Chapter Description: Emilia wants to be a better teenager.
Emilia worked to blend in with the Freelancer household. This would be contrary to her previous personality, which had been tempered by 60 plus years of strictness and prudery, as a good-natured young lady.
She had problems adapting to modern slang. While she knew of modern culture, she would often fall back into the fifties and sixties point of reference that she grew up with.
Betty enjoyed getting to know the anachronistic Emilia. She believed she could catch her up on modern times with a little immersion therapy.
She aged down to 13 to give Emilia a peer to associate with and came up with a plan.
At a local burger shop Betty, Emilia, and Janice, a friend of Emilia’s from middle school, dined on cheeseburgers, fries, chocolate shakes and saved their snack pies for dessert.
The talk at the table was about fashion, boys, boy bands, boys, upcoming homework, and boys, this was typical to young teen girl interests that Betty thought would help Emilia gain a better linguistic foothold.
In reality, this was a “girls only” outing that Betty wanted to experience. Being an odd duck didn’t afford one the luxury of being popular or part of a clique.
Betty nibbled on her cherry pie, “Hey! Do you know why they call it a cherry pie? Because there’s usually one of them in it!” she said as she held up her confection for inspection.
“You shouldn’t play with your food,” said Emilia before she realized she had just broken a teen rule, (don’t be uncool!), “oops! Sorry, my parents were, um, are very strict.”
“No problem!” said Betty with a smile.
“Wow, yeah! That makes sense,” said Janice as she agreed with Betty’s analogy of fast food desserts, “this apple pie has more fruit in it, though!”
“I heard that the apple slices are fake,” claimed Emilia.
“Where did you hear that?” asked Janice as she inspected her apple pie more closely.
“I dunno, Just around? Oh, right! I read it on the, um, internet,” she replied remembering to apply a modern reference. (If you want something to sound authentic, use the internet as a source.)
Outside a young child of 7 wearing a biker jacket, leather baby boots, and wearing a white diaper instead of pants rolled up on his bicycle. He locked it to the business’ provided kickstand with a chain and came in.
“Do you see that boy there?” asked Emilia motioning towards him, “I wonder if he thinks he’s Marlon Brando?”
“Oh, Marlon Brando! He was a movie star that played a biker dude in one of his films,” supplied Betty.
“Never heard of him.”
“His acting career started in the fifties and lasted to the eighties. Did you ever see any of the Godfather films?” asked Emilia.
“Nope, my parents won’t let me watch much of anything. They’re all ‘study now, play later’ and stuff.” answered Janice.
Emilia, who now considered herself rescued from that dreary sort of life, empathized with Janice, “That sucks! You should come over to my house and watch it there. He’s just so dreamy!”
“Um, yeah, dreamy,” replied Betty flatly, catching Emilia’s verbal faux pas.
Up at the sales counter, the biker child received his order of a burger and fries. As he went to sit, he recognized Betty and toddled over to say hello.
“Hi, Betty! How the fuck you doing?” he asked.
“Just fine Damian. No problems with diaper rash, I take it?” she asked with a tiny smirk.
“No, I’m careful about that. Hey, did you do something to yourself? You look, I dunno, younger?”
“I’m not wearing makeup, that might be it,” suggested Betty.
“Oh, yeah! That must be it, then,” satisfied with his answer, he moved on to an empty table and sat down to eat.
“You know him?” asked Janice.
“We go to high school together.”
"Really? He looks like he should go to elementary school!” posited Emilia.
“Yeah, well, it’s complicated,” answered Betty.
The three teen Amigas finished their meal and went to Emilia’s house to watch a Brando movie.
“I hope we can see ‘The Wild One’,” said Emilia. “The last time I watched was decades, um, months ago!” she finished lamely.
Janice didn’t seem to notice, her focus was on actually being able to watch a movie.
“I hope it’s not too violent. My parents won’t be happy as it is with me seeing a movie.”
Upon arriving at Emilia’s home, the girls went to the large TV set in the living room.
Betty grabbed the remote and looked around for Marlon Brando movies while Emilia used her newly found acceptance of the microwave to pop up some bags of popcorn.
The girls all sat on the large sofa and watched the grainy coming attractions trailer of “The Wild One”.
“Is it supposed to be devoid of color?” asked Janice.
“Yes, they didn’t have a lot of color movies back then, so black and white was the norm.”
Bikers dressed up in leather jackets and jeans terrorized a small town. They tore up the streets and scared the local populace with their loud engines. A break in the action showed a gritty love scene between Marlon’s character, Johnny, and Mary Murphy’s character, Kathie, as they performed their modern take on Romeo and Juliet.
Janice was hooked on the pair as they fought with each other and denied each other their budding love. As the movie wound down she was disappointed at Johnny for being unable to confess his love for Kathie and marry her.
“Why did he have such a big chip on his shoulder, anyway?” she asked.
“He was a proud person who rebelled against authority. To love to Kathie would mean he had to acknowledge the establishment that he hated so much wasn’t so bad,” said Emilia
“Wow! Where did you get all that from?” Janice asked in amazement. She had little movie experience and didn't see the deeper plot.
“Oh! Um, I read it on the internet?” said Emilia brightly.
“Good catch!” muttered Betty.
Janice said her goodbyes and went home.
Betty took this chance to review what their immersion therapy revealed.
“You’re doing fine. With a few more sessions, you’ll be indistinguishable from any other teen.”
Emilia thought about her assessment for a moment and responded “What did I do wrong? I’m working on getting my references right and Janice didn’t react strangely to some of my bigger goofs.”
“While it’s okay for a teen to be brainy, a teen that shows advanced maturity is unnerving to her peers. They tend to isolate that which they don’t understand.”
“So, cut back on my maturity? How much is enough?”
“Just try to picture the world through the eyes of a girl that just passed puberty. There are body changes that she’s ignorant to, hormones that are rampant and emotional maturity is something that she’s just beginning to experience,” advised Betty.
“Okay, I’ll work on it.”
“Also, don’t forget about boys, to the newly minted teenager, they’ve gone from being icky to interesting. Listen to the boy bands and crush over a handsome boy or two, you’ll get it!” said Betty encouragingly.
“As if! Like I’ll crush on an icky boy!” teased Emilia with a smile.
“Now you’re getting it!” said Betty as she aged up to her usual 17 years and went to leave.
For just a quick moment, Emilia envied Betty’s ability to be able to become whatever age she wished to be.
Emilia sat in her room thinking about what it would take to allow her to better adapt to her role as Jett’s little sister.
After searching the internet, she found a site entitled “Think yourself younger – the secret to eternal youth!”
It was mostly hooey, but a small portion of the pdf that she downloaded talked about image therapy.
The literature suggested “Do what you must to imagine yourself in a younger body. The better you can convince yourself that you’re younger, the easier it is!”
A further tip read “You might need something physically tangible to help you. Pick an object that reminds you of the younger body you’ll achieve!”
The pdf continued to say that image therapy wasn’t something easy to come by and that the site offered courses for a “small” fee in how to train one’s mind to “think their body younger”.
Hmm, now what object would Emilia need to be able to help her to think herself younger?
She went over to the hall closet. There was a large cache of diapers, pull-ups. Baby supplies occupied some shelves while various outfits for babies to toddlers were folded or on hangers.
“They’re a bit too childish but they’ll do for a test run,” thought Emilia.
A little while later, on a chair in her room in a proper fitting princess gown with a design that would have better suited a 4-year-old, wearing a pull-up, white tights and even a cute cardboard crown atop her head sat Emilia.
She felt foolish and had locked her door to prevent being caught wearing such an embarrassing outfit. She did, however, feel that if the outfit helped her to “think young”, it was worth a try.
She imagined what a little girl would think as she play-acted royalty, called out a few orders to nonexistent servants, and entertained imaginary guests from Europe.
It just made her feel more foolish.
She held a grand ball with royalty and gentry from the farthest parts of her imaginary kingdom while dancing around to music by a boy band as it played on her portable boom box.
She stopped play-acting and sat on her bed in defeat. After a while, Emilia came up with a different tack.
She stopped imagining she was a little girl and started feeling that she was a little girl. The pdf had mentioned “believing” as part of the image process, maybe that was what she needed.
What do little girls like to do? They like candy and games and coloring books and milk and cookies…
The words went through her like a chant that her mind responded to by regressing her emotional maturity.
The old maid image in her mind became younger, her thoughts became fresher, questions cropped up to replace the solid facts that she held.
Her mature likes and dislikes changed their preferences to younger ones. Her image of being an old woman became a young woman and finally a teen.
The image training came to an abrupt halt and Emilia looked around her room with a young girl’s eyes. She was now unhampered by the maturity that had fettered her before.
“Like, wow! This is so-o cool!” she exclaimed.
The boy band on the boom box caught her attention and she saw dreamy images of hunky boys singing to her from a stage while she smiled up at them.
“Cool!” she exclaimed. Her attempts had yielded fruit.
An impulse to have ice cream popped up in the back of her head and instead of tamping it down with maturity, Emilia acted upon it as an immature impulse.
She was so taken in by what she wanted that she forgot she was wearing the princess outfit, unlocked her door, and ran downstairs to the kitchen.
Pulling a large gallon of ice cream out of the freezer, she grabbed a spoon from the drawer and started to eat. There was no thought of putting a scoop or two in a bowl, that was for grownups!
She ate so fast that she received a brain freeze as a reward. Backing off, she recovered and wanted more of the creamy goodness and started eating anew with an innocent happy smile that was covered in stickiness.
After filling up with ice cream, she spotted the cookie jar on the counter and raided it.
Jett and Tina came home to find Emilia watching a kiddy show on the television. A large purple dinosaur was singing a song about love and she was singing along with it.
She saw Jett and hugged him with her mouth still sticky with ice cream and encrusted with cookie crumbs that stuck to his shirt as she pulled away.
She motioned for "up-ups" and Jett, nonplussed, picked her up. Her soggy padding squished against his arm as she hugged him happily.
“Emilia, are you wet?” asked Jett, “You know how to potty, right?”
“I forgot to go,” she replied shyly then stated, “my tummy hurts!”
Jett looked to Tina and she did a mental dive to see what was up.
“She’s mentally regressed to a toddler’s age for some reason,” declared Tina “I need to look around in her mind some more and gather more data.”
“Okay, c’mon Emilia, let’s go change your squishy diaper.”
“Uh-huh!” she agreed happily while nodding her head vigorously in agreement.
Emilia plodded around the living room in dinosaur pajamas.
“Rawr, Rawr! I’m a dinosaur!” She held her arms up and advanced on Jett.
“That’s nice Emilia. Anything yet, Tina?”
“No. It’s like her mind’s been wiped. Until I can figure it out, I’m stumped.”
“What about rewinding her to this afternoon? Wouldn’t that work?”
“I already tried it. There’s some kind of personal lock on her that won’t let me advance or regress her physically. We’ll just have to wait and see what kind of results come up from my probes. Until then, while she’s 13 years old in body, her mind is that of a toddler.”
“Okay. Come, Emilia, it’s time for bed! Do you have to go potty first?”
“Don’t wanna go to bed!” protested Emilia.
Tina stepped in and slowly convinced the teen toddler that little girls needed sleep.