Vanilla Extract Galore

by Mikayla C


Miki C
Vanilla Extract Galore
The Big Apple
Today, the street lined with string-light-illuminated Callery pear trees and jangling bells in the distance overpowers the typical sunless weather on Christmas in New York. Near the front side of the Top Baker Company headquarters on the Upper East Side, a shabby pink bicycle pulls up to the side of the glossy road, the wheels grumbling a crunching sound, detonating muffled missiles every time a wheel rolled through powdered snow on gritty cement.
Celine Dougherty parks the worn two-wheeled vehicle, wrapping her brown leather briefcase around her left arm, stumbling over the chipped curb, her flimsy flip-flop attached to the freezing pavement. While she hastily stands up to straighten her plastic-rimmed spectacles, the wind howls suddenly and thousands of papers with A to Z graded essays and late rent notices slip out.
After picking the papers up, she lightly brushes off snow from her polyester jacket and scans the perimeter of the building, a façade of gold, white, and gray shining brightly. 
Horse in a Herd of Unicorns
In the distance, candles wink at Celine from every bay window, juxtaposing the women in a blend of trench coats, bodycon dresses, and Birkin bags who bombard her with dirty looks.
She slowly ambles toward red double doors, seeing a prominent, gold-rimmed poster engraved on a marble pillar. Best of all, the sheet abundant with cake drawings contains big letters stating, “$10,000 Prize!”
Celine’s tense expression shifts into a slight smile, the thought of her own sons running into the FAO Schwarz toy store, pulling their mother’s arms excitedly, and walking out empty-handed for the fiftieth time entirely out of the picture. Instead, the thought of grins on her kids’ faces and the holdings of their first Christmas gifts came into her mind.
Celine whistles as she lingers in the bake-off waiting area, meticulously reading over her flower-patterned planner, and stops once she hears the announcer holler her name on a roll-call sheet.
An Encounter
Continuing to stand in solitude, distracted by the cacophony of bustling cars and rushing parents, she finally comes back to her senses to see a girl about half her height, eyes about to catch on fire. Neon yellow dress, high ponytail, beady black eyes deep enough to pierce a soul, Celine realizes that she knows her: Emory Gillis from her sophomore year class!
Suddenly, the announcer calls the contestants into the competition room and as the girl shoots laser eyes at her former teacher, a one-minute staring contest commences. Emory’s initial irked expression shifts into a smug smile as if this coincidence of a salutation turns into something much deeper.
With an expectation of a verbal, heartfelt greeting from her past student, Emory instead brushes Celine’s shoulder, the words the teenager says stabbing Celine a million times, “Wow, it sure is nice seeing a teacher who failed me in sophomore year. Seeing you have the guts to be at a bake-off, I will get back at you right here, right now!” Celine saves the response she prepares confined in her tongue and gulps down the saliva she held for minutes due to the shocking confrontation. 
An Encounter
Blood Sport
 During the long journey through the dim-lit corridor with wooden pillars, high ceilings, and elongated beams she tries to think about what triggers Emory’s snarky attitude.
She suddenly recalls giving her a D-plus on her last sophomore creative essay due to a lack of plot structure. In the classroom years ago, she remembers those influential businessmen forcing her to report perfect grades on their child’s flawed essays. However, finished worshipping the rich who pay their way into desires, Celine gives Emory her authentic grade.
A loud buzzer reverberates and Celine and Emory cross each other heading over to the pantry station to gather ingredients for chocolate cupcakes. Her foot plops abruptly in front of Celine’s and all the components on her tray fly off, plummeting to the ground. The teenage Emory stands behind Celine, arms nestled in her Chanel apron pockets, peering toward the rusty candelabrum in a far corner.

The deranged girl’s swaggering actions compelled the teacher to resent the Upper East Side snobs even more. 
She opens her vulture mouth to say, “You didn’t have to give me that D-plus on my essay, you know,” she raises her voice while traveling back to her station, “My parents are now blaming me because my chances of getting into a good college are ruined!” 
The Peak
Ignoring her, Celine notices she misses a major ingredient on the list, frosting, so she bolts to the commercial pantry. Returning, she catches Emory sneaking up with bent legs, pouring one full cup of vanilla extract into the bowl! Despite knowing Celine witnesses her wicked move, the lips on Emory’s face expand as she chuckles.
Because Celine had no time to restart, she just stuck with the mess. The timer abruptly ends with Celine’s bald cupcake, welled-up tears nearly exploding. As the stern critics judge the desserts, Celine activates her defeated emotions. But before the judges cut her dry cake into bite-sized pieces, Emory aggressively rustles in the woman’s jacket. 
Attempting to slip a small tinted bottle into it, she blurts out the words “Don’t eat it! She put a dangerous chemical in it!”