Tonia smiled out the front window, watching as Sean’s car disappeared down the drive. She felt like a princess in that sparkly prom dress, with her sequined heels and glittery crown. It had been a good prom, a good memory. She’d remember it as a great night with a great friend.
Turning off the porch lights, she folded the fancy shoulder wrap around her clutch purse and began to tug at the hairpins in her updo. From the faint light down the hall, she could tell that her mother was still up and the rest of her family was safely in dreamland.
That was good.
Moving carefully in the ballgown, she headed for the home office and tapped on the door. “Mum?”
“Tonia?” Her lawyer mother looked up from the fat stack of paper, one hand hovering with a cup of coffee. “Oh honey, is it that late already?”
Tonia shrugged and smiled. She waited while her mother rose from the carefully arranged framework of paper stacks and made her way over for a welcome back hug.
“How was it? Did you have fun? How was Sean?”
“I did! It was great and he was really sweet.” Tonia hugged her back. “How’s the case?”
“It’s crunchtime so I’m in overtime.”
“Don’t be. We’ve got him this time for sure.” Her mother’s brow furrowed faintly. “Need help to zip out of that?”
“Nah, think I’ve got it. You should finish that. Get some sleep.”
“Sleep. Right.” Her mother was halfway to the desk when she paused. “Oh, Tonia?”
“Do me a favor?”
Tonia paused in mid-twirl to the doorway. She blinked at the silver half-dollar caught by her surprised hands. “Mum?”
“Tooth fairy. Julia,” her mother gave a wry smile. “It’s almost quiet, so I’m assuming the little monsters went to sleep.”
Tonia winced in remembrance of her six-year-old sister and her first summer sleepover. She’d tried not to let her prom overshadow Julia’s big day. “So that’s why you’re up late.”
The wry smile softened around the edges. “Be a sweetheart and help your old Mum?”
“You’re not that old. Her room or the rec room?”
“Her room. You’re an angel, sweetie.”
Tonia ducked out from the home office and made her way towards her little sister’s bedroom. She was relieved to hear relative silence from within and paused at her bedroom door to deposit her shoes, wrap and a handful of bobby-pins.
Ruffling her too-perfect curls, she grimaced when the plastic tiara caught in a few strands. Stopping to deal with the post-prom effect would likely take some time. The half-dollar warmed in her hand . Tonia crossed the hall to Julia’s bedroom.
Easing the door open, she was careful to check for the princess sleeping bags that littered the floor. Carefully stepping around them, she made her way to Julia’s bed and smiled at the sprawled figure of her baby sister.
It was easy to swap the half-dollar for the tooth.
Backtracking to the doorway, Tonia was two-steps away from freedom when something soft hit her from behind. She froze.
The dull thump seemed too loud in the following seconds as Tonia turned to see a fat teddy bear lying innocently on the floor.
Someone was awake.
Tonia held her breath. No one stirred.
Perhaps she’d just imagined it.
Cautiously backing towards the door, Tonia stepped out and pulled it shut as quickly as she could. A second later, she gave a little victory salute and trotted off to the bathroom, mission accomplished.
“Pssst, Julia!” Sophia clicked her flashlight on, tugging at her best friend. “You didn’t tell me your sister was the tooth fairy!”
Julia sat up in bed, holding the round half-dollar up to the soft light. Her friends crowded around, excitement on their faces. “I didn’t know either!” She whispered back. “She never told me and why’d you almost give us away? I thought she’d-”
“I didn’t do it, she did!” Sophia pointed. “Briana!”
“I thought the tooth fairy had wings,” Briana huffed. “She didn’t have wings. I was just checking.”
“She doesn’t need wings to get in here, silly.” Julia let Sophia hold the coin. “I guess she passed her tooth fairy test.”
“Really?” Sophia passed the coin to Briana. “That’s why she was all dressed up?”
Julia shrugged. “What else would prom be?”
Sophia mirrored the shrug, “Think your mum knows?”
“Maybe she was the tooth fairy before Tonia?”
“I told you fairies are real!”
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