Chapter Description: By StevenB
"Hi, you look a lot better than you did when I found you in the woods", Anna said.
"We brought some clothes with us for you to wear", Greg said nudging Anna.
"I did not know your size, so they might be a little big on you", said Anna as she gave a plastic bag with clothes in it to Kathryn.
"Thank wou", replied Kathryn when she took the bag.
"Let’s go sign the paper work while she gets dressed", mentioned Tracey as she gestured toward the door.
Anna and Greg left with Tracey while Jasmine stayed behind. Jasmine turned toward Kathryn and sat on the bed next to her. She then pulled out a stethoscope from under her coat.
"I need to look you over one last time before you go, this should be quick", said Jasmine as she placed the stethoscope on Kathryn’s chest. "Take a big breath for me! Good! One more time! Excellent". Jasmine then removed the stethoscope.
Jasmine pulled out a small rubber hammer. "Okay, I need to test your reflexes". She then proceeded to tap both knee caps of Kathryn, her legs jumped each time. "You’re a very good girl for staying still", smiled Jasmine who pulled out a wooden stick.
"Now can you open wide and say AHHHH for me", asked Jasmine. Kathryn nodded and opened her mouth.
"AHHH GGGHH HH", mouthed Kathryn as Jasmine placed the wooden stick on her tongue.
"Look’s like one of your others baby teeth might start to get loose soon. You might want to get prepared for a visit from the tooth fairy", smiled Jasmine as she took out the wooden stick.
Groaning in her head, ’It is going to take some time getting used to being treated like the little girl I appear to be’.
"I need to ask you one more question Kathryn. Do you remember when your birthday is, and if so when is it? I need to write it down in our records," asked Jasmine.
"Yes, Apwil 20", answered Kathryn as she started to look at the clothes in the bag.
"That was two weeks ago, happy birthday Kathryn and thank you", smiled Jasmine as she wrote down the date on her clip board.
Kathryn just smiled and returned to look at the clothes in the bag.
"If you need any help getting dressed, just push the call button on the wall and I’ll come help you," said Jasmine as she got up to leave the room.
Kathryn found a pair of white ankle socks, shorts, shoes and a pink shirt in the bag. They looked a little too childish for her taste, but she felt like she had no other choice. The shorts were purple with flowers printed on the pockets. The pink shirt had a picture of Barbie on the front.
’At least the shoes are normal sneakers, just sized for kids,’ thought Kathryn with some relief.
Kathryn took off the hospital gown and placed it on the bed. She turned and looked at herself in the mirror on the wall. A short haired brunette kindergarten girl in only a plain white pair of panties stared back at her. Sighing, Kathryn proceeded to put on the clothes.
She pulled up the shorts and found them to be just on the loose side. Next she put on the pink shirt, which hung down past her shorts. Kathryn sat on the floor and pulled up each ankle sock which had some lace on the top of them. She smiled when the shoes fitted her small feet perfectly. She did have some trouble tying her shoes because her fingers were so small and somewhat chunky with baby fat. When she was finished, she got up and looked in the mirror again.
’Yep, I look like any other pre-school girl who is wearing their slightly older sisters clothes’, thought Kathryn as she could feel the shorts slipping down a little.
As Kathryn waited for the Harrison’s to come back, she prepared herself mentally for the childish comments and treatment she would get from them and everyone else. She could not blame them because to them she looked like a small little girl instead of a 45 year old woman scientist. After a few minutes of waiting, the door to the room opened again. Tracey, Jasmine and the Harrison’s walked in. It looked like Anna was holding something behind her back.
"Don’t you look adorable in those clothes", smiled Anna as she looked at Kathryn.
"A wittle woose", replied Kathryn.
"Well we just need to get you some new clothes then", said Anna.
"Are you ready to go Kathryn?" asked Greg.
"Yes," answered Kathryn with a nod.
"Here I bought something for you since I heard your birthday was two weeks ago, I hope you like it", said Anna as she pulled out a stuffed white teddy bear from behind her back.
The teddy bear reminded Kathryn of the ones she had when she was a little girl the first time. Those memories brought a smile to her face as she hugged the bear. She found that her emotions were harder to hold back in her new child body.
"Thank wou vewy much", said Kathryn happily while hugging the bear tight against her chest.
"I’m glad you like him", said Anna with a loving look on her face.
"Everything is set and she can leave with you now", explained Jasmine.
"I’ll be checking back with you in a few days to see how everything is going," said Tracey.
"Sure thing and thank you for the opportunity of letting us take care of her", thanked Anna as her eyes teared up just a little.
Kathryn just stood by silently holding onto her new bear as they talked. Anna turned back to Kathryn and offered her hand for her to grab. Reluctantly, Kathryn grabbed it and was led out of the room. Kathryn saw other childrens with their parents and in wheelchairs wandering the hallways of the children’s ward of the hospital. She had trouble trying to keep up with Anna’s walking because her legs were so short. Anna paused after a bit and bent down to Kathryn’s level.
"I’m sorry for going too fast, do you want me to pick you up or slow down?", asked Anna with a pleading look.
Groaning in her mind, Kathryn replied, "Pick me up". She just did not want to slow down their leaving. Kathryn lifted her arms for Anna to reach under and pick her up.
Joy crept across Anna’s face as she picked up Kathryn. To Kathryn, it seemed that Anna had missed doing this in a long time.
’Does she have other children’, thought Kathryn with some embarrassment of being carried. But after a bit, it did feel nice to be carried around. ’No wonder kids like this, Kind of makes you feel loved and safe,’ thought Kathryn as she laid her head on Anna’s shoulders.
Kathryn saw Tracey and Jasmine wave to her as they left the front door to the hospital, heading to the parking lot. The rocking motion of being carried was relaxing her to the point of almost falling asleep. But before Kathryn could close her eyes, Anna stopped.
"Here we are, this is our car Kathryn", said Anna pointing to the silver Honda Accord.
Greg opened the car doors and Kathryn mentally sighed when she saw the car seat. She had remembered about the new laws and was expecting this. Anna placed her in the car seat and buckled her up. Kathryn held her teddy bear in her lap.
"Are you comfortable Kathryn?" asked Anna as she sat in the front passenger seat.
"Yes, thank wou", answered Kathryn. The car seat was more comfortable than she expected it would be.
The car started up and they drove out of the parking lot. Kathryn could only see tops of buildings and telephone pole from her point of view.
"We live about 30 minutes from here", explained Greg.
"Is the temperature okay in here", asked Anna looking around to the back seat.
"Its fine", replied Kathryn, who was feeling somewhat overwhelmed from all the pampering.
Sitting in the car seat holding the teddy bear, and Anna’s kindness, brought back memories of Kathryn’s own mother. Those memories reminded her that she missed her real mother a whole lot since she passed away with her father. Kathryn closed her eyes as a tear fell down her cheeks. She continued to think of her mother for the rest of the trip. Anna looked back and saw that Kathryn’s eyes were closed and decided not to disturb her.
It was not long before Greg pulled up to their house. The Harrison’s house was two stories and had a three car garage. The house was painted a light tan and the trim a dark brown.
"We’re here Kathryn," said Anna as she turned her head back.
Kathryn opened her eyes and was reminded of the reality of where she was. She could feel the dry tear on her cheek and she wiped it with her arm. Anna opened the back door and started to unbuckle Kathryn from the car seat. After she was done, she lifted her out and onto the driveway.
"Home sweet home, I hope you like it here", said Anna with a smile.
It was almost noon and the sun was really bright. Kathryn had to squint her eyes some to see the house. From what Kathryn could see, the house was pretty large or maybe it was just that she was so small now. Anna walked with Kathryn to the front door while Greg locked up the car.
"Let’s get you settled in and then we can have lunch and afterwards we can go get you some better fitting clothes", said Anna as she unlocked the front door.
Anna took Kathryn on a short tour of the lower floor. She saw the living room, dining room, and kitchen. Anna then took her up stairs to the bedrooms and Greg followed.
"This is going to be your room Kathryn", said Anna as she opened the door.
The room’s décor was for a little girl about Kathryn’s current age. It confused her some that the room was already decorated for a little girl, like they were excepting her or something. There were stuffed animals on a self next to the child sized bed. A doll house was near the closet and a child’s desk by the window. Under the self was a girl’s dresser with a mirror on top. The bed sheets had flowers on it and Disney posters were on the walls. Kathryn walked in and spotted a picture on the desk. It was a picture of a little girl about 4 or 5 years old with light brown hair. Her eyes were blue unlike Kathryn’s own hazel color. If Kathryn did not know any better, they could have been passed off as sisters.
"Who’s this?" asked Kathryn pointing at the picture.
"That is my-my...-excuse me", said Anna as her eyes were tearing up and she ran down the stairs.
"Did I say something wrong?" asked Kathryn as her own eyes started to water at the sight of Anna running away crying.
"No honey, sit down and I will explain," said Greg as he motioned Kathryn to sit on the bed.
"That picture is of our daughter Crystal, she died last year in a hit and run accident", explained Greg who was trying to hold his emotions back for Kathryn’s sake. "Anna took it really hard and she misses Crystal a lot. She is still trying to get over the accident. That is why we were in the woods hiking. I was trying to get Anna away from the house to not think about it. That is when we found you laying there in the woods with blood on you. Anna’s heart sank when she saw you and rushed you to the hospital so that the same thing that happened to Crystal would not happen to you. It made me happy to see Anna’s face light up when she found out that you were okay and that is why we asked Tracey if we could be your foster parents if your real parents could not be found. You being here is filling a missing part in both me and Anna’s lives," continued Greg now hugging Kathryn who was crying from the sad story.
’No wonder Anna treats me so nice, I remind her of her daughter’, thought Kathryn as she tried to get hold of her emotions.
"Let’s go see if Anna is okay", said Greg as he picked up Kathryn, who did not mind being carried this time.
They found Anna in the living room wiping her eyes with a tissue. Greg put Kathryn down next to Anna on the sofa.
"I’m sorwy I made you cry", said Kathryn wiping her own tears with her arm.
"It’s not your fault, sweetie. You just reminded me of Crystal. And please do not think you are replacing her, okay. I really wish she was here so you could be her sister. You see, after I had Crystal, I found out that I could not have another baby and when Crystal died it made me feel all alone. I really wanted a child to take care of and be a mother to. It is just that when I saw you all alone in the woods passed out; I did not want another mother to lose their child like I did. And when Tracey told us that she could not find your parents, I decided I could be your mother. I really want to take care of you Kathryn," said Anna as she hugged Kathryn.
"Thank wou for finding me and taking care of me", said Kathryn as she hugged Anna back.
"Enough of the sad talk okay. Let’s have some lunch", said Anna as she picked up Kathryn and took her to the kitchen. Kathryn was starting to like being carried by them.
They all ate some sandwiches and Kathryn had milk to drink. They cleaned up the kitchen and Anna and Kathryn were preparing to go shopping for new clothes for her.
"We should be back in a couple of hours, see you soon", said Anna as she kissed Greg goodbye.
"Better not leave you out little one", said Greg as he bent down to kiss Kathryn on the cheek, who blushed at the treatment.
"Drive safely you two," said Greg as Anna and Kathryn walked out of the house.