Delphie had braced herself for the moment Paddie and his Dad, Colin Hargreaves, came into the room. And still, she was overwhelmed by the sight, sensation and delight generated by Paddie and Katy’s greeting.
First, they squealed with excitement at the sight of each other. The dogs barked at the sound. Paddie squirmed until Colin set him down. The moment he was on the ground, Paddie chased Katy while she giggled. Barking, Scooter and Sarah ran in circles around the children. Reaching the edge of the attic apartment, Katy chased Paddie around while he giggled. In a crash, they landed together in a pile where they squirmed while Scooter and Sarah licked their faces.
“Wow,” Alex Hargreaves said. “That was loud.”
“Happens every time,” Colin said.
“I haven’t gotten used to it. It’s like a bubble of joy.” Delphie laughed as Paddie ran over to hug her ‘hello.’ “I hope they stay like that.”
“Friends?” Colin asked.
“I’m friends with my Catholic school friends,” Colin said.
“So am I. We didn’t go to kindergarten or preschool here. Erin did…” Alex bent to hug Katy ‘hello.’ “She’s still friends with her preschool friends. I’m sure…”
“I had another dream about tonight,” Katy whispered to Alex.
“Oh great! I want to hear every detail,” Alex said. “But first, I thought we could play our wrestle game. And, I have a present for you.”
“Auntie Alex! What about me!” Paddie said. Sticking out his chest, he pointed to himself with his thumb, “I’m your Paddie!”
“You are my Paddie. Of course, I have a present for you,” Alex said. “What would you like to do first? Wrestle or presents or dreams?”
Katy and Paddie seemed to have to move in order to make a decision. The dogs barked and danced around at their movements. While the adults laughed, the children and dogs danced around, jumped up and down, and chewed on various body parts (thumbs for the children and tails for the dogs). When the chaos seemed to peak, the children screamed in unison, said, “PRESENTS.” Scooter and Sarah gave happy barks in agreement.
Laughing, Alex nodded to the soldier standing near the door. He brought her two boxes.
“This pretty necklace is for you, Miss Katy,” Alex said. “My friend Claire made your dress. She said this would match.”
Alex lifted a gold chain with a ruby cut in the shape of a heart from the box. Katy squealed and clapped her hand.
“It’s so pretty! And it’s mine! Forever?!?” Katy said. “But Mommy’s not here…”
“Your Mommy helped pick it out, honey,” Delphie said.
“It’s your birthstone,” Alex said.
“Can I wear it now?”
“I don’t see why not,” Alex said.
While Delphie held Katy’s hair, Alex put the necklace around Katy’s neck. Katy showed Paddie her necklace. They both squealed causing another round of happy barking from Scooter and Sarah. Turning back to Alex with expectant eyes, they watched her take a gold cross necklace from a box.
“That’s MY birthstone!” Paddie squealed.
“Moonstone,” Alex said. “Exactly.”
She placed the necklace around his neck. Delphie’s eyes flicked to the movement by the door. The soldier’s head tilted as if he was listening to something. Delphie watched Alex’s eyes shift to the soldier. Alex smiled when the soldier nodded. Alex and Colin seemed to share a look.
“I need you guys to do something for me,” Alex said.
Katy and Paddie’s heads bobbed up and down.
“Will you promise to not take your presents off today? Not for anything?” Alex asked. “You can get even get them wet.”
“I promise,” Katy said.
“Daddy, Katy promised? Can I promise too?” Paddie asked.
“I’d like it very much if you did,” Colin said.
“I promise too!!”
Paddie’s promise promoted another round of squealing, laughing, chasing, and barking. Somehow, over the mayhem, Delphie thought she heard the soldier say, “GPS in place” as he made his way down the stairwell to the Castle.
The retelling of Celia’s Puppies, Denver Cereal Volume 2, continues tomorrow…
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