'You and your family are invited to the Briarwood Development Homeowner's Association Christmas party Tuesday, December 3. We look forward to seeing you and your Christmas dessert at six sharp. Remember, Briarwood strongly encourages faithful attendance to development events. Homeowner Association Presidents Blaine and Kitty Cromwell.'
Cami Renslowe crumpled the glossy invite, ready to toss in the circular file when Bill walked in.
"Hey sweetie, what's in your hand?"
Cami groaned and slowly handed it over to her husband. He read the pretentious invite.
"Cam, you have to make your red velvet cake. It'd be the hit of the party."
"You mean we have to go?"
At first Bill's promotion and transfer along with her bestselling success as a suspense author made the upscale move an exciting transition. Then they met Blaine and Kitty and realized not only would they see the two at Bill's work functions, but around the neighborhood too.
"Hey, maybe you'll get an idea for your next book."
Bill gave his wife of fourteen years a playful tap on the backside.
"Attending that shin dig will be a horror."
Cami waited until the morning of the party to look for her recipe. She grumbled as she slammed cupboards. By the time Cami realized she was out of red food coloring, it was late morning.
A shiny bottle of new green food coloring stood out. Cami grinned. She'd never done a green cake, but how different would it be?
Cami went at the cake with gusto. She heard her phone chirp. She took the call with her agent while unscrewing the green top. Arianne Bradley was nearly screeching on the other end.
Cami smiled, just picturing the hyper agent jumping up and down. Arianne squealed a trail of words again, something about Cami's last book. A movie.
"Did you just say a movie? As in Hollywood?"
Cami heard ecstatic cries repeating yes. Her hands started to shake. She nearly dropped the phone in the batter. She looked in the bowl and gasped.
"Arianne I have to call you back. I just dumped three fourths of a bottle of green food coloring in my red velvet cake."
Cami clicked off, still hearing Arianne's screeches. Maybe they would cast Arianne in the movie. Cami peered at the batter. It looked like radioactive slime. Cami thought over her options and poured the batter in the pan. It would make a great conversation piece at the snooty party.
Bill and Cami walked four houses down to the Cromwell house, decked out with white lights and Christmas music blasting out of outdoor speakers.
Bill's arm was tightly around her waist, his eyes still beaming at his talented bride. Cami knew he was remembering their early days when they dreamt of her books selling big. When they rang the doorbell Bill questioned if Angelina Jolie might play the lead.
"Oh look Blaine, it's the Winslow's'"
Kitty sang, Bill cleared his throat.
"Whatever. Come in, come in."
Cami sighed and pushed the cake pan towards the diva hostess.
"Oh a cake, how Betty Crocker of you. My, it's green. Really green. Is this your first cake?"
Cami felt Bill's grip on her tighten, certainly a safety precaution.
"Just the first for the gracious Briarwood development family. Promise me you'll have a piece."
"Absolutely. I want to see how our resident Stephen King wannabe fits in here."
Cami tried hard to remember the Christmas spirit throughout the party. She was so agitated she didn't even bother to eat. She was glad to see Kitty Cromwell nursing a piece of the green velvet cake.
Bill handed Cami her coat an hour later, announcing they had plans to celebrate. Blaine extended his manicured hands and gave a firm handshake. Kitty was with friends, eating cake.
"Bill, Cami, thank you for coming. What a pleasure."
Cami and Bill both saw it at the same time. Blaine's teeth were swamp green.
Cami was still grinning the next morning. A little before noon Cami was surprised to see Kitty pounding on their French doors, shaking the wreath Bill bought her.
"Kitty, can I help you?"
Kitty's eyes blazed Christmas red to match her green teeth.
"That. Cake. I used the bathroom and"
"My, you know, it, it's green!"
Cami stifled a laugh and ran to her desk, grabbing her notebook and pencil.
"No way! Do you mind explaining? This sounds like a perfect plot twist for my next book."
Julie Arduini, http://thesurrenderedscribe.blogspot.com/, is devoted to writing for Christ in ways that encourage and inspire. A graduate of the Christian Writer's Guild, her writing resume is on her blog's sidebar. Happily married to Tom, they have two children.