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Story: 'Heir to the Throne.'
Summary: Chloe loves spending the night at Nana's.

Chloe loves spending the night at Nana's. She lives in a pretty apartment, with old stuff that has all kinds of stories, and like all nanas are supposed to have, there are always cookies in the cookie jar. Chloe's favorite thing about her nana is probably the big vanity that Nana has in her bedroom. It has three mirrors, and lights, and a little shelf for perfume bottles, and four drawers down one side.

Chloe knows the top drawer has Nana's brush in it. It's pretty, metal and shiny, with flowers carved all over, and something Nana once told her is called 'mother of pearl' on the back, though Chloe doesn't know what mothers have to do with it. And always before bed, whenever she spends the night, Chloe would climb into the vanity's chair, and Nana would brush her hair with the pretty brush. Nana tells her that brushing it before bed would keep her hair pretty, but Chloe knows that it's because of the brush. It's too pretty not to make other things pretty.

It takes forever, though. Her hair is so long and curly at the ends that it's what Daddy calls a 'process.' Chloe just knows she has to sit still. She makes up for that by talking, while Nana combs and separates and brushes little by little.

"So I was telling Daddy that he shoulda let me-"

"'Should have let me'," Nana gently corrects her.

"He should have let me invite Faith - she's my best friend from school - come over too, 'cause I think you'd just like her, Nana, she's so funny."

"Is she?"

"Uh-huh. And she's got four brothers and sisters. She told me that she was her parents' favorite, but Daddy told me that parents don't have favorites."

"Your father is very smart."

"Was Daddy your favorite?"

"I never chose."

When Nana finishes brushing her hair, she always braids it and pins it up in a way that Chloe loves but Daddy can never get right. When Daddy tries, the pins poke her in her sleep.

Chloe smiles, turning this way and that to look at her hair, shiny in the mirror lights. "Thank you, Nana," she says, once she's crawled into bed.

Nana kisses her on the forehead. "Can I tell you a secret before bed, princess?"

She beams. "'kay."

"If I had to choose a favorite, it would be you."
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February 2012

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