I really enjoyed writing the scenes where I showed the relationship between Ella and her daughters. There was one scene that I'd written which didn't make it into the story because it just didn't fit. Instead of simply deleting it, I'm sharing it with you.
Her daughters wanted chocolate chip cookies and Ella wanted to them to be homemade, not the frozen kind you cut from a roll and place on a cookie sheet. They needed to be from scratch.
All the ingredients sat on the counter: eggs, flour, butter, sugar, vanilla extract, etc. An iPad propped on the counter displayed a recipe touted as the ultimate chocolate chip cookie recipe. The oven was preheated to 350 degrees, and she’d read through the recipe twice to make sure she understood all the steps.
The girls were certainly ready, both of them standing on stools, ready to act as assistants. Since she was the oldest at four, Sophia controlled the mixer, while Ella did as the instructions said, creaming the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar together in the bowl. Then, one by one, she added eggs.
“Okay, the flour is next,” Ella announced.
"Mama, I want to do it," Hannah said.
“You're too little," Sophia said.
“No, I’m not,” Hannah snapped, turning her pleading eyes on Ella.
“Sophia, don’t tease your sister. Hannah, I’ll let you add one cup of flour, Sophia will add one, and I’ll add the other.”
She just needed to figure out which measuring cup to use. Ella stood with hands on her hips, staring inside the drawer that contained all manner of cooking utensils.
“I think these are the right ones,” she murmured to herself, picking up a set of stainless steel measuring cups. If memory served her correctly, these would be for dry ingredients while the glass cup was for wet.
All of a sudden, she heard Sophia screech behind her, “Look what you did!"
Ella swung toward her daughters and saw flour spilled across the counter and onto the floor. More than half the bag was now empty, and what didn’t make it onto the counter and floor made it into the mixing bowl. Way more than the three cups called for in the recipe.
“Hannah!” she scolded her daughter.
Tears shimmered in the little girl’s eyes and her bottom lip quivered. She dropped the bag to the floor and a cloud of flour puffed up between them.
“Oh goodness, you made a mess,” Ella said. But as she looked at her daughter, her socks and jeans and the base of the stool covered in white powder, she busted out laughing.
The girls stared at her as if she were crazy, and Hannah looked at her as if she wasn’t sure if she should laugh or follow through on the crying.
Ella had simply wanted to spend quality time with her daughters and hopefully get some homemade chocolate chip cookies out of the deal. If they couldn’t have cookies, hey, maybe they could have a different kind of fun. She scooped flour from the counter in both hands and flung it at the girls.
They both squealed, and then a full-blown food fight broke out. Flour, eggs, and baking powder sailed through the air. There was plenty of screaming and laughter as they transformed the formerly spotless kitchen into a place that looked like a bakery had exploded. Flour and eggs were everywhere.
When they’d utilized all their food weapons, Ella collapsed onto the floor, her designer outfit covered in fine white dust, like her kids. Cracked eggs dripped onto the floor and lay smashed in the sink and on the counter. Somehow, none of them got pelted by the eggs.
"Mama, we made a mess," Sophia said, showing nothing but teeth.
“Yes. Yes, we did.” Ella looked around and burst out laughing again. The girls burst out laughing too, and they collapsed into a pile of giggles on the floor.
“Mrs. Newcomb's gonna be mad,” Sophia said.
“Well, we better not let her see," Ella said.
There weren’t so lucky. Ella heard the door open, and the girls did, too. They all three glanced at each other, guilty expressions collapsing as they fell out into another fit of giggles.
Mrs. Newcomb appeared in the doorway and gasped, her eyes going wide. Slowly, she set two tote bags filled with groceries on the counter.
"What happened?" the older woman asked, mouth hanging open.
"We were trying to make cookies." Ella laughed at the ridiculousness of what had occurred while she simply tried to bake.
"Did you make any?"
“No, but we had a good time anyway.”
Mrs. Newcomb’s expression softened. "Would you like me to make you some cookies?" she asked.
“Yes, but not right now. Maybe tomorrow you can, and we’d like to help you when you do.”
“All right, ma'am. I can do that."
“I’m going to get these two cleaned up.”
“And I’ll start on the kitchen.”
Ella stood and touched her housekeeper’s arm. “I’m sorry about the mess, but thank you.”
“Not a problem, ma’am.”
Ella clapped her hands. “Okay you two, let’s go! Into the bathroom with the two of you."
The girls squealed as she chased them down the hallway toward the bathroom they both shared, laughing the entire time. She ran a bath and got them cleaned up and changed into their pajamas. Once they were settled in front of the TV watching a cartoon show, she called down to the concierge, who had fresh chocolate chip cookies delivered from a local bakery and brought up. The delighted girls munched them with milk while they watched TV.
She stayed in their room, lounging on Hannah’s bed, until they both grew sleepy. She removed a cookie, with melted chocolate chips, from Hannah’s hand. She turned on the nightlight and turned off the TV. Then, using a tray, she gathered up the rest of the snacks and milk.
She was about to close the door when Sophia mumbled, “I had fun.” Her sleepy eyes looked up at her mother.
“I did, too.”
“Good night, Mama.”
“Good night, my love,” Ella whispered.
She made her way back over to the bed and kissed her daughter's plump cheek. She did the same to Hannah, who was out cold. Then she quietly closed the door and left.
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