A second later, I realized that my sister’s face wasn’t lighting up due to the fact that she had managed to keep me out of my room for the foreseeable future. It was because she was not only going to be the one to decide what I wore for the rest of the afternoon, but finding me an outfit would mean going into my bedroom without express permission from me first.
We were both incredibly finicky about our rooms, and the size difference between us paired with the fact that we really didn’t get along meant that there was no reason to borrow clothes from the other or anything else that would require invading the others’ space. On the rare occasion one of us had to disturb the other behind a closed door, it would usually be by text rather than knocking.
But this? Paige was going to waltz into my room alone, and while I was right there basically allowing her to do so with my silence. No, not my silence. Miley or not, I was still a sister who deserved her privacy. “Paige isn’t allowed in my room,” I said. It was the truth, technically. Although it’s more that we were step-sisters with boundaries, as eighteen was a little old for our parents to enforce something like that.
Surprisingly, Paige agreed. “That’s true,” she said. Her grin faded to a casual smile when Noelle looked her way, and then Paige went on to focus on Noelle to ask, “Permission for an exception, Noelle?”
“Of course,” Noelle nodded, “We’ll get Miley started on her first science assignment downstairs. She can change up in a few minutes.”
Once again, they were talking about me like I wasn’t even there. And, even worse, Paige had instantly figured out a way around my reply by using Noelle as the authority figure in the room in the absence of our parents. It didn’t take much, obviously, as a high school graduate would be plenty responsible in her ‘younger sister’s’ room. But she and I both knew the truth, and how frustrating and insulting it would be to know that she was making herself at home in there while I literally wasn’t allowed until later.
Trying one more time to protect my drawers and my closets from the disorganized mess that they would turn into within five minutes of Paige being in there, I said, “I’m actually fine wearing this until later. Really.” Noelle hadn’t seen my room yet, but it was immaculate compared to the teenage mess that Paige’s currently was with all the clutter strewn about. Nothing about it was dirty, per say, but the organized chaos was the exact opposite of how perfect and tidy my space was. I could already see how finding a single outfit would entirely mess up the system I had in place for my clothes, whether Paige was planning on being intentionally careless or not. Although she couldn’t trash my room, as then Noelle would see the malicious efforts and perhaps wouldn’t take my sister at her word as easily.
Noelle said something in response that I didn’t hear due to how my attention had briefly drifted, to which I blushed and replied with an awkward, “What?” I was too busy overthinking what Paige might be planning, and trying to interpret the little smirk on her face while Miley’s babysitter’s attention was on me.
“Go down to the kitchen, Miley,” Noelle frowned, crossing her arms, “I won’t ask again.”
She was hardly asking. And as she sternly repeated herself thanks to how I spaced out, Paige made the point to head out into the hall and stand in a way that the only way I was getting to my room was to somehow shove or squirm my way past her. She knew. She knew as well as I did that there were countless things in there that would set this humiliating mess straight, and was now physically making sure I couldn’t get there now that the manipulative bit was out of the way.
Reluctantly, I did as I was told. Noelle was a lot more intimidating now that I knew how easily she could manhandle and spank me. Despite my real age, I had been completely powerless to stop her or even slow her down. I definitely didn’t want to go through that again, especially not with Paige watching like before. In the name of protecting my backside and whatever dignity I had left amidst this mortifying misunderstanding, I left Paige’s room and didn’t give my sister the satisfaction of looking her in the eye as I turned the corner. Knowing her, I’d get whatever smug look she could manage while still playing it cool while Noelle was looking.
I had barely hit the top step on my way downstairs when I heard one of them following me. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw Noelle was coming with me. As Alyssa, it wasn’t like I was about to run away in a leotard and nothing else. But as Miley, I clearly wasn’t trusted alone. It made sense, of course. The real Miley could easily be capable of fleeing her house and going to a friend’s place to hide out and borrow some clothes while she was at it. I didn’t have that potential luxury. Even if Noelle had opted to stay upstairs with Paige for a moment, I didn’t have any friends my age within walking distance. My only hope would be pounding on a neighbor’s door and getting them to defend me to Noelle.
Actually . . . that wasn’t a terrible backup plan if I was kept from my bedroom. But I’d wait until I at least had something more presentable to wear, and for a moment when Noelle wasn’t poised to catch me before I made it that far. She had mentioned she wasn’t below chasing, after all.
I entered the kitchen and waited a few seconds for Noelle to join me. She told me to sit at the table and stay put. I was not to get up from my chair until I was given express permission from her. Apparently she was still laying down the law, in terms of putting difficult, rebellious Miley in her place. It really was a lose/lose, like I had thought about a few minutes ago. Doing as I was told made me look like a girl who was behaving for her babysitter. Trying to prove who I really was just made me look more like the deviant thirteen year old she believed me to be; ever since I answered the door, Noelle had assumed that I was lying and trying to trick her.
The way I sat down wasn’t particularly fast or careless, as my ballerina self aired towards doing movements properly and gracefully in all aspects of life. Additionally, I hoped that my usual posture would separate me from the slouching habits I assumed a teenager like Miley had. However, the tail end of what was mostly a habitual move caused me to slightly jump and flinch when I began putting weight on my backside that I had temporarily forgotten was still a bit sore.
“That will only get worse with more spankings,” Noelle said. She obviously figured out immediately why my mature descent was undermined by the awkward reaction. “Good thing you’ll be behaving from now on, right?”
“Right,” I blushed.
Apparently not even something as simple as sitting could be done without further digging the hole I was in. And now I was stuck at the table for as long as Noelle was supervising me.
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