Billy played with the key in the lock. It was raining so hard that the umbrella Alexandra held over Billy’s head blew inside out. By the time Billy pushed the door open they were both soaking wet, and smelled like wet sponge. Billy turned the alarm off and switched on the lights.
“Surprise!” Billy leaned over and scooped Alexandra into his arms and carried her in. Pivoting on the heels of his feet, he showed her the full view of the café before putting her down in the center of the room.
“When did you have a chance to do this?” Alexandra asked walking around the room. “The floors are magnificent.” She knelt down on the floor and leaned over using the floor as a mirror. “I can see my reflection.”
“I love your excitement. But don’t use it all just yet. I’ve been coming here working into the wee hours of the morning.” Billy took her hand and outlined her lips with his free hand.
“You keep on amazing me each and every day. Whenever I begin to question our relationship, you go and do something to blow my mind, causing me to fall deeper in love with you.”
“I do these things, not because I’m trying to buy your love, but because I love seeing the excitement in your eyes. And knowing it’s the little things that make you happy.”
“You’re right.” Alexandra gave him a kiss and firmly gripped his hand.
“Are you ready to see the rest?”
“Yeah.” Looking up she pointed to the tiffany style light that hung from the ceiling. “I love it. So original.”
“Thank you. I thought they would give the perfect vintage look.”
“They do.” Walking across the room, Alexandra stopped at the pile of table and chairs that were against the wall. “What are these?”
“I found them downstairs in the basement. I wanted you to take a look at them and see if you think they are workable.”
The rectangular tables had thick legs and a four inch solid top made out of mahogany. The tables were rectangular and round. Knocking on the top she shook her head in approval.
“The tables are perfect.”
“How about while you go check out the kitchen and I’ll set up a couple of tables. Once they are set up, I’ll let you dress them with the navy and beige linens I bought.”
“The ones you surprised me with along with the dishes?” she asked placing her hands on her hips.
“Those are it.”
“Are you telling me that I was your guinea pig?”
“Absolutely,” he chuckled. “Now go ahead. Check out the kitchen.”
Alexandra walked across the room to the long bar and ran her fingers along the shiny mahogany top. Thinking about it for a few moments, she’d thought maybe they should consider putting a glass top or Formica over the wood to preserve the wood; just something to think about.
Pushing open the doors, she gasped and covered her mouth with her hands. The once dirty, grease infected kitchen shined. The stainless steel stoves and ovens were shining, like they were brand new. And the once black floor was now snow white. It seemed that those nights when she let her mind run wild with thoughts he was cheating on her, he was at the café scrubbing away.
A carousel of shiny pots hung above the workstation. It amazed Alexandra, how much Billy did without her knowing. He had told her when they signed the bank papers that he didn’t want her doing any of the dirty work. He just wanted her to work on the public relations end.
“So what do you think?”
Alexandra turned and Billy stood in the doorway grinning at her.
“I can’t believe what you did here. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought you went out and bought brand new pots.”
“But that’s where you’re wrong.” Billy opened one of the cabinets and took out a frying pan. “This baby was the only pan I couldn’t get clean. And the only pan I replaced.”
Alexandra took the pan from his hand. It looked like something burned big time in it. Billy did get the sides of the pan clean, but the middle remained black.
“I’m so proud of you for not taking the easy way out.” Pointing to herself, “I personally would have said screw it and purchased new pots and pans.”
“I didn’t want to spend money unnecessarily. I figured if I could salvage it, then it was worth the effort to clean it. Come here.” Billy opened the big pantry closet, which had multiple shelves. “As you can see,” he tapped the label on the shelf, “I cleaned out the closets and labeled everything making it easier to take inventory when we need to order.”
“I can’t believe you Billy. Why didn’t you tell me you were doing this? I wanted to help you get the place together.”
“I didn’t want to bother you with the little things, especially since you are still working. I spend most of the day while you were at work cleaning and setting up. But don’t worry. There are still plenty of things that need to be done. Come on let me show you.”
Alexandra followed Billy back out into the dining area. While she looked around the kitchen, Billy had set up half a dozen tables.
“What do you think about the way I set up the tables? I really don’t like tables up against the wall.”
“I agree. I love the set up.” Walking around the room she stood in the back of the room near the kitchen. “I think we should set up one big table here. That will encourage people to come with their friends.”
“Let’s do it.”
Billy and Alexandra moved the tables round until they had three rectangular tables together.
“I’ll be right back.”
Billy disappeared into the room off the bar, which they agreed they would use as their office. Before she could investigate the counter where a brand new cappuccino machine sat, Billy reappeared with the shopping bags.
“Here you go.” He handed her the two bags. “Go ahead and dress two of the tables. I’m dying to see what you are going to do with them.”
“I’m sure you’ll be quite surprised.”
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