Sunday 21 April 2019


Reader Lizzie writes of friendship, romance and chocolate in her fab short story with a clever, chocolatey twist at the end!

Lizzie says:
I hate chocolate.
It’s not just the taste, although that’s bad enough. It’s the texture as well. It’s a lose-lose situation – it’s either rock hard so that you practically break your teeth on it, and all you can do is chip off tiny shavings with your incisors – but it’s even worse if it’s soft. Just thinking of the way it dissolves when you chew it into a tacky, syrupy mush, brings bile to my throat.
So, OK, maybe I’m overdramatising. It’s not like I’m eating spiders, or maggots, or anything else that most normal people would consider disgusting. But for some reason, it’s almost worse, because chocolate seems to be everywhere these days and there’s no escaping it. Shops, stalls, birthday presents, Christmas presents …it’s enough to drive anyone crazy, right?
Which is why, when I opened the lid of my desk one damp Monday morning and found a box of rose-scented truffles lurking inside, I wasn’t so much flattered as disgusted.
I appreciated the thought, sure. Wouldn’t any girl be pleased to find she has a secret admirer? I just kind of wished whoever it was had found a slightly different way of expressing his feelings.
I had a problem. These were way too good just to chuck away, and I couldn’t see anyone else in my family wanting them. My dad’s the same as me regarding the whole chocolate phobia, and my sister Linnie is still on mushy green baby food, so the truffles seem to be doomed from the start.
I leaned over the aisle between the desks, whispering, “Hey! Hinnay! Over here!”
She closed the book she had been reading under the desk and glanced up without much interest. “Yeah?”
I leaned closer. “Do you want a box of chocolates? ‘Cause there’s one going free right here.”
Hinnay of all people understands my aversion to chocolate. She’s about the only person who doesn’t stare at me when I push away the end-of-term silver-wrapped Santa, and who doesn’t gape in amazement when I wrinkle my nose at the smell of cocoa. This is why she is my best friend. It’s refreshing being with someone who doesn’t treat you like a freak.
She looked at me now, raising her dark brows in a slant. “How come you’ve got a box of chocolates on you?” she questioned me.
I was unsure if I wanted to tell her about my secret admirer (assuming that’s who they were from) just yet. “Um, I just…do?”
The lame explanation seemed to satisfy her. “Okay, whatever,” she shrugged. “Where’s the ambrosia?”
I snorted at the “ambrosia” remark, reaching into my desk and drawing out the box. I was careful to keep it hidden. If the sender was someone in my class, I didn’t want him to be offended.
“Whoa,” Hinnay said, her brown eyes widening. “Who sent you these, Mel?”
“I don’t know,” I admitted.
She pushed them back across the desk at me. “I’m not taking these. Even if you’re not going to eat them, you can’t just give them away.”
“What am I supposed to do with them, then?” I protested.
Hinnay sighed. “Put them under your pillow and treasure them for eternity. Where’s your sense of romance?”
I frowned. “Under my pillow? They’d melt.”
“I’m not being literal. Oh, never mind.”
I groaned. “Hinnay, please say you’ll have them.”
She flushed. “Mel…if I’m honest…I don’t really like these praline ones. They’re too rich for me.”
So she hadn’t refused my offer out of concern for my love life, after all.
“Couldn’t you, I don’t know, try and force a couple down?”
“No,” she said flatly. “Last time my aunt sent me some, I threw up.”
That was a no, then.
“Wait!” Suddenly, she was diving into my desk. “There’s a note! Look!”
“Gimme that!” I snatched it, scanning the closely printed, curling writing.
Meet me behind the science garden at four.
I looked at Hinnay and she stared back, wide-eyed.
“Whoa,” we said in unison.
I glanced up and my mouth fell open.
James Taylor, the most attractive boy in the year was staring down at me. I was so shocked I thought I might suffocate. Admittedly, I knew him better than most of the other boys, but somehow I’d always thought we were more friends than…than…
“Um…hi?” I heard a voice squeak out. How ashamed I was that it was mine.
“Listen…Mel.” His voice was uncharacteristically nervous.  Believe it or not, I was pretty nervous too.
“I know you probably have no idea what’s going on…”
 “But I just wanted to say…”
 “That I like you…”
 “I mean, I really like you…”
 “And I sent you those chocolates…”
That was when I blurted out possibly the stupidest thing I have ever, ever, ever said in my whole life. Like, ever.
“I don’t – like chocolate.”
Well, that was quick for a first relationship.
He blinked at me, puzzled. “What?”
I had no choice but to mumble it again. “I don’t like chocolate.”
He sounded so disappointed I thought I might cry.
“I’m sorry, Mel. I just…I kind of sent them because I like chocolate, and I thought you would too…I’m sorry, I really am. You don’t have to eat them.”
“No, I’m sorry,” I said frantically. “I didn’t mean I don’t like them, I mean, I really like you, but…”
We both froze as I realised what I’d just said.
“You – like me too?” he asked curiously.
I nodded, unable to meet his eyes.
There was a long silence. Suddenly, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I glanced up, maybe to apologise, but the next thing I knew, his mouth was on mine.
After what could have been a minute, or perhaps several sunlit years, we broke apart. I stared at him.
“Sorry,” he mumbled.
He was apologising for kissing me?
“Don’t be sorry,” I whispered.
Smiling, he kissed me again. I closed my eyes.
His lips tasted of chocolate...

Cathy says:
Beautifully written, what a read! What did YOU think? Do YOU have a chocolate themed romance you'd like to share? COMMENT BELOW...

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