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The Magic of a Young Girl's Soul

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The openings of museum exhibits were normally on John's list of events to be avoided at all costs. Holly had dragged him to a few, all of which had been so overly crowded with people being pretentious that actually seeing the art was almost impossible. Not that he complained about that aspect; the few glimpses he managed were sufficient to convince him modern art wasn't his style.

This exhibit opening was surprisingly nice. At least Matt's friend's techno-sculptures made whirring noises and flashed pretty lights, so he appeared to have invested more work in his 'art' than splashing dabs of paint on a canvas, and the crowd was more grunge and goth than sleek socialite. The free food was in the courtyard, so they were able to escape to fresh air and space to move. As they munched on pizza, Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising" started playing on the speakers, and their daughter began jumping up and down with happiness, her long, black, floppy hair bouncing on her shoulders. She was dressed in a tie-dye shirt, blue jeans, and purple shoes with butterflies. John smiled, loving both the outfit and her obvious enthusiasm for CCR.

He nudged Matt, tilting his head toward her, not that either of them ever took their eyes off her for very long in public. "She likes Creedence."

"Oh God," Matt moaned. "You're corrupting my child before she can even talk."

John snorted, not at all disturbed at the 'my child,' even if it was biologically accurate. He knew that when she was cranky or crying or needed a diaper change, she'd be 'your child,' but when strangers admired her or she did something for the first time, then she'd be 'our child.' "Yes, we're so proud of our little girl. She's so cute." Or "You have to see what our girl can do now. Honey, show your daddy how you can put your shoes on."

He'd done all this before, but it was easier this time, simpler with Matt. Maybe because John was older and had more experienced with handling children; maybe because Matt seemed less intent on proving himself than Holly had been.

Creedence finished, and The Lovin' Spoonful begin wondering if you believed in magic, and she lost interest in jump dancing, taking off across the courtyard to explore. She was fearless and fascinated with the world, traits John hoped she'd never lose. "My turn," John said, following her, leaving Matt eating his pizza. He glanced back to see Matt smiling with the same infectious happiness as their daughter's enthusiasm for Creedence, and grinned.

Yeah. The Spoonful weren't Creedence, but they had it right. He did believe in magic.