Ace inhaled and pushed for what seemed like the hundredth tray in. She folded her knobbly arms and eyed the purple clock ticking profusely on the walls.
She had to speed things up. It was almost dawn.
Ace slipped the batch of cookies into some clear boxes and lowered them into large Birthday Bags.
Her trunk was jammed with pastries.
Five minutes later, Ace pulled up at Koli Bakeries.
Ace managed a smile. "Hey, Lydia. Sorry, no time to talk. I'm kinda in a hurry right now. I need to get these in the car before eight-thirty."
Lydia hoisted her thin dyed eyebrows. "What's the big deal?" her eyes gleamed mischievously, "are you planning some April Fool's Joke?"
Ace's lips curved into a scowl. "No," she replied coldly.
Lydia glanced carefully at Ace and shrugged. There was something going on there.
Lydia smiled as she handed the brownies to Ace. She cautiously peered into the bag. It was strangely empty.
Lydia snapped a balloon. "April Fool's!" she giggled.
Ace glowered and slammed the bags on the counter furiously. "Why did you do that for? You know I'm running late."
Lydia stared at Ace. "Why are you such a wet blanket, Ace? Look it was just a lame joke,"
Ace stalked off fiercely with her brownies. She stopped by to stock gift wrappers, a pack of sticky notes, and groceries.
The doorbell chimes echoed into the house. The door opened. Ace smiled at Pierce. "Hey,"
Pierce grinned. "Hey, girl. Why don't you come in?"
Ace snorted. "Nah, I've got to get these to my neighbors before dusk," she replied.
Pierce rolled her eyes. "Aw, come on. Don't be such a party pooper."
Ace stalked in stubbornly, her sneakers squeaking as she walked.
As she leaned into the recliner, the bursts of an airhorn flared into the house. Ace squealed as she yelped up, screaming.
Pierce erupted into chuckles, hoisting her shoulders and tumbling up. "Wasn't that a good one? I was planning to do that one on Caleb too. Whadya think?"
Ace stared at Pierce. "Why would you do that?" she yelled breathlessly, her hair sticky with sweat.
Pierce backed away. "It's just a prank, Ace."
"I baked cookies. Enjoy them," she said shortly and slammed the door savagely.
"Hi, Mabel." Ace beamed gaily. Her mood had obviously refined.
The nine-year-old girl leaped into the air, licking her cone. "Aunty Ace! You're here!"
Ace's smile lowered and her lip wobbled. "Yeah, whatever. Where's mommy, honey? I want to pass some cookies."
Mrs. Whitney answered the door. She inspected the cookies. "It's not some sort of prank, is it?" she asked suspiciously.
Ace cursed in exasperation. "No! God!"
The house was sealed in bubbles of laughter.
Ace was leveled in a pile of chocolate goo and caramel sauce as everyone pointed and chortled spiritly.
Tears filled her misty eyes. "All I wanted to do was pass some brownies!" she sobbed.
Three hours later, Ace was seated at her island table, her hair sticky with caramel sauce and her cheeks stained with tears. Her tank top was soaked in sweat and her new sneakers engulfed in chocolate ganache. It had been a horrible day.
But she wasn't ready to give up just yet.
Somewhat later, Ace was in her jogging shoes, her hair neatly piled up and her clothes smelling of scrubbed rose shampoo.
She plastered happy sticky notes on cars in parking lots. A man shook his fist at her, yelling. A lady frowned and told her to mind her business.
A girl peeled off the note glancing at Ace whose smile flayed off within a minute. "Why would you put sticky notes?"
Ace shrugged. "I just wanted to make someone feel happy. Instead, I yelled at three people, got two necessarily mad, and probably not on speaking terms with my best friend who's a baker."
"Why aren't you pranking people, though?" the girl frowned.
Ace looked coldly at the girl. "I hate pranks."
As she trailed back on the driveway, she realized she still had extra groceries.
She pulled herself together, pinned her hair, walked to the kitchen, swallowed her tears, and heaved spaghetti bolognese on a plate and hamburgers on another.
Hey! I'm sorry for what happened earlier. Would you please come over for dinner?
She texted every single neighbor and friend she'd upset today.
Soon, everyone piled into the house, eating and grinning.
Ace rubbed her hands. But the best part wasn't over yet.
The balloons she'd bought earlier balanced carefully in a plastic bag at the ceiling. Carefully, she snipped the plastic bag. The balloons tumbled out and jammed into the crowd.
Everyone shrieked and giggled.
Ace giggled and yelled, "April Fools!"
She shrugged. Maybe April Fools wasn't as bad as she thought it was.