Ameya loved seeing the brighter side; a happy person by nature it was not uncommon for her friend Mao to compare her to a Disney Princess. The image of the happily ever after, prince charming on his white stead, as she sang with the birds and rabbits seemed the stuff that dreams were made of. A white light made her glow and shine; a sweet and innocent nature that seemed unearthly.
The truth about Ameya was hidden behind her eyes. Perhaps she was not as happy as she appeared to be; hopeful and longing to find that other half of her soul. Cheesy romance, but she loved it. She wanted to be swept off her feet.
Sadly, she often fretted because it felt as though what she wanted and what was truly obtainable were two very different things. In her homeland of Japan, she always seemed to be that girl struggling with her studies and dreaming big. Her mother told her there was nothing wrong with that as long as she did her best.
Sometimes, she had an ache in her heart because she felt as though she was not trying hard enough.
Her story really started far away from her homeland in the great nation of Aslann. An adventure or maybe a misadventure, she was not really certain, but her mother encouraged her to explore and learn while she was still young. It would be much harder to do once she had a husband and children of her own. Still the thought of such dreams were just that; Ameya went to bed every night hugging her snugly pillow and dreaming of Mr. Wonderful.
She took the few opportunities she had to take in the sites of her new home, but between her apprenticeship and her job there was scarcely enough hours in the day for Ameya to meet anyone. That made her very thankful for her friendship with Mao and the moments she had to engage people at the cake shop where she worked.
Still, there were some things about her job she was not happy about. Sighing deeply as she heard him say, “Good morning, little cupcake girl.”
Ameya could not decide if she liked him or hated him. Always he called her the same thing, even though she insisted her name was Ameya. He just smiled. There was something disturbing about him and yet it was the same thing that drew her in. He was no bad boy; Bak Ishi was downright dangerous.
Off hours she had hoped to never cross paths with him, but the night before at the festival that was exactly what happened. Little cupcake girl, over and over again. It took every ounce of strength she had to smile, despite her displeasure. Ameya had been a little jealous of the way he had picked up on her calling her friend Mao Mao. Why did she get little cupcake girl? Whatever it was she had barely an ounce of cares to give as she gritted her teeth and responded, “Your order is not ready yet.”
“My order is always ready….”
She cut him off, “I will pull them from the oven in about fifteen minutes. You can come back then.”
For a moment, however brief, he had stared at her before stepping aside with a clearly amused chuckle and responding, “Be back in a few, little cupcake girl.”
Ameya composed herself. She was not certain what it was about that Ishi, but since the first day she met him she had thought him weird. He got her worked up, like no person she had ever encountered. With a sigh she turned toward the oven. Baking always calmed her so she checked the items, prepped a piece of cake, and prepared herself to attend customers. It was difficult some days to put a smile on her face and a skip in her step.
Giving herself a pep talk she had turned with cake in hand and came face-to-face with a customer. “Uh…” She stammered, “You are not supposed to be back here.” There was a whisper, at least that was what it sounded like. Then, the room which had been joyous and filled with chatter suddenly stilled. Frozen in time; she allowed her eyes only to glance around at the customers whose very beings became living statues.
“He confuses you,” The man’s voice teased. It was like he was talking in her head, to her heart, to her soul. Her very core trembled which forced her to steady her grip on the plate, “His black heart will not satisfy your hunger.”
There was something familiar about his face. A memory; distant and fleeting. Something from the past. Her past? No, they had never met before. She shook the confusing thoughts quickly away, “Do you need something?”
“I need you to come with me. You want to….” His words lingered.
Her body, without her will, took a step forward and Ameya could not explain the strange sensation that overtook her. “What…what is happening?”
“We are leaving this place; together.”