Short Story – Lemons

A short story for learners of English.

two lemon fruits

Photo by Diana on

Rowan is cooking dinner. It is a very special dinner because her new boyfriend is coming to her house. She has oysters for the first course and steak for the second course. She bought an expensive chocolate cake from the bakery on the way home.

She is making salad to eat with the steak. When she finishes the salad, she cleans up the kitchen and goes to her bedroom to change.

She wants to look good, so she chooses a very short dress from her closet. She puts on silver sandals and does her hair and makeup very carefully.

She goes back to the kitchen. The table looks beautiful. She has candles and flowers.  The wine glasses are ready.

He will be here in twenty minutes, she thinks. All I have to do is put the oysters out on their plates. Oh no! Lemons. I forgot to buy lemons! I have to serve lemons with the oysters. Do I have enough time to go to the store and buy some? No, I don’t! Those oysters were very expensive, but they won’t be any good without lemons.

Rowan is very upset. Her new boyfriend is older than her. He is a successful businessman. He eats out in good restaurants all the time. He takes her to very nice places. She looks out the window. Her next-door neighbour has a big lemon tree.

All those lemons! she thinks. I only need one or two! I could go and ask Mrs Atkins for some lemons, but she is in hospital. There is no one there.

Then Rowan has an idea. I could go into Mrs Atkins garden and take some lemons. No one will know. The gate to her garden is locked but I could climb over the fence.

Rowan takes a chair from the kitchen and runs out into her garden. She puts the chair next to the fence. She climbs onto the chair. She can reach the top of the fence. She climbs over. It is very difficult in her short tight dress and high-heeled sandals, but she can do it. She jumps from the top of the fence onto the grass. She goes to the lemon tree and takes two lemons. Then she goes back to the fence.

Rowan looks at the fence. Oh no! I don’t have anything to stand on! What can I do? The fence is too high!

Rowan puts the lemons on the ground. She looks around her neighbour’s garden. She sees a small garbage can near the back of the house. She runs over and carries the garbage can back to the fence. She climbs onto the garbage can and reaches for the top of the fence. Suddenly a light comes on in her neighbour’s house.

Rowan looks towards the house and sees a man standing at a window. Oh! No!

Rowan throws herself over the fence. She lands hard. Her legs are bleeding, her dress is torn. One of her shoes is broken.

She walks back towards the house carrying the chair. When she enters the kitchen she realizes she doesn’t have the lemons. She put them on the ground when she went to get the garbage can. This is terrible! she thinks.

Her smartphone is on the kitchen counter. It makes a ringing sound. She has a new message. She picks it up and reads the message. It is from her new boyfriend

— Sorry I can’t come to your house tonight. I didn’t tell you, but I’m married. My wife just came back from her cruise. I had fun with you, but now it has finished. —

Rowan feels very angry. I was such an idiot! She kicks off her sandals and walks towards her bedroom. Just then, her doorbell rings.

She goes to the door and looks through the hole in the door. There is a very attractive man standing there.

“Who is it?” she asks.

“I’m Phil Atkins. Your neighbour’s nephew.”

Oh, no. He was in the house! He saw me! Has he called the police? she thinks.

Rowan opens the door. The man sees she is wearing no shoes, her legs have blood on them and her dress is dirty and torn.

He smiles. “You forgot your lemons,” he says.

He has a wonderful smile. He is very handsome and he is holding out two lemons.

“Do you like oysters?” asks Rowan.