Brandon could really use that help right now. As a shy college student stuck on a pretty, and popular, girl, he’s going to need a miracle to woo her. He has the luck to find out about Mr. Eres’ miraculous shop and is given a very special box of fortune cookies for his special girl.
"What do you mean you didn't ask her out?"
The questioner was a man of fifty-five who went by the name of Ryan Dotson. The question was directed at his shy son, Brandon, a freshman in college who was having the kind of trouble that was typical for men. Girl trouble. More specifically, Brandon liked one enough to tell his dad about her and then came the onslaught of questions.
"I hardly know her, Dad," Brandon argued. They were in his room having this discussion, so thankfully his mom couldn't butt in with her own advice. If his dad proved to be less than helpful, she was Plan B. "We just have a few classes together and talked only a few times. I hardly know her name."
"That's a good place to start, though not necessarily the first place," his dad replied. That answer earned an eye-rolling from his less free-loving son.
"Come on, Dad, I'm trying to be serious here."
"So am I," Ryan countered. "
You don't have to know the girl's name to sleep with her." Brandon leaned his head down and face-palmed his forehead. "What? You think your mom was the first one for me?"
"I really don't want to hear about your youth, Dad. I just need to know how I'm supposed to ask a girl out on a date."
"Well, for starters you were supposed to learn this in high school," his parent pointed out. "That definitely would've helped in college."
"None of the girls were that interesting in high school, but this one-this one's, I don't know, different," Brandon replied. His father patted him on the shoulder and stoically nodded his head.
"They all are, son, but that's just until you get to know them. Then you can't run fast enough to the next pair of silky white arms." Brandon glared at his dad and then pointed at the door.
"I think I'll go ask mom about this. You can leave," he ordered his father. Ryan stood up with a fake expression of insult on his face.
"Fine, go to the woman, but I guarantee she won't be of much help."
Brandon found his mother, Miriam, at the sink making dinner. Though he was in college, the campus was close enough he could continue to room and board at home.
"Mom, I need your advice," Brandon begged his more serious parent. She turned around with that kind smile on her face and nodded at the kitchen table. His mom didn't speak much because she believed words shouldn't be wasted, but he understood her gestures enough to see she was interested. He sat down in one of the chairs and winced when his wallet dug into his rear. He pulled it out and twirled it around on the table. "It's…well, it's about a girl." That got her to stop making dinner and fully turn around.
"Really?" she asked him, and he nodded.
"Yeah. She's in a few of my classes and, well, I want to ask her out but I don't know her very well. How do I do that?" Miriam stepped away from the sink and joined him at the kitchen table.
"Sounds serious," she replied. "Is she pretty?"
"Yeah, really pretty, but I bet that means she's got a boyfriend, doesn't it?" His mom smiled and shook her head.
"Maybe she's as shy as you are," his parent pointed out. "What's her name?"
"Vanessa Holbrook. We've talked a few times in group discussions, but I haven't tried talking with her anywhere else."
"Have you thought of giving her a gift? Maybe she'd like a rose or some chocolates," his mom suggested.
"Yeah, but that means I'd have to talk with her and find out what she likes. If I'm going to talk with her then I might as well just ask her out." Brandon sighed and stretched himself out on the table. He'd always had difficulties with talking to people, especially girls, and he'd hoped going to college would allow him to start over. Fewer people would know him there and he could make a new identity for himself, something cooler and more confident. Instead he was the same old scaredy-cat with the same old problems.
"If you've been watching this young lady long enough then haven't you seen her with some sort of sweets?" his parent asked him. Brandon furrowed his brow and then shot up from the table. He snapped his fingers and his face lit up with a wide smile.
"You know what, I did see her with a cookie the other day!" he told his mom. "I think it was chocolate chip because she complained to her friend about the chocolate dripping all over her fingers." His mom smiled at his ecstatic tone. "Where's that shop Dad keeps talking about? The one that has all the really great candy in it?"
"It's on-" Miriam began.
"Wait, I remember. Downtown between those two bakeries." Brandon checked his watch and saw the time was twenty minutes past four o'clock. If the shop kept regular hours then he'd get there with plenty of time to grab some cookies. He scampered out of the kitchen, but peeked his head back inside to grin at his parent who still sat at the kitchen table. "Thanks, Mom!" Then he disappeared behind the wall and she heard his feet pound across the floor to the front door.
"Just don't be too late! Dinner will be ready in an hour!" she called back to him. The door shut without a reply and she shook her head. Her eyes caught something on the table where he'd sat, and she let out a gasp. His wallet sat there, forgotten but so necessary.
Miriam grabbed the wallet and zoomed through the house. By the time she got outside and onto the sidewalk, her fast son was nowhere to be seen. She sighed and shook her head. He would come back empty-handed and have to go tomorrow for the cookies. Miriam only hoped he would still have the courage to make the trip twice. Brandon's mom retreated back into the house and found her husband with his head in the fridge.
"Supper will be ready soon enough," she scolded her older ‘child.'
Mr. Dotson straightened and gave his wife a sheepish grin. "I was just getting something to drink, I swear."
"I'm sure you were," Miriam sarcastically agreed.
Her husband looked down and noticed the wallet in her hands. "Isn't that Brandon's?"
She lifted the wallet to eye-level and sighed. "Yes, I'm afraid it is. He left it behind on his way to that sweet shop you spoke about."
Ryan's eyebrows raised and a mischievous grin spread across his lips. "Really? So he's gone there for help?" He rubbed his chin with one hand and slowly nodded his head. "This may be just the thing he needs to finally grow a backbone and get laid."
"Must it always be about sex? Maybe this girl is nice and smart," his wife pointed out. She set the wallet on the table and returned to the sink.
Her husband slyly followed her and wrapped his arms around her waist. He leaned in and breathed against her neck, which sent a shiver down her back. "Haven't you read all those studies? Sex is supposed to be healthy for a relationship."
Miriam turned around in his arms and playfully kissed his lips. His eyes widened at her next few words. "Should we try that out?" she teased.