This is a short story for learners of English from I Talk You Talk Press. You can read and listen at the same time, or you can try shadowing. We hope you enjoy the story!
Maggie and Dion got married a few months ago. They moved to a new town because Dion got a good job with a software company. Maggie and Dion live in a small apartment on the top floor of an apartment building.
Maggie hasn’t finished her degree yet. She is studying by distance learning. She doesn’t know anyone in the town. Dion is out at work every day, so Maggie often feels lonely.
One Friday morning, Dion is late for work. He eats some toast quickly and drinks half a cup of coffee. He kisses Maggie goodbye. He picks up his bag and hurries to the door. Then he stops.
“I forgot to tell you. I will be home at 6:30. Pam and Brian are coming with me. They are coming for dinner. Have a good day!”
Maggie runs to the open door. Dion is still talking as he runs down the stairs, but Maggie can’t hear what he is saying.
She closes the door and goes back inside.
A dinner party! This is exciting. Pam and Brian will be our first visitors. But I am a terrible cook! What can I make for dinner? I must think of a menu.
Dion is a very good cook. He makes the evening meal every night. Maggie usually buys something from the convenience store for her lunch, or makes herself a sandwich. But Dion will have no time tonight to cook for their visitors.
I will have to make something, thinks Maggie. I will text my mother and ask for advice.
She soon gets an answer from her mother. ‘Maggie! You can’t cook, so please make something simple. How about a roast chicken? You can cook some potatoes in the oven with the chicken and make a salad. Make an apple pie. Sorry I can’t help you any more. I am going to an all-day yoga retreat. Good luck.’
Maggie looks on the Internet. She finds many recipes for roasting a chicken. It doesn’t seem difficult. She reads how hot the oven must be and how long to cook the chicken. I can do this, she thinks. And maybe I can buy an apple pie from the bakery.
Maggie makes a list and goes to the supermarket. She makes a timetable, so she knows what time to start cooking the chicken.
She cleans the apartment. She prepares everything for the salad. She puts flowers from the supermarket in vases. She sets the table. I can use all the beautiful gifts we were given as wedding presents. The table will look beautiful.
Maggie feels very pleased. The dinner party will be a great success. This is not so difficult.
It is late in the afternoon when Maggie reads her timetable. 4:30. Time to put the chicken in the oven. Then I will prepare the potatoes and put them in the oven with the chicken.
Maggie follows the recipe from the Internet carefully. She does everything the recipe says. She sets the temperature for the oven and puts the chicken in. She prepares the potatoes and puts them in the oven too.
Everything is done and Maggie can relax. I have an assignment due on Monday. I haven’t done any work all day. I must do some work now.
She sets the alarm on her phone for 6:00 pm and starts working.
When the alarm goes off, she goes to the kitchen. That’s strange, she thinks. I can’t smell anything. When Dion cooks chicken, there is always a delicious smell. It makes me feel hungry. Maybe I should check.
Maggie takes the chicken and potatoes out of the oven. The chicken is white and cold. The potatoes are raw. Oh, no! The oven is broken! I only have snacks, salad and apple pie!
Dion comes home. He is very cheerful. “We left work early. Pam and Brian are parking their cars. They’ll be here in a few minutes.”
He looks at Maggie. She has tears running down her face.
“Oh, Dion! The oven is broken. We have no food to give them!”
“You cooked dinner? But……”
He looks at the chicken and potatoes on the counter. He goes to the oven and opens the door. He puts his hand inside. The oven is cold. He looks at the oven controls.
He hugs Maggie. “Did you look at a recipe?”
“Yes. I wrote everything down. The time. The temperature, everything!”
Dion laughs. “Quickly. Put the chicken and potatoes in the refrigerator. We’ll eat them tomorrow. I told you this morning that we would buy pizzas on the way home. Brian is bringing them now.”
“Oh,” says Maggie. “I know you said something, but I didn’t hear.”
Brian and Pam are at the door. They have the pizzas. They have wine.
It is a great dinner party. Maggie’s salad is good. Everyone likes the apple pie.
When Pam and Brian leave, Maggie says to Dion. “We must call the repairman tomorrow. The oven is broken.”
Dion laughs and hugs Maggie. “Mmm. The oven is not broken. You set the temperature. You did everything right, but you didn’t turn the oven on!”
“Oh,” said Maggie. “The recipe didn’t say anything about turning the oven on!”
By I Talk You Talk Press – Easy English Reading