Made with Love

[Prompt: Write a story about a very special cake ]

    Her grandmother baked the best chocolate chip cookies and when Jeanne, as a young child, asked what made them better than the anyone else’s cookies, her grandmother had chuckled and said it was because she baked them with love. Jeanne took the words to heart and never doubted them. Back then she had loved watching her grandmother hum and sway to a slow dance reserved for the kitchen during meal prep. She was baking with love, Jeanne had thought while keenly watching to learn the secrets of cooking the perfect cookies.
    As Jeanne grew older she found herself emulating the habits of her late grandmother. She would hum to a tune without a name that would fall apart if she tried too hard to concentrate on the notes. Every now and then she would recognize melodies but for the most part it was a mis-mash of music that spoke to her soul and only her subconscious knew all the words. Sometimes she would smile as she cooked, while other times she frowned, but either way she would always hum and lightly sway her hips side to side as if it was the best motion to pair with her busy hands to infuse love into her cooking.

    Jeanne’s cookies never tasted quite as good as her grandmother’s  but it didn’t detour her from trying again and again. Today she would focus more than usual on the flour she sifted and the eggs she folded into the batter meant for a very special cake. She had even worn her grandmother’s yellow apron speckled with daisies to better channel her love into the cake.
    Jeanne had once been told that the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach and, with a certain man in mind, she planned to capitalize on the fact that today was his birthday and surprise him with a cake made from scratch.
    After pouring the batter into a set of round pans, Jeanne placed her precious creation in the oven and retreated to her bedroom to pick out an appropriate outfit. It couldn’t be anything too risque but she had to show some skin to help express interest in the man. A light pink sun dress with a scooping neck line would suit the mid-summer visit. She set aside a pair of white heels to compliment the outfit. Jeanne only wore heels on special occasions, and today she gave herself the green light to use all the little things she had been saving for the right moment: an expensive perfume, the last of her favorite blush, the coral lipstick she bought but never used, the diamond earrings gifted to her on her 18th birthday.
    The cake was cooled, frosted, then drizzled with intersecting lines of white and dark chocolate. Jeanne added piping on the sides before adding an expected ‘Happy Birthday’ on top. She packed it into a special box for protection as she drove to his house. She wanted to believe that he had meant to invite her personally, but the truth was that he had invited the entire office. She may as well be the only one to actually take him up on the offer, and maybe he was only being nice, but he had left his address on the whiteboard and Jeanne had then used the Internet to find directions.
    She parked on the street and smiled as she lifted the cake from the floor of the passenger side. A small peek inside assured her that all was well. No doubt he already had a cake for his party, but this one could be his own personal cake that he didn’t have to share with anyone.
    Her day would have gone well if not for the fact that she was not accustom to walking in heels. Her special occasions were so few and far in between that she did not have enough practice to manage the cracked sidewalk ahead of her. Her mind was elsewhere, imagining the smile on his face and not focusing on the placing of her steps. It was ill fated that she should stumble then fall. When the tear As tears spilled over her cheeks, it didn’t source from the bleeding scraps on her palms and leg, nor the ankle she twisted, instead her sorrow came as her gaze settled on the scattered remains of her special cake.



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