Bittersweet Sixteen

Author’s Note:  Trixie BeldenŽ is the registered trademark of Random House. This story is not for profit. 

This story is written especially for Trixie's birthday, May 1.  Thanks to Kyrie for her post on the Jix board and reminding me.  Trixie was 13 in 1948 when The Secret of the Mansion was first published, so she'd be 66 today!

This story is also a GWP for The Other Side.

This story features lyrics from the song "Bittersweet" by Hoodoo Gurus.


Trixie didn't need her alarm to wake her, she woke as the sun fell across her face and she opened her eyes slowly and blinked.

Suddenly it dawned on her.  It was her birthday!  Which could only mean one thing.

"Rabbit, rabbit!"

"Yes," Trixie cried, triumphantly.  "I remembered and, hopefully, because it's my birthday my wish will really come true.""

She jumped out of bed and quickly dressed, pausing briefly to look out the window.  It was almost summer and the day was a beautiful, bright blue sky.

"I couldn't have wished for a better day," she murmured happily to herself.

Trixie rushed down the stairs and into the kitchen where Moms was busy preparing lunches.

"Here's the birthday girl," Peter Belden cried, looking up from the table.  "Happy sixteenth birthday, Trixie."

Trixie beamed happily at her father.

"Thanks Dad," Trixie grinned and turned to Moms who held out her arms for an embrace.

"Happy birthday Trixie," Moms told her warmly and hugged her tightly.  "Now sit down and we'll have your birthday breakfast ready in a moment."

Trixie nodded and hurried to give her father a kiss and a hug before sitting down.

"Bobby!  Mart!  We're ready," Helen called.

Mart appeared with a tray and Bobby followed carrying two large presents.

"Happy birthday Trixie," Bobby yelled, thrusting the presents towards her.

Trixie laughed and took the presents from him and gave him a hug.  He kissed her quickly then stood expectantly by her side.

"Happy birthday twin," Mart smiled and gave Trixie a kiss on the cheek before putting the tray down in front of her.

"Thanks Mart, thanks Bobby," Trixie replied gratefully.  "This is so great."

"Open your presents," Bobby urged.

Trixie looked up at her parents who nodded.

She opened the first present carefully.

"C'mon," Mart cried in frustration and Trixie smiled and tore open the rest of the parcel.

"Oh Moms, Dad!" Trixie cried.  "A riding jacket!  I've been saving so long for one."

"I know dear," Moms smiled.  "I hope you like it."

"Like it!" Trixie repeated.  "I love it.  Oh, thankyou!"

She jumped up to hug her mother and father, who smiled indulgently.

"Open ours," Bobby pleaded.

Trixie smiled reassuringly at him and opened the next box.

"Oh!  Oh!" Trixie cried.  "New riding boots!  Oh!  They're so beautiful.  I can't believe I got a new jacket and boots!"

She grinned happily at her family.

"And don't forget breakfast," Mart reminded her.  "I made it myself."

He whisked the lid off her plate and revealed a plate of steaming strawberry pancakes.

"Oh, Mart," Trixie's eyes widened.  "They're my favourite."

"I know," he replied.  "Now eat them before they get cold."

Trixie quickly dove into her pancakes with her fork and moaned as she tasted her first mouthful.

"Mart," she mumbled.  "These are divine!"

"What did you expect?" Mart asked smugly.  "My culinary talents are without equivocation."

"I don't know what you just said," Trixie replied.  "But you sure make great pancakes."

Mart and his parents laughed and Bobby struggled to put on Trixie's riding jacket.

"Bobby!" Trixie protested.  "That's mine."

"I just wanted to try it on," Bobby wailed as Helen took it from him.

"That must be Brian," Helen remarked as the phone rang.  "He said he'd ring this morning."

"Let me get it," Bobby cried and raced for the phone, but Mart beat him to it.

Trixie put down her fork and watched Mart.  This was her first birthday without Brian... and Jim.  They had both started college the previous fall and she missed them more than she would admit.

"Trixie," Mart called.  "Brian wants to talk to you."

Trixie jumped up to take the phone from Mart.

"Happy birthday Sis," Brian told her.  "I wish I could be there."

"I wish you were here too," Trixie wailed.  "Thanks so much for the riding boots, they'll look great with the new jacket Moms and Dad bought me."

"You're welcome," Brian replied.  "What are you up to today?  Anything special?"

"School," Trixie moaned and then brightened.  "But Honey, Di and Dan are coming over for dinner tonight so that should be fun."

"Now you're making me homesick," Brian groaned.  "I guess I'll be home soon though."

"Not long til exams, huh?" Trixie asked.  "I'm sure you'll do fine and before you know it you'll be back in Sleepyside."

"Yeah, I can't wait to get home."

"And see Honey," Trixie teased and Brian coughed.  She heard him murmur something.  "Brian?"

"There's someone here dying to talk to you," he told her.  "Have a great day Trix.  Tell Moms and Dad I'll call later in the week."

"Sure," Trixie said breathlessly, her heart suddenly beating faster.  "Bye."

"Trix?" It was Jim's voice.  "Happy birthday."

"Thanks Jim," she almost whispered.

"I'm sorry I can't be there," he told her earnestly.  "I really wish I could."

"So do I," Trixie murmured.  "It's good to hear your voice though."

There was a pause.

"I guess the gang's all coming round for dinner tonight?" Jim asked.

"Yeah, Di, Honey and Dan," Trixie replied quickly.  "Just a small gathering.  We've got school tomorrow."

"I hope you have a good time," Jim murmured.

"I'm sure we will," Trixie replied awkwardly, and cursed inwardly.  Why couldn't she think of anything to say?

"I guess I'd better let you get ready for school," Jim said reluctantly. 

"Okay," Trixie murmured, disappointed.  "Thanks for wishing me happy birthday."

"Oh Trix..." Jim added quickly.  "I sent you a present, you should get it today.  Can you do me a favour and not open it until I call you tonight?"

"Sure," Trixie murmured in surprise.  "I'll speak to you tonight then?"

"You sure will," Jim assured her.  "Have a great birthday Trix."

Trixie hung up the phone slowly.

"You'd better get ready for school," Helen said softly.

"Sure Moms," Trixie replied absently and walked slowly up the stairs.





"Happy Birthday!" Honey cried as she got on the bus and rushed up to Trixie.  she hugged her best friend and sat down next to her.  "So did you remember?"

"Remember?" Trixie repeated with a frown and then smiled.  "Yes, I remembered.  I didn't even have to tie a sign to my bed this time."

"What did you wish for?" Honey asked.  "No, wait - don't tell me, it won't come true."

Trixie smiled self-consciously and looked down the aisle.

"Here's Di," she announced.

"Happy Birthday Trixie," Di cried and hugged her warmly.  "Happy sweet sixteen."

"Thanks Di," Trixie smiled.

"Hey, what about me?" Mart protested and Di grinned, sliding into the seat next him and kissing him on the mouth.  "Now that's better."

"Happy birthday Trix," Dan murmured and bent to kiss her on the cheek.

Trixie blushed and smiled shyly at Dan.

"Thanks Dan," Trixie murmured and his face coloured as he sat down behind Mart and Di.

"Brian rang this morning," Trixie told Honey and her eyes lit up.

"What did he say?" Honey asked eagerly.

"Just happy birthday and stuff," Trixie laughed.  "I spoke to Jim too."

"Really?" Honey asked with a wide smile.

"He said he's sending me a present," Trixie told her.  "Do you have any idea what it could be?"

"None," Honey replied and she sensed the excitement in her friend.  "I thought he'd do something special for your birthday."

"You did?" Trixie cried.  "Why?  What did he say?"

"Nothing," Honey told her and smiled as her face fell.  "I think he knew you'd be missing him and Brian on your birthday."

"Yeah, I do," Trixie sighed.  "It's not the same without them here, is it?"

"You're telling me," Honey groaned.  "I can't wait until the semester's over and they're home."

Trixie nodded absently and wondered what it was that Jim could be sending her.  She was so glad he remembered.





"Trixie!  Trixie!" Di called to her over the noise of the cafeteria.  "You haven't listened to a thing I've said."

"Sorry Di," Trixie apologised, snapping out of her thoughts.  "What did you say?"

"Does your Mom want us to bring anything tonight?" Di repeated.

"Oh, no," Trixie told her.  "You know Moms, she's got everything organised and ready for tonight.  There'll really only be a couple of extra people."

"I love eating at Crabapple farm," Dan confessed.  "It seems the only thing Mr Maypenny and I know how to cook is venison stew."

"But that's so yummy," Honey told him.

"Not every night it isn't," Dan laughed.  "We'd better get going Mart, we've got to set up for that lab test."

Mart rolled his eyes but rose from the table, dropping a kiss on Di's head.

"We'll see you lovely ladies on the bus," Mart told them.

"You're brother really is sweet," Di told Trixie as she watched Mart and Dan walk away.

"Mart?  Sweet?" Trixie retorted.  "I don't think so."

The three girls laughed, but their smiles froze as Jay Miller approached the table.

"So I hear Sleepyside's very own detective is having a birthday," he sniggered.  "How old are you, sixteen?"

"Not that it's any of your business," Trixie bristled.  "But yes, I am."

"Sweet sixteen and never been kissed," Jay sang in a mocking tone.  "Poor Trixie.  Can't find anyone to kiss you, hey?  Not like your friends here, I know they've been more than kissed."

Di and Honey gasped in angry surprise as Trixie's face turned beetroot red.

"If you know what's good for you Jay," Trixie began tersely.  "You'll leave right now.  You think you're a big man but you weren't big enough to say that while Mart and Dan were here."

"I'll say whatever I want in front of anyone," Jay boasted, but Trixie had taken some of the wind out of his sails.

"Oh, really?" Trixie retorted.  "Well, how about we march right up to them now and you can repeat what you just said."

The smile disappeared from his face.

"Save it Belden," he muttered.  "I ain't got time for you and your friends."

Jay sauntered off and Trixie lay her palms down on the table and took a deep breath.

"Wow!" Di breathed.  "You sure put him in his place Trixie."

"I can't believe he said those things," Honey cried.  "You handled him beautifully though.  He won't have the nerve to do that again."

Trixie nodded slightly but did not speak.

"Trix?  Are you okay?" Honey asked.

Tears welled in her eyes, and she furiously brushed them away.

"I wouldn't care," she muttered.  "If only he wasn't right."

"Oh, Trixie..." Di murmured in protest. 

"What did he say that wasn't true?" Trixie asked miserably.  "I'm sixteen years old, I haven't been kissed and no one wants to kiss me.  The only reason I stood up to him was because of what he said to you two."

"Trixie..." Honey began, but Trixie shook her head and stood up.

"I've got to get to class," she mumbled.  "I'll see you later."

Trixie moved off before they had a chance to stop her.  She struggled to keep her composure until she reached the girl's room and locked herself in a stall.  She sat down and rested her head on her knees and hugged them as she silently began to sob.





"Di told me what that creep said to you," Mart told Trixie as they got off the bus.  "Don't you worry, I'll have a word or two to say to him myself tomorrow."

"Let it go Mart," Trixie sighed.  "He's not worth it.  I don't think he'll bother us again."

"Yeah, Di told me you put him in his place," Mart smiled.  "Nice work Trix."

"I'd rather not talk about it, okay?" Trixie mumbled.  "Let's just forget about it."

Mart nodded and pushed open the back door, holding it open for her.

Trixie smiled gratefully and kept the smile plastered on as she greeted her mother.

"Did you have a nice day?" Helen asked and Trixie nodded.  "There's some mail for you on your bed."

Trixie hurried up the stairs and was relieved to be in the sanctuary of her room.  She dropped her bag on the floor and flopped down onto her bed.

She picked up a small parcel and her heart fluttered as she recognised Jim's handwriting.  Trixie fingered the parcel carefully and reluctantly put it aside.

There was a card from Aunt Alicia.  She had finally realised that Trixie was never going to be handy with a needle and now sent her money instead.  Trixie put her card on the bedside table and laid the cheque on the bed.

Next was a small parcel from Hallie.  The card was signed by all the family, but Trixie knew the gift was chosen by Hallie - a pair of lacy black panties.  Trixie couldn't help but smile.

"Why would I ever need to wear them?" She murmured and was reminded of Jay's awful remarks earlier in the day.

The last card was from Uncle Andrew and she smiled happily as she read his card.  Trixie gasped in surprise as she saw the figure on the cheque - $100!  Wow!

She tucked the two cheques safely in her drawer, along with Hallie's present.  Trixie lay back on the bed and held Jim's parcel close to her.

It was obvious her birthday wish wasn't going to come true today, but maybe one day soon, Trixie hoped silently.





It had almost all the right elements of a wonderful evening: good friends, family, good food, lots of laughter.  But something was missing and try as they could, her friends knew that Trixie's heart just wasn't in it.

She glanced longingly at the phone and raced to it when it rang.  The first time it was Hallie.

"So did you like your present?" She drawled.

"I bet your Mom didn't see what you chose," Trixie giggled.

"Nah, she left it up to me," Hallie told her.  "Wait til Jim sees them.  It will blow his mind!"

"Hallie!" Trixie squealed.

"Is Dan there?" Hallie asked casually.

"That's what you really rang for, wasn't it?" Trixie accused her laughing.  "Hang on, I'll get him."

Trixie waved the phone at Dan, who got up eagerly.

"Don't worry," he assured Trixie.  "I won't be long."

Trixie grinned and handed him the phone.

"He'll call," Honey whispered to her as she sat back down.  Trixie looked away and pretended she didn't hear her.

She felt bad.  Her friends were here to help celebrate her birthday, but nothing could take away the sting of Jay's comments or make up for Jim's absence.

Finally, the phone call came.

"Trixie," Helen called.  "It's Jim."

The group grinned widely as Trixie leapt to her feet.

"I'll take it upstairs Moms," Trixie told her and bounded up the stairs.  She raced to her room, grabbed the parcel and ran into the study.

"I've got it Moms," she yelled as she picked up the phone.  "Hi, Jim."

"Hi yourself," Jim replied warmly.  "Have you had a good day?"

"It's better now," Trixie told him.  "I've been waiting for your call."

"I'm sorry," Jim apologised.  "I had a late study group.  Did my parcel arrive?"

"It sure did," Trixie told him.  "I've been bursting to open it."

"I wish I could see your face when you open it," Jim murmured.  "Go ahead, open it now."

"Okay," Trixie replied unsteadily.  She tucked the phone into her shoulder and began to open the parcel.

"Have you opened it yet?" Jim asked anxiously.

"Not yet," Trixie protested.  "Give me a minute."

She tore off the paper and found a small, velvet box.

"I've got the box in my hand," she breathed.

"Open it," he urged her.

Trixie opened the box and gasped.  Inside lay a gold heart shaped locket with her name inscribed on the front.  She turned it over and mouthed the words engraved on the back:

"Happy sweet sixteen, love Jim," she murmured.

"Look inside."

Trixie struggled to open the locket while holding the phone against her ear.  Finally, it opened to reveal a picture of all the Bobwhites on one side and a photo of her and Jim from his senior prom on the other.

"Oh, Jim," Trixie breathed.  "It's wonderful."

"You like it?"

"I love it," Trixie gushed.  "It's beautiful.  Thankyou so much."

"I know you have the locket Mr Carver gave you, but I know you're too scared to wear it," Jim told her.  "I wanted to give you something you could wear all the time and to remind you that the people who love you will always be close to you, no matter how far away they are."

Trixie swallowed a sob.  How could he know how much I needed this tonight?

"Trixie?  Are you there?" Jim asked.

"I - I'm here," she assured him quickly.  "It's a wonderful present and just what I needed.  It's not the same without you and Brian here."

"I really wish I could have been there for you today," Jim murmured.

So do I, Trixie thought.  Only you can make my wish come true.

"This is the next best thing," Trixie assured him.  "Thankyou so much."

"You're welcome Trix," Jim replied warmly, and then coughed awkwardly.  "I guess I'd better let you get back to the party."

"I guess so," Trixie murmured, not wanting him to go but afraid to tell him to stay.

"I'll speak to you soon," he promised.  "Take care, and stay out of trouble."

"I'll try," she smiled sadly.  "Goodnight Jim."

"Goodnight Trix."

Trixie hung up the phone slowly and looked down at the gold locket in her palm.

"Happy sweet sixteen Trixie," she murmured to herself.  "Bittersweet sixteen and never been kissed."

She looked at the photo of her and Jim and her eyes filled with tears.

(Don't cry) I couldn't be that strong,
(Don't cry) That used to be my favourite song.
(Don't cry) Tears so bittersweet
Fill my eyes whenever we meet,
It's always bittersweet.

The End