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“You two are back, again?” Pixie raised her eyebrows at Nim and Lil.
Nim smiled. “We had so much fun yesterday, so we asked Glitter if she would mind covering for us for one more night.”
“She is really good at organizing the new recruits and keeping them out of trouble,” said Lil.
Nim nodded. “You’re right, Lil. She really seemed to be enjoying herself.”
Figgy and Pixie were worried. Did Nim and Lil think they couldn’t do the job without them? Were they so concerned over the previous season’s shenanigans that they felt they needed to keep a closer eye on them?
“That’s ok with you guys, isn’t it?” Lil frowned at the silent pair.
“Oh, sure.” Pixie smiled a little too brightly and nudged Figgy.
“Y-yeah,” added Figgy. “You guys are always welcome.”
“Great!” said Nim and Lil together. “Who’s turn is it tonight?
Joe came tip-toeing into the kitchen holding a big pile of shoes rising tall over his head. “Boy have I got a great idea tonight!”
Sneakers, sandals, slippers and flip-flops tumbled to the floor.
“Whoa!” said Figgy.
Pixie smiled. “Wow!”
“Let me guess,” said Lil. “A shoe train?”
Nim twirled. “Oh that was one of my favorites! We did that, what, three, four years ago?”
Joe just noticed Nim and Lil. “Hey guys! I didn’t know you were coming back again.”
“Yeah,” said Figgy under his breath. “Neither did we.”
* * *
The crew set to work making the shoe train from Jake’s room to the kitchen.
“This looks great!” said Lil.
Joe giggled. “It’s not finished yet!”
“Right. We need to get in the shoes.” Nim headed to a pair of dirty boots.
“Nope,” said Joe.
“Oh! We need the sleigh at the front!” Lil flew to get the little wooden sleigh from the top of the piano.
“We need that too,” said Joe. “But I’ve planned a big surprise for Pixie and Figgy…and you guys too.” With a flourish, Joe unveiled a ball pit large enough for the elves to jump in and filled with hundreds of pom-poms.
Red, blue and green.
Sparkly, glittery and shiny.
Nim and Lil wasted no time. They squealed and dove straight into the ball pit.
Nim’s head popped up above the pom-poms. “Pixie, Figgy, you guys have to try this!”
Pixie and Figgy glanced at each other, sharing the smallest of frowns. They were thinking the exact same thing.
Nim and Lil had just stolen their surprise. And worse, they were taking over all the fun.