The window was a little cool as Missy pressed her nose up against it. She was all dressed in a new dress and holding Mrs. Beasty. She was waiting for Aunt Sophie to come and get her.
Lily and Jimmy Sr. looked on as they wondered what the outcome would be. ‘Maybe I shouldn’t have phoned her.’ said Lily.
‘Of course you should have called her. She is Missy’s only living relative that we know of. I know she has some issues but surely she would do her best by Missy.’ Though he spoke these words, he wasn’t sure.
Soon a shiny black convertible drove into their driveway. They all watched as a tall blonde with stiletto white boots climbed out of the car. She fluffed her hair back and seemed to float towards them. Her white fur coat hung to the top of her white boots. Missy did not remember her aunt. Yet, she did look like her mommy. Missy opened the door as Aunt Sophie climbed the stairs.
‘Why hello Melissa! My, but you are a pretty one. You look just like your father. ‘ Missy found herself enfolded in fur and perfume. When her aunt put her down she stared up at her. She stood next to the chair as Aunt Lila and Uncle Jimmy welcomed her in.
Lily served coffee and the three of them talked about the weather, and light hearted things. Soon, Sophie sat back and took a deep breath. ‘Here’s the thing. I can’t just step out of my life of business and care for a little girl. She is my niece though, so I will get a nanny. However, this will take time and I was wondering if you would be able to keep her until I can make arrangements. I assure you it won’t be long and I will pay you.’ Sophie stopped talking and watched for their reaction.
Jimmy spoke up first. ‘We’d be glad to take her. In fact, if you want, we could take her permanently. There is plenty of room and my wife doesn’t work outside the home. Would that solve your problem?’
Sophie breathed a sigh of relief. ‘That would be great. I mean, I do know you guys through my sister’s phone calls and when I’ve visited. You’re a lawyer right?’
Jimmy nodded. ‘Well, then you could get all the papers together for adoption and I’ll sign them. You could do that right?’
Lily and Jimmy looked at each other and smiled. ‘Of course I can. Where are you staying? I’ll have them sent to you.?’
Sophie laughed. ‘Well, I’ve got a room at the Golden Eagle for the night. But, I’ll be leaving in the morning to catch a plane to San Francisco. Here’s my address though and you can send me whatever is needed. OK?’
Lily nodded, and Jimmy stood up to shake her hand. Missy looked up at her aunt. ‘Melissa, do you like it here?’ asked Sophie
Missy shook her head yes. ‘Aunt Lily is nice and I get to see Jimmy.’
‘Oh yes, you have a son don’t you?’ She asked Lily.
‘Yes, Jimmy is the one who went into the house and saved our Missy.’ By this time Missy was busy swinging Mrs. Beasty around in a circle.
Sophie got down on one knee. ‘Missy, I love you very much sweetie. I think you should stay here instead of going with me. I don’t have a play yard or anything.’
Missy smiled. ‘Ok’ She looked at her aunt and went to her for a hug. ‘Listen, I will come see you as often as I can, ok?’
Again, Missy responded with a quick ‘ok’. Sophie left in a white puffy blur. Missy turned around. ‘ She smells!’
Jimmy Sr laughed and laughed. ‘You mean the perfume! She does wear a lot.’
Jimmy returned from his baseball game as his father was laughing. He was in no mood to laugh. His team had lost the game and he’d got hit with a ball in the arm. ‘Hi, we lost the game. I’m going outside, I’ll be in soon.’
Lily went in to fix dinner as Jimmy Sr went to draw up the adoption papers. Young Jimmy went out back to sit on the porch swing. Soon, little Missy came out and climbed onto the swing next to him. ‘What are you doing with no shoes on Missy?’
‘Oh, I took them off. ‘ Her little toes wiggled as she spoke. ‘It’s too hot to wear shoes.’
Jimmy suddenly forgot about the ball game. ‘You have tiny feet. What if you stepped on a rock?’
Missy was busy looking at Jimmy’s sneakers. ‘You have big feet. Look!’ she put her foot next to his. ‘I wonder if I’ll have big feet when I grow up.’
‘Not as big as mine. Girls don’t usually have big feet.’
A bug crawled up on the bench and Jimmy flicked it off. ‘I hate bugs.’ said Missy. ‘Want to know a secret?’
Jimmy sighed. ‘I guess so.’
Missy was oblivious to the fact that Jimmy was all sweaty and in a foul mood.
‘I’m not going away. I’m going to live right here.’ She was smiling wide and kicking her feet back and forth.
‘Is that so?’ Jimmy was glad but didn’t believe her.
Missy looked up at him. ‘Yeah, Uncle Jimmy and aunt Sophie said so.’
‘Well how about that! I’m stuck with you!’ He reached over and tickled her neck. Missy scrunched her shoulders and began to giggle. ‘Well, we’d better get back inside. Mom will be calling us for supper.’
Missy slid off the swing and stood in her bare feet. ‘Wait, I’ll carry you. Climb on my back.’ Jimmy bent over and Missy climbed up.
Once they were inside and seated for dinner Missy spoke up. ‘I’m going to live here forever now right?’
Lily nodded, ‘yes Missy. Would you like that?’
Missy thought for a while. ‘I wish Mommy and Daddy would come home.’ She stared at her plate silently.
Lily knew that a four year old child didn’t understand everything. ‘We will always miss them. I think they would be happy for you to live here though.’
The room became quiet as everyone wondered how Missy would take to the changes in her little life. It had only been a few days and her life was turned upside down.
Jimmy seemed to know what to do. ‘Come here and sit with me for supper. Just for tonight.’ He pulled her chair next to his and cut up her food. My friend Pete has a little sister. He said he always helps her. You could be like my little sister if you want to.’
A little face with tears streaming down it looked up at Jimmy’s face. ‘I’m scared.’ she said.
Jimmy held her little hand. ‘No need to be scared. My mom and dad won’t ever hurt you and you trust me don’t you?’
Missy sniffed and said. ‘Yes’
‘Let’s just eat dinner for now. I’m hungry.’ Jimmy wasn’t lying. He ate two platefuls of mashed potatoes, carrots and ham. Missy picked at her food. She ate and then watched Jimmy eat.
‘You eat a lot.’ she said. Jimmy laughed.
‘We have ice cream for dessert tonight.’ said Lily.
‘How about we get a dish of ice cream and eat it outside on the swing?’ Jimmy asked Missy.
Missy blinked her eyes a few times. ‘I’m not supposed to leave the table until I’m done eating.’
Lily spoke up. “It’s ok Missy. I have a plastic bowl and i’ll let you eat on the swing for tonight.’
Later that night Jimmy was doing his homework while Missy was getting a bath. Jimmy stretched and rubbed his eyes. Suddenly he smelled soap and a two tiny hands covered his eyes from behind him. ‘Guess who?’ said a little voice.
‘Nope, it’s Missy! Your little sister’ She walked around the chair and held out her arms for a hug. Jimmy picked her up and put her on his lap.
‘Well, there you are! All clean and smelling nice.’ Missy smiled wide.
‘I came to kiss you good night!’ She hugged his neck and gave a tiny kiss to his cheek.
‘Good night Missy’ Missy got down and went upstairs with Lily. As Lily was tucking her into bed, she noticed that Mrs. Beasty was in the bed. The stuffed animal smelled like smoke. She decided to wash it while Missy slept. She was afraid Missy might get upset.
‘I’ll leave this little light on Missy. If you get scared I’m just across the hall. Just knock on my door.’
A sleepy little child nodded. Lily sat on the edge of the bed. ‘Let’s say our prayers.’
‘Ok’ Missy said. Lily prayed that Missy would sleep well. Missy prayed that God would tell her parents that she missed them. As an after thought she added ‘Help Jimmy to win the ball game tomorrow.’ She opened her eyes. ‘He was sad when he didn’t win today.’
‘Now how did you know that? He didn’t act sad today.’
‘Well, I saw him on the porch swing and he looked sad. ‘ Lily smiled.
She went downstairs amazed that a small child could be scared and sad about her parents and yet still want to comfort a teen age boy who lost a ball game. God had truly sent her family a precious gift. Although she was heart broken over the loss of her dear friend Elizabeth and her husband Joe, she was still blessed to be raising their little girl.