#Bonus 8: The Cake
As I swirled the final dollop of icing atop the cake, the doorbell chimed, announcing the arrival of our first guest. The warmth of anticipation ignited in my chest. I dusted off my hands and went to greet them.
Before I could even open the door, Jessica and Lori burst in.
“Nina!” Jessica exclaimed, brushing past me as she looked around the house. “Holy shit! This place looks so much better!”
I blushed a bit, hugging Lori while Jessica continued to snoop around.” Thanks,” I murmured, walking over to pull Jessica into a tight hug as well. ” It’s finally done. I feel like we can relax now… Sort of.”
“Don’t worry,” Lori chimed in, patting my shoulder. “The wedding will be over soon, too. Then you guys can have your honeymoon. And then you’ll get a
whole month before classes start up
I had to laugh. Deep down, I wasn’t sure if I wanted the wedding to be over anytime soon. I loved the process of preparing, the anticipation of it all. It was a feeling that I wanted to cherish.
“Here.” Jessica shoved a bottle of champagne into my hand. There was a bow on the neck of the bottle. “A housewarming gift.”
“More like a belly-warming gift,” Lori teased. “You’ll let us stay here tonight, right?”
I nodded, smiling as I set the bottle
down on the counter. “Of course. I
wouldn’t let my friends drive drunk.”
Enzo and I had already planned to have
most, if not all, of our guests stay the
We had prepared with tons of blankets, and even purchased a couple of air mattresses that would certainly come in handy in the future; not to mention our guest bedroom, which was reserved for Lori and Jessica, seeing as how they were the only other couple other than Enzo and I.
At least, that was what I thought. But when none other than Luke burst in a few moments later with a beautiful woman on his arm, my opinions changed.
“Luke!” 1 exclaimed, running over to them. “Who is this?”
Luke’s face turned a deep shade of red. “Remember that cute witch that I told you about ages ago?” he asked. “This is her.”
I had to rack my brain for a minute, but then I remembered Luke mentioning a witch once when I was trying to get to Enzo in the werewolf realm. She really was cute; she had long, wavy black hair that fell down past her butt, a slender and tall figure, and wore a lilac purple dress.
She had a choker around her thin, pearly white neck that, upon closer inspection, had a tiny, delicate bird skull attached to it.
“It was ethically sourced,” she said, touching the bird skull with her slender fingers, “I found it. Poor little thing must have fallen out of the nest. I’m Melania, by the way.”
Melania’s voice was low and soothing, and the way that her vibrant blue eyes lit up and her plump lips twisted when she spoke made me instantly realize why Luke was so smitten with her. I introduced myself, noticing how cool and smooth her hand was when I shook it.
More guests trickled in, and soon the house came alive with chatter, laughter, and the clinking of wine glasses. Friends, both old and new, flooded the rooms, and the energy was infectious. We feasted on a homemade meal, reminiscing about the old times and sharing stories.
“Remember when Enzo thought he could beat me at a beer chugging contest?” Matt recalled, and the table erupted into laughter. His face was red from the alcohol; all of ours were. Even Melania’s face, which was naturally the color of an iridescent pink pearl, had deep red splotches on her cheeks from the wine.
“And he passed out halfway through!”
I added, and Enzo playfully rolled his eyes.
“Hey, at least I can handle my liquor,” Enzo chimed in. “Beer is for chumps.”
“Aw, hush,” Matt chided, grinning.”
You’re basically a middle-aged wine
As the evening wore on, the
atmosphere grew more relaxed and cheerful, fuelled by a combination of good food, wine, and company. Of course, Enzo recounted my entire raccoon extravaganza to everyone, which resulted in a red face on my behalf and a peal of laughter from everyone else..
Eventually, it was time for the cake.
“Make way for the baker!” Enzo announced, helping me carry the cake to the table. The room filled with cheers and applause.
After cutting the cake and a champagne toast, we dug in. The creamy peanut butter exterior made way for the warm, moist chocolate interior, and the table was all but silent aside from the scraping of forks and mumbled words while everyone enjoyed the cake.
Enzo and I grinned at each other, holding hands beneath the table, our faces red from the wine and the champagne.
When we were finished, we all made our way to the living room, where the even evolved into games of charades, karaoke battles, and Pictionary.
However, as the night wore on, Matt suddenly suggested a change of scenery. “Let’s take this party outside!” he declared, pointing towards the window where soft snowflakes were silently covering the ground.
“Are you out of your mind? It’s freezing!” Jessica protested, but Matt was already pulling his shoes off.
“Snow’s perfect for a party!” He threw the door open and ran outside barefoot, whooping with joy.
“You’re drunk, Matt,” Lori laughed, equally as drunk as he was and also the first to follow him despite her words. Jessica, grumbling, followed soon after.
Melania followed after her, lifting her skirt with her hands and stepping delicately into the white snow with her little white feet. She hardly even left footprints in her wake; and of course, Luke followed closely behind her.
Unable to resist the contagious energy, one by one, we all followed, stepping out into the soft blanket of snow.
For a few moments, we all stood there in the backyard, overlooking the ocean -not that we could see it in the darkness as the snow fell on us and dusted our hair. The air was silent, all sounds dampened by the thick snow.
But that silent was immediately broken by Matt, who hurled a snowball at Enzo’s face with the force of a thousand suns. A gasp of surprise fell over the group while Enzo slowly wiped the cold, wet snow off of his face.
“Hey, Matt…” Enzo took a step forward, reaching down into the snow to pick up a huge handful. He continued approaching Matt, who was backpedaling away now as Enzo balled the snow up in his hands. “Come here.”
The air erupted into laughter as Enzo hurled the enormous snowball at Matt.. The atmosphere broke into chaos after
that; we chased each other around, leaving footprints in the pristine white snow, our breath misty in the night air.
“I haven’t seen you this red since you lost to Matt at chugging beer!” I teased Enzo, noticing the flush on his face from the cold and laughter.
“I haven’t seen you this giddy since… well, I guess you are always this giddy,” he teased back, pulling me closer for a quick kiss.
“Cheers to that,” I laughed, raising an imaginary glass.
Surrounded by our friends, in the house we had turned into a home, our laughter echoing in the quiet snowy night, I realized that this was it. This
was our beautiful, chaotic, perfect life, and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Just as I thought that, a snowball hit me squarely in the face. I sputtered, wiping the snow from my eyes to see Enzo laughing.
“You’re so going to pay for that!” I
warned, a grin spreading across my
face as I scooped up a handful of snow.
The night wore on, filled with laughter, playful banter, and so much love. And even as my face grew numb from the cold and my sides ached from laughing, I knew I would treasure this night forever.
After all, it wasn’t every day one got to engage in a snowball fight with their fiancé and friends on the eve of their engagement party. Life was truly beautiful in its unpredictable, chaotic way.