Read part #1 HERE
Zoe stood back and marveled at the confectionery creation before her. She had done it. With Dani’s help, she had actually managed to pull it off. And with minutes to spare.
It was her masterpiece. A tower of chocolate mud cupcakes, filled with raspberry coulis, topped with red sugary roses, and each one sitting in a faux lace paper. She took out her phone and snapped a quick photo just as Genevieve, Dylan and her mother walked through the door of the ballroom of Genevieve parents house. Yes, Genevieve was the type of rich who entertained in ballrooms.
“Wow, sis, that is amazing!” Dylan said, circling the tower of cakes with a grin.
“It’s just stunning Zoe, really it is.” She clapped her hands together gleefully like a child on Christmas morning, bouncing up and down in her expensive heels. “Thank you so much, I know it was such short notice, but you have worked a miracle.” Genevieve stepped away from her and into Dylan’s arms. The two really did look happy together.
Zoe clapped her own hands together, her smile stretching so wide her face hurt and was caught up in the praises of her brother and fiancee that she had almost forgotten her mother’s presence.
Diedre Evans was eyeing her daughter critically, not so much as glancing at the tower of cakes. Zoe self consciously looked away, biting her lip and pulling at the loose thread of her apron and smoothing down invisible wrinkles. Waiting for what she knew was coming.
“You’ve gained weight. You will never find a boyfriend if you keep piling on the kilos like you are.” Deidre swept a pale blonde curl from her still beautiful and ageless face. “You could still come work for your father? He is still looking for a book keeper you know. You could give up this catering bit, get a normal job with normal hours. You might find time to join the gym then sweetheart, get yourself in shape.” Her mother smiled. She meant well. At least, that was what Zoe told herself.
Zoe stole a glance at her stick thin mother, then down to her own too wide hips and less than flat stomach. She clenched the hem of her apron and grit through her teeth, fighting back the tears that burned behind her eyes. She would not give her mother the satisfaction of knowing she struck a nerve.
“I like my job, and I have told you I don’t want to work for dad.”
“I just want you to be happy sweetheart. I mean, Dani is married already and if her mother is to be believed, she and Pete are trying.”
“We cant all be lucky enough to marry our high school boyfriends mum.” It was true though, Dani and Pete had been together since they were fifteen, marrying straight out of high school. Although this was the first she had heard of them trying to have a baby. Zoe wondered why Dani hadn’t mentioned it.
Deidre patted her daughter on the shoulder and gave her a sympathetic look. “You aren’t still upset over Simon are you Zoe, because I did warn you…”
“Mum! I am not still upset over my high school boyfriend, or what he did.” Of course she wasn’t, why would she be upset over something that happened five years ago. She wasn’t eighteen anymore, she was twenty-three!
“Mum, people are starting to arrive and I need to duck home to get dressed, unless you want me parading myself around looking like the hired help at a Lake event?” Genevieve’s parents, the Lakes, held only the most lavish parties. They were practically considered royalty in their sleepy little town of Rose-Hill. There was some kind of ancient rivalry between Deidre Evans and Isabelle Lake, the reasons why unknown to Zoe.
“Of course dear, do hurry back.” Her mother forced a smile, turning to greet Genevieve’s parents. The bride-to-be’s perfect smile faltering and disappearing completely at her father, Reginald Lake’s greeting. Her too-red lips pressing into a thin line, Dylan giving her hand a reassuring squeeze.
Zoe grabbed her bag and all but ran out the door.
She had just pulled into the driveway of her apartment block when her phone buzzed from inside her bag.
James: How did the tower-o-cake turn out? Pics?
Zoe smiled as she walked up the stairs, keys jingling in her hands as she attached the earlier snapshot and texted a quick reply before entering her apartment.
Zoe: (MMS) My masterpiece. Have to admit, very proud of myself on this one.
James had texted her a few times since the initial wrong number incident, asking for updates on the ‘tower-o-cakes’ as he had dubbed it. Once Zoe was satisfied he was of an appropriate age and not some twelve-year-old, she began texting back. She had sent a few photo’s as she worked and gave him baking tips. Two days ago she had received a photo of an abysmal attempt at what she assumed was a sponge cake.
Pancake more like it.
She tossed her phone and bag on the bed and hurried to the bathroom, turning the shower on and quickly washing her hair before hopping out again less than five minutes later. Towel drying her hair as she walked across the apartment, she dug through the pile of clean laundry to find a fresh pair of underwear, pulling them on.
She threw the damp towel down on the bed and rifled through to find a matching bra. It was a fancy party with champagne, who knew what the night might bring. More than likely her at home by ten to binge Netflix or play video games, but one never knew. She finished doing up the hooks when her message tone went off.
James: I need these cakes! You are a baking genius! Are you sure you can’t send me some?
Zoe: That would be breaking the rules. If I mail you something then you have my address and what’s to stop you coming and axe murdering me in my sleep, huh?
She set the phone back down opening her wardrobe and selecting her two choices for the evening. A little black number with capped sleeves, plunging neckline and flared skirt, with a pair of cheap black heels. Or, an ankle length pastel lavender dress with spaghetti straps with cheap silver heels.
James: What’s to stop YOU axe murdering ME before I get my cakes?
Zoe: You got me, that is totally my plan! But for tonight your safe. Trying to pick a dress for the party. Help! I’m no good at this!
James: What are the options? Pics?
She hung the two dresses up against the mirror on her vanity and without thinking snapped a quick photo and hit send, tapping her foot impatiently as she waited.
A good five minutes passed before she got a response.
What Happens Next?
Option #1 Zoe goes to the party
Option #2 We get a James chapter?