Chapter 14A Chapter by Laura Ann
Realizing that their chances of getting caught by Mrs. Peterson were raising due to the fact that they were standing around gaping at Bill's gift, the two girls quietly exited Francie's mom's room and went into Francie's room instead.
Francie sat on the edge of her bed. "A ring," she breathed.
"An engagement ring," Claira corrected, wide-eyed, as she plopped herself down next to Francie.
They stared at each other, then each of their faces broke out in a grin that stretched from ear-to-ear. They stood up and started jumping on the bed.
"We're gonna be siiiiiisters!" they cheered.
They continued doing this for two hours until they grew unbearably tired. They both collapsed back onto Francie's bed and fell fast asleep.
The next morning, the girls woke up at 11:30AM to the smell of pancakes, bacon, sausage, and eggs.
Francie looked at Claira thoughtfully, then commented, "Mom never makes those things unless she's really happy about something, or she has good news to share."
Claira smiled. "I think it's both this time."
They jumped off the bed, threw robes over their PJ's, and hobbled downstairs to eat breakfast.
"Good morning, girls," Mrs. Peterson said with a grin spread across her face.
"Good morning, Mom," the two friends echoed, just as ecstatic. Then Claira realized that she had called Jody "Mom."
Francie's mom didn't seem to notice. "I was just about to serve you two some food. What would you like?"
"I'll have everything on the menu," Francie replied, "Along with a glass of milk."
"I'll take the pancakes and eggs," Claira requested, "And some orange juice, if you have any."
Mrs. Peterson smiled. "Coming right up. Have a seat."
The girls sat down next to each other at the table. Francie's mother served them plates heaping with the delicious breakfast, and the drinks that they both wanted. They were just about to dig in when they heard the doorbell ring.
"Oh, that must be Bill," Francie's mom said, answering their thoughts. "I invited him over here for breakfast." She wiped her hands off on a dish towel, took off her apron, and went to open the door for Claira's father.
The two girls looked over at Mrs. Peterson as she opened the door.
"Hello, Bill," she said.
"Hi, Jody," he said back as he stepped into the house. He saw the friends eating their breakfast at the table and smiled. "Hi, girls."
"Hi, Dad," Claira responded, and Francie just did a little wave because her mouth was stuffed with sausage.
As if on cue, Jody and Bill sat down across from Francie and Claira and waited for them to finish chewing.
As soon as Claira swallowed her bite of eggs and Francie gulped down some milk, Bill cleared his throat and glanced at Mrs. Peterson nervously.
"Um, we have some...news to share with you," Francie's mother said.
"Yes," Bill agreed. "It's about me and Jody."
"We're...we're getting married," Mrs. Peterson burst out. "Isn't that wonderful? You two are going to be sisters!"
Claira and Francie turned to each other and grinned knowingly. They stood up from the table and started jumping up and down and squealing. Then they hugged and sat back down.
Francie leaned in eagerly. "So when's the wedding?"
"Two weeks from Friday," her mother answered. "That way we can make all the preparations and still have the wedding right away."
Bill put his arm around Jody's shoulder. "I'm glad you girls are happy about this. It wouldn't be a pleasant marriage at all if you two didn't want to be related."
"And we're also going to ask you something else," Mrs. Peterson added. "It's a big decision, but I think you two are up to it."
"What?" Claira and Francie asked in unison.
"Well, together, after we sell one or both of the houses, we have enough money to be able to stay here or move back to Miami," Francie's mom explained. "Where do you want to live?"
Francie's heart raced. Go back to Miami? She could be in her old school again. She could be with Stacey again.
Claira's heart dropped. Leave California, the only place she'd ever known? Leave behind her school? Her friends? Just for Francie?
The friends both looked at each other with curious eyes. Francie's hazel eyes were excited and pleading. Claira's brown eyes were worried and stumped.
"You guys don't have to make up your minds right away," Bill assured them. "You have two weeks."
With that, the girls' parents left the table to go someplace to eat. They changed their minds about staying at the Petersons' house since their daughters needed time to think it over.
Francie and Claira finished breakfast, put their plates in the sink, and went upstairs to Francie's room.
Francie shut the door, and as soon as she did so, she asked Claira, "Please, can we go back to Florida? It'll be fun. You won't be friend-less. You'll have your new sister. And you'll also make new friends. I'm positive."
Claira stared down at the floor. "I've never been outside of California before," she mumbled. "I'm going to miss my friends that I have at school. I'm going to miss my secret hideout."
Francie sighed. "I'm going to miss all my new friends here, too," she said. "But I miss Florida more. Will you please do this? For me?"
"I don't know," Claira whispered. "How will our parents find jobs? Didn't you move because your mom lost her job?"
"Yeah, that's the reason we moved," Francie replied. "There are still a million other jobs waiting out there in Miami for our Mom and Dad."
Claira looked up at Francie with glistening eyes. "Okay," she gave in, her voice cracking. "We can go back to Florida. But I'm only doing this for you. If you weren't my new sister I wouldn't have wanted to leave."
Francie reached over and pulled Claira into a hug. "It'll be all right, Claira. You'll do just fine in Miami. I promise."
A tear escaped from Claira's eye. A second after, more coursed down her cheeks. "I love you, Francie," she murmured into her soon-to-be-sister's shirt.
"I love you, too, Claira," Francie said, smiling.
© 2010 Laura Ann
Book 1: Changes Can Be Good
About“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” “All of humanity's p.. more..