OUR FALL SEMESTER of college was swiftly drawing to a close this year. With it came the pain of never-ending applications to the law schools that still seemed intent on recruiting me, and a couple of visits across the country. There were a couple in the east that I was really focused on, including the highest ranked school out there, The Harlan Law School. I didn’t want to move so far from home, but it seemed like it was inevitable because all of the most respected law schools in the country were far away! In total I had already finished up ten applications, and had two more that I was finishing for some back-up schools that had later admission deadlines.
Ding! I saw a text from Meg. Could you take Stacy and I to go Christmas shopping?
I looked at the clock and saw it was just before noon. We had two days to study before our exams began the following week, so I didn’t have anything pressing I needed to do. Addy had been dragged to some event on the other side of the country again by her parents, so I was completely free of worrying about doing something with her. I was taking five classes this semester, and had qualified to exempt all but two of the exams… so I even had an extra two days before I would even have my exams.
Umm… sure… I’m guessing I need to pick you up from Wenig, and her from her house?
We’re both at her house actually.
Give me a half-hour and I’ll be there, I told her.
We didn’t do it often, but we had gone shopping a few times as a trio. They both wore their uniforms and IDs while we were out to avoid anyone doing anything, but I was also tall enough to act as a legal babysitter for anyone who questioned things.
I changed out of the pajamas I was still wearing, and into a pair of jeans and an Emerson sweatshirt that I liked. I took a couple quick minutes to pull the hair band off the back of my ponytail and ran a brush through my hair. Addy had convinced me to let it keep growing ever since I began dating her. It fell down to the middle of my back now, and generally made a nuisance of itself. Every time I threatened to cut it, she would take me to a place and give them specific instructions to only trim it… It was annoying, but she definitely blackmailed me to keep the hair with more time in the bedroom on the line. I looked in the mirror and knew that it looked more like I was a skinny girl than a twenty-one-year-old man…
‘For some reason that turns Addy on though…’ I smiled.
Sighing, I finished grabbing my keys and headed out to my car.
As soon as I pulled up to Stacy’s house the gate opened, and Amanda came out with Stacy in her arms dressed in her uniform, and Meg matching her walking behind them. “You don’t mind doing this?” She asked as she buckled Stacy into the car seat in the back.
I shrugged, “I wasn’t doing anything else,” I told her. “I only have two finals I have to take, and they don’t start until next Wednesday.”
“Stacy’s nearly the same,” she told me. “Meg still has five though, so I wouldn’t recommend staying out all day.”
“We won’t,” Stacy said.
“Be good for Cameron,” she warned Stacy.
I laughed, “We’ll be back by dinner.”
As soon as I started the car moving, Meg and Stacy began talking with me about what they were looking for. “I want to find a good present for Amanda since this is my last Christmas with her,” Stacy told me.
“Why not go shopping with Megan?”
“She’s terrible at keeping secrets!” Stacy laughed. “Plus, I think she’s supposed to be working today?”
“Oh, yeah… easy to forget sometimes that she’s like a for-real adult,” I laughed.
They laughed too. Meg had a few ideas of some presents she wanted to get for her mom and dad too, but like normal, neither of them wanted to go someplace like a mall by themselves. We made it to the mall and made a few stops at stores that they were interested in. Stacy found a really pretty set of earrings at the jewelry store that she wanted to buy. The salesman was really skeptical, “Little girl, these aren’t pieces of play jewelry. They’re seven-hundred dollars for the pair! Why don’t you run along to the store down the way and you’ll find something…”
I spoke up then, “Her money isn’t good enough? Seems like you’d appreciate the commission off of the earrings?”
“We’re not paid on commission,” he tried to say.
Another man came right then and said, “You’re right, you’re not paid by commission. Go clock out, I’ll send your last paycheck this week.”
I watched an embarrassing argument then between the manager who was about eleven feet tall, with the salesman who was just over ten-feet tall. Eventually the manager said, “My apologies young lady, are you still interested?”
“Maybe… any chance of some consideration for the boorish behavior we just had to witness?” Stacy asked.
I felt a trickle of nerves for her, but he laughed, “How about five-hundred?”
“Four-fifty?” Stacy suggested. “I suspect you still make a hundred dollars at that price?”
His eyes narrowed, “Good guess… Okay, I can do that.”
I noticed an item right then that caught my eye. “May I see that please?”
“Umm… certainly… that’s for a big…”
I smiled, “I know…” I took a close look at the piece of jewelry and ended up talking him down twenty-percent below the sale price. It knocked out all of the money I had set aside, but was worth it.
“I hope she likes it!” Meg said to me as I carefully placed the box in my pants pocket to ensure its safety.
“Me too!” I told her. I looked at Stacy though and said, “You are crazy...”
She laughed, “Yep! I came to this dimension willingly, right?”
Meg found some gifts for her mom and dad too before we decided lunch was in order. Stacy and I both chose a stir-fry place, while Meg decided on a place that had gyro sandwiches. We all met up at a table meant for Betweeners and sat down to eat. I watched a number of Bigs stare hungrily at our table. I tried to put their stares in the background though as we ate.
“So, what else are you looking for?” I asked Stacy.
“Not sure, I’d like to find something I can take back home next spring.”
“Isn’t that against the law?” I asked her.
She shrugged, “There’s some leeway if it seems like it would be somewhat normal. Medical items like diapers seem to be allowed to take back too.”
“You really think they’ll just let you go back?” I asked her curiously.
She shook her head, “Nope! But I have a plan…”
She didn’t have any time to elaborate as Meg said, “Something wasn’t right with that…”
I looked down to the last few bytes of her gyro and noticed that the tzatziki didn’t look quite the right color.
I watched as Stacy looked at her wrist and tried to pull off a charm from her bracelet for some reason. “Here… swallow…” she was only able to get out two words before Meg curled in towards her stomach and I smelled something that no free little should be doing in a mall like this.
“Let’s get her to a bathroom,” I told Stacy, “walk calmly and we’ll pretend I’m your babysitter… maybe we can get her out of this…”
Meg meanwhile had some tears rolling down her face as we gathered her stuff and began walking to the other end of the food court where I knew there was a single-family restroom we could use safely. ‘If we can just make it there…’
The hungry looking Bigs did look a bit curiously at me as I held her hand like she was a child in my care. I was enough taller than her that would be a reasonable assumption.
We were in the final hallway to the bathrooms when I felt her violently yanked from my grasp, and her shopping bags clattered to the ground!
“What do we have here?” A tall woman who seemed to be trying to be as wide as she was tall picked Meg up. She pulled up the skirt of her uniform and said, “Uh-oh, seems like someone made an oopsie in her big girl pants. Guess she’s not ready for them.”
“Put her down please, Ma’am,” I told her.
She looked at me and laughed, “Why?”
“Because I’m watching her for a friend.”
“She’s got a university uniform on, but where’s her ID?” She asked with a smirk as she ripped it from her neck. Meg screamed in pain as the chain broke, and I watched it fly to a trashcan on the other side of the hallway like a perfect 3-pointer shot. “Guess I’m going to have to take care of her since she’s not ready to do so herself!”
“Ma’am, put her down,” I said again.
“And what are you going to do about it?” she said.
“Tell the girl's actual mommy about the witch trying to take her little girl?” I gasped as I saw Stacy wrap herself behind Megan who had suddenly appeared.
“Mommy!!!!” Meg screamed and tried to get loose to go to Megan.
“Haha, good one, she’s not adopted yet. She doesn’t have her ID; I got her first!”
A security guard came up right then and said, “What’s going on here?”
“This woman is kidnapping the little girl I was watching for her new mommy,” I told him while pointing at Megan.
“Do you have any proof of this?” He asked.
“Ask her yourself,” I said pointing to Meg.
“She’s my mommy, not this mean lady!”
“Hmm… let’s go to the security office. I’ll get a police officer down to sort this out.”
“Fine, I’ll be leaving with my new baby girl when the visit is done!” She said to Megan.
“For now, how about I hold her?” The security guard said as Meg continued to cry and squirm violently for her ‘mommy’ to try and put a good show on.
He grabbed her and said, “We’ll get you with your right mommy here in a few minutes… Pee-ew, you are on stinky baby girl though!”
Meg continued bawling and I just hoped we could make the case to the police officer that arrived. We were led to a back office and to my surprise a police officer was already there. “What’s going on here?” He asked the security guard.
“Looks like this little girl has a newly developed case of Maturosis? She’s not adopted yet I don’t think, and is wearing an Emerson University uniform.”
“I can see that, besides the poopie pants, what’s the problem?”
“Officer, if I may?” I got his attention.
“Cameron Sylvester sir, I was babysitting her while her new mommy went to go find her purse and a diaper in her car.”
“And she trusts you to watch her new Little?” He asked skeptically.
I nodded, “So does her sister with her Little,” I nodded to Stacy who was doing her best to blend into Megan’s leg. “I’m twenty-one and a college student.”
“And I guess you’re just tall enough to legally be allowed to be a babysitter…” He looked at the woman who was surprisingly quiet, “And just what’s your part in this?”
“I saw this one leading her to hide her poopie pull-up so she wouldn’t be in trouble…'' She tried lying. “Clearly they’re just all working together…”
Meg was sitting more quietly in the security guards’ arms then. The cop turned his attention to Meg, “What’s your name?”
“Meg…” she said shyly.
“Well Meg, I’m sure you can see we have a bit of a disagreement here on what happened. I think we can solve this pretty easily though. Which of these ladies is your mommy?”
Meg didn’t hesitate in pointing at Megan, “That’s my mommy.”
“Seems clear enough to me,” he said to the woman.
“Now you listen here!”
“No, you need to calm down. I’ve already reviewed the footage and they found her ID that you ripped off. Obviously, she’s going to need a mommy now, but it’s not going to be you. Get out of here before I arrest you for kidnapping!” He told her.
The woman backed away then and got out of there.
“Well miss, let’s get you to your mommy so she can change your stinky pants,” he said as he passed her from the security guard to Megan. “You can change her here, but then I’m going to insist on following you to the adoption center.”
“But… you just said you saw her ID was stolen,” Stacy said.
“You’re right, but she doesn’t have it on her now, does she? And she also told me that’s her mommy, so unless you want to send her to the city orphanage, I would recommend finishing what you started,” he told Megan.
She sighed, “Guess my plans for this afternoon are completely shot. She pulled her purse off her shoulder and asked, “Can I use this desk?”
“Certainly!” he told her and said, “I’ll wait for you outside.”
“Well, this went wrong…” Stacy said to me…
“Or right…” I said quietly thinking about our conversation months ago.
Megan pulled a disposable changing mat out of her purse, and a diaper that I assumed was for Bella, since it was way too big for Stacy. “Let’s get you out of those poopy big girl panties!” She cooed. A couple of security officers were still in the room, so I assumed she was putting a show on for them. “Here, you can have a paci too while I do this,” she pushed a pacifier into her mouth from somewhere.
I watched her toss the pull-up into the trash can after she taped the new diaper onto Meg. She gathered her on her side, and said, “Okay you two, I guess it’s time to go to the adoption center with this one… Stacy, do you want to go with me?”
I grimaced, and she did as well. Stacy nodded, “Are you coming too Cameron?”
I shrugged and looked at Meg when we were out in the hallway, the officer was standing there.
“Where are you parked?” he asked.
“By the food court entrance,” she said, “on the south side.”
“I’ll get my car and meet you over there. Please don’t leave until I’m with you. Do you already have a car seat for her?”
“Yes, I have two in the back,” she told him.
“Okay then, I’ll see you again in a second.”
“You want me going with you?” I asked Meg.
Meg shook her head, her face red, but at least the tears were drying, “No… I can do this with Megan.”
Megan added, “You’re just close enough in height I’d be worried taking you in there. Stacy, you sure you don’t want to go with Cameron? I’m not looking forward to this, and I can’t imagine it’s going to be pleasant…”
Stacy shook her head, “I’m not leaving her alone… I’ll go for moral support.”
“I guess like you said I’m close to her height… Should I go back to Stacy’s and wait for you?”
“Actually, why don’t you just go ahead and go back to school. I’ll get Stacy home, and she can call you when we’re done. You can come over and check on Meg at my place tomorrow if you want?” she paused, “I guess I should say our place.” She looked down at Meg, “I really didn’t want to have a Little… but there was no way I would let anyone go to that witch…”
Unfortunately for us, ‘that witch’ was standing at the entrance as we walked out. She pushed me away from Stacy, and tried to run off with her then. ‘Try’ being the correct word because somehow Stacy hit the woman hard enough that she dropped her and stumbled. I watched in disbelief as Stacy then somehow somersaulted directly to her feet. She kicked the lady’s ankle out and then did something to her knee. Just from the angles, I could tell that the ankle was definitely broken, the knee dislocated, and I could see now that the nose was bloody.
I was afraid things would continue to escalate, but the same police officer drove up with a partner then, “What’s going on?”
“She tried assaulting and kidnapping her,” I said pointing to Stacy.
“What happened to her though?”
“She tripped when she tried running with me,” Stacy said.
“Jim, get her cuffed and in the back. We’ll follow these four over to the adoption clinic and then take her to the hospital that’s next door to get looked at before we book her.”
“I’m actually going back to my car right now,” I told him.
“I have a self-driving car license,” I told him.
“Oh, well… why don’t you get inside her car and she’ll drive you to your car, you can drive off once we see you in it. I don’t want any more excitement happening today…”
I nodded at that. At Megan’s car she placed Meg and Stacy in the rear-facing car seats she had for Stacy and Bella to use. I hopped in the front passenger seat for the quick ride to the other side of the mall where I parked.
“Call me later?” I told them as I got out.
“We will as soon as we get done with the clinic,” Stacy told me.
“Good luck,” I said to Meg.
She smiled weakly at me, tears still going down her face as she seemed to have grown quickly accustomed to sucking on that pacifier. I got into my car and set it to drive to campus before calling Amanda and filling her in. “At least you all got out safely… Not sure how Megan’s going to cope with being a mommy though… not to mention names are going to get even more confusing around here!” She paused, “I guess Mom and I will have to put together a Little shower for them too…”
I soon pulled into my spot in the parking garage on campus and made my way to my dorm and began studying some more. All I could do was sigh, and hope that everything would work out in the end for them.