The Girl Most Likely To ... - Part 36

The Girl Most Likely To ... - Part 36
by Barbara Lynn Terry

Chapter 1 - Janice sees her new home.

Tommy drove in the drive way of Shaiya and Janice' new home. They all got out of the car, and Shaiya unlocked the door. There was a small vestibule just inside the door, for hanging coats and putting their boots. After setting their boots under their coats, they went inside the inner door. There was a nice sized foyer that was the size of most living rooms you would find in an apartment in most cities.

To the left was the living room, and that was a very nice size. It was forty two feet, square, and had a working fireplace.

"Mrs. Peyton, if you will let me, I can clean the flue for you."

"That would be very nice, Tommy, thank you."

"Janice, let's go an see your room."

"I was wondering when you would get around to that, mom."

They all went upstairs, and the first bedroom on the right was the one Janice would have. It had a nice ornate, canopy bed with a powder pink comforter that had a Bambi in the middle. The walls were decorative tri-color pink, and had bunnies and squirrels painted in. There was no wallpaper. Her curtains were delicate lace trimmed poplin, and her dresser had six drawers with a huge full mirror that took up the whole length of the dresser.

In her closet, Janice noticed that she already had a wardrobe. She thought that her mother was certainly busy. She had no idea that Naomi and Trooper Jim had helped.

"OMG! Mom! You certainly have been busy."

"Well, dear, I had a little help, too."

"Oh yeah, from whom?" She looked suspiciously at Tommy.

"Well, it is a friend we both know very well. Actually, a couple of friends."

Just then a siren sounded outside, and a couple of minutes later, Naomi came in the house.

"Sheriff's office. Is there anybody home?"

"Naomi!" Janice exclaimed, giving Naomi a hug. "Thank you for helping my mom."

"Helping her with what, Janice? What do you think I helped her with?"

"My room, silly. Thank you. I really love it. When I have friends over, they will see that a girly girl lives there."

"Do you think you are going to like being a girly girl?"

"Naomi, you don't know the things that I wished I could do before I turn eighteen. Yes, Naomi, I am going to love being a girly girl. Darla, I hear there are dances in town every weekend. Are any of those dances for us?"

"Yes. We have our dances in the recreation center, while the adults have their dances at the VFW post. We do have adult chaperones, but mainly they just sit and talk with each other. See, Janice, we behave ourselves at these dances because we don't want to lose the recreation center to have fun in. So, the chaperones are mainly there to satisfy the fuddy duddies in town, who think we shouldn't be left to ourelves. We do have them, too."

"Mostly, Janice, this is a very good town, as you know. But we do have senior citizens who think that we should be the way they were when they were young. It seems the older a person gets, the more staid in their upbringing they are. They don't seem to change with the times."

"Tell me about it, Tommy. I used to know a lot of older people like that in Belaire.

"Is there anything you want from the home, sweetie?"

"All the furniture belongs to the home, then there are my clothes. I would love to have those. Mom, can I have a laptop computer, please?"

"We will see, sweetie. First of all, we need to get settled in here. We need to go back to Belaire and get everything packed, and moved up here. We should do that while you are still out of school for the holidays. Connie, Melanie, Rachel, would you girls like to come with Janice and me and help us pack our things in Belaire?"

"I would like that," Connie said, with a me too from Melanie and Rachel.

"Mrs. Peyton, maybe we can get Renée to come, too. Maybe."

"Rachel, here is my cell, why don't you call her and ask her."

"You're letting me us your cell phone, Naomi?"

"Yes, dear."

"Naomi, now you know what being a sister at Pine Meadows is all about. When you said you were here to help, I never thought you would let one of us use your cell."

"I said I would help with whatever I could. The phone service hasn't been hooked up yet, so, I let her use mine. After all, she is one of my sisters. Right?"

"Right on, sister," Melanie said, raising her right arm above her head.

Everybody decided to tour the rest of the house. The dining room was a fair size. You could put a banquet table and chairs in there, and still have room for cabinets along the wall, and for people to move around in. But, there was a fifty two inch, round dining table with four chairs around it.

The kitchen is what caught everybody's attention. There was a meal preparation table in the center of the kitchen, that had six bar stools on one side of it. It was maybe just under five feet long but measured four feet wide. The only thing left to see, was the basement.

As they got to the bottom of the stairs, Janice, Connie and Rachel noticed right away, that there was a washer and dryer hooked up. In Belaire they had to go to the laundromat to do their clothes.

"Who brought the washer and dryer?" Rachel asked.

"Trooper Jim." Naomi answered her. "He said he knew of an estate sale that was selling things cheap. So he went and got them. He had them delivered here, and I got the keys from your mom, Janice, and the movers brought them down here. They are all hooked up and ready to use."

"Now we don't have to go to a laundromat any more."

"No, sweetie, we don't. I knew they were saying it takes a village to help look out after the children, but I didn't know that meant helping adults, too." Shaiya said, increduously.

"Shaiya," Naomi added, "it takes a village means we are here to help anyone who really needs it. My job at the sheriff's department, is training rookie deputy sheriff's in hand to hand self defense. I can also be assigned to patrol a sector of the county, too. It has only been under two weeks since I brought Rachel to the home. In that time, Rachel has shown everybody just how much of a young lady she really is. Actually, it was the very first day. It takes a village, Shaiya, because we are all neighbors, and neighbors help each other."

"Well, it will take a little time to get used to this. I mean, I have lived in Belaire all of my life, and I swear I have never seen this kind of generous attitude towards another. In Belaire, there are drive by shootings, muggings, you name it, it happens. It is going to be so nice to finally live somewhere, where we don't have to worry about that."

"Shaiya, Pine Meadows county is your typical country county. Pine Meadows may be considered a small city, and it is the county seat, but we are still country, and country folks help others in need. I grew up here, then I went in the Marines, and then I joined the state police. My family is having a little get together, like we do every year on Memorial Day. Would you and Janice do me the honor of coming?"

"Wait! I haven't even moved up here completely, and you are asking me to come to a family gathering?!? I really don't know what to say."

"Say yes."

"Trooper Jim, is it? Shaiya asked. "The first thing we need to do, right now is, go back to the home so Janice can open her Christmas presents with her sisters."

"That sounds like a plan to me."

"Jim, when did you sneak in?"

"About fifteen minutes ago. I have been in the background, if you will, while you were talking with the girls and Tommy. I was passing by and noticed your squad in the driveway. So I thought I would stop."

"And you didn't have the courtesy to let me know you were even here?"

"I was waiting for the right moment to say anything. I didn't want to interrupt."

"Hmmm, a likely story, trooper, which needs investigating." Naomi went by Trooper Jim, and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

"That is no way to kiss a man, Naomi," Sharon stated, matter of factly. "I knew you two were going to get married. When is the happy day?"

"Sharon, you and everybody at the home will know, because I want you girls to be my bride's maids."

"You, want us, to be, your bride's maids?" Sharon emphasized the word, your.

"Yes, Sharon, I want my sisters to be my bride's maids. Rachel, I want you to be my Maid of Honor."

Rachel fainted, and Naomi went to the sink in the basement and dampened a wash cloth that was on the shelf next to the sink. She patted Rachel's forehead with the cloth, until Rachel woke up.

"Are you all right, Rachel?"

"Yes, I'm sorry, but for a moment there, I thought you said you wanted me to be your Maid of Honor."

"I did."

"Naomi, I...I really...don't...don't know what...what to say."

"Say yes, silly."

"Because I have never been married, I will have a white gown. I want all of you to have a light color, too."

"Rach, when this news gets out on the grapevine, there will no living it down. This is an honor above all honors." Sharon said, with a mock evil look.

"Rachel, let's just say that we were sisters, even before they made me an honorary sister. You have always held a special place in my heart since the first day I met you. That only shows that you have a decent heart, and decency gets rewarded."

"Yes, but to be your Maid of Honor. I...I...I just..."

"Shhh. Everything will be all right. Renée, her mother, Mandy and Sandi, and even your mother will be part of my éntourage. I want this wedding to be something very special. "Naomi then kissed Trooper Jim on his lips. There were oooooooo's when they were kissing."

"Well ladies, Tommy, I have to get back on patrol. Naomi can hold down the fort."

"I was hoping you could come and watch us open Christmas presents at the home, Trooper Jim."

"Well, I have to get back on patrol, I radioed in that I was using the rest room. So I had better be getting back. I will be back tomorrow."

"Drive carefully, Trooper Jim."

He smiled as he walked out of the door to his squad. He radioed in that he was back in the car.

"Squad 356, 10-8."

"10-4 Squad 356. A traffic accident on Pine Meadows Road leading to the quarry. Semi truck and an SUV. This is a 10-80, ambulance dispatched."

"10-4 Dispatch."

Trooper Jim turned on his police lights and when he got on the road, turned on the siren. Naomi's accute training wondered where he was going now, in such a hurry. Like any girlfriend, fiancée, wife, sister, mother, she worried everytime Trooper Jim O'Donnell went on a call by himself. His partner, Steve, usually met him where ever he was going, so that was a plus. But sometimes, Steve was doing his own assignment. Steve was going to be best man at Naomi and Jim O'Donnell's wedding.

"Well, ladies, Tommy, let's go and see the girls open their Christmas presents.

Chapter 2 - Janice gets a big surprise.

They all drove to the home in Naomi's SUV. When they were all out of the SUV at the home, they went in the house together.

"Janice!" Joy shouted, bringing everybody in earshot to the living room. "C'mon, sis, you have to open your presents.

Jack, Jan, Naomi and Shaiya just stood there, while the pandemonium of teenage girls opening Christmas presents, was going on in the living room. Shaiya couldn't help but be amazed that these girls had actually waited to do this until Janice could be with them.

"Sister Janice, since you are the sister of the year, you get to open your present first," Joy said, holding a gift wrapped package in her hands, towards Janice.

Janice took the present, and opened it. It was a likeness of the town of Pine Meadows in a snow globe.

"That one is from me," Joy said, proudly.

"Thank you, sis," Janice said, giving Joy a hug. "Let me see, who's next? Rachel, please step forward. I believe this present is for you."

Rachel opened her present very carefully, so as not to tear the wrapping paper. She held up the most beautiful dress any girl would just simply die or kill for. It was satin lined, and had lace around the hem, sleeves, and the neckline, but only in the front. It was made of gingham with a delicate silk overlay. This dress had to be very carefully dry cleaned.

"Rachel," Connie said, "go and try it on. We want to see how it looks on you. Come, sis, I will help you."

Rachel and Connie went to Rachel's room, and Connie helped her find a nice slip to wear with the dress.

"Here's a A-line slip, made just right for that dress."

After taking off her jeans and shirt, Rachel stepped in to the half slip, and then Connie helped her on with the dress. Connie then zipped it up and hooked it at the top.

"OMG! Sis! You...you look...absolutely...stunning. Let's go an show the others."

Connie went down the stairs first.

"Ladies, and gentlemen, may I introduce to you, the lovely Rachel Eileen Watkins."

Rachel came down the stairs like a debutante, slowly and with purpose. As she stepped off of the last step, there were oohs and ahhs. Naomi beamed with pride that Rachel could be so feminine in such a short period of time. Or had she been practicing even before the incident at the mall? Rachel has only been at the home nine days. Was that enough time to bring out the girl that was hiding inside the body of an outward bully? Maybe, because nobody picks up female traits this quickly, without at least some kind of instruction, and even with instruction, there are mistakes. Rachel's femininity was flawless. Naomi had also remembered the first day, and Rachel even then, was acting very feminine. Or was it an act? Could Rachel have been this girly even before Naomi brought her here? Rachel was an enigma, alright. Naomi was brought out of her reverie by Joy telling Connie she was next.

"Constance Stevenson, this present is for you." Joy handed Connie the present.

Connie opened the present with deft hands that had practiced this art many, many times. She took out a patchwork purse that also had a clutch wallet inside. Connie hugged Jan, because she knew it was her that had bought it. I mean, Connie had talked about wanting one with Jan so often, Jan felt she should have one.

"This one is for Darlene." Joy handed Darlene a long, narrow box, and she opened it carefully.

Inside the box, was a nice faux fur trimmed coat. Since there were no price tags or even who it was from, Darlene could only assume everybody had a hand in buying it. The coat was actually lamé with faux fur trim and had a parka that could be detached. To say this coat was warm, was an understatement, because Darlene tried it on, and took it off right away, because she could feel the heat inside the coat.

"Thank you, everybody. This coat is...is just...so...uhm...cool." The girls all giggled.

Naomi and Shaiya were witnessing what Christmas was like with these girls. They were really having a good time. Joy is the youngest girl of the house, so she gets the privilege of handing out the presents.

"Rachel," Jan said, "go and get out of that dress, and hang it up. That really is a very pretty party dress."

"Come on, sis," Connie said, "I will help you."

When they came back down, with Rachel back in her jeans and shirt, Joy gave out another present.

"This one says, Sandra Erickson." Joy handed Sandy her present.

Sandy had gotten a really nice wrist watch, that she has been looking at online like, forever. It had a white leather band, and it said Timex on the face. Sandy looked around with a smile and said thank you to everybody.

"There are so many presents yet to open. How long does this usually take?" Naomi asked, increduously.

"All day," Jack Olsen answered her.

"The girls take their time. A lot of these presents were donated by the Rotary Club, the Kiwanis International district here. They come now and then and talk with the teen as well as the pre-teen girls. We even have Big Brothers/Big Sisters involved with these girls, too. These girls know that these presents were given to them because they have been good all year. So they take their good natured time in making sure Christmas lasts in this house."

"Thank you, Jack. I have never seen this before. In Belaire, people rip open their presents and leave all the wrappings on the floor. These girls seem to be taking care not to rip the wrappings."

"It is the way they are. We are bringing them up to be ladies, not prudish, but ladies still. They behave themselves when they are in town, or at a function in town, or they may be offered a ride from Tommy, but that is all it is, is a ride. Tommy is a very nice boy, and he treats the girls with respect."

"I must have died and gone to heaven, because I never knew a place like this could exist on earth. I am very awed by this, and by the attitude of the girls. They seem so happy and carefree."

"Shaiya," Jan started, "these girls even have this attitude when they are in therapy. They don't want psych counseling to dampen their carefree attitude. A lot of the girls ride their horses in the summer. I am sure you noticed horse hitching posts in town. They are for anybody who wants to ride their horse to town. There is a lot of that here in the summer."

"Yes, Jan, thank you for explaining that. I thought it was weird that they were there."

"In many ways, Shaiya, Pine Meadows county is still a very nice place to raise children. I think that is why the state built this home here, instead of somewhere else. Family services doesn't get involved here, they kind of leave the running of the home to us, and we leave some of it to the girls. I have three teenage daughters, Shaiya, and these girls here are as close to my heart as my own children."

"This present says, Debra Sanger. Will the lucky winner please step forward and get her present?"

Debra sat on the floor and carefully opened her present. As she saw the dress, she shrieked.

"I have been wanting a sundress for a long while, now. Thank you, everyone. I'm going to go and try it on."

"Just simply amazing," Shaiya repeated.

Debra Sanger came back downstairs to show everybody how her new sundress looked on her.

"Debbie, you look smashing," Joy said, getting up and giving Debra a hug.

Debra then went back upstairs to get changed and hang her new dress in her closet. When she came back down, she heard her name, again. This time, the present was a nice AM/FM clock radio, that looked like a miniature boom box, but without the big speakers. She set this aside and waited for her name to be called again.

"Oh, this one says Joy Carver. Does anybody know where Joy is?" They all pointed at Joy and said "right there". "Oh, so then, this is for me. How nice." The girls just giggled.

"Jan, may I have a cup of coffee, please?"

"Would you like a cup of hot chocolate, instead?"

"Yes, that would be perfect."

"Girls, wash your hands, please, and join Mrs. Peyton and myself for hot chocolate and chocolate covered éclairs." The girls all squealed with delight at hearing a hot chocolate break.

They all washed their hands, and sat in the dining room. Since this was an informal break, it didn't matter where the girls sat. These éclairs were six inches long, about one half inch high and filled with the best custard money could buy. Each girl only took one though, except for a few, who cut one in half to share.

As they sat there, Shaiya noticed that they were talking in whispers. They all looked at Shaiya, and started singing. Shaiya noticed it was a song about a mother who finds her long lost daughter, but she couldn't place the name. When the girls finished the song, Shaiya was actually crying.

"Oh no, not again! What is it with this house lately? We get a new girl and all of a sudden we're reduced to tears? Somebody give me a tissue, too. That was a very sweet song." Sharon wiped the tears from her eyes and her face.
______________________________________________________________
Christmas continues at the Pine Meadows Home For Adolescent Girls in Part 37.



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