The Birthday Cake
Reading other people’s emotions was not Anna’s forte. And Elsa was not just another person, which made it all the harder. No, Anna had simply overheard Gerda whispering to Kai. Frankly Anna didn’t understand. Fifteen couldn’t have been that special of a birthday. There was no reason to not look forward to it. For some reason everyone simply ignored the subject, in fact they completely ignored the subject of Elsa altogether. This did not bode well with Anna. And as such she had taken it upon herself to do something. Elsa had been locked up in her room for far longer than Anna cared to recall, and she was getting quite bored of it. Everyone deserved a good birthday, even if that someone was now a ‘busy and proper young woman’. Anna blanched at the idea. She would never be proper or busy, unless it was eating or getting past those blasted gates.
However this raised a few issues: Anna had little currency and even littler of an idea of what to actually get Elsa for her birthday. Honestly, did anyone expect Anna to know all these answers? She had an important schedule to keep. Like making friends with the ducks and disappearing when something magically broke.
As a result Anna had found herself standing in the Kitchens with her best puppy-dog eyes and crocodile tears out. “Please.” She begged the head baker. “I just want to do something nice for her. And chocolate is my favourite so she’ll have to like it.”
However, Anna had not accounted for a refusal. She was used to getting what she wanted. “There simply isn’t time.” The scruffy man had replied turning back to his trifle which was composed of way too many healthy options in Anna’s opinion. Honestly. Whomever made him in charge was daft. Dessert was supposed to be good, not good for you. “We don’t have the proper ingredients to bake a cake today.” He continued emphasizing the last word as if Anna was obtuse to how near Elsa’s birthday was.
Anna struggled to not lose her pout in a look of annoyance. He was talking to her like a child, which she most certainly was not. Didn’t he know she was twelve? “We live in a castle.” She mimicked his speech pattern. “How do we not have the proper ingredients?”
Fortunately her presence was a disturbance to the staff and after little pestering some lucky soul had been volunteered against his will. Anna quickly found herself up to her elbows in flour and half an egg shell in her hair. The process only further validating that while the young, but not childish mind you, girl had many talents, cooking was not among them. Things such as jousting against suits of armour and sliding down banisters were though.
Never the less, by the grace of some higher power, namely the baker assigned to help her, Anna had produced a cake. It was quite lovely really; chocolate hidden beneath flawless white frosting and a light blue tinge added to the outside. Most importantly it had been cut away in the shape of a slightly geometrically unsound snowman. In short it was perfect.
But standing in front of Elsa’s door, it didn’t quite feel like that. “Elsa?” She asked hesitantly. Her normal crass and bold voice echoing weakly off the white wood. “I made you a cake. You know for your birthday. Which is today.” Anna shook her head at herself. She was intelligent or so her tutors said, usually before adding something about her lack of attention. She could do this. “I made you a cake.” Anna tried again, finding her normal speaking voice. The snowman smiled up at her. “It looks like Olaf. You know, the one we built as children.” Anna tried to emphasize the word children. Elsa shouldn’t be ignoring her just because she was three years older.
Silence greeted her. Anna wasn’t sure what she was expecting. There was never an answer. She briefly considered pushing the cake into the door proclaiming the door made a better sister or simply taking the cake and eating it herself. But something held her back. The hall was empty. There was no need for anyone to be in this wing of the castle. But there had been a noise. Anna would bet her vegetables on it. Ok, she’d bet something she actually liked, maybe a week’s worth of horse riding lessons. There had been a sound. Soft footsteps to be exact. But Anna was the only person there.
“Elsa?” Her voice cracked. Anna couldn’t find it in herself to care. She had heard something. For the first time in well forever she had heard something. But the footsteps stopped. There was no more noise. Anna held her breath and listened, the cake growing uncomfortable in her arms which were still a bit too small to be holding something of it’s size.
After a few moments of more silence Anna felt her shoulders slump. She felt like she had made such progress only to just have it snatched back up again. Bowing her head in defeat she precariously deposited the cake to the floor. “Alright. Well it’s here if you want it.” She looked back at the door, willing it to make another sound. When it didn’t Anna backed up. “Happy Birthday.” She dragged her feet away from the door.
It took a week for Anna to get the courage to go back to Elsa’s door. When she turned down the hall the first thing she noticed was the lack of a cake or the large plate it had rested on. She wasn’t sure why that excited her but it did. Naturally Gerda or Kai would have found it and taken it back to the Kitchens. Coming to a slow stop in front of the snowflake covered door Anna simply stared at it, not quite sure what to say.
Then she noticed it. A new engraving had been carved into the doorframe at about shoulder level. It was small, only the size of her palm and it lacked the blue colouring of the others but it was there. And it was an exact replica of Olaf in cake form. A short laugh escaped her lips as Anna felt her face break into a smile, her eyes watering. Gingerly she traced the pattern with her finger. The wood was cool to the touch, just as the rest of the door. But that one Olaf shaped piece felt warm. Or maybe it was just Anna that felt warm. She pressed her whole hand flat up against the wood. “I love you Elsa.” She wouldn’t get her hopes up but she could have sworn she heard soft footsteps before the wood groaned against her skin like someone was pushing back.