The Easter Egg Hunt

Shutterstock / Lina Truman © Illustration of eggs in a basket for romantic short story The Easter Egg Hunt


At least her lively young relatives appreciated Suzie’s Easter efforts – unlike her unsociable new neighbour…

Suzie was juggling shopping bags and the dog lead with skill as she wove her way through the lanes to her cottage at the bottom of the hill.

The hedgerows were full of pale yellow primroses and Dora, her miniature Dachshund, was constantly stopping to sniff all the glorious spring scents.

Suzie was pleased with her purchases. She’d found enough Easter eggs for the five nieces and nephews who would be visiting tomorrow, as well as an exciting assortment of stickers, badges, and tiny chocolate animals. Her long, walled garden with all its nooks and crannies was perfect for an Easter treasure hunt.

As she lifted the latch on the gate, Suzie raised a hand to greet her new neighbour. He gave a cursory wave back and vanished indoors. So far, he had proved to be very elusive.

The elderly lady who lived there previously had moved in with her son so there had been a lot of speculation when the big house went up for sale. Rumour had it that Joseph Arnold, the new owner, was a ruthless city type, busy running his own business from home.

There were certainly more delivery vans picking up and dropping off parcels these days. Suzie was trying to ignore the local gossip and keep an open mind.

She saw no harm in being friendly, but didn’t want to be the stereotype of the nosy village neighbour. As far as she was concerned, Joseph Arnold could make himself known to her in his own time.

Back in the kitchen, Suzie was soon absorbed in cooking preparations for lunch the next day. Will, her youngest nephew, was a pasta aficionado so she had promised to make his favourite lasagne. Helena and Evie, her nieces, were both vegetarians so she hoped the roasted vegetable version would go down a treat too. A large tray of her famous triple chocolate brownies for dessert should satisfy any adults with Easter chocolate cravings, especially if she added a lavish sprinkle of mini eggs on the top.

Suzie found herself humming along to her favourite Spotify playlist as she worked, filling the kitchen with tantalising smells. A coffee break with a taster brownie was the cook’s privilege, she decided and carried her steaming mug out to the garden.

Another delivery driver was hammering on the knocker of the house next door as she emerged.

“Any chance you could sign for this one?” he called over the wall when he spotted her. “I’m not having much luck.”

Suzie obliged and leaned on the gate post to scribble her name. She could not help spotting the logo of a very prestigious chocolate company on the paperwork as she took the parcel.

That evening, she headed round to her neighbour’s house with the package. He was clearly in the middle of an important call when he answered, judging by the harassed look on his otherwise handsome face. He put a hand over the speaker, muttered a brusque thanks and closed the door. Suzie was left standing on his step feeling rather peeved.

The next morning dawned bright and clear. Suzie rose early to hide the Easter eggs before her relatives arrived. She thought she saw her neighbour’s curtains twitch as she began. He probably thought she was mad, she reflected with a grin.

Suzie enjoyed finding secret spots to challenge the older ones in the depths of her thickest shrubs and the higher hollows of her apple trees. Treasure for younger members of the family was planted more obviously amongst the flower borders and clusters of daffodils on the lawn, the bright foil a visible clue.

Her brother Tim arrived first, his three children tumbling out of the car like noisy puppies and raced over to Suzie’s swing, pushing and shoving each other to be first.

“Sorry they’re so full of energy,” Jenny, her sister-in-law apologised. “It’s a long drive and Will has been asking if we were there yet since the moment we left.”

Suzie was swift to dispense a consoling coffee, and the treasure hunt started as soon as her sister Lucy’s car drew up. Luckily, Lucy had brought some more sedate teenagers to lay down the rules for their younger cousins.

“There’s one for you, Auntie Suzie!” Will shouted in surprise. His gaze was envious as Suzie untied a beautiful chocolate rabbit from the laurel hedge which she shared with her neighbour.

So sorry for the rude reception, the card read in neat, sloping handwriting. Perhaps I could make it up to you over a glass of prosecco later, when your visitors are gone?

Suzie looked up at the house next door and smiled. Now that was an invitation she could be tempted to accept.

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Allison Hay

I joined the "My Weekly" team thirteen years ago and, more recently, "The People's Friend". I love the variety of topics we cover both online and in the magazines. I manage the digital content for the brands, sharing features and information on the website, social media and in our digital newsletters.