Hallie picked up another toy from the floor. It’s getting there, she thought, looking around the room. She’d always try to make herself get the tidying up out of the way as soon as the kids left for school.
Luckily, today was one of the more manageable days – unlike when Camden and Marla decided to have some of the dolls go “bungee jumping” using chewing gum as their bungee. Hallie laughed to herself, shaking her head at the memory.
The doorbell interrupted her. Odd, Hallie thought. She wasn’t expecting any prospective parents to come by today. As long as whoever it was got her out of cleaning for a bit, she smirked as she answered the door.
They may have only known each other briefly, but Hallie recognised the smile instantly. Sweet and genuine. Though the woman in front of her did look a little nervous, she noticed. What was she doing here?
“Hi! You might not remember me, but being in Newcrest, I felt like I should still come by and say hello…”
“Bonnie!” Hallie stopped her right there. “Of course I remember you. And before you say anything else, I need to apologise. I acted really plummy towards you, back in Windenburg, when you did nothing wrong…”
“I was being a more than a little presumptuous,” Bonnie objected. “There’s really no need to apologise. I actually wasn’t sure if you’d even want to see me. But we got along so well at first, and we did say that we’d let each other know if we’re ever in the same area at the same time, so… here I am.” She laughed awkwardly.
“I’m glad you’ve stopped by,” Hallie assured her. “What brings you to Newcrest, anyway?”
“Funnily enough, I’m doing a piano duet with your older sister, Pauline. It’s a festive concert, with Snow Flake Day coming up soon… a bit of a dream come true, really. Pauline Bloomer! She’s such a talented pianist! Anyway, she’s the one who told me where to find you, actually.” Bonnie realised she was getting side-tracked.
Hallie couldn’t help at smile, seeing Bonnie’s giddiness. She was planning to spend the day doing Snow Flake Day shopping for the kids, but she had a better idea now.
“Hey Bonnie, are you in a rush? There’s a really nice café just over in Magnolia Promenade, Monty’s Goodies. Would you like to grab a hot chocolate or something?”
Bonnie’s face lit up. “I’d like that very much.”
Once they finished choosing the most delicious looking pastries, the two women made themselves comfortable at a table by the window.
“So, you’ve opened an orphanage. Can’t say I saw that coming when I first met you, back when you were still going by DJ Eillah. What a change!” Bonnie seemed impressed.
“I know,” Hallie laughed. “I can’t say I particularly foresaw it myself. But once it came to me, I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. And I haven’t looked back since. Those kids… they’re amazing. I feel like I’m actually making a difference now.”
“Not that I didn’t like making music, or that music makes no difference, of course,” she added quickly.
“Oh don’t be silly, I wouldn’t claim I make as much of a contribution to the world as you have for a second!” Bonnie told her.
“That’s an unfair comparison. It’s just a different contribution,” Hallie smiled. “Music makes life so much better, I know that first hand! I’ve heard your solo album, by the way. It’s fantastic!”
“Oh, thank you,” Bonnie seemed surprised. “That means a lot to me!”
“What made you leave the Neon Sirens, if I can ask?”
“Well, you might remember that I wasn’t a huge fan of the whole rockstar lifestyle,” Bonnie explained. “And the Neon Sirens were nonstop. The parties, the whole scene… I just grew so tired of it over time. Going back to my roots seemed like an obvious choice.”
Bonnie nodded. “It’s been really good so far. Like I’ve rediscovered my love for music all over again.” Her eyes sparkled. “Not to mention it’s opened up all these opportunities. Like the duet with Pauline. Or… reconnecting with someone that could have been a good friend, if I hadn’t jumped into conclusions.”
She looked at Hallie shyly.
“Honestly, Bonnie, the fault was all mine there,” Hallie told her. “I was really lost back then. I didn’t know who I was, what I wanted or how to live. I was so unhappy and uncomfortable with who I was. And I took it out on you at the first sign of a misunderstanding. It was hardly justified. It wasn’t your fault.”
Bonnie smiled at her brightly. “It looks like you’ve gone far since then. You seem far from lost to me. The first thing I thought when I saw you today was that you look so… fulfilled.”
“Thank you. Yes, I’m finally happy in my skin. Took quite some time.” Hallie said.
“So… does this mean we could turn a new leaf?” Bonnie asked hopefully. “Friends?”
“Friends.” Hallie nodded. “I don’t see a lot of travelling coming up for me in the future, with the kids and all, but I would love to stay in touch, Bonnie. And whenever you’re in Newcrest, do let me know.”
“Well, I’m not touring all the time anymore, so I could definitely find some time to go to Newcrest every now and then.” Bonnie beamed. “To visit a friend.”