The Universe Builders: Bernie and the Lost Girl

The Perfect Little Girl


Suzie walked the short distance to the Second Circle where her mother’s shop, Your Sunny Best, was located. She’d promised to help her mother rearrange the store displays after school.

Suzie was proud of her mother’s clothing shop, which specialized in retro fashion styles, although for gods and goddesses who lived forever, their definition of ‘retro’ often went back hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Fortunately, that wasn’t much of a problem, since nothing changed very fast in their world.

Suzie, who had just begun middle school, was popular with both her classmates and her teachers. Quick with a smile or kind word, Suzie was always there to support her friends. Her teachers appreciated her studious nature and her quickness in helping others whenever she could. And it didn’t hurt that her mother dressed her in the latest fashions, making her the envy of more than a few of her classmates.

“Hi, Mom.”

“Hi, Suzie. How was school?”

“Fine, thanks,” she said deciding there was no need to mention the skirmish with Billy.

Anytime she mentioned Billy, the conversation soon turned to Bernie. Like most people who had heard of the fight between Bernie and Billy, her mother was convinced that Bernie was dangerous. ‘Look what he did to Billy,’ her mother would say. Suzie’s insistence that Bernie had been trying to defend her didn’t matter. Suzie also wondered if some part of her mother’s dislike of Bernie came from the unfashionable way he dressed. Suzie knew Bernie could never afford to shop in her mom’s store. And it wasn’t fair to hold that against him.

Her mother looked her daughter up and down, smiling. “My perfect little girl. You are so smart and so beautiful,” said her mother.

“Aw, Mom…”

“Okay, okay. I’m sorry,” she said. “But I’m so proud of you.”

Suzie spent the next two hours dragging clothing racks into different positions, dressing mannequins in new fashions, and helping create new displays for the store windows. Her mother asked her opinion on several occasions when they reached the children’s section, which pleased Suzie.

“Suzie, there’s something I want to talk with you about,” said her mother.


“I’ve been talking with the other shop owners about holding a fashion show. It would be a great way of showing off our new fashions. Six or seven shops going in together would make it really big. We might even get the whole town to show up.”

Suzie nodded.

Her mother continued, “I told them we should make it into a contest and give awards for the best fashions and even a beauty contest for the models. We could have different categories. It would be just like the Universe Awards. And we could crown the winner as Miss Universe. It would be fantastic.”

Oh, Mom. I can see this coming from a mile away.

Suzie’s mom continued, “You would be the perfect model for our young adult line.”

Suzie’s godly shimmer turned steely gray, causing her mother to say, “I can see you don’t like the idea, but I want you to think about it. I know you would win.”

The rest of the afternoon consisted of moving two more displays and, at her mother’s insistence, trying on four new outfits, two of which, Suzie knew, were going to show up in her closet at home.

But, that was the way it had always been.


*** Next Chapter ***