Darla and Molly

Darla and Molly

by Maggie O'Malley and shalimar

Note: The Transgender element is based on previous stories.

Shelly waited patiently with the rest of the parents, as one by one the kids came out the door of the school. As each child exited they would scan the crowd for their momma or daddy's familiar face, seeing it, they would smile broadly and run to them. The equally happy parent would kneel down to catch the flying bundle of love and wrap their arms around the child. The little boy or girl would then take their parent's hand and walk toward the car, excitedly filling them in on today's adventures in school.

Shelly had checked her car’s clock as the steady stream of children started to pass her. She still couldn't believe she had made it clear across town in less than fifteen minutes. Of course, had her meeting with the publisher actually taken place when it was scheduled to, she wouldn't have had to drive like she was in the Daytona 500.

The thought of that man still raised her anger. Five more minutes of waiting and she would have walked out on him, and she wouldn't have cared if he was THE MAN in the business or not. Margaret Baruchah, or Maggie as she was usually called, and Baruchah Miriam were two of the most important LITTLE GIRLS in Shelly's world and she was not about to have her princesses walk out that door and find no one waiting for them.

The young woman smiled at a few familiar adult faces, and one mother commented on how nice she looked today. Shelly graciously accepted the compliment before turning her attention back to the double doors and the stream of children. Actually, she was by far the best-dressed parent this afternoon. Obviously, she hadn't had time to go home first and slip into something a little more casual. The 5'5” slender woman with Mediterranean complexion and Mongolian slant eyes cut quite an image in her peach "power suit". She had dressed to the nines today, right down to the three inch heels, which were killing her tiny feet at the moment. She had even stopped and had both hair and nails done. Her beautiful waist length mane with its incredible shades of natural color, had been meticulously French braided, and her peach colored nails were long and lovely. She was dressed to impress, but after cooling her three inch heels for nearly an hour and half, she just about walked those shapely legs right back out the front door having never gotten the chance to impress.

When the secretary told her for the umpteenth time that Mr. Richardson was still busy on a conference call and that perhaps she should call tomorrow to reschedule, she had finally had enough. Walking past the surprised secretary, she opened the door to the boss’s office and stormed in with manuscript in hand. The gentleman was leaned back in his chair, feet up on the desk, puffing on a cigar and laughing into the phone. The man's eyes grew wide as the pretty goddess with hypnotic hazel eyes entered the room. This vision of loveliness gave him a cold hard stare as she slammed the folder down on his desk. The dumbstruck publisher immediately hung up the phone and then in his haste to get up and greet the Venus that stood before him, literally fell out of his chair, sending both him and the foul smelling cigar to the floor.

Glancing up at her from all fours, he smiled hungrily as he spoke. "Uh...you must be Ms. Shalamar. If I knew there was such a lovely lady waiting for me outside, I'd never kept you waiting. In fact, I feel SO guilty about you having to wait that I think you should let me take you to a late lunch. I know a cozy little spot where we can discuss your book and get to know each other a little better if you know what I mean. How's that grab you, sweet cakes?"

Shelly shot daggers at him. It was bad enough he had kept her waiting that long, but for the letch to make a pass at her like that, and then to call her "sweet cakes". Well ... this couldn't go unpunished.

He was acting like some mangy mutt chasing the scent of a bitch in heat, and as he was still down on all fours, the young woman just couldn't resist giving the "dog" an obedience lesson. Shelly was more than just a talented writer and loving mother, she was also a genuine spell slinging witch. However, her powers were actually a gift from G_d, and in most circumstances she used them to physically heal broken bodies and troubled souls. Of course, once in awhile she would meet someone like Perry Richardson, and well...

An impish grin turned at the corners of the witch's lips as she spoke, "How does this grab YOU, sweet cakes!"

The beautiful witch snapped her fingers and the two legged dog became a genuine four legged version. The homely hound immediately put its tail between its legs and began whining at the young woman. Shelly shook her finger at the dog as it cowered down.

"You better behave yourself boy, or I'm gonna call the dog pound! Now, are you ready to get down to business or do I need to call the vet and make you an appointment to get you neutered?"

The dog hunkered down and put both paws over its eyes. The young witch laughed, content she'd made her point. Figuring he'd lived a dog's life long enough, and feeling just a tad bit guilty about abusing her gift, she snapped her fingers again and the two legged version was back, obviously shaken and much more well heeled. He had no recollection of the events that had just transpired, although that vasectomy surgery his wife had been nagging him about unexplainably came to mind.

Shelly smiled demurely. "Mr. Richardson. I'm Shelly Johnson, my penname is shalimar and I believe we had a meeting to discuss my book."

The prone publisher apologized as he scrambled to get off the floor. "Uh...it's a pleasure to meet you Ms. Shalamar, and I'm sorry to have kept you waiting. Won't you please sit down and show me what you've got."

Smiling nervously he quickly added, "I mean what you've got for me to read that is."

Shelly could barely hide her smile as she began her presentation. Thirty minutes later, the young authoress walked out of the publisher's office with a contract for her new book, a check in hand and twenty-five minutes of driving to do in fifteen if she was going to pick up her daughters on time.

The young mother noticed Baruchah and Maggie's teacher, Miss Thompson, standing by the door letting her brood out. Usually the twins were among the first few kids out the door, but surprisingly, twenty kids passed by Shelly before her daughters finally came into view. Maggie, the auburn haired five-year-old with her mother's dark complexion and green eyes was dressed in blue jeans and a Lady and the Tramp t-shirt. Baruchah, her red haired twin, also had blue jeans that had become capris, but had a Grlls Rule t-shirt. MaggPie and Baru stopped at the doorway and sheepishly glanced up at their teacher. The young woman handed her students a note and then ushered the little girls out the door. They saw their momma waiting for them and immediately dropped their heads, trudging across the sidewalk, slower than molasses just out of the refrigerator on a cold winter’s day, until they reached her.

Shelly knelt down and immediately pulled her little blessings into her arms. She could feel the children trembling against her. When she released the embrace, she gently raised her daughters’ fallen faces to meet hers and she could see tears welling in both children’s eyes.

The concerned young mother looked toward the teacher at the door and was greeted by a warm smile and a gesture telling her to calm down.

Shelly nodded and then returned her attention to her daughters, "Maggie honey, are you all right? Baruchah, are you sick? Did something happen in school today?"

The little girls sniffled back tears as they spoke.

"Wes, wes gotted in twuble today momma,” Maggie admitted.

“Wes got dis note for you from Miss Thompson,” Baruchah added as she handed her mother the note.

“We tink it says what wes done,” Maggie continued.

Shelly took the note and quickly deposited it her bag.

Taking Baruchah and Maggie's hands in hers, she squeezed them lovingly as she spoke, "I think I'd rather you tell me what happened. Can you do that for momma?"

Baruchah sniffled again and said, "Uh huh".

The young mother smiled at her troubled tikes and praised them, "Good! That's momma's big girls. Now, before we get to the car and you tell me all about it, I think two little girls owe their momma kisses and REAL hugs!"

A hint of a smile crept across the twins’ sad faces, as the little girls launched themselves back into their mother’s arms, this time hugging her tightly and showering her with tiny kisses.

Shelly savored the sweet moment before finally taking the children by the hand and leading them to the car. The young woman helped the little girls up into the back seat of the tall SUV and buckled them in.

Reaching her hands across the seat she took her daughters' gently in hers. She tried to reassure the children before Maggie began her tale. "Baruchah and Baruchah", she said softly. Baruchah means "blessing" in the Hebrew language and in Shelly's eyes her daughters had been all of that. Whenever she felt she really needed to state her love for her daughters, she often called them by MaggPie’s middle and Baruchah’s first name.

Their momma's intuition told her this was going to be one of those times and she continued, "You know your momma loves you no matter what. Just tell me the truth and I'll bet you'll both feel a whole lot better."

As Shelly continued to hold the children's hands, she could feel the trembling start again as the MaggPie spoke, "Momma, wes dided sometins kinda weal bad, and wes haded to sit at our desks ins time out for a whole longs time. Wes tink you is gonna be mad wiff us."

The young mother sighed and lovingly caressed both girls' hands, "Baby, I'm not going to mad with you. I may be disappointed when either of you don't act like big girls, but I will never be mad with you. Now, tell me what happened so you and I can fix this all up, okay?"

Baruchah smiled weakly at her mother, "Otay momma."

Baruchah took a deep breath, let it out and then began again, "Momma, we was makin picshures wiff paints and bwushes today. Miss Thompson tolded us we could paints anyting we wants to and I tolded her I was gonna paints da pwettiest ting in da whole world. I was gonna paints YOUR picture, momma."

The young mother's heart swelled with love and pride for her little blessings. She hardly felt worthy of the title of "most prettiest thing in the whole world", but she loved hearing those words from either of her little girls and she would cherish that painting with all her heart. Shelly would have gladly traded two Rembrandt's hanging in the Louvre, for one Maggie masterpiece to display on the refrigerator.

Noticing her little artist was not carrying the painting in her hand, she inquired as to its whereabouts, "Baruchah, I bet you did a very good job. If you have it in your backpack, I'd love to see it."

The little girl dropped her head and sighed heavily, "I ain't gots it momma. It kinda gotted all messed up and dat's when wes kinda gotted in twuoble a whole bunch."

Shelly leaned across the seat and kissed her daughter lightly on the cheek.

Her green eyes offered encouragement to the shaken child, "That's okay, baby. Why don't you finish telling momma what happened."

Baruchah nodded as Maggie began again, "Momma wes was paintin weal good. I saw dat Baru putted a whole bunch of colors in your hair to makes it all preddy, just wikes your weal hairs, and she gibed you big gween eyes and she dwessed you up all well pweddy and gibed you a big ol' momma smile too! But...but...sees well, Kennedy was paintin next to hers, and we no wikes her bery much cause her makes fun of da kids who ain't gotted nice stuff wike her's gots, and dat's weal mean and, and it kinda gets me alls mad."

Shelly smiled and pushed a stray curl from her daughter’s face, "I know all about Kennedy. We've talked about her before and I've been very proud of you for not fighting with her. Was she being mean to someone today?"

Maggie nodded and pointed a finger to her sister, "Hers was trying to be all means wiff Baru! Her looked at her picshure and asked her whats dat she was paintin and hers tolded her it was yours picshure. She looked ated it all funny and tolded me dat it was stupid cause aints nobody gotted all dem colors in deir hair. I, I tolded her dat you dided and den her saided I was lying and that kinda maded me mad cause I wasn't lying momma."

Baruchah hesitated a moment and looked up sheepishly at her mother, "Dat's when I kinda done da furst bad ting. I tolded Kennedy our secwet. I didn't means to but it kinda jumped out of my mouff for I could stops it. I tolded her dat you was a witch and dat's why you gots all dem colors in your hair and dat I was a witch too!"

Baruchah trembled with shame and guilt, "Momma I is so sowwy. I knows we big girl pwomised not to tells nobody, but, but Kennedy maded me all mad and, and den I gotted eben mores madder when she said I was lying and, and den I tolded her. I'm sowwy momma. I is weally sowwy lots."

Tears rolled down the face of the little witch, as she was heartbroken for betraying a promise to her momma.

The young mother pulled her daughter close, comforting the child with a warm embrace and soft words, "It's okay baby. Momma is not mad at you. I know you didn't mean to do it. You were upset and I can understand why. No one likes to be called a liar. So, what did Kennedy say when you told her that you and I were witches?"

Baruchah pulled back from her momma's side to face her as Maggie spoke. "Her still no bewieve hers, momma. Her saided hers was still lying and dat we wasn't no witches and dat witches don't gots no purdy hair wikes you gots momma. She said they is all olds and means and ugly and dey eats little kids! I kinda started gettin weally weally mad den momma and I tolded her to takes it back cause you ain't none of dem tings, but hers wouldn't. Her gots Alicia and Trevor to comes look at Baru’s picshure and her asked dem if it looked likes a witch and dey saided no cause all da witches dey eber seened was on bwooms and was weal bad and weren't none of dem eber nice or purddy."

Shelly rubbed Maggie’s shoulders. Sadly, most of the world did think that all witches were something out of a Halloween tale. How surprised would they be if they knew how many real life Samantha's from Bewitched really existed?

With her mother's encouragement, Maggie continued, "Den Kennedy tolded dem dat Baruchah said me you and hers was weal witches and dey wooked at us’es all weirds and den Kennedy started laughing at me. I tolded them it was true momma, but they wouldn't no bewieve mees. Kennedy saided if wes was a weal witch dat I could do some magic and pwove it."

The young woman's eyes went wide. Baruchah and Maggie was just beginning apprentices, but they knew enough to raise a little magic and if either of them sent a fireball across their daycare classroom, Shelly just might not be able to explain her way out of that one.

Now it was the adult witch who trembled slightly, "Baruchah, Maggie, please tell momma you didn't raise a fireball or try to cast a spell, did you?"

The mother breathed a sigh of relief as her daughters shook their heads back and forth.

"No momma. I wanted to,” they both said. “I wanted to so weal bad, but, but wes membered dat wes pwomised not neber to do no magics no more wiffout yous dere, so wes tolded Kennedy dat wes could does magic and stuff if wes wanted toos, but wes weren't not louds to. Her tolded us dat wes were just lying and we couldn't weally do nothing no how. Trevor and Alicia kinda belwieved her and dey wooked at wes all sad and den dey wented backs and painted some more.

“I was so sad dat eberybody thoughted wes was liars and weal mad at Kennedy for saying bad tings bouts me, yous and Maggie,” Baruchah explained. “But I just turned awound and started paintins some more, cause you tolded me not to get mads wiff her."

Shelly hugged her little girl tightly. It had been a few years since the young woman had been in primary school, but she still remembered how cruel children could be to other kids whom they perceived as being different. Shelly had been one of those "different" kids, and the wounds she’d received at the hands of certain classmates had been deep and painful.

Turning her thoughts back to Maggie, she tried to comfort the saddened children, "Girls, darlings, I know you were telling the truth and it doesn't matter if Kennedy Harper believes you or not, and I'm real proud of you for not using magic and for not fighting with her."

Once again tears welled in the little girls’ eyes.

"Momma I no tinks you is gonna be so pwouds of us’es no more cause wes kinda sorta fighted wiff her a liddle bit,” Maggie continued. I tinks her gots all mad wiff Baru cause hers wented back to paintin and den her comes obers to Baru and sez how comes if you is my momma why aint’s you gots red hair and fweckles likes hers gots. Hers toughted for a minute and dens hers tolded her hers dunnos and for hers to leaves hers alone, but, but den hers taked hers liddle can of red paint and thowed it on Baru’s picshure of you momma and her saided dat you gots red hairs and frweckles now. Momma, she messed up da whole picshure and her no could fixes it and Baru gotted so mad hers started crwying. Dat's kinda when I sorta done sometin bad. I tooked my can of red paint and dumped it on Kennedy’s head and, and den I tolded her that now HERS gotted wed hairs and fweckles too!"

Shelly imagined the picture of that hateful little Barbie drenched in red paint and she was tempted to giggle like a school girl Maggie's age, but she knew Maggie was feeling terrible guilt for what she had done and thinking she had disappointed her momma.

She pulled the little imp close again, "Maggie, you shouldn't have done it, and you know that, but I am not mad with you. What Kennedy did was very hateful and when I was your age there were a few Kennedy's in my class and well, sometimes I sort of lost my temper too and did a few things I shouldn't have. You might say we could both use a few anger management classes."

Maggie's eyes grew wide and she smiled, "You did momma, weally you dids? Whats did you does to your Kennedy?"

Shelly rolled her eyes and decided not to give her daughter any ideas and then got her back on the subject at hand, "We'll talk about that another time. Right now I want you to tell me what happened after you dumped the paint on Kennedy.”

Baruchah continued, “I sorta did da same onlys I uses blue and, and I saided now yous habs colors in yous hair.”

Baruchah sighed, "Well, her started scweamin weal loud. Da paints kinda colds and I tinks it sorta gotted into paces you no wants paints ins and dats kinda when Miss Thompson comed over and Kennedy was cwying and her saided wes started it, buts we tolded her dat Kennedy thowed paint on my picshure furst. Miss Thompson haded to take Kennedy to da baffroom and get her all cweaned up and den her momma camed and gotted her and took her home. Miss Thompson had us’es sit with her for a whole longs time and wes tolded her eberyting, and I dont tinks her weally baleeves we is witches, but hers didn't no laughs at me likes da udder kids does. I tinks her knows dat Kennedy started it, cause hers da teachur and dey is likes mommas, dey catches you lots when you does bad tings. Her tolded wes no can puts paint on peobles eben if dey is bein all means wiff us’es, and dat wes shoulda tolded her stead of gettins all mad. Den her tolded us dat wes is weal good girls most of da times and dat wes ain't never done nuttins like this fore, so wes wasn't weally in twouble, but her wanted us’es to sit at us’es desks all quiet and stuff and tinks bout what wes done."

Shelly smiled lovingly at her daughters, "Baruchah, Maggie, Miss Thompson is right. You really should have told her what Kennedy did, and you are very good girls. This is the first time you have ever done anything like this. You are just going to have to watch that temper of yours, little ones."

Maggie's bottom lip dropped, and she started breathing heavy as the tears came. "Momma, Becky kinda, kinda always sorta watched obers wes. Ebery time dat dumbed ol Kennedy twied to getted us’es all, all mads and stuffs Becky comed ober and gibed us’es a hug or tolded us’es sometin weal good to members cause hers was so smart, and, and den wes no be mads no more, but, but...Becky ain't here...no mores and, and I misses hers too much, momma."

The little girls began sobbing and Shelly pulled them up on her lap and rocked the children in her arms.

Cooing softly she tried to comfort Maggie as her own eyes filled with tears as Baruchah started to cry, "Shhh...now Baruchah. It's going to be okay. I know you miss and love Becky, we all do."

“Yes, Baruchah,” Shelly told her other daughter. “It’s alright to cry for Becky.”

Becky was Baruchah and Maggie's cousin and the best friend to the twins, other than each other. The loving little eight-year-old was the eldest of two girls that Shelly's sister Jenna had. Shelly's little niece was a shining light to all who knew her, but sadly that light all to soon left this world as the little Earth angel had lost her battle with cancer over a week ago, and then went onto to become a heavenly angel.

The entire family was still grief stricken and even though Shelly and Jenna had worked hard to convince Baruchah and Maggie that Becky was all happy now and being watched over by angels in a special play place for kids, the little girl heart still ached from missing her best playmate.

Shelly also realized this outburst by her daughters had probably been triggered more by the pain of losing Becky, than it had been by Kennedy and the ruined pictures. Shelly cuddled her daughters tightly and blew a sigh of relief. Kennedy had gotten off lucky. Baruchah and Maggie didn't have much skill with magic at their age, but the power was there deep inside. Provoked by the intense pain and anger the children was feeling, they could easily have tapped into that power and given Kennedy something far worse than a red and blue paint shampoo.

Shelly continued to rock and offer what comfort she could to her babies, "Maggie, Baruchah, you know Becky is up in the Play Place right now but she can see us from there, and if you talk to her she can hear you. Whenever bad things like this happen, you should talk to Becky just like you would if she was standing here and she will answer you through your heart. If you give her a chance she'll help you do the right thing. Okay?"

The cuddled children didn't speak. They only nodded and held onto their mother tightly. Shelly held them for a while, trying to pull the pain from the little girl's heart as best as she could.

Finally momma kissed the little girls on the forehead, strapped them into their child seats and smiled lovingly at them, "Baruchah, Maggie, you know I'm going to have to go to school with you tomorrow and talk to Miss Thompson. I'm going to offer to replace Kennedy's dress and speak with her mother if she wants to discuss this. I also think you should both apologize to Miss Thompson AND to Kennedy for what happened? Do you think you can do that?"

The little girls rubbed their eyes and spoke together, "Yes momma, wes can does dat. Becky would wants us’es to does dat too, I bets. Huh momma?”

Shelly drew her daughters close one last time and spoke softly, "Yes my babies, I know she would."

Both mother and daughters were a little drained, but all felt better and were finally ready to head home. Shelly went up front to the driver’s seat. She frowned, as she had to literally scale the side of the vehicle to get in. She’d had to take her husband's car that day as her little Mustang was in the shop. She shook her head as she wondered what it is about men that make them buy these huge monsters. Blaming it on testosterone like she did with most of men's strange behavior, she slid into the front seat next to Maggie. Shelly pulled the huge SUV out of the parking lot, still wondering why on Earth her husband would ever want such a tank.

‘Maybe,’ she giggled silently to herself. ‘We should call this monster, “Sherman.”’

The discussion on the way home was much lighter. Shelly had told the kids about how her new book was getting published, obviously omitting the canine caper she’d pulled. She also told them that Jenna had called and asked if her twins and little Michelle might come spend the weekend with Cathleen, Becky's little three-year-old sister and her. The mothers felt it would do all the children some good to be close to each other at a time like this, and Maggie loved her Aunt Jenna with all her heart.

Maggie's green and Baruchah’s hazel eyes perked up immediately at the thought of a weekend at Aunt Jenna's house and it warmed the mother's heart to finally see her little girls smile happily. There had been far too much sadness that day and in the last week.

As they pulled up in front of the house, Baruchah faithfully promised to color her momma a brand new picture of her while she was at Aunt Jenna's this weekend.

“Me toos!” added Maggie.

Shelly smiled and promised to clear a space on the refrigerator for them.

Shelly parked the monster and nearly sprained an ankle trying to parachute out. She then went around to the back seat, collected her twin imps and carried them up toward the house. Baruchah and Maggie were hardly tiny babies anymore, but Shelly always loved the feeling of having her children safe in her arms and the twins seemed to never get tired of being held.

Expertly balancing the children in her arms, she managed to get the keys from her purse, and unlock the door to enter the house. Norman, Shelly's husband, was home, having volunteered to take care of little Michelle that afternoon. Their other children hadn’t gotten home from school yet. Angela and Elsa had cheerleader practice. Kay and Steffie were on the softball team. The rest were in clubs or at friends.

The young mother deposited her precious cargo on the floor and then sent them off to their room to put away their book bags and change out of their school clothes. She then gave her husband a kiss.

“Miriam is asleep in the playpen,” he assured her. “If you don’t mind, I’m going to do some work in the garage.”

The little girls smiled and then scampered off toward their bedroom, but stopped half way down the hall to turn and address her mother, "Momma, if wes not's in twoubles, does wes still gets our juice box and tweat?"

Shelly smiled lovingly at her hungry hug monsters, "Yes, Baruchah and Maggie you still get your afternoon snacks. Now hurry up and get changed, I've got a surprise for both of you."

"Surprise" is right up there with candy and toys when it comes to favorite words with children, and the twins smiled broadly as they heard it, so of course, they just had to ask the perfectly logical question, "Momma, whats is it?"

The young mother rolled her eyes and laughed, "Now if I told you, they wouldn't be surprises. Now go get changed, little ladies, and when you come back they will be waiting for you."

The twins left the word, "Otay!" hanging in the air as they went flying into their room, both they and the book bags quickly disappearing behind a slamming door.

Shelly hurried into her bedroom, and quickly returned with two gift wrapped fifteen inch square boxes. Setting the boxes on the table, she went to the kitchen, and grabbed two juice boxs from the refrigerator and about four Fig Newtons from the cookie jar.

Placing them next to the package, she sat down on the couch and waited, knowing her twins wouldn't keep her waiting long, as the little quick change artists would have made runway models proud at the record time they made shimmying in and out of clothes.

Shelly heard the bedroom door slam and seconds later her little girls were at her side, hungrily eyeing all the gifts for them.

Smiling excitedly at the large ones in the middle, they begged to open them immediately. The young mother handed them the gift wrapped parcels, and told the girls not to open them, but to sit next to her as she had something to tell them first.

Maggie and Baruchah picked up their boxes and slipped in next to their mother, playing with the colorful ribbons and aching to see what lay beneath the pink and blue paper.

Shelly took her little girls’ hands as she spoke, "Baruchah and Maggie, this gift comes from Rostock, Druscilla and from your dad and me."

The little girls smiled broadly as the gifts became even more special now. Rostock and Druscilla were unicorns, and Baruchah and Maggie had been permitted to be there when Drucilla had given birth to her daughter, Mariah. Had Shelly and Norman not been there, Mariah would not have survived. The cord had gotten wrapped around the foal's neck, but fortunately Shelly was able to remove it in time.

Baruchah and Maggie had been mesmerized by the entire event and stared with wonder at the wobbling unicorn as it suckled at its momma’s breast. When Mariah saw Baruchah and Maggie, she immediately went to them and the three children had quickly bonded.

Maggie and Baruchah had always wished for unicorns of their own, and with Rostock and Druscilla's permission and Shelly's help, their wish would soon be fulfilled. The parent's agreed to let the three children bond and in essence belong to each other, as no one truly owns a unicorn, any more than one person could own another. A unicorn is a beautiful magical spirit that is not unlike that of a child, and if we are fortunate enough, sometimes will grace us with their presence. Baruchah, Maggie and Mariah were fortunate children, as they not only had loving parents, but now had each other.

Maggie and Baruchah were looking forward to spending long summer days playing in the forest with Mariah, but for now it would all have to be dreams, for the girls still had school and Mariah needed to spend this time with her parents.

Shelly drummed her long nails on the wrapping of the box as she spoke, "Baruchah, Maggie, you know it's going to be a little while before you can play with Mariah, but also, I know how much having her here to cuddle with would help you right now. Rostock and Drucilla share our sadness over Becky, and thought you might like a little something to make you feel a little better, and to remind you of Mariah until you can go see her."

Baruchah and Maggie gave the boxes they were holding curious looks and then their eyes begged to open it. Shelly smiled and turned them loose. Paper and ribbon went flying as the children attacked the wrapping. The children held the boxes in their lap and slowly pulled the tape from the lids.

When their boxes opened, the children’s eyes grew wide and their mouth fell open. They froze for a moment as they drank in the incredible sight before them. Gently, they dropped their hands into the boxes and slowly lifted out beautiful stuffed baby unicorns.

Maggie’s soft plush animal was white with pink hooves, and had little silver hearts on its horn. It wore a pink and white collar around its neck and had a white bow just above the tail. Both the collar and the bow carried the same tiny silver hearts that adorned the unicorn's horn. The mane was as beautiful as Shelly's own hair and just as colorful, as greens, blues, pinks and yellows cascaded down the animal’s back.

Baruchah’s unicorn was pink with white hooves. It also had silver hearts on its horn and had a pink and white collar on its neck and a white bow on its tail. Again, its main was all the colors of the rainbow.

A small tag was attached to the collar of each doll and Maggie read hers with her mother's help, "I'm Darla, and I'm one of a kind. I'll be your friend, if you'll be mine."

Then Baruchah got help reading her pet’s tag, “I’m Molly and I’m one of a kind. I’ll be your friend if you’ll be mine.”

The little girls accepted the unicorns’ friendship immediately as they pulled the soft animals to their chest, closing their eyes and hugging them tightly. Baruchah and Maggie kissed their new friends and then rocked them in their arms. After a few seconds the girls had their unicorns kiss each other.

Shelly could feel tears of joy welling in her eyes as she kissed her daughters on the forehead. "I'm so glad you like your new babies. I'll be sure and tell Rostock and Drucilla how happy you are."

Keeping Darla and Molly nestled in their arms they reached their other arms over and hugged their momma tightly.

"Tanks you so much momma,” said Maggie. “Her's so...beaudiful, just wikes Mariah. I loves her bunches and peas tells Rostock and Drucilla tanks you too, cause I members you saided always says peas and tanks yous, speshully when somebody gibs you sometin."

“Me, toos,” Baruchah agreed. “Tank you and… tank Rostock and Drucilla for mes.”

Shelly smiled proudly at her polite daughters, "I will, but I think you will get the chance to thank them yourself soon enough. School will be over in less than a month, you know."

Baruchah and Maggie hugged their momma tightly and smiled. "Yeah, wes knows dat and wes no can waits see Mariah and pays wiff hers."

The little Maggie suddenly found a boost of energy as Baruchah hopped off the couch, followed by Maggie.

"Momma, can I takes Darla wiff me to my woom now?” asked Maggie “I wants hers meet Sir Lionheart, so dey can start bein fwiends, otay?"

Sir Lionheart was Maggie's very special stuffed lion and sleeping companion.

“Me goes too,” Baruchah added. “Hab hers meets Ein.”

Shelly pulled them back just long enough for a quick kiss, before letting them go. The girls tucked the unicorns under their arms, grabbed their treats and ran for their bedroom.

Once again, Baruchah stopped in the center of the hallway and hollered toward her momma, "Momma, does lions and unicorns wikes each udder?"

The young woman smiled at the perfectly logical question, or at least it was in her daughter's eyes, "The unicorns, Ein and Lionheart will, I promise."

The little imps grinned happily and then disappeared into their room.

Shelly and Norman’s other children drifted home as Shelly fixing dinner, as she checked once or twice on the twins, and each time finding them playing happily with Darla Molly, Ein and Lionheart.

Dinner was just about ready when Norman walked in the front door. Slipping into the kitchen he complimented both the delicious looking food and the delicious looking chef who prepared it.

Shelly accepted the compliment with a kiss and then filled him in on her successful book deal, once again omitting certain details, and then telling him about the tough day that Baruchah and Maggie’d had. He was sorry to hear that, but very pleased to hear they had taken so well to the stuffed babies they'd picked up for them. Like Shelly, he had really been concerned about Maggie and Baruchah and how they were handling Becky's passing. Right now, any joy they could bring into their life was a G_d send.

Shelly set the plates out and as Norman went to collect his girls and get his welcome home cuddle from each. A few minutes later he returned without the twins, but smiling. Without giving his beloved a word of explanation, he placed her hand in his, and led Shelly to the children’s bedroom.

Tears of joy and relief soon welled in the mother's eyes as she found her little girls sleeping, curled up on their beds, Maggie with Darla and Sir Lionheart in her arms and Baruchah with Molly and Ein in hers. The looks on the children's faces were pure love and contentment. It was the first time they had seen those faces in over a week and the first time the children had probably slept peacefully in nearly as long.

Neither parent would dream of waking Baruchah or Maggie for dinner now. They needed the peaceful sleep far more than the food.

Shelly went to Baruchah’s closet and pulled out a comforter before doing the same for Maggie, and lovingly draped it over her sleeping angels. She kissed them on the forehead and the children smiled sleepily as they cuddled with their babies. Norman pulled Shelly to him and wrapped his arm around her as he led her out the door.

The young mother stopped just long enough to drink in one last look and utter one last thought before she left, "Sleep peacefully my little blessings, sleep peacefully."

Momma, thanks for Darla! I will cherish her forever. I love you bunches,

Maggie



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