What’s a girl to do with over 400 prawn vol au vents? Sugar and Spice author Angela Britnell picks up the story today and introduces an interesting twist …
Armed police? As if her day wasn’t bad enough already. This had to be a joke. Kate approached the door and cautiously opened it, half expecting it to be kicked from her hands.
Her gaze travelled upwards and met a pair of bright blue eyes. The first thing she registered was that the exceptionally tall young man grinning at her had a. the reddest hair she’d ever seen, b. no police uniform or gun, and c. was holding out a massive white box.
‘Cakes Galore at your service.’ He thrust the box towards her with a wide grin.
‘Are you a bloody nutcase?’ Kate glared. ‘Were you trying to give me a heart attack?’
‘Hey, why don’t you try approaching a house that sounds like World War III is in progress, armed with only a cake box. Seemed a good idea at the time.’ He shrugged. ‘The name’s Marcus.’
…find some other bloke called Mark…
This must be an omen. ‘Do you like prawns?’
‘It’s a simple question,’ she said, exasperated.
‘So it may be, but not one I regularly get asked when delivering cakes,’ he teased. ‘Dare I ask if you want to explain all this?’ He gestured around the room and Kate realised the full extent of her meltdown. ‘Most people hang the balloons up instead of massacring them.’
Before she could stop herself the whole sorry story poured out. All the plans she’d made. Her errant brother’s disappearance. Finally she ended with her irrational reaction.
‘Heck. So I’m guessing you won’t want this?’ Marcus pointed at the huge chocolate cake. Kate peered in through the plastic cover of the box and blinked back tears. She’d found an old photo of her brother as a baby and Mark’s toothy grin smiled up at her amid decorations all in his favourite red and white Arsenal colours. Was she such a bad sister that he had to flee to Turkey to escape her well-meant plans?
‘What will you do with it?’ she asked.
‘We’ll take it to one of the old people’s homes nearby. They do pretty well out of our rejects,’ he said with an easy smile and Kate found she couldn’t stay mad at him. ‘Back to the prawn thing. The answer’s yes and I haven’t had lunch so bring them on.’
Being pathetically grateful to anyone wasn’t in Kate’s DNA but she almost flung her arms around Marcus’s neck. ‘I’ll get us some.’ She ran into the kitchen and loaded a big plate with vol au vents before grabbing a bottle of champagne and two glasses. ‘There we go. Eat up. Only three hundred and fifty left to go.’
His eyes widened. ‘Were you expecting a hoard of marauding Vikings?’
Kate bristled. ‘The etiquette books all say to allow ten per person per hour if it’s replacing dinner, which this is – or rather was. Plus my brother’s friends don’t go in for RSVP’s much so I wasn’t sure how many were coming.’
‘Sorry. All the more for us.’ He picked up one and bit into it with obvious pleasure. ‘These are good.’
She opened the champagne and poured them both a glass. ‘How about a toast to my absent brother? To Mark!’ Kate relaxed back in the chair and thought how much nicer this was than dealing with a house full of people.
‘Kate! I just got a text from the caterer…’ Meg burst in through the door and stopped, staring at them both in horror. ‘Stop eating those things right now!’
Angela Britnell was born in St. Stephen, Cornwall, England. After completing her A-Levels she worked as a Naval Secretary. She met her husband, a US Naval Flight Officer while being based at a small NATO Headquarters on the Jutland Peninsula in Denmark. They lived together in Denmark, Sicily, California, southern Maryland and London before settling in Franklin, Tennessee.
Follow Angela on Twitter: @AngelaBritnell
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In part one of the story, how many balloons has Kate blown up for her brother’s birthday party? Send your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Birthday Competition’ as the subject line.