The ceremony had been that morning. All eight of them had gone to the courthouse. Maman and Papa had signed the papers. They had taken photos. She had worn a beautiful, lilac wrap dress with a full skirt that Maman had chosen for her. In the eyes of the government, she was theirs and they were hers and she believed that. Maman and Papa wanted to be her parents. Desperately.
But The Five, them she was not so sure about. The Five—as she had begun to call them in her head—were an entity entirely to themselves. The Five did not have to accept her if they did not want to. They had been nice—so nice—but there had not been any large action that had made her feel accepted by the Five. Nothing to make her feel like now they were The Six.
The Five were different from her. They shined. They glowed. Each one of them was a wing in the incredibly well-curated museum of The Pastels. The Five were all so impressive.
“Well, they’re all much older than you, Baby.” Papa had walked up and heard her say that last part out loud. They were standing in the main hall where the portraits of each of The Five hung. They sparkled. The golden photo frames had nothing to do with it.
Everyone did these days. She was much younger than all The Five.
“They’ve had more time to turn themselves into what you see now. I promise you; none of them were impressive when they were sixteen.” Papa continued.
“I’m not convinced that they agree with you, Papa. I think to them I am thoroughly unimpressive, and my age is no excuse. Another sister you and Maman expect them to care for.” Then she slinked away before Papa could respond.
She went to her room to change out of her dress. Maman was standing at the foot of her bed. “I came to tell you not to change. We are going to do more photos once your sisters all get here. They had to make a stop on the way from the court.”
She wondered where Maman had found something so lovely in her size. Just then she heard the gravel crunching and car doors slamming. The Five had arrived.
She bumped into Four in the hall. “Oh, it fits so well! I was concerned because I was relying on Maman’s shaky measurements.”
“You made this dress for me?” Baby asked.
“Duh, sister. C’mon. I think Three is going to go all Hulk hangry if we don’t eat soon.”
“Baby, you look so good!” Two said when Baby and Four reached the bottom of the stairs. “Four designed it for you months ago and we decided you should wear it for your adoption ceremony and portrait.”
“You thought about my outfit, my ceremony?”
Maman had made chicken alfredo for her. On the way to the dining room, they went down the hall again. Now, there were six golden frames. Six sparkling girls. Baby stopped midstep.
“You’re one of us now. Like it or not.” One said.
“You’ll love being one of us.” Five said.
“Duh, sister.” Baby said.