Amelia was blindfolded. She felt discombobulated, anxious as she was led by the hand. It must be a main road; traffic sped past, and a tram had rambled by a few minutes ago. Her hand gripped tight to Maddie’s.
‘Watch your step here, sis,’ said Maddie. ‘Up. Two steps. Slowly, I gotchya.
‘I really don’t like this,’ Amelia croaked.
‘It’s going to be OK. Promise.’
Amelia’s breathing was short, quick and gaspy.
‘Trust me,’ whispered Maddie. ‘You trust me, don’t you?’ Amelia heard a whoosh, like sliding doors opening, and felt a gush of warm air; they were now inside. But where?
‘Twenty steps. Slowly. I’ve still got you. I’ll count as we go, OK?’ Maddie asked, with a softness to her voice.
Amelia nodded. Her nerves were jangling despite her sister’s reassuring tone.
‘One. Two. Three…’
Once Maddie got to twenty, she pulled off Amelia’s blindfold.
The word was shouted as fifty people jumped out from behind chairs, tables and the bar. Amelia squealed; shock coursing through her body. Her fingers tingled and her ears thrummed from the decibel level.
‘Oh my god!’ Amelia laughed as she looked around the dimly lit room. She saw her parents, and her grandmother in a chair in the corner. Friends from school, cousins and her twin brothers.
‘Happy birthday Amelia!’ Everyone cried in unison.
Amelia’s laughter gave way to gushing tears. ‘Wow, what a surprise! I had no idea.’
‘Truly?’ asked her mother, handing her a glass of champagne.
‘Yep. You all did really well,’ Amelia responded, sipping. ‘I thought that maybe we’d be having dinner together. I didn’t expect a party.’
‘And the blindfold?’ her mum asked.
‘Weird, yes. And got me wondering, but I still didn’t expect all this.’
‘Let the festivities begin!’ shouted Maddie. She walked over to Amelia and hugged her, whispering, ‘I’m glad you’re OK. I was worried for a while that you wouldn’t be happy about a surprise party. But it seems everything is copacetic.’