This diary entry is part 25 of 30 in Lily's diary dated 06 - December 2021

Hi! It’s me! Lily!

There is subscriber specific content in this post.  As usual, it isn’t necessary to the story.

Let me say it right now.  Sabby was right.  I don’t know why I doubt her.  She was right.  She’s always right and it annoys the snot out of me sometimes.

So as you can see by the topic above, Christmas was today.  I guess that’s pretty obvious, right?  December 25?  Christmas?  Yay me?

We got up early because David couldn’t wait, and we sat around the tree in our pajamas and opened presents.  I got Beth a new makeup kit and hairbrush, which she seemed to appreciate.  David got a new game, which of course he liked.  I made sure to check with Sabby about what kind of game to get him, though, and it couldn’t be too expensive, it’s not like I had infinite money to play with.  I got Dave a grilling set, which he loved!  And Sabby… well… it’s so hard to shop for her.  The letter worked so well for her birthday but that’s kind of a one shot thing.  I bought her a sterling silver charm bracelet, and put all sorts of charms on it that showed her what she meant to me.  I put a heart, a charm that said “mom”, and a very pretty translucent glass charm on it.  She loved it.

“Mom?”, she said, with hope in her eyes.  The symbolism of that word wasn’t lost on her.  I just nodded.  She launched herself at me and we hugged it out.

“Does that mean I get to be Dad?,” Dave said.  I giggled.  “Hit me with your best dad joke and we’ll think about it,” I said.  He laughed.  “Of course!,” I said, and hugged him too.

But they got me stuff too!  Dave and Sabby got me the piano, so I didn’t expect anything else from them!  But they got me lessons too!  I’ll be working with a teacher!  I guess that’s part of schooling but still nice!  Beth got me a very pretty necklace that said “Lily” on it, and of course I hugged her.  David had help yet again, I know he did, because he got me some assorted bangles and hair clips.  He got a hug too, whether he wanted it or not.  True, I don’t usually wear bangles, but the kid thought of what I’d like rather than what he’d like, so credit where credit’s due.  I put a couple on.

After everyone else exchanged presents, we had a big breakfast – Sabby had been cooking some more.  She cooked and she cooked till her cooker was sore!  We had pancakes and eggs and toast and all sorts of yummy stuff.  Even chocolate syrup!  After breakfast we cleaned up all the wrapping, and there was a knock on the door!

It was Grace, with her parents!

She hugged me!  She loved her present!  It was just a toy from the convenience store but she was holding it sooo proudly.  “Thankth, Auntie Lily!”, she said, and she handed me something too.  It was just a piece of paper with a child’s drawing of her and “Auntie Lily” on it, with a heart and a smiling yellow sun, but it was perfect!  I thanked her, of course, and immediately put it on the fridge.  She went back to Liz’s house with her parents, but I think my heart grew three sizes!

Anyway, Dave and David turned on the TV to watch some parade or something.

Sabby grabbed lots of paper plates (yeah, yeah) and put cookies and brownies and treats and all sorts of stuff on them, covered them with cling wrap, and she and I trekked over to Liz’s house wearing Santa hats.  “Merry Christmas!,” we yelled, and Liz’s mother looked surprised. 

“You didn’t have to -“

“I made way, way more than we could eat,  Here, we have snickerdoodles, and sugar cookies, and brownies, and, oh!  I read that you have something in Ohio called buckeyes!  I made some of those too!,” Sabby said cheerfully as she handed the plates off.

“I want a buckeye!  I want a buckeye!”, Grace said excitedly.

“Well, thank you, and Merry Christmas to you too,” Liz’s mother said happily.

I handed Liz her present (and after yesterday, I need to get her back!) and she gave me a hug.  I got her a set of fancy chopsticks.  She loved them.

I waved at Jack, and he waved back.  As we were leaving, Grace was already tearing into the buckeyes.  Oh, that poor family once the sugar hit…

Anyway, I don’t know how to describe the rest of the day.  It was just a lovely Christmas.  Dave and David watched a football game, Sabby made a huge dinner with turkey and all of the good stuff, while Beth and I sat at the kitchen table, ate cookies, drank juice, and just chatted about everything and nothing.  We had a huge dinner, and after, we watched a Christmas movie.  Dave wanted “Die Hard”, but Sabby vetoed that, and we watched Home Alone instead.  What a silly movie!

Christmas is amazing.  The day starts out so quiet, and throughout the day, everything slowly wakes up – children pop out of their houses playing with their new toys, traffic on the freeway starts to get louder again, and the world starts up.  But for that few hours, that few wonderful hours when everyone wakes up, the whole country, the whole world, is quiet, celebrating everything that’s important to them.

Tomorrow is back to normal.  Jack and I are going to spend the evening together after I get off work.  They leave a couple of days from now.  I’ll miss Jack.  But I won’t be heartbroken like last time.  We’ll see each other again.  Now I know it.  We’ll see each other again.

Love you all!!! ❤

This diary entry is part 18 of 30 in Lily's diary dated 06 - December 2021

Hi!  It’s me!  Lily!

So after I wrote that post, I took a shower and went to work.  The boomies and rain kept up for quite a while, but it’s actually a little relaxing – a little scary though when walking or riding to work.  After I got to work I put up my umbrella though, and the owner gave me a little Santa hat and told me it was part of my uniform for the day.  My pretty hair!  But it’s alright, I didn’t mind.  He doesn’t ask too much of me.

Oh, yeah, that was a terrible idea.

I think about ten guys told me they knew what they wanted for Christmas, and it was behind the counter.  I gave the owner some stinkeye, and told them I knew what I wanted for Christmas too, and it was to not be told I was someone’s Christmas wish.  Owner overheard but I think he thought, how does that saying go, discretion was the better part of valor, and left it be.  If he made me wear it, and made me listen to customers being creeps, then he could put up with me being a bit snarky.  No snark for Karens, but snark for creeps.

NOt gonna lie, though, a little tiny bit flattering, though.  My heart belongs to Jack, though.  Oh my GOD how the heck did I get so sappy??

Speaking of Jack, that silly billy still isn’t telling me anything.  GRRR.  But he seems really excited to go, and says I’ll really like my Christmas present.  I said he doesn’t have my address.  He said it doesn’t matter, I’ll get it tomorrow.  I wonder how he’ll pull that off?

I feel like I’m missing something really obvious and big.  Maybe I’m just a big silly billy myself.  Guess I’ll find out tomorrow.

Beth seems to be missing Crystal, but I told her that she’ll be back, and isn’t she glad she went to the homeless shelter now?  Oh man, she gave me such horrible stinkeye.  I thought I was going to burst into flames!  But then she agreed.  I told her maybe she should go tell Sabby she was right.

That didn’t go over well, but a little later, I saw her hugging Sabby, so maybe she took my advice after all.

Well, hopefully tomorrow’s not too eventful.  Just work and dinner and all that fun stuff.  Maybe I’ll spend some time with Liz.

Love you all!!! ❤️

This diary entry is part 17 of 30 in Lily's diary dated 06 - December 2021

Hi!  It’s me!  Lily!

It’s Saturday, but I can’t run today!  It’s storming!  BOY is it storming!  It’s storming so hard that the storms have storms!  BOOM!!!  BOOM!!!!  HAHAHA!!!

But it’s good.  We don’t get a lot of rain here, it all comes in big bursts like this, then fills up all the reservoirs and we get to drink for another few months!

So I didn’t write last night.  We had a family night, and it was the last night that Crystal would get to spend with us for the holidays, and, well, we did family stuff.  We played games, and watched a movie, and Crystal was sad that she’d have to go.  I gave her a hug and told her that she’d even be my sister if she was somewhere else, and she just glomped me.  And she hugged Beth too!  I don’t know if she’s quite as close with Beth, but they’re getting along great now.  That’s all we ever wanted for Beth.  And, truthfully, it’s all we wanted for Crystal too.  Would she have revealed what she did if she didn’t feel safe?  I haven’t asked her, but I don’t think so.  She’ll come back after the holidays and we’ll do more school!  Soon she’ll have a house, and then I guess her parents will have to decide whether to keep this arrangement or send her back to public school.  I kind of hope they don’t send her back to public school.  She pretends to be strong, but she’s a little fragile.

Jack’s really being cagey.  He says his family is going somewhere for the holidays, but he refuses to say where.  I know I can trust him, but he doesn’t usually keep things from me!  I hope he tells me soon, it’s driving me nuts!  And he hasn’t said anything about my present either!!!  AAAARRRGGG!!!  I have to figure out what to get him, but he hasn’t told me his address yet.  What a mess!  I know if he were here what I’d give him!  But I’d love it too!!!

I guess they’re going wherever it is tomorrow, though.  I hope he tells me when he gets there!

Well, I’d better shower and get off to do some doot dooting and karen wrangling!!!  I’m not taking any time off for the holidays – I only work weekends anyway.  I might even ask for a few extra hours, since I’m on break.  The owner has a few other employees, but he always seems grateful for whatever we can give him!  What we don’t work, he has to!

I think I’ll post again tonight, since I didn’t last night!  We’ll see!!!

Love you all!!! ❤️

This diary entry is part 12 of 30 in Lily's diary dated 06 - December 2021

Hi!  It’s me!  Lily!

Why, oh why did I have to make a comment about there being no drama?  Why?

It started innocently enough.  We stayed up way too late last night with our slumber party.  We played all sorts of games – truth or dare got boring, and we went on to “never have I ever”.  We asked a few questions, then of course, the dreaded question for all teenage girls that aren’t me came up, “Never have I ever….  kissed a boy.”  Crystal’s face turned somewhat terrified, and she lifted her hand very hesitantly.  Beth called her on it.

“You’re lying!”, she said, giggling.  But at the look on Crystal’s face, the giggle left her.  “Crystal?  Are you okay?”, she asked.  Crystal shook her head, and her lower lip was trembling.  “You’re not okay,” she said.

“Crystal, what’s wrong?,” I asked.  She just shook her head.  She said something inaudibly.

“What?,” I asked.

“I didn’t want to, ok?”, she almost shouted.  She stood up.  “I didn’t want to!  He made me!”  She ran out of the room.

I looked at Liz, then at Beth.  “I think we should wake Sabby up,” I said quietly.

Liz nodded.   I went over to Sabby’s room and knocked on her door.  The door opened slightly and a bleary-eyed Sabby asked me why I woke her up.  Well, “asked” is a nice way to phrase it.

“Something’s wrong with Crystal,” I said.  Her door shut, and then a few seconds later, she came out in a bathrobe.  We went into Beth’s room, and we all told her what had happened.  It didn’t take long for Sabby’s face to turn concerned, then thunderous, then she turned around and went downstairs.

Crystal was sitting on the couch, her head in her hands, quite clearly having a panic attack.  Or at least that’s what Sabby told me it was, after.  We sat down, Sabby on one side of her, me on the other.  It only took a touch before she grabbed onto Sabby and started wailing.  “I didn’t want to!  He made me!  He made me!”  Sabby patted her on the back, and told me she had this.

“Is she going to be okay?”  Liz took that opportunity to give me a quick hug and exit quietly out the door.

Sabby frowned at the crying girl in her arms.  “Maybe not for a while.  But we’ll do everything we can.”

“What’s going on?”

“I have an idea.  But she’ll tell you when she’s ready.  Please don’t push.”

I nodded.  I went back up to my room.  I guess the slumber party was over.

The next day, I went downstairs, and Sabby was sprawled out on the couch, and Crystal was clinging to her like her life depended on it.  Any other time I’d think that was sweet, but there was something going on I didn’t quite understand.  I had to go to work, though.  And so I did.

When I got home, the mood in the house was pretty dark.  Sabby and Crystal weren’t there.  Beth was in her room.  Finally Sabby came home, and Sabby took me and Beth aside.

“We had to take her to her parents and call the police,” she said.  “Someone, well, hurt her pretty badly.  At the shelter.”

‘Was she -“? Beth asked.

Sabby nodded quietly.

Oh no.  Oh no oh no oh no oh no.

“Her parents didn’t know, and she didn’t tell them.”  She sighed.  “We had to go down to the station to make a statement.”  She frowned.  “She might want to talk.  She might not.  But you have to be strong.  For her.  Her parents are devastated, as you can imagine.   She’s going to stay with them for a day or two, she needs her mother.  She’ll be back, she still needs school.”

I understood.  I remember how much I needed Sabby when that guy assaulted me.  And how much Beth was bothered by it.

I guess I can tell you the rest of the stuff that happened.  I went to work, I was tired, I was sad, I came home, dinner was quiet…  I didn’t feel like writing last night, and I didn’t.  It hurts too much.  I want to go to Crystal, and hug her, and tell her everything’s alright, but I can’t fix this.  I can’t even come close to fixing this.  I think Crystal will come back soon, and I think we’ll have a lot of talking to do if she wants to, and I think I’ll be the best big sister I can, and… and…

And I hate living in a world where things like this can happen to a girl like Crystal.

I hate it, I hate it, I hate it.

Liz is coming over now.  And I’ll be honest – I think there will be crying.  A lot of crying.  And I’m not sure who will cry more.

This diary entry is part 11 of 30 in Lily's diary dated 06 - December 2021

 Hi!  It’s me!  Lily!

I’m a Lily!  I’m a Yuriko!  Maybe I’m a red spider lily!  I don’t know what kind of Lily I am!  I know!  I’m a Smith Lily!

So this morning I did my run and went to work.  When I got there I gave the owner the biggest hug and even a little kiss on the cheek.  I’ve never seen him turn so red!  But he’s been so nice to me, especially with that bonus, he deserved it!  I told him to pass it on to his wife too!  He was speechless!  He just told me to get to work, with a little smile on his face.

It was a typical day at work.  Doot dooting, Karens, unhealthy food, all that.  I don’t know what to say about work.  It’s just work.  I do it, I go home, I get paid, even though the owner’s really nice!

When I got home, Liz came over, and we spent some time together.  Crystal was off spending some time with her parents, which was nice.  I miss Liz!  We haven’t talked that much since we got home from Orlando, but it was nice to spend some time with her!  We gossipped about Jack, but she seemed a little cagey for some reason.  I wonder what’s going on there.  But still, we played games and had loads of fun.  Her parents came over, and we all had dinner together.  It was nice.

After her parents left, Crystal came back, and I introduced them.  Soon all four of us, me, Liz, Beth, and Crystal were playing games and gossipping and having all sorts of fun.  Crystal has a really sharp and sarcastic wit!  I’m not really the greatest at that, people tell me I’m too kind, but she actually had to rein it in a little.  She did have us rolling around laughing though when she talked about some of the people she met at the homeless shelter.  She gave them nicknames, like “Old Beardy” and “King Hobo”.  It’s funny, you don’t think much about how different they can be, but she had so many stories.  Some weren’t really good, but I guess it all worked out.  Occasionally there was a flash of pain in her eyes, but she covered it up with a laugh. I hope we can talk about that someday.

Liz is staying over and the four of us are having a slumber party.  Beth learned her lesson, and made sure Crystal was aware of it too.  No humiliating dares.  But we did play “truth or dare”, and it was funny, especially because Crystal just chose dare each time. She explained that after what she’d been through the past few months, there wasn’t much we could toss at her that would embarrass her.  Sadly, I believed her.  I took a bit of time to write this, but back to the fun!

Hey, I can’t have a drama filled day every day, right?

Love you all!!! ❤️

This diary entry is part 10 of 30 in Lily's diary dated 06 - December 2021

Hi!  It’s me!  Lily!

So, as you can see from the title, today was Sabby’s birthday.  I had such a hard time figuring out what to get her, but I figured it out.  I’ll tell you how it went later in the post.  Also, I hear that Allison’s family’s having a rough time with the virus.  Poor Allison. We need to invite her over at some point – after all that’s run its course.  The virus sucks.

So it was a normal Friday.  Everyone was excited that it was the end of the week.  Crystal seems to be adapting, little by little.  She and Beth are still working on their lessons together, and there seems to be a grudging respect.  Turns out Crystal is pretty smart!  Whether Beth smart or not, I don’t know, but she can hold her own!  Sabby gave them some pretty hard math work and they were competing to see who could solve it first!

After school, I went and put on some nice clothes (not quite as nice when I first met Emiko, but nice enough) and Sabby made a very nice dinner.  I didn’t know she could make Japanese food, but she made ramen!  With the soft boiled eggs and seared fish and everything!  (we still have some fish left over from Dave and David’s fishing trip.)  She’s a great cook.  Anyway, Emiko showed up as dinner was being finished, with her husband and two daughters.

Her husband was a tall, older man with full hair and a kindly face, maybe a little younger than Dave, his name was Bill.  His daughters were 10 and 9, named Mika and Aika.  They looked so much like me!  I asked Emiko what their names meant.  She said “Beautiful flower” and “Lovely flower”.  Seems she really liked flowers.

Nothing wrong with that!  I think David was really taken with them.  I hadn’t seen him look like that since Allison.  I nudged him and said “Those are my half-sisters”.  He just nudged me back and said “They’re not mine.”  What could I say to that?

So we sat down to eat – Emiko seemed really surprised at the quality of the ramen, and even Crystal was slurping it down greedily.  Emiko asked about Crystal, and we just said she was a family friend who was staying with us for a while.

Crystal wasn’t having any of that, though.  “I’m homeless.  I’m staying here for a while so my parents can get back on their feet.”

Sabby cast one of her trademark glares at Crystal.  “You’re not homeless, Crystal.”

She frowned.  “This isn’t my home.  Thank you for taking me in, but this isn’t my home.”

Sabby frowned, but let it drop.  Crystal went back to inhaling her ramen.

Bill broke the silence.  “Well, you can just imagine how surprised we were when we found out my wife here had a daughter sixteen years ago.”

“She didn’t tell you?”, I asked, surprised.  Emiko looked really embarrassed but didn’t say anything.

“Not a word.  When she told me a week ago that she was going to meet you, I was floored.  I had no idea!”

“Well,” I said diplomatically.  “I imagine it wasn’t the easiest topic to bring up.”

Emiko nodded, still looking embarrassed.  “It was never the right time.”

“Well, you know now,” Sabby said.  “Mika, Aika, why don’t you tell your half-sister a little about yourselves?”  Kind of a hamhanded way to change the subject, but it worked nonetheless.  I felt like there was a little bit of tension between Bill and Emiko regarding the topic.  Regarding me.

Mika and Aika took turns telling us about themselves, their favorite subject at school, etc.  David was enraptured.  Great.  After they were done,  I told them about myself too, how I knew martial arts and the piano but didn’t know why.  They seemed like decent kids.  Bill even seemed decent, just a little put out at not being told about me.  Can’t say I blame him, but the past is the past.

After dinner, Dave went and got a cake, and brought it out with one candle.  “Tonight is Sabby’s birthday,” he announced.  “Let’s all sing the song?”

So we sang the song.  Gifts would be given later.  But everyone got a piece of cake, which Mika and Aika were very enthusiastic about.  The cake was chocolate.  Girls after my own heart.

After dinner we retired to the living room and just chatted about stuff.  Nothing earth-shattering.  Emiko did tell me I have grandparents in Japan, though, and invited me to come along the next time she went back home.  She thought it was important that I knew where I came from, even if a little.  Like I was going to say no!  But that would be sometime next year.  Guess now I need to work more at learning Japanese.

Eventually, they all left.  My half sisters seemed like decent kids.  But I didn’t quite know what to make of Bill.  He seemed nice enough, but he didn’t seem all that happy to meet me.  I guess I understood.  I’m her child.  Not his.

Finally it was time for presents to Sabby.  Everyone handed her a nicely wrapped box except for me.  She opened them happily.  Dave got her a glass flower (which she loved).  Beth got her a nice necklace, which she immediately put on, and David had obviously had help, because he got her a bubble bath.  After all the gifts had been given, I cleared my throat.

“Sabby,” I said, “I didn’t buy you anything.  But in Japan, it seems that it’s a tradition on special days like this to write a letter and then read it out.  I wrote you a letter.”  I went and got the letter.  “I know it doesn’t sound like much, but give it a chance.”

I opened the letter and cleared my throat.

“Sabby, I don’t know what your age is now, because you won’t tell me.  I know that you’re one year older now than you were a year ago.  And a little over one year older from how old you were when I was found on the side of the road.”  I sniffed. “I still remember that day like it was yesterday.  How you came and got me from the hospital, and took me to the store to get some necessities, much like you did Crystal yesterday.”  I looked at Crystal meaningfully, then went back to my letter.  “I remember coming back to your house, and you showing me the guest room, which you turned into my room that very night, and me being soo confused and soo scared and not knowing who I was or even what my name is.  I remember two things about that night:  you didn’t name me, and you didn’t leave me.”

Sabby sniffled.

“I chose the name Lily that night, and you called me that from that day forward.  And I cried.  I’ve cried harder, but I’ve never cried as long.  And you were always there.  You held me, and talked to me, and you let me cry, and you… ” my voice broke, “you helped me through what was certainly one of the worst times of my life.  That I can remember anyway.

“And then you took me shopping. I remember that day too.  I had been crying for so long and so hard my stomach hurt and I didn’t have any tears left, and you took me shopping.  It’s not about the things you bought me, but that’s when you made me a part of your family.  It took me a long time to accept that, but that was the first time we really spent together, and I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.”

I paused, and wiped my eyes.  “Sometimes we fight and have harsh words, but I’ll never forget what you did for me, and what you still do for me, and… and you’ll always be my mother.”  I put the letter down, ran over, and hugged her.

She hugged me back, her body shaking.  “You were right about the Japanese letters,” she said, wiping her eyes.  “Thank you, Lily.  I loved everyone’s presents, but…. thank you.”

Crystal just looked at me, a tear running down her face.  “You… you do understand.”, she said, quietly.

I nodded.  “I do,” I said, just as quietly.

She jumped up and ran over to me, and glomped me.  “You understand,” she sobbed, “You understand.”

I just patted her back.  “I do,” I said softly.

“Lily,” Sabby said, with much emotion in her voice.  “I will never regret adopting you.”

I just smiled wanly and sat back down, after Crystal disentangled herself and did the same.

Finally, Sabby went to take a bath.  Not an angry bath this time, but a happy, birthday bath.  Dave went up too, looking eager for some rea… oh.  Well, after Jack, I guess I can’t say much.  Looks like she was going to get another present that wasn’t for our eyes.

Crystal and Beth and I sat and talked until a few minutes ago.  We didn’t really have a slumber party, but the three of us had some serious girl bonding time, with hair brushing and games and all that fun stuff.  Crystal’s defenses were finally coming down, and there was light in her eyes at last.  After all, I understood, and she knew I wouldn’t let anything bad happen to her.

I really did understand, and now she knew.

Her parents are going to spend some time with her tomorrow, and she’s really looking forward to that.  After all, even though they had had some hard times, they’re still her parents and she still loves them.  But she has a home for now, and maybe now she could start to heal.

Love you all!!!

This diary entry is part 9 of 30 in Lily's diary dated 06 - December 2021

Hi!  It’s me!  Lily!

Well, things got even more chaotic.  I didn’t think it was possible.  It’s like I live a movie sometimes!  I wake up in the morning and everything’s upended!!!

So last night, actually as I was writing the post, Dave got a phone call.  He called us down a few minutes later (I’d already finished it) and told me he just spoke to Sabby, and they’d talked to the pastor and Crystal’s parents, and agreed to take Crystal in for a little while while her parents got back on their feet.  The reason was that we’re already being home-schooled and everyone thought it was important that Crystal got at least some education, so it just seemed to make sense.

Beth didn’t seem all that happy but I didn’t really care.  The more the merrier, I guess.

Dave did sit us down, though, and told us in no uncertain terms (well, Beth specifically, but the message applied to us too) that she’d been through a traumatic situation and that we were to make her feel as much at home as we could.  For the time being, she was to be treated as if she were another sister.  Dave said that because I came from a similar situation and knew how it felt, that I was to be “in charge”.  If I thought something was a good idea, they’d probably do it, and if I thought it was out of line, they’d put a stop to it.  That’s a lot of responsibility, but I guess I understood.  None of them understood like I did, even if I didn’t fully understand.  I nodded solemnly.

Sabby had apparently made a trip with Crystal to the superstore, and picked up some necessities, like basic clothing, bedding, etc.  She was going to camp out on the couch for a little while.  I gave my blessing – the couch is major comfy and heck, I wouldn’t mind sleeping there sometimes.

They arrived back with a lot of bags and one scared-looking Crystal.

Sabby showed Crystal where the bathroom was and told her to take a shower and put on some of her new nightclothes, and we’d make up the couch, and that school would start in the morning.  We didn’t know exactly how to fit her in, but everything we were doing was just winging it anyway, so we’d figure it out.  She did as instructed.  I heard some faint sobs coming from the bathroom, and a few minutes later, she came out clean but puffy eyed.

I sat her down on the couch/bed and sat next to her.

“I understand,” I said simply.

“No you don’t!  How could you!  Look at you and this family, and me…  I’m not worth all this!”  She folded her arms defiantly, but the sadness in her eyes betrayed her.

“I do!,” I said.  “I really do!  I’m adopted!  They found me on the road!  I didn’t even have memories!  All I had were the clothes on my back!  They took me in, and I cried for a long time!  It took a long time before I felt like I fit in here!”  I took a deep breath. “If anyone understands, I do.  And in some ways you’ve got it better.  Your father will get a job, and will make some money, and get a house, and you’ll move back with them and everything will be good again!  I only met my birth mother last week, and I’d never even seen her before!”  My eyes stung a bit.  “They still made me their family!”

I was quiet for a moment while I composed myself, but so was she.  “They’re good people.  They’ll treat you well.  But you’d better treat them well too.  No food smushing or attitude or yelling.”

She deflated.  All the fight went out of her.  “I’ll try.”

“It’ll be hard,” I said softly.  “It’s always hard.  But things will get better now.  I promise.”

“Don’t make promises you can’t keep,” she said softly.  Where’d I heard that bef – oh.

“Well, I promise that all of us will do our best to keep that promise.” I patted her knee.  “Get some sleep.  Tomorrow’s a new day.”

I stood up and started to go back to my room.  I heard a choked sob, like she was trying to hide it.  I turned right around and came back.  I just sat down and wrapped my arms around her, and let her cry it out.  She fought it a bit, but eventually she couldn’t anymore, and just cried and cried.  I did understand.  And Sabby did that for me, on my first night too.  The least I could do was return the favor.

You don’t have to know someone to love them.

The next morning I went on my run.  After I came back and took a quick shower, we all sat down for breakfast.  Sabby made the good stuff – blueberry pancakes.  Crystal’s eyes just kind of looked dead, but she did eat, and Beth was fairly well behaved.  Thankfully.  Because of the change in circumstances, Sabby cancelled the volunteering for the rest of the week – we’d have to take Crystal with us and I vetoed that.  No way was I going to allow her to be sent back to the shelter, even as a volunteer.  Not until she was ready.  So she was put in a “class” with Beth, and they did their lessons together.  Towards the end of the day, well, they weren’t thick as thieves, but they were chatting and cooperating with each other.  Bonus.

At dinnertime (Sabby had made something extra delicious – reheated pizza!), Dave told us all that Bob had sent his resume, and it was very impressive, so unless he failed a background check or something catastrophic like that, he pretty much had the job if he wanted it.  Crystal dutifully thanked Dave, but she just seemed…  sad.  I think she had been in survival mode for so long, now she didn’t have to, and she didn’t know how to deal with that.  I kind of understood, I guess.  I probably would have felt the same, if I’d remembered anything.

In more mundane news, tomorrow is Sabby’s birthday, and I haven’t gotten her anything!  It’s not because I forgot, but it’s because I can’t think of anything that’s worthy of her!  I could get her a hugely expensive present, and it’s just… just… a thing.  No thing could ever be enough.  I’m sure I’ll come up with something.

I told Jack about the goings-on yesterday and today.  He surprised me.  He said he likes Beth.

I said, huh? She’s been nothing but a jerk!  So bad of a jerk that Sabby threatened to hogtie her and drag her down to a homeless shelter, and then she got food smushed in her face!

That’s true, he said.  But she says what’s on her mind.  She doesn’t let anyone tell her how to feel, and she will fight for that.

I thought.  I guess he’s got a point.  Maybe she could find a better way to express it, but pretty much every time she fights with Sabby, it’s because she’s spoken her mind, and then she stands behind what she said or did, and never backs down.  Sabby can tell her she was out of line, and even fight with her, but even though Beth seems to realize that she could have expressed it better, she never, ever apologizes for saying what’s on her mind.  I guess…  I guess that’s something to be admired.  Even if Sabby doesn’t think so.  Even if I don’t think so.  I guess that’s kind of the point, though.  Right?

So Beth basically told Sabby to get lost, and out of it we got a new temporary sister.  How the heck does that happen?

Nothing ordinary ever happens to you, does it, Lily?  I could almost hear the smirk in his voice.  I guess not.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Emiko comes over tomorrow evening with her family too.  We’ll invite Liz and her parents, as well as bob and Desiree, this weekend.  I’m a little nervous, but we’ll see what happens!

Going to go play games with everyone!  Even Crystal!

Love you all!!! ❤️

This diary entry is part 8 of 30 in Lily's diary dated 06 - December 2021

Hi! It’s me!  Lily!

So today was… well… interesting.

Sabby did not talk to Beth last night.  At all.  She never came back out of her room.  It was very tense.  I just kept a low profile, I was just glad it wasn’t me for once.  Beth didn’t come out either, except to use the bathroom.  She didn’t look sorry.  At all.

So the next day, we ate breakfast, and Sabby told us in clipped tones to get dressed and get in the car.  Beth started to protest, but Sabby told her that she could either get dressed and get in the car, or Sabby could dress her, hogtie her, drag her into the car, and she was still going to go where Sabby wanted, it was her choice.  It says a lot that I wasn’t actually sure how serious Sabby was.  So we all got dressed and piled into the car.  On the way Sabby told us that school was cancelled for today, and maybe for the rest of the week as well, and we were going to have a “field trip” instead.

We pulled up next to a homeless shelter, and Sabby told us all to get out, and we walked in.  She found someone in charge, and said “these three are going to volunteer today.  The oldest one and the youngest one are here for a school volunteering activity, feel free to put them to work.  The middle one, well, she told me last night exactly what she thinks of what you do and who you provide services to, I want you to teach her a lesson.”  The lady nodded.

“We can always use the extra help,” she said, “And I know just the job for her.”

I didn’t really mind, honestly.  It got me out of the house.  Beth looked furious, but she knew better than to speak up.  The lady in charge, a strict, no nonsense older woman with a kindly face, gave us our assignments.

David was put to work cleaning off the tables and chairs with hand sanitizer in preparation for lunch.  I was back in the kitchen, making sure the cooks had what they needed and cleaning any dishes they dirtied.  Beth was put to work cleaning the breakfast dishes and taking the garbage out.  She was seething, but what could she do?

Come lunchtime, they put us all to work serving the food.  It wasn’t the greatest food, in fact, it was pretty bland, but it was hot and the people seemed to appreciate it.  There were all sorts of different people – some were obviously not really up to any good, some doing stuff I didn’t want to think about, but there were families, too.  One that popped out at me was a family that looked kind of like ours – a mother and father and a girl about Beth’s age.  She was a little shorter than Beth, with jet black hair, a pretty but plain face, and a thin body.  Dunno why she wasn’t in school, but there she was.  They were wearing ratty clothes and looked like they’d seen better days.

Beth was having some attitude, honestly, when it came to serving the food.  She was not pleasant.  She’d take the plate and plop the food onto it with a bit of attitude and move on to the next one.  That girl – though – she wasn’t having it.

“Lose the attitude, rich girl,” she said, not menacingly, but matter of fact.

Beth just glared at her, and plopped the food onto her plate.  “I don’t want to be here,” she said.  “My mom made me.”

The girl just looked at the food, looked at Beth, and smushed the food into Beth’s face.  Then she went to sit with her parents, a satisfied look on her face.  She crossed her arms and silently took the berating her parents were giving her.  Her face just said, “worth it!”.  Sabby had seen the whole thing, she was serving too, but apparently she had decided that Beth had it coming and didn’t say a word.  Beth looked murderous as she was wiping the food off her face.

Finally, after an animated conversation, her parents grabbed her by the arm and dragged her over to Beth.  “Say you’re sorry,” the mother said.

“I’m not,” she said defiantly.  “Now this rich girl’s face matches her attitude.”

“We’ve taught you better than that, no matter how unpleasant -“

“Taught me better than that?  This girl, with her nice clothes and fancy hairstyle and makeup and attitude, and we live… here.  Here,” she said, with a look of disgust on her face.  “I don’t have to take someone like this giving me attitude.”

“If you assault the people serving food they’ll kick us out, then where will we go?  Now apologize.”

“I’m sorry,” she said, completely insincerely.  There was a thoughtful look on Sabby’s face.  Beth looked like she wanted to say something, but Sabby’s eyes were boring into her.  “It’s okay,” she said, just as insincerely, and plopped some food onto the plate of the next person in line.

After lunch, and washing the dishes, we came home.  Sabby told us all that we were going to be doing the same thing for the rest of the week.  Beth sulked immediately off to her room.

“Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”, I asked, a bit on eggshells.

She deflated.  “No, I’m not.  But Beth was so far out of line…  I’m not done, either.  Do you mind ordering some pizza?  I have to run an errand.”

“What kind?”

“Oh, just get different kinds, enough for, oh…  eight people.  And get some wings and soft drinks too.”

“Eight people? …  Sabby?”

She smiled, an evil, horrible smile.  “We were looking for a friend for Beth, right?  Well, seems to me we just hit the jackpot.”

“Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”

“I talked to her parents,” she said softly.  “They seem like nice people.  Just fell on some hard times.  Their daughter…  isn’t doing very well, either.  I think they need each other.”

“If they don’t kill each other first.”

“There’s that” she said softly.  “Maybe I don’t know what I’m doing.  But I’m Beth’s mother.  I can’t let her keep going this way, either.  I’m going to go pick them up, and they’re going to have dinner with us, and we’re going to see what happens.”

I shrugged.  “I hope you’re right.”

“Me too,” she said, quietly.  Then she left.  I got on the computer and ordered enough pizzas for a small army.

About the time the pizza arrived, Sabby did as well, family in tow.  They all came in, the mother and father seemed somewhat at home, but the girl looked absolutely sullen.  Sabby yelled for Beth and David to come down for dinner.

Beth came down the stairs, and stopped.

“You!,” they said in unison.

“How could you, mom?”, they both said, in unison.

Sabby fixed Beth with a hard gaze.  “Sit down.  You will treat our guests with respect.”

And the woman said to the girl, “And we are guests in their house.  Leave the attitude at the door, Crystal.”

I guess her name was Crystal.

She just sat there sullenly, glaring at Beth, and picked up a piece of pizza.  She mumbled thanks and tucked in.  I guess no good wasting pizza.

They did enjoy the pizzas, I guess I ordered well.  While they were eating, we learned a bit about them.  They were named Bob and Desiree Davis.  They had lost everything.  The father was actually a pretty highly qualified engineer, but his company had let him go due to the virus, and he hadn’t been able to find a job.  The mother was a stay at home mom, and she tried to keep the family afloat, but couldn’t find a good enough job, and they lost everything.  He was trying to find a job, but having no luck, because he didn’t have an address.  It was just a terrible situation all around.  Crystal didn’t have any other family to stay with, so she ended up staying with them at the shelter.  She had gone to school, but with the virus, she had to do distance learning, and didn’t have access to the lessons, so they couldn’t make it work.

“What kind of engineer are you?”, Dave asked.


“I’m a structural engineer.  We always have need of new engineers.  Do you have a resume?”


“No promises,” he said.  “I have a few openings on my team, and if you’re qualified, I see no reason we couldn’t at least get you an interview.  Of course, how that goes is all up to you.”

“I’m qualified, I have all the relevant degrees and licenses.  But I don’t have an address…”

“Bob, if I can get you an interview, and if you were to be offered a job, would you take it?”

Bob’s lips were quivering.  “That’s all I ever wanted, to be able to take care of my family,” he said.  “It’s been so hard.  I don’t know why it’s been so hard to find a job lately, but no one wants me.”

“Wait here.”  He stood up and went to make some calls.

Desiree and Sabby made some small talk.  Beth and Crystal were still looking at each other with some suspicion, but at least the outright hostility was gone.

“Does your dad mean it?  Can he get mine a job?”

Beth shrugged.  “Maybe.  He’s a pretty nice guy, and he’s good at his job.  If your father’s any good, I’m sure he can work something out.”

“He’s very good!,” Crystal said defensively.

Beth shrugged.  “Not my call.”

“I guess not.”  She was quiet  “I’m sorry for smushing that food in your face.”

“I’m sorry for being a snot.  I was just mad at my mom for ruining my plans.”

“What was so important that you got that mad at her?”

“Nothing important,” Beth said embarrassedly.

“We’re not friends.”

“Of course not.”

“You’re still a rich girl with an attitude.”

“And you’re still rude.”

They were quiet.

“Can we keep in touch?”

A touch of a smile graced Beth’s mouth.  “I’d like that.”

Dave returned.  “I just called my pastor.  He said you can stay with him and his family until you get back on your feet.  I expect to have your resume as soon as you settle in, and I’ll speed up the process as much as I can.  The pastor will help you with computer access, a place to work, that kind of thing.  We’ll need to find you transportation too but I’m sure we can figure something out.”

“Why?”, Bob said.  “You don’t know me.  Why would you help me like this?”

Dave shrugged.  “I need a good engineer, and you need a job and to get back on your feet.  Why wouldn’t I help you?”

“I won’t let you down.”

Dave smirked.  “See that you don’t.  After all, I’d be your new boss.  Sabby, do you mind taking them back to get their stuff and then over to the pastor’s?”

“Not at all.  Everyone eat their fill?”

The nodded, and Sabby left along with them.

I smiled to myself.  It looks like Beth may have finally found the friend we were looking for.

Sabby does have her moments of brilliance.

Love you all!!! ❤️

This diary entry is part 7 of 30 in Lily's diary dated 06 - December 2021

Hi!  It’s me!  Lily!

Well, I knew the peace wasn’t going to last.  Sabby had an idea.  An awful idea.  Sabby had a wonderful, awful idea.

So the church the family goes to (I haven’t gone lately because of work) is big on doing good things over the holiday season.  Which is good, I guess – why they can’t do it every other time is beyond me, but who am I to meddle in the affairs of religious people?  This Sunday they’re having an event where they feed the poor and the homeless.

It’s a nice idea.  I can’t deny that the church tries.  After all, if it weren’t for them, I’d have never found Dave and Sabby.  Or they’d have never found me.

Anyway, Sabby thought it’d be a good idea to volunteer the family (except me, but only because I have to work) to help out this Sunday.

She broke the news at dinnertime.

Dave thought it was a good idea.  David seemed ambivalent.

Beth blew up.

I don’t know what it is about Beth.  She’s a good girl and I love her, but girl’s seriously got some temper issues.  Apparently she had plans this Sunday, I have no idea what but she wanted to do something else, and now that’s ruined.  She told Sabby exactly what she thought of her church, her idea, the homeless, the poor, and said she wished Sabby was never born.

Beth really needs to get control of her mouth.

I’ve seen Sabby angry before.  Even at me.  She kind of gets calm, goes up to take a bath, then proceeds to tell you in no uncertain terms exactly what she thinks of what you said, in tones that cut.

Not this time.  Sabby grabbed Beth by her ear, dragged her up to her room, tossed her inside, told her that if she comes out for any reason but to use the bathroom there will be hell to pay, and slammed the door.  Then she went right to her room and started drawing a bath.

Can’t honestly say I blame Sabby.  Beth was out of line.

So, here we go again.  The next few days should be fun.  Loads and loads of fun.  I’m not getting in the middle of that, though.  Guess Beth’s hair will be unbrushed tonight.

Anyway, families can’t be all sunshine and roses, I guess.

I miss Jack.  When he touched me it was soooo soothing.  I miss having him touch me.

Love you all!!! ❤️

This diary entry is part 3 of 30 in Lily's diary dated 06 - December 2021

Hi!  It’s me!  Lily!

I’m feeling a little better, but let me explain why.

Today was… dark. I don’t have any word for it.  I didn’t sleep well, I didn’t eat much, I got through my schoolwork but mostly like a robot, not concentrating, not paying attention, and pretty much going to lie down as soon as it was all over.  Sabby came to check on me but I…  I didn’t want to say the wrong thing again, so I just kind of ignored her.  Not in a mean way, but in an “I’m alright leave me alone” kind of way.

I wasn’t mad at her but obviously this is a sore topic for her and, well, yeah.

I think that hurt her but I didn’t know what to say.  Damned if I do, damned if I don’t, right?

So Beth’s “potential friend” and her family came over.  Yeah, that went about as well as I expected.  Wasn’t a Little Miss Priss this time, thankfully, just a girl with nothing in common with Beth.  Cheerleader, bubbly, happy, into boys and makeup and… basically just a nicer and more cheerful version of the friends she’d already had to dump.  I picked at my food and about halfway through the meal I stood up.

“I’m going to my room,” I announced, “Thanks for the meal, nice to meet you.”

Sabby said, a little abruptly, “You didn’t finish your food.”

“I’m not hungry.”

“Finish your food.”

“I’m not four,” I said.  “It’s nothing personal.  I’m just not hungry.  And I can’t watch this…  this… anymore.  Like this… this friend dating service for Beth is ever going to work anyway.”

“Lily -,” she said warningly.  Dave gave her a look I couldn’t read, but she wasn’t looking at him.  “I don’t know what’s gotten into you -“

I was getting steamed and that probably showed on my face.  I think Dave saw the signs.

Dave patted her hand.  “Sabby, let it go.  Lily, you can go.  We’ll talk later.”

Sabby looked murderous, but shut up.  I went up to my room and played on my tablet.  Sabby and I have never conflicted like that, but I found myself just not caring.  I love Sabby but right then…  I kinda didn’t like her.

I heard some faint yelling through the walls a little while later.  I couldn’t make out the words, Sabby sounded peeved, and Dave sounded much more under control.

Later, after everything quieted down, there was a knock, and Dave came in. He sat down on the edge of my bed.  I noticed the door stayed partially open.  I guess I understood.  He was quiet for a moment.

“Lily,” he said, “I think Sabby made a mistake.”

“Adopting me,” I said bitterly, doot dooting on my tablet.  “Are you going to abandon me too?”

“No,” he said, calmly.  “Neither of us think that’s a mistake.”  He paused  “She’s too close to your problem.”

I set the tablet aside and sat up.  “What do you mean?”

“She lost her parents when she was little.  You know that.  But now you can’t be open with her because if you try to talk openly with her about it, it triggers her.  The whole topic just makes her angry.  I talked to her about this.  Well, I talked, anyway.”  He chuckled nervously.  “She’s not mad, well, anymore, anyway.  I don’t think she realized.”

“Well, I did,” I said, still with a trace of bitterness in my voice.  “I thought she’d be my rock.  And she…  she’s not.”

He shook his head.  “Not on this topic, she’s not.  Lily,” he said, “We’re adults.  We adopted you.  We love you.  And…” he shook his head sadly.  “We’re as human as you.”

I was quiet.

“Maybe I’m not Sabby,” he said quietly.  “But I’m still here.  Tell me what’s going on.”

“I don’t…”

“No,” he said.  “I understand why you don’t want to talk to Sabby about it.  But I have to insist you talk to me about it.  How you’re behaving is entirely unlike you and I’m not going to have you sulking around the house snapping at everything that moves.  Sabby wasn’t in the right, but neither were you.  What’s going on?”

I was quiet for a moment.  “She abandoned me,” I said in a small voice.

“Who?  Sabby?”

“No,” I said.  “Emiko.”

“Oh,” he said.  “But that doesn’t explain..”

“YES IT DOES,” I almost shouted. “She abandoned me!  I was an infant and she had me and she gave me up!  She didn’t want me!  No one wants me!”  Tears were springing to my eyes.  Dammit here I go crying again.  “I’m ANGRY dammit!  I hate her!  I hate her I hate her I hate her!  She didn’t want me and now I know who she is and I don’t want to see her but I do and I hate her!  I HATE HER!” I was punching his chest now and sobbing, I didn’t even know I was doing it.  “How could she leave me?,” I wailed.  “How could she put me through this???  Why do people abandon me!  And now Sabby!  Is she going to abandon me too???”

To his credit, he didn’t say anything.  He just wrapped his arms around me and pulled me tight to him and let me sob it out.  My crying had turned into just wails at this point.  Second time in a week, and for different reasons.

It took me a while to cry it out, and fifteen minutes later I was just hiccupping and sniffling and my nose was red and I was just a huge mess.  “How could she?,” I sniffled.  “How could she?”

I was running out of energy.  The sobs turned into sniffles and then…  and then I fell asleep.  How embarrassing!  Right on his shoulder!

I woke up under my covers a little while later, and…  and there was another chocolate milkshake next to my bed.  I choked back a sob.  Oh God after all that and they still bought me a chocolate milkshake.  I didn’t deserve them.

I picked up the milkshake and padded downstairs.  Sabby and Dave were sitting on the couch.  I sat down in the chair across from them.  I sniffled.

“I’m sorry, Lily,” Sabby finally said.  “I messed up, and I messed up badly.  I didn’t realize until Dave told me.  We’re not going to abandon you.”

“But you got so angry.”

“I did.  But like I said earlier.  That’s my problem.  I was wrong.  I should have realized that you’d think I was going to abandon you.  Especially after… after what you learned about your birth mother.”

“I messed up too,” I mumbled.

“Lily, one of us has a forty-mumble-mumble birthday coming up in a few days,” she smirked.  Oh no!  I’d forgotten!, “and one of us is sixteen years old and has memory problems.  I think of the two of us, you are the one with the better excuse.”

“How about we both messed up, but I’ll accept that I’m the sixteen year old and won’t be too hard on myself, and you can beat yourself up until you’re happy.”

Dave smirked, and Sabby frowned.  Then she chuckled.  Then she started laughing. “Deal,” she said, between chuckles, and I ran over and gave her a big hug.  She returned it, her chuckles turning to tears.  “I’m truly sorry, Lily,” she said.

“It’s okay,” I said quietly.  Then as she said “No, it’s not,” I mouthed the words.

That’s the first time I’ve ever seen her at a loss for words.  “Am I that predictable?”

“Sabby, in this house, no one can beat you at beating yourself up.”

Dave’s face was warring with itself.  He had the look of a middle aged man who knew he shouldn’t laugh if he wanted to sleep in the same bed as his wife tonight but couldn’t help it.  She just looked at him and swatted his arm, then she turned to me.

“Touche,” she said, with a smirk.  “Did Dave help?”

“A little,” I said honestly.  “I’m still angry.  Very, very angry.  But it was good to get some of it out.”

“It’s normal to be angry,” she said.  “As you can see, after all these years, I’m still angry.  But I know it’s not their fault.  It’s different in your case,” she said quickly as she saw the look in my eyes, “it was her fault.  But she wants to meet you.  At least let her explain herself.  That’s..” she sniffed, “that’s something my parents never got to do.”

She paused.  “It’s okay to tell her how you feel,” she said.  “If she can’t understand that, then she doesn’t deserve you.  But…” she thought about what to say next.  “Don’t burn your bridges.  Okay?  I’d give anything to be able to tell my parents how I feel.  And then.. and then to hug them.” She sniffed.  “Just give her a chance.  Okay?”

“I’ll give her a chance,” I said.  “But she’d better have a good explanation.”

Sabby nodded.  “I actually would like to hear it as well.  She’s definitely got some explaining to do.  From what the social worker said, maybe she can justify it.  But she’d better really sell it,” she said.  There was a little steel in her voice.  “She’s not going to hurt you again.”  She leaned forward and took my hands.  “Lily, even if I get angry, even if we yell and scream and fight with each other, even though I hate it when we fight, I’m never going to abandon you, okay?  Never, ever.  I’m your adopted mother and you’re stuck with me, for better or for worse.”

I choked back a sob.  “Promise?”

“I promise,” she said, and I wiped my eyes.

“I’m going to my room,” I said.  “I’m drained.  I’m guessing Beth doesn’t have a new friend?”

“Well, the girl liked her well enough.  Beth couldn’t run away fast enough.  I mean, really?  A cheerleader?  I can’t imagine Beth hanging around a cheerleader.”  She shuddered.  “Talk about oil and water…”  She sighed.  “You were right, Lily.”

“About what?”

“I wish you’d have put it a little nicer, and especially not in front of our company, but you were right.  I was trying to run a Beth friend dating service and it’s just a disaster.  Beth and I need to figure something else out.”

“No one can fault your intentions,” I said, “But… Beth’s a special girl.  I don’t think you’re going to find a friend for her like that.  She needs someone who’s her intellectual equal.  Like Liz, but younger.  Goodnight,” I yawned.

I grabbed my milkshake and went upstairs to see Beth for a little bit before I went to bed.  Tomorrow was a big day.  And I had no idea how it was going to turn out.

Before I went to bed I chatted with Jack.  He was worried about me.  He was right to be.  I told him things were a bit better, and he seemed relieved.  Nevermind the fact that I’m head over heels in love with him, he is such a nice boy.  And he’s an incredible kisser.  He wished me luck tomorrow.  I thanked him.  I’m gonna need every bit of luck there is.

Who knows.  But I could do lots worse than to marry him someday.

And I have to think of what to get Sabby for her birthday!

Love you all!!! ❤️