Here's the second part of Peachy Keen. Enjoy!
I looked up the contest on the internet. The deadline was in a month, and you had to write your own recipe, and send it in with a picture. If your recipe got into the top twenty, you had to travel to Washington, D.C. and make it for the judges. The prize was one thousand dollars! I just had to enter. My mom entered the room, and I turned to her, putting on my best pleading face. “Hey, Mother! Look at this contest! It’s the First Annual National Baking Contest for Youth, and I really, really want to compete! And plus, entering is free!”
“Let’s see,” she said, and I moved out of the chair so she could sit down. I watched her face as she read. When she finished the email, she shook her head. “Sorry, Olivia.”
I made sure my face looked as disappointed as possible. “But… but why? I’m a really good baker, and I think I could win!” Mother tapped my nose with her finger. “Sorry,” she repeated, “But there are several reasons I could think of, even without talking to your dad.” I crossed my arms grumpily. “Like what?”
“Don’t use that tone with me,” Mother sounded dangerous, so I tried to cheer up. “What are the reasons?” I asked nicely.
“Number one, you’re too young. This contest is for kids fifteen to eighteen,” she counted off one finger. “But I’ll be fifteen in two months! It’s close enough!” I interrupted.
Mother ignored me. “Number two,” she said loudly, counting off the next finger, “You haven’t been doing so well on your school work. All the tests you’ve done in the last six weeks have been Ds.”
I snorted. “I can catch up later. It doesn’t matter when you homeschool.”
She ignored me again. Obviously, she wanted me to be quiet and listen. “Number three and last, if you do get into the top twenty, we don’t have enough money to go to Washington. We just took a long vacation and your braces are going to be very expensive!” I flung my arms into the air. “But I don’t even want braces! I hate the way they look!” Mother looked at me with her arms folded and eyes narrowed. “Young lady, that’s enough. Don’t be rebellious, God tells you to obey your parents. The answer is no. And it’s final.” She swept out of the room. I could tell she was not happy with the way I was acting.
I stood next to the desk for a minute, clenching and unclenching my fists, my anger growing within me. Then I rushed to my room, flopped onto my bed, and pounded on it with all my might. I sobbed into my pillow. “Why can’t she just let me do it? I really want to and I know I could win! Ugh!” I heard footfalls in the hall, so I stopped pounding my bed and lay there, panting. My clock ticked and tocked slowly. Suddenly the door burst open, and my dog Cream Puff came in, tail wagging. She’s a German shepherd, and really smart. She can always tell when I’m feeling blue. She padded up to me and started licking my tears away. That made me start sobbing again. “Oh, Creamy, I wish I hadn’t been so bratty to Mom. But I really wanted to enter that contest!” I pet her for a while, and then an idea came to me. What if I entered the contest without my parents knowing? That way, by the time they found out, I already would have won, and they’d be so happy for me that they wouldn’t even be mad! I felt a small doubt at the back of my mind, but it was so tiny, I ignored it. Won’t they be surprised when they find out that I’ve won!
And I began to plan it out.
Click, clack, click. I was sitting at the computer, typing. It was a few days later, and I finally had my recipe. It was called Peachy Keen. It was a peach cake, of course, and it was definitely a work of art.
I had had a time, trying to figure out how to make it without my mom noticing (and taking a picture of it. I never took photos of my food, so she would’ve suspected), but she went to run some errands, taking baby Anthony with her, and I quickly took the opportunity to whip up the cake. I took a picture, and was now filling out the entry form online. I clicked the box for age.
15 years old. I’m close enough! I told myself. Next the form asked if I had permission from parents. I clicked yes. They’re going to be happy I won! Just think what we can buy with one thousand dollars!
I was convinced. The recipe was good enough to win, and the judges would never know I lied.
My parents would know later, but I tried not to think about it. This contest was really important to me.
As I typed away, copying the recipe into the Your Recipe box, the phone rang. I ran to answer it, and it was Sophie. “Hey!” I said, “What’s up?”
“Oh, nothing much,” she answered, “I was bored and I called to see what you were doing. So…?” I glanced guiltily at my computer screen. “I’m, uh, just surfing.”
“Oh,” she joked, “I didn’t know you were into that. Is the water cold today?”
I burst out laughing. “On the internet, silly!” She started laughing too.
When we calmed down, she asked, “Are you going to enter that contest?” I sighed, with a growing sense of discontent. “Yeah, but don’t tell my mom. It’s a… surprise.”
“Ok. I won’t. I like surprises. Alright, Mom,” she said suddenly.
“Mom?” I asked in confusion.
“Oh, sorry, Olivia, I’ve got to go. Mom needs me to help with the laundry!”
“Ok, bye!” I hung up the phone and flopped back into the office chair. Looking over my recipe one last time, and checking to be sure the picture was attached, I clicked ‘send’.
I leaned back in my chair and spun around a few times. I wondered why I didn’t feel more satisfied.
What if Mom wasn’t happy after all?