A/N: After reading Trance's story, Always and Forever over at All Things Debs, I had the inspiration to simply sit down and write. Full credit of the general idea of adoption goes to her, I'm simply hoping I can play around in the background here. Also, I'm well aware adopting isn't this easy, but hey, it's fiction.
Disclaimer: Angela Robinson owns everything affiliated with D.E.B.S. Credit goes where credit is due.
Rated: a very tame K.
Officially, she had brown hair, but with even one tender touch of the sun, it would glint like gold. It fell past her shoulders in wavy heaps and the slight frizz spoke of her disinterest in caring for it. Moms and dads were supposed to tell her the importance of these things; be there to teach her and show her.
Moms and dads weren't supposed to die. But, she often rationalized, what parents could be perfect? Besides the ones that didn't get to raise her, that is.
Happy couples looking for someone to call their own came and went, never turning their gaze back to her when they heard how she still took things of the past.
No one wants a problem child, even if it's involuntary.
At only five, a year more than she had been at the orphanage, she'd seen countless kids walk away, their hands grasping the strangers'. Delighted smiles always crossed their features, but Annabelle knew true happiness never lasted.
The only person Annabelle went to for anything was Miss Amy, the new volunteer that came once or twice a week. If she had anything to say, she said it to Miss Amy. If she wasn't there that day, Annabelle didn't speak a word.
After three weeks of this, the other more permanent supervisors informed Miss Amy of the situation and she started coming more frequently. Three times a week, then four, sometimes five if she had just finished a painting and had the time. A few times she even brought a friend, someone Annabelle immediately adored and took to calling Miss Lucy.
Now in the mornings when the live-in staff got them ready for the day, she didn't ask about Miss Amy. No, now she asked about Miss Amy and Miss Lucy.
Eventually she didn't have to ask, she just knew they would be there that day, every day.
But, like everyone else, they heard of her night terrors. The day they did, Annabelle was cautious. One wrong move and they would leave her and focus on another little boy or girl here. Instead, they stayed with her longer than usual and went to talk to Mrs. Masters, the head caretaker, after their day of play.
It was only after Annabelle crept to the door, fearful of what may be said about her, that she heard muffled sobs. She had never heard her cry, but she knew it was Miss Amy.
She didn't like hearing Miss Amy cry.
Despite knowing she was the reason Miss Amy was sad, Annabelle knocked. A dread filled her stomach that soon Miss Amy and Miss Lucy would leave her, but the door swung open and she stuck to her plan. Mrs. Masters looked surprised as she held open the door with Annabelle just standing there. It took a moment, but at the sight of Miss Amy's red face and teary eyes, she walked straight to her. Usually she reached for the one that was closest to her first, but she bypassed Miss Lucy for once and carefully climbed into Miss Amy's lap, burying her head in the crying woman's neck and looping her arms firmly around her middle.
Arms immediately pulled her closer and hugged her tightly. Annabelle felt another hand stroke across her hair and turned to see Miss Lucy flashing her one of her brightest smiles. Annabelle reached for her hand and finally looked up to find Miss Amy's eyes looking back at her warmly.
"You sounded like you needed a hug," Annabelle whispered.
Miss Amy sniffed and smiled. "I did. Thank you."
Annabelle felt Miss Lucy stroke her hand and relaxed in Miss Amy's warmth to watch as Miss Lucy spoke. "I don't think we have an option any longer, Mrs. Masters. We can't keep coming here daily."
Annabelle's heart dropped. They were leaving. Why were they leaving? Hadn't she been good? Tears of her own started as she clutched Miss Amy even tighter.
Dual kisses landed in her hair before she felt the rumble of Miss Amy's voice against her cheek. "That's why we need to adopt her. Neither of us can live without her anymore."
Her head shot up to look at the two of them, her tears momentarily forgotten. They were going to adopt her? She could go home with them? Both of them? Annabelle fell back against Miss Amy's neck and cried even harder as reality set in. They were both called Miss and she knew only couples could adopt here. Neither had a daddy for her that could sign with them. And how could both of them adopt her if she could only belong to one family?
Mrs. Masters sounded remorseful when she answered. "It is policy here to only allow married couples to adopt. Finding a way to allow for an exception would be a lengthy…"
"We're married," Miss Lucy cut in to explain. "We have been for three years almost to the date. For our own reasons, it wasn't best to allow too many others to know, but we are legally married under the law and would love nothing more than to adopt Annabelle. We both truly need her." At this point, Annabelle could feel Miss Lucy gripping Miss Amy's hand across her back. She felt another reassuring squeeze to her own gripped hand. "Whatever needs to be done, we'll do it."
There was a moment of silence and a shuffling of papers placed across the desk toward the trio before Annabelle heard Mrs. Masters speak again. "Then I see no reason to make any more fuss for the three of you."
Annabelle lifted her head again, tears cascading down her cheeks. Her brown eyes were swirling with emotion as she asked either of the women holding her, "I can really go home with you?"
"If you'll have us," Miss Amy replied with another tear slipping from her eye.
She didn't have to think twice. "Of course I will, Miss Amy."
Upon hearing the title, Lucy looked over at Amy and they shared a moment of pain for the little girl's past before Amy finally came up with what they both wanted to say so deeply. "You don't have to call us Miss Amy and Miss Lucy anymore, Annabelle. You can call us whatever you prefer. I know it may take some time to see us as…"
Annabelle shook her head to stop the words. She drew them both closer and placed a kiss on Amy's cheek first. "I love you, Mommy." She left Amy's lap after a moment and cuddled up on Lucy, her hands circling her neck. A kiss was offered to her cheek as well. "I love you too, Momma."
The first tear from Lucy fell from her eyes as she swept Annabelle into her arms. "I love you too. So much, baby girl."
Amy wrapped both of them up in a hug, crying and trying to express her love as well. Finally, she turned to Mrs. Masters and saw the content smile upon the administrator's face. "Can she come home with us today?"
Mrs. Masters motioned to the paper still untouched on their side of the desk. "The paperwork still needs to be filled out, sent in, processed, and returned, but I don't see why we can't bend the rules a little."
Amy and Lucy gave relieved sighs and then immediately started on the paperwork, Lucy still holding Annabelle firmly in her lap with an arm around her middle. She would sign a page and drop a kiss to the child's hair, a happy tear occasionally following suit.
When everything was filled out, Mrs. Masters bid them happiness and left to check on the other volunteers quickly.
Slipping from Lucy's lap, Annabelle held both hands out and finally allowed herself to be the happy kid leaving, hands locked with the strangers. Happiness could last. They had shown her this with every visit.
She now knew that although parents weren't perfect, these two were perfect for her.