The Challenge That is Tony

by Pedro

Fête or Fate

July, Year 9

A sequel, or maybe a prequel, to my story Revenge.

Although now submitted for the 'Write a Sequel' challenge, it was originally started for the challenge 'Chocolate Spread' but abandoned when the submission deadline passed with only the opening classroom scene completed! The Chocolate Spread picture is at the foot of the story.

© copyright Pedro 2017

Tony and I have made our peace after the incident at the school show. It was embarrassing at the time but looking back it turned out alright.

For me anyway.

I am not sure Merv the Perv would agree.

I had been checking out what had happened to my shorts and from the back of the stage he was copping an eye-full. One of our mates, Paul, was acting as stage-hand and Tony must have let him in on the joke. He passed me a piece of rope for a belt. Merv got plenty to look at as I juggled to hold up those damn shorts and thread the rope through the loops.

The rest of the gang saw him getting worked up and played on it. Anyone with their back to the audience would put their hand on their junk and grope themselves suggestively. By the time it came for him to take the applaw (not enough to be plural) as writer, he was red in the face and breathing heavily again. Bet he wished he had a big newspaper to hold in front of himself instead of the meagre script.

Someone else took us for Drama and PE the next term. Funny that.

Anyway with the show out of the way we have the summer fête to look forward to. Usual sort of thing. Silly races for the parents and little kids to join in. Something more serious for the older competitive types. The rest of us get drafted to run stalls. A coconut shy, a shooting range where the barrels on the air rifles are as bent as a politician, a tent occupied by Mrs o'Reilly, the art teacher, telling fortunes under the watchful eye of the school's black cat. A Tombola and a Lottery- gambling? How's that an example for us kids? Stalls for cakes made by the students, bric-a-brac, old books, and anything else you can think of. As I said, the usual sort of thing.

Last year they had something new to part the punters from their money. I doubt they'll have it again but if they do I'm sure they won't let Tony near it. What a mess, although for me, something good did come out of it. That was how Tony and me got together.

"I need a cute young man."

Old Miss Rutherford has taken the roll and is looking round the room, eying us up as she waits for the sniggers she had expected die down.

I'm not sniggering. It'll be me. As the youngest in the class I have an advantage, or is that a disadvantage, in the cute stakes.

"I want a volunteer to run a new stall at this year's fête tomorrow week."

Volunteer? We all know the real meaning of the word in this context. I slump in my seat and keep my eyes down, trying to hide behind 'Big Mel', the girl in the seat in front of me. It's no use. I can feel the teacher's eyes on me.

"Not big enough." she grunts and I sense her gaze move elsewhere. I've been rejected. I can relax and watch her choose her victim.

"Tony. You'll do nicely. Please see me after class."

Tony? Funny, I never thought of him as cute. He's just Tony.

Like the rest of the class, I turn to look at him. The centre of attention, he blushes. Not bright red, just a delicate flush. Yes, maybe Miss Rutherford is right. She has got me taking a fresh look at his familiar face. I can see what she means, he is cute.

I hear my name called. Busted! I have been daydreaming, studying Tony's face.

"Don't think you have got away without helping. There's another stall I want you to run. You can join Tony and come and see me after class as well."

I snap my attention back to the teacher and it is my turn to blush for being called out. I know I have gone bright pink.

"Now Class, with that excitement out of the way, can we move on to our geography lesson? Today we are going to take a look at Ghana."

Miss Rutherford shows us where Ghana is on the map of Africa and gives us the usual statistics: area, climate, population, rivers, capital and other major cities. She goes on with a bit of history (British Empire and all that) and some comments on the political set up. She moves on to the economics thing.

"Can anyone tell me the main cash crop and foreign earner please?"

A few hands go up, more girls than boys, but that is not unusual. I think I have guessed the right answer given that it is Miss Rutherford taking the class, but I keep my hand down. I have been singled out enough for one lesson over the fête. She points to the girl in front of me.

"Yes, Melanie?"

"Chocolate, Miss."

"Very good, cacao beans, the source of chocolate, are exported for refinement elsewhere."

My guess is right. With Miss Rutherford teaching it was pretty much a cert.. She works chocolate into every lesson. History, Geography, Economics, York, Bristol, Birmingham, Mexico, Spain, Conquistadors, British Empire, all centuries from the 16th onwards. You name it, she mentions chocolate somehow even if means getting a bar out of the stash in her handbag and sharing it with us (She is nice like that).

She keeps our attention as she fills our heads with facts about Ghana. The most interesting ones are, of course, outside our coursework.

Tony and I stay behind after the lesson and the rest of the class go to lunch. Miss Rutherford looks at me.

"I want you to man the cake stall. You're cute enough to get the parents feeling sorry for you tied to the stall when you could be elsewhere. I also know you are smart enough not to make a mess of the money."

I blush when I see Tony smile as I am described as cute and go brighter still when I realise I find his smile cute too. Oh well, I know the cake stall always sells out quickly, unless Melanie brings some of her rock cakes, so I should get away in time to enjoy the rest of fête.

"You can help Tony with his stall when yours slackens off. I expect him to be busy all afternoon." Miss Rutherford continues.

So much for getting finished early.

"Tony, I have organised a new stall for you to run this year. I have got a Chocolate Fountain. You will sell marshmallows and things for people to dip in warm chocolate and eat. Delicious."

We should have known it would involve chocolate.

"Chocolate being sold by a good looking young man should be something the girls can't resist. I wouldn't be surprised if it gets you a few kisses. You might find you like talking to them too." Miss Rutherford smiles and winks at me.

Tony's blush is that bright it makes me embarrassed for him too.

"I'll be there to help you set up, although I'm sure I can leave you two to work out the details but please don't let anyone hear you talk about it. I want it to be a surprise on the day. Off you go and enjoy the rest of your break."

I head off for lunch at the canteen, taking Tony with me. The poor kid looks shell-shocked. I steer him through the line and get us the veg curry. That should give him something else to think about. It always has a kick like a mule. Who says veggies are wimps?

The only spare seats I can see are with Big Mel. She's ok for a girl. (We're friends actually. Partly

because she doesn't chase boys the same way other girls seem to.) I lead Tony over to join her.

"What stall did she give you?" She asks me.


"I'm glad it's you. I'm bringing in some oatmeal scones. At least I know you will make some effort to sell them. Not like that pillock on the stall when I brought in rock cakes. Good job I had agreed with Miss Rutherford that they were on sale or return."

Is that why Mel is a big girl? Eating the leftovers.

"What about you Tony, what has she given you?"

No reply. We look at him and see he is staring at his meal.

"We've been told to keep it secret." I say as I take a mouthful of my curry. To say anything more is now impossible. Cook has excelled herself today. I must remember to write her a thank you note on a paper napkin.

Mel sees me rendered speechless and, nudging me, points to Tony who is now pushing his meal around the plate.

"Stop messing about with it, Tony, and get it eaten." she says putting on her best schoolmarm voice.

In his distracted state he falls for it and takes a mouthful.

"You bastards!" He rasps out as he tries to draw fresh air into his mouth and lungs. His reaction gives me a fit of the giggles.

"Good isn't it? Enough to raise the dead." I squeak out as I try to get back in control of myself.

Mel is more composed and manages "Welcome back, we thought we had lost you."

"Lost me?" says Tony.

"You did seem to be in a trance when you came in." she replies "What brought that on?"

You can almost see the cogs going round as Tony tries to think back over the meeting with Miss Rutherford. He blushes as he replies.

"Something Miss Rutherford said. Let's leave it at that. OK?"

Very cryptic. Before we can quiz him further, the bell goes so we guzzle down the last of our lunches then troop off for afternoon lessons.

After school, Tony and I arrange to meet up for the afternoon of the next day, Saturday, so that we can discuss how we are going to run the stalls and work up anything we need to ask Miss Rutherford about. We've never hung out much together, so we swap phone numbers before going our separate ways.

Later, after I have done my homework (aren't I a swot! Actually it's easier to do when the lesson is still fresh in your memory.), I think about Miss Rutherford's assessment of Tony as cute. The more I think about it the more I find I have to agree with her. I don't suppose the rest of the boys would agree but to my eyes he is seriously cute. Especially with his ace reaction to that curry. It certainly brought him out of his funk, but why had he gone off like that? I think back to our talk with Miss Rutherford.


That's interesting. It was when she suggested he might like talking to girls and they might find him cute too. Maybe even kiss him. She was obviously winding him up judging by the wink she gave me but what did she mean by it? Is he shy around girls? Could it be deeper than that?

I might ask him about it tomorrow; otherwise I might ask Mel on Monday what the girls make of him. In the meantime I know who I shall be thinking of when I am in bed tonight!

Saturday afternoon and Tony and I meet up in town. We decide to go to the cafe in the shopping centre. I steer us to one of the tables that allows us to see the people going past. The tables are square and seat four, one on each side. I next to Tony so that we can better discuss the jobs Miss Rutherford has given us.

Everywhere seems busy today and, as it doesn't take us long to decide on what we need to talk to Miss Rutherford about, we watch the people going past while we wait for our order to arrive. Actually I'm watching Tony watching them. It doesn't take me long to realise it's the boys that get his attention, not the girls. Ah! Is that why he lost it when Miss Rutherford suggested he would be kissing girls?

Our watching is interrupted by the son of the cafe owner bringing our order. He's about our age and looks cute in the traditional white shirt and tight black trousers. (Now you know why I suggested this cafe!) I check him out as he apologises for being so long, saying they are really busy today. As he leaves I see Tony checking him out too. Now's my chance.

"Cute, isn't he?" I ask and Tony turns that lovely pink colour as he realises he has been busted.

"But not as cute as you... or me!" I say as I flirt by winking at him and puckering my lips. He goes redder and tenses up. I had better try and calm him down.

"Don't worry, Tony, I won't say anything. I like boys too!" He relaxes a bit and we spend some time getting to know each other better as we finish our drinks. In fact we spend most of the afternoon together, wandering round the shops and boywatching. Something that is much more fun when you have someone to share your thoughts with.

During the next week we get into a routine of hanging out together. It would be nice if it was more than that, but we don't want to rush it. One afternoon after school we meet with Miss Rutherford and sort out everything: whose organising the chocolate, the marshmallows, strawberries and other bits, power supply for the chocolate fountain and, most importantly, how much we will charge. We agree our stalls will be next to each other to make it easier for me to help Tony if he gets busy.

As we leave the meeting and walk down the hallway I see he looks a bit withdrawn, not as bad as last time though. I ask him if he is nervous about running the stall.

"I suppose I am. It's alright for you; you're pretty self-assured and outgoing. I know I'm shy and as for talking to girls! I suppose I'll manage that as long as they don't expect anything more. I don't think I could cope with kissing them. Yuk!"

"Don't worry, you'll be fine. Just remember kissing any of the girls from school couldn't be as bad as kissing my aunty Doris. Anyway, I'll be there to help and take some of the flak."

"S'pose so." Tony says as he does a sort of shimmy and waves his leg as if kicking an imaginary can to the side of the passage. Then I see a shy smile appear on his face. Boy, that smile is cute.

"Is your aunt really that bad?"

"Oohh yes. Even mum thinks her sister should borrow dad's razor and aftershave. Toothpaste too."

"Yueck, gross!"

"Yup!" I say as we both chuckle at the thought.

The day of the fête finally arrives. Tony and I get there early so that we can get everything set up. Miss Rutherford is there with the fountain and supplies. It will make it a long afternoon so I have brought a couple of bananas in case we need a snack. I've also brought some extra change for the float.

I have to price up the cakes as they are brought in. We were going with the same round pound strategy and prices based on size and appearance as last year but I have decided to do the price point thing and add 95p. If the punters are as keen as usual they will pay, otherwise I can always reduce the prices later in the day. Supply and Demand. See! I have learnt something in Miss Rutherford's basic economics class.

We aren't to start selling before the fête has been officially opened by the Mayor or some other freeloader and the hooter sounded, but already I have a queue. Like the Boy Scout I am not I have come prepared. As the hooter goes and I reach to take the money from my first customer, I artfully flick a 'sold' sticker on that nice looking coffee cake I have strategically (Tony asks if this is my big word of the week) placed nearest me. I love coffee cake. Mum doesn't bake and they don't have it in the local supermarket. This is a chance too good to miss.

In ten minutes Tony has only two customers but I have sold out and can cash up against my list of cakes donated. (Yes, I have paid for the coffee cake.) (Yes, full price thank you.). The only thing left are Mel's oatmeal scones. Poor Mel. I'm not surprised they haven't sold. They don't look right; they look more like flapjack than scones. I'll leave them on display, they may go later.

I move across to join Tony as his third punter, probably one of the fathers, leaves with a couple of sticks of chocolate coated marshmallows.

"It's quiet. Miss Rutherford is going to be disappointed." He says as we watch his customer go.

"Er, I'm not so sure. I think it might be about to get busier." I say as I see two girls talking to the man who points in our direction. The speed the girls arrive at our table would put the 100 metre relay team to shame.

"I'm going to have marshmallows and strawberries." says one.

"You'll get fat." says the other.

"Nah. Chocolate comes from the Cacao tree which is a plant. Therefore chocolate counts as salad. Not fattening."

I can feel the vibe as Tony relaxes in response to the joke. Good. If we can trade gags with the punters it might make for a fun afternoon. It might keep the girls' minds off kissing us too. I look past the two girls and see a small queue is forming. Word of mouth has done the trick.

We divide up the job. Tony keeps the fountain topped up with chocolate and stops the girls diving in and I am taking the money and entertaining the queue. I can watch the cake stall from there as well. We are getting into the swing of it, jokes and all, when I hear the jarring voice of one Virginia Natalie Olive Moore, half of the couple from year twelve that think they are God's Gift to the rest of the school if not the world. I look up and see the other half is there too: Roger Prescott. The frowns of the people behind make me suspect they have pushed their way to the front.

I should explain that even I can see that Virginia is a very pretty girl but she seems to have the ditzy personality to go with it. However Mel, who has an older sister in year twelve, tells me she is actually bright and near the top in her classes. Fate did decide she should not be perfect and gave Virginia the voice of a buzz saw.

Roger, on the other hand, is good at sport and not much else. He is excessively good looking. Fit without being over-muscled. I could fancy him rotten if he wasn't such an arrogant git. He thinks he is going to be Head Boy next year. Unfortunately the word in the school corridors is that he is right.

My informants (Mel again) tell me Roger is known as Presscock Prescott. That might explain why my same sources say the jealous and the bitchy have nicknamed Virginia by switching her middle names to initials. You think her parents would have seen that one coming!

"Will you get us some chocolate strawberries, Roger?"

"I don't like strawberries." he grunts.

"That's alright, I can eat yours." she whines as she bats her eyelids at him.

"They'll make you fat."

That's the cue for Tony to trot out the line about chocolate being salad. She laughs and smiles at Tony but in the brief moment before she had been stony-faced.

Roger pays and is getting impatient as Virginia takes her time at the chocolate fountain to get a thick coating onto her fruit. He sneers at us as we watch and wait for them to move away so we can serve someone else.

"What you two queers looking at?"

Shit! Has he sussed us out or is it just one of his gratuitous insults? Insult probably. He is too arrogant to do the work needed to make a considered judgement. Thankfully, neither Tony nor I blush although we both tense up. Rolling her eyes at us, Virginia leads Roger away before he can say anything else.

Tony and I have girls round us all the time but we are having a great time. The girls' jokes, which all seem to be about why chocolate is better than a man, keep everyone amused while they wait their turn at the fountain. I thought there might be some bitching, but mostly there are no boyfriends hanging around to be the object of jealousies. Or is it just that they are all cool to have chocolate as a mutual friend. We get the occasional wink or kiss blown at us but none of the girls seems serious about it. Perhaps they heard Roger's comment and have decided we are not in the market.

Although there is plenty of chocolate, at this rate we might run out of mallow and strawberries. Some of the girls are asking if there is anything else we can try. I notice Mel's offerings still on the cake stall, so I find a knife and cut a scone into chunks and dip one in the chocolate. I find most chocolate flapjack is a bit greasy but this works really well. I cut the rest of the scones up and that gives us more stock to be going on with. I swap the money between the two cash tins so that I can report to Miss Rutherford and Mel that I have sold everything.

As time passes the jokes are getting ruder - 'you can keep chocolate hard as long as you like but it still satisfies when soft' as an example. We are also getting some of the girls back for second (and third) visits. I notice that Virginia has been back on her own for some more strawberries.

Mel arrives to see if I have sold her scones. There are still some pieces left on Tony's stand, so I come clean and explain. She is just happy they are being used. There is bit of a lull so it is a good time for our snack. I get out the bananas and I pass one to Tony. Mel sees it.

"I bet you could have some fun with those in the fountain." she says before heading elsewhere leaving us to experiment. She's right. We all have a good laugh. Tony says bananas are a natural innuendo - whatever that means.

A bit later we see Mel coming back. She is holding hands, Bananas in the right, Virginia in the left. She must have nipped round to the shop for the bananas, but Virginia? Must be some girl thing going on.

They take a banana each and Mel hands the rest to Tony for stock in exchange for free dips in the fountain. They are skilled operators and get their bananas well covered, before starting to lick and suck on them. I think I understand about innuendo now although I thought it was supposed to be a figure of speech!

Virginia looks at Tony, blows him a kiss and says: "I wish blow jobs were as good as this. And no hairs in your mouth."

"If there were nuts with it and you bit too hard on them the chocolate wouldn't complain either." Mel chips in.

Virginia turns towards me. It's my turn to get the kiss.

"You two should try it." she says before going back to sucking her banana.

Tony recovers first.

"Where's Roger?" he asks.

"Ignoring me and trying to be macho. Wasting his time on the coconut shy and the shooting range. I don't think he could hit a barn door if he was standing on the latch. I left him messing about at the 'Try Your Strength' stand."

Oops. Do I detect a tiff between the golden couple of year twelve?

With a forcefulness that has me wince with imagined pain, Virginia bites the end off her chocolate coated banana, savours it for a bit then swallows.

"Ah! Chocolate. The only thing where 'if you love me you will swallow' has real meaning."

I am busy with some more customers so Mel and Virginia swap a few more jokes with Tony before they go to look at some other stalls.

It has been an interesting afternoon. Tony seems to have come out of his shell, but what is this thing with Mel and Virginia? One thing I did notice: the buzz-saw voice was toned down when Virginia was with Mel.

It's getting near closing and we have run out of stock to dip in the chocolate. Virginia has timed her latest visit (fourth or fifth?) to get the very last two bits. She has coated them and is making it very sensual as she eats one in front of Tony. Just as Roger arrives. In a bad mood. He must have lost on the 'Try Your Strength'.

"So this is where you have spent the afternoon stuffing your face, you fat cow."

That is more than a little bit unkind. Virginia is no size zero but she certainly isn't fat. Not even 'well covered'. The stony-faced look I saw earlier has returned. I think things are about to get even more personal.

"It might be fattening but I like chocolate. It's more satisfying than sex with you and there is no risk of me getting pregnant."

"I wouldn't know about that. It's that long since we've done anything I've forgotten what it's like."

"At least I don't have to fake it with chocolate!"

Virginia dips in to re-coat the last morsel, stands up, leans over the counter and hits Tony with a full on kiss. Tongues and all by the look of it. She breaks off and looks at us both.

"Thank you boys. At least you have entertained me this afternoon."

Poor Tony looks like a rabbit caught in headlights. He doesn't react when Roger makes his move.

"I'll teach you to come on to my fucking girl, you little shit!" he yells as he takes a punch at Tony and also succeeds in tipping over the table and sending the fountain flying. Before he can have another go the voice of authority is heard. With ace timing Miss Rutherford arrives accompanied by Melanie.

"That's enough. Prescott!"

Miss Rutherford has seen Roger's outburst and now looks around at the damage. There is chocolate everywhere. Tony's head and shoulders are covered and there is a puddle on the ground with the money box off the table upside down in the middle of it. At least my cakes money was out of range.

Miss Rutherford makes Roger stand in front of her.

"You will replace the fountain if it is damaged and any money that can't be cleaned up and pay for any damage to the table or Tony's clothes. You will clean up this mess and then put all the equipment for these two stalls away. As you have wasted good chocolate you will also pay for all we have used today." She says that last bit with extra force as if it is the most damning charge. She turns to us.

"You two gather up the money and bring it to my classroom then go and get Tony cleaned off."

Mel is standing behind me and whispers in my ear. "Don't spend forever trying to lick it off either!" She shouldn't put ideas in my head.

As she leaves Miss Rutherford fires a parting shot at Roger.

"Prescott! You should forget about being Head Boy next year."

We gather up the money and my coffee cake and are about to head for the school when we hear Roger ask Virginia if she will help him with the cleanup. She walks across and stands in front of him.

"Does this help?" she says as she lifts her strategically placed knee sharply upwards. "Perhaps that will teach you to effing show me up." The buzz-saw voice is back.

She walks back over and joins hands with Mel.

"I do like crushed nuts." Mel quips.

I just have to chip in.

"Would you like chocolate on them?"

Chocolate Spread


This story is part of the 2017 story challenge to write a sequel. The other stories may be found at the challenge home page. Please read them, too. The voting period of 11 March to 1 April 2017 is when the voting is open. This story may be rated, below, against a set of criteria, and may be rated against other stories on the competition home page.

Please rate Fête or Fate with the impressions it left you with

Either while reading this story, or afterwards, I found it to be/had/made me (Tick all that apply)

An emotional read
Written with rhythm and pace
Thought provoking
Well laid out (paragraphs etc)
Technically well written
Written with good use of grammar and syntax (this does not mean pedantic use)
Easy to read
It invited me in
I could not put it down
Cheering (made me happy)
I identified with at least one of the characters
It felt like it was about me. I know it wasn't, but it felt like it
The plot was tough to read. (a tough [good] experience, not hard to read)
Not just prose, but almost a 'tone poem'
There could be spelling/grammar/punctuation improvements
Followed on well from the original

Current Results

Talk about this story on our forum

Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead