Emmy Francis was four years old. She was a cute thing, with blonde hair that curled softly and large, sky blue eyes. She had a round face with dimples and a scattering of freckles, dressed in jeans and a dirty t-shirt. She stood barefoot in the grass, scowling deeply.
Sophia, her exasperated mother, sighed. “Emily Angel Rose, you will come inside for your bath now. You’re grandparents will be here soon.”
The girl shook her head and impatiently brushed her long hair from her face. “No,” she repeated sternly. “No dresses.”
“I have no idea what your father was thinking adding that ‘Angel’ into your name.” Sophia muttered, tossing her hands up into the air.
“Emmy Angel!” A voice called, followed by a door slamming. “You being a terror again?”
Emmy’s eyes lit up and she ran past her mother towards the shining red car that had pulled into the drive, “Noble!”
Noble was Emmy’s older brother, nearly fifteen years her senior. A few months away from being nineteen, he had a tendency to act more like Emmy’s father than her brother. He scooped her up into his arms and pressed a kiss to her neck, his deeper laughter mixing with her shrill giggles.
Setting her on his hip, he stomped up the steps to the porch and kissed his mother on the cheek. “Hey, Mom.”
Sophia smiled at him, almost thankfully. “See if you can get the little monster into a bath.”
Emmy was back to scowling. She poked Noble in the cheek and told him in a clearly upset voice, “Mama says I gotta wear the pink dress. I don’t wanna.”
“The one with the lace?” Noble asked, eyes widening with mock-horror.
Emmy nodded her head, “Yah!”
“Mom, come on. I told you to throw that away.” Noble grinned, “How about that nice purple one? With the butterflies?”
“Okay!” Emmy agreed, nodding her head. Noble kissed her cheek and carried up inside, heading towards the bathroom.
Sophia shook her head in bemusement and followed after them.
“So, I got you a present,” Noble said as he climbed the stairs to the second floor.
Emmy clapped her hands, “What is it?”
“If I give it to you now, you gotta promise you’ll be good tonight. This means a lot for Mom.”
Emmy grumbled, “Who cares about stupid tea parties.”
“There’ll be cake.”
“I don’t like tea.”
“You can have punch like me.”
“And I get my present now?”
“Okay,” Emmy sighed, giving in.
He set Emmy down in the bathroom and dug his hand into the front pocket of his tight black jeans. His hand came out in a tight fist and held it out to his sister. She playfully pulled at his fingers, attempting to yank them open. He finally let his fingers uncurl and Emmy let out a happy squeal, snatching the gift from his hand.
“Yep, they glow. Here, I’ll show you how to put them in.”
Carefully, Noble helped her put in the plastic fangs and then kissed the top of her blonde curls. “Okay, let’s get you undressed so you can take your bath.”
“Okay,” Emmy mumbled out, the word garbled around the new obstacle in her mouth. Noble let her pull her clothes off while he worked on drawing her a bath. She slipped and slid as she climbed into the tub.
“Wash yourself good, I’ll be back in a little bit to wash your hair.”
“Purple dress, Noble. No lace.”
Noble’s laughter followed him out as he shut the door behind him. Emmy splashed around in the tub, fumbling for her golden duck and snapping her new fangs.
When Noble carried her downstairs, her hair combed and secured with a lilac ribbon, she actually looked like the angel her father her name described her as being. Under lights turned low and with her birthday candles dancing, Emmy smiled. In the dim light, her fangs glowed.
Sophia sighed, “Noble. What have you done?”
“Just let her be herself, Mom. Let’s sing.”
Noble sat down, Emmy in his lap. She grinned all through the song and then made a wish that her brother would always be there.
Some wishes don’t come true.