Lightning zigzagged across the sky. Nora dropped her doll and scurried into Mommy’s lap before the crack of thunder reached her little ears. Clamping her hands over her head, she wiggled into a ball, with her chin on top of her knees. “Mommy, I’m ah-scared.”
Mommy rubbed her four-year-old daughter’s back. “Hush, there’s nothing to be scared of. The lightning can’t hurt you as long as you stay inside cuddled up in my lap.”
Nora swiped the back of her hand across her nose, catching any snot that might be lingering on her face. “But it’s so bright and loud.”
Smiling at Nora, Mommy brushed the hair out of Nora’s eyes. “I heard we might have a storm today, so I bought you a surprise. It’s on the counter.”
Nora jumped up and made a beeline to the kitchen, grabbed the bag and sprinted back to the safety of Mommy’s lap. “It feels like a book. Can I look?”
Nodding, Mommy helped ease the book out of the bag. She tapped her finger over the title. Bea Braves the Storm.
Nora pointed to the bugs on the cover. “It’s ‘bout lightnin’ bugs. They’re my favorite.”
Snuggling into the couch, Mommy opened the book. Once upon a time, there was a lightning bug named Bea. She lived happily in the lilac bush. But she had one problem. Thunderstorms scared her.
Nora’s eyes sparkled. “Just like me!”
Mommy kept reading. Her husband, Del, tried to convince her to come out and frolic. “Bea, there’s nothing to be afraid of; the lightning can’t hurt you.”
Bea clamped her six legs tightly to the stem of a leaf. “I’m staying home until the storm passes.”
Del flapped his wings and flew around her. “You’re silly; you shoot lightning out of your bum. We’re named after it, for Pete’s sake.”
Waving her right front leg in the air, Bea shook her head. “First, I don’t shoot lightning out of my bum! Second, some call us fireflies. Next you’ll want me to fly into a flame for the thrill of it.”
Dell flapped his wings. ”You’re being ridiculous. Fire is dangerous. However, I’d love to have you come out and see how delicious the nectar tastes during thunderstorms.”
“Now who’s being silly?” Bea flew to another leaf.
Del followed her. “Remember when the storm caught me by surprise and I didn’t get home until late?”
Flittering away, Bea shouted, “Why do you think I’m scared? You left me here worrying for hours.”
Del tried to cuddle with his wife but she flitted from leaf to leaf. “I’m sorry you were worried but I was hungry. I landed on a flower and discovered that the lightning produced an electrical charge that made the nectar scrumptious. Plus its warmth soothed my nerves. Ever since then, I’ve been waiting to take you out to dine on the finest flower juice in the world.”
That grabbed Bea’s attention. She’d often wished for something warm to soothe her cold bones on a stormy night. “But what will the neighbors think when they see that we’re out in the storm?”
Del waved his leg. “Who cares what the neighbors think? I’m offering you a once-in-a-lifetime chance of dining on the most savory concoction known to beetles.”
Nora slapped her hand on the book. “You mean they’re not flies?”
“Nope. If you say Bea Del fast, it sounds like beetle.”
Nora giggled and tapped the book.
Mommy turned the page. “Well, maybe, if we keep close to home…” Bea stretched out her wings.
“Bonza!” Del shouted and together they flew straight to a daisy. They took turns slurping from the center of the flower.
The thunder rumbled above, but Bea didn’t feel afraid at all. After their bellies were full, Bea turned to Del. “Thank you for encouraging me to try new things and for helping me learn not to be afraid of thunderstorms.” She leaned over and planted a sticky kiss on his cheek.
Del shouted, “Bonza!” and they lived happily-ever-after.
Mommy closed the book. “It’s important to remember that bugs belong outside. But little girls should always come inside during a storm.”
Nora hugged the book to her chest. “The next time lightnin’ scares me, you can read me this book.”
“And when we have something new for dinner, you’ll be brave like Bea and taste it.”
Wrinkling her nose, Nora handed Mommy the book. “Read it again.”
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