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Revenge: sweet or bittersweet?
The buzzer goes off. I wipe sweat from my forehead and grin. They’re ready.
Travis doesn’t think I have it in me. All the better. He won’t see it coming.
“Hey! Meg! Turn the stove off, will you?” he calls from downstairs.
“I got it,” I yell back. Smiling, I click off the timer and open the oven. “They’re perfect,” I whisper. He won’t notice a difference. Not until he takes a bite.
As I transfer the golden-brown cookies from the pan to the cooling rack, I think of Travis’ latest stunt: whipped cream poured into my hand while sleeping. A stupid college prank, I know. But I won’t forget it. Not that or the time he hard boiled all the eggs in the fridge and put them back in the carton. Or the birthday cake he’d made me—a car sponge decorated with frosting.
I was done.
Travis yells up to me again. “What’s that smell?”
“Cookies,” I say. “Chocolate chunk, your favorite.”
He doesn’t answer, likely assuming I’ll bring him some. I will. Oh, I will.
I pour milk into a microbrew glass etched with our school mascot, a viper. The snake grins knowingly, showing its fangs and forked tongue. I pause, wondering whether I should add something else—white paint, crafting glue, chalky liquid antacid. No. That would be overkill.
I select two cookies and frown, knowing the rest of the batch would go to waste. The second cookie is just for show. Travis won’t make it past the first one.
With the plate in one hand and the glass of milk in the other, I make my way downstairs.
Blasts of ammunition sound over the background music. Travis sits at his desk, fully absorbed in his computer game.
“Thanks,” he says, reaching for the plate. He never takes his eyes off the screen. His other hand busily controls his gaming mouse, sliding back and forth. Clickity click.
Travis takes a bite so huge that only a quarter of the cookie remains in his hand.
I hold my breath.
Travis’ mouse hand stops clicking. Gunfire ceases.
Two words light the screen: GAME OVER.
Travis chokes, but he swallows. (Good. One less mess to clean.)
He turns to me and frowns. “What did you do to the cookies, Meg?”
“Secret ingredient,” I say. “One to get back at you for all the pranks, tricks…and embarrassment you caused me!”
His face is green now. “What was it?” he asks.
I laugh. I just barely manage to get the words out of my mouth. “Baker’s chocolate. It’s—they’re unsweetened chocolate bar chunks.”
He winces, glancing at the glass of milk still in my hand.
I hold it out to him. My mouth stretches in a wide, toothy grin. “Need to wash it down?”
Travis takes one look at the milk, considers it, and bolts upstairs.
I sit in front of the computer, wink at the viper on the glass and drink.
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