Author's Note: Fair warning before you get started--This is one of my Patreon stories! The parts are gradually being released for free on my website, but there are currently 25 parts available for patrons. :)
“Come on, Annie!”
“Please? Please, please, please?!”
God, she was whiny! For a girl who physically looked like an older version of me, Kate certainly didn’t act the part. Around our parents, she was a cute and innocent angel. At school, she was a popular girl and a total flirt. Around me, she was an obnoxious brat. You’d think turning eighteen would have made her grow up a little, but this wasn’t much different than the way she operated in middle school. Being a total social chameleon. When it came to me, her older sister, she had a whole lifetime of us being related to figure out my buttons and how to push them. Kate usually combated my stubbornness and maturity with her own stubbornness and immaturity, begging and whining and pleading until she got her way.
The worst part was, it almost always worked. Most of the time, just to get her to shut up.
But not this time. “No, Kate.” I sternly said, crossing my arms to show just how serious I was. The pose probably worked a lot better back when I was taller than her. Still, I was determined to show her that this wasn’t happening.
“God, Annie, you’re so boring! It’s not like anyone will know. Can’t you just be fun? Like, for once in your life?”
I just rolled my eyes in response. Our definitions of ‘fun’ rarely aligned. Especially in this instance, as embarrassing me would clearly be one sided in terms of who was having a good time.
That was Kate’s SUPER FUN idea. One minute, we were shopping for snacks at the rest stop. The next, her eyes were lighting up and she was grabbing a pack of disposable underwear off one of the shelves we were walking past. She giggled and gushed over how the light pink reminded her of some of the underwear I used to wear when we were kids, and how these would totally fit me despite the packaging saying ‘Ages 8-12,’ and that I should try them on just for fun.
I was nineteen years old, a year and a half older than my sister. However, puberty really fucked me over. Seventh grade was my first and last growth spurt. 5’0 and 3/4. I didn’t even break 5’1, as I was constantly reminded by the penciled growth chart back at our house in one of the doorways. My hips and chest existed, but really only enough to identify me as a girl. So yes, pull-ups sized for tweens would probably fit my twig frame, which is exactly why there was no way in hell I’d give Kate the satisfaction.
“Nope, I’m going to keep being boring,” I shrugged. It would be pointless trying to explain to my sister that I was fun in my own way, plus leaning into her attempt at an insult was the best way to dismiss her, “Come on. We still have to get drinks.”
“Ugh, Annie! It’s a dare. You have to do it. How about $10? Or $50, for the whole ride!” she smiled, trying to haggle when I clearly didn’t even want to meet her at the table. I was about to roll my eyes and walk away, until she threw out something she knew would be enticing, “I might even consider not calling you ‘Annie’ for the rest of the trip.”
She knew she had me.
While I was cursed by puberty, Kate was blessed. She caught up to me when she was thirteen, and now had a full five inches on me at eighteen years old. Curves that put mine to shame; a perfect hourglass figure. And the worst part? She didn’t even try. No sports, no workouts, no diets, nothing. At first, I was just a little jealous, but that jealousy ended up turning into constant frustration about my size thanks to how my sister constantly had fun with it.
Ever since her growth spurt, Kate had gone out of her way to make me look like her younger sister. Not quite bullying, but close enough. Little patronizing comments here and there, random hair tugs and hip checks, and only ever calling me ‘Annie.’ Nothing overt or malicious. Just that small, knowing smile, as she knew full well that I couldn’t make a big deal about an offhand comment that no one else around us batted an eye at. And, since I was the older sister, I would end up looking like the bad guy if I snapped at her.
The worst part was, a handful of people had taken to the name ‘Annie,’ despite how it had never been a nickname of mine before, even when growing up. One or two boys at my home church, most of her high school friends, and even one of MY friends once at our graduation party, just due to the repetition of Kate saying it whenever my friends were over. The girl apologized immediately and corrected herself, of course, but the damage was done. Kate was ‘winning,’ simply by being casually persistent.
Going into this trip, I expected Kate to call me ‘Annie’ all weekend long in an attempt to get our cousins, and maybe aunt and uncle, to pick up the nickname. If she poisoned the waters like that, who knows how the nickname might circle throughout our extended family? Which is exactly why her offer was so tempting. Especially after two semesters of college, where people actually called me what I wanted to be called.
Rather than dismiss her again, I hesitated. Apparently that was enough to tell her that I was on board. “Yay!” she squealed, grinning and handing me the pack of pink pull-ups, “Meet me at the checkout counter. I’ll grab the drinks!”
And, just like that, she was skipping away.
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