Police Chief Saba Colbshallow opened the front door of his home and stepped inside. He was immediately almost knocked over by an eighty-two pound projectile hitting him right in his center mass. Grasping it below the shoulders, he hefted it up to find that, as he suspected, it was his daughter DeeDee. It was already apparent, despite the gangliness of eleven-year-olds, that she would grow up to be a beautiful woman. She had inherited the heterochromia of both eyes and hair from her mother, as well as her flawless skin and near perfect facial features. Saba looked into her eyes, one deep brown and the other hazel.
“Hello, My Dearest. How are you today?”
“Where is your sister?”
“She’s in her room.”
“I don’t think so. I think she misses her home.”
“This is her home now,” he said. “Where’s Mummy?”
“She’s in her room. She’s dicky.”
“How about Nan?”
“In the garden. I was just going out to join her.”
“Go upstairs and check on your sister. Bring her out in the garden, if she’s able.” He ran his hand through her hair, each strand seemingly a different shade from very light blond to coppery red, and then pushed her gently towards the staircase.
Saba made his way through the parlor, the dining room, and the kitchen, finally stepping out onto the back porch and then out to the garden. Here he found his mother, on her knees, planting flower bulbs around the base of the tree.
“You’re about nine months too late to plant those, Mother. It should have been done back in Novuary. Either that, or you’re four months too early for next year.”
“I’m sure they’ll grow and be quite lovely.”
“Oh, they’ll grow, but they wont’ blossom. I was expecting tea.”
“I’m too old to fuss with such things.”
“But not too old to crawl around in the dirt,” he said. “I would think that the lady of the house would see to tea.”
“She’s not feeling well.”
“She never feels well.”
“Well, what do you expect, with the way you treat her?”
He pulled a wrought-iron chair away from the outdoor table and sat down, crossing his legs. “What do you mean, Mother?”
“You know what I mean. It’s bad enough that you’re wandering the town like an alley cat, without you bringing her the results of your imprudence.”
“That was one time, and it was a long time ago.”
“So, you don’t think there will be any more little bastards showing up on her doorstep?”
“I can guarantee it. And that little bastard is your grandchild.” He turned to the back door to see DeeDee standing with her arm around a smaller girl. The younger girl’s thin blond hair partially covered her face, which appeared puffy. “Come here, Sen.”
She shuffled across the cobblestone to stop in front of him. He brushed the hair back from her face. She had been crying.
“What’s the matter, Sweetie?”
“I miss my Daddy.”
“I’m your Daddy… but I know you miss Mr. Baxter.” He lifted the girl up and placed her on his knee. “You remember why you came here?”
“Uh-huh. My other Daddy was sick.”
“That’s right. He couldn’t take care of you because he was so sick. Now you live with us and we love you very, very much. You like it here, don’t you?”
“Yeah. DeeDee is nice to me.”
“Everyone is nice to you, aren’t they?” he asked, glaring at his mother.
“Uh-huh, but I miss my Dad… my other Daddy, and he’s better now.”
“Yes, he is. I’ve asked… your other Daddy… over for dinner next week, so that you could visit with him. How does that sound?”
“Could I go home with him?”
“No, Dear. You live here now, with us. I love you too much to let you go, and so does DeeDee.” He gave her a hug, and waved for DeeDee to come to him. “Would you two like some salt water taffy when I come home this evening?”
The two girls nodded.
“All right. Now go play.”
The two started toward the back door, but Sen stopped and turned back around.
“Allium is sad because she doesn’t have anyplace to sleep.”
“DeeDee, would you help your sister make a bed of blankets in the corner of her room for Allium?”
DeeDee rolled her eyes, but said, “Yes, Daddy.”
“You shouldn’t encourage that,” said his mother when the girls were gone.
“Once she feels better about her new living conditions, it will all go away. Until then, an imaginary friend will do no harm.”