Women with creamy shoulders and red lips, baring their teeth at one another in dangerous smiles. Any moment now, one of them would fling her head back and erupt in peals of laughter like a chandelier that has been dropped from the second floor.
Lucy Higgins could not bear the scene, she could hardly abide it! For one terrible moment, she fought the urge to stamp her foot. Yet who had she to blame but herself for letting another perfectly promising evening disappear into the ether?
Perhaps that was the most maddening thing of all.
When it was time for the cake to be served, she felt a bit more composed. Perhaps she would get a piece with a sugar rose on top--this was always something to hope for! As the cake was cut and the pieces placed upon lavender china, Lucy's hand flew to her throat and clutched at her pearls. One could not behold the look of naked longing upon her face without having to turn away.
Finally it was her turn to be served. The piece was crowned with a rose of spun sugar and a tiny hummingbird which hovered in the air! Lucy gasped. In spite of herself, she held out both hands.
Then something unspeakable happened: Blaine Willowby, of the Cork County Willowbys, reached with his stubby fingers and snatched the plate right from beneath her nose!
"Hawhaw," he exclaimed, fairly wriggling with pleasure, "Bad luck, Luce."
Lucy stared at the second piece of cake which was placed into her hands. It was plain. No rosebuds. Just a sensible layer of icing which stretched on forever, as far as the eye could see.
It was more than a girl could be asked to endure.
Lucy Higgins shut her eyes. She was breathing heavily and the look of storm clouds gathered upon her face. Blaine Willowby, that stubby-fingered crown jewel of the Cork County Willowbys, was about to reap the whirlwind.
"I beg your pardon," said a voice.
A tall, dark stranger stood before her, holding out a piece of cake. The cake was adorned with a meadow, a brook, and a tree. Beneath the tree was a patchwork quilt and upon the quilt was a perfectly miniature picnic. There was a basket of cherries, a good, crusty bread, several cheeses, a bit of lox, a custard with sprinkles, and a crystal decanter of lemonade.
Lucy took a step closer. Was it her imagination, or did she feel the warmth of the sun upon her face?
"I couldn't help but notice," continued the stranger, "Perhaps you might be happier with my piece of cake...?"
A fox peeped out from a blackberry bush in the meadow. The brook babbled merrily on. A lark dipped and flew overhead.
Lucy Higgins could not know how long she stood gazing upon the scene. But anyone could see, by the look on her face, exactly what it was she wanted.
Dear reader, happy Monday! Another giveaway and I am in a rush, as Caroline may saw her cello in half if I don't hurry downstairs to help her. Please leave a comment and I'll return to announce a winner on Friday!