After the Road to Pamel VIP party, we went straight home. My feet were aching inside my tight blue shoes, and I walked behind the others with a stiff stride.
I could hear the girls giggling and gossiping in front of me. Whenever I saw them like that, it always reminded me that I was new. Not really part of the family.
And it hurt.
Suddenly, the girls turned left, crossing the silent street. Confused, but not wanting to be left behind, I followed them nervously. They stopped in front of a tall white building.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
Caroline smiled at me. “Your birthday was on December 6th, right Nevaeh?” When I nodded, she tilted her head forward, confessing, “We forgot. And we’re really sorry about that. But we got you something anyway.”
My cheeks glowing with excitement, I stared at the building in front of me. Was my present in there? It was probably something big. A karaoke machine, maybe?
MJ and Ivy threw open the doors. And there . . . there was a room!
“Happy birthday, Nevaeh!” everyone shouted.
One of the older people on our street leaned out their window and hissed, “Shh!”
My family, looking embarrassed, tried again. “Happy birthday!” They whispered it this time.
I stepped forward, blinking in disbelief. This beautiful room . . . it was mine?
There was a mossy green carpet on the floor, along with a circular purple-and-blue rug on the right side. On the floor was a brand new cat toy, as well as several books and a heart-covered teddy bear. The blue bedspread resembled a picnic blanket. There were three fluffy handmade pillows. Lyric, my Siamese cat, was sleeping on the bed. I even spotted my guitar case in the corner.
“It’s all yours,” MJ told me as I crawled onto the bed, feeling the knitted pillows.
“Thank you!” I exclaimed tearfully. Ever since I’d come to Happy House of AG, I’d had to sleep on the downstairs couch. It was wonderful to finally have a real bed to sleep in again.
Lyric headbutted me, purring loudly.
My family headed back to the main house, giving me time to look around my new bedroom before dinner.
I leaned back against the pillows, stroking my cat. “I do belong here,” I whispered into her ear. “Lyric, I really do.”
What was the best birthday present you’ve ever received?