was laughter and music surrounding the two women sitting in the booth of the
"So, what did he give you today?" Honey asked her
best friend with a smile.
"Today was so silly. I got a six-pack of strawberry
pop. It was on the passenger seat of my car," Trixie answered with a
grin. "He sure is keeping me guessing."
The two friends were sitting in a booth at their favorite
spot for lunch, Wimpy's. They had been friends
since they were thirteen years old and Honey Wheeler's father had purchased
the enormous mansion high on the hill overlooking Trixie Belden's family
farm. Eleven years later, they were still best friends, even though Honey was
currently attending Law School at Cornell University.
Honey swiped a French fry through the puddle of ketchup on
her plate. "I can't believe my brother has turned out to be so romantic. Who would have thought
he could be so creative, giving you his version of the 'Twelve Days of
Christmas'. So what's been your favorite so far?"
Trixie sipped her strawberry shake and smiled broadly at
her friend. "Well, Tuesday's turtle slippers are comfy. And I can't wait
to plant the miniature flowering crabapple he sent on Monday. Oh, I don't
know…" Trixie reached into her blue cowl neck sweater and pulled out a
necklace. "This was yesterday's surprise." The necklace was a
delicate charm made of different sized of golden circles set inside one
another, with diamonds set at random.
"Oh my goodness, Trixie! That is stunning," Honey
said sliding over to get a closer look. "This is WAY better than a
six-pack of pop."
"I know; I almost refused this. But Jim's been so
sweet. Everything else has been so personal and little. I mean, Wednesday he
took me out for French toast. I have no idea what he'll do next. Gosh, Honey
look at the time. We've got to get moving if we want to meet Di to talk about
New Year's Eve," Trixie said looking at her watch.
"Let's go then." Honey balled up her napkin and
tossed it into the basket of half-eaten fries. "Do we want to ride
together or take two cars?"
"Let's take your Mini; it's just so darn cute. You
don't mind driving me back to the duplex, do you?" Trixie answered
holding open the door to the diner for Honey.
"I'm sure we'll be able to get you back to your place,
somehow," Honey said, with a huge grin on her face. She knew Jim would
love to drive Trixie back to her home. He'd do anything for them to spend
time together. The trio of friends had been inseparable since Trixie had
helped find Jim and brought him back to Sleepyside to be adopted by Honey's
parents, Matthew and Madeline Wheeler. But since Trixie and Jim both had
moved back to Sleepyside, and finally admitted they had feelings for one
another, they wore dreamy grins and more often than not were joined at the
"So what did Mart give Di for Christmas?" Honey
asked climbing into the cherry red convertible and starting the car. She
pulled out of the parking space and headed out of town towards the Lynch
"Mart got her a really pretty lavender nightgown and
robe from Victoria's. I was surprised at what a good job he did by himself!
He didn't ask me for help this year. Why he started asking my help in the
first place always amazed me. How could anyone think I'm a fount of fashion knowledge?"
Trixie said waving her hand down her outfit, as if to say, 'see I'm a shlub.'
"Trixie, one of these days you're going to look in the
mirror and finally see the beautiful woman we all see," Honey replied.
"You sell yourself short."
"OK, OK, got it. I'm not a tomboy anymore, and I
finally know how to use mascara without poking myself in the eye."
Trixie sighed. "But I'm still so far out of Jim's league, I worry that
he's going to wake up and realize I'm still me."
Honey pulled her car over, put it in park, and turned
toward her friend. "Seriously? Trixie, have you talked to Jim about
this? About what he did during college? What you did, or actually didn't do, during college? I knew we'd
talk about Jim, but you never really wanted to talk about him. Trixie, you didn't date in college and Jim didn't
either. You both had lots of opportunities, but neither of you did. Do you
ever stop and think about that? You two need to talk to each other about
"You're right, Honey, but when I saw him by Sally at
the car, I felt so far from them. I mean, I'm jeans and t-shirts, not
fundraisers and charity functions." Trixie ran her fingers through her
curls in frustration. "How am I ever supposed to fit into his
"Trixie Belden, are you saying that you've been
uncomfortable at my parents' house for the past eleven years? Because Jim's
world is my world. Have I
ever made you feel less than you are? Have my parents? Don't let some silly
self-centered snob like Sally Wellington affect you." Honey, gesturing
with her hands, continued, "Jim came from nothing. Maybe he feels like
things in his past make him not worthy of you. Have you ever thought about
that?" Honey sat back again the heated leather seat and took a deep
"Oh, Honey!" Trixie sobbed. "I'm just so
scared. He's all I've ever wanted. I keep thinking, 'What if I mess this up?
What if Jim expects me to know more than I know? What if he wants someone
who's more experienced? Honey, I can't mess this up. It's too
important." Trixie wiped away a tear with her hand.
Honey patted Trixie's back and handed her a tissue.
"Sweetie, would you please stop worrying so much. You two have been back
in town for a month. There is no rush here. You can take it slow. But I do
think you need to be honest with Jim about how you feel. OK? Promise me
you'll talk to him."
"Madeline Wheeler, what would I do without you?"
Trixie dried her eyes and wiped her nose. "I promise to calm down and
not worry so much."
"Good! Let's go meet Di and finish planning our New
Year's Eve." Honey started the car and pulled back on to the road.
Trixie poked the doorbell of the Lynch
house and heard the melodious sound followed by a girlish squeal and running
feet. Grinning broadly and hooking her arm with Honey's, she turned to the
door just in time to see it thrown open and Di bounce in the doorway.
"I have been waiting forever for you two to get here.
Come in," she commanded grabbing them by the arms and dragging them into
the house. "Let's go into the den and get to planning."
As the three friends made themselves comfortable, Honey
pulled a small notebook out of her purse.
Trixie and Di looked at each other and rolled their eyes
before giggling. "What research have you done?" Trixie asked with a
Honey blushed lightly and fussed with her notepad. Looking
nervous she said, "Well, when I was talking with Brian at our Bob-White
Christmas party, he mentioned that he'd like to be low key this year."
Honey looked at her friends with a plea in her hazel eyes. "He is so
focused on his residency and doesn't do anything relaxing. He works very hard
and we hardly get to see him right now, so I thought maybe we could just have
a nice evening with just the ten of us."
Trixie glanced at Di and got a nod of confirmation.
"Honey, you know any time that I don't have to get dressed up fancy and
wear make-up, that I am all for it. I'm sure the others will agree."
Trixie kicked off her shoes and moved to sit cross-legged on the couch.
"However," she paused with a lift of her brow, "who are the
"Yes, Honey," Di agreed taking a sip of tea,
"who are the other two?"
Honey looked at her lap for several moments before lifting
her head. Looking between Trixie and Di, she fidgeted nervously with the
notepad. Honey spoke softly, "I don't know any way around asking Ben and
Sally since they are staying at the Manor House. Mother asked me specifically
to include them."
Honey looked sadly at Trixie's unhappy face. Then cast an appealing
look toward Di.
Di immediately came to her rescue saying brightly, "I
don't see a problem with it since Dan will be bringing Bonnie. It's not like
it will be Bob-Whites only."
Trixie, who had been staring at her lap, finally looked up
with a weak smile. "I think that's fine. Where will we have our
party?" she asked as she picked up her tea to hide her frown.
"Mummy and Daddy are having all the parents and some
of their friends here for a party," Di announced. "What about the
Manor House?" she asked Honey.
"That would be perfectly perfect," Honey clapped
her hands. "We can have a house party just like old times."
Trixie sat quietly as Honey and Di talked about decorations
and the food to be served. She contributed little to the discussion, until Di
suggested dressing up for New Year's anyway.
"Wait a minute!" Trixie objected. "I thought
you said this would be casual," she demanded, sitting up straight.
Di and Honey looked at each other then back at Trixie
before Di responded, "Don't you want to dress up for Jim? I'd like to
look my best for Mart and I know that Honey, Bonnie and Sally would all
probably like to dress up."
Honey's gentle eyes grew worried as she looked at Trixie.
"I just want Brian to be happy and comfy, Di. He did ask for
relaxed," Honey tried to appease both her friends.
"Well, I don't see why we can't dress up a
little," Di continued without noticing the undercurrents in the
conversation. "I have a new dress that I'd love to wear."
Trixie stood up from the couch and said sullenly, "Of
course, you want to dress up because you always look your best, even in ratty
clothes. Not that you own any ratty clothes. You, Honey, Bonnie and Sally
would all look good and graceful in a potato sack." Tearing up, she turned
away from her friends.
Disregarding Honey's head shake; Di stood and said,
"What is the matter with you, Trixie? You are just as pretty as any of
us. Prettier, actually."
Trixie turned swiftly to face Di. "Di, please, can we
just have a casual evening? My relationship with Jim is so new that I don't
want the added pressure of a dress-up evening, especially in front of Sally
Honey stepped between her two friends. Looking at Trixie
she said, "Trix, can I tell her?"
Wrapping her arms around her waist, Trixie nodded.
"Di, Trixie is feeling the newness of her relationship
with Jim. She is concerned he will suddenly change his mind about loving her
and decide she doesn't fit in with him and he'll let her go."
Di's jaw dropped open and she gaped at Trixie and Honey.
"Are you kidding me?" Di demanded with her hands on her hips.
"Jim Frayne has been in love with you since the day he met you. All the
man talks about is 'Trixie said this' and 'Shamus did that'." Her voice
rose as she talked. "Good heavens, girl! It has always been you for him
and him for you. Are you trying to tell me that he's been with you almost
every waking hour, doing all these sweet things for you, and you still have
doubts that the man loves you?"
Di collapsed into a chair and glared at Trixie.
"Trixie Belden, I have known you for my entire life and I cannot believe
you are so dumb that you do not believe and trust Jim to be honest with you.
If that man says he loves you, then you can damn well believe it. Jim is
honorable and he wouldn't lie about love. All he has looked for in his entire
life is family and love."
Trixie was shocked by Di's outburst but also hoping she was
correct. She looked anxiously at Honey who was still sitting on the couch
watching avidly. Trixie nervously licked her lips.
"I love Jim with every breath in my body, and I don't
want to do anything to make him think I am wrong or won't be a good partner
for him." Looking at her friends for encouragement, she stood tall and
said with firmness in her voice, "I know I'm being childish and silly,
but I don't have much experience with dating or being in a relationship. When
I see you two and Bonnie, heck even Sally, then I know I'll feel inadequate.
I will do my best to do better about it but…" Trixie paused as she
nervously drew a pattern on the rug with the toe of her shoe. "Well, I
may need advice and I don't trust anyone to help me but you two. At least you
know me and will help me be the best me I can be." Grinning at her lapse
into Honey-speak, Trixie rushed over and hugged her two friends.
Smiling at her friends, Honey picked up her notepad to
verify with them that she had her notes correct. Honey read aloud, "The
Manor House, dressy casual
wear, all our favorite foods including chocolate cake, wine, beer, soda and,
of course, champagne, music for dancing, our favorite board games and
finally, movies." As her friends nodded in agreement, she gave a
satisfied smile and nod while snapping the notepad shut.
Quietly drumming her fingers on the arm of the chair, Di's
eyes developed a devilish twinkle. "You know," she mused, tapping a
finger on her lips, "I think we can prove to Trixie that Jim only has
eyes for her. Trix, don't you have a dinner date
with Jim tonight?"
"What are you up to, Diana Lynch-soon-to-be-Belden?"
Honey questioned with a quirk of her brow.
"Well…" Di started telling her dearest friends
her delightfully evil plan.
Jim pulled his overcoat closed as he
stepped out of his SUV. Anxious to see Trixie after her day with Honey and
Di, he walked quickly to her door and rang the bell. Stamping his feet to get
the dusting of snow off them, he waited, looking at the neighbors' Christmas
Hearing the door open, Jim turned, feeling his heart go
into overdrive and his mouth go dry.
Trixie stood at the open door in a navy blue halter dress
with a floating pleated skirt. She looked at Jim with all the love in her
heart showing in her eyes. On her beautiful face was a hint of a smile and
her golden curls fell around her bare creamy shoulders.
"Hi, Jim. Won't you come in?" Trixie said shyly,
stepping back so Jim could enter.
Jim finally shook free of the daze and fantasies that had
overcome him on seeing Trixie in a blue Marilyn Monroe dress. "Shamus,
you look gorgeous, beautiful, stunning," Jim murmured as he took her
into his arms, kissing her deeply. The feel of her bare back made Jim's
fingers itch to untie the bow at her neck.
Nibbling the side of her neck, he whispered between kisses,
"I don't know if we should go out. I'd much rather stay here and admire
your dress, than have to beat up all the men in the restaurant that will be
staring at you."
Trixie smiled at his words and praise. "And you don't
think that I'll have to beat up all the women who see how handsome and supple
Stepping away from her reluctantly and picking up her coat,
Jim commented with a waggle of his eyebrows, "Beautiful, we'd better go
now or I won't be responsible for my actions."
Laughing, Trixie donned the coat, grabbed her purse, took
Jim's arm and headed for his SUV.
They talked about their day on the way to the Italian
restaurant where they had reservations. Trixie told Jim about their plans for
As they were seated at their table, Trixie took Jim's hand.
"Thanks for the six-pack of strawberry pop." She smiled and winked
Jim squeezed her hand and said, "My true love would
rather have six cans of her favorite pop than 'six geese a-laying' any
time." He smiled.
After placing their orders for lasagna for her and chicken
parmesan for him, they sat holding hands and smiling sweetly at one another
until someone walked up to their table.
"Well, I'll be. Trixie Belden, you look absolutely
fantastic. When did you get back to town?" Tad Webster asked as his eyes
roamed over the neckline of Trixie's dress.
Glancing at Jim briefly, he commented, "Hey, Frayne.
How did you get so lucky to have the most beautiful woman in Sleepyside to
have dinner with you?"
Looking at Jim, Trixie noticed his jaw tense up and a
muscle tick from him clenching his teeth. Wow! Jim
sure looks mad about Tad showing up. I wonder if he's jealous, she marveled to herself.
"Hi, Tad. Jim and I have been back to town for about a
month now. How have you been?" Trixie said politely while moving her
thumb across the back of Jim's hand.
"I've been great, working in the city. Did you say
that you two are really together?" Tad inquired with a surprised look.
Turning to Jim, he slapped him on the back. "Damn, Frayne, I didn't think
you'd ever get around to it and finally ask Trixie out. She's been hot since
way back. Congratulations for using your brain for something other than
books. There are at least ten guys in town who would have asked her out when
she came home if you didn't."
Glowering at Tad, Jim growled out, "Well, you can pass
the word to forget all about Trixie. She is with me." Feeling her thumb
make a circle on the back of his hand again, Jim slowly relaxed. He turned
his hand over and laced his fingers with hers. Looking across the table at
her, he saw Trixie's loving smile and returned it with his own.
Tad smiled to himself before quickly saying to the couple
before him, "Well, it's good to see you so happy. Congratulations to you
both." After kissing Trixie on the cheek, which got him another dirty
look and shaking Jim's hand, Tad sauntered away to the bar.
As Tad moved to a dark corner and sat in the booth, he
lifted an eyebrow to his companion before saying, "You're up, my
Tad's girlfriend stood up by the table and smoothed the
short skirt of her strapless dress over her very long and lovely legs.
Leaning over so he got an eyeful of cleavage, she kissed him on the lips.
"I'll be outside in about ten minutes. Go warm up the car, love. I'll be
She straightened and walked toward the table where her
quarry sat waiting.
After Tad had left the table, Jim had pulled Trixie's hand
to his lips and kissed her palm. "He's right, you know," Jim said
softly. "You are the most beautiful woman in the world and I am so lucky
to be with you. The fact that we love each other is a wondrous thing. I do
love you, Trixie."
"I love you, too, Jim," Trixie said quietly with
stars in her eyes.
The waiter arrived, delivering their salads and bread to
the table. After refilling their water glasses, he left them to their meal.
Trixie picked up her fork to begin eating when she realized
Jim had frozen in place with a fork full of salad almost to his mouth and his
eyes focused over her shoulder. Trixie looked to her left at the bottom half
of a very short, green spandex dress. Looking up, her eyes widened in shock.
"Hi, Jim. I can't believe it's you here in White
Plains. You certainly have matured into a handsome man. Hey, Trixie. Long
time no see."
Trixie gritted her teeth as the slim fingers with
pale-colored French nails belonging to Dot Murray skimmed over Jim's
Jim flinched away from her grip and stuck out his hand to
shake. "Dot, it has been a long time. Trixie and I come to White Plains
for the excellent Italian food. What are you doing in New York?" he
replied politely after taking Trixie's hand in his again.
Dot smiled a predatory smile at Jim. "If I'd known you
were around, I'd have looked you up." Flipping her white-blonde hair
over her shoulder, she took a card out of her clutch purse then leaned
forward and said huskily, "Why don't I give you my number and you can
come to the city to see me."
Jim had shifted his gaze to Trixie to let her know he
wasn't interested in Dot before she had even got the card out. Still with his
eyes on the woman he loved, he said firmly, "Dot, Trixie is all the woman I need. She has been since I met her. You
were polite to me in Iowa, but I have had and always will have eyes only for
Trixie. I'm not interested in contacting you. We think it was nice to see
you, but this evening is about Trixie and me. Please don't let us keep
The shocked look on Trixie's face was the most beautiful
thing Jim had ever seen in his life.
Dot stood looking between Trixie and Jim. A genuine smile
broke on her face. Patting each of them on the shoulder, Dot said kindly,
"I always knew it was going to be the two of you for real someday.
Congratulations to you both."
Trixie glanced quickly at Dot before returning her eyes to
Jim. "Thanks, Dot. It was good seeing you. I hope someday you find your
Dot walked toward the coat check, requested her coat and
hurried out to the car where her own true love, of the moment, waited.
Back inside the restaurant, Trixie and Jim held hands and
shared their meal with a new understanding of their feelings for each other.
They talked of the strange visitors to their table and the conversations
they'd had with them.
After their meal, they made their way back to Trixie's duplex.
As they cuddled on Trixie's couch, talking, laughing and
whispering about their past and present, Jim pulled Trixie into his lap to
hold her closer and kiss her. The kisses and the soft, smooth skin of
Trixie's back made Jim want more than they were ready to handle. Drawing away
from Trixie slowly with increasingly softer kisses, Jim placed his forehead
against hers as they both tried to catch their breath. "Sweetheart, I'd
better go before we get in over our heads," Jim murmured against her
"I know," Trixie sighed, "but I don't want
you to go."
Her sweet mouth in a pout made Jim press another kiss to
Standing her up gently, Jim waited until she turned to pick
up his coat before he got up and crossed to her.
Trixie helped Jim on with his coat and hugged him from
behind, pressing her face against his back.
Turning in her arms, Jim kissed her and slowly walked her
backwards toward the door with his lips still on hers.
Opening the door, Jim hugged her tightly and placed sweet,
light kisses on her face. "Shamus sweetheart, I will see you tomorrow on
the eve of our first full year as a couple." Cupping her face in his
strong, freckled hands, he kissed her deeply before saying, "I love you,
Trixie gently touched his face with her fingertips. "I
love you, too, Jim. I always will. See you tomorrow."
After one last kiss, Jim walked out to his vehicle and
drove away waving at her.
Trixie closed and locked the door. "Tomorrow,"
she whispered to herself.
After changing out of her dress and
carefully hanging it up, Trixie put on her flannel pajamas and called Diana.
"Hello, Harrison, it's Trixie. Is Diana
there?" Trixie asked the Lynch's overly polite butler.
"Yes, Miss Belden, she is. Please hold while I locate
her." Harrison said and Trixie heard footsteps heading down a marble
A few moments later, Diana picked up the phone. "Hello,
Trixie. How did the evening go?"
"Well, Jim's eyes almost dropped out of his head when
he saw the dress. I can't believe I let the two of you talk me into buying
that dress last summer, let alone wear it tonight. But it was worth it!"
Trixie chuckled. "Um, Di, was there anything else about tonight you
forgot to tell me about? Anything at all?"
"What do you mean, Trix?"
Diana said, trying to avoid the question. She wasn't too sure how Trixie felt
about the Dot surprise. "Something special happen? Anything come
up?" Diana burst into a fit of giggles with the last question.
"Diana Lynch, I am absolutely shocked by..."
Trixie started but was interrupted by a chirping 'bob-bob-white,
bob-bob-white.' "Hold on, it's Jim, let me get that."
"Hello. You made it home. Thanks for calling. I had a
great time tonight. Yeah, neither can I. Talk to you tomorrow. Sweet dreams.
I love you. Bye."
"I'm back," Trixie said with a sigh.
"So, I take it that was Jim on your cell phone? Love
the ring tone." Diana said with a delighted laugh.
"Day four's surprise from Jim, and don't think I
forgot about your little shocker tonight." Trixie tried to sound firm,
but truthfully she found Diana's bombshell funny, now that it was over.
"You told me you were going to call Tad Webster to spur Jim along, but
how did I miss the Dot Murray detail, Miss Lynch?"
"Oh, you saw Dot?" Diana squeaked, in what she
hoped was an innocent voice. "How was she?"
"Nice try. She was a white-blond bombshell. Same as 10
years ago, but more ammo if you know what I mean," Trixie snickered.
"Jim nearly choked on his tongue. I thought I might have to do
"Well, that would have worked, too," Diana
"Diana, I think you've been hanging out with some
seedy characters. You've turned quite devious. But I suppose I should say
thank you. Jim basically kicked the blond-bombshell out the door and across
the river. You and Honey are right. He loves me, I know that. I need to
remember that and I'm working on it," Trixie admitted.
"I have to tell you the truth, Trixie. I didn't even
know Tad was dating Dot. But when I called him up and asked him to drop by your
date, he asked if he could bring a date. I couldn't believe it when told me I
knew his new girlfriend. Turns out they met on MeetMate.com. How weird is
that?" Di queried her friend.
"I am never going to question the universe again,
ever. Well, Miss Lynch-soon-to-be-Belden, I'm going to check some email and
go to bed. I'll see you tomorrow around 3:00 to set up for the party. You
sure Ben and Sally have to
come?" Trixie whined.
"You'll be fine, promise. Good night, Trixie!"
Diana said. "Bye."
Trixie woke up bright and early Sunday
morning. She was due to meet her family for morning church services and
breakfast afterward at Crabapple Farm. She laid back and looked at her
pressed ceiling tiles; they reminded her of the tin ceilings the BWGs saw in
the old buildings during their trip to Twin Oaks. It was the little details
that made her duplex perfectly perfect. Trixie had no idea that Jim had
recommended many of the little details she loved so much to the architect.
"Time to get up. Gotta get
moving," Trixie said out loud, talking to herself as she walked to the
master bathroom to get ready. "OK, mental list of everything I need to
do: Get up - check; shower, hair, make-up - in process; Church and breakfast
with Moms and Dad; then meet Honey." Trixie made quick work of getting
ready, light make-up, blow-dry her curls, and then she stood in the doorway
of her walk-in closet wondering what to wear. Looking at her watch, she
realized she didn't have time to waste. Quickly, she grabbed a forest green sweater
twinset and soft grey wool trousers. She put on her dark grey suede Mary Jane
pumps. It surprised her how she actually liked shopping for shoes. Shoes were
her dark secret. She had half dozen reasonable shoes for work, but she had
twice as many shoes for fun. Trixie grabbed her purse and was on her way out
the door, totally forgetting she was going to bring her party and overnight
things with her so she wouldn't have to come back before meeting Honey and
It wasn't until sitting down to breakfast with her family
that she remembered her missing bag. "Drat! I left my bag," Trixie
"Why don't you call Honey and see if she can stop by
and get it on her way back. She was going into town for a pedicure,"
Brian said, munching on bacon.
"Squaw, that's where an esthetician applies creams and
salves to the terminal part of the leg, below the ankle joint, usually
concluding in the painting of the digits of the foot," Mart said smugly.
"Sorry, boy-o, but an esthetician is someone who does
facials, a pedicurist does the feet," Bobby corrected. Seeing Mart's
opened mouth shock, he added, "What? I read. Cosmo
has lots of useful information on women. Most important thing I learned from
Dan, know your prey," Bobby said, pointing with his fork for emphasis.
"And on that note, Moms, may I be excused? I'd like to
call Honey before Mart recovers from his shock," Trixie asked with a
smirk. She cleared her dishes to the counter, "I'll be back to help with
Trixie walked to the den and picked up the extension and
dialed the number she knew by heart. "Morning, my love, how are you this
morning?" Jim crooned.
"Man, I hope you tell me it's
caller ID, because if not, I'm really going to worry about your relationship
with my brother," Trixie said with a laugh.
"I'd like to tell you it's
all instinct, but honestly caller ID was at least 90% of it," Jim
replied honestly. "So, ready for tonight?"
"Actually, I'm not. That's why I was calling. Is Honey
there?" Trixie answered.
"She's in the dining room, let me get her," Jim
replied. "Hold on, love you."
Trixie blushed as she waited for Honey to pick up the phone.
"Hey, Trix, what's up?"
"Hey, Honey, I need a favor," Trixie said after
her friend picked up the phone. "Brian said you had an appointment in
town and I was going to ask you to stop by my place and pick up my bag."
"Sure, no problem," Honey interrupted.
"Well, I think I have a different favor to ask. Could
I go with you?" Trixie said covering the phone, very unsure of herself.
"You want to get a pedicure?" Honey whispered.
"Yes, no, oh I don't know. I thought it might be nice
and I'm sorry, this is stupid. Forget I said anything. I'll talk to you
later. Bye," Trixie said breathlessly and hung up the phone. She
collapsed backward over the arm of her father's huge reading chair. "I'm
such a twit! I can't even ask my best friend if I can go with her to get my
feet massaged. UGH!" Trixie put a pillow over then face and let out a
She was sitting with the pillow over her face when the
phone rang and was picked up in the kitchen. She heard Brian enter the den
and say into the cordless phone, "Yes, she's here trying to smother
herself. Hold on. It's for you. It's Honey," Brian said removing the
pillow from his sister's face and handing her the phone. Rolling his eyes at
Trixie, Brian tossed the pillow onto the couch on his way out of the room.
"Sorry, I'm a dolt," Trixie started to apologize.
"I'm in my car. I'm coming to get you. Get your purse
and get out here. I'm pulling up to your driveway. Now! Scoot," Honey
said hanging up before her friend could disagree.
Trixie stared at the phone for a second or two, then got up
and went into the kitchen. "Moms, I'm sorry, I know I said I'd help with
"We've got it under control. Go with Honey and have
fun," Brian said with his hands deep in the sink.
"I like how he decides you can leave. When was my
vote?" Mart asked drying a plate and putting it in the glass-fronted
cabinet. He turned to grumble at his almost twin, "Seriously, go have
fun. I'll come up with some way for you make it up to me."
Trixie got her things and rushed out to the car. As she
opened the door, she said, "Honey, this is silly. I can go back to my
place and pick up my bag on my own. You go get your nails done and I'll meet
"Get in, Belden. We're going. You and I have an 11:00
appointment for your first pedicure," Honey said, putting the car in
reverse. "Get in, or you're going to get squished."
"OK, sensei, I'm in," Trixie said, closing the
door and buckling her seat belt.
"I can't believe you've never been for a pedicure.
I've seen your shoes, you love your feet, you're going to love this, I
promise," Honey assured her friend. They pulled up in front of pretty
store front, called BLISS.
"Hey, this is the same building we had our antique
show in, isn't it?" Trixie realized.
"That's how I found them. Let's go, greenhorn. Your
toes are begging for attention." Honey held open the door and pushed
Forty-five minutes later, Trixie and Honey were sitting
back with their feet propped up, letting the polish dry. "Pink. I can't
believe you picked pink," Honey said in disbelief, taking a drink of
water from the bottle the nail tech handed her.
"It's not pink, exactly. I read the bottle, it's 'Rose
at Dawn'. It's dark pink," Trixie admitted,
looking at her newly polished toes.
"So, what did you think?" Honey asked.
"Different, it was different. I kinda
liked it. But it's a little weird having someone sit at your feet and lavish
attention on your toes. Before you ask, 'cause I know you're going to, yes -
I'd do it again." Trixie smiled.
"Grasshopper, I'm so proud." Honey toasted Trixie
with her plastic water bottle. "As soon as we're dry, we'll stop and get
your bag. You're spending the night right?"
"Of course, it wouldn't be one of your old fashioned
house parties if I didn't," Trixie said.
"OK, Diana, what's next?"
Trixie asked her raven-haired friend, who was holding a clipboard and
checking items off. Trixie collapsed on the floor and flung her hands above
her head. "If we don't take a break soon, I'm just going to die."
"There's my best friend!" Honey laughed at
Trixie's familiar behavior and she lay on the floor next to her friend.
"Di, we're going to die here!" Honey snorted.
"Funny, very funny, ladies. We are all done.
Everything is all ready. Dinner will be served at
6:00, so the only thing left to do is make ourselves stunning." Diana
flung herself dramatically across her two friends on the floor. The three
friends were laying there laughing when Jim came in the room.
"Mart, Brian, I found them. Looks like they've died
again," Jim called over his shoulder. The three men stood in the
doorway, arms crossed over their chests looking down at the heap.
"Should we help them up or let them rot?" Mart
asked, nudging Trixie with the toe of his shoe.
"Rug's new. Let's help them up." Jim replied,
reaching down to grab Trixie's hand.
The three friends were soon up and everyone was on their
way upstairs to get ready for their evening. Jim pulled Honey aside and
whispered something in her ear.
"OK, let's get organized here. Jim and I can use our
rooms to get ready. Diana, Ms. Trask had your bag put in the Violet room.
Brian and Mart, if you two can share, you'll be in the Forest room. Dan is
picking Bonnie up, so they'll come ready and only need a place to sleep. Ben
is in the Iris room and Sally is in the Marigold room. That's everyone,
right? OK, see you at 6:00 for dinner." Honey turned and continued up
"Honey, I'll just get ready with you then?"
"Sorry, Trix. You're in the
Rose room. Let me know if you need anything everyone. Happy primping!"
She walked into her room and closed the door.
"Here's your hat, what's your hurry?" Trixie
mutter the idiom under her breath. She turned to Jim. "She's sure
excited to get ready for a relaxed dinner party."
"You know she just wants everything perfectly
perfect," Jim said, kissing Trixie on the nose. "I'll walk you to
your room, my lady." Jim took Trixie by the hand and led her down the
hallway. He stopped at the end of the hallway and opened the door. Jim pulled
Trixie into the room and continued across the rose-colored carpet. He kept
walking until he came to the closed door to the attached bathroom. He opened
the door and waited for Trixie to walk inside, "Happy seventh day of
Trixie stood in shock as she looked around the room.
Throughout the generous-sized room, dozens of candles were lit and in the
soaking tub, a bath was drawn, full of fluffy white bubbles. Nestled in the
bubbles floated seven rubber ducks. "Jim, what am I going to do with
you?" Trixie turned and wrapped her arms around him. She reached up and
placed her hand on his cheek, pulling him toward her for a passionate kiss.
Jim leaned back and looked at the beautiful woman in his
arms and said, "You can do that any time you want. And, even though the
tub's big enough, I'm leaving before I'm tempted to try and embarrass the
Giggling, Trixie gave him a playful push out the bathroom
and then scampered across the room to wait for him by the door.
Laughing quietly, Jim walked up to Trixie and lifted her
until her face was even with his. "Trixie, you little minx," he
looked into her smiling blue eyes before tightening his arms around her.
"What am I going to do with you?" he said.
Trixie looked at Jim tenderly. "Mr. Frayne, I hope you
will love me forever, because I most certainly love you," she said
softly as she kissed him.
Jim let her slide down to put her feet on the floor.
Raining soft kisses all over her face, he murmured, "Miss Belden, I will
always love you."
Stepping away toward the door, Jim's eyes had a mischievous
twinkle. "Trix, I had better go. The ducks are
waiting for you."
Trixie's delighted laughter could still be heard when he
closed the door.
1: 6,630 words
Smush Sisters notes:
to our editors, Pam, Donnis, WendyM,
and BonnieH. Any typos, runs, hits or errors are
all by the Smush Sisters and not these lovely
ladies who try to save us from ourselves. We are comma illiterate. We
apologize for ahead of time for using them incorrectly.
Extra special thanks to BonnieH.
She hosted us, posted our stories, and made the pages on her site look
absolutely fantastic. We wouldn't have been able to play like writers without
all her wonderful assistance.
We have no idea if there's a salon called Bliss in New
York, but ours is imaginary and we're happy to sell the rights to it.
We also made up MeetMate.com, if it really exists, we
These things are fact:
Cornell is an institution of higher learning.
Mini Cooper is a cool little car manufactured by MiniUSA. (Even though Honey's is red, SmushSister
Jenny J has a green one)
Victoria's is a nickname for Victoria's Secret and they
have pretty, sexy stuff that doesn't fit full-figured us.
Rubber Duckies are just plain
cute bathtub toys.
Things that inspired us. We are getting no money from them,
but they nudged us and you are welcome to check them out!
Trixie's necklace and blue
tile is from Hellas Multimedia.