The Sweetest Cupcake

Ella slung her big bag over her shoulder, balancing a tray of hot coffees and a box of fresh cupcakes. The autumn sun warmed her face as a cool fall breeze tousled red, amber and golden leaves across the parking lot. This was her favorite weather. She smiled, stopping a moment to breathe the crisp fall air in deep.

“Ella!” Mr. Fitzgerald waved at her as he stepped out of his car with great difficulty, leaning heavily on an old green cane to do so.

“Mr. Fitz!” she called back, her eyes bright. “How are you?” she walked up to his car, putting the tray of coffees on top of his car as she leaned over to give him a hug. “Haven’t seen you in the last couple weeks. How you been?”

“Oh, I went and landed myself in the hospital again.”

“Oh no! Your hip?”

“Yep, the damn thing gave out on me again. It ain’t ever been the same since Moira died.”

“Oh, you poor thing. Well I’m glad you’re free again, Mr. Fitz. Maybe this will cheer you up.” She handed him a cupcake and took a coffee out of the tray.

“Aren’t you a sweet thing,” he said, taking the coffee and cupcake with shaky hands.

“Well I gotta get to work, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

She waved at him, smiling as she crossed the street to the 5 story office building where she worked. She hustled, glancing awkwardly at her watch, not wanting to be late. She saw Marcy’s brand new car in the parking lot and smirked. “We didn’t get raises or bonuses this year, but this bitch gets herself a brand new expensive car,” she thought bitterly to herself.

As she walked in to the office, Jennifer greeted her with her usual charm. “Ramsey is waiting for you in the conference room,” she said, not looking up from her computer.

“Okay, tell him I’ll be right there.” As she walked down the hallway to her desk, Marcy poked her head out of her office door.

“Ella, can you make sure I have those reports on my desk before lunch?” she didn’t wait for a response, just closed the door behind her.

“Absolutely,” Ella muttered under her breath, heading to her desk. She put her purse in a drawer and a coffee and cupcake on the desk for herself. She tapped her pocket to make sure she had her phone and her keys, then grabbed a stack of copies off the top of her desk and took the last coffee and cupcake to the conference room. As she swung the door open, she gave a big smile to everyone inside. “Good morning everyone,” she said.

“Ella, did you bring me those …” Ramsey began.

“Right here, Mr. Ramsey,” she said. She put the copies on the conference room table and walked over to where he sat, placing the coffee and cupcake in front of him.

“Oh, someone’s getting the royal treatment,” one of the meeting attendees said as a few other people laughed.

“Thank you Ella,” Ramsey said, blushing.

She just smiled, stepped out of the conference room and headed back to her desk. She glanced at her watch, then poked her head into the reception area. As she expected, it was empty. Jennifer was in the bathroom for her daily 30-minute session of whatever she does in there, so Ella knew she had plenty of time. She felt so light and full of air, she wanted to skip out of the building. As she walked into the parking lot, she put one of the keys in the key ring between her pointer and middle finger, clutching the rest of the keys in the palm of her hand. She walked right up to Marcy’s car and dug the sharp edge of the key against the car’s shiny exterior, being careful not to set the alarm off as she dragged the key. She whistled along as the sound of scraping metal made its own harsh melody.

Giggling, she walked across the street, empty now that the morning rush had passed, and over to Mr. Fitz’s car. She saw him through the windows of the café, happily chatting with someone. She smiled at the scene, then opened his car door, reached into the glove compartment and pulled out his wallet. She snatched all of the cash inside, tucking it in her pocket. She clicked her tongue in disappointment. “Only 80 bucks today!” she thought as she closed his car door.

As she headed back to the office, she took out her cell phone and speed dialed a contact, clearing her throat. “Hi Sandy, it’s Mrs. Ramsay. How are you this morning? That’s great to hear. Listen, I’m staying in sick, so you don’t need to walk the dogs today. No, no need, I have it all under control. Thank you!” She ended the call and chuckled as she tucked the phone in her pocket, thinking about Mr. Ramsay coming home to that surprise.

She walked back into the office, unseen, and sat at her desk, kicking off her shoes and taking a big bite of the cupcake. She relished the sweet taste of the moist cake as she took a long drink of hot coffee. “I love my job,” she thought to herself.