Angel and Phenix stand side by side craning their necks against the wall. Beth holds a pencil over Nix's head and draws a line. She shifts the pencil over Angel's head and draws another line.
She scratches her head. "Sorry Nix!" She says "Angel's got you beat by a centimeter!" She says. Her chestnut hair was braided down her back and tied with a red ribbon. Her soft green eyes gazed at her children proudly, despite the fact that they weren't her's.
Phenix's red eyes glowed a burning crimson. "No fair!" The five year old pouted. "I'll get him next time!"
Beth smiled. "That's the spirit." She said proudly.
Angel smirked. "Well, I guess this proves I'm the older brother." He says as he sets his hand on Nix's head. "You can call me big brother now!" He said happily.
Nix balled his hands into fists. Think calm thoughts, he reminded himself. "Never." He said with a serious voice. His black hair shadowed his red eyes.
"Now, now, boys, get along." She cooed. She gave Angel a pointed look for upsetting his twin brother.
"I'm sorry, mommy." He said glumly as he dropped his hand from his identical twin brother's head. He tilted his head down and his black hair covered his piercing blue eyes. "I didn't mean to." He said.
"I know, Angel. Why don't you two go get ready for dinner? Daddy's making spaghetti!" She said happily. She had never told the boys she wasn't their real mother. She had no reason to.
Angel looked up with glowing blue eyes. "I love spaghetti!" He exclaimed as he ran off.
Beth smiled. "What about you Phenix?" She asked as she tilted her head.
"I hate spaghetti." He mumbled. He clenched his fists tighter.
Beth frowns. "You and I both know that's not true." She says.
"Why did you call him Angel? Is it because you like him better?" He asked with sadness in his voice.
Beth took Phenix in her arms and held him tight. "No." She said. "I simply thought the name Phenix befitted you better, my fierce fire bird." The child wrapped his arms around Beth's neck as the first hot tear rolled down his face. She hugged the boy tight as he wept in her arms.
"I love you mommy!" He said between sobs. "I love you so much!"
"I love you too, fire bird." She closed her eyes and savored this rare moment. Usually she only shared moments like this with Angel, the more social of the two. Usually Nix doesn't seem so vulnerable. But after all he is a child and as a child he should be allowed to cry in his mother's arms.
"Do you think I'm evil?" He asks crying.
Beth thought about his red eyes and then about how happy they made her. "No, Nix, I don't. Why would you think that?"
The boy in her arms shuddered. "Because people at school call me evil. Even the teachers like Angel better than me." He said with a sad shaky voice.
"Phenix, evil is what evil does. So are you the evil one, or are they? Don't ever forget that." Beth said and the child ceased crying. Those words rang a calming bell in his head as if he heard them before. Where did he hear them?