Grace and her mom were planning Grace's birthday party. Grace was going to be eleven on Saturday, and she was planning to invite all her friends from school to help her celebrate.
Grace was consulting her notebook. "Mom, I'd like to have tacos, chocolate cake, and root beer. Is that ok?"
"That's fine with me. Who are you going to invite?" answered Mrs. Castillo, who was holding a purring Furball in her lap.
"Willie, of course. And the rest of the kids in my class. I guess I'd better invite Jasmine, even though I doubt if she comes."
"Who is Jamine?" asked Mrs. Castillo. "Is she a new girl?"
"Yep, but she's very shy. I don't think I've ever heard her say a word. And guess what? She lives in the old Witherspoon house. What do you think about that!"
"I think I'm looking forward to meeting Jasmine- and her mother!" announced Grace's mother.
The following Saturday was the day of Grace's party, and promptly at 3 o'clock the doorbell began to ring as the children in Beantown Christian School's fifth grade class appeared at the Castillo's front door. By 3:30, everyone had arrived. Everyone, that is, except the mysterious Jasmine.
"No Jasmine!" whispered Grace to Willie.
They played some games and sang some songs. They watched the latest Veggie Tales video, and smacked the birthday pinata. At last it was time to cut the cake. Grace's dad carried the cake from the kitchen as all the kids sang "Happy Birthday." Grace was just about the cut the cake, when the doorbell rang.
"I'll answer the door!" offered Willie. He ran to the door and opened it, and there on the porch stood Jasmine, holding a very large package in her hand. "Grace, come here!" yelled Willie, who temporarily forgot his manners.
But Grace remembered hers. "Please come in, Jasmine! I'm so glad to see you!"
Jasmine smiled a little, but didn't say anything. She came into the house, and quietly accepted a piece of chocolate birthday cake. Grace made sure Jasmine received a piece with a candy rose.
After the cake, Grace opened her presents. The people of Beantown were not wealthy, and most of the presents were homemade. Grace loved them all, and she loved her friends for making them.
At last it was time to open the large package that Jasmine brought. Grace carefully peeled away the ribbon and wrapping paper. She lifted off the lid and eagerly looked inside the box.
"OH NO!!" cried Grace as she looked at Jasmine in dismay. "I can't accept this!"
NEXT STORY: "Jasmine's Present"