Ch. 2: An Invitation

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"Standring's Christmas Wish", Ch. 2: An Invitation, December 25, 2018 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1200b)

(An original fan fiction story copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace 2018; All rights reserved); [(1) story cover, left]

[As is my custom, I will illustrate my story with my ideal cast consisting of (and in order of appearance/mention in each chapter) of:  Richard Armitage as Ralph John Standring, Hayley Atwell as Clara Saunders, and others as noted.]

Authors story content and serializing scheduling note: My fan fiction short story here is based on the character of Ralph John Standring from the 2002 British mini-series "Sparkhouse"-with a new story arc. The tone of the chapters will be primarily PG to PG-13-for dramatic moments and/or romantic feelings. If you cannot or will not attend a movie with those ratings, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer.

And I will serialize this short story starting Christmas Day, December 25, 2018 with several initial chapter posts, and for a few days following after the Christmas Holiday this year. Please note that Chs. 2 - End will appear solely on my Wattpad site for ease of posting over the holidays. And I will write and serialize my story with daily chapters posts-a little challenge that I set for myself for fun-such as with my 2014 story, "A Magnificent Love", "A Christmas Carol Reimagined" in 2016, and others. And I hope that you enjoy Ralph Standring's holiday story this year.

"Standring's Christmas Wish", Ch. 2--An invitation (Post #1200b)

It is now a bitterly cold December 22nd, the Saturday before Christmas and the merriment of the season cannot be contained in their small village of Chipping. Everyone is in a heightened state of holiday preparations--rushing to and fro as they make their last minute gift purchases from the village's specialty shoppes catering to goods ranging from home décor, to candies, to toys, to clothing, and such.

And many shoppers--laden with their purchases, heavy coats, and a one inch think layer of snow that lightly blakents the area--choose to answer their hunger's call by stopping by Clara's Cafe [(2) below] for lunch.

The many hungry holiday shoppers make Clara's Café's over the door bell ring festively as they quickly enter the café's homey enclave of warm woods, gingham and chintz curtains, hearty traditional food at reasonable prices. The patrons quickly enter Clara's Café to find a haven from the brisk winter chill. They find it warm and inviting-especially with the free first cup of coffee when the weather dips below freezing. The proprietress Clara Saunders--a thirty five year old spinster lady with womanly curves and a welcoming heart-is often calling out to them as they enter the café.

Clara: "Hillary Love, you'd best set your packages down and warm yourself with a cup of my hot coffee by the fire. The first cup is on the house." Clara points to a table for the young girl to sit at by one of the two fireplaces in the café.

Hillary: "Thanks, Clara." The teenager smiles broadly at Clara.

Many patrons usually go on to also enjoy Clara's hot mulled cider-which is not free, but reasonably priced. The warm and spicy drink contains no spirits, but it tastes so good that it tends to lift everyone's spirits during the cold Winter months. The cider's recipe is a closely guarded secret. The only ingredient known is that the apples mashed, pureed, and stewed, come from the nearby Whipple farm apple orchard situated next to the much larger Camden Family Farm which grows crops and sheep. And Mr. Whipple's apples going into Clara's delicious hot mulled cider is a point of pride for old man Whipple.

Clara's Café's open layout separated by the architectural features of the room almost makes it seem like there are three rooms. When one walks in the main entrance to the West, they enter a room with four round tables clustered near a large fireplace's hearth blazing with wooden logs on the fire--with dark woods wainscoting covering the solid walls-both for insulation and for aesthetics. Then turning to their right, the long rectangular section of the café is split up by a diner counter with stools on one side--where one can see the pass through to the kitchen with the servers collect their patron's meals--and then two large round booths lining the two bay windows for maximum view of the picturesque village as they eat. So this middle section is quite bright and airy, and easily accommodates families with many children or larger friend gatherings. Then continuing through to the smaller alternate East entrance area mostly used for customers there to pick up their take out orders, there is a smaller fireplace hearth with two small round tables placed across from the East entrance into the kitchen, again with dark woods lining the walls.

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