I hadn’t even agreed to anything yet! But there I was, standing alone in the rest stop aisle with the babyish underwear she was so eager to make me wear. Sighing to myself, I made my way to the front of the store. Thank God this was on a road trip, far away from our home city. I could still feel my cheeks flush a tiny bit at the thought of someone seeing me holding such an embarrassing item, but I’d probably be a lot more paranoid if there was a risk of being seen by someone I knew. Logically, I knew that the average person would assume I was buying them for a younger girl, but the knowledge that Kate wanted ME to put them on made it impossible to fight apprehension with logic.
A minute later, Kate appeared from a nearby aisle. Before, she just had a small box of crackers for us to share. Now, she was holding several bags of candy and a large variety pack of Gatorade. Yeah, we had four hours left on the drive, but we also /just/ had lunch. Whatever.
“Ready to checkout, Annelise?” Kate asked. It was actually kind of weird hearing my full name in her voice after so long, even with the exaggerated tone. She beamed at the sight of me still holding the pack of pull-ups. Before I could change my mind, Kate strutted right up to the counter and placed her items down, plucking the pack from my hands and adding it to the pile.
I watched in nervous silence as the checkout girl scanned the items one by one. The pull-ups were first, as Kate had placed them on top, and now I’d have to go through the trouble of getting the girl to remove them from the order if I wanted to bail. It would just be a series of clicks on the computer, but it was still always a little awkward to interrupt an otherwise smooth transaction. I half expected Kate to turn to me and say that she ‘forgot’ her wallet, a constant move she’d use in order to get me to pay for all kinds of things. She would pay me back, most of the time, but only after a lot of reminders. Apparently her excitement about this little dare was enough for her to forego that little song and dance, as she immediately pulled out her credit card and paid for everything.
The moment the chip was successfully read, Kate grabbed her card and stashed it away. Then she picked up the underwear pack and handed it to me again. “Meet me in the bathroom, Annelise.” She grabbed the drinks and snacks and headed for the exit to put everything else in the car. Meanwhile, I retreated into one of the aisles when I realized what my sister just said right in front of the teenage girl across the counter and what it would imply.
Despite the embarrassing absurdity of this dare, and my gut instinct telling me to simply put the recently purchased pull-ups on any nearby shelf and walk away, I found myself listening to my sister’s parting words and finding the bathrooms in the back corner of the rest stop store.
Was this worth it? Kate already called me ‘Annelise’ twice, and I hated that it was actually working. Offering me something that should never have been taken away from me to begin with. Taking a breath, I realized that I only had so much time until Kate returned. Then I would lose that precious solitude that a road trip rarely offered. I had to weigh the pros and cons while I had the chance.
My sister wasn’t wrong. No one would know. It’s not like she was asking me to put on an outfit piece that would exaggerate my unfortunate size. Plus I was wearing a skirt, which would hide any bulk from the pull-ups. And, if I went along with this, then she would use my full name around our extended family. Certainly a pro.
But, if I went along with it, Kate would know. My dignity would definitely take a hit, no matter how innocent and fun she pretended a dare like this was. And would we be stopping again? As awful as being called ‘Annie’ was, my sister blurting out “Annelise is wearing PULL-UPS” would be much worse. And/or just pulling my skirt down or up for the visual. I definitely wouldn’t put it past her, which means that I’d have to change back before we arrived to avoid the risk. Or just go commando, I guess, since I could always just pull the underwear off and shove it in my backpack before getting out of the car.
Most importantly, what mattered more? Giving Kate the satisfaction of me willingly putting something this embarrassing on, or more or less ‘allowing’ her to fuck up my name all weekend long?
Thirty seconds later, when I saw Kate walking back from the car after stashing away her snacks, I knew I had to make a decision. The pros and cons flashed across my mind as she entered the rest stop store again and meandered through the aisles until she joined me by the private restrooms. Ugh, and she was drinking from a lemon-lime Gatorade. In my opinion, every other flavor was better, especially the red and orange ones. As usual, Kate and I had nothing in common as sisters.
“Well, Annelise?” she said, “Ready to put on your pull-ups?”
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