There were a thousand things on my mind, most of which revolved around Kate and all the things I wanted to say to her. First, there were our parents in the car, meaning there was always a risk of being heard over the music. Now, we had the twins. Add our aunt and uncle to the equation, and it was going to take forever before my sister and I would be able to have a private moment.
I couldn’t dwell on any of that, however, when I had more pressing matters to tend to. As in, keeping Luna from figuring out that I was wearing pull-ups in that instant, as well as the fact that they were far from clean.
“Yes,” I reluctantly ‘admitted.’ It might have been stupid and impulsive, but it’s the only thing I could think to do while stuck in a dangerously precarious corner. If I was a ‘bedwetter,’ then there was no reason to suspect my current underwear matched one of the pairs my cousin retrieved from the stack in the bag. “I mean, not all the time,” I clarified. If I was digging my own hole, the least I could do was attempt to keep it shallow. “Kate just made me pack those, just in case.”
In my mind, it was a frustrating concept. My younger sister, having the power to influence what I put into my own suitcase. But it made sense if she was seen as older than me. How on earth were we going to reverse this lie about my age, when this latest development pointed more towards it being the truth to an outside observer?
Luna wasn’t that good at hiding her poker face. I could easily see the gears turning in the teenager’s head. A twelve year old who still wets the bed? Still, she at least had the grace to not make fun of me for it. “Oh. Well, that’s okay. I know a few girls your age that are going through that right now.” An obvious lie.
She began taking everything out of my duffel bag, leaving me to just awkwardly watch as all my clothes were handled by someone else. I offered to help, considering that they were mine, but she shrugged it off the idea pretty easily. Unlike my sister, Luna didn’t appear malicious in her approach. It’s more like she assumed that she knew better, especially after making the point that she had hosted friends in this room before.
All my clothes were sorted into stacks on the bed. In my idly flustered state, something that probably wasn’t going to go away until I was wearing clean underwear and this confusing false reality was undone, I almost didn’t notice. It wasn’t until Luna put my skirts and shorts in a single drawer; the absence of a few outfit pieces, I realized that my bras were nowhere to be seen.
Kate removed those when she added the pull-ups?! I swear, she had only been in the trunk for a few seconds. Then again, it’s not like my bras were on the bottom. Either way, I was instantly frustrated all over again.
“Something wrong, Annie?” Luna asked.
Ugh, I must have been as transparent as she was a second ago. “No,” I said. Not true. Plenty of things were wrong with how my day had gone, which was easily why my thoughts and emotions were all over the place. But that wasn’t Luna’s problem. “I just-” Once again, a good idea came to me way later than it should have. Kate had blocked me before, but now she wasn’t there. “If I can’t help you unpack, can I go say ‘Hi’ to your parents?”
“No, let’s wait for our sisters. Girl to girl, I can totally see your nipples right now. You might not be used to stuff like this yet, but it’s something you need to be aware of from now on. That’s why they’re going to find you a bra. Another option, for your size at least, is to wear a cami underneath another layer. Honestly, you should enjoy being on the smaller side while you can. The rest of us are stuck in bras most days. You have some flexibility.”
And it was right back to the blushing. The worst part was, I knew that Luna would see my rosy cheeks as me being a tween who’s embarrassed to be talking about her changing body. I knew all this already, and looked perfectly presentable before Kate pressured me to take off my bra earlier. Now? Not so much.
Swallowing both my pride and my anger, I managed to give a meek smile in response. “Thanks, Luna.”
“You’re very welcome, Annie! Now, hang tight. I’ll get your clothes sorted, and the others will be back any minute.”
As my cousin continued to move my things from the bed to various drawers and hangers nearby, a quick scan for other possible damage Kate might have done was enough to show me that at least she had left my underwear untouched. If there were only pull-ups, then Luna would eventually notice that. A minute later, footsteps on the stairs announced the return of the others. Kate and Lilah arrived together, and I was back to feeling extra small when standing amidst three taller girls who were related to me. All of whom were younger.
“How’s it going?” Kate asked, “Did little Annie behave herself?”
“Mm hmm,” Luna nodded, “And there’s plenty of space for your clothes, too.”
Well, at least she was somewhat on my side. There had been no mention of the pull-ups, or the fact that I tried to lie about them, but I doubted that would last for long. It was definitely the twin stereotype, but I could already imagine the girls talking about me later. All the more reason to set things straight. “I-”
“Good,” Kate said, “We’ve been working on manners lately. You did thank your cousin for the help, right, sis?”
No matter how hard I tried to keep the hole from getting worse, my sister easily found ways to push me deeper. Thankfully, Luna was on my side once again, even though I hadn’t technically thanked her in regards to the clothes. “She did. She was a very polite girl.”
I’m sure my sister would have loved to witness a ‘thank you’ from my lips at her direction, but she didn’t seem bothered when things went the other way. With a warm smile, she said, “Finally. Good progress, Annie!” Turning to the cousins with a tiny eye roll, she added, “She’s been a bit of a brat ever since puberty kicked in.”
I couldn’t keep things bottled up any more. Deep down, I knew it was a horrible idea, especially with the leverage my sister had on me. But every minute I helped her lean into this lie was just adding to the eventual humiliation that would come when the twins learned my real age. Plus, I could stand the smug look on Kate’s face, or the tiny eye roll she gave in regards to my ‘attitude’ while talking about me when I was right there. “Fuck you, Kate!” I yelled, “I’m not twelve; I’m nineteen.”
There was a long beat of silence, and then all three girls burst into laughter.
I could feel my blush darken, and my temper rose as well. “I’m serious!” I snapped, “Kate’s been screwing with me all day. Just-” Realizing that trying to summarize the whole story would be impossible against their amusement, I went a totally different direction. “Look at my driver’s license! Or school ID.”
“You don’t have a driver’s license, Annie,” Kate said, after another small giggle, “And did our parents give you your ID after registration? I thought they wanted to hold onto it for safekeeping.” Once again turning to the other girls, she explained, “She’s starting middle school in a few weeks. Remember those years?”
“Unfortunately,” Lilah replied. She and Luna seemed to be recovering from the bout of laughter as well. “Rough years. We even tried the whole ‘twinning’ thing for a little while. It was so cringe.”
“SO cringe,” Luna said.
“You’re not listening!” I exclaimed. How could they be laughing? I was trying to restore my actual age. I could suffer through the taunting that would no doubt last all weekend in regards to how they mistook me for a twelve year old at first, but I hadn’t thought about the possibility that they straight up wouldn’t believe me. “Ugh, hold on.” Storming over to my backpack, I went to grab my wallet.
It wasn’t there.