“Mrs. Rigby mentioned you liked fried chicken, Toby,” the Nice Lady said as she put a plate with a drumstick and mashed potatoes in front of me on the small round table. She had blond hair and pretty blue eyes, and she wasn’t too tall. “Well, I hope so, because it was homemade just for you,” the Nice Lady continued. She smiled at me as she sat down.
“Murphy, it’s your favorite food.” I told my best friend as I hugged him tighter.
“Is that your teddy bear?” The Big Man said. He looked nice. He had short brown hair and a funny smile, even though he was really tall and had big arms.
“Murphy,” I whispered. “He just doesn’t know you’re real. But don’t be mad.” I took a bite of my fried chicken. “It’s so good, way better then we had at the orphanage.”
“So… you’re six?” The Nice Lady asked. I think she was just trying to get me to say something, but I don’t like talking to strangers. Yet, she had a warm smile and niceness in her eyes.
“Murphy, ‘member my birthday? I didn’t have to do any chores that day.”
“I say that sounds like one very nice kind of birthday,” said the Big Man. “I think I’d like to have birthdays like that.” He winked at me, but I don’t know why. I didn’t think it was that funny.
I looked around the kitchen. The cupboards were neato, but everything else was simple. The oven was old and the refrigerator was an ugly yellow color. But it was all very nice and clean. “Do you like those cupboards?” The Big Man said. “I made them, carved them for Amy myself. Someday maybe you can help me make other stuff. What do you think, Toby?”
“Murphy, I don’t know how to carve thingies…. We didn’t do anything like that at the orphanage. I think we mighta had better beds if we did.” I whispered. I didn’t want to make the man think I was stupid, so I said, “but we can learn, right Murphy?”
“That’s right, you can learn to do anything you want to.” The Big Man said, he smiled at the Nice Lady. “And you’ll have a good bed here. Not to mention it’s yours to keep.”
“But, Murphy, I thought we were going back to the orphanage after a while,” I said as I finished my drumstick and dove into my heap of potatoes.
“Oh, honey! You don’t ever have to go back to the orphanage. It was destroyed by the hurricane, anyway. That’s why you got to come here; they had to find a home for you quickly. We can’t give you a lot of things, but we’ll love you more than anybody else ever could.”
“Did you know the orphanage was gone, Murphy? I didn’t.” Murphy looked as confused as I was. “She says we’re not going back… ever. I feel a little scared… but happy too.”
“Well Toby, are you done there. We can go get you unpacked and read you a book before bed if you want.” I nodded and we got up from the table. The Big Man took me into another room down the hall. It was painted dark blue and green. I liked it a lot. It had some pretty looking books, and I picked one out for the Big Man to read to me. We sat on the bed in the room and he put me on his lap. The Nice Lady put my clothes in the closet and drawers while he was reading to me. Sometimes she would look at me and smile, and then she would put something else away.
When we were done they took me into the other room with a bigger bed. “You can sleep in here with us tonight, Toby, so you don’t get scared.” They tucked me in under the blankets, and while they were brushing their teeth I whispered to Murphy, “We’ve never gotten to sleep in a grown ups’ room before. I think I’m gunna love living here... forever.” The Big Man and Nice Lady came back in and climbed into bed. Then they both kissed me on my cheek and said goodnight.
“We love you very much, Toby. Good night, sleep tight.” They whispered.
“ Murphy says… Goodnight Mommy… Daddy. Thank you for bringing us home.”
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