Lionized and Enchanted

“The message of todays story is ‘Respect’. In todays world there is far to little respect. Too many people believe it okay to intrude on others space and privacy in the most disgusting ways. Others through greed feel it there right to own or destroy everything they see. Through that lives are ruined and Earth is being destroyed. Please respect each other and our beautiful globe. Do that and 2021 can be a year of healing.”

I wrote this story in answer to the following prompts:
FOWC with Fandango — Lionize
Your Daily Word Prompt — Jovial
Ragtag Daily Prompt— Write
Word of the Day Challenge — Share

Lionized and Enchanted

Ralph Nestor was a young man on top of his game. He had A-list celebrity status, he’d starred in three number one films by top movie producers, and made an awful lot of money. Despite the fame and wealth, he wasn’t happy. The constant buzz of paparazzi wherever he went and screaming fans all over the place was driving him nuts. How can a man live a jovial life when he can’t even take a piss in peace?

Fresh off filming a scene in his latest blockbuster, Ralph needed lunch. He headed into the city to seek out a quiet little place. Somewhere he might dine alone for once. Wearing denim jeans, a leather jacket, and dark glasses; he hoped to remain inconspicuous. However, that wasn’t going to happen today.

“OMG! Look, girls. He’s Ralph Nestor! Ooh, isn’t he just the sexiest!” Shrieked the woman coming out of a fashion store.

“Hmm, I’d love to get my hands on his cute little arse,” said a blonde purring like an impassioned tiger.

“Get outta my way! I’m bedding him first!” cried another overcome by lust.

Ralph sighed as the air was filled with shrieks and screams. He made a hasty right turn and slipped through an alley. Dashing out the other side, he ducked into a little café. A glance through the window allowed him to breathe again, the women hadn’t followed him — at least for now.

“Good afternoon, sir. Welcome to the Cocoa Bean Café.  I have a nice table by the fireplace if you’d like to warm up.”

Flinching at the pleasant voice, Ralph turned to face the server. He felt her greeting very warm if a little odd as nobody was dining in the café just then. “Hello. That would be great, thank you,” he said while admiring her pretty navy pinafore dress and matching apron bearing the café’s name. Smiling, he sat down at a teak table and glanced out the window. The coast was clear. “Nice little place you have here.”  

“Thank you, we’re proud of it.” The server presented him with the menu and gave him some time to peruse it. “What can I get you to eat and drink, sir?”

“Everything looks delicious. I think I’ll have a BLT sandwich and a Café Americano to start please.” Ralph handed back the menu his eyes on a woman rushing past outside.

“I’ll bring those right out to you, Sir. Let me know if you need anything else in the meantime,” the server said watching another female dash by with a large camera in hand.

Ralph watched her walk around a teak-and-glass counter and step out the back. This was the first time in a while, he felt he could relax with his lunch. The server returned and began making his coffee at the barista machine. It was then the café’s door shot open and banged against the wall.

“I found him, girls! Let’s see if he’ll sign our T-shirts!” shrieked the woman from the fashion store earlier.

“There’s that sex bomb! I’m getting him to sign my bra!” another called behind her as they barged in.

Ralph was about to stand when the server rushed past him.

“Ut-uh! No chance, ladies!” The server blocked their path and pointed to the door. “Nobody comes in this café to heckle and lionize my customers. You will leave now or I will have you arrested for breaching the peace.”

“But he’s Ralph —” the woman tried to dart around the server as camera flashes erupted through the window.

The server seized her by the shoulders and turned back toward the door, “I don’t give a monkey’s if he’s Elvis Presley or the Pope —Get out!” This time the server forcibly injected the overexcited women. She locked the door and pulled the blinds on the windows, blocking the view of quite a crowd of camera-wielding people outside. “My apologies, Sir. Let me get your lunch for you, now.”

“Thanks, I appreciate you doing that.” Ralph relaxed again and was soon enjoying a good sandwich and coffee.  The whole time the server was perfectly respectful and allowed him to dine in peace.

“Anything else I can get you?” she asked when he was done.

“Hmm, think I’ll have a slice of lemon cheesecake, please. But, first, I’d like to know your name.” Ralph turned his smoky-brown eyes on hers.

I server blushed under his gaze and retied her ponytail with shaking hands. “I’m Hannah. I’ll go and get you that lemon cheesecake.”

“There’s no rush, Hannah. I wanted to thank you for the respect you’re showing me. I know you recognised me from the moment I came in, didn’t you?”

Hannah knitted her fingers before her and nodded, “I did. You came in for lunch like a normal customer and so that’s how I treated you, that’s all.”

“Thank you for that. His hard to find a place without cameras and screaming people all trying to lionize me all the time, these days.” Ralph pulled out a seat and patted it. “Will you make that cheesecake for two and join me?”

Hannah blushed deeper, “I shouldn’t.”

Ralph reclined in his seat, “I thought you could take a little break seeing as though you closed the café for me.”

“Yeah, I suppose I did. Okay, thank you.” Hannah fetched the cheesecakes and came to sit with the celebrity with the shakiness about her.

Seeing how nervous she was, Ralph gave her a calming smile. “It’s okay, please relax. I’m just a regular man with his face in too many places, that’s all.”

The remark made Hannah laugh at him.

“That’s better, You have a beautiful smile, you know.” Ralph savoured a slither of cheesecake. “Mmm, scrumptious.”

“I’m glad you like it. Our baker makes it using my grandmother’s old recipe.” Hannah tried some and almost choked through being so nervous.

Ralph handed her a napkin. “Your grandmother must be very talented in the kitchen. Anyway, what does Hannah do when she’s not treating her customers like kings and queens?”

“Thank you for the compliment.”

“I’ll be sure to repeat it on the café’s review pages as well,” Ralph beckoned her to answer his question.

“I’m boring. I write a few stories from time to time. I wanted to study to be a nurse, I got the grades at school but haven’t enough money for the courses.”

“Being a nurse is a very heroic job.” Ralph forked another slice of cheesecake into his mouth and chewed thoughtfully. “Will you share some of your tales with me?”

Hannah came over shocked at the request. “Oh, they’re pretty terrible you don’t want to read them.”

Hearing her talk that way upset Ralph a little bit. “Hey, there are enough people in this world who will criticise and demean you and your work. You don’t need to beat yourself up as well. Please, try to be confident in your abilities for me, hey?”

“I will, I’m sorry.”  

“It’s okay. Look, why do you write your stories?”

“Well,” Hannah stared into the remains of her cheesecake. “I love my characters and writing about them, that’s all.”

“Then your stories will be beautiful. Tell you what. Do you know Ristorante Italiano on St Clement Street?”

“Yes, it’s really expensive.”

“That’s the one. When you finish work, go and fetch your stories and meet me there for dinner at seven tonight. Then I can meet your characters and enjoy them too.” Ralph requested.

“But, I — why are you spending your time on me. I’m just a lowly waitress.”

“No buts. You’re a special, talented, respectful person. You gave me a wonderful lunch in peace. I’d like to get to know you better and maybe help you as a reward. For now, I have to get back to the set and finish my recordings for the day. I look forward to seeing you this evening.” Ralph stood and handed her some money to a value exceeding his lunch’s cost. “To start, put the extra in your college fund.”

“Thank you, sir.” Hannah went red again. “Come out the back so you don’t get mauled!” she led him through and unlocked the door for him.

Ralph returned to work deep in thought. By the time he met Hannah at the restaurant, he’d contacted the local university and paid for her nursing courses in full. He wasn’t sure what to expect with her stories. However, if they were good; he would ensure Hollywood producers and publishers saw them very soon.”

The End

Thanks for reading my friends, I really do appreciate it.

Don’t forget there’s always plenty more stories for you in the Short Stories and Short Stories 2 tabs.

Have a great day!

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