Hi everyone! Today I’m sharing another short story with you. This is an old homework assignment I submitted in second year. I haven’t edited it since submission, so you’re reading exactly what my classmates read! I don’t know how successful it is as a short story, but here it is anyway.
As always, any feedback is much appreciated!
Maddie was sitting in a small cafe in the town centre. The clattering of ceramic mugs and the buzz of chattering serenaded her as she took a sip from the teacup she was cradling in her hands. The tea was sweet and was at the perfect temperature. As she unpeeled the wrapper from the chocolate cupcake she had purchased she spared a thought to her best friend Dylan, who would currently be serving burgers in a fast food joint. Chocolate cakes were his favourite. A glance at the clock informed her she only had an hour to spare before she had to leave to flog overpriced perfumes to middle aged women. The work was tedious and the hours were long but at least the pay was decent. The wooden chair opposite her was still empty.
She allowed her mind to drift off, far away from the familiar scent of roasted coffee beans and freshly baked pastries. Instead, her mind transported her to the small function suite at the local pub. The room was packed with Dylan’s closest family and friends. A silver CD player sat in the corner, but no one paid any attention to its music. Hands were curled around pints of beer, and every chair was occupied, even the tatty ones where the leather was ripped, revealing the scratchy yellow padding inside. The local bakery had taken charge of the catering, and the partygoers were stuffing their faces with flaky sausage rolls and toffee doughnuts, filled with freshly whipped cream. Crumbs fell onto their worn out jeans and were brushed onto the dusty floor, without a second thought to the mess.
The bell above the door to the shop tinkled, and brought Maddie crashing back to reality. Sophia strutted through, in a flurry of pink. She approached Maddie’s table, a beaming grin illuminating her face. Maddie forced her lips upwards into a tiny smile.
“Oh my gosh, it’s so good to see you!” Sophia gushed. Close up, Maddie could see the thick layer of foundation that was caked onto her face. Black clumps of mascara clung to her eyelashes and her lips were painted a bright pink colour. Maddie nodded in acknowledgment.
“I’m just going to grab a coffee and then we can get started. Oh my gosh, I have so many ideas!”
It was a struggle to imagine Sophia at this party. If she tried hard, Maddie could just about picture her perched carefully one of the red leather chairs, so not to wrinkle her glitzy dress. She’d reject the delicious baked goods, claiming that the meat in the sausage roll was too fatty, or that the cream from the doughnut would stain her outfit. Then she’d sit with some fancy cocktail and watch as Dylan smiled and mingled with his guests. Maybe it would be the night that Dylan decided they were no good for each other, and Sophia would vanish, as quickly as she’d appeared.
“So I think we should book a massive ballroom, and have a big formal dinner,” Sophia said, once she had returned with a drink that looked suspiciously like a milkshake. “After all, he is 21. And he’s very special.”
Maddie took a sip of her tea, which was almost stone cold.
“It sounds nice-”
“Great! I’ll give them a call this afternoon then.”
Maddie took a deep breath.
“I don’t think it’s really Dylan’s kind of place,” she said cautiously. Sophia gave her a blank look, as if Maddie had been speaking in another language.
“Of course he’ll like it,” Sophia pulled a white iPhone from her pocket. Maddie watched as she stabbed a shiny fuchsia nail at the screen.
“Look at it. What’s not to like?” she continued, shoving the screen in her face.
The hall was beautiful. Circular tables were arranged on the polished floorboards, with pristine white table cloths draped over them. A decorative flower arrangement was delicately placed in the middle of each table. Each place was neatly laid with silver cutlery, polished until one could see their reflection in it. The ceiling had intricate carvings that were painted gold, and a large crystal chandelier hung in the middle, illuminating every corner of the beautiful room.
Maddie passed the phone back to Sophia. It was so different to Dylan’s eighteenth birthday celebrations. They had dined in a small Chinese restaurant in a neighbouring town. At the end of their meal, the waitress brought a small cupcake with a blue candle plunged into the mountain of chocolate fudge icing. She could remember Dylan laughing as he picked tiny pieces of wax from the icing before giving the cake to his brother. The atmosphere was so causal, it was hard to imagine celebrating in this large hall.
“You know, the local pub has a function suite. Maybe we could hire that out for the night?”
But Sophia was deep into a monologue of DJs and catering. It was as if Maddie hadn’t spoken at all. Maddie rubbed her temples as she droned on, only occasionally answering Sophia’s questions in grunts. The only plan that Maddie proposed was the cake. It was to be three layers of rich chocolate sponge, sandwiched together with a dark chocolate ganache and decorated with chocolate curls. After a little persuasion, Sophia reluctantly agreed.
As Maddie left the café, a heavy feeling settled into her chest. She doubted Dylan would enjoy his party, but Sophia was impossible to negotiate with. She exhaled loudly as she climbed upstairs to the entrance of her work.
“At least he’ll have a cake,” she thought.