December 27, Houston, Texas
Ellie waited until her mother’s bedroom door clicked shut, then switched her nightlight back on. she didn’t like sleeping in the dark anymore.
Shivering even under the extra blanket Mama had brought, she pushed the covers around Raggedy Ann’s chin and hugged her close. She wished she could go back to camp and find the lucky penny. Maybe if she hadn’t lost it, the bad thing wouldn’t have happened to Courtney.
She missed Courtney.
She missed Betsy, too.
Scrunching a corner of the pillowcase, she wiped her nose and eyes. Mama said the aspirin would make her feel better. Ellie wished it would hurry. Her tummy hurt and her head made pounding noises in her ears. Betsy would day, “Don’t think about feeling bad, think about something nice.”
Like The Nutcracker. That had been better than nice, the most beautiful thing she ever saw.
In her new red shoes from Daddy Jon, Ellie’d felt really grown-up. Daddy Jon called her his special lady.
She didn’t have to call him Daddy Jon. He was her real father, not a stepfather like Daddy Travis. But Betsy and Courtney always called him Daddy Jon, ’cause he wasn’t their real father.
Ellie wished Betsy and Courtney could see The Nutcracker. Together, they could act out the parts — with Ellie as princess. She was better at playacting that either … of her … sisters.
Her rotten … stupid … sisters.
Rotten … stupid … mean …
Why did they have to go away and leave her?
Ellie wiped her eyes. She wished the bad thing had happened to her first, so she wouldn’t feel so alone.
“Achoo!” She wiped her nose, then grabbed a tissue for Raggedy Ann.
Her head wasn’t making those loud noises in her ears anymore, and she didn’t feel so shivery. But her stomach hurt something awful.
Turning on her side, she tucked an arm around Raggedy Ann and wriggled her feet up under her nightie. She would ask Daddy Jon where to get another lucky penny. Maybe then the next bad thing wouldn’t happen.
Join me right here next week for another Bitch Factor chapter.
Meanwhile, grab a Copy of Slice of Life, another Dixie Flannigan thriller. You can see a quick, fun preview in the video below: