Can you believe Choc Lit have been around for eight years? We’re finding it difficult to believe too! We thought long and hard about the best way to celebrate and decided that a story written collaboratively by our wonderful authors, competitions, prizes and a big slab of (virtual) chocolate cake were the way to go! So here we have Lynda Stacey starting us off with the first part of a special birthday Round Robin story. The other parts will follow on throughout the day, so make sure you keep an eye out!
And if you read right until the end you might just find a competition to enter too!
The Birthday Surprise – Part One by Lynda Stacey
Anna sat on the edge of the bed in her dressing gown, tossed her long auburn hair over her shoulder and stared aimlessly at the gilt edged invitation. ‘I don’t get it, why on earth would Declan Doherty invite me to his party?’ She looked over her shoulder at her younger sister, Helen. She was leaning back against her pillows, with her leg in the air, while she painted her toe nails.
‘I don’t know, Anna. He’s probably desperate!’ She sat up higher against the pillows and straightened her leg. ‘Maybe he has no other friends. I mean, come on, how long is it since you saw him? Ten, twenty, thirty years?’ She smiled, pointed her toes and admired the nail polish.
Anna closed her eyes and swallowed hard. Helen was right, as always. The last time she’d seen Declan Doherty, had been at their high school prom. It had been a night of glitz, glamour and excitement, and a night of wearing the most beautiful dress she’d ever owned. It had been long, jade-green and off shoulder, and although she’d only been sixteen years old, she’d felt so very grown up and had beamed with pride when Declan had turned up at her door, ready to escort her to the ball.
She clearly remembered him standing before her in his dark suit, and white shirt. His bright blue eyes had sparkled with excitement, his dimpled cheeks had been tinged with a blush and his dark black hair had been slicked back, making him look much older than his years. He’d taken her hand in his and she’d barely been able to breathe, as they’d walked to the gate, where a taxi stood waiting.
It had been at that moment she’d thought to glance over her shoulder, at her mum, who’d waved from the doorstep with tears of joy in her eyes.
‘Fourteen years,’ Anna finally said as she stood up and flung open the wardrobe doors, ‘It’s been fourteen years. You’d have been just six years old. The same year that our mum died.’ She held back the tears and began flicking through her rail of dresses. ‘And for your information, clever clogs, I have no idea why he’d invite me, or what the hell I’m going to say to him.’ She tried to lighten the mood, ‘I mean, come on, what do you say to the birthday boy when you haven’t seen him for fourteen whole years?’
Helen laughed, ‘You could always reject the invitation. I mean, come on, he could be a real minger by now and you really don’t have to go, do you?’
Anna sighed. She knew that she didn’t have to go. But, something inside her wanted to. She wanted to know how he’d turned out. What he’d done with his life and how he looked. Was he still as cute as he had been? Would he still blush each and every time he looked at her?
‘Do you think he could be gay?’ Helen suddenly chipped in. ‘I mean, he could be, couldn’t he?’
Anna spun around on the spot, ‘Why on earth would you even think that?’
‘Well, he’s coming up to thirty. If he were straight and married, wouldn’t his wife be sending out the invites?’
Anna turned her attention back to the wardrobe and pulled out a black, chiffon, off shoulder dress. It was short, sexy and perfectly cut to show off her long legs and slim figure. ‘What do you think to this one?’ she asked, as Helen nodded.
‘Yeah, it’d do. But, I think the red one’s better,’ she said before turning her attention back to her toes.
Anna held the dress up to herself and stared at her reflection in the full length mirror. ‘I could wear it with the black stilettos.’ She once again she looked over her shoulder and stared at her sister, hoping for a reaction. An explosion of questions had suddenly flown into her mind.
‘Helen, what if he really is married. What if it’s a surprise party? What if his wife sent the invitation?’
Helen tutted and rolled her eyes, ‘Well, first, because it would say the word surprise on the invitation and secondly, think about it, why would his wife send you of all people an invitation?’
Anna flopped down on the bed, laughed and pulled her sister into a hug, ‘And, why little sister, are you always right?’
Helen squirmed, shrugged, and jumped up from the bed. ‘Well, maybe that’s because I took the trouble to look him up on social media. See, it says right there look, single.’ She began to giggle and held her mobile up in the air. But, Anna grabbed at the phone, to clearly see Declan Doherty’s profile, which now showed on the screen in front of her, minus a photograph.
Very intriguing start from Lynda – bet you can’t wait to find out more! And you don’t have to wait too much longer as Kathryn Freeman’s second instalment will be up in the next couple of hours!
If you enjoyed Lynda’s writing, you might like to check out her upcoming paperback, House of Secrets. Click the image above for more information.
To be in with a chance of winning an exclusive advance copy of House of Secrets (well, it is our birthday after all!) and some chocolate simply answer the question below (we hope you’ve been reading carefully!):
What colour was the dress that Anna went to her Prom in?
To enter, send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading ‘Round Robin Lynda Stacey comp’ by Tuesday 20th June. The winner will be picked at random and announced on Wednesday 21st June.