The Babysitter, Part 24

by: Lady Lucia | Story In Progress | Last updated Mar 29, 2024


Chapter 18
The Babysitter, Part Eighteen

Part Eighteen


Thankfully, it didn’t seem like Noelle was particularly skeptical about how I had suddenly changed my mind. To me, my decision was driven by the constant desire I had to prove my identity. To Noelle, however, she probably just saw it as a tween realizing that playing board games was a more fun way to spend a Friday evening than doing schoolwork. Especially since it was summer. 


As usual, I had to deal with an embarrassing amount of supervision. Rather than simply letting me go downstairs by myself, Noelle escorted me so she could confirm that things were set up in a way that made it difficult for me to run off like the real Miley might do. 


Paige was more than eager to help out, and her girlfriends acted like they were happy that I was joining them ‘for once.’ So dumb, as I was never invited to do anything with them under normal circumstances, nor did I have any interest in doing so. My sister pointed out where the back door was, and where we’d be circled up for the games. She went so far as to have one of her friends switch chairs, so I would be at the farthest point from both the door and the stairs. “We’re not just gamers,” she explained, “Not all of us, anyway. Dakota and Shannon can easily catch her if she tries to slip away. One of them can walk her to the bathroom, too, when she needs to go. Unless you’d rather hang out down here yourself?”


It was the second time Paige had offered as much. Although nothing in her expression gave it away, I could only guess that asking as much was only a formality. She would be more limited with her scheming if Noelle was nearby. This was the first and last time these girls would ever have an opportunity like this, and I could tell from their sideways glances and little smiles that Paige had already filled them in on the potential ideas she had for me as ‘Miley.’ 


“That’s okay,” Noelle said, “Six is an even number. Miley, I’ll be working right upstairs in the kitchen.” As in, with direct line of sight to the basement door. Because she was still under the impression that my M.O. involved running away. The sun hadn’t quite set yet, but it had definitely gotten the point where that wasn’t a viable strategy any more. Where would I go? Plus even without Noelle present, it’s not like I would be able to get past Paige’s two sporty friends; they were taller, no doubt stronger, and outnumbered me. And that was before counting Paige and the other two girls, who would probably jump in to help in the struggle. 


Before Noelle left me to the wolves that I had technically agreed to give myself over to anyway, she took a minute to verify that the back door was as secure as Paige had said. It wasn’t as if our suburban house was a prime break-in risk, but a back door was the more likely target if it came to that. They had added a little extra security down here a while ago, which meant that getting out took an extra few seconds as well. Paige had already explained as much, and it didn’t take long for Noelle to see it for herself. 


She headed back up to the main floor after a final reminder to me to behave. The second the door at the top of the stairs clicked shut, Violet piped up. “I call Miley!”


“So predictable,” Paige rolled her eyes, “Whatever. I’ll take Annika.” The last pair was obvious by elimination, and my sister started talking about the teams. Since most games were best with 3-4 players, their twist on it with this many girls was to partner off and share what a single player would normally be in charge of. It was a little more social that way, and two heads were better than one when it came to strategy. While she explained, her friends started shifting spots. Annika plopped herself down next to my sister on the sofa, and Violet walked me over to the wide leather armchair in the corner. It fit both of us, kind of, although I wasn’t a huge fan of how snugly I was seated with the alternative girl. Maybe it was another measure to keep me from trying to escape, and/or merely a way to make me a bit uncomfortable to start things off. Paige knew that I preferred my personal space, and she could have shared as much with the others. 


During the shuffle, Shannon walked over to the stairs. When she turned right back around to join the group again, I realized it was because she was making sure that Noelle wasn’t lingering at the top to supervise us for a little while. I could actually see her doing that, considering how helicopter-y she had been for the last couple hours. Miley’s bad reputation was really screwing me over in that regard. Shannon’s nod marked the ‘all clear,’ and then Paige started explaining the real details. 


“So. Miley.” Despite Noelle’s absence, she was annoyingly committing to the false name. “It’s simple. If you and Violet get first place, then you get your driver’s license. No strings attached.”


“And no loopholes,” Violet added, “I won’t claim it for our team or anything. If we win, it’s yours.”


“And we won’t wrestle you down and steal it back from you right afterwards, either,” Paige smirked, “As fun as that would be.”


They were certainly covering all the bases. Considering how much I distrusted Paige in general, as she had a habit of twisting words, she was smart to qualify some of the things I probably would have thought of myself if given another few seconds to mull the offer over. Still, it couldn’t be that simple. “What’s the catch?” I asked. 


“Miley, we’re sisters!” she pouted and placed a hand over her not actually wounded heart. “You don’t trust me?”


I repeated myself as flatly as possible. “What’s the catch?”


“Well, aside from how you have to manage winning against the power team that is me and Annika, and the wild card that is Dakota most nights . . . ” she trailed off to build suspense, but only for a moment, “You also need to ante something up, Miley. After all, bets aren’t supposed to be one sided. That wouldn’t be fair.”


Fair? The reward for winning was something that was already supposed to be mine! Something that Paige had no right taking in the first place. Strings or no strings, it was ridiculous enough that I had to play for my own identity. At the moment, however, my sister was holding all the cards. “Like what?” I asked. Right away, I regretted it. Asking subtly implied that I was on board making this a bet rather than a prize, even if I hadn’t meant it like that. I should have pushed back instead. 


Before I could backpedal, Paige replied, “Hmm, let’s think. Oh, I know!” she exclaimed. As if she hadn’t already had an idea of how she wanted this all to play out since before I stepped foot into the basement. “If you win, you get your license. If you don’t win, then . . . ” Again with the obnoxious suspense. She glanced down towards my chest for a second, then met my eyes with another little smirk. “I get to cut up one of your bras.”


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End Chapter 18

The Babysitter, Part 24

by: Lady Lucia | Story In Progress | Last updated Mar 29, 2024

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