THE NEXT MORNING, I couldn’t help but smile as I smelled breakfast cooking downstairs. My first instinct would be to go eat breakfast, but I decided I wanted to put on some less embarrassing clothes first! I dug through my drawers and pulled out a pair of track pants and an Emerson sweatshirt. My bedroom had a bathroom attached, so I quickly hopped in for a shower and got dressed. I couldn’t help but note that there was still no sign that the hair removal cream was losing effect. I was still completely hairless everywhere except my head and the top of my back…
I brushed out my hair as quick as I could, and then stared in the mirror for a moment at my reflection. I had talked about cutting it before break, but Addy had made me promise to leave it long. She insisted she’d go with me somewhere to get it properly trimmed, but she liked guys with long hair.
I sighed. Truthfully if it made Addy happy, I’d never cut it again!
When I made it downstairs, I discovered everyone was already seated with half-eaten breakfasts on their plates. Grandma looked at me, “I was hoping you’d stay in your PJs for presents…”
I smiled, “Sorry Grandma, I just needed a shower to wake up.” I walked over to the cabinets and grabbed one of the coffee cups Dad kept lower for me to grab easier. I reached up and carefully poured a cup, feeling Grandma's eyes on me.
“You know you shouldn’t be drinking that… it stunts your growth…” she complained.
I laughed, “I’ve probably grown as much as I’m ever going to Grandma. Besides that’s an old wife’s tale.” I took a sip of the black goodness and sat it down at my chair. I grabbed some of the food that was set out as a buffet and joined them at the table.
I enjoyed the breakfast that I knew based on tradition Grandma had cooked. The pancakes were fluffier than anywhere else I ever had them, the bacon perfectly cooked, and the sausage and eggs made for a very filling meal. After I rinsed my plate off and set it in the sink, Dad said, “Shall we open presents now?”
“Sure!” I replied.
I wasn’t a little kid anymore, but I think everyone enjoys presents! As the only ‘kid’ around, I got designated the person to pass out everyone’s gifts from underneath the tree. My pile had been quite a bit smaller this year until Grandma and Grandpa arrived. Their gifts weren’t gigantic, but there were quite a few smaller gifts added after their arrival.
When everyone had their pile of gifts, Grandma added our stockings to our piles, and I began opening the stuff inside of there. It was mostly candy inside, but there were a few restaurant’ gift cards and a deck of playing cards as well. Up until three years ago, Grandma had included several pacifiers every year, so I was glad to see she’d finally let that one go… There was also a noticeable absence of small bouncy toys inside of it too, which had even been in last years!
“Thanks Grandma,” I told her after I was done with the stocking. I moved on to the proper gifts, beginning with the one Addy had given me.
I had searched long and hard for her gift, knowing with her family’s vast weather, she already had everything. I ended up thinking back to what had brought us together, Chemistry, and found a necklace that was a depiction of the molecule chain of dopamine. It was a simple looking necklace made of silver, but I gave it to her with a card telling her how happy she made me. It was sappy, but I hoped she would appreciate it! We had chosen to wait to open our gifts until Christmas Day, so I hoped she’d call me or stop by later wearing it.
I opened the wrapping paper of her gift and found a jewelry box inside of it too. I felt weird as I opened it up and discovered a necklace that was marked ‘18k White Gold’ on a tag in the box. I never thought of myself as a necklace person, so it was kind of an odd gift, but it was really nice. It featured a pattern of three smaller circular chain loops, then a long ovular loop, then repeated the smaller ones over and over again.
“That’s pretty!” Grandma said. “Who’s that from?”
“Addy,” I told her. I put it back in the box and handed it to her outstretched hand to look at it.
“Who is this girl?” Grandma asked, “She must have spent a couple thousand dollars on this.”
“A couple thousand?!?” I squeaked.
“Sweetie this isn’t a cheap necklace. You can’t accept this, can you?” Grandma said as she showed her husband and then handed it back.
“The thing is to her it probably is cheap,” I sighed knowing I would never keep up with her.
“Let’s just say she’s really well-off Grandma,” I told her. I pulled the necklace out of the box, “She’s supposed to come by or call later, I guess I should wear it for her.”
“Well-off?” Grandma asked.
“Her family is worth billions,” I told her.
“What’s her last name?” Grandpa asked.
“Harris,” I replied.
“SafeFoods Harris?” he asked.
“Whoa…” he replied, “yeah, she could afford that.”
I managed to get it clasped around my neck and let it fall down around my neck. Most guys necklaces fell lower on their chests, but this one was definitely not as long - making just a slight circle right at my collar line. It was a little bit more feminine actually that way, but if it made Addy happy, I’d wear it!
I went back to the other presents and found a variety of mainly useful gifts. Grandma had given me some sort of microwave pasta dish, “You can make mac and cheese in it without using a pot,” she told me. “I figure you don’t have an easy to reach stove there, or a dishwasher.”
“Just a big sized one, and the manual kind,” I agreed.
There were a pair of shower shoes and things like that too. Eventually I came to a larger one from Grandma and Grandpa that I ordered. Inside was a light gray blanket that felt like it had something inside of it. I pulled it out and looked at it with some confusion since it was heavier than cloth should be.
“It’s a weighted blanket, I’ve heard it can help with stress and figured it might help you be more comfortable in your dorm,” Grandma told me.
“That’s thoughtful, thanks Grandma,” I told her.
“You’re very welcome sweetheart.”
I moved down the pile, having received some Emerson University clothing from Dad and my grandparents, and came to one gift that I hoped might be something really good from Dad. Opening it up, I was excited to see a new laptop from Melon Corp! It boasted its specs on the box, and my favorite thing was the battery that was supposed to be able to go six months on a single charge! It was thinner than one of my lab notebooks, and only weighed a single pound! “Thanks Dad!” I told him and stood up to give him a hug.
“You’re very welcome Cameron!” He gave me a squeeze.
“One more gift,” he said after I looked around at my empty pile of presents.
He threw a small box at me that I quickly unwrapped. I was confused at the black fob inside of it for a second, before realizing it was a key fob! Knowing what that meant I ran outside, and sure enough there was a small car! “It’s one of the new self-driving cars based on the Bremmer technology.” He told me as he stood behind me.
I ran up to it and realized it was sized for smaller Bigs and Mids - so it just seemed big for me, instead of huge! It was a two-door boxy looking vehicle that was short enough that I could almost reach up and touch the roof from the outside. It was a silver color that I hoped wouldn’t draw too much attention, but still looked quite classy. I opened the driver’s side and noted that there were manual controls on the steering wheel. “You’ll have to go take your test tomorrow,” he told me, “but I have no doubt you’ll pass. Because it’s self-driving you can get your modified license, and drive on your own as long as it’s on the self-driving mode.”
I turned around and hugged him again, “Thank you Dad!”
“Well just remember to come see your old man every now and then,” he told me with a smile. “Your grades have to stay above a B average while you’re in school, and I’ll sign it over to you at graduation.”
“Thanks, Dad,” I told him.
“You’re very welcome Cameron. I’m glad you’re tall enough that we can legally get you your license for a self-driving car!”
I nodded at that. It shouldn’t have been impossible for Littles to drive with all of the technology available, but the discrimination against them resulted in a law that said anyone under seventy-four inches could not get a license of any kind. Between seventy-four inches and ninety-five inches of height there was a provision that you could operate a self-driving vehicle if you were properly restrained. You had to know how to use the steering wheel and hand controls to slow the vehicle to a stop in an emergency, but the test was making sure you could program the car to go from one place to the other. Not many Mids could afford one, so most people my height still used public transportation. This car was going to open a whole world of possibilities for me!
I climbed into the driver’s seat and dad got in the passenger seat. We went for a quick illegal drive around the block in it. The acceleration was designed to be very smooth and cautious, so I wouldn’t be racing Addy anytime soon, but it was comfortable and could get me from Point A to Point B. ‘I just wish it didn’t have that stupid harness seat,’ I thought as I locked it and walked back inside the house when we got back. There were child seat like five-point harnesses on all five of the seats in the car.
Everyone was in good spirits through the Christmas Dinner we had at lunch, and after cleaning up from the meal, my grandparents and Dad went to go take naps. I found myself sitting in my room playing with my new computer when my phone dinged.
‘Merry Christmas, come outside!’ I saw the message from Addy and hurried downstairs. She was standing at the door and I let her in. She scooped me up for a hug and sat down on the couch next to where she sat me down.
“Thank you for the necklace,” I told her.
“Thanks for mine!” She said as she showed that she was wearing hers too.
“Sorry it’s not the most expensive…” I started to apologize before she kissed me.
When she was done, she said, “Cameron I’m not dating you for your height, or money, I’m dating you for you. I thought it was one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received. And I will always cherish it.”
“I’m glad you like it,” I told her.
“Looks like I got the right size on the chain too,” she said to me.
I smiled, “I think so? I’ve never worn a necklace before?”
“It looks perfect on you,” she said to me. “So, what else did you get for Christmas?”
We sat talking quietly for an hour before Grandma appeared. “Who’s this?” she asked, startling me.
“Oh, Grandma, this is Addison Harris, my girlfriend. Addy, this is my grandmother Suzy Harrington.”
Addison stood and held her hand out, “Pleased to meet you ma’am.”
“You as well, Cameron here seems to think you two are dating?”
“Yes, Ma’am, we are.”
“Isn’t that a bit weird dating someone who could be a Little compared to you?”
Addy put her hand on the back of my hair and stroked it lightly. “If I only focused on height, yes. But Cameron is way more than his height. I love how smart he is, his personality, and we have a lot of fun together.”
“Hmm…” Grandma said, obviously disapproving. “Well, don’t hurt him please.”
“Of course not, Ma’am,” she told her.
Somehow, I managed to get the conversation to a friendly point over the next couple of hours. Addy ended up staying for dinner, and then I walked her out to her car. “Your dad and grandpa are really sweet,” she told me.
I smiled, “Yeah, they really are. I think they both like you.”
“Not so much your grandmother?” she said when we were standing beside her car.
I sighed, “She’s never really accepted that I’m not a Little. I’ve always been worried she would decide to ‘adopt’ both Dad and I at some point. She’s very much your typical Little obsessed mommy…”
She nodded, “She and my mom would probably get along well.”
I nodded. “Like my car?” I said pointing to it a moment later to break the tension.
“That’s a car? I thought it was a golf cart,” she teased me.
I blushed, “At least it has wheels and can go places.”
“Self-driving only, right?”
I nodded, “Unless I have a sudden growth spurt yeah.”
She walked over, “Good, it has the proper harness seats.”
“I’m not as much of a fan, it’s like sitting in a car seat…”
She laughed, “Well, you need one!” She kissed me to soften that blow. “We’re going on a trip out of town next week and so it’ll be when we get back to campus before I can see you again. Call me later!”
“Will do,” I told her and we kissed again before she climbed into her gigantic sportscar and took off down the road.
Over the next few days that Grandma and Grandpa were staying with us I heard lots of sniping about my relationship with Addy. “We can just go get the diapers ourselves if that’s what you want,” Grandma had said in frustration, “You have to know all she wants is for you to be in her nursery.”
I had finally had it with that and left to my room. It was a frustrating visit from them that overshadowed my joy of being given my license for my car. It allowed all of the automated driving to be legal, and I took advantage of my newfound freedom to drive myself to school a couple weeks later at the end of the break. I had to deal with getting a permit through the university, but I soon had a parking space towards the top of the parking garage that Addy also kept her car in.
My friends were all jealous over my presents when they started returning to the dorm as well!