Following the original script for this story with my own ideas thrown in too :)
The nightmares had been getting worse. No matter how much she went to talk to her therapist it didn't make a difference. Jennifer sighed and opened the bathroom cabinet then took out a small box of pills "Nightmare." She whispered, putting the pill in her mouth, pouring a cup of water and taking the pill. Once she was done, she sat down on the floor and put her head on her knees, praying for the nightmares to leave her alone.
"Mommy, please stay home today!" Mia cried, holding onto her Mother's hand "I don't like it when you go out."
"I'm sorry Sweetie but we don't have a choice." Jennifer replied patiently, lifting up her youngest daughter "Me and Daddy are going to visit Meredith. And then after this visit, we're gonna bring Meredith back to live with us. Won't that be exciting?"
"I don't get why you need another kid, especially a creepy little orphan." Jude moaned from the sofa "And why does it have to be a girl? You already have Mia and Eva. Are they not good enough for you?"
"That's not true!" Gerard said, coming into the living room "Jude, we've already explained this. We're getting a little girl because of Jessica."
Jennifer went pale at the mention of Jessica and put Mia back down on the floor "Frank will be here in a couple of minutes and he'll look after you all until we get back." Jennifer explained to the kids "Where's Eva?"
"In her room drawing." Gerard replied "I've already told her that we're going out."
"What did she say?" Jennifer asked and Gerard raised his eye-brows "You know what I mean."
"She didn't seem to mind that we were going out. I think she's looking forward to Meredith moving in with us."
"Well I'm not!" Jude moaned "Dad, can we go swimming tomorrow please?"
"I would Jude but I'm picking up Meredith with your Mom." He sighed "I'm sorry. Oh, that looks like Frank's car outside. I'd better let them in." Gerard went over to the door and opened it. Frank, his wife Valeria and his two daughters Shayla and Mazy "Hey, thanks so much for agreeing to babysit."
"It's okay." Frank grinned "Go and visit Meredith. I'm sure she's looking forward to seeing you."
Meredith sat in the living room playing with a dolls house when the door opened and Jennifer and Gerard walked into the room followed by one of the nuns, Sister Abigail "Meredith, look who's here to see you." Sister Abigail smiled.
Meredith leaped up and ran over to greet them but stopped just out of their reach. Jennifer bent down to her level "You look so pretty!" Jennifer beamed.
"Sister Abigail put ribbons in my hair. See?"
"Wow that was nice of her." Jennifer put her hand in her bag "Look, we brought you something for the trip tomorrow." She pulled out a travel turtle and a pack of activity books and handed them to Meredith. Her face lit up.
"What do you say?" Sister Abigail prompted.
"Thank you." Meredith smiled. Jennifer reached out to hug her but Meredith moved away, her focus completely on the presents. Jennifer looked at Sister Abigail and gave a sad smile.
Gerard muttered something about needing to use the bathroom and slipped off while Jennifer and Sister Abigail sat down while Meredith started drawing a picture with her travel turtle on her lap "Nervous?" Sister Abigail laughed, too quiet for Meredith to hear.
"Yes." Jennifer replied "And happy. And excited. And proud. And scared shitless. It's funny. I had the same feelings when I was pregnant with the other kids."
"That's what really worries you, isn't it? Something bad happened, the last time you felt this way." Sister Abigail said gently. Jennifer bit her lip and looked away "Meredith's doing something similar. She's afraid of getting hurt again too. But I have a good feeling about you two. You can help each other heal. And you're lucky. You have a wonderful husband who can be there for you both." Something flickered in Jennifer's eyes when Sister Abigail said she had a wonderful husband. Did she doubt she had a wonderful husband? Sister Abigail din't seem to notice.
Gerard emerged from the bathroom and wiped his wet hands on his jeans. He was about to walk back to his wife and Meredith but then he heard a little girl singing "That's the story of, that's the glory of love..." Whoever was singing had a cute, unusual voice with a strange accent. Gerard followed the singing up the stairs, down a corridor of pictures obviously painted by the same artist, down to a little classroom. He opened the door and stepped inside. There was a little girl sitting at an easel at the side of the room. She turned around when she heard Gerard had opened the door.
The small girl was beautiful with long, straight, chestnut brown hair with a full-fringe and big green eyes. She looked about eight years old and she was wearing a lacy white dress. There was an unusual black ribbon around her neck and two around her wrists "Hello." Gerard smiled at the little girl.
"Hello." The girl replied in a strange accent.
"Are these all your paintings?" Gerard asked. He was extremely interested in any form of art.
"Yes. Do you like them?"
"Of course I do! They're incredible."
The small girl smiled at the compliment "Thank you. My name is Penina. What's yours?"
"Gerard. It's nice to meet you." He held out his hand and Penina shook it politely. Gerard pulled up a seat from one of the desks and sat down next to her "So what's this painting going to be?"
"My paintings are all stories based on my imagination." Penina explained, dabbing gently at the canvas "This one is about a sad mother lion who has lost her cubs."
"She's smiling." Gerard pointed out.
"She's dreaming about her babies. It's the only thing that makes her happy."
"Well, I hope she finds them."
Penina glanced at him "She will. Look." She continued painting on the canvas "They were lost in the jungle and they were so scared because they didn't have a mother or father to take care of them. And just when they thought they'd be alone forever. They found their Mother asleep under this tree. Now when she wakes up, her dream will have come true. She'll have her family again."
"Where did you learn how to do this?" Gerard asked, amazed that this little girl was so amazing at art and making up stories.
"I guess I've just had lots of time to practice. It's so boring here."
"You don't play with the other girls? It sounds like they're having fun."
"I like staying inside. That way I don't get my clothes dirty."
"Well that's very responsible of you." Gerard said gently "But I'll bet the sisters could find something else for you to wear."
"You don't like my dress?" Penina asked, stroking it "Don't you think it's pretty?"
"Your dress is very pretty." Gerard said quickly "I'm just saying if you wanted you could go and play outside."
"I don't like the other girls." Penina whispered awkwardly "And they don't like me. Because I'm different."
"There's nothing wrong with being different." Gerard told her. He knew what it was like to be different and not have any friends.
"Yes, there is." Penina looked down at the ground "Everyone says there's not, but that's not true. I don't care. If I'm sad or lonely I just come in here and paint a story with a happy ending. And when people say they like my paintings, it makes me feel better." Penina looked up and smiled at him "I think people should try to take the bad things that have happened to them in their lives and turn it into something good. Don't you agree?"
Gerard was about to reply when Jennifer came crashing into the room with Sister Abigail "There you are." Gerard smiled and waved eagerly for Jennifer to come in. Penina sat up a little straight when he did. Sister Abigail looked at who Gerard had been talking to and frowned a little.
"Hey I'd like for you to meet someone," He looked at Penina "Penina, this is my wife Jennifer. Jennifer, this is Penina."
Jennifer smiled and held out her hand for Penina to shake it but instead, Penina took it and put it to her cheek lovingly. "Motta..." Penina said quietly.
Gerard and Jennifer exchanged an amused look "She painted these all by herself."
"Wow, you're quite the little artist."
"Thank you!" Penina smiled "You smell nice." The grown-ups laughed "Would you like me to paint you a picture now?" Penina asked eagerly "You can watch me if you want. I'm normally a little shy but-"
"Penina, I'm sorry, they don't have time for you to paint them a picture." Sister Abigail said quickly "They have to come with me now. Meredith's going home with them tomorrow. Isn't that wonderful?"
Penina wilted and let go of Jennifer's hand "Yes." Penina whispered "I'm sure she'll be very happy."
"It was nice meeting you." Jennifer said.
"The pleasure was mine."
"You've got a real talent on your hands." Gerard told Sister Abigail as they left the room.
"Yes, we're very lucky to have her." Sister Abigail nodded but her voice sounded strange as if she didn't feel very lucky to have Penina at all.
They went downstairs towards the car "The notary will be here at ten tomorrow for you to sign the placement agreement." Sister Abigail told Jennifer.
"Thank you so much for all your help." Jennifer turned away and then turned back "What did she say to me back there? It sounded like... Motta?"
"It's Russian. It means 'Mother'."