Blossom was just that kind of person.
Blossom was kind, cute and occasionally very funny. Though it was unintentional most of the time. They got along very well, Philip thought. Her scent still managed to wrap around him every single time, leaving him hungry and craving for something slightly more than just pastries. She made his heart flutter and Philip still very much wanted to be more to Blossom than just a friend. But Blossom was shy and reluctant, and even though Philip didn't mind waiting for Blossom, he was scared that time and even distance would eventually pull them apart.
That moment came too soon for his liking. But it wasn't like he wasn't aware of it. They were sitting in the library, a place Philip learned that Blossom loved soon after befriending her. When she had to wait for classes or when she felt like surrounding herself in silence, she could be found here, with a textbook or the latest novel that she was reading. Philip usually joined her with his own homework, or with his handheld console, occasionally making Blossom crack up with his enthusiasm for his games.
"I'm leaving." The words left Philip's mouth in a way that made him regret it immediately. He didn't mean to sound so harsh or callously. He only wanted to tell her. His words felt cold in the silence of the library.
Blossom looked up, her eyes slightly widening and her full lips parting, the novel in her hands falling to the wooden table and shutting closed.
"That came out wrong." Philip sighed as he ran a hand through his blond hair. "I applied for a study abroad minor." He explained as he toyed with the paper coffee cup in front of him. "I'm leaving in a month." Summer holidays were starting soon and he wanted to settle in his new apartment before next the next semester started.
"How long have you known?" She sounded hurt and accusatory, her brown eyes glistening suspiciously.
He could sense the hidden question in her words. You're leaving but you still made me open up myself – to hurt me? "Do you think it's wrong for me to pursue you when I know I'm not going to be here for the next six months? I'm certain about you, Blossom. Even if we're not be able to see each other face to face in the coming months, doesn't mean that my feelings for you will disappear." Philip desperately needed for Blossom to believe him. Because the thought of her not believing him was breaking his heart.
"I don't know what to think." Blossom admitted as she looked down, avoiding his eyes. "I thought we were friends, but you kept something so huge from me."
Philip clenched his fingers around his paper cup, frustrated at the situation. At himself, at everything. He didn't want for Blossom to shy away from him anymore. It took him two months for her to finally start returning his hello's. There was no way he was ready to say goodbye yet. "Keep in touch with me." He told her. "I want to know how you're doing, how you're feeling, everything." Because even if they would be continents apart, Philip already felt like he was leaving his heart behind, in her hands. "Promise me you will, Blossom."
After a couple beats of silence, Blossom slowly nodded, but she kept her eyes away from him.
Four months later
Philip stepped out of the airport, his black trolley behind him. Home for Christmas. The cold immediately enveloped him and he was glad that he had bundled up tightly, for he really disliked the cold. It was late, a little past two in the morning on the 25th of December. Christmas day had officially arrived.
His breath was visible in the cold air and he shivered slightly when he continued to walk all the way to the parked cars. He hadn't asked anyone to pick him up, because it was absurdly late.
A small smile graced his lips as he thought about how he wanted to stay up to meet Santa when he was a small kid. Right now, he was sure he'd fall asleep as soon as his head hit his pillow. Even though he'd been able to catch some sleep during the long plane ride, the jet lag was still bothering him. What would it be like if I met Santa right now? he mused to himself as he made his way to the familiar car of his parents. He'd asked them to park it here so that he could use it when he returned. The spare key was safely tucked in the pocket of his winter coat.
Philip stopped in his tracks when something soft landed on his nose. In wonder, he stared up at the sky and watched as little puffs of snow fell from the sky. Set against the dead night, it was a stunning sight.
Slowly, he lifted his arm, palm upwards to catch the small flakes. They melted almost immediately in his warm hand.
He jerked his head the moment the voice sounded in the silence. It was such a familiar voice, but one he had never expected to hear.
She was standing there, not five metres away from him, next to his parents' car. Philip was almost afraid it was just a figment of his imagination. An image he conjured in depravation of sleep.
Blossom looked as beautiful as ever, with her reddish-pink hair in a low side ponytail and a light brown winter coat. "W-welcome back." Her voice stuttered lightly and Philip noticed the tint in her cheeks, but he wasn't sure whether it was because of him or because of the extreme cold. Perhaps a bit of both. At least, he surely hoped so. The familiar scent that he associated with her was very much present in the cold of the night. The faint glow of the street lights dispersed around the parking lot gave her an almost ethereal glow.
"Blossom." Philip finally managed, as the initial shock of her appearance subsided. "I-it's so late, what are you doing here?"
The sting of her hesitance was still there, but a lot less prominent now four months had passed. Of course he was still very much head over heels for her (he was certain it was forever). They'd kept in touch these past few months, mostly by emails, so even though he was halfway across the world, he still felt like they'd grown closer.
"You told me you would return today, and I…," Blossom trailed off as she lowered her head and rummaged through her bag, "I… wanted to give these to you."
Philip was struck with a feeling he couldn't quite pinpoint just yet. He slowly extended his hands and accepted Blossom's package.
"They're Christmas cookies." She explained as Philip examined the beautifully decorated cookies wrapped in cellophane. A cheery red Christmas ribbon tied it all together and he could see the contents clearly. Cookies in diverse shapes decorated with red, white and green icing. "I hope they'll taste okay. I made them…,"
Philip raised his eyes to look at Blossom, "You made them?" he recalled her telling him that even though her parents owned a bakery and she was crazy about pastries, Blossom was actually not that good of a baker. "I'm sure they'll taste lovely." Philip answered confidently. Because anything made by Blossom was.
"Don't just say that." Blossom turned even redder at his words.
Philip couldn't help the feeling that wrapped himself around his heart. It was a warm and content feeling that he didn't want to let go of. He took a few steps forward, stopping centimetres in front of Blossom.
Her eyes widened slightly as she stared at him questioning eyes.
With his free hand, he slowly removed the snowflakes from her soft hair. "Thank you for the cookies. And for coming here."
Blossom looked down, "You're welcome." She answered softly.
"I missed you." He told her sincerely.
Blossom slowly lifted her eyes to meet his, "I missed you, too." She admitted.
"I like you, a lot." Philip figured that since it was Christmas day, he figured he could ask Santa for just one thing.
Keeping her eyes on him, Blossom answered, "I like you, too. I'm sorry you had to wait for so long. I was afraid…,"
The warm thing that was wrapped around his heart had settled and Philip felt complete. He cupped Blossom's face, hoping that his hand wasn't freezing, but it didn't seem like she minded. He leaned down slowly and his eyes automatically fluttered close.
And as their lips touched beneath the snowfall, he was certain he'd found his Christmas miracle.
A/N: Thank you for reading! It's been so long since I've posted a story, I can't believe a whole year has already flown by :O
I wrote this while listening to 'The Winter's Tale' (December, 2014) by EXO, it's a really lovely song - and even though Christmas is already over, I hope everyone had a lovely time.
Since it's the last day of the year, I just wanted to say Happy New Year~! May the new year be filled with happiness and health ^^