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Arabella pulled the thick blanket farther over her legs. The clouds looked gorgeous against the setting sun. This year she had somehow landed the part of Mary in the Christmas pageant. It was every girl's dream role, and it was all hers.
Her mother had warned her to not let it go to her head, but Arabella couldn't exactly help it. Out of all the children in the entire church, Pastor William Monroe had picked her. Of course, she didn't qualify herself as a child anymore. After all, she was nearly thirteen years old.
"Arabella," her father said quietly, "we are here."
She snapped out of her daydream and stood up in the wagon. Her father helped her down and she straightened her blue skirts. For some reason, she had always thought of Mary as wearing blue.
As she entered the church, she spotted her best friend, Lorelei, standing against the back wall. She had only gotten one small line as one of the angels. Arabella almost felt sorry for her, but reigned in her emotions at the last moment. She had to focus. Her role depended on it.
As the church quieted and the lanterns dimmed, Arabella stood by watching the beginning of the pageant. But, as she got up to say her first line, she froze. There were so many people. How was she expected to remember anything with so many pairs of eyes staring back at her? Instinct kicked in and all she could do was run. She ran down the middle aisle, out the back door, and into the cold night air.
She tripped on a large piece of snow and ice and fell to her knees in the white blanket. Tears poured down her cheeks as she heard the pageant continue without her. It wasn't long before she felt a heavy warmth on her back. She reached up and pulled the fur cloak around her frozen shoulders.
"Arabella," her father said quietly, helping her to her feet, "we cannot always have our way."
Arabella just nodded and stuffed her head into his comforting arm. "Why didn't I remember my lines, papa?" she asked.
Her father glanced back at the large stone church. "Well, the scriptures say that pride comes before a fall."
Arabella looked up at him. She knew that already. Why did he have to rub it in?
He smiled with a laugh. "But, in this case I think it was merely stage fright. Arabella, you aren't meant to be an actress. Maybe we should try something else next year."
Arabella laughed and swiped at the freezing tears on her face. Her father always had a good point to what he said. She was better now. She was happy. She was ready to return to the warmth of the big stone church.
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