Usually, caterers at such events got to take home anything left over. That wasn't going to happen today.
It took the four orphans of the apocalypse, ably aided and abetted by a very eager four-year-old,
less than twenty minutes to reduce the carefully crafted party food to crumbs and the caterers to tears.
Afterwards, Joe and Kirsten followed the already sugar-crazed juveniles back into the living room where they descended on the couch,
all ready to set to work on Onetooth's and Worm's jar of candied delights.
Joe's replacement was noticed immediately, and he found himself under the beady gaze of both the givers and the recipient. But Joe's own beetle-browed stare zeroed in on Worms.
"There was a crack in the jar, so I changed it for this. Don't want you chewing on broken glass, do we?"
A moment of awkward silence followed as Joe and Worms locked eyes. Kirsten stepped in and broke it.
"Well, that was very nice of you Joe." She turned to the party-goers. "Ok then. How about some games to burn off all that cake?"
The party mood returned and, after a very short debate amongst the kids, Finny decided the game would be Hide and Seek and that Casper would be the seeker.
And that was pretty much how it went well into the early evening until it came time for Finny and her friends to get back to the orphanage before the doors were closed at sunset.
"Silja?" Joe asked as the kids were collecting the presents. "Would you mind walking the lads back? I'll take Finn and the presents in the car, there's somewhere we have to go first."
Silja and Kirsten exchanged a glance.
"Sure. No problem."
After they left, Kirsten gave Joe a hand with the enormous jar of sweets while Finny struggled with the other birthday gifts. While the birthday girl was inside, Kirsten turned to Joe.
"So, what was all that with the candy jar?"
Joe shook his head.
"Bloody Worms. Only used a bleedin' medical specimen jar, didn't he? Had some kind of deformed baby in it. Couldn't risk any of that candy being eaten."
Kirsten made a suitably disgusted face.
"Eww." She paused. "Soooo..?"
"Well, everyone gave Finny a present... Except you."
Finny appeared at the top of the steps with the big box of clothes. Joe opened the trunk.
"It's in hand." Was all he said and then Finny was with them, effectively stopping Kirsten pursuing further questioning. Joe closed the trunk lid.
"Right, you. Get in. Need to see a bloke on the way."
Finny climbed into the passenger side. Joe winked across the roof of the car to Kirsten, who once more treated Joe to 'that look' before climbing the steps to the front door.
Joe pulled away and disappeared around the corner, leaving Kirsten wondering what he was up to this time.
Oh well, she thought, closing the door behind her, all would no doubt be revealed in bed tonight.