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This is a story I wrote over the weekend, in response to a prompt. The image prompt showed a dinner party preparation; a pristine white table cloth and cut glass glassware, silver cutlery and creamy blooms in high set vases.

Have a great creative week!

Eighteen seats

Annabelle carefully placed his name tag next to Sophia’s. It sat there, inconspicuous among the cut glass, the silverware, the flowers. Not too overpowering as to send any guest off in fits of coughing. That wouldn’t do at all. No, it had to be perfect.

She had taken to an age to get it right, while the girls had taken their naps. Then she’d shopped for flowers, filling vases in every room until Harry had told her to stop it; it was too over the top. So, the overblown blooms had been discarded in favor of these insipid blossoms. Still, they may be a better choice.

She paused a moment, glancing at her reflection in the window. Fingers crossed that tonight was a success; if not, it would never be right again. She stopped then, pictured the balloons in the living room floor, the presents lined up on the sofa. No, she was determined that this would work out.

Harry’s shoes clipped the wooden floor, his aftershave filling the room.

‘Do we have to go to so much trouble? Anyone would think the Royals were in town.’ He laughed at that, a joke at her expense. She knew without turning around that his head would be tilted to one side as if in deep thought.

‘Hardly. Don’t you want me to make it special? After all he’s been through I thought it would be nice to spoil him.’

‘Have you made sure the toys are out of sight?’ she murmured, allowing him to nuzzle her neck.

‘All done,’ he replied. ’It looks lovely in there; Queen Bess would be proud.’ He tapped her rear. ‘I just hope he appreciates all the effort, but he’ll probably demand to go to bed early.’

His words denied the pride in his voice.

‘I’m glad too, darling. It’s important to you, so it’s important to me,’ she said softly, not telling him of the nervous knots in her stomach, that she’d not eaten all day.

‘I know, but inviting Sophia? She’ll be chatting up the nearest man to her, regardless of who he’s with. I hope you know what you’ve let yourself in for.’ He glanced around the table. ‘Why eighteen?’

‘Well, I thought it would be significant. Alex turned eighteen last month remember, so I’ve invited eighteen guests. Sophia makes up the eighteen in total.’

‘I’d rather you’d asked seventeen…! Alright, I’m going to greet our guests.’

Annabelle walked out of the room, climbed the stairs. Headlights flashed across the bedroom window, illuminating the room. Sophia stepped out of the car first, their driver fumbling with the trunk. Annabelle caught her breath at her beauty, the way her dress sparkled in the lights of the porch-way. Then she saw Harry, so considerate as he grabbed Alex’s wheelchair, fussing around him, trying to ignore his ex-wife. She knew he’d never forgiven her that night, the speed she’d been driving. Alex looked so strong, so handsome, she only wished he was hers.


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