Joyce was very pleased with herself, nodding her head in approval. She looked at the smoked salmon pieces laid atop of the cream cheese on the crackers that she had carefully prepared and arranged. “Good job,” she said to herself.
Maxwell, Joyce’s latest boyfriend, was coming over for afternoon tea and would be bringing his young son and daughter from his previous marriage. It would be her first time meeting his children since her whirlwind romance with Maxwell began two months earlier.
Joyce was excited when she heard the doorbell ring, and ran to the door and flung it open. “Welcome,” she said in a singsong voice. She looked at the eight year old boy and the five year old girl, and was surprised to see the little girl holding a kitten.
Maxwell, noticing the look of shock on Joyce’s face, leaned in, kissed her on the cheek, and said, “Vicky wouldn’t come over if I didn’t let her bring Mr. Paws. They’re inseparable. I hope it’s okay.”
“Of course it is,” Joyce said, not meaning it. “It’s so nice to meet you and Mr. Paws, Vicky.” And then she turned to the boy and said, “You must be Brian. Please won’t you all come in?”
“Where are the cupcakes?” Brian demanded to know. “Dad said we were coming over for tea and cupcakes.”
Joyce gave Maxwell a questioning look. “I said we were coming here for tea and snacks,” Maxwell tried to explain. “I guess he assumed that meant cupcakes, since that is what his mother used to serve with afternoon tea.”
Joyce looked at Brian and said, “We’re having smoked salmon bites. I’m sure you’ll love them.”
Brian ran into the dining room just ahead of Vicky, who was still clutching Mr. Paws. Brian started to reach for one of the smoked salmon crackers, when Vicky objected. “Hey,” she yelled, “I saw that first.”
“Did not,” Brian said, pushing his sister away from the table, causing Vicky to drop Mr. Paws.
Suddenly Joyce and Maxwell heard the sound of something crashing to the floor and breaking coming from the dining room. They exchanged glances and ran into the dining room to find that Mr. Paws was feasting upon the smoked salmon bites.
Joyce screamed and tears started streaming down her from her eyes. “This is total chaos,” she shouted as she batted Mr. Paws off the table and tried to salvage what the cat hadn’t already eaten.
Vicky kicked Joyce in the shin, started to howl, and went running after the cat. Brian then began complaining, once again, that there were no cupcakes. Joyce was not the type who did well in face of mayhem. She told Maxwell to take his kids and the cat and to leave.
Once Maxwell, his kids, and the cat were gone, and she had calmed down, Joyce picked her phone and called her best friend. When her friend asked her how the afternoon tea with Maxwell and his kids, Joyce said and said, “You’ve heard about best laid plans, right?”
Written for Paula Light’s Three Things Challenge, where the three things are “cupcake,” “kitten,” and “romance.” And for Teresa’s Prompts using the photo and the line, “I saw that first.” And for Your Daily Word Prompt (mayhem).
Photo credit: PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay.