First story at Reedsy!
Each year the Sorenson's held the most flamboyant cookie exchange in all of Durinsville This was partially due to the fact that they were the most well-known bakery in all of Pennsylvania. Of course, there were certain people who were not invited each year, and they had a most horrid time, since Durinsville was a small town, and the Sorenson's inhabited the biggest house (or mansion as we shall say?) which of course could be seen from any point in the town. If you have never had to experience this sort of exclusion or pure solitude at the most festive time of the year, let me gladly describe it to you.
The whole town is bustling to get ready for an amazing party that is arguably the pinnacle of festivity and excitement in the holidays. We say arguably because they also host the annual baking fest, which is equally delighted in (but that’s for another story). For the past week the whole town has rushed out to their mailboxes in anticipation of a creamy lemon-yellow colored envelope, tied with a rose-colored ribbon stamped with the wax crest of the Small World Bakery. Those who received one immediately began picking a recipe for a batch of cookies to present at the party. However, by December 14th, if you didn’t receive an envelope, well, all hope shall be lost, since the party was on the 15th, and everybody knows how punctilious and orderly the Sorenson's are. Now, on the night of the great cookie exchange, you could see people all over town happily bustling to the great Sorenson Mansion. Children holding tin pans would knock at the great oak door, and would be met by the cheery faces of Grammy Sorenson and her four children, and their twelve children who were all bakers at Small World Bakery. The whole town is there, where music and the delectable smell of baked goods arise from the Mansion.
Now, normally everybody is invited, except for a few. Namely competing bakeries of Small World Bakery, people who once caused trouble at previous cookie exchange parties like Jonas and Randall Smith who brought dog treats one year, and Angelica Hardhardt who pushed over a table of baked goods containing all the cookies one other year. Perhaps the Smith brothers and Angelica Hardhardt deserved it, but the Miller family didn’t. They were a notable family that owned a very renowned bakery that specialized in holiday cookies of all kind, named Pastry Delights. They were the main rivaling bakery of Small World Bakery, so you can see why they weren’t invited. However, they were a simply delightful family. Especially Charlotte Miller, a thirteen year old girl who helped out her parent at the bakery each day and was often referred to as, ‘that sweet little gal’ by customers.
You can imagine her torture when each and every one of her friends happily sets off for a most delightful party whilst she stays home, quietly doing her homework.
This particular year, Pastry Delights, had nearly outperformed Small World Bakery during the Thanksgiving Bake sale. Small World Bakery was out to get their revenge. But not in the usual way.
On the morning of the 15th, Charlotte watched woefully as each of her friends started getting ready for the party. Delilah had especially called her to ask her opinion on a red, long sleeved dress lined with white fur that reached to her mid thighs.
“Yes, it does look very nice. Especially paired with a Santa hat.”
“Oh, you think so Charlotte? Me too. What are you wearing? Oh wait, you’re not going. Whoops.” But Delilah didn’t look all that sorry (after all, one less competitor for the heart of Shawn Sorenson).
Amelia Hepburn, who had never been extremely nice to Charlotte, very rudely remarked, “Some people do deserve to miss out on all the fun. Just look at your horrid fashion sense.” while Charlotte was walking the dog. To which Charlotte could not find a stinging remark fast enough, and when she did (“I do think you’re referring to yourself.”) Amelia was long gone.
Even Lexine Warren, who was Charlotte’s best friend had turned down Charlotte’s offer to go to the movies, saying she was busy getting her hair crimped. So thus, Charlotte could only idly look out the window and watch the rest of the town get all fussed up. Only ten minutes later, however, she saw Shawn Sorenson (what handsome eyes) ambling along the road. This got her attention. Yes, partially because most girls in town had a crush on him (including her) and also because he was walking towards her house! Oh my! It was a rarity to see any Sorenson to come out on the 15th due to their frenzied preparation for the evening, but to come towards their sword enemy?
But the excitement didn’t end there. As Shawn stopped in front of their house, he pulled out from his pocket a lemon-yellow colored envelope, tied with a rose-colored ribbon. At this moment, Charlotte practically flew out the door, bounded down the steps and ran towards the mailbox. Shawn had opened the latch and was sliding the envelope inside when Charlotte arrived.
“Oh. Look who it is. Well, since you’re already here, I needn’t waste an envelope, I’ll just tell you.” This condescending tone was familiar as always, and both Charlotte’s older brothers had endured the same treatment from other Sorenson members.
“You are hereby invited to the annual cookie exchange at 707, Durin Lane. Be there at six-o'clock sharp and bring a dozen hand-baked cookies.” Here Shawn stopped and added in, “Why don’t you bring your signature chocolate chip cookies? Everybody seems to enjoy them.” He cleared his throat and continued, “We wish you all a very happy holidays, and we hope to see you soon! Signed, Sorenson Family.” Charlotte could not believe her ears! Not only could she finally go to the spectacular party for the first time in her life, she was being invited to it by none other than Shawn Sorenson!
“So you’ll accept?”
“Of course! And of course, I’ll bring Pastry Delights’ signature chocolate chip cookies. They sold out the fastest at the bake sale you know. Sold out much faster than your chocolate chip cookies.” She couldn’t help add in the last sentence, since it was customary to never forget about the rivalry that was forever present.
“Excellent. See you at six.” With that, he turned on his heel and rapidly walked away.
A few blocks away, at 707 Durin Lane, Grammy Sorenson adjusted her glasses on her hooked nose. The rest of the Sorenson family gathered around her. She waited dramatically for total silence and anticipation, before she finally announced,
“Twenty minutes ago, I sent my dear grandson Shawn on a very important mission.” Here she paused, and waited for the excited clamor to stop, for old age had turned her voice feeble and delicate.
“I told him to go to the Miller family, and invite them to our cookie exchange tonight.” An indignant uproar ensued.
“But they’re our enemies!”
“Invite them, to our party!? The audacity!”
“Why, Grammy, are you feeling alright?”
“Oh my, we haven’t talked to them at all for three generations!” When their voices and muttering died down, Grammy continued.
“But not as friends, as foes. As we all know, three weeks ago, at the Thanksgiving Bake sale, we were utterly humiliated by the performance of their chocolate chip cookies.” Everybody agreed to this statement.
“Just simply horrid; to be beaten by the Millers? Why, they’re nothing but rookies!”
“Tsk, it’s their secret ingredient I say!” This was a popular theory among the Sorenson family, and had been for the last week. Grammy fueled this notion emphatically. At that moment, the door banged open, and Shawn Sorenson stood there triumphantly.
"Grammy. The deed has been done. The silly girl, Charlotte, will be bringing the chocolate chip cookies tonight!" When she heard this, a wide grin spread across Grammy's face.
"It is time to figure out their secret recipe, and our honor shall be restored. Reinstating our position as the best bakery in this state, for once and for all!"
My first story at Reedsy! Shoutout to LitLover and Mira Caplan (amazing writers!!!) for recommending Reedsy to me. And for reminding (no, more like insisting) that I get this story out. Thx y'all and enjoy!