“How do you know it will rain?” asked the customer.
“I’ve spent every day in this shop since I was 5, learning how to run this business. Staring at the horizon every day, one starts to learn the ways of the weather,” James responded, mysteriously. James IV was not like his father or grandfathers. Where they considered the bottom line and keeping the business afloat, he used it as a means of meeting new people and contemplating the world.
Each generation had added to the original business. James Ronson II started selling kites alongside the umbrellas. James Ronson III added swimwear, surfboards, and snacks. James Ronson IV, much to his family’s disappointment, had added nothing. This didn’t matter to James though. He sold enough merchandise to keep the business running, and didn’t have the stress of worrying every minute of every day like this father.
He did have one worry though, he was getting older. James IV was approaching 30 quickly and still didn’t have a family of his own. He often wondered if he was meant to have a wife and children. Certainly his job wasn’t glamorous, and his tendency to stare off into the distance for hours wasn’t appealing to everyone, but mustn’t there be someone out there for him?
The customer left the shop with his free umbrella, and a few minutes later light rain began to fall. James smiled to himself, happy to have helped a wayward traveler, imagining the man opening it just in time to protect his wife from the rain. He had just stepped into the back room to grab money to pay for the umbrella when the bell over the door rang. James popped his head out from the curtain blocking the back room from the store and was greeted by the most beautiful face he’d ever seen. James had always believed in love at first sight, unlike the rest of his family, and he knew at once he was in love.
“Hello, welcome to Ronson’s Umbrella Stand. My name is James Ronson, is there anything I can help you with?” James asked, smiling.
“Hello Mr. Ronson, my name is Amelia. There is something you can help me with actually. I hope this doesn’t sound strange, but I saw you through the window earlier and you haven’t left my mind since. I hope I’m not being too forward, but would you be interested in getting lunch next door?” Amelia asked quickly, almost all in one breath.
James smiled, picking up his wallet and keys. He walked toward Amelia extending his arm. “I would be absolutely delighted Amelia,” he said as they walked out of the shop together.