Day Five


Gilly


Across the hall, Bella was crying again.

Gilly felt like crying too.

It was dark in her new room, too dark. Her papa had left her closet light on just like she'd asked, but sometime during the night, after he'd kissed her goodnight, after he'd pulled her bedroom door closed, after she'd closed her heavy eyes and fallen asleep, the light had gone out, faded away, and now there was only moonlight, pale and sneaky as it drifted in through the foggy windows.

Gilly had already decided she didn't like the moon.

Footsteps fell softly in the hallway, light and careful; they didn't sound like her papa's footsteps.

Gilly traced the outline of Tinkerbell's wings beside her pillow, held her breath and Petal fiercely, waited for the footsteps to pass.

They didn't. A floorboard creaked outside the door. Then the shiny knob on the door moved, barely made a noise.

Gilly's heartbeat thumped inside her small chest, like the scared little blue bird Grandpa Sam had let her hold once. Its wing had been broken, he had explained, and it couldn't fly away. Gilly felt like that blue bird, scared and unable to fly away as she stayed as quiet as she could, quiet as a mouse, and waited for the footsteps to pass by her door.

Bella cried out again, her wail sharp and panicky.

Fear grabbed Gilly's throat, squeezed, made it feel like she had a mouth full of cotton candy, but it wouldn't melt away on her tongue, sugary and sweet. It swelled, and its bitterness made her eyes sting. She shot up in her bed when the footsteps hurried away, lifted a small hand to her dry throat, ached to call out for her papa when a light came on beyond her bedroom door, and suddenly, Bella was quiet.

The tree outside her window had long arms that danced in the breeze, reached and clawed at the glass that locked it out.

In the midst of her madly grinning baby dolls, Patrick seemed to frown at Gilly in warning as she pushed her blankets back, put her feet on the floor. Icy fingers tickled Gilly's ankles, skated up her shaking legs as she scooted across the room, pressed her ear to the heavy wooden door. The doorknob felt slick, clammy underneath Gilly's frantic palm. It rattled and jerked until finally it fell open, and Gilly stumbled into the light.

Sheridan appeared in the open doorway to Bella's nursery, her voice soft and low as Bella continued to whimper against her shoulder. "Gilly. What's wrong?"

Gilly felt her own tears push down her cheeks, dampen the matted fur at the back of Petal's neck. "I don't like the moon."


Bella's brows squeezed together when she concentrated, frowned as she nursed, her small fingers winding tightly around Sheridan's pinky.

Unknowingly, Gilly mirrored the baby's expression, looked up at Sheridan with big, wondering eyes. "Does it hurt?"

"Sometimes," Sheridan answered truthfully. "Most of the time, no."

Sheridan's eyes were so very, very blue as they stared at Gilly. They made her miss her mommy, and watching Sheridan hold Bella so close and brush kisses over her small hands with her lips made Gilly's tummy ache. "Why do you it then?"

"It makes me feel close to Bella," Sheridan smiled. "Someday, when you have your own babies, you'll understand."

Gilly wrinkled her nose in disgust. "Yuck! I'm not going to do that." Despite her protests, though, she couldn't curb her fascination, and she crept closer to get a better look. She soon found herself curling underneath Sheridan's sheltering arm. She was so soft and warm and that reminded Gilly of her mommy too, but all she did was cuddle closer, press her nose into Sheridan's nightgown, thin and comfortable over the gentle beat of her heart.

"You might," Sheridan murmured.

Her quiet words made Gilly's hair tickle against her cheek, and she climbed into the rocking chair with her and Bella, brought her knees up to her chest. "I won't," Gilly promised, nestling ever nearer. She looked up just in time to see the curve of Sheridan's lips relax as she started to hum a song Gilly couldn't make out. Gilly liked it when Sheridan hummed, but she liked it even better when she sang because she sounded like the princesses on her Disney DVDs.

"Almost ready to go back to bed, hmm?"

Gilly leaned into Sheridan's tender touch like an affection-starved kitten, slowly turned her head from side to side. "I don't want to." She tugged fretfully at one of Petal's floppy ears.

"This rocking chair won't make a very comfortable bed."

Sheridan's lips felt like butterfly wings against Gilly's forehead, sweet and barely there. Gilly sighed, let her heavy eyelids drift closed, and pretended her mommy was there, holding her close as they sailed on a tiny little boat, just the two of them, and it bobbed back and forth on the ocean's waves. "I don't want to," she whined. And she didn't mean to. She didn't. But her cheeks still felt tight with salty tears, and Sheridan was so warm and soft and almost her mommy, and Gilly didn't want to go back to her dark room with its sneaky moon. "Tell me a story," she pleaded.

"In a great green room," Sheridan began, "there was a telephone and a red balloon and a picture…"

Gilly could hear Bella snuffling and suckling softly and, from far, far away in Heaven, her mommy helpfully whispering the words into her ear, "Of the cow jumping over the moon."


The next morning, Gilly greeted her papa in the kitchen with a request. "Papa, Patrick needs a friend."

"Patrick has lots of friends," her papa answered her. "Petal's his friend."

Gilly patiently pointed out the obvious to him. "But Petal's a bunny, Papa. Patrick needs a pumpkin friend."

Her papa's teeth gleamed white, and his eyes sparkled down at her as he tweaked her nose and made her own smile appear. "We'll see. Maybe when we go grocery shopping this afternoon."

We'll see was Gilly's least favorite answer in the entire world, but her papa was much better at keeping his promises than Grandpa Julian. She needed to remind him again about her new dollhouse for Christmas; he'd already missed her birthday. "Promise?"

"Pinky promise." Her papa hooked his pinky finger around hers, and they shook on it.

Gilly placed Petal in her booster seat, climbed into the kitchen chair beside her. On her knees, she leaned across the table to grab the box of Fruit Loops. She pouted in disappointment when only a handful of the cereal tumbled into her bowl, looking like tiny rainbow donuts. "Papa," she accused.

"It's already on the list, Gilly. See?"

Gilly puzzled over the scattering of pink post it notes all over the refrigerator and slumped in her chair. She perked up when her papa placed a plate of French toast in front of her, already cut up and dripping with syrup. A thin curl of white steam climbed toward the ceiling in front of her, and Gilly pinched her lips together, blew on it gently. She wrapped her fingers around the fork that clattered beside her plate, ready to dig in, but her papa stopped her.

"It's still hot," he warned. "Why don't we wait for Sheridan and your brother?"

"But Papa," Gilly protested. "Marty sleeps all day."

"Not today, he won't. He and I have a lot of work to do."

"You're not going to lock up bad guys today?" Gilly asked hopefully.

"Not unless you count me as one of the bad guys," Marty grumbled. "He's going to be too busy pretending to be my prison warden." Plopping down in the chair across from Gilly, he propped his chin in the palm of his hand and glared at Petal.

Gilly snatched the bunny to her chest protectively. "Papa," she tattled.

"What have I said about tattling, Gilly?" her papa scolded. To Marty, he said, "Think of it as a work release."

Gilly curled her arms around Petal tighter when Marty rolled his eyes at their papa. She didn't like it when they fought. They were loud and mean, and it made her tummy flip-flop. "Papa, what does work release mean?"


The attic was just like the twins' tree house fort behind Grandpa Sam's and Mimi Ivy's house, up high and full of old, dusty things. Gilly felt like Dora; that made Petal Boots. She went exploring while Papa and Marty cleaned things up.

"It's not safe up here, Marty. What if someone broke into the house?"

"I know where you hide your gun."

"What if there was a fire?"

Their raised voices gradually faded into the background for Gilly as she wandered around the cluttered space, on alert for the creepy crawly spiders promised by all the cobwebs stretching sticky and thin from the high beams of the ceiling. She stumbled over her untied shoelace into a tall, towering book shelf that seemed to climb up toward the sun that peeked inside the attic's windows, wrinkled her itchy nose as she fought off a sneeze. Gilly's fingers made dot-like impressions on the rough spines of the books and loose pages fluttered to the floor when she picked one of them up.

Her papa's cell phone started to ring, and he and Marty didn't argue, at least while he talked to the person on the other side.

Petal's beady eyes stared back at Gilly in the reflection of a mirror, half-covered by a blood-red shawl that slithered to the ground at Gilly's feet as she watched with round brown eyes. Gilly's mouth fell open and the air around her felt cold as she stretched out her hand, her fingers stopping just short of the splintered glass when her papa called out her name.

"Gilly."

"Papa," Gilly called back, whirling around and suddenly feeling lost with all the strange, unfamiliar things crowding around her, making it hard for her to breathe. "Papa," she called again, hauling Petal closer for comfort. "Where are you?"

"Don't be such a baby," Marty muttered. "You're not lost."

"Marty," she heard her papa say. "Leave your sister alone. I'm right here, Gilly. Follow the sound of Papa's voice."

Gilly tried, but something brushed against her ear, something light that tickled and felt like Papa's breath when he whispered secrets to her, and the hair on the back of her neck prickled at the sensation of cold, feathery fingers gently sweeping her long braid over her shoulder. Gilly felt a scream crawling up her throat as her feet shuffled against the floor, tangling together, and she pitched forward, her own terrified reflection rushing at her.

"I got you, Gilly Nilly. I got you."

Her papa was warm and safe and Gilly clung to his shoulders with all her might, sobbing without tears into his neck as hands reached for her from the mirror's kaleidoscope surface.

"Aww. Gilly see a spider?" Marty sneered.

"Marty," her papa warned. "Enough."

Gilly decided she liked the attic less than the moon.


Uncle Noah was tall, didn't say much, and he looked at her funny. Gilly liked him anyway.

The twins smiled a lot, even when their baby sister cried. They took turns holding her as Aunt Paloma watched, cut her food up into tiny bites.

Gilly shook her head when Aunt Paloma offered her some. Scrambled eggs weren't her favorite; they had them at home all the time. "No thank you," she mumbled politely when her papa squeezed her shoulder.

"Luis, I'm sorry for calling you over here like this," Uncle Noah spoke in a soft whisper when he thought no one else was paying attention. "But I've uncovered some evidence you're going to want to look at."

He was watching her again, with that funny look on his face, like he couldn't decide if he were happy or sad. Gilly tilted her head back at her papa and asked, "Papa, can I have some juice?"

Her papa looked at her aunt Paloma.

Aunt Paloma pushed the chair she was sitting in back, set the little plastic fork she was using to feed the baby down just out of the baby's greedy reach. "Of course, sobrina," she smiled. "Is apple okay?"

Gilly frowned, twisted the tail of her braid around her fingertip. "My name's not Sabrina."

Papa and Aunt Paloma laughed.

Uncle Noah looked confused like Gilly felt. "What's so funny?"

"Sobrina," Aunt Paloma wiped a tear from her happy eyes, "means niece. That's what you are, sweet Gilly. My niece."

Gilly shivered when her papa leaned down to murmur into her ear. "And Paloma is your tia and Noah is your tio. Go drink your apple juice, Gilly. Papa needs to talk to Noah. It's about work."

He left her then, followed Uncle Noah into the study.

It wasn't stuffy and full of books like Grandpa Julian's study, and it sure didn't look like a room where you got ready for any kind of tests. Gilly told her aunt Paloma so.

The twins giggled like their mama and pulled her away to their room.

When her papa came to get her, he wasn't smiling. Neither was her uncle Noah.

Gilly waved to her aunt Paloma, slid her small hand into her papa's much bigger one.

Papa let her pick the radio station on the way home, turn it up as loud as she wanted. He didn't even smile like he usually did when Gilly sang along, got most of the words wrong.

Gilly wished he had.


The chalk smudged purple against Gilly's fingers as she traced out the letters of the alphabet on the smooth concrete of the walkway like her mommy had taught her, abcdefghijklmnop, abcdefghijklmnop. She nibbled on the end of her braid, wiped her fingers against the rough denim of her jeans as she stood up.

"That's not all of it, Genius." Marty's shadow loomed tall over her shoulder. "You left nearly half of it off."

Gilly followed his blue eyes to the closed front door.

Papa and Sheridan were inside with Bella and they weren't letting anybody else in.

Marty had already raked the same pile of leaves all over the front yard two times.

Jumping in them had stopped being fun a long time ago for Gilly. She just wanted her papa to come back outside and say everything was okay, but he hadn't yet, and Gilly had to pee. She shifted to her other foot, stomped the heel of her shoe against a crumbling edge of the walkway. A big chunk of the concrete fell away, and the sun caught on something bright and shiny that glittered like bottled-up stars. Gilly crouched down, scooped it up in the palm of her hand.

"Give me that," Marty snatched Gilly's find from her hands, turning it over and inspecting it from all angles. "It's a key."

"It's mine," Gilly pouted. "I found it first."

Marty took two steps back for every step forward Gilly made, holding the key up high over his head. "What do you even need a key for?"

"I found it," Gilly repeated. Growing frustrated, she shoved her older brother with all her might, but he didn't budge, and when he slid the key into his jeans pocket, she pleaded, "Give it back. Please."

"Marty, stop harassing your sister."

"Papa!" Gilly raced to her papa's side, grabbed hold of his hand. "Tell Marty the key's mine. I found it." She looked up at her papa, tightened her fingers around his hand in anticipation.

"What key? Marty?"

Gilly tucked into her papa's side when Marty glared at her and dropped the rake in his hands, fished the key out of his jeans pocket, and slapped it into their papa's waiting hand.

"You're nothing but a no-good tattler," Marty growled as he pushed past them on the walkway.

Gilly's tummy flipped, and her cheeks felt hot. She turned her face into her papa's side, gulped back tears. "I didn't mean to tattle, Papa." She wrapped her arms around her papa's neck when he lifted up like she weighed nothing, buried her nose in the crease of his neck. Her papa smelled good, like hugs and spice and it's okay kisses. "But Marty took it away."

"I know, Gilly Nilly. No more tattling, okay?"

Gilly nodded, pressed a thankful kiss against her papa's cheek.

"Now, why don't we go see if we can find Patrick a friend?"

Gilly squeezed her arms tight around her papa in a hug, the key momentarily forgotten. "I think we should name her Penelope."


Mr. Harrison was short and round with a friendly dimple in his chin, and he smelled like old cigars. Gilly wanted to ask him if he knew Santa since he looked so much like him, but she didn't. She swallowed down her questions and hooked her fingers around the edge of Sheridan's grocery cart and looked around while the old man made silly duck faces at Bella.

There were baskets of apples, fat and red and juicy, stacked on a table at the front of the little store. Clusters of yellow bananas rest on the next table with sprinkles of oranges mixed in.

Gilly frowned when she realized there were no pumpkins in sight, not a one, and she again asked Sheridan when she pushed the cart forward and down the aisle of colorful fruit, "Why couldn't I go with Papa?"

"Because he and Marty had a special job to do," Sheridan answered her. "You don't want to help me and Bella?"

"I guess," Gilly mumbled half-heartedly. She pulled the tail of her braid over her shoulder, brushed it against her lips. "Can we get my cereal now?"

"Not yet. We will, though," Sheridan promised. "Which apples do you think are the prettiest? Some apple cider sounds nice."

Gilly's brown eyes grew wide with excitement. "Can we make cookies?"

"Cookies would be perfect," Sheridan said.

Sometimes, when Sheridan smiled at her with her eyes all soft and her cheeks pink, Gilly wanted to hug her, wanted so much to have her hug her back like her mommy used to. She never did, though, and Sheridan's eyes would shine then like she wanted to cry, but Gilly always pretended she didn't see. It was getting harder and harder. When they came to the aisle with all the cereal boxes, Gilly skipped ahead, stood on tiptoe and fumbled with clumsy fingers for her favored Fruit Loops. She ignored Sheridan telling her to wait.

"Gilly, hold on."

"Careful, mi pequena, or you will have more than just Fruit Loops land on your pretty little head."

With wide brown eyes and her mouth open in surprise, Gilly forgot all about her cereal and whirled around, throwing her arms around her grandmother's waist. "Abuela! I've missed you."

"And I, you."

Gilly's abuela didn't smile as much as her mimi Ivy, but when she did, you knew she was really happy. Gilly soaked up her smile like a flower soaking up sunshine, grinned back. "Abuela, I've been waiting for you to come see me."

Her abuela lifted her braid from her shoulder, thumbed its wispy end. "I wanted to give everyone time to settle in before I intruded." Her brown eyes found Sheridan when she spoke.

"It wouldn't be an intrusion, Pilar." Sheridan placed a box of Gilly's cereal in the grocery cart. "You know that. You're always welcome to visit your grandchildren."

"Speaking of grandchildren…"


Sometimes, Gilly thought Bella wasn't all bad, especially not when she was asleep like she was now. She was warm and she looked soft and squishy in her pajamas with sleepy little kittens on them, and Gilly liked kittens almost as much as she liked puppies, almost. "Is Bella really my sister, Abuela? She doesn't have brown eyes like me or my papa."

"I don't have brown eyes."

Marty always seemed mad; Gilly didn't understand why. She curled closer to her abuela, pressed her face into her soft sleeve.

"Does that mean I'm not really your brother?"

Her abuela tensed. "Marty."

Bella's pink lips puckered into a pout.

She didn't like it when they fought either; Gilly could tell.

"Bella eyes are blue like her mother's, as are Marty's."

Gilly watched her abuela move her fingers through the soft curls of Bella's dark hair, soothe the pout from her frowning mouth. She giggled when Bella's lips curled up at the corners just so and reached out her own fingers to try to capture the brief hint of a smile.

"That does not mean she is not your sister."

Gilly thought over her abuela's words, decided maybe she could be right.

"Pilar," Sheridan called from the kitchen. "Please, stay for dinner."

"Please, please stay," Gilly curled tighter around her abuela's arm.


Penelope was bigger than Patrick, rounder.

Gilly hoped Patrick wouldn't be embarrassed. When she mentioned her worries to her papa at the kitchen table, Marty snickered, Sheridan's eyes twinkled, and Papa covered his mouth with his napkin. Her abuela just looked confused, and Gilly understood. She didn't know what was so funny.

"Mi hijo," her abuela set down her fork, looked first at Gilly, then at Papa. "Who is this Patrick she speaks of?"

"Patrick is…well, why don't I let Gilly explain Patrick herself?"

"Patrick is my other pumpkin." Gilly shifted in her chair, climbed onto her knees as she scooped more mashed potatoes on to her spoon. "Gwen bought him for me. She came with us from Boston."

Her abuela's eyebrows seemed to crawl up into her hair like little black caterpillars. Her cheeks turned all red, and she started to cough into her own napkin.

Papa refilled her glass of water and pushed it closer to her while Pedro stared on. "Gwen's staying over at the Bed and Breakfast for a few days, Mama, just until Sheridan and the kids get settled in."

Gilly remembered the Bed and Breakfast from when she and Papa and Mommy had stayed in it. She thought it was pretty, a lot prettier than their new house, but she didn't tell her papa that. She ducked her head, pushed her spoon through the yucky pile of little green peas on her plate, looked up with round dark eyes to see if anyone noticed when the tip of her braid brushed through the shrinking yellow mound of her potatoes. "I like the Bed and Breakfast," Gilly remarked, to no one in particular.

Marty rolled his eyes at her, crossed his arms over his chest.

He was always doing that, Gilly thought. Like he had big muscles like Papa when he didn't. She sucked absently on the tail of her braid while she listened to Papa and Abuela and Sheridan talk about boring grown-up things and lined her English peas into rows like little soldiers. She dropped her spoon in surprise when Papa's voice boomed loud and angry at something Sheridan said.

"Kay did what?"

Sheridan's eyes were blue and brave, and she didn't back down from Papa, not one bit. "Kay offered Gwen a job, so it looks like she's going to be sticking around for more than a few days."

Gilly held her breath, looked across the table at Marty, whose mouth was open wide, like a goldfish without water. Then she looked at her abuela, pale and still and quiet and decided an announcement needed to be made. "Patrick and Penelope are getting married, right after dinner, and everybody's invited. Even Marty."


The fire's warm fingertips tickled at Gilly's nose, and she yawned and stretched her arms up over her head, bent her socked feet until her curled toes almost touched the floor. She glanced over her shoulder at her papa, halfway across the room, crouched behind the television as he played with a bunch of thick wires that looked like spaghetti noodles to Gilly.

"Anything?" he asked.

The tv screen was fuzzy white and gray, and the steady whooshing sound coming from it made the hair on the back of Gilly's neck stand up. Gilly just wanted it to stop. Sheridan must have, too. For the first time since Abuela had said her goodbyes and left and Marty had hidden up in his room, she spoke.

"It's okay, Luis. We'll be fine without television for a couple more days."

Her papa stood up, braced a hand on his back. "We probably just need an adaptor. I'll look for one tomorrow." He crossed the living room, paused in front of the sofa where Sheridan sat.

Gilly thought Sheridan looked like a pretzel, curled up nice and tight, her chin resting on her knees. There was a little table at the end of the couch right next to her, and a lamp with a red-fringed shade. The lamp threw pale yellow light across the cool hardwood floor. The fringe made finger-like shadows that seemed to strain and crawl through the dark toward Gilly. She fought back a shiver as she pulled her own legs close to her chest just out of their reach, rubbed the hard bone of her chin back and forth across one of her knees. "What's a 'daptor, Papa?"

"Something Papa's always losing," her papa answered easily. "Something we need to watch the tv," he better explained as he claimed the rug in front of the sofa as his own. "I think."

He looked handsome, her papa, like the most handsome papa in the world. Tired, too, Gilly thought as she watched him grab Bella's baby monitor in his hand, twist the knob that turned up the volume.

Bella's breathing was soft, like whispers.

Gilly watched her papa put the monitor back on the little table with its tiger paw feet and lean his head back against Sheridan's legs. When he rubbed his cheek against the pink satin leg of her pajamas and it caught and Sheridan squirmed, Gilly giggled. Sometimes, when he hadn't shaved yet, her papa's cheeks felt like sandpaper, rough and ticklish like a kitty cat's tongue. Papa caught one of Sheridan's bare feet between the palms of his hands, tipped his head back, and looked up at her with eyes that looked like black marbles in the firelight. Gilly felt her tummy turn over again. She didn't like it when her papa looked at Sheridan that way. It was like he was forgetting her mommy and she couldn't let him do that. Because if Papa forgot Mommy, that meant she would forget Mommy one day too, and she didn't ever want to forget her. "Papa, tell me a story."

"What kind of story, Gilly Nilly?"

The diamond on Sheridan's finger caught the flicker of the fire's flames as her hand stroked through her papa's inky hair, hung on the lip of the lamp's light, sparkled like a shower of fairy lights wherever Gilly looked. "A story about Mommy and how much you loved her." The dancing fairy lights went still when Sheridan pulled her hand back. She held it close even when Papa tried to catch it again.

"Sheridan."

Sheridan's smile was pulled tight across her mouth as she slid out from behind Papa, climbed to her feet. "I think I hear Bella. I'm just going…"

"Sheridan, you don't have to go."

"It's Gilly's story, Luis. Not mine," Sheridan said.

The stairs groaned underneath her quick feet, and the logs on the fire snapped and crackled as they, along with Gilly, made themselves comfortable.

And finally, Papa began his story. "The first time I knew I loved your mommy…"


"I love you, Papa," Gilly leaned back against her papa when he had finished brushing the tangles from her hair and tucked it back behind her ears.

"I love you, too, Sweetheart."

Gilly sighed, rest against the solid strength of her papa's muscled chest, hugged his arms and his words close to her heart.

Petal lay on her pillow, staring up at her with glassy eyes.

Gilly saw her own reflection in those unblinking eyes, her own reflection and something else. She squeezed her papa's arms around her tighter and tried not to shiver when she noticed the creeping moonlight, tiptoeing across her bedroom floor.

Patrick and Penelope smiled back at her, blissfully blind to her fears.

Her closet door remained cracked, though no light glowed beyond it.

Papa had already promised to replace the blown light bulb tomorrow, and Gilly knew he would, but that was tomorrow. It seemed so far away when the night was so dark and long. "Papa, please."

"Gilly," her papa sighed as he straightened behind her, gently nudged her across the mattress as he pulled her blankets back. "We've already talked about this."

"I know," Gilly pouted, struggled to put on her best, bravest face. "But Papa." She nestled her wobbly chin into the wide palm that cradled it, sniffed back tears.

"Sheridan and I will be just down the hall."

Her papa's kiss lingered on her forehead, long after he'd pulled away, tucked her covers snug as a bug in a rug around her.

"You be my brave girl, okay?"

Gilly swallowed over the fist-sized lump in her throat, nodded as she felt the first hot slide of tears into her hair.

"If you're not going to be brave for me, be brave for Bella. She's tiny, and she's across the hall right now, all by herself. Be brave for her, Gilly Nilly. Okay?"

"Okay, Papa."

Her papa's face was rough against hers as he pressed kisses into her hair, captured all of her tears with his gentle thumbs. Gilly felt her eyelids grow heavy even as her heart seemed to skip and stumble in her chest.

"Petal's here to watch over you. And Patrick. And Penelope."

Her papa's voice was slipping further and further away, and Gilly wanted to reach out and grab it, grab him, but she couldn't. The yawn snuck up on her, laughed silently, mockingly, as it slipped free.

"That's it. Close those eyes, and when you wake up, it'll be morning, and the sun will be shining, and it'll all feel like a dream." The door shut behind him, and the moon grew a little bolder as his footsteps faded away.

Patrick and Penelope's smiles melted into shadow.

Slowly, the shiny knob on the door turned, but it stopped as more footsteps approached.

Something small and metal scraped against the floor as it was shoved beneath the door, and starlight briefly kissed Gilly's slack features as the moon retreated in displeasure, limped away.

The black cat scratched at the lacy frost of the window, opened its mouth in a silent meow.


So...curioser and curioser it gets, hmm?

LOL!

I know not what possessed me to write this chapter from Gilly's point of view; I just thought it might give you a purer piece of the puzzle if you will, because kids, even when they don't fully understand something, are usually able to get to the real root of the problem or situation. At least I think so.

:)

Again, I'm asking you guys to read more between the lines.

I definitely think you're all smart enough to connect those invisible dots I'm plotting, lol.

Soul93...I want to thank you so much for your wonderful, thoughtful feedback on the last several chapters. I owe you a much more detailed response, but as time's running short for me right now, I'll leave it at this: your insight into the chapters made me even more inspired to keep plugging away on this fic.

Thank you so much!

So...what did you guys think?

Should Gilly get another chapter in her point of view later or was this chappy a complete and utter failure?

I hope you were able to get a more rounded picture of this little girl that seemed like an absolute brat in the first chapter. It's all the different shades, I tell you.

;)

Feedback is love!

Thanks so much for reading!

P.S. Hope everyone that celebrates it had a happy Thanksgiving!

P.P.S. The story Sheridan tells Gilly does not belong to me. I take no credit for it whatsoever and am definitely not making any profits off of it. My stuff is hardly on par with this kiddie classic. ;)