Candles. I knew I had forgotten something. What was I going to do without candles? I began to open drawers and cupboards, in panic. Surely we had old ones in.
"Annie. What are you doing?" Ben said, walking in the kitchen.
"I've forgotten candles. I can't believe it. The party is ruined. I should have given up at the beginning."
He came over and grabbed my hands in the air, forcing me to stop.
"Breathe." He ordered. He stared at me till I looked at him. "Now. I will run out, and grab some-"
"You won't have time."
"I will. He's not coming home till later. We have at least an hour." he told me.
He was right. I needed to calm down. I just wanted it to be perfect. I needed it to be perfect. But running round like a maniac was getting me no where.
"Okay, okay. I'm sorry." I muttered to my brother. He laughed and pulled me into a hug.
"Sis, stop panicking will you. Your making me nervous just looking at you." he said to me.
"I can't help it. I keep thinking it's going to be a disaster." I moaned.
"It's not going to be, because I'm here." he laughed. I pushed him away, groaning.
"When's Jack getting here?" He asked me, before leaving the room.
"He's just set off." I muttered, grabbing some pins. "Now go. Candles."
He winked, and rushed out. Seconds later, I heard the door slam and I slouched down on one of my kitchen chairs. Why on earth had I decided to go along with this stupid plan? My house was just going to get trashed, everyone would probably just be sat around, bored out of their heads, and he was going to hate it.
But turning 21 was special wasn't it? You needed to do something great for your 21st didn't you? And after all the hardships of getting where we was he deserved it. I mean, a new job, a new house, a new life. These were a lot of things to accomplish in one year, wasn't it?
"Sit up straight Anne," I said to myself suddenly.
"Breathe in. Breathe out. This party is going to be great. A success, and don't you think different."
"Talking to yourself again, sweetie?" Mollie said, walking into the kitchen with a handful of empty cups. I looked up at my sister in law and smiled. It was just like her to start tidying up all ready, before the party had even started.
"Oh Mollie. Mollie, Mollie, Mollie. Tell me I made the right choice, by throwing this shamble." I sighed. She looked at me pityingly and sat down opposite.
"He will love it. Even if it goes wrong he will love it. Because he loves you." She told me, taking my hand. She flashed me one of her signature smiles, and I couldn't help but smile back.
I didn't see why someone like her was with my brother. She was so organised, and tidy. Even her face was chiselled to perfection, every strand of her hair always in its place. Yet Ben was so... so Ben. A mess. Shaggy hair, a straggly beard. The complete opposite to Moll. But hey, they made each other happy and they do say opposites attract.
"Penny for your thoughts." Mollie whispered, and I laughed.
"I was thinking... why are we sat down when there's a party to plan?!" I told her, standing up. She laughed at me, and we both stood up to begin cooking the party food.
The next few hours went by in a blur. Ben came back with the candles, with Jack in tow. Just with his presence in the house, made me much calmer and I managed to get the rest of the house in ship shape without another break down.
"What time's everyone coming?" Ben asked me. He reached his hand out to grab a small sausage, but Mollie whacked his hand away.
"I told them be here for seven. He get's here about half seven, eight, so it gives time for people to get comfortable. Think that's okay? Should I ring them up and tell them to come later? Or earlier. I'll go ring them."
"Annie getting stressed again?" Jack said behind my back.
"I am not!" I protested, but they just laughed.
"Okay. Just a little." I sighed. I glanced around the room, and smiled at the fact everything was ready.
"So Jack, how's your job going?" Ben asked casually. Mollie pursed her lips and gave her husband a look. I opened my eyes wide, and watched as Jack's face went red. He'd just been sacked from his job a few days ago.
"Don't be a Jerk Ben." Mollie snapped.
Ben put his hands up, an innocent face blanketing his face. "Joking, joking. It's not like I have a job."
"Not like you tried." Jack muttered.
"Calm it guys." I said suddenly. "Ben, go make sure there's toilet roll in the bathroom."
He threw me a look, then stormed upstairs. I looked at Jack waiting for him to say something.
"Ignore him Jack." Mollie said.
He was interrupted by a loud knock at the door.
"Ooh, the parties starting!" I heard Ben yell, as he ran down the stairs.
Within half an hour, the house was full. Most people had arrived, and I was actually quite surprised that I was enjoying myself. I hadn't let my hair down in so long and it felt good.
Everyone came and complimented me on the house, and food making me smile. Even though I suspected Jack had put them all up to it, it still felt nice. All my worries from the day slowly ebbed away, and I was happy.
"I think he's here." someone said, hushing everyone. I hurried over to the window, and sure enough, there was his little blue car pulling into the drive.
"Everyone, places!" I shouted. "Someone turn off the lights." Everyone knelt down, while they tried to hold the giggles back. Lights were turned off, and then the room was silent.
I waited patiently, as the crunch of his footsteps got nearer and nearer. Key in the lock, and the front door opened.
"Anne, you in?" He called out. He opened the door slowly, and stepped inside.
"What the...." he stammered and I grinned. He looked so goofy stood there, with the look of confusion on his face.
"Happy birthday George" I said, placing my arms around him. He looked at me, amazed.
"You managed to plan all this? Behind my back? How did I not know?" he asked me amazed.
"Believe me. It's been hard." I laughed.
"Happy birthday, mate." Ben said, slapping him on the back. George looked up and grinned. Placing his arm around me, he stood patiently as everyone came up with there 'happy birthdays'.
"Want a drink?" I asked him, and he nodded.
"I'd love one." He said. "I'm going to go up and change."
"Don't be too long." I said winking, then whisked of to the kitchen.
I don't know what I'd been worrying about. George loved me, and he would have been happy with anything.