This story takes place immediately after “My Friend”


August 26, 1995


This particular Saturday was a bright, sunny summer day.  It was a good omen for new beginnings.  Brian Belden and Jim Frayne prepared to leave for college that morning, ready to head off on a grand adventure.

Jim’s things were loaded into one car and Brian’s into another.  The parents wanted to spend time with their boys, so Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler were driving Jim, and Mr. and Mrs. Belden were driving Brian.  No one else would be making the trip to Boston University.

When everything was loaded and everyone ready to go, the Wheelers drove over to Crabapple Farm.  The round of hugs and kisses and well-wishes seemed to last forever, as there were so many people there.  All the Bob-Whites, as well as Bobby Belden, Miss Trask, Regan, and the Lynch family, had gathered there to say their final goodbyes.  Honey stuck by Jim’s side, like she could not bear to let him leave.  Trixie, however, sat in the shade of a Crabapple tree and watched from a distance, the tears flowing freely.

Mr. Wheeler finally tried to get everyone to quiet down.  “Folks, we really need to wrap this up and get on the road, or we’ll never get there,” he said.  “Boys, have you said goodbye to everyone?”

Jim spoke quickly, “No!  Has anyone seen Trixie?”  He looked anxiously around at the group surrounding the cars, but didn’t see her.

Brian had spotted his sister several minutes earlier.  He knew just what she was doing; she hated to let anyone see her cry and she wouldn’t come anywhere near them until she had stopped.  But time was running out.  “I’ll go get her,” he volunteered.

Many in the group of tight-knit family and friends had looked concerned when they realized Trixie wasn’t with them.  Brian’s tone reassured them, but they were still puzzled.  Why would Trixie not be there to say goodbye to her brother and her best friend?  Watching Brian leave to get her didn’t calm their confusion any; they had expected him to head for the house, but instead he wandered off into the orchard.  What was Trixie up to now?

Brian walked slowly towards Trixie.  She was sitting with her knees drawn up to her chest, and her head down on her knees, hiding her face.  Brian crouched in front of her and silently offered her his handkerchief.  He waited a moment while she wiped her face and tried to compose herself.

“We’ve got to go now, Trix,” he said softly.  “Jim wants to say goodbye.”

Trixie choked back a sob.  “I can’t.”

Brian reached down and lifted her chin, forcing her to meet his eyes.  “Remember what I said last night.  Don’t allow the distance.”

Trixie stared into her brother’s deep, dark eyes and drew strength from him.  She smiled tremulously and whispered, “You promise you won’t leave me?”

Brian smiled.  “I promise.”

“Okay.” She drew a deep breath.  “Let’s get this over with and get you two out of my hair,” she said, flashing him one of her brightest smiles.

Brian grabbed her hands and pulled her to her feet.  Then he wrapped his arms around her tightly.  “I think I’ll say my goodbyes here, in private,” he said huskily.

They stood together, hugging tightly for a long moment.  Then they stepped apart and walked in silence, hand in hand, towards the end of the driveway where everyone else waited.

As they approached the cars, Peter and Helen Belden watched their children and looked at each other.  They both saw the same vision of six-year-old Brian dragging three-year-old Trixie along behind him towards the house.  The elder Beldens’ eyes locked for a moment, before Helen turned away to dab hers with a tissue.  Where did the time go?  This day was going to be so hard.

When Trixie reached the group, she let go of Brian’s hand and walked over to Jim.  He grabbed her hands and looked down at her.  She took a deep breath, then looked up at him mischievously.  “Remember your scales, Frayne,” she told him sternly, eyes twinkling.

Jim knitted his brows in confusion.  He knew she was teasing, but had no idea where she was going with this.  “Care to explain that statement, Belden?”

Trixie’s face softened, and she spoke gently.  “Balance the scales, Jim.  Work hard and have fun.  Leave only a part of your heart here.  Enjoy where you are going.  Live your life, don’t just exist.”

Jim stood there for the longest moment, lost in her eyes.  Then he hugged her to him, and whispered in her ear, “Take care of yourself, Shamus.”

Trixie nodded her head, and leaned up to kiss his cheek.  She then turned and ran into the little white farmhouse, allowing the screen door to slam behind her.

Jim stared after her for a moment.  Then he cleared his throat and looked at his parents.  “I guess we’re ready to go now,” he said, then walked over to the Town Car and slid into the back seat.

Madeleine Wheeler looked at her husband with a question in her eyes.  Any chance that was the hardest part of today?  Is there any possibility it gets easier from here? 

Matt’s expression told her exactly what he thought of that idea.  You’ve got to be kidding me!  He hugged his wife and smiled reassuringly.

Brian had gotten into his parents’ mini-van as soon as Trixie had stepped away from him.  Peter and Helen looked at Matthew and Madeleine.  They nodded quickly to each other, got in, and started both cars.

The crowd waved and called goodbye until the cars were out of sight.  Then Ted Lynch requested everyone’s attention.  “The plan for the rest of the day was lunch and a pool party at our house, if I recall correctly,” he smiled at the group.  He and his wife had made a point of planning a day of fun to cheer everyone up.

Miss Trask piped up.  “Everyone run along and grab your swimsuits.  Rendezvous at the Lynches’ in one-half hour.”  With that she shooed them off.

Grabbing Bobby’s hand, Sherry Lynch instructed Mart, “Bobby’s already got stuff at our house, so I’ll take him with me.  You just get your things and your sister.”  She gave him a pointed look.

Mart nodded and looked up at Trixie’s bedroom window.  “Don’t worry, Mrs. Lynch.  Even I know better than to tease her today.”

Once everyone had gone on their way, Mart walked into the farmhouse and up the stairs to his room.  It seemed so empty.  A wave of loneliness hit him.  Oh, great!  He’s not gone half an hour and I miss him already.  This gets easier, right?

He quickly changed into his tight swimsuit, then threw a pair of baggy shorts on over it.  Once he had put on a shirt, he went across the hall.  Trixie’s door was open.  Just as he expected, she was sitting on the window seat, staring, unseeingly, out the window.

She was sitting in the middle of the seat, so there was enough room between her back and the wall for Mart to sit down behind her.  He leaned forward and rested his chin on her shoulder.  “It looks like it’s just you and me, kid,” he whispered.

Drawing in a shaky breath, Trixie gave him a wan smile.  “Is that a promise or a threat?”

Glad to see his sister’s sense of humor wasn’t completely gone, he waggled his eyebrows and grinned evilly.  “A threat.  Most definitely a threat!”

Trixie laughed out loud.  She turned around and threw her arms around his neck.  Hugging him tightly, she said, “Just don’t you go anywhere, you hear?”

Mart hugged her back.  “The only place I’m going right now is the Lynches’ pool party.  And I’m dragging you with me, you hear?”  With that he pushed her back and said, “Now hurry up and get ready.  I’ll wait downstairs.”


The Lynches kept everyone occupied all day Saturday.  They followed the pool party with a barbecue, a movie marathon in their home theater room, and a sleepover.  On Sunday they organized a volleyball tournament and a trip to the mall in White Plains, keeping all the kids too busy to miss anyone.  The Wheelers and the Beldens returned home late Sunday night.  The rest of the week went by in a flash.

Mrs. Wheeler and Mrs. Belden attempted to cope with their birds leaving the nest by spending every waking moment of that week with their other children.  They organized three shopping trips for school clothes with their own girls and Sherry and Di Lynch.  Madeleine Wheeler directed her mother-henning toward Dan Mangan, as well.  On Friday, she and Helen took Dan and Mart on their own school shopping expedition.

While the mothers were so engaged Friday afternoon, the Bob-White girls met up at the lake for a swim.  Honey swam several laps of the entire lake before collapsing on a towel next to Diana and Trixie. 

Di looked at her in amazement.  “How do you have the energy to swim that far?” Di asked.

Honey groaned.  “I was just trying to work off my frustrations.  My mother is suffocating me!”

Trixie snorted.  “Before you moved here she never spent any time with you.  Now she’s suffocating you.  Aren’t you ever happy, Miss Wheeler?”  She arched her brow in Honey’s direction, a teasing glint in her eye.

Honey laughed.  “I guess I should be grateful for her attention, huh?”

Di shrugged her shoulders.  “I think they’ll get past this smothering stage in a couple of weeks.  They’ll get used to Jim and Brian being away, and life will go back to normal.”

Honey sobered suddenly and looked at her mournfully.  “No, it won’t.  It can’t be normal when Jim and Brian aren’t here.”

Trixie stared off into the distance.  She spoke thoughtfully.  “Two years ago, normal didn’t involve any of us being together.  We change, we grow, we adapt.  If we stayed frozen in time at fourteen forever, we’d never get the chance to accomplish any of our dreams.”

The girls were quiet for a long moment.  Trixie continued, still in that far away voice.  “The Bob-Whites have had the opportunity of a lifetime: to become the great friends we are.  Now we have the challenge of a lifetime: to stay that way.  Nothing worth having is ever easy.”

After a very long silence, she shook her head to refocus her attention.  Then she turned to her friends with an impish grin.  “Now I have a real mystery to solve.”  At their puzzled looks she continued, “Why am I looking forward to school starting Tuesday?”

Honey and Di groaned loudly, then pushed Trixie back into the water.  She surfaced, splashing, and the Honey and Di jumped in after her.  The three friends resumed their playful swim, relishing the last days of summer vacation.

None of them noticed the figure hidden in the woods, intently watching their every move.

On Monday, the entire Wheeler, Belden and Lynch families gathered at the Wheeler’s lake for the annual Labor Day picnic.  The extended families included everyone who was “like family,” such as Miss Trask, Mr. Maypenny, Regan and Dan, Tom and Celia Delanoy, and Mr. Lytell.  It was a large gathering, with lots of laughter and playful good spirits.

All the young people spent some part of the day playing tag in the lake, or getting involved in a volleyball or softball game.  The adults either joined in or sat by the lake, chatting and bemoaning that youth is wasted on the young.  Trixie, usually the most energetic competitor in such sporting events, instead spent the entire day in a lounge chair reading a book.  Finally, during a break between games, Di plopped down in the chair next to her.  “Whatcha doin’?”

Trixie never looked up.  “What does it look like?”

Di rolled her eyes.  “Obviously, you’re reading.  Why now?  Is the book really that good?”

Trixie concentrated on finishing the paragraph she was reading.  After a moment she looked up at Di.  “Actually, it is.  I was supposed to have read the first four chapters before school starts Wednesday for English Lit.  But when I started, I couldn’t put it down.  I’ve only got two chapters left.  I just want to finish it.”

Astonishment was evident in Diana’s expression.  “You mean you’re doing homework?” she fairly shrieked.

Trixie looked startled, then chuckled ruefully.  “Yeah, I guess I am.”  Then she turned back to her book and became deeply absorbed once again.

Having overheard this exchange from their position manning the grill, Mart and Mr. Belden stood and stared at her.  Peter turned and raised an eyebrow at Helen where she was setting out the condiments.  She gave him a sharp look that said very clearly: Don’t mess with a good thing.  Leave her alone!

An hour later, Trixie finally closed the book.  She stared off into space for a few long minutes.  Then she reached under her chair and pulled out a notebook and pen.  She furrowed her brow in concentration, and began to write.  Her hand flew over the paper for another hour.  Ten pages later, she put down her pen and closed the notebook. 

Dan swam up to the dock in front of her.  “Okay, oh scholarly one.  Be done with school for the day and have a swim.”

Trixie smiled at him.  “I just had to organize my thoughts before they left my head.  I know I’d never catch them if I lost them.  Thoughts are much harder to retrieve than jewel thieves,” she giggled as she put away the notebook.

Dan laughed with her.  “Well, now that your thoughts are caught, catch up on the fun.  Come on in!”  With that he grabbed her hand and pulled her into the water.

They swam and played for a while longer before it was time to start cleaning up.  Trixie was the first one out of the lake to help clean up, without any complaints. 

Madeleine looked at Helen and whispered, “Trixie working hard is normal, but when she’s supposed to be having fun instead?  Not to mention skipping the fun in favor of schoolwork?”

Helen shrugged.  “Maybe she’s trying to fill in Brian’s footsteps.  Someone around here has to be serious and studious.”

Maddie’s eyebrows shot up.  “But Trixie?!  If that happens, it’s going to be much too quiet around here.”  And the mothers laughed together.



horizontal rule


Author's Notes:


I promised that I would never forget again, so here goes nothing!

First and foremost, THANK YOU for all the hard work, support and encouragement must go out to my dedicated editors, April and Kathy.  Without you, there would never be any postings from me!


Thanks to Zap for her site, giving us all the opportunity to share our own little visions of our girl Trixie.


Thanks to Julie Campbell, for her wonderful characters, which now belong to Random House, and which I am shamelessly borrowing without permission. 




horizontal rule

Trixie Belden® is owned by Random House.

This site is not affiliated with Random House, and the characters are used without permission.

This site is hosted for the enjoyment of Trixie Belden fans and is not operated for profit.

All non-trademarked materials are copyrighted ©2004-2014 by Kaye Lodick.  All rights reserved.