|"Shh--Everyone hide, she's coming!"
The sound of a key negotiating a lock was heard. People giggled and whispered; someone shushed the group.
Maddie opened the door to her darkened apartment. She took her shoes off at the door and placed her keys in what used to be her grandmother's favorite ashtray on the table in the hall. She flipped on the hallway light switch; she could have sworn she left it on before she went to work. Just as she walked into the den, everyone jumped up and yelled, "Surprise!"
"Holy crap! You guys!" she exclaimed. She needed to tell them, but, there was much laughter and chatter from everyone there: her next-door neighbor Mrs. Coleman; her landlord Mr. Green and some of her co-workers, including cute Bradley from HR, whom she had a crush on. Mrs. Coleman served everyone Maddie's favorite lasagna; afterwards, the candles were lit on another one of Maddie's favorites, Texas sheet cake, which made the cake look as if it were in flames. Everyone sang the Happy Birthday song and Maddie blew all thirty candles out in one breath. Just then, the doorbell rang; Mr. Green went to answer it.
"Hi, is Maddie home? I'm her sister, Brenda. What's going on here?"
"We're having a surprise birthday party for her, come in!"
"Surprise birthday party?" replied Brenda, looking bewildered.
"Yeah, Bradley called yesterday and he invited me. Did he forget to invite you?"
Just then, Bradley walked up to them. "Don't you just love it when a plan comes together? Brenda, you forgot the decorations."
"Please excuse us. Bradley, a word, please?" Brenda pulled Bradley into the hallway. "You didn't read my text correctly. Maddie's birthday is tomorrow."