Kate did not just say that.
“You know I can be convincing, Annie,” she said, with a wink, “And wet, yellow pull-ups will look pretty bad. Do you really think they’ll believe it’s from my drink?”
“No one will believe you, Kate!” I exclaimed. With a roll of my eyes, and an awkward shift of my legs from having to deal with the innermost pull-up clinging to me in a number of places as the Gatorade settled, “I’m nineteen.”
“Most of the time, you look twelve. And I already put the rest of the pull-ups in your duffel bag. You clearly need them 24/7.” Kate’s smirk slowly transformed into a pouting face. “Annie’s been having some issues making it to the bathroom lately. I wanted to tell you, I really did, but she swore me to secrecy before she left for college . . .”
I couldn’t help but drop my jaw for a second; my lips parted in surprise as I took in Kate’s words. She was going to claim I had been wearing pull-ups for almost a year now?? The ‘little sister’ jokes were one thing, but this was crossing a line. Yet I couldn’t help but feel a bit stuck in her story, now that I was realizing that she must have stashed the pull-ups in my bag when she was moving things around in the back seat.
Kate was too good at playing the perfect angel, and I was now wearing wet pull-ups. Or ‘wet, yellow pull-ups,’ in her words. Thanks to my sister’s superior acting, even dry underwear might have been difficult to talk my way out of. But this? It was genius, in a way. Infuriating, and rude, and incredibly frustrating, but annoyingly clever nonetheless. How on earth was I going to be taken seriously at my word when the bulky underwear was wet? Short of convincing my parents to get close and smell the yellowed pull-ups, they would believe Kate instead.
‘I could run,’ I thought to myself. It was tempting. But Kate might trip me, or grab me, or shout to our parents the moment I tried anything. Plus running with so much padding between my thighs didn’t seem like it would go over well. No. It wasn’t worth it. Once more, I decided to play along. “What do you want?” I asked, glaring at my younger sister.
“Even yourself out first, Annie!” Kate grinned. She held out the half emptied bottle of Gatorade to me, “Pour some in the front.”
I just snatched the drink without a word. Constant glaring, now. I couldn’t believe I let myself get tricked like this! Put on pull-ups? Why on earth had I caved? The incessant nickname would have been better than this. I braced myself for another wave of cold, and pulled the pull-ups away from my frontside. Before I could talk myself out of it, I poured a few drops, wincing as the cool liquid flowed over my most private area. The previously dry patches of the underwear began to cling to my skin as well.
“Happy . . .?” I muttered.
“ALL of it, Annie!”
Letting out another annoyed sigh, I tilted the bottle up and let the rest of the cold Gatorade trickle into the pull-ups. Better to just get it over with, rather than putting up a fight. By the time the bottle was empty, the innermost layer wasn’t just wet; it was soaked. I shivered when I let go of the pull-ups’ waistband and the cold front side stuck to me as well. “Bitch,” I huffed, chucking the empty plastic bottle at Kate.
“Language, sis. And don’t litter,” she said, after stepping aside to avoid being hit, “Pick that up, and recycle it.”
I wanted to scream. She was echoing a phrase or two that I had used over the years as the older sister, and once again in a way where she was ‘right.’ Proper girls don’t swear, littering is bad, and you’re supposed to recycle rather than throwing everything into the garbage. All of that was true, except that it wasn’t supposed to be delivered in such a patronizing way by my younger sister.
While I didn’t want to give her the satisfaction, it also wasn’t in me to leave trash on the ground. With an annoyed huff, I retrieved the empty bottle. The soaked pull-ups shifted all around me as I bent over, and I could feel a blush coming on as I stood back up. “Kate, I’m going to change,” I said. This was already so uncomfortable, not to mention embarrassing. As much as I hated the idea of going back on our deal after doing so much, I was finally figuring out that none of this was worth it.
“No, Annie,” Kate said, “What if you have another accident? We’ll have to keep you in those until the next rest stop, just in case.”
“Kate, you’re not listening!” I groaned.
“No, you aren’t listening, Annie. Are you saying there’s a zero percent chance you’ll wet yourself in the car?”
Your average girl would probably say ‘no.’ But, as a math major, I immediately hesitated at my sister’s question. I should have known better. Letting it be a rhetorical question would have been so easy, but the numbers girl inside of me knew that there’s always the smallest chance of just about anything happening. Obviously, I wasn’t going to wet myself, but I also couldn’t claim that it was impossible.
I had no idea what to say, but apparently my silence was enough. “Exactly,” Kate said. She took my hand and gave a small tug to get me to start walking with her. “Keep your pull-ups on, Annie.”
They’re not- they’re not mine . . .
But I couldn’t even manage that much. Instead, I reluctantly let my younger sister take me back to the car. If I couldn’t think of something to combat her logic quickly, I was going to be sitting in wet pull-ups for the rest of the drive.
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