Mollykins twitched her tail back and forth, waiting for the timer to buzz. It was the first time she and Yanli had made cookies by themselves, and she couldn't wait to see how they had turned out. It had been some work to keep Yanli on track, but she was getting good at that. Her sister's short attention span was legendary, but Molly's consistency was enough for both of them for short projects.
Molly looked down at Yanli. The Zafara was sitting on the floor with the Xweetok's Barlow, trying to teach him to beg. Orion was just panting good-naturedly, waiting patiently for Yanli to give him the treat she was holding.
"You know, usually they say that petpets who won't do tricks are dumb, but personally I think they are the smart ones. They know you'll give up eventually and they'll get a treat for no effort," Yanli complained as she tossed Orion the treat.
"Petpets are crafty like that," Molly said with a smile.
Yanli suddenly spun around, she was grinning from ear to ear. "You've been here almost a year, Molly. Isn't that exciting?"
Molly reflected on that. She had been a Kimmy for almost a year. "Yes, Yanli, it is. This year has been so happy it has just flown by."
Yanli turned back to Orion, petting him under the chin. "Which means you've been with us almost a year, too, Orion! You're a lucky puppy."
Orion whined happily and wagged his curly little tail.
Molly thought back on the start of year. Meeting Yanli, being adopted by Kristy, becoming a member of the Kimmy family. It had all seemed such a long time ago already, like she had been a part of her new family for years.
"I should do something to show them how much I love this family," Molly thought to herself. "But, it should be something special, and big."
"Hey, Yanli," Molly called out. "Give me a random number."
"Six hundred!" Yanli replied promptly.
Molly balked, shocked by the high number, and then decided she was lucky it was so low given it was Yanli she had asked. She racked her brain, trying to figure out ways to incorporate the number six hundred into ways to show her family she loved them.
The timer went off. Yanli jumped up with an excited squeal. Molly put on the oven mitts and pulled out the tray of cookies. They looked perfect, but of course the real test would come in the taste. Suddenly she had an idea for the first thing she could do.
"Hey, Yanli. Wanna bake more cookies?" she asked.
"Yes!" Yanli shouted, throwing her arms up in the air.
"Wow, Mollykins," Elise said with a bemused smile. "That's a lot of cookies."
"Six hundred exactly!" Molly cried with a bright smile. "Yanli and I made them for you guys!"
Chloe just laughed and tousled Molly's brown curls. "Gotta love the enthusiasm, right, Elise?"
Elise laughed too. "Yes, yes I do. But, if you don't mind, I think we'll send some of these with Chloe to work tomorrow. Six hundred is a lot for one family, even with nine of us, to eat. I'm sure the DoN will love them, though."
"Of course," Molly said. "Miss Loraine and Mr. Lightning are always nice to me when we stop by to say hi to Chloe."
"Come on, Clo. Let's go find a box," Elise said, waving for her sister to follow.
Left alone in the kitchen Molly bounced on her toes and munched on a cookie, trying to think of the next way she could use six hundred.
Kristy walked through the front door and stopped dead, nearly knocked over by the perfumy scent that filled the house.
"Guys, did Yanli bathe Ella in perfume again?" she called out, remember the time that her Zafara had liberally sprayed the poor Faellie, who had then gone on a tear about the house, spreading the scent to every room.
The little white Xweetok grinned down at her mother from the staircase.
"Come here, Mama!" she cried, holding out her hand.
Kristy smiled and came up the stairs. She took the Xweetok's hand and allowed herself to be lead down into the parlor. Every available surface was covered in flower arrangements made of various types of wildflowers. Molly led her throughout the ground level; each room was filled with the flower arrangements.
"Molly, these are beautiful. Did you make them yourself?" Kristy asked.
"Yanli helped me gather the flowers, but I did the arranging all by myself," Molly said proudly.
"That's amazing. How many are there exactly?"
"Six hundred!" Molly cried.
Kristy chuckled incredulously. "I don't know what to say, Molly. I can't even comprehend doing that many in one day. That is amazing."
"Thank you, Mama!" Molly cried, throwing her arms around her mother's waist.
"Um, wow," Elise said, looking at the stars that coated the hallways of the stairwell. The Cybunny spun around looking up as they climbed all the way to the second floor landing. She was joined by Princess and Anita, who also looked up in amazement.
"They all have inspirational phrases written on them, handwritten on them. Molly has beautiful handwriting for a girl her age," Princess commented. "I thought the six hundred pictures of our family were impressive, but this blows that away."
Kristy joined appeared in the doorway. "Hey, girls, there a party here?"
The Uni pointed up and Kristy looked, gasping in surprise. She looked questioningly at the girls. They all shrugged, as baffled by it as their mother was.
Molly sat out by the pond in the garden, dangling her feet in it. She was wracking her brains to come up with another way to use six hundred. She heard footsteps behind her and looked over her shoulder. Kristy was coming down the garden path. She stopped next to her and sat down, taking off her shoes and putting her feet in the water.
"Whatcha thinking about, Mollykins?" Kristy asked with a smile.
"Nothing really," Molly said.
"Nothing to do with six hundred?" Kristy asked.
"What! But, how did you?" Molly asked.
"Six hundred cookies, six hundred flower arrangements, six hundred drawings, six hundred handmade cards with inspirational phrases in the shape of stars, it is kinda hard not to notice, honey. So, what's special about six hundred?"
Molly smiled softly. "I asked Yanli for a number. I got six hundred."
"You asked Yanli?" Kristy laughed. "You're lucky you didn't get six hundred million."
Molly laughed, nodding in agreement.
"So, but why? Is this some Altadorian tradition we don't know about?" Kristy asked.
Molly looked at the water, watching the ripples that moved out into the pond from the swinging movement of her legs beneath the water.
"It has almost been a year," she said softly. "I just wanted to show my family how much I love them. After three years of being alone, having a family again... it's not the way I dreamed... it is so much better. Maybe it was silly, but..."
Kristy pulled her over and kissed the top of her head. "It's not silly at all, Mollykins. We love you so much, and we're so glad we found you. I already can't believe there was a time you weren't a part of the family."
Molly hugged her. "I love you, Mama."
Kristy reached into her pocket and pulled out a necklace of pearl beads with a little bottle at the center.
"I got this for you. The bottle has sea water taken from the harbor in Altador. There are exactly six hundred beads on it."
Kristy fastened the necklace around Molly's neck. Molly held the little bottle, fingers shaking with emotion. She looked up at her mother.
Kristy smiled and rumpled her curls. "You're not the only one who can find six hundred ways."