Family Fiction posted September 12, 2010


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Joyce seeks a father for her son

Cookies Say I Love You

by Readywriter52

Joyce Winter smiled as she watched Toby, her son wave to a field of corn. The wind blew through the cracks in the small cabin. When her husband died a few years ago, poverty forced them to live in this rustic cottage. Toby didn’t seem to mind the cold breeze blowing through the cabin. He enjoyed watching the autumn leaves fly through the air before they settled into piles around the cabin. He missed the company of a sibling. Tonight, she planned to fix that problem.

The whole town celebrated Halloween in the gym at the local school. Mothers baked cookies and cakes for the party. She had heard that the town’s most eligible widower, Arnold Novak would participate. His wife died two years ago giving birth, and she heard rumors he was looking for a mother to help raise his daughter, a sweet two-year-old girl named Megan.

“Mommy, am I really going to get a sister tonight?”

Joyce laughed. “Well, maybe not tonight, but soon.”

“Will she live with us?”

Joyce wiped her hands and placed the last batch of cookies in the oven. “Wouldn’t you rather live in the big white house on the hill?”

He shook his head.

His answer surprised her. “Why not? You wouldn’t want your sister to live in a dump like this. The walls don’t keep the cold wind out in the winter.”

“I like watching the squirrels scamper through the leaves in the backyard.”

As she dressed for the Halloween celebration, she scrutinized herself in the mirror. It reflected back a tall average-looking woman in a new dress. If she caught Arnold’s attention, the money spent on the dress would be worthwhile. Her son needed a father, and she needed a husband.

***

Later at the party, Joyce stood by her table of cookies and observed the individuals surrounding her. Most of the people were married. She stopped at Mary Williams, the only woman more desperate than she was to get married. Some people said her husband died to get away from her and her two daughters, Anna and Shelley.

Anna stopped by her table. “Are these store bought cookies?”

Joyce shook her head.

Anna grabbed a cookie and sniffed. “They don’t smell good. You must have made them. My mother didn’t waste her time baking. She bought her cakes from the bakery.” She smashed the cookie on the plate and walked back to her mother and sister. Outraged, Joyce threw it into the trash.

Most of the people who tasted her cookies loved them. More people stopped at her table than at Mary’s table. Soon Mary walked over to Joyce’s table and sniffed. “My daughter was right. They stink.”

Joyce grabbed her hand, as she reached for a cookie. “Let me give you one. I think you’ll like the one with the pink frosting.”

“Hello ladies, these look like delicious cookies.” Arnold Novak grinned at Joyce. “I heard these are the best cookies in the gym. May I sample one?”

Joyce smiled at the blue-eyed, brown-haired slender doctor and his daughter, Megan. She chose a cookie and handed it to Megan. Mary slapped the cookie from Megan’s hand and pulled her towards the cake table.

“Little girls like my cakes better. Her cookies taste like cardboard.”

Arnold's puzzled smile seemed to encourage Mary. She beamed at Arnold. “I’m sure you’ll like my cakes better. I’ll cut you a large piece. They’re going fast, so you better come now.”

Joyce could see Mary’s table was almost full. Everyone seemed to avoid her cakes.

“Ma’am, I’ll be there as soon as I finish sampling this woman’s cookies.” He pulled Megan from Mary’s grasp. “I don’t appreciate strange women grabbing my daughter.”

Mary frowned, glanced at her cake table, and back at Joyce’s cookies. She walked away, turned without warning, and slammed her body into the cookie table. The table crashed to the floor, and cookies flew into the air. People looked at her in shock while her two daughters giggled.

Mary stood, surveyed the mess, and then turned to Joyce. “I’m so sorry. I stumbled and fell. I hope I didn’t hurt anything.” She shrugged and turned to Arnold. “You didn’t miss anything. Anna told me her cookies are terrible. My table is over there.” She pointed in the direction of her table.

Arnold scowled. “I’ll get there after I finish helping Joyce clean this mess.”

Joyce felt like crying. She wanted to impress Arnold with her cookies because she knew he loved baked goods. Now all her plans were ruined. “That’s okay. Mary destroyed my cookies. Toby can help me clean the mess.”

“My wife used to make the most delicious cookies. I really wish I could have tasted yours. It’s too bad Mary destroyed them. I would have liked to sample them.”

“I saved a few cookies for Toby, but they’re at home.”

His grin grew bigger, and he grabbed her by the arm. “Take me home. I’d love to taste your cookies.

Mary howled as someone pushed a broom into her hands. “Stay and sample my cakes. They’re delicious.”

As Joyce exited the gym, she noticed a large irritated man standing next to Mary as she cleaned the mess. She savored the walk home with Arnold, as they discussed their two children. Toby and Megan walked ahead of them enjoying each other’s company. They would make a great family.



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