|THE SECRET SEVENTH GRADE CAKE BAKER (1557 Words) (standard:drama, 1558 words)|
|Author: Rosie Jay||Added: Oct 05 2006||Views/Reads: 6369/2855||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|As a new and shy student, Ruthie puts herself "out there" to become part of the class. A disappointing result follows, then resolves by her courageous effort.|
Click here to read the first 75 lines of the story remained solemn. Any other time Billy would be irritating, but not today. Baking that cake was her chance to be part of the class—for herself, for Mom. If only she had been a little quicker. A moment later, Billy tugged her arm. “I saw the whole thing, mouse. Too bad,” he snickered, and she felt gloomier than ever. Hiding it well, she asked Luraleen on the way home, “What kind of cake will you bring?” Luraleen was breezy. “Oh, whatever kind my mother decides to bake, I guess.” Ruthie was stunned. “But why volunteer if you weren’t going to bake it?” “Because, silly,” Luraleen replied breezily, “I wanted to make sure we had the party, so I said I’d do it. Besides, the last cake I baked was an utter disaster.” She shuddered. Ruthie sighed, and secretly she envied Luraleen. It must be nice to be like that, always free and easy, so sure that things would always work out. At home, Mom took it well. While Ruthie bemoaned her failed attempt to bake that cake, she listened with a sympathetic ear. “My goodness, Ruthie, there’ll be other chances. Whatever happened, the important thing is that you made the effort. I’m proud of you.” Well, that was that. Ruthie felt much better, the whole incident forgotten until that evening. While she dried the dinner dishes, the phone rang. How desperate Luraleen sounded at the other end! “Ruthie, you’ll never guess!” she wailed. “My parents have a bowling banquet tonight. I completely forgot!” This was Luraleen? The cool and breezy Luraleen? “Well, just read the directions carefully. You can do it.” Ruthie encouraged. “No way,” Luraleen shot back. “I’m not baking this cake by myself. What if it turns out awful again? I’ll look like a moron. And I don’t even want to think about Billy’s reaction. Can you come over? Please?” Mom was pleased about the rescue. This was Ruthie’s chance to “put herself out there” was the way she put it. “Looks like that cake had your name on it after all,” she quipped. She handed Ruthie the extra box of cake mix in the pantry along with a can of frosting. As she dropped Ruthie off, Luraleen was waiting at the door. An hour later, fresh-baked chocolate aroma wafted through Luraleen’s kitchen as Ruthie pulled a perfect cake from the oven. Luraleen had watched from start to finish. “Mmm, smelly yummy,” she gushed. “I could never do that.” “It just takes practice, that’s all,” Ruthie replied, now swirling some creamy-pink strawberry frosting around the cake. Luraleen took a swipe with her finger. “You know, you’re good at this. So how come you didn’t volunteer?” she innocently asked. Ruthie stopped mid-swirl. Better not to mention that she actually tried. “Well, in a way, I guess I did, didn’t I?” she smoothly replied. On Friday, the seventh-grade class was rowdy as the semester-end party got underway. Mrs. Johnson poured lemonade into flowered paper cups while matching plates and napkins were passed from desk to desk. A potato-chip bag was passed, too, with each student reaching in for a handful. Billy started up, tapping Luraleen’s shoulder from behind, “So, where’s your cake, Betty Crocker. Did you buy it—I hope.” “On the shelf in the cloakroom,” Luraleen sniffed, “and no, I didn’t buy it.” She glanced at Ruthie, then quickly turned away. But Ruthie noticed, now puzzled. Something seemed definitely wrong. Finally, it was cake time. “Oohs” and “ahs” erupted as Mrs. Johnson brought it out. “Luraleen outdid herself on this effort, and I think we should acknowledge it,” she announced, cutting measured pieces one by one. Along with applause, affirmative nods sprang here and there. Even Billy Coombs looked eager to get his share. “This cake’s great!” he eventually gushed through a mouthful. “Yeah, can you bake one for my mother’s birthday next week?” another student whooped from the window row. Ruthie ate her piece in silence as Luraleen accepted compliments, one after the other, her quiet pretense making it all so clear. So that’s it, Ruthie realized. It’s going to be our secret. Then, somehow, Billy figured it out, tapping Luraleen’s shoulder again. “I know you didn’t do this,” he needled hoarsely, keeping at it until, finally, she squirmed. Ruthie watched as it all unfolded. Feeling guilty, suddenly Luraleen stood. “Mrs. Johnson, I’d like to take credit for this, but I can’t. I did not bake this cake.” Billy yowled. “I knew it!” “Then...who did?” Mrs. Johnson asked, astounded by the outburst. Luraleen pointed. “Ruthie Lynn Janes. She came over last night and did the whole thing. Jeez, I couldn’t bake a mud pie in the sun!” Embarrassed, she plunked herself down while everyone struggled with the awkward moment. Billy, of course, looked triumphant. After the forever-pause, Mrs. Johnson cleared her throat. “Well, thank you, Ruthie, for this wonderful cake—and for helping a friend in need.” Ruthie’s cheeks were burning hot as the entire class focused on her, as if for the first time. It was nice to finally be noticed, yes, but at what expense? Her eyes were glued to Luraleen who sat stiff-shouldered, eyes downcast. Compassion took hold, but it was Billy’s smirk that riled her into action. “Mrs. Johnson,” she said, rising from her seat, “I think Luraleen deserved credit, too. What she just did took a lot of courage.” Glaring at Billy, she clapped alone at first, then watched as the others followed her lead. Billy sat, mouth agape, but it was no longer important. Helping her friend was the only victory that mattered. This time on the way home she was different, cheerful even. “Can you come over tonight? I’d like you to meet my mom,” she asked the downhearted Luraleen. “After what I almost did? Why would you want me to?” The hushed response was barely audible. Ruthie stopped in her tracks. “Because I think I know why you did it. After volunteering and all, you were in a spot. Anyway, what you did today is what matters most—coming forward like that. I honestly admired that.” After a moment, Luraleen looked up. “You’re something, you know?” Ruthie shrugged, going on. “Besides, something funny came out of it, don’t you think? Watching Billy, all bug-eyed and bewildered when the whole class applauded? Did you see the look on his face?” Luraleen finally smiled as they both joined in fits of laughter. Ruthie now felt a deep down glow. Theirs would be a special friendship, she just knew—and Mom was right. Living in their new town of Dunstan was going to be just dandy. Tweet
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