143 Kaoru's Cake House CH 1

Chapter One : A New Life


Maria’s Bouquet had only been opened for an hour. The florist shop was located at Block C of Wisma Kesuma. By the time the digital clock’s digits changed to 11.00AM, eight lots of five-storey buildings were filled with various people and the sidewalk was full of passersby. In the florist shop, a woman who looked like she was in her late twenties was arranging a vase of fresh flowers. However, do not let looks fool you. That woman is actually 39 years old.

Ting Tong!

A customer had just entered. It was a woman around her fifties, dressed in a silkbaju kurung with a colorful flowery pattern. There was light makeup on her face and the only jewelry she wore was a small pearl necklace and matching earrings. On her left shoulder was a 1960s Gucci handbag. Judging by her appearance, she was obviously a woman of the upper social class.

The store owner left her work of arranging the flowers and approached her first customer of the day. “Datin Sharifah! How are you?” she greeted with a wide smile before her customer, Datin Sharifah could greet her first.

“I’m doing well, Maria,” Datin Sharifah replied. She got closer to Maria, the store owner, and gave a cheek-to-cheek kiss.

“Your visit is so sudden, early as well. Is there a large request you have for me?” Maria asked with the friendly smile still on her lips.

Datin Sharifah placed her hand on Maria’s shoulder and said, “I would like twelve bouquets of roses in three different colors; red, white and yellow. Is that alright?”

Maria’s eyebrows rose after hearing Datin Sharifah’s order. This was a unique order for her. “Wow! It seems that you have a special intention for that order. Alright, I can prepare the bouquets. When do you want them? I hope that it’s not today though. I might faint halfway doing all of them and my assistant’s on leave today as well,” she replied in a sincere manner yet also jokingly at the end. Datin Sharifah let out a small laugh, showing that she understood Maria’s humor, before saying, “No, I don’t need them by today.  That’s why I came early so you’ll have enough time to prepare them.”

Maria proceeded to invite Datin Sharifah towards the living room area located at the right corner of her shop near the entrance. There were two chairs and a table made of solid pine placed there. The area around it was decorated with a mini garden and there was even a stained glass window. It was a comfortable space where Maria and her customers could discuss about their orders.

“Datin, please wait a moment. I have to go get my notebook and pen,” Maria said once Datin Sharifah was seated on one of the solid pine chairs.

Ting Tong!

Maria was about to grab her notebook she heard the bell ring, meaning that another customer had entered. She turned her head to see who it was and her expression turned more cheerful. The person who had entered her shop this time was her beloved daughter whom she named Jasmine after the beautiful flower.

“Hello dear!” she went towards Jasmine and gave her a peck on the forehead.

“It’s boring being alone at home so I cam here. Is there anything I can help with?”

“Yes, there are many things I want you to help me with. Suki’s on an emergency leave for two days.”

“Emergency? Why?” Jasmine asked in surprise.

“I can’t explain right now. I have a customer so I’ll tell you later, alright?” Maria replied in a soft and loving tone. Datin Sharifah had been watching their conversation the whole time. She was amazed by their closeness since not many children are that close to their parents nowadays.

Mari turned to Datin Sharifah’s direction. The action was copied by Jasmine. She smiled at her mother’s customer when she realized the Datin’s presence.

Cring! Cring!

The telephone on the cashier counter rang. Maria was flustered for a moment. The notebook and pen that was in her hands were handed over to Jasmine. “Min, please hold these for a moment.  I have to answer the call.” Jasmine didn’t object.

“Sorry about this Datin but I have to answer this call,” Maria apologized to her customer who was making herself comfortable at the sitting area. When Datin Sharifah told her that it was alright, Maria rushed to pick up the phone.

Jasmine made her way towards Datin Sharifah and gave her another polite smile which was returned. Remembering that she had the notebook and pen in hand, Jasmine sat on the chair opposite of Datin Sharifah.

“If you’re in a hurry, I can help take you order,” she said. The lips of Datin Sharifah turned up at that. She shook her head and replied, “No, I’m not in a hurry but, if you want to write down my order that’s fine as well.”

From the beginning, Datin Sharifah’s eyes were on Jasmine as if she was mesmerized. Jasmine had beautiful, long tumbling dark brown tresses that reached below her shoulders but stopped before her elbows. She had pale and smooth skin. Her eyebrows were thick but had a beautiful natural arch, and her eyelashes were long and thick as well. Besides that, her nose was small, not sharp and not short. Her lips were like Mona Lisa’s and it was a natural shade of red. Her mother was truly beautiful, but her daughter was even more.

As Jasmine was about to begin writing down Datin Sharifah’s order, Maria appeared. “Sorry about that, Datin,” Maria apologized. “Min, let me handle this instead. You can help me by arranging the fresh flowers there,” she added at Jasmine’s direction while pointing towards the direction opposite of the sitting area. Jasmine obeyed her mother’s words and excused herself from Datin Sharifah. Her place was then, taken by Maria.

“I apologize again for making you wait, Datin. I’ve actually been waiting since before you came for a call from Elle Cavier to confirm his order,” Maria explained, telling the name of the young fashion designer who was no stranger in Datin Sharifah’s mind.

“Elle Cavier? He made an order? What for?” asked the Datin.

“You know him, Datin?” Maria replied with a question.

“Of course! He won the Junior Fashion Designer Awards inLondonfor the last two years. My daughter buys the designs he makes. It’s around RM25 000 for one you know! Now, when there is an exclusive dinner or function, my daughter will always find Berry’C,” Datin Sharifah replied enthusiastically but she was finished yet, “The reason why I’m ordering flowers from you right now is because of a function. He’s the one who designs clothes for my daughter. All of them are lovely, marvelous designs!”

Maria was amazed yet pleased at the same time when she heard the Datin’s explanation. She never thought that a customer of hers would know her other customer with such familiarity.  This would make things easier for her with her business, especially for the ones she has with the upper class people.

“So, what did Elle order the flowers for?” asked Datin Sharifah who was really curious. Maria smiled. Should she tell or should she not? She was concerned about sharing a customer’s personal matters with another.

“I’m not sure either, Datin. I only make the orders,” Maria replied instead, not wanting to comment about the reason why Elle ordered flowers for.

Datin Sharifah did not try to persuade Maria into telling her any further. She understood Maria’s intentions of maintaining the confidentiality of her customers’ rights.

“Shall we continue with your order?” Maria asked in a friendly manner.

Datin Sharifah nodded her head.



* The wife of a Datuk (a federal title in Malaysia) is a Datin.

* The baju kurung is the traditional outfit for the females of the Malay race.

* RM (Ringgit Malaysia) is the currency in Malaysia.

Chapter end

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