“But EllRay wasn’t a loser,” Mom reminds me. “And you can lose a contest without being a
,” she adds. “In fact, you can even end up a winner.”
“How?” I ask drowsily, even though Annie Pat and I already know.
“Well, by trying your best, for one thing,” my mom tells me. “And by being a good sport—like Kry Rodriguez was—whether you win
lose. But why was winning so important to
“Because of Daddy,” I say instantly, shutting my eyes. “I wanted to have something really good to tell him when I e-mail him tomorrow. You know, so he remembers how much he loves me.”
“He doesn’t need to be reminded of that, Emma,” Mom tells me in her softest voice.
“I know, I know,” I say. “But I’m here, and he’s there, Mom, in London, England. With
. And with Lettice Wallingford coming over all the time, eating cupcakes with him,” I add, my voice a mumble.
“Who in the world is Lettice Wallingford?” my mom asks.
“She’s this perfect girl who is almost like a daughter to Annabelle,” I say, not wanting to meet Mom’s confused gaze. “She’s her niece or something. Lettice just won a silver cup for horseback riding.”
“A silver cup. Goodness,” Mom echoes, her eyes wide. I guess she’s impressed, too.
“But I won
prizes, didn’t I?” I remind her— and myself. “And maybe I would have won three, if everything had gone the way I wanted it to. Can I tell my dad about the prizes I
“I think you should tell him the whole story,” my mom says quietly. “Starting with your feelings about Lettice Wallingford, and going on from there—to Winter Games Day, and the three events, and you giving your gold star away to Annie Pat, which I think was the most important event of the entire afternoon. He’ll want to know everything, sweetie.”
“But that would take forever to write,” I point out, trying to sound reasonable. “Do you know how long that e-mail would be? I’d have to start writing it
Also, I admit to myself, I don’t want to write too much and accidentally tell my dad any bad stuff about me—like how I was kind of glad that Jared tripped up Corey during the running event, and that Cynthia crashed into Stanley and they both fell down. I can’t take that chance, not with him being so far away from me—and so close to Lettice Wallingford.
“He’ll think I’m a loser,” I whisper, thinking of fabulous Lettice and her silver cup. She probably carries it with her everywhere she goes.
“Never,” Mom tells me. “He’s your father, Emma. And even though he’s far away, he wants to know the truth about everything that’s going on in your life, both the good things and the bad. Nothing is ever going to change the way he feels about you, darling. He’ll know you’re still his wonderful girl who wins sometimes and loses sometimes. You still love
, don’t you? Even though he’s not around?”
“More than ever,” I say.
“Well, he feels the same way about you,” Mom tells me. “Your father doesn’t expect you to be perfect, Emma. But, like me, he always wants you to try your best, and to be kind. That’s why I’m so proud of you, and that’s why he will be, too.”
“I’m almost like a daughter to him,” I say shyly.
“Oh, Emma!” Mom says, laughing, and she reels me in for a great big hug.
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