- The Twelve Days of Stella (Part 1)
- The Twelve Days of Stella (Part 2)
- The Twelve Days of Stella (Part 3)
- The Twelve Days of Stella (Part 4)
- The Twelve Days of Stella (Part 5)
- The Twelve Days of Stella (Part 6)
- The Twelve Days of Stella (Part 7)
- The Twelve Days of Stella (Part 8)
- The Twelve Days of Stella (Part 9)
- The Twelve Days of Stella (Part 10)
- The Twelve Days of Stella (Part 11)
“What did you girls do today?” Stella’s stepmom, Valerie, asked as she passed the bowl of tzatziki.
Stella stifled a laugh when Phoebe’s cheeks turned bright pink. Though she usually took every opportunity to find pleasure in her stepsister’s embarrassing powers mishaps, tonight she was in a generous mood. Rather than sit back and let Phoebe flounder, Stella spoke up.
“I started painting again,” she said as she spooned a helping of the tangy yogurt sauce onto her plate. “Until this afternoon I hadn’t painted since my mother passed.”
A look of sympathy passed over Valerie’s face, indicating that she knew the significance of today’s date. For a moment Stella was afraid she would offer some apology or empathy or something equally pity-induced, but then her gaze shift over Stella’s shoulder and her face lit up.
“Did you paint that?” she asked, her voice full of awe.
Dipping a small piece of bread into the tzatziki, Stella nodded.
When she’d finally declared the work finished and started clearing off the table for dinner, she’d set her painting on the buffet behind her chair. She was pleased with the result—a shower of bright colors against a plaster white background. It captured the moment perfectly.
“It’s marvelous,” Daddy declared. “Such vibrant colors.”
“Very abstract,” Valerie added. “What is it?”
Stella smiled. “A rainbow of fruit flavors.”
Daddy and Valerie frowned in confusion. Phoebe sucked in a quick breath. And, because she was feeling particularly cheeky, Stella made Skittles rain down from above. (After she drew a protective shield over their heads and their dinner, of course—she did not want a repeat of her earlier scalp wound.)
“What on earth?” Daddy scowled at the candy downpour.
Valerie gasped. “Phoebe!”
“It wasn’t me this time,” she insisted. “I swear.”
“This time?” Valerie echoed.
When Daddy raised his hands to stop the cascade, nothing happened. He might be a very powerful hematheos, but Stella knew a few tricks. With one swipe of her hand she froze every Skittle where it hung.
“I did it,” she announced. Then, with a glance at Phoebe, added, “This time.”
Stella popped the tzatziki-covered bread into her mouth and made the hovering Skittles disappear.
Nine years ago, she would never have guessed that she could be happy on this date, this anniversary. She would never guessed that she would find herself painting again. And, most of all, she would never have guessed that she would find contentment in a collaged family. But somehow all of those things had happened. Her mother would be pleased.
Plus, she had a full jar of Skittles waiting on her desk.
This was the (sniff, sniff) last installment of The Twelve Days of Stella. If you enjoyed this special, blog-only short story then let me know. I might do more of these in the future, but only if you want them!
And now, back to our regularly scheduled blog programming.