Cassidy was dressed and in clean underwear.
All things considered, she knew she should be grateful. It was certainly a step up from wearing soaked pull-ups or standing around naked outdoors. And, while the unicorn shirt was girly and immature, it was low key probably what she would have chosen if her current outfit and the fairy costume had been held up side by side. That kind of thinking was dangerous, as it made her realize that there were boxes of old clothes in the basement back home that would have worked just as well for the scheme that Audrey had suggested.
Retrospect was almost as much of a bitch as her sister was, however, and Cassidy needed to remember that there was a degree of time pressure that had been under that morning. Blaming herself wasn’t fair, when this was all clearly Audrey’s doing.
As Margot walked her back to the more public area of the daycare tent, Cassidy appreciated her change of clothes less and less. There really hadn’t been something better for her to wear? Then again, it’s not like a Lost and Found would be rich with clothing options. The only reason there was anything in there at all was probably because the Renaissance Faire was a place that involved changing into costumes. She could easily see some girl dropping her shirt after dressing up and not realizing it until hours later. Cassidy had already suggested the costume rental thing for herself as an alternative, but Margot had dismissed the idea immediately. Not only would it leave her coworker without assistance for even longer, but Margot also pointed out that Cassidy didn’t have a means of paying for said rental.
Cassidy didn’t even bother asking Margot for a loan. Even if the dark haired girl actually believed they were the same age, it would be asking a lot. Trusting a stranger you just met with the kind of money required for bloated costume rental costs? Unlikely. No, Cassidy was wearing the best that she was going to get.
“Hey, everyone?” Margot announced to the small group of ‘kids’ that looked to be around Cassidy’s false age.
Was it too late to run away and hop the fence? Cassidy actually didn’t know which was worse–having a girl Audrey’s age think that she was younger than she was, or having girls actually that age believe it. She was dealing with both at the moment, of course. The only silver lining was that this demographic had their own corner of the large tented area, no doubt because they were too mature for all the kiddie games designed for the children that had been dropped off. The three youths Margot took her to had to have been checked in just like Cassidy had. Temporarily handed off so their older family members could see some of the more explicit shows, while not trusting them to roam about on their own.
One of the girls was in costume, albeit a very simple one. Some kind of huntress design, which Cassidy guessed was thrown together at home with various outfit pieces and accessories. The other girl was wearing casual summer clothes, as was the lone boy that stood with them. None of them were siblings as far as she could tell. Just three young individuals that were stuck together due to circumstance. Either overprotective parents, or troublemaking family members who couldn’t be left alone.
Similar to the slightly more mature way Margot had been talking to her, at least when Cassidy had been cooperating instead of complaining, Margot continued, “This is Cassie. She’ll be joining you for a while. With four, you can definitely-”
The young huntress scoffed. “No, thanks. We just want to hang out. Unless Cassie’s into silly games?” While the girl had started with a look towards Margot, her gaze shifted right away to the pink clad Cassidy. Expectant, and a bit judgmental.
So the girl in costume was the one taking all this the least seriously? Interesting. “I’m good with whatever,” Cassidy said. She wasn’t lying. The objective at this point was to just wait it out until Audrey returned. She almost corrected Margot’s introduction, but being ‘Cassidy’ to people she’d never see again wasn’t worth the risk of giving Audrey an excuse to somehow make things worse if she found out.
“See?” the same girl said, “Thanks but no thanks, Margot. We’ll give you a call if we need you!”
To her credit, Margot didn’t even bat an eye. “As you wish. Just stay in your area and-”
“No jailbreaks. We got it.”
“And behave,” Margot concluded. With that, she turned and headed off towards the more crowded area of the tent with a group of younger kids who seemed to be in the middle of a game led by who Cassidy assumed was the Paula referenced earlier.
Cassidy noticed right away how excessive the term ‘jailbreak’ was. She and the other three had more or less been left completely alone, and it’s not like the nearby fence was a particularly challenging climb. Any of them could easily hop it and make a break for it if they wanted to, at the expense of getting into trouble with whomever had dropped them off. Of course, Cassidy had her own motivations for not trying to run. With no keys, wallet, or phone, she was completely dependent on Audrey at the moment. The trio she had been left with probably had their own reasons for staying as well.
Despite being in college and too old to care what teenagers thought of her, Cassidy immediately felt self conscious as she became the center of attention in Margot’s absence. Because in their eyes, she was very much not a college girl. “Umm, hey,” Cassidy said. At least with Margot, she could relate with her even if Margot didn’t view her as a peer. This was different.
“Hey, yourself,” the huntress said. She placed a hand on her hip and looked Cassidy up and down, “Cute outfit.”
Cassidy couldn’t stop a blush from forming on her cheeks. “It’s not mine.” She glanced away with a slight grimace, before blurting out the first lie she could think of that offset as much blame as possible. “Someone spilled their drink on me, and Margot insisted on the Lost and Found.” Common enemy, right? If Cassidy was going to be stuck in this area, she doubted she could just twiddle her thumbs in the corner now that Margot had so blatantly introduced her. While she wasn’t particularly interested in relating to the group she was stuck with, the least she could do was have on her side enough to not bother her.
Since she was actually a young adult, such a tactic came pretty easily to Cassidy even if she wasn’t manipulative like her sister. Huntress girl didn’t like Margot? Lean into that. And it seemed to work right away.
“Margot insisted,” the girl echoed, “Too bad you didn’t have me around.”
Cocky. Cassidy had to fight the urge to scoff herself. Typical teenager, thinking she’s all that when it comes to rebelling against authority. The fact that she was tossed into daycare undermined that attitude pretty hard. “Yeah,” Cassidy replied. Anything more than that would risk sarcasm creeping in, “So, we’re just stuck waiting?”
“Pretty much. I’m Quinn, by the way.”
“Cassidy.” Whatever. Fuck Audrey.
Quinn briefly introduced the others, before gesturing for Cassidy to join their circle.
First, a diaper change. Now, she had to casually hang out with teenagers like she was one of them.
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