DAD HAD FLOWN with me to New Haven to help me move in. We were definitely on the shorter side of passengers walking around without ‘guardians.’ We had both dressed up for the flights in the hope that it would help keep people from dismissing us because of our shorter heights. Fortunately, it seemed to work as we left our home airport with reasonably decent treatment. Arriving in my new city I was greeted with the sights of a decidedly more liberal society. Littles could be adopted here, but the rules were significantly more stringent. There was a mandate that a Little had to be willing to be adopted. Forced adoptions only occurred in the case of court rulings. In those cases, the lawyers and mental health professionals had to agree on a diagnosis of Maturosis for an adoption to be ordered. It meant most of the babied Littles were perpetrators of some criminal offense, and needed re-raised as a criminal consequence, or they genuinely preferred living like that.
There were still plenty of diapered and babied littles in view as we exited the airport, but at last nearly all of the ones I saw seemed happy. As we passed them, I didn’t see any signs of the scarring so many had back home from mobility impairment surgeries, and all of the ones smiling seemed to still have their teeth! New Haven was named long before Littles were even thought of, but the name definitely seemed to fit. The Harlan School of Law often took a leading role in Little rights cases, and it was clear that at least here, things seemed to be better for Littles.
I would have suggested Mr. Fehler bring Beth here, but unfortunately while the adoptions were more difficult to legally occur, they also had rules that made it equally more difficult to emancipate an adopted Little. That was because they assumed that they had been willing to enter into the agreement… or had a valid reason to be forced into it by the courts.
Fortunately for Littles, wet or messy pants weren’t enough of a reason here to lose your freedom!
I sighed as we walked out to the line of cabs and a tall big waved one down for us. “Thank you, sir,” Dad told him.
“You’re welcome!” he said.
The cab driver got out and helped load our luggage in the back. We had both brought our maximum luggage allowance, using Big sized luggage that was a challenge for me to push around. Dad’s was mostly filled with my stuff too, as we decided not to drive my car out to school. We made that decision just because everything was in walking distance from the student residential village I was assigned. The school actually maintained a series of apartments, that my fellowship covered, that were right near a grocery store and retail area. Unless I was trying to really explore, I wouldn’t even need to leave the area I was in. If I did need to travel, the mass transit system there was very well thought out and worked just fine.
It was saving me quite a bit of money for parking permits that just weren’t necessary from what I could see on my visit. If I changed my mind, I would drive it back at Christmas. For now, my focus was on getting moved in and worrying about getting ready for orientation and classes to start later that week!
“Where you heading?” The cab driver asked as Dad and I sat down without a booster seat in sight.
“The residential village at the Harlan Law School?” I replied.
“You have an address?” He asked, “I know where the school is, but not the village?”
“Sure…” I gave him the address and watched him enter it into his system.
He made small talk as he drove and seemed surprised where we were from. “What brought you out here?”
“Law school,” I told him, “I wanted to go to the best school! The fact they also made a huge package financially to get me out here helped too.”
I smiled at that thought. The terms of my schooling were that I had all tuition and books paid, my apartment was free, I received a stipend for T.A.ing a class for undergrads, and another for being a gopher on a legal team. I would still have some expenses obviously, but I was basically getting paid to go to school! My test scores, grades, and interviews had been enough to land me the best package that they offered to grad students.
Coming closer to the campus of the university I saw the buildings of Hamilton University that hosted the Law School as part of its institution. The buildings were old! Several of them were actually over two centuries in age, and all of the architecture was beautiful throughout the campus. There were a trio of buildings that housed the Law School that were among the oldest buildings. I had loved the old brick facades, the wooden floors, and their old library, which leant itself to an amazing gravitas when I walked in during my spring visit.
Down a block we came to the newer building that housed the graduate student housing. A sign said ‘Welcome New Students!’ and directed us inside a building for registration.
Dad paid the bill for the taxi and we walked towards the signs. “How about I watch your suitcases here,” he suggested to a bench that was in the shade of a tree, “And you can go get everything setup?”
“Sounds good,” I told him. “Thanks Dad!”
I joined a line that thankfully wasn’t too long. I saw that there were probably ten Bigs, three other Mids, as well as surprisingly two Littles! The Littles did look a bit nervous of the Bigs that were around, but seemingly less so than any back home. One of them caught my eye, a brown-haired man who was probably only five feet in height. There was no sign of any padding of even a Pull-Up or thicker underwear on him. “What are you staring at?” He asked me with some hostility.
I shook my head, “It’s so much different from back home. I’m glad to see that you have the opportunity to go to school here.”
“Where are you from?” He asked me, “I’m Brad Grant,” he told me.
“Greenville… it’s in Ames,” I told him and added, “I’m Cameron Sylvester.”
“So, is it as bad there for Littles as I’ve heard?”
I looked in surprise, “I’m going to guess maybe…? I’ve… I’ve never seen a place that wasn’t like it?”
He nodded, “You’ll probably get a bit of a culture shock here then.”
I nodded, “I figure, but that’s part of why I wanted to come here.” We talked for a few minutes and I learned he was aa doctoral student working on dimensional physics for portals as his focus for his thesis. ‘He and Dad could probably nerd out for hours…’ I thought. I had just finished explaining I was there for Law School when he was called to the table. He grabbed his key and I took his place at the table and soon had signed my life away for the key that I held in my hand.
“See you around,” he said as we crossed paths.
“Yeah,” I told him with a smile. It was nice to see Littles free!
Dad and I got into my furnished apartment and set to work messing with unpacking what I had. He was taking the bed for the three nights he was staying, while I volunteered to sleep on the large couch until he left. This apartment was actually sized for a tall Mid, so I didn’t need a lot of step stools to get to things – even though there was one provided by the university.
We cleaned and made trips to the grocery store, unpacked the boxes of dishes, pans, and other things the next day that I had shipped to myself, and generally did some sight-seeing before he had to head home on the night before our orientation for grad students began.
“Stay safe,” Dad told me as he opened the door to the taxi and then hugged me.
“You too Dad! I love you!”
“Love you too, Cam,” he told me with a smile.
I watched the cab drive away with him that night and walked back into my apartment. I turned on the TV and watched a few shows when my phone rang. It was pretty late by then, but the phone showed a number Mr. Fehler had me memorize before I left. I was pretty sure it was a burner phone to avoid being traced.
“Hi Cameron, I just wanted to let you know that we made it safely to where we’re settling in to get Beth a better chance.”
“Since you’re there, can you tell me where you’re at now?”
“If you don’t mind, I’ll wait until we get moved into our new house in a few weeks. I want to make sure we’re established here first, just in case someone tries to trace us from back home.”
“That makes sense… may I talk to Beth?”
“I’m sorry Cam, it’s way past her normal bedtime so she’s already out like a light. I just wanted to make sure you weren’t worried about us getting out.”
“Thanks, I was! Can you maybe call me with her tomorrow night?”
“Sure Cameron,” he told me. “But I don’t want you pining over her while you’re apart. I’m sure this will work out and you two can make a life together here in a couple years. Focus on your schooling so you can provide a good life for you both.”
I smiled, “Yes sir, I plan to!”
“Good, I’ll worry about getting her ready for that life. We’re in a good place with pretty liberal emancipation laws. I’m hoping we can get her emancipated by next year, and then figure out what’s next for her.”
“That’ll be great sir, thank you for being a good father to her!”
“I’ll always love my baby girl – but I don’t always want to be changing her stinky diapers!”
I laughed, “Thank you for that too.”
That night I went to sleep and felt hopeful for Beth for the first time ever. I didn’t hardly even think about my nerves about starting law school the next day!
BEGINNING THE NEXT day, I learned that I wouldn’t have any time to be pining over Beth! Orientation presentations weren’t all that different than they had been at Emerson. The pride in the Harlan Law School was apparent with the introduction and the guest speakers present. Soon we received a tour of the buildings, course schedules, and supply lists pretty much needed to get picked up all in that day. I soon found myself completely immersed in my new studies.
The first day of classes I carried my new gifts of the briefcase and computer to class, dressed in the required business attire. In our first class I had sixty-five students and we were quickly split up into small groups to work on a group project. My group been assigned to research facts surrounding a case that HLS was assisting with. We met in a small conference room right after getting our assignments.
“Hi, I’m Wendy Spencer,” a girl who was only about nine-feet tall said to us as we sat down. She was a bit heavy in build, but had a really friendly smile that was framed by her chin length brown hair.
“I’m Cameron Sylvester,” I said.
“I’m Edgar Freeman,” a tall eleven-foot-tall man about my age said. He looked like he was wearing quality clothes based on my memories of being around Addy for all of my time at Emerson. His suit alone probably cost a couple grand I guessed. The watch on his wrist was probably at least ten-grand with all of the bling it had. He wore a friendly smile though.
“I’m Kyle,” an older gentleman with graying hair who was only a foot taller than me said. His face and demeanor looked like someone who had been through a lot in life. “I’m the old man I guess… Decided to come to law school after serving my time out with the service.”
A girl who was almost exactly my height, with shoulder length blonde hair said, “We’ll be relying on that experience!” Her smile was genuine, but I would wager her boobs were not! She might have needed a larger cup size than Addy… “I’m Penelope Madden,” she added.
The last member of our group spoke up, “I’m Samantha Rutgers, but please call me Sam.” I was surprised to see so short of a little joining our group. She was only about five feet tall with her black hair pinned into a bun on her head. Her skirt suit fit her well, but back home I knew she would have just been accused of playing dress-up.
“Nice to meet you all,” I said again. “Shall we get started? How do we want to do this?”
For a group that was incredibly diverse in height, wealth, and age, we made a really good team! Harlan had decided to help represent a small company who was being sued for providing a service to repair computer systems, even though they weren’t authorized by the manufacturer. The manufacturer was suing the business for 'illegally repairing' their systems for much less than they would have charged for the same repairs. There seemed to be a lot of case law on the manufacturer’s side. The school was helping the defendant's side, due to a clear indication that there was an unfair competitive environment going on. They were leading in the defense of the lawsuit, and leading a countersuit effort as well to try and effectively change the unfair practices going on. The six of us split off some different research areas, and I’d been assigned the owner’s bio to try and determine if there was anything else at work.
The business owner had used an alumnus member’s law firm only for speaking with the manufacturer and the Law School. No one had ever seen them in person, and I was kind of curious if there was a reason why…
Stacy had taught me a bunch of tricks over the years before she left after graduation, and I soon found myself using most of them. I finally located the owner, ‘Trinity Snyder’ and figured out there was a reason why she was hiding her actual appearance.
“She’s a Little…” I said out loud.
“Umm… duh, I know I’m a Little, problem with that?” Sam said to me.
“No, not you… the client.”
“No way? How can that be?” Penelope said, “Isn’t her business in Ames?”
“Yeah… if anyone finds out she’s a Little the case will be over too,” I said aloud.
“How do you know that?” Edgar said.
“That it’ll be over?” I asked.
He nodded, “I’m from Greenville there… Trust me, we don’t have many Littles that make it out of college, let alone own businesses.”
“If they were here, we could make a discrimination argument,” Wendy said.
Edgar sighed, “I’m so sick of seeing everything skewed against Littles.”
I think all of our eyes looked over at him above his computer. “But…” Kyle said, “You’re one of the Freeman family members, aren’t you happier with Littles being ‘put in their place?’” He said the last part with obvious scorn.
“I’m the black sheep of the family,” he said to us. “I came here to Harlan in the hopes of gaining some tools to fight that blatant sizeism.”
My opinion of him went way up, “Well… So, we know that this is going to be an issue for the client. Anyone else have anything? Maybe ideas to help?”
We worked on the initial research several times in the next few days before going back to our full class and presenting our findings. “Who discovered that the client is a Little?” our professor asked.
I raised my hand, “That was me sir.”
“How did you do that?”
My methods became its own class discussion and a point was made that sometimes research is the most important thing to do in a case.
A week later Trinity Snider was safely relocated to New Haven, and the case was able to move forward over the next eighteen months, with us being asked to do legwork for them a few more times. She eventually won the case, with some significant damages awarded to her. That award included all of her legal expenses being covered, which benefited the law school!