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A Gaian About Town
{FIC} Sweet Dreams
This was written a while ago, for someone here on Gaia, featuring her OC.

SWEET DREAMS

Ami's fists tightened on the deed in her hand, her entire body trembling with excitement. Her heart beat fast and her mind flew. Her dream was so close, it was literally in her grasp- the deed was to a building, to a cafe. Her cafe. Ami's cafe. The sound of it was sweet on her tongue.

She closed her eyes. Customers- tourists and locals alike- would flock to her cafe, for her pastries, pies, cakes, cookies, teas and coffees. Regular customers would open the door- in her mind she could already hear the little string of copper bells tied to the door jingling a merry welcome- she would greet them by name and they'd exchange idle chit-chat while she got their orders ready. Maybe she'd start a birthday club for the local children; on their birthday they could get a free cookie or cupcake or so. She imagined timid tourists after some delicious dessert, poking their heads in after being pointed here by the locals. Society ladies taking their afternoon tea here. Old, weathered and retired fishing men playing checkers and drinking their black, bitter tea or coffee here. Children stopping by on their way home from school for afternoon sweets.

Her own little place in a quiet, seaside village that looked like it was right out of a Thomas Kinkade painting. The smells of her pastries and breads baking, warming a chill autumn morning. Ami inhaled deeply; she was so lost in her visions, her dream so close, so real, she fully expected the sweet, warm aroma of breads to fill her nostrils. Instead, she coughed and gagged at the smell of mildew and dust.

Wiping at her watery eyes, Ami's daydream faded and she was left staring at an old cafe. A very old cafe that had been closed for a long time. The glass in the windows- while still intact and fully serviceable- was so covered in grime she couldn't see inside. She had toured inside before purchasing- it was fully intact, down to table, chairs, counters- but horribly filthy with layers of cobwebs, dirt, and neglect.

She did not feel dismayed or discouraged at all. Quite the opposite, she was excited. This was all hers. She had paid for it with her own money that, according to her parents, should've gone for a university education- well, her savings plus a small loan from a less-than-scrupulous money-lender, even if it came with a rather high interest rate- she planned to work hard and pay it off quickly.

To Ami, the run-down cafe was beautiful. It just needed some polish and elbow grease. Or, a lot of it. She grinned. With some hard work, her cafe would be open for business in no time. She saw it not as it was, but as it could be. She would take sometihng nobody wanted and turn it into a gathering place for the community, where everyone would flock to.

She felt a small pang in her heart, and the eager smile on her lips wavered slightly. She blinked, refusing to cry. She knew how this dumpy little place felt- forgotten, neglected, shunted to the side while her parents- no, the community , yes, the community- went on with their busy lives. Too busy to take time out for her- for the cafe.

Ami sniffed and wiped her eyes. When she spoke, her voice was full of determination, her dream in her sight as she spoke to her cafe. "We'll show them. we'll work hard, pretty you up and make them see how great you are." On a conscious level, she directed her words at the community, but subconsiously, a small part of her hoped her success would make her parents recognize her at last.
Chef, who had spent years over summer and Christmas vacation teaching Ami all she knew about baking, would be proud of her at least. Ami tightened her smile and forced her chin up.

"Time to roll up my sleeves and start cleaning." Her polished fingers itched for a sponge and mop. She came from a financially privileged family, thanks to her parents' high-powered careers. Careers that kept them working long hours and brought in money- enough money to ship her off to a private boarding school. Materialistically, she had everything she ever wanted, but emotionally....Chef, and her baking...all those hours they'd spent to together, the attention, the smile and praise Chef would shower on her when she did something very well, the harsh scoldings when,too eager, she didn't listen and ruined a recipe....that had been a balm over her heart. But her ever-absent parents still cut deep.

Awww, poor little rich girl, a voice in the back of her head sneered. Ami's spine stiffened. She could stand here and lick her wounds, feeling sorry for herself and sob in the dust and dirt. Or she could get moving, push forward for her dream. When she worked, when her hands were busy, she didn't feel the hurt as much.
"Crying solves nothing." She quoted Chef. In her head, she saw the matronly woman in the white hat and apron scowl and cross her arms, tsking at Ami's pointless tears.

'Do you want this, or not?' Chef's voice echoed in her head, when Ami would cry from frustration over a particularly difficult recipe or technique. 'Then, little one, dry your tears and take it. Make it yours.'

Ami found strength in the memories of Chef's tough love. The woman had a heart of gold and a spine of steel- attributes that Ami wanted to emulate.

"I've been trying hard, and come so far. I'm almost there. Hell, I am there! Yeah!" Ami nodded sharply to herself, glancing down once at her hands then up at the grime-covered windows.

She didn't even flinch at the thought of all the filth, dust, and dirt she was about to wade into. Her manicure was going to be ruined- she didn't care. She wanted it ruined. She wanted to scrub, scour, and polish on her hands and knees. This place was hers, and she was going to make it beautiful. A quaint little cafe for the delicious pastries she'd spent years learning to perfect. The frame for a masterpiece painting.

Ami smiled, inserted a key into the lock and pulled a kerchief over her face and nose to protect them from grime and dust. She slipped the deed securely into a pocket as the door squeaked open on rusted hinges. Her place. Her dream, a reality. Her cafe. She'd never felt more at home.

Madam Chai
Community Member
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