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Sparkles

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Lydia Michelson, who was finally 5 and three-quarters, had decided her sixth birthday party would be a sparkle party.

Sparkle was anything with glitter, of course, but more so anything with glitter that she could wear, and more-more so anything with glitter that she could wear on her face. She knew there were still lots of days before her actual birthday but she had convinced her father to take her to the toy store so she could begin planning.

Holding her father's hand, Lydia dragged him (chatting on his mobile, again) through the store. Rounding the corner to the right area, Lydia was surprised to find two grown-up men directly in front of her number one favorite, the Cupcake Girl makeup set.

She looked up to her father who mouthed a “wait your turn” back to his impatient daughter. Lydia moved to stand in front of a different make-up kit on the same aisle; this one, she remembered, had a mirror in the top. If she stood just right she thought she could watch the two men in secret.

She knew it was rude to stare but she didn't think this counted. Plus, she had never seen two grown-up men by themselves – ever – in the sparkle area.

The man she saw first in her mirror was kneeling in front of the Cupcake Girl set with a small square thing held up to his face.

The other man stood behind him, facing out into the store, with his arms crossed across his chest. He was a little short but also looked very strong. The standing man suddenly reminded her of Brutus, her family's bulldog, who was so solid and serious about his guard dog responsibilities.

Then as she turned the mirror a little, the standing man caught her eye and grinned at her in the reflection. Lydia was surprised how his face changed so completely within those few seconds.

Feeling she had been discovered, Lydia pretended to study the different eye shadows in the kit before her. She could hear the two men talking and could see them out of the corner of her eye if she turned sideways.

“This kit alone has 34 shades,” the kneeling said to the standing man. “I need to test all the colors until I find the right one.”

“Fine, get whatever you need,” the standing man replied. “But you are not testing any more of that stuff on me.”

“But John...”

“Nope. Not happening.”

“But I need to see how the colors look on actual lips!” the kneeling man said. “You can't expect me to solve this without all the data.”

At that Lydia dared a glance at the man named John.

“Get the data from your own face then,” John said, pinching the top part of his nose, but Lydia saw him smiling behind his hand. “None of these are my shade.”

The kneeling man barked out a laugh, adding, “Oh fine,if you insist on being difficult.” But as he turned to rise, Lydia saw a smirk cross his face.

She watched the two men head for the trolleys.

The man who had been kneeling was tall and thin and dressed in dark from his head to his toes. Lydia watched as he practically flew through the store on long legs, his long coat flowing behind. He reminded her of Bolt, her family's greyhound dog, who could move so fast all you saw was a grey blur after he disappeared.

She wondered if these two men were best friends like Brutus and Bolt. She hoped so.

Wait, she could have a pet sort of party!

Lydia pulled her father toward the animal section and left the sparkle behind.