If you haven’t already read the backstory, it’s right here!

Told in Molly’s point of view, this is what happened… 

Jasmine and I exchanged glances frantically. Josefina, Cécile, and Emelie – AKA the sensible, evil, fun-stopping party-poopers – weren’t there to stop us. Why not throw common sense out the door and see what crazy Chloe was talking about?

In a flash, Jazzy and I scurried down the porch railing to follow Chloe to who knows where.

“Are you absolutely sure you’ve found the thief?” Jasmine asked.

“Yes!” Chloe gasped, breaking into a sprint. “I’ve been stalking the thief for the past hour, aware that we were getting another shipment tonight! Hurry!”

Knowing Chloe, that was the most interesting thing she’d encountered all day. She lives for drama and action. Maybe that’s why she writes story so much – so she can live the adventures she’s always dreamed of.

We tore after Chloe as she tore after the thief. We could barely see the short robber – was that a little girl?

“HALT!” Chloe wheezed out of her burning lungs as she dashed across the parking lot. “STOP!”

The thief rounded the corner of the landscaping rocks, but she was no match for Chloe; a spy, ninja, and adventure-seeker all at once. We ran after her, huffing and puffing. But Chloe’s eyes were determined and fixed on that thief’s sack of stolen presents.

In the blink of an eye, Chloe’s hands grasped the little thief’s shoulders and turned her around. Jasmine plopped down hard on one of the landscaping rocks, and I caught up with them both just in time to hear Chloe gasp in heart-stopping horror.

“Tova?” she croaked miserably.

The thief was Tova, of all people! I could not believe my eyes, but I was too out of breath to say anything. Her huge hazel eyes looked up at us in shame.

“Hi,” she squeaked.

“Why would you – how – what -” Chloe stammered, unsure of what to say. “Were you the thief all this time?”

“Yes,” little Tova murmured honestly, her lips quivering.

“Why? How could you, Tova?” Chloe demanded, feeling very betrayed.

Tova looked like she was about to cry. “I’m sorry,” her voice was at the edge of tears.

Chloe swallowed hard. Tova had been the most innocent little girl last year when we adopted her even though the orphanage had made a mistake. Most of the time she just hung out with Madison’s stuffed animals, most of which were her size anyway. We haven’t seen her very much this year, but when she first came, she and Chloe were little buddies. Chloe wanted to write a book all about her inspiring story of how she came to live with us, and the two loved chatting together. The fact that Tova would do something so absolutely mean broke Chloe’s heart.

“Why would you do that, Tova?” she asked.

“Madison has so many stuffed animals,” Tova began to explain. “I wanted to get presents for them all, since I’m always with them but I just didn’t know where to get presents for all of those stuffed animals and I thought that taking them was a good idea but I know now that it is not and I’m-” at this, Tova began to cry – “I’m so sorry!

Chloe didn’t say anything (I was panting, so I couldn’t ;) ) to Tova. She just set her lips tightly and watched as Tova’s tears ran down her cheeks.

“That’s wrong, Tova,” Chloe shook her head in disbelief. “I can’t believe you would so something like that.”

“I’m so sorry!” Tova wailed again, swiping at her eyes. “Please forgive me! I’ll give the presents back, I promise. All of them. I haven’t given them to anyone yet!”

Chloe’s countenance lifted. “You will?”

“Yes,” Tova nodded truthfully. “I’m really sorry!”

Chloe wrapped her arms tightly around Tova as the crickets began chirping. “Of course I forgive you, Tova,” she told her as they hugged. “I’m so glad you’re going to do the right thing!”

“Thanks,” Tova sighed, a little happier by then. “I just don’t know what to give to all of my stuffed animal friends. They are like family to me.”

“I have an idea,” I chimed in, and Tova turned her head to me.

“What?” she asked.

“You could give them all a big, squeezy hug,” I suggested. “The ones only a Tova can give.”

Tova’s face lit up into a smile. It was no secret that everyone loved her hugs.

“See, Molly?” Jasmine piped up from behind me, having finally recovered from the rare, exerting sprint. “God provided again!”

“In the most unexpected way,” I laughed. “But He did.”

‘Cause He always does.

Merry Christmas, everyone! Don’t forget the reason for the season, Jesus Christ – not that He’s a baby, but what He came on earth to do for you. Yeah, you, staring at the screen. Click here for the greatest Christmas gift ever.

(Madi here! My goodness, did I ever have to fight from being destroyed by those man-eating mosquitoes! I couldn’t get that last picture to turn out right, because the moment I was still enough to snap the photo, the mosquitoes would begin feasting on me again. The picture you see above was the clearest one I was able to get before it got too dark. :P )

(I wish it would get cold here in Florida, but it’s going to be 83 degrees on Christmas day! Wonderful weather for mosquitoes. Sigh.)

(Hey, I’m not complaining though. ‘Cause I spy a really awesome present under the tree in the shape of an 18″ American Girl doll box.)

(You seriously have no idea how much self control it is taking to keep me from scratching all of my mosquito bites, though. XD Have you ever escaped the clutches of death from man-eating mosquitoes? ?)

And of course…

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