"Ginger, can you please pass the flour?" Ginger Olson's oldest sister, Saffron, calls across Lavender, Clove and their puppy, Kayla, who are playing on the floor. Ginger reaches across to her sister, being careful of her siblings and puppy underfoot.
Ginger woke up this morning to her youngest brother, Clove, climbing into her bed. He's afraid of thunderstorms, and last night there was a big one. The window rattled in their frames and the pictures shook on the wall. Even Ginger was a little afraid, but she didn't let it show. If she did, her sister Cinnamon would never let it go.
Ginger lives in a huge family, but she's used to it, because that's how it's always been. She has three sisters, Saffron, Cinnamon, and Lavender. Saffron is fifteen, and has dirty blond hair halfway down her back. Ginger knows she shouldn't pick favourites, but Saffron is Ginger's. With her kind smile and caring green eyes, you can't help but love her. Then there's Cinnamon, who's eleven. Her hair is cut short in a pixie cut. With Cinnamon around, the Olsons's life is always crazy. Mama calls it lively. Ginger calls it insane. The baby, Lavender, is six months. She has red hair that shines in the sun. It is very clear to everyone that Lavender and her brother, Clove, are two peas in a pod. They are very protective of each other. One time, Lavender started wailing when Ginger walked too close to Clove, who was laying on the floor. Ginger and the rest of the Olsons are glad they look out for each other. Ginger also has two brothers, Basil, and Clove. Basil, despite being Cinnamon's twin brother, is nothing like his sister. Basil normally has his nose in a book, and doesn't talk unless he has to. Ginger sometimes finds Basil hard to understand, but she does. It's sometimes nice to leave the world and go into the land of book. Clove is her other brother. He’s three and has dark brown hair. Ginger knew from the minute she saw him that he would be a very curious boy. His blue eyes gleam like seaside gems, taking in everything around him. Finally, there's Ginger, who's thirteen, older than Cinnamon and Basil, but younger than Saffron. She has green eyes, and, despite her name, has almost black hair that goes to her waist.
Ginger and her family live with their two moms, Riana and Diane. The kids call them Mom and Mama.
Right now, the older kids, Saffron, Ginger, Cinnamon, and Basil are making peanut butter cookies for Mama's parents who will visit them that evening.
"Cin, come help!" Ginger demands her sister over the bowl of dough she's mixing.
Cinnamon is texting, and tells her, "And since when do you make the rules? Also, don't call me Cin. You know that!"
Ginger opens her mouth to argue, but Saffron cuts in. "Ginger, that's enough. Don't call your sister Cin. Cinnamon, come over here and help us," she asks them. Cinnamon obeys. So does Ginger. She doesn't know why. Sometimes she tries not to. But it's impossible. Ginger marvels at Saffron's ability to make anyone listen without raising her voice. Ginger can't do that. Whenever she tries, people either ignore her or shoot back a reply, like Cinnamon just did.
"Ginger, you're making a mess," Cinnamon complains.
Ginger looks over at her, and sees that she has peanut butter on her nose, sugar in her hair, and flour on her bright yellow apron. Ironic.
Mom comes into the kitchen. "How's it going, kids?" she asks.
"Fine, Mom," Ginger and Saffron answer. Basil merely smiles, and Cinnamon launches herself into Mom's arms.
Mom laughs. "Cinnamon, off. You're getting raw egg all over me."
Cinnamon looks down at her hands. They could belong to a ghost. They are white with flour, and sticky with egg.
"Well, I'm glad it's going well," she says. "I'm going to go check on Mama, to make sure she's ready for Grandma Rosemary and Grandpa Milton. Make sure those cookies get in the oven soon; we want them to be ready on time." Mom blows us each a kiss and leaves.
"I'm nervous about these cookies not being done on time," Saffron mutters to Ginger, looking around the kitchen. Ginger follows her gaze. Cinnamon is texting again, and Basil is sitting cross-legged on the floor, reading. Ginger can tell Saffron wants to tell them to pitch in, but she doesn't. Instead she hands Ginger a pair of plastic gloves and asks her to form the dough into little cookie balls. Ginger happily takes them. Making the shape of the cookies is her second favourite part, after eating them, of course.
In no time, the kitchen is clean again. Saffron's a whiz at cleaning. Ginger's told her she should try working for the queen, but she just laughs and says no. She doesn't want to live her life as some maid. She wants to do something that will save lives. She has her sights set on being a firefighter. Ginger is proud of her for that.
Before long, the cookies are in the oven. Ginger and Saffron quickly finish cleaning the kitchen, and then move on to the rest of the house. Everything has to be perfect for their grandparents.
Ginger is frustrated that Cinnamon and Basil aren't doing any work, but she doesn't mention it. Mom and Mama will deal with it if they have to. The timer goes and Ginger, Saffron, and Cinnamon race to the kitchen. Even Basil looks up from his book.
"Stand back, everyone," Saffron tells Ginger and Cinnamon. "Ginger, would you like to do the honours?"
Ginger doesn't believe her for a second, and then smiles. "I'd be happy to," she says. Ginger pulls out her turquoise coloured oven mitts, and reaches into the oven. She gingerly places the cookies on the marble counter.
Saffron faces them and says loud enough for Basil, Clove and Lavender to hear, "No one touches these cookies, okay? Did you guys hear that?" She calls in their direction.
"Yes," Basil and Clove call back. "Lavender says yes," Clove informs the three girls. Ginger smiles. She loves how much they care for each other.
"You too, Cinnamon," Saffron tells her in a serious voice.
"What?" Cinnamon asks. She's already texting again.
"No one touches these cookies. Got it?"
Ginger retreats to her room which is technically only half hers. She shares it with Cinnamon. The room is painted a plain tortilla brown, which is the same colour it was when the Olsons first moved in. Ginger and Cinnamon both wanted to paint it, but Ginger wanted an ocean turquoise and Cinnamon wanted a bright yellow. They could never agree on the colour, so it's still that dull brown. Ginger has the top bunk. They both have a bookshelf. To no surprise, Ginger's could blend into the Hawaiian ocean, and Cinnamon's blinds like the sun. However, the real difference lies within the bookshelf. Ginger's is stacked to the brim with books. Not necessarily classics, not necessarily well known ones. Just books. Big and small. Tall and short. There are picture books, and novels with thousands of pages. There are even baby name books. There are car manuals. Textbooks. Dictionaries. Ancient diaries. Joke books. Magazines. Some of the books aren't even English. But Ginger loves every single one of them.
Meanwhile, in Cinnamon's sunshine bookshelf there are just things. Ginger can't explain it. There's a toy car collection Cinnamon loved when she was four, but amidst the cars there's Cinnamon's Spanish homework. Mom says their bookshelves represent who the kids are. Cinnamon, crazy and disorganised, and Ginger, wanting to learn everything she can.
Ginger pulls an old Russian journal off her shelf with yellowing pages. Ginger doesn't know Russian, but she loves looking at the fascinating shaped letters and running her fingers along them.
Her relaxation is interrupted by a loud yell. It's Mama. Ginger knows it must be bad. Mama hardly ever yells. Ginger hurriedly places the journal on top of her sixth grade social textbook, and runs out the door.
"Kids, come in here now," Mama shouts. Ginger scurries into the kitchen. She's the last to arrive. The kids are gathered around the kitchen. Mama's elegant hair is coming out of her loose bun, and she's pacing back and forth. Mom stands carefully at her side with Lavender at her feet.
"Ginger, you're late," Cinnamon snaps at her.
Ginger is ready to shoot back a reply, but Mama cuts her off. "Cinnamon, that's enough. We have bigger problems to deal with."
"Yeah, and what's that?" Cinnamon asks.
Mom gives her a look. "That's no way to treat your mother," she says.
Cinnamon gives an eye roll. Mom steps forwards, but Mama puts a hand on her arm, "Riana, please wait a moment. My parents will be here within the next fifteen minutes, and we have more pressing matters."
Ginger still had no idea what the pressing matter was, and she was starting to get concerned.
"The cookies are missing," Mama voice echoes through the room. At once, the kitchen explodes.
"It wasn't me!" shrieks Cinnamon.
"No me no Lavender! We play!" explains Clove.
Basil says quietly, "I was reading the whole time."
"It was Ginger!" Cinnamon accuses.
"Of course it wasn't!" Ginger says loudly. "It couldn't have been me! I think it was you!"
The kids are screaming. Lavender is sobbing. Mom's voice is heard around the kitchen, "Silence! Right now, it doesn't matter who it was. What matters is that Mama's parents should be here in eight minutes, but we all know that they're always early. Whoever took the cookies, that was very foolish of you. You know as well as I do that Grandma Rosemary and Grandpa Milton rarely visit. Whoever took the cookies is a very selfish person. I expect one of you to confess within the next eight minutes. Now, we need to find something for Grandma Rosemary and Grandpa Milton. You are dismissed."
Ginger flies to her room. She is very angry. She can't believe one of her siblings would be so selfish to eat the peanut butter cookies she and Saffron had worked so hard on. Actually, she can. She glares at the blinding sunshine bookshelf. It was Cinnamon for sure. She didn't do any work, and she was on her phone right beside the cookies the whole time. It would have been so easy. Even before Cinnamon had tried to throw Ginger under the bus, Ginger knew it was her.
Mom and Mama must be really worried, especially Mama. She loves seeing her parents. They must be really stressed right now. Mama said she was going to see if the neighbours had any cookies she could have, buy off them if necessary, and Mom exclaimed in a rush that she was going to check all the cupboards for cookies, and the freezer in case she had frozen some.
Ginger pulls out clothes to change into for company. What should she wear? She wants to look nice for Grandma Rosemary and Grandpa Milton, without going over the top. She goes over to Saffron's room to see what she's wearing.
"Hi. What are you going to wear?" I ask.
Saffron turns to face me. "Is that really what you're worried about right now? Ginger, I don't even know. I'm just so upset with everything that's going on. I wish I could help Mama and Mom."
Ginger perches on the bed beside her. "I know it's hard. But right now, we just need to get ready for Grandma Rosemary and Grandpa Milton. They will be here anytime now."
Ding! As if on cue, the doorbell rings.
Ginger rises from the bed and hurries out the door. Almost at once, she trips over something big and fluffy, and into a puddle of something.
"Ouch!" cries Ginger, pushing herself up. When she realizes what she fell in, her pain quickly turns to disgust. "Eww!" she shrieks. "Mom, Kayla threw up!"
Mom came running down the hall. "Oh girlie," she says to Kayla. "Why did you choose this time? Grandma Rosemary and Grandpa Milton just arrived!" She scoops up Kayla to put her in a bath. "Grab a mop, will you, Ginger?" Mom asks. "And clean yourself up." Mom's eyes linger on Ginger, who is soaked in dog puke.
Ginger runs to go get a mop, then realizes something. She pauses, and sniffs again. She sniffs her waist-length hair. She smells her orange t-shirt. She runs back to the crime scene, vomit still covering the floor. Now, there was no doubt about it. Kayla’s vomit smells like peanut butter. They had found their culprit.
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I love the names of your characters. Cute story!
You are welcome. Would you mind leaving a review for my story as well? Thank you!