THE SE­CRET RECIPE

Al­ice had the per­fect Christ­mas gift for her two favourite peo­ple

that's life (Australia) - - Fast Fiction - By Rose­mary Hayes

Hello Al­ice,’ said Rachel, greet­ing her neigh­bour. ‘How are you?’ ‘As good as 85 years young gets,’ Al­ice said with a smile.

Since Rachel had moved next door she and Al­ice had be­come firm friends.

‘How did that blind date go on Satur­day?’ Al­ice asked.

‘It wasn’t strictly a blind date,’ Rachel replied, ‘Since I had al­ready seen his photo on the dat­ing web­site.’

Al­ice chuck­led.

‘In our day we went danc­ing to find beaus. I just knew Al­bert was the one for me the mo­ment he asked me to waltz and I stared into his gor­geous blue eyes.’

‘Lucky you, Al­ice. I knew my lat­est date wasn’t the one for me when he asked if I would ever con­sider plas­tic surgery. Can you be­lieve that? I’m only 30! I wish I could just meet some­one, look into his eyes, and just know he’s The One.’

‘Well, it’s Christ­mas, maybe a mir­a­cle will hap­pen.’

The fol­low­ing week Al­ice rang Rachel out of the blue.

‘Can you come over? I have a lit­tle Christ­mas gift for you. I know you’ll love it.’ ‘Of course,’ Rachel said. She hoped Al­ice had made some of her fruit cake.

Rachel was sur­prised to find Al­ice wasn’t alone. Sit­ting on the sofa was a man Rachel hadn’t seen be­fore… or had she? He seemed fa­mil­iar.

‘Rachel, I don’t think you’ve met my grand­son, Sean.’

‘No, I don’t be­lieve we have met.’

Al­though now she knew why he seemed fa­mil­iar, Al­ice had shown her many pho­tos of her fam­ily. The pho­tos didn’t do Sean’s smile jus­tice, nor his blue eyes.

‘Lovely to meet you,’ said Sean. ‘Gran’s told me so much about you.’

‘All good I hope.’

‘Oh yes, very good!’’

‘Well, of course,’ said Al­ice. ‘You’re my two favourite peo­ple. And I have a gift for you both.’

Al­ice picked up two en­velopes from the cof­fee ta­ble and gave one to Sean and one to Rachel. In­side were Christ­mas cards and each en­closed a sheet of pa­per.

They un­folded them to re­veal what Al­ice had writ­ten.

‘It’s a list of in­gre­di­ents,’ said Rachel, sur­prised.

‘And I have recipe in­struc­tions,’ said Sean. ‘To­gether,’ said Al­ice, ‘they re­veal the se­cret of how to make my fruit cake.

‘So that means you two will have to spend some time to­gether in the kitchen if you want to make it. I have all the in­gre­di­ents wait­ing.’

Sean looked at Rachel and said warmly. ‘I think that’s a great idea, if you’d like to.’

‘I’d like that very much,’ said Rachel.

From the mo­ment they stepped into the kitchen it was as if they had known each other for years. The con­ver­sa­tion flowed and they dis­cov­ered they had much in com­mon, in­clud­ing dis­as­trous dat­ing sto­ries.

They started on the cake and soon Rachel pointed to the in­gre­di­ents list.

‘Look here,’ she said. ‘The se­cret in­gre­di­ent! Pump­kin! I wasn’t ex­pect­ing that.’

‘I wasn’t ex­pect­ing to find some­thing so un­ex­pected to­day ei­ther,’ Sean said. ‘Un­ex­pected, but won­der­ful.’

Al­ice re­ally had given them the per­fect gift, and it wasn’t the fruit cake recipe.

It was some good old­fash­ioned match­mak­ing.

Rachel re­mem­bered what she’d thought last week about meet­ing some­one and know­ing he was The One.

‘Here’s to a won­der­ful Christ­mas,’ she said, look­ing into Sean’s blue eyes.

I wish I could meet some­one,

look into his eyes and know he’s The One

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