8 years later…
Sunlight streamed into the bedroom, waking the lone occupant of the room. Lenni had overslept again, although once she realized what day it was, she was wide awake. She was sitting up in bed when Sadie came bouncing into their room. "Wake up already. Dad's been wondering if you were in a coma, the way you sleep," Sadie joked. She crossed the room to Lenni's bed.
"Can you believe it? We're finally 16!" Sadie exclaimed, lying back across the bed.
Lenni was unsurprised at Sadie's excitement. Between the two of them, Sadie had the more bubbly and adventurous personality. That she was so chipper in the morning at all was no surprise either. She always had been up at the crack of dawn, at least as long as Lenni could remember. Completely the opposite of Lenni. If she could stay up all night, she would. She loved gazing at the stars and planets. The peacefulness always gave her thoughts room to run.
"Sadayla! Selena! Get down here, or your breakfast will be stone cold!!" the rich baritone of their father rang up the stairwell.
Sadie groaned. "Why would a parent EVER name his child Sadayla? I mean, yours is alright, but mine? It's almost embarrassing. At least I was able to salvage a cool nickname from it," as she grinned to her twin. "Come on, we should both get down there. And hurry up! You know dad doesn't like to give us our presents unless we're both there," Sadie reminded her.
"That level of bounciness should be illegal, at least at anytime before noon. I don't care what day it is," Lenni muttered, as she climbed out of bed. Lenni hurried as much as she could, but still entered the kitchen as her sister and father were finishing eating.
"Finally, you're as slow as a turtle. Here, have some pancakes while I go gather your presents. " Her father passed Lenni her breakfast plate and then left the room. She heard drawers opening and closing in the next room. So he had hidden them in his library, she thought to herself, I'm going to have to keep that spot in mind for next year.
After a few moments, Josiah returned, with two tiny, and rather old looking, boxes in hand.
"Oooo, What is it?" Sadie squeaked, jumping up and down and grasping with her hands toward the box closest to her. "Hey, calm down. I want both of you to sit down for a moment first," Josiah asked while trying to keep the box out of her hands. Sadie gave a little pout and then grabbed the chair next to Lenni.
When both his daughters were seated, Josiah continued speaking. "Today is your sixteenth birthday. You have both grown into lovely young women, intelligent and beautiful. I'm proud of you. I wish your mother was here to see this, you know. It's been almost fifteen years since she died. And I miss her every day," He said, his voice still showing the grief he felt. Sadie and Lenni glanced at each other, and jumped up as one to comfort their father. The threesome stood like that in the kitchen for moment, before Josiah remembered the boxes in his hands. He let go of his twin daughters and handed them each their respective boxes. "Your mother left these with me before she died. I was to give them to you when you turned sixteen. Ilana never told me what was in them, so their contents are as much of a surprise to me as to you," he finished.
Lenni stared at her present. Its wrapping paper had turned an ivory color, from the clean white it must have been. The ribbon was crisp and noticeably faded from the bright blue her mother had loved. Lenni didn't want to unwrap it, knowing this had been one of the last things her mother had done. She sat and stared at it in her palm. Finally, her curiosity began to get the better of her. Lenni carefully pulled the ribbon from out of its bow, laying it to the side. She then undid the tape securing the paper. What she found underneath was a beautifully carved box, its dark wood filled with winding flowers and vines. She peeked over at Sadie and saw that her sister had unwrapped an identical box. Lenni returned to her own gift and lifted the lid to reveal an inside lined with blue velvet, and lying on the bottom was an eight pointed star pendant on a fine golden chain. Inset into the center was a cut stone, reflecting the ordinary morning light in a multitude of colors. Sadie's was a flaring sun, with the same fine chain and seemingly the twin of Lenni's stone in the center of hers.
Josiah started crying, "She always did call you her sun and stars. I guess she didn't want you to forget that." Lenni stepped forward and hugged her father, her tears silently joining his. "I could never forget mom, I still dream about her sometimes. She holds me close to her and is singing," Lenni whispered into her father's shirt. She took her box and lifted the necklace out and held it out. Josiah took the star from her hand and carefully fastened it about her neck, then did the same with Sadie.
"There. Perfect," Josiah beamed, the smile helping to wipe away the tears. Clearing his throat as turned away. "Yes…well, you two better head out," the liveliness returning to his voice. A joint chorus of moans issued from the Lenni and her sister at these words. "It may be your spring break, but you still promised to help me re-organize the bookstore. Besides it's only for the morning, you can go and do…whatever it is that newly-turned sixteen year-olds do." Great, more overly cheerful people, Lenni thought to herself, with a wry smile. At least the worst books can do is kill me with paper cuts…