by Abby Gayle
An unexpected turn of events on Charlie's birthday. Written for the Writer's Cramp.
|I stepped into the Italian restaurant and took a deep breath, inhaling the scents of all the foods being made. My stomach growled at the smell. I glanced around at the room, afraid for a moment that I was late for my own birthday celebrations.
Three tables were being used already. One had a young woman, and an older man and woman, who I assumed were her parents. I knew for a fact that the young woman was Tamara Rogers, a famous supermodel, although she was barely nineteen. Another table had my best friend and his fiancée.
At the third table was a man and woman I recognized perhaps best of anyone in the room. The man had dark brown hair that was beginning to gray, and was slightly overweight. The woman was thin and wore glasses. A soft, happy smile always rested on her lips, as if it were permanently attached. They were my parents, and had arranged the whole party.
“So you’re finally here, my son,” my father greeted me, his face breaking into a smile as soon as he saw I had arrived.
“Sorry, Dad, I was a little caught up,” I replied.
“You’re still quite early,” Mom nodded.
Over the course of the next hour or so, more guests arrived. Some of the more notable guests included an extremely fat woman with way too much makeup, a man who coughed every other word he spoke, and two young women and their mother who, although they were rather ugly, they were trying to hide that fact with elegant dresses, colorful makeup, and dizzying perfumes. It didn’t work well.
“Hey, Charlie.” It was one of the ugly sisters. “My name’s Anna, and my sister’s Zoe. We’re really excited to be here.” She batted her long eyelashes at me. I stared at her, unsure of what to say. The sisters and their mother gave me a funny, awkward feeling.
I forced a smile on my face. “Have a good time tonight,” I said. I was relieved when the three of them sat down.
It was six pm. Time for the party to officially begin. My dad stood up.
“Today is a momentous occasion,” he announced. “My son is twenty-one years old today.” A cheer came from one of the tables, although I couldn’t tell where. More cheers echoed around. My dad’s speech was cut short, which I thought was for the best.
I sat down and ordered myself some lasagna. If they hadn’t done so already, everyone else ordered something. Suddenly, a young woman burst into the restaurant. I stood up to take her invitation.
She had golden blonde hair tucked into a neat bun on the top of her head, with a pink bow in it. She wore a pink dress that hung down to her knees, with white lace sleeves and around her waist. On her feet, she wore pink high heels. She had a gorgeous smile and bright blue eyes that seemed to sparkle. I blinked, suddenly realizing how long I’d been staring into her eyes.
“Name, please,” I said, pulling a crumpled piece of paper from my pocket.
“Ella,” she replied. Her voice was soft and sounded like a harp. I glanced over the list of the invited people, but the name wasn’t there.
“I’m sorry, ma’am, but you’re not on my list,” I told her, trying not to sound disappointed.
“Oh, I forgot,” she said. Ella reached into her white leather purse and pulled out a slip of paper, handing it to me. On one side, it said “special invitation”, and on the other, it had my father’s signature. “I got the invitation late,” she explained.
“Welcome,” I said with a smile. “Have a great night.” I glanced around to see all the tables occupied. “Would you like to sit with me?” I asked. She nodded silently and followed me to my table.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen you before, but I’m pretty sure my father only invited the rich and famous to my birthday,” I rolled my eyes.
“Not many people know me. I tend to stay inside a lot,” she replied. “My sisters and mother take most of the credit for the business I mostly run.”
“I see,” I nodded.
We talked for a while. She was just so interesting, although some subjects she seemed to be more sensitive about, like her work and family, so I tried to avoid those. Ella seemed to be just fine talking about her hobbies – sewing and cooking – and her favorite books. She was the most interesting person I think I’d ever met. She was not only stunningly beautiful, but also outrageously smart.
“What time is it?” she asked suddenly.
I glanced at my watch. “Nine,” I answered. “Why?”
“I have to go!” Ella’s eyes widened. She jumped up out of her seat and ran out the door faster than I could say anything.
I stood up, but by then, I knew she could already be driving away. I sighed and, trying to ignore everyone staring at me, sat down again. I knew it must’ve been important for her to just run off, perhaps an appointment she was late for, but I couldn’t help feeling a tinge of regret. I hadn’t even gotten her phone number. When I asked my father about her, he told me he’d never seen her before, so getting her information was going to be nearly impossible.
I finished the rest of my slice of cake in silence at my table. I frowned as I felt something with my foot. I ducked under the table and grabbed the pink high heel shoe. With a smile, I realized it must’ve been Ella’s. I looked it over carefully. I was pleased to find, written on the bottom in small print, the name “Ella Snyder”. I smiled.
I was going to find Ella, and I was going to ask her out on a proper date.