The smell of melting chocolate filled the house.
“Oh yum” Sandy whispered, tugging at her dad’s hand.
“It does smell nice, doesn’t it?” he asked, glancing down at her, a twinkle in his eye.
She skipped happily into the kitchen not noticing the frown between his eyes.
“Oh Auntie Mae, you made my favourite. Chocolate brownies!”, she gasped, clapping her hands together.
Mae laughed as she watched her jump up and down.
“I don’t know about them being your favourites’ she said, brushing a stray lock of hair from her face and leaving a streak of food across her skin,’ last week you said it was the muffins! And the week before it was strawberry ice cream!”.
“ I like all your food!”, Sandy grinned as she sat herself down expectantly, the tips of her toes only just touching the floor.
Mae quickly sliced the brownies and placed two large servings in front of her.
“And what about you John? Do you want some brownies?”, she asked her brother.
He glared at her.
“No I don’t”.
“But they’re our mother’s recipe”.
“Yes I know that”.
They stared at each other silently.
“But John, what’s the problem? I thought you liked brownies”.
John glanced at Sandy who was happily munching away. Her mouth and cheeks were already covered in chocolate.
Silently he gestured for Mae to join him outside the room, leaving the door slightly ajar.
“But John, what’s the problem?”, Mae whispered again.
“You know what the problem is! It’s our mothers recipe. She was supposed to leave it to me!”.
“Well I don’t see why she should have. She knew I was the one who liked cooking. She told me that I was to have her recipe collection”.
“That’s not the point. I got nothing from her!”.
Silently Sandy tip toed to the door and shut it. It made a creaking sound as it closed but neither her dad or her aunt noticed.
She could hear their voices through it, muffled but still complaining as they listed all the wrongs they’d ever experienced in their lives.
The brownie no longer tasted yummy as she started to eat again, her jaw moving up and down automatically.
Why couldn’t they get along? she wondered.
She looked up at the photo on the wall, it’s frame tarnished and slightly grubby.
“Oh granny, why don’t they love each other?” she asked at the old lady looking down, not expecting an answer.
The voices outside the room were becoming louder. Any time now, she thought, her dad would burst back into the room and demand they leave.
“Say good bye to your Auntie”, he would say through clenched teeth, and no amount of begging or tears would make him change his mind.
Sandy looked around the kitchen sighing.
An old wooden chest stood in the corner.
She’d never seen it before.
It looked like a pirate’s chest.
“Oh, maybe there’s treasure”, she squealed and slid off the chair.
The lid was heavy and dusty as if it had been sitting in an attic for a long time.
Groaning she managed to lift it, resting it against the wall and peered inside.
There was no treasure.
Instead there were piles of papers and old books.
Wrinkling her nose as she smelt the must, Sandy gingerly reached inside.
Mother’s Homestyle Recipes was scribbled on the front of the first battered book.
“Oh maybe the brownie recipe will be inside!” she said to herself, flicking through the pages.
The recipes were handwritten and hard to read with no pictures.
They could be anything for all Sandy knew.
The door opened slightly.
“…. you knew all along!’ her dads voice trickled inside,’ but you still took everything”.
“There was nothing to take. You know all mum had were those recipes”.
“And did you share them? No!”
“You can have them. I don’t need them now anyway, I know them all off by heart”.
“Oh I see, I only get them once you’re finished. You know what, I’ve had enough! I’m taking Sandy home”.
Sandy heard her aunt snort but couldn’t hear the words.
What could she do with the recipe book? Maybe she could sneak it out and give it to her dad in case the brownie recipe was inside?
But then her aunt wouldn’t have the book, forgetting that her aunt had been about to give him it.
“Oh granny, what should I do?”, she asked the photo, still not expecting an answer.
Her granny stared down at her. She could almost feel her smiling.
Grinning back, Sandy noticed that her granny’s eyes weren’t staring at her but at the rubbish bin in the corner.
“You’re right granny’ she whispered,’ we won’t let either of them have the recipes!”.
Quickly she skipped over and lifted the lid.
On top of the rubbish was an empty packet.
It was a packet of brownie mixture and written on the back in neat, typed print was a recipe.
“Eggs, butter, milk….’ Sandy read out loud.
It was her granny’s recipe.
“Well you must do what you feel is best John”, Auntie Mae said, coming back into the kitchen.
She saw Sandy standing by the bin and froze, her hand still on the door handle.
Sandy dropped the packet mix and shut the lid.
“Come on Sandy, it’s time to go’ her dad said, poking his head around the door,’ I’ll let you say good bye to your aunt”.
He disappeared again leaving them alone.
“Sandy”, her aunt whispered.
She ran over to her, wrapping her arms around her waist.
“I’ll never tell”, she whispered.
Her aunt smiled down at her,” Well at least I’ve handed that recipe on”.
Placing the book on the table, Sandy skipped back to her dad.
“Come on dad, let’s go. But do you reckon we can stop at the supermarket on the way home?”.
“Sure but why do you want to stop there?” he asked, looking confused.
“I want to make us some brownies. I think I know how to make them just like granny”.
She smiled at her aunt who gave a tiny wink.