Tucker stands in front of the mirror, practicing his speech for tonight’s dinner.

“On behalf of all of us who call Candles home, I’d like to welcome our newest arrival, Chloe.” His reflection smiles back at him, and he is taken aback. He looks almost happy. No more haunted eyes, fear-flushed face. He’s a different person now, thanks to Jimson and Candles. “This is a peaceful home, Chloe, a place where we all heal together,” he added.

Jimson had cautioned everyone to wear kid gloves with Chloe. “She’s had a particularly difficult loss, and is not ready to talk about it. She needs acceptance and lots of TLC.” Marta, Maria and Tucker had all agreed instantly. Laslow and Tomas were both a bit preoccupied – Laslow thinking of food, Tomas imagining becoming a father. But they both had promised to be gentle with Chloe. Philomena was the only one who noticed a deep sadness in Jimson’s eyes and that his hands slightly trembled whenever he mentioned Chloe’s name. “Kid gloves and TLC,” Phil had whispered, hugging him as she would a child. For you as well as for Chloe.

Tucker’s speech is ready. He bounds out of the house to his favorite place. His weeks of raking and weeding had uncovered a treasure trove of plants. He was ecstatic when Jimson named him as the estate gardener. “Gran would be so proud,” he thought, remembering their life before the war.

Tucker fills his basket with wild flowers and herbs. By the time he reaches the kitchen, Laslow is stirring and tasting, learning by watching Jimson. Marta runs in to announce, “She’s here – Chloe!

A few hours later, Jimson brings in chafing dishes for the sideboard. Mushroom risotto with wild sage and peas, prawns in herbs and garlic, and for dessert, pears with chevre and dark chocolate. Everyone gasps with delight as Laslow fills their bowls. “Asparagus and lime soup with arugula and wild mustard,” he beams.

Tucker taps on his glass, starts his speech.

A tiny flicker of interest crosses Chloe’s frozen face.

“My plan just might work,” thinks Jimson.

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Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
1 month ago

Fuji, I like how you bring a variety of different souls together in a community. Your menu sounds most delicious!

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
1 month ago

A sequel to the story about Jimson and his Candles! Wonderful, Fuji! And now with yet another houseguest. It’s a pity that you don’t have another month or so to write some more chapters and let us know what happens to all those people. What is Jimson’s background? How is Chloe going to fit in? What is Jimson’s secret plan? Is everybody going to stay happy and grateful or are there going… Read more »

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
1 month ago

Another enjoyable installment. Would certainly like to know more about the backgrounds of your characters, and what will happen to them in the future. Perhaps we will see more of them in future competitions/gems events. I’ll have to skip to the dessert course I’m afraid!

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
20 days ago

This story is fascinating. I am excited to find out more about Jimson and Candles in future competitions. Your menu looks and tastes so good. Well done. 

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