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Everything Comes To Those Who Wait
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Hello, my name is Annabelle Brown and tomorrow, Saturday 25th April 1999, I will become twelve years old.
I am quite tall for my age, probably about a slither of chalk higher than my older brother, Peregrine, oh he's thirteen and a half by the way, and a real nasty tease.
I am also a tintzy wintzy bit taller than my Mother, Barbara Brown.
All of this explains why I find it very irritating that everyone in my home calls me, 'Little Annabelle'.
Even my younger sister, Trudy who is eight, calls me 'Little Annabelle'.
Oh well I suppose it'll stop one day.
To-morrow however, is a special day for me, cos as I said before, I am going to be 12.
My parents are throwing a party for me and all my class mates are coming.
I am at this moment writing the names of all my friends down in my diary.
I thought it would be a good idea to keep some kind of record of the day.
So far I have written, Sally Lancashire, Laura Doobie, Jessica Mint, Alice Frootle (Quite why I have invited Alice I do not know, since she and I absolutely hate each other, but Mummy said I ought to), Miranda Snitch and last but not least my very best friend Olivia Black.
Actually we are sometimes known as Black and Brown cos' we are always falling over and hurting and bruising ourselves.
It's the nearest anyone can get to Black and Blue I suppose.
Everyone at school calls me Bella for short, thank heavens, minus the word 'Little' I am thrilled to say.
Anyway, the reason I am writing this little story is to tell about the most important thing in the world to me.
I suppose you are all wondering what that might be.
Well, let me tell you.
Ever since I can remember I have always wanted a real, live snake.
I have no idea why this is, but it is something that I have hankered for since I was about four or maybe five. I think it must have been after I saw a beautiful Corn Snake on a Childrens TV show all about unusual family pets and things.
My dear Papa, Ronald Brown, who by the way is an Accountant, looked at me, straight in the eye, when I first asked him for one and said,
"My dear Little Annabelle, I deal with enough snakes every day, the last thing I would want is to come home to one."
I must admit, when he said that, I had no idea what he meant and for many years I thought he worked in a Zoo. In fact, until I was nine, all my friends thought he was a Zoo Keeper!
I persisted however and every year when my birthday comes around and I am asked what I would like for my Birthday, I always answer in my most pleading voice, "A snake please."
Everyone would laugh, take no notice, and I would then be tearing gift wrapping paper from toys or books or a new dress or a video or whatever, but never a real live snake.
This year it seemed would be no different.
My Mother and father asked me what I would like for my birthday, so did my sister and so did my precocious brother Peregrine.
To them all, I replied with the same answer, a snake, and from them all I got the same response, namely a raucous belly laugh.
Oh well, it's getting late now and I'm tired and excited so I think I'll switch off my light, say a little prayer and hope for the best, for tomorrow.
Good night everyone.
The following day Annabelle awoke with a start.
It was just turning 8.00am as her brother Peregrine flung her bedroom door open, rushed into her room,
threw open her curtains whilst yelling, "Get up Miss 12 year old, it's Saturday morning and it's your birthday, it's your birthday" he chanted excitedly.
Hot on his heels was her younger sister Trudy bounding into the room shouting, "Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday Little Annabelle!"
Annabelle sat bolt upright in her bed at which point Trudy jumped full pelt on top of her, followed closely by Peregrine.
There then ensued the most enthusiastic pillow fight ever seen on a young girl's Birthday, which was only
interrupted by the sound of adult footsteps thumping up the stairs.
"Peregrine, Trudy, I hope you're not bothering your sister on her birthday!" sang out the sweet but very firm questioning voice of Mr. Brown.
The two siblings jumped off the bed laughing heartily at their sister, and as their father entered the bedroom they fled out as fast as they could go.
Ronald Brown sat on the edge of her bed.
Annabelle was pulling herself together after the pillow fight ordeal and as she swept her hair back from her shoulders her father gazed at her and with the warmest of glowing smiles he said
"Annabelle Brown you are quite, quite beautiful. It seems only yesterday that you were just a twinkle in your Mothers eye. Happy Birthday my darling."
Then rising from the bed he stepped forward and planted a loving kiss on Annabelle's forehead with the words. "Hurry now, breakfast will be ready in five minutes."
Annabelle rose from her bed and went into the bathroom, her mind racing with excitement.
She washed, dressed and made for downstairs to the kitchen and breakfast.
Seated around the table, as her mother busied with the breakfast things, was her father, brother and sister. In the middle of the breakfast table was a small Birthday cake with twelve candles.
Her chair was littered with ribbons, cards and small wrapped packages.
Her mother and father had provided a small family birthday cake for breakfast in addition to the large party birthday cake for when the friends were due to arrive later.
Annabelle could hardly contain her excitement, she snatched at the wrapped presents and opened them with fierce glee. She opened her cards and read them out aloud, they all contained loving messages from relatives and the close family seated around the table.
The card from her parents gave her food for thought as she read,
'Oh Little Annabelle, how you have grown into a lovely young girl. To celebrate this 12th Birthday, look for a dangling chain to make your dreams come true.'
She was far too excited to eat any breakfast and after an hour or so of opening presents, eating breakfast birthday cake and plying her mother and father with question after question about the dangling chain, the birthday breakfast was over.
Her friends were due to arrive for her party in two hours and so she had to return to her room to get herself into her party dress.
On the way back to her bedroom she slipped out into the garden.
Luckily her father, who was a very successful accountant (and not a zoo keeper) made sure the Brown family lived in some luxury.
The grounds of the house were quite extensive and since a young child Annabelle always took some time to walk herself around the grounds with her imaginary friend, 'Tanya the Twig.' Tanya was a large three foot twig she had rescued from an ailing tree and she would always walk the grounds shaking her twig in front of her face, chatting to it as if it were a close friend.
Even now, at age twelve, she felt the need to go off and have a few quiet words of conversation.
At precisely 11.00am the front door bell chimed.
Dressed in a beautiful pink dress with her long flowing blond hair sweeping down both sides of her
shoulders, Annabelle rushed to the front door.
She opened the door to reveal Olivia and Miranda, "Happy Birthday Bella Beautiful" they both sang out, and the three friends locked in an embrace.
Annabelle wondered if she'd ever been this happy before in her whole life.
Within no more than five minutes all the other girls arrived.
The party went on all day.
The girls laughed, giggled, danced disco style, teased Peregrine (who was very shy and for once tongue tied at the large influx of young females in his home).
They watched with acute interest as Annabelle opened all the presents which they had brought.
From Olivia she received a CD of her favourite singer, Dwayne Dreamer.
From Sally she opened a very large present which revealed a typewriter.
A make-up kit came from Miranda and a beautiful pair of sun glasses was the gift from Jessica.
From Alice she received a small book entitled 'How to make friends easily' which, considering how treacherous Alice could be, gave Annabelle a small shockwave.
Her brother Peregrine gave her a leather wallet, with a large snake engraved in gold on the underside, which made Annabelle smile.
Her sister Trudy gave her a wristwatch and for this the younger sister received the biggest smacker of a
kiss she had ever had from her big Sis 'Little Annabelle'.
Amidst all this activity and standing directly behind her daughter, Mrs Brown deftly slipped a gold chain over her daughters head.
Annabelle was so preoccupied with all her friends and the excitement of the moment, she hardly even noticed her mother's actions.
Suddenly, without any warning, and after the friends had been in the house for a few hours, with lunch and tea consumed, the front door bell chimed once again.
Annabelle ran to open it, only to discover a crowd of young boys from the neighbourhood.
They were all known to the group of girls and with lots of laughing, shouting and screaming, the party took on a new frantic slant as the boys danced with the girls and the music became louder and louder.
Peregrine grew more confident as some of the boys were known to him too and their presence made him feel less shy.
By the time evening fell, the parents of all the children arrived and collected their offspring.
With the final sounds of cheerio's and goodbyes fading into the distance by 9.00pm the house was strangely back to its controlled and silent state with just the Brown family as its inhabitants.
Annabelle threw herself on to the sofa and feigned sleep, as she closed her eyes she said with much love, "Oh Mummy and Daddy, thank you for such a lovely day, I somehow wish it wasn't all over."
Her mother squatted down beside her and cuddled her closely.
Then she whispered in her ear, "Well darling perhaps it isn't, have you seen that lovely chain hanging around your neck?"
Annabelle had been so preoccupied with her party and her friends she had no idea that there even was a chain around her neck.
She sat up with a start, "Oh Mummy, how did this get here?" she exclaimed with renewed excitement.
As Annabelle examined the chain, she noticed a small gold key dangling from the bottom of the chain.
It was so tiny it was hardly noticeable.
"What's this key'' she cried out.
"Let's find out, shall we?" replied Mrs. Brown, with a broad grinning Mr. Brown looking on.
She then took her daughter's hand and led her out into the garden, with the rest of the family trailing in their wake.
Shining her big giant torch and leading the way down the path they walked, mother and daughter, hand in hand no words exchanging.
It was now late evening and night had settled.
Annabelle felt a sense of growing expectation at the unknown, mixed with the possibility of knowing, threaded through her body.
They walked along the path, down and around the pond and then through the flowered arch, positioned at the far end of the garden.
Mrs. Brown held the torch firmly in her hand as she lit the route, making sure that the others were close behind them.
They then rounded the garden shed and walked slowly along the cobbled alley down to the other end of the borderland of the house.
Mrs. Brown reached the greenhouse and stopped in her tracks.
She opened the greenhouse door and turned on the light.
Clutching Annabelle's hand she pointed to a large black wooden box with a padlock on top, sitting on the work bench in the corner of the greenhouse.
The box, which was now clearly visible from the full light of her torch, had lots of holes in its sides.
Mrs. Brown gestured to the key around her neck and indicated to her daughter to open the box.
Nervously, Annabelle lifted the chain around her neck and fiddling with the little key at the end, she managed to open the padlock.
She achieved this with some difficulty since her hands were now becoming too shaky to control.
As she swung the lid of the black box open she saw before her the most beautiful Corn Snake snuggled in straw.
It was long and brown with white markings, to Annabelle it was the most beautiful snake her eyes had ever
seen, and the most beautiful birthday present a girl could ever ask for.
The snake seemed to rear up at her and she spotted a small tongue flicking at her from its open mouth, as if it was saying hello.
Annabelle screamed out aloud "Oh Mummy'" and fell to her knees with tears of joy streaming down her face.
Peregrine, Trudy and Mr. & Mrs. Brown all gathered around their sister and daughter with moist eyes of their own as she sobbed with uncontrollable delight.
This was without a doubt, truly the most wonderful moment of Little Annabelle Brown's Life.
It seemed, by believing in her dreams and having enough patience, everything does indeed eventually come to those who wait.
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