"HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!..."
"AND MAY THE BLACK DEAD GO FUCK A..."
"Sorry Steph, Jeez"
Yet this only added more laughs to the already cheery room, Stan sat at the centre of the table the forms of his several "friends" clustered around him as high chilly gales, tore at the glass panes at the flat. Yet these rubber like glass frames withstood the cold winds at shielded the harsh outside from the inner warmth of the flat. Not all of the warmth was down to temperature, some of it (Stan realised) seem to radiate of the people around as well.
"Here's your cake!" Stephanie smiled as she lowered the sponge cake down on Stan, he was too honoured to speak but his gratitude surfaced with a single white toothed smile. Rose thought he looked friendly due to this and this is what made her shout "I HELPED WITH THE CAKE! I EXPECT ONE FOR MY BIRTHDAY IN TWO WEEKS!"
"Sure thing" Stan mused as Oliver lit the single candle on top of the sponge cake.
"Sorry we couldn't get fourteen..."
"It doesn't matter, really" Stan said firmly he was happy enough as it was, almost touched to tears as the cake was lowered in front of him, the single flame causing shadows to dance across his peach coloured face.
"Make a wish son" Stephanie whispered.
"I wish that this apocalypse will end" Stan thought to himself as a giddy silence pressed upon his ears.
Puffing out his chest for dramatic effect he blew out the singular flame, as soon as he did applause broke out over everyone in the room "Okay! I get the first piece of cake!" Rose bellowed pushing forwards and holding out her plate "Now, now Rose be patient" Victoria told her as she slowly cut up the cake slices.
"I get the biggest piece, my birthday" Stan said smugly as Victoria dropped a massive chunk of puffy sponge cake onto his gleaming white plate, Rose scowled at him, Stan drew his tongue and shook it at her. "Real mature birthday boy" Oliver told him as he helped himself to a large chunk of cake himself.
Everyone chomped down the pieces of cake down their necks at different paces, Ian was joking loudly that "So I told him Dog is spelt God backwards, so maybe the fools and the people seen as dogs are the true mirror image of the lord" Ian knew Stan could hear him as Ian let out a approaching smile to him.
"Of course, you're not a dog Stan, but we are blessed to have you here!" He shouted merrily as Heather and Mariam chuckled lightly as they explained to him the properties of the cake (and how awful a cook, Heather was) "Honestly dumped in two tons of butter I swear to God, trying to give everyone heart attacks if you ask me..."
"Rose was distracting me" Heather huffed as an thin excuse.
He tore his eyes away from that conversation fine with them all, but Ian had told him he was not a dog, but was a fool? He barely had time to ponder on that meaning before someone tapped him on the shoulder. Bradley.
"So, how you enjoying your birthday?" He asked timidly, the glossy eyed raven haired eleven year had relaxed a little around him since they had played hours of football in the corridor. Although Bradley was a novice, Stan had appreciated that he had someone to play with it certainly beat a brick wall.
Although the boy himself could resemble a brick wall in terms of conversation
"Didn't you play football before?"
"I didn't like it"
"Does your dad like it?"
"Which school did you go to?"
"Oh" Stan muttered, he went to Delham High School, so they had no familiarity in terms of teachers or pupils (and Rose went to different school to pair of them, then again she was in primary school being ten, while Bradley and Stan were both secondary school boys. With Stan in year 9 and Bradley in year 7)
However Stan was no longer creeped out by Bradley, he seemed nice enough just a tad shy, Stan knew he'd be a slow burner to get to know, but get to know him he would as he was the only guy around remotely near to his age. "My Birthday's great, thanks for asking" Stan said still in a good mood.
"So I bet my cake's the best" Rose said bursting in on conversation as she usually did treading on Bradley's foot make him yelp in pain "Watch it!" He gasped. "Sorry" Rose said hastily before turning to Stan "Well?"
Stan had tasted the cake, in fact it was so good he had eaten the whole thing, but just to wind up Rose he muttered "No, it was so bad I chucked it all away, learn to cook Rose honestly" he said tutting and shaking his head.
"But I saw you eat the whole thing" Bradley reported seriously.
"Brad-lay my man, learn the meaning of a joke" Stan said clasping the pale boy's protruding collarbone as Bradley laughed meekly and Rose frown turned upside down as she slapped his shoulder "You're so stupid you think I fell for that? I saw you chomping it down as well" she said matter of factly.
"Yes I ate a cake, so unless you can get me more I'll give it a nine out of ten, there you happy?" he asked as his patted his stomach still craving more of that creamy sponge cake, it's cooling flavours a difference to the usual canned dinners and this luxurious food had exploded of his sore taste buds and given him a craving for more sugary food.
"Well you're in luck, I got this" Rose said producing a half eaten cake piece from behind her back.
"You really want to get a ten, don't you?" Bradley asked.
"No, I just want to get a ten to prove I'm a better cooker than Stan" she said handing the cake slice to Stan "I could make so many jokes about you the stereotypical housewife in ten years time" Stan said examining the cake piece "Cooking will be an important skill, especially if things stay the way they are" Rose said looking out the window.
"Yeah well I wished for different" Stan thought.
"Whose is this, anyway?" he asked.
"Antonio's he left it on the table, he didn't look like he wanted it" Rose said
"HEY ANTONIO! YOU WANT YOUR CAKE!?" Stan bellowed.
Antonio turned, spotting his half eaten cake, his single eye expanded to an unnatural size in panic, but before his body could react or he could make a noise Stan muttered clearly to him "Oh well, sorry dude but I'm hungry and it's my birthday" he lifted the cake ready to plop it in his mouth...
Stan felt the wind get knocked out of him as someone clotheslined him to the floor, his head bounced violently of the tiled floor as he groaned and coughed trying to lift a heavy figure off him, the cake flew across the room, bouncing across the floor and ending up neglected in a dark corner. Rose and Bradley stood rigid at where the raging blur had crashed into Stan.
His chair clanked to the floor, the table was overthrown sending plates and forks everywhere, Antonio who was running towards the table was caught by the collision he slid to the floor, face first, hitting it nose first as he felt his mask slide off him as he tried to stand, too dazed in worry to notice it...
"Quincey! What the hell are you doing!?" Oliver roared at Quincey who lay over his only child, Quincey slowly rose, his face white, the noise the room was in bemused silence as everyone stared at the odd commotion that Quincey had caused.
"Don't eat that, Jesus Christ, that was too close" he gasped to Stan who lay there confused on the floor, his head pounding in pain, still in shock not really caring behind the meaning of Quincey's words.
"What do you mean don't eat it? What's wrong with eating something Antonio ate?" Stephanie demanded of him. Quincey didn't look her in the eye as his mind tried to race for answers to cover this up. But it was too late, Victoria had gasped and muttered "Oh honey..." to Antonio.
His curly had concealed the gouges on his face however as he stood everyone was presented with a clear view of the mutilated part of his face.
Rose screamed, Delilah threw her hands to her mouth, Oliver muttered "Holy Shit..." and Ian could be heard mumbling a prayer for Antonio. The Spanish man stood there blankly, red faced, exposed, with horror Quincey could see the mask next to him was lain of the floor and his scars were turning a cracked black colour.
"What's wrong with those scars? they look Black" Stan thought aloud.
Quincey looked at Antonio, Antonio threw Quincey a pleading wide eyed look. Stephanie stared back to forth, as did everyone else. The moment she stopped moving her head, you could hear the cartoonish light bulb going off as her eyes narrowed in fury.
Shit was about to hit the fan.