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Mansfield Ranch (The Jane Austen Diaries)

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Mansfield Ranch

Jenni James©copyright20011

 

 

Chapter One:  Surprises!

DISCLAIMER:  Rough Draft! 

 

 

 

Eight years ago my life was the happiest I’d ever known it.  Eight years ago today, I was fulfilling a dream I’d never thought possible!  A dream and an adventure I’d never thought to top, ever.  I was getting adopted.  Me!  Me?  Like, how wonderfully crazy is that, right? 

            I mean, up until then I had been the pitiful little orphan Annie.  Yep.  That was me.  --Well, except my hair was brown, not red.  And I couldn’t sing--or even carry a note to save my life.  And I didn’t have a dog named Sandy—but a millionaire did adopt me!  Can you believe it?  A totally awesome millionaire adopted me! 

            It’s like living in one of those dreams that you have at night.  You know the ones with totally beautiful people that smile and hug you and everyone treats you like an uber rock star?! 

Yeah!  It was like living in one of those dreams.  Except, I didn’t have to wake up.  It was real.  And it was really, truly happening to me! 

I remember crying through my giggles as I rode on my first airplane to live with my new family.  It was a whole family too.  I was going to have two brothers and two sisters and live on this huge ranch in Bloomfield, New Mexico with them.  I knew it was going to be this crazy, new, wonderful adventure that only girls like me could dream of having. 

It rarely ever happened.  In fact my case—of being adopted by a millionaire with a large family—had never even been heard of in Albuquerque before.

I couldn’t wait to leave either.  I wanted as far away from Longfellow Elementary School as I could get.  No longer was I going to be teased for not having a real family.  I couldn’t wait to start my life at my new school miles and miles away from my old one!  I couldn’t wait to start my life that had two pretty sisters to play Barbies with and two older brothers to tease like crazy and spy on.  My life was going to be oh, so full of laughter and happiness and carefree giddiness.  I knew it!  And I couldn’t believe my luck.

 

October eighteenth.  I sighed.  Rolling over in my bed I blinked at the alarm clock.  Five a.m.  Ugh!  Still too early to get out of bed.  I’d been wide awake since four-twenty.  Slumping back onto my pillow I stared up at the ceiling.  A shot of grayish-blue light exploded across half of my room and down the wall from where the curtain wasn’t closed all the way.

I still couldn’t believe it’d been eight whole years since my adoption.  I’d officially lived in this house now for half of my life.  I grinned ruefully and covered my face with the comforter—willing away the memories of my truly gleeful eight year old self as I first stepped over the threshold into the large house that was now my home.  Sheez!  Why did I have to be such an idiot?  Seriously!  I so should’ve known my life wasn’t going to be a ball of roses.

Not that I was complaining.  The Benallys have been amazingly generous.  More than I’m sure I’ve even deserved.  It’s just—it’s just I thought we’d all get along a little better than we do.   Honestly, if it wasn’t for Sean, I’m not sure I’d have a friend in the family at all—

“Psst!  Hey, Lilly!  Are you awake?”

I grinned and tucked the covers up around me and whispered loud enough to be heard through my door, “No!”

“Liar.” Sean chuckled on the other side.  “I knew you were awake.  Now, come on, let me in.  I’ve got a surprise for you.”

A surprise?  “Fine,” I grumbled around my smile.  “You can come in.”

A small stream of yellow light flickered into my room as Sean Benally opened the door and stepped inside.  I gasped at the candle lit cupcake he gingerly carried toward me on a small saucer.  Its flames danced across his mischievous features causing a giggle to escape from my lips.

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