lilies on the altar, the music was soothing, and the bells rang sweet. Behind
her, Lanie heard a quiet chuckle go through the crowd. Highly unusual.
Episcopalians were taught at an early age not to talk, laugh, or fidget after
entering the sanctuary. This was a time to prepare to worship. Lanie resisted
turning around, which was also against the rules—until she felt an insistent
little finger tapping her shoulder.
her head a quarter turn, and there sat Emma Avery—in a bee costume, complete
with antennae, yellow and black tights, and little black shoes. Lanie bit her
lip and met Emma’s bright smile. Then she slid her eyes to the left. Pressed
and perfect Luke Avery didn’t look so pressed and perfect this morning. He
looked like a man who had fought a war—a bad one. His hair lay in messy curls
all over his head, his tie was crooked, and his face was damp with
perspiration. He met her eyes and shook his head helplessly.
children’s moment, when all the preschoolers went to the altar to gather around Father Gregory, there
were more chuckles throughout the congregation. As Emma sat among the other
children wearing their smocked and embroidered finery, Father Gregory smiled
broadly and said something about all God’s creatures gathering on Easter
Sunday. When Emma passed Lanie on the way back to Luke, she leaned in and
whispered, “Buzz.” Throughout the rest of the service—hymns, sermon, prayers,
communion—Lanie fought her laughter. By golly, Emma had said she was “’posed to
be honeybee,” and she was.
Emma were just stepping onto the sidewalk when Lanie descended the steps.
up and down and waved to Lanie. Luke looked like a man who wanted to leave the
country. Town matriarch, genteel Caroline Brantley stopped and laid her hand on
Emma’s cheek. Emma turned her bottom toward Miss Caroline and pretended to
sting her. Miss Caroline threw back her head and laughed with delight. She
patted Luke’s arm before moving on.
Here I am!” Emma called.
“I see you.”
Lanie bent to accept her hug.
She bumped Lanie’s leg with her little soft sculpture stinger.
stung me,” Lanie said.
Father Greg too!”
said wearily. “You’ve done a fine job of stinging today.” Emma stung Luke, probably
not for the first time, before turning her attention back to Lanie.
to Beau’s house. I’ll see the Easter bunny and find eggs.”
kidding? Guess what? I’m going to Beau’s house too.” She’d known they were
going to Missy’s Easter brunch. She’d made Emma’s chocolate place card. But
lots of people were going.
turned to Luke. “Lanie’s going to Beau’s!”
Do you think she’s going to have her picture taken with the Easter bunny?”
Miley Sanders and her little girl, Teresa, walked by in their matching floral
mother/daughter dresses. Emma studied them for a second.
you to be the same as me?”
might be fun. But I don’t have a honeybee suit.”
will buy you one.”
looked at Luke, who rolled his eyes and looked heavenward.
be nice,” Lanie said. “But all the stores are closed and there’s no place to
buy a honeybee suit today.”
have another idea. We wouldn’t be exactly the same, but I have a blue dress and
you have your beautiful new blue dress. We could go home and put them on before
we go to Beau’s.”
to be honeybee.”
already have been. You’ve done a wonderful job of being honeybee. Now you can
be the girl who wears her new blue dress.”
considered for a moment. “Okay.”
met Lanie’s. “Okay? Just like that? Do you have any idea what I’ve been through