Part 1 of my 12 Days of Christmas (and other holiday stories) series!) Expect another tonight or two tomorrow!
Based on a prompt from the Daily Flash Fiction Group on FB. 2/26/16 You need to let it warm up…
“Jenna, how are those cranberry key lime pies coming ? I need them by four if they’re going to get to Mr. Elbridge’s party on time!”
“The last batch just went in the blast chiller, Aud.” Jenna laughed and wiped her hands on the front of her flour-stained apron. “Would you relax? It’s only 1:30. We’ve got loads of time!” The oven beeped and she sauntered over to take out the latest batch of gingersnaps.
“I know, I know.” Audrey scooped the last of the dry ingredients into her mixter and turned it on high before straightening. She took a deep breath and brushed a stray piece of blonde hair behind her ear. “But Thomas is one of the richest men in town, Jen! I can’t afford to screw this up. I need that money if I want to keep the shop open.”
Jenna put down the white piping bag she’d been using to ice the sugar cookie snowflakes. “We’ve been prepping for a week, Aud. We got this!”
Audrey offered only a week grin in response as she added the crushed candy canes to the now smooth chocolate batter. “God, I hope so.”
Just as she was scooping the last of the mix into the cupcake liners, her phone rang.
“It’s your sister,” Jenna said with a smirk. “Think the fire department’s shown up yet?”
Audrey rolled her eyes and snatched the phone from her assistant, trading it for the chocolate-covered spatula.”Oh, shut up. She’s not that much of a disaster in the kitchen.” I hope. Coming home to a sea of smoke and blackened cabinets was suddenly a very likely possibility.
“Oh, yeah? Is that why you told her to make those crappy slice and bake cookies for Charlie’s christmas party tomorrow?”
“They’re not crappy; they’re just not as good as mine.”
“Damn straight they aren’t.” Jenna flicked the spoon for emphasis and splattered the last of the batter all over the silver counter-top.
Audrey shook her head, but a smile twitched at the edge of her lips. “Oh, just shut up and clean that mess while I take this.”
Jenna put her hand to her forward head in a mock salute. “Whatever you say, boss.
“You’re such a dork.” Audrey turned on her heel and stepped through the swinging door that lead to the back alley behind the bakery.
She leaned against the brick and hit the accept button on her screen. “Hello, Loren? Are you okay?”” Oh, God, please don’t let her have set the whole apartment on fire! She strained her ears, but could hear no wails of fire engines or blares of the smoke alarm. Phew. Maybe she wasn’t crazy to think Loren could handle cookies after all.
“Audrey? Oh, good. I put the cookies in, but nothings happening!”
Then again, maybe not.
“Oh, yeah? How long have they been in there?”
“Ten minutes, just like the package said. But every time I check them, they still look raw.”
“Did you preheat the oven first?”
Loren’s brows scrunched in confusion. “What?”
Audrey’s throaty chuckle echoed through the receiver. “Well, no wonder they aren’t cooking!”
“Stop laughing, Aud.” Loren deadpanned. “Just because you’re some kind of baking prodigy…”
“You shouldn’t need to own a bakery to remember to turn the oven on, Lor. Didn’t that cooking class you took teach you anything?”
“But I did turn it on, I swear.” She stomped over to the oven and put her hand on the red knob.
“Is the little red light lit up?”
“Yes, Aud. I’m not completely kitchen inept.” She tugged on the knob, but again, it wouldn’t move. “I just… ugh… can’t get this stupid knob to… Argh… turn.”
“Yeah. I’ve been trying to set it to bake, but–”
Audrey’s snicker cut her off.
“What? What did I do?”
“Lor, that knob that you keep pulling on, did it make a little clicking sound when you turned the oven on?”
“That’s just the power knob Loren! Not the knob to heat the oven.”
“Is it?’ Loren’s brows shot up in surprise. “But then, how do I…?”
Audrey let out a long sigh. “Where is Charlie, I’m sure he could show you.”
“He went over to Tyler’s house for dinner. I… err… figured that was safer than me trying to, y’know, cook something.”
Audrey smirked. “Ha. yeah, probably. Especially if you can’t even handle store-bought cookie dough.”
“Oh, I can handle cutting up a roll of dough, Aud. It’s your fancy oven that’s got me stumped.”
“It’s not that high-tech.”
“More than mine.”
“That’s ‘cause yours is ten years old and has never been used.”
“Hey! I’ve used it!”
“Oh, yeah?” Audrey raised a brow and stuffed her free hand in the pocket of her apron. “When?”
“Well… Oh, there was that time when… Wait, your mother-in-law hijacked the kitchen that day didn’t she? What about… No, you kicked me out after I lit boiled water on fire.”
A loud “Ha!” sputtered out of Audrey’s mouth before she could stop it.
“All right, fine, so maybe I haven’t used it that many times.”
“Told you so.”
“But all the more reason for you not to leave me alone with this, this, robot of an oven!”
Audrey bit down on her bottom lip to keep from grinning.. “A robot, Lor, really?”
“Well, tell me how to work it then!”
“Okay, okay. Take the cookies out and set them on the counter.”
There was some shuffling in the background. “Done.”
“See that silver circle behind the big red knob?”
“…The one that says bake and broil?”
Audrey stifled a laugh even though she swore she could actually hear the heat rising to her sister’s cheeks. “Yes, Turn it to bake That should set the temperature straight to 350. Then wait for the oven to beep and put them in again.
“Um… Aud, there are two bakes. Which-”
“The one without the black background. The other is the convection oven.”
“You mean this thing is a two in one oven? Are you sure it’s not a robot?”
“I’m sure, Lor. Trust me.” She glanced at her watch and gasped when she realized they’d been talking for almost 30 minutes. “I’ve gotta go finish the order for that big party tonight. Think you can take it from there?”
“Can I call you if I burn the house down?”
Audrey rolled her eyes and stepped over the threshold. “Ha, ha, very funny.”