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Alex Bridges

Done Adulting, Vol. 2 (Ch. 90 posted 2/15/20)

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This is Volume 2 of a multi-volume story. The first volume, totalling 800 pages, can be found here and a revised, proofed version can be found on Amazon for $2.99.

Thank you to all my readers, especially to those who have supported me by purchasing a copy of the first volume.

 

Chapter 1

 

 

The three of them were sitting at the dinner table, the dishes already cleared away. “So,” Amanda said, “At the end of the summer, I’ll be moving out.” Jamie had sat glumly through the entire conversation. It wasn’t a total surprise. He’d seen the signs, like catching Amanda looking at furniture online. Her graduation was coming up in a few weeks. While it had never been discussed with Jamie, he knew at some point Amanda would be moving out. She was 24 now and couldn’t live at home forever. It was just an issue they had all put off, Jamie most of all, it seeming from his little’s perspective like everything was farther away than it really was. Becky and Amanda watched his reaction now with trepidation, which only grew when he didn’t immediately speak.

Jamie listened without saying anything, and now that Amanda was done, he had nothing to say. Instead, his breathing slowly began to get heavier until it was audible, and the lump in his throat grew, and he knew he wouldn’t be able to hold in his emotions much longer. He propelled himself out of his chair and began to stomp toward his nursery.

Amanda jumped up and got in front of him, bending down to put both her hands on his shoulders. “Hey, talk to me,” she pleaded.

“Let me go!”

“No, we’ll talk this over together.”

“No!” Not thinking or meaning to, Jamie kicked Amanda in the shin, hard enough that she let him go, and resumed his stomp to his room, throwing “I hate you” over his shoulder as he did and slamming his door.

Amanda stood there shocked, her shin throbbing and her heart aching much worse. Becky had her hand over her face and a tear in her eye; she exhaled, feeling ineffectual and wondering what she could do. Amanda’s sob brought her out of her trance, and Becky was up and had her arms around her daughter as she began to cry hard.

“Baby, I’m sorry. Shhh,” Becky cooed.

“He … said ...” Amanda tried to say.

“I know. I know. He doesn’t mean it.” It was almost four years since Jamie had arrived, and while Jamie and Amanda had cross words before, they had almost always been the typical things bigs and littles get upset with each other over, boundaries and rules and the occasional bad mood. But even those arguments were rare, almost non-existent between the two of them. She was his favorite person, and he was hers.

“I’ll go talk to him in a bit,” Becky assured her. Amanda had stopped crying but was still trying to get her breathing back under control. “C’mon,” Becky urged her. “Why don’t you go get a drink of water and wash your face.”

Amanda got her drink and went upstairs, and Becky stood alone in the kitchen trying to think of how to do this better than they had planned. Amanda was his guardian, too, and Becky didn’t want that to change. She’d known it was unrealistic for Amanda to move out like any other sibling; it would hurt Amanda and Jamie too much. They’d decided to share custody, though what that meant specifically, they hadn’t yet decided. They wanted to include Jamie in those conversations, but it was clear he wasn’t ready to do that.

Becky took a deep breath and walked down the hall to the nursery. She could hear muffled crying through the door. She debated knocking and decided to just go in. A bunch of Jamie’s toys were on the floor, and there was a dent in the drywall. Jamie was on his tummy, face buried in his well-worn bear, crying. He turned his head to the side with his eyes closed and said, “Get out! I don’t wanna talk to you.”

“It’s me, Jamie,” Becky said gently, closing the door behind her. Jamie stood up, dropped his bear, and stumbled head down into Becky’s arms as she knelt down to catch him. His face smothered in her chest, he resumed wailing.

“Shhhh,” she tried to calm him, “shhhh. There, there. You’re okay, Baby Bear.” It seemed to have no effect, but after half a minute he resumed his quiet tears and shaking sobs as she held him tight and tried to comfort him by rubbing circles on his back. She picked him up and sat down in the rocker with him. After a few more minutes, he sat up, tear streaks on his face and his nose running freely.

He wiped his nose with his sleeve and sobbed again, “I don’t want her to go,” before collapsing back onto Becky’s shirtfront.

“I know, Baby Bear. I know,” she cooed. Becky wanted to cry as much as he did for how hurt both her babies were. It was as draining for her as for them, and she’d been thinking about this for over a year. She finally felt him stop sobbing, and he laid limp against her. She stood up and carried him to the changing table, where with one hand she pulled a wipe from the warmer and held it to his nose. “Blow.” He did, and he did so hard she was afraid he’d hurt his ears. She dropped the wipe in the diaper pail and grabbed another to wipe off his face.

“How do you feel,” she asked.

“I have a headache.”

“I bet you do. Wanna just go to bed?”

“Yes.”

“Okay.” She sat him on the edge of his crib. “I’ll be right back.” She left and came back with a cup of littles’ cold medicine, which she held to his lips and he drank. She hoped the nighttime formula would help him to sleep and make his head feel better. He sat silently while she pulled his clothes off and tossed them into his hamper. He laid himself down, and she turned to pick up his bear. She laid it beside him, checked his diaper, pulled the covers up half way, and planted a kiss on his cheek. “Everything will be alright, Baby Bear, I promise,” she tried to reassure him. He wasn’t sure he believed her.

         “He’s asleep,” Becky said when she went upstairs and found Amanda laying on her own bed clutching a pillow.

“I feel awful,” Amanda groaned.

“I know. So do I.”

“But you’re not the one doing this to him,” Amanda said, so angry with herself. Becky sat on the edge of the bed and closed her eyes, sighing again and shaking her head.

“You’re not doing anything to him. This happens to everyone, whether it’s a little or a sibling or even a parent and child.” Becky was purposefully not telling her how hard Amanda’s moving out was for her, too; she didn’t want to pile on.

“This is like when Dad left,” Amanda said.

“Is it really?”

“Sort of. At first.” Amanda had gone through all the normal emotions of a kid whose parents were getting divorced. Only later, when she was older, did she realize she didn’t miss him or even had ever really liked him. “Except this time I’m the asshole who’s leaving.”

“Oh, Manda, stop.” It hurt her to hear her daughter being so hard on herself. “You’re just growing up is all, and you’re not even leaving. You’ll see him most days.”

Amanda didn’t respond and instead choked on another sob, closing her eyes and setting a few more tears loose when she opened them. “I made him cry. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before.”

“Oh, baby girl,” Becky cooed as she bent at the waist to lay her head gently on Amanda’s shoulder. “He’ll forgive you. Probably by morning.”

“You think so,” Amanda sniffed.

“Yes. He loves you more than anything. You know that.”

“How are we gonna do this, Mom? It ... it just hurts.” Amanda’s stomach was tied in a bitter knot.

“I know, baby girl. I know.” Becky let a few tears of her own go. Her baby girl was moving out, and both her babies’ hearts were wounded, and Becky, too, was sad. In a few months, she’d wake up one morning, one morning when it was Amanda’s turn to have Jamie, and her home would be empty.

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Awww poor family.  Is still sad even on the reread from the end of the first book. Glad it's back though! :)

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I like volume 2 so far!

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Chapter 2

“Hi, Stacy.” Stacy wasn’t expecting her friend and Department of Little Services employee at her office. It wasn’t as a friend but as the latter that the sight of him made her nervous. They rarely saw each other except at mutual friends’ events, and it was through one of those friends that Ben had approached Stacy eight years ago about adopting Ella. That he was here and unannounced surely meant nothing good.

“Ben! What’s going on,” she replied unsteadily.

“Sorry to interrupt you at work, but I thought you’d want to know this right away and would want to hear it from me.” Not comforting words.

“Just tell me what’s wrong.”

“Someone in our office screwed up a records request, and Ella’s human family knows she’s here.”

When she was rescued, eight Itali years and almost twelve Earth years after she went missing, Ella had made the choice not to notify her family. She had never been able to fully articulate why, even to herself. But she made peace with herself and what had happened to her, and she regarded that life as over and gone. She hoped her family had healed, and so she decided she was loathe to disrupt that healing, or even the careful image she had crafted in her own mind of her family happy again years after what she knew was the most traumatic experience they could have gone through, worse even than her death, for they had not the comfort of finality but the constant, faded but ever faint hope that one day she might reppear.

Now, sixteen years later, more than two decades on Earth, all that was wiped away, and somewhere, Stacy didn’t know exactly, some father and mother were likely tied up inside with euphoria, relief, fear, and anger in an as yet intractable knot, maybe equally uncertain as to what this meant as Stacy, but likely as intent on at least seeing Ella as Stacy was on protecting Ella, even or especially if that meant keeping them away from her.

What Stacy said, she said as unadorned fact from within within much conscious thought: “They can’t have her back.”

“No one is talking about that yet,” Ben calmly replied, anticipating that response.

“There is no ‘yet!’” She’s mine, I’m hers! Period. They can’t have her back!”

“Stacy, I know this is hard, but please know this isn’t unprecedented. It’s a little more complicated because Ella is a rescue - that’s never happened before - but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.”

“What ...” Stacy sighed. She wasn’t sure what question to ask or whether she wanted to know the answer. Ben let the silence hang there. He wasn’t a lawyer, and his concern was not the law anyway, but for Ella’s wellbeing. “What do we do now,” Stacy asked.

“Right now, I think you need to think about when to tell Ella, and how to tell her.”

“Do I have to? Is there any way this could blow over without her finding out?” Stacy couldn’t game out Ella’s reaction, but she knew that Ella had never voiced any regret about her decision to remain a ghost, as it were, and she rarely made even passing reference to her home or family. Stacy knew little about them and had never had a reason to ask Ella about anything she didn’t volunteer, which was almost nothing.

“I doubt it,” Ben answered. “They may or may not try to come here or contact her. There’s no legal basis for us preventing that.”

“Couldn’t a judge prevent that,” Stacy asked. Her voice carried weak-willed hope, the conflicting instinct to protect Ella and yet be honest with her.

“We’d need to convince the judge it was in her best interest, but that might mean Ella having to tell the judge as much.”

“I thought littles couldn’t testify.”

“That’s not exactly true. A judge decides whether their testimony is admissible on a case by case basis based on how regressed they are,” Ben explained.

“Ella isn’t regressed at all.”

“I know.”

Stacy stood up from her desk and walked to the window, looking down on the street below at all the people whose lives had not changed in the past five minutes, who would go home to their families and look at them the same way they had when they’d left for work in the morning. The sun cut through a blue sky, shining as it always has on the happy, the mundane, the dramatic, the tragic, and now the foreshadowing of whatever outcome was in Stacy and Ella’s future. All Stacy knew was that it was their future together, and she was even then in process of resolving that their future would be together.

“I wanna talk to a lawyer,” Stacy said at her own weak reflection in the glass.

“I think that’s smart, as a precaution, and I think you should talk to a little’s psychologist. The department has one who works with rescues.”

“Neal. I remember him,” Stacy said, recalling the man who had helped craft Ella’s transition to Itali eight years ago.

“He retired. The new one is Kunis. Margaret Kunis. I’ll arrange a meeting for you. She can help you figure out what to tell Ella and when, and where to go from there.”

“I can’t believe this is happening.”

“Nothing is happening yet. All we know right now is the family knows.”

“What will they do next?”

“Probably contact their consulate.”

“How did this even happen,” Stacy asked.

“We’re looking into that.” Stacy turned and fell back into her chair.

Stacy glanced at the time. “I gotta go get her soon. For PT. How do I put on a brave face?”

“You’ll manage because that’s what’s best for her.”

“Ya know,” Stacy said quietly, “I don’t even remember what her name used to be.”

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Thank you so much for continuing with this story. 

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15 minutes ago, Samriis said:

Thank you so much for continuing with this story. 

You’re welcome! I missed my characters.

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So happy that you are back ! I was so ansious to see what happened after I read the epilogue in my kindle !!!! 

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Uh-oh hmm :)

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They should just tell her family that there was a mistake and she's not there or that she's dead or something and never tell her about it.

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I'm so excited!!! I've been dying to read something since In stuck in my room for a few weeks. 

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I love the start to this, and I’m so excited to have this back. I’ve re read the first volume several times and it warms my heart every time I read it. I can’t wait to see where this second volume goes.  

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Wow, thanks for contuining this story 

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Interesting situation for sure and I wonder how it all goes down and I look forward to finding out!

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I also have a third story going:

 

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Chapter 3

“Morning, Jamie,” Ella greeted him. Today was Jamie’s last day at daycare for the summer as Amanda would be done with her last final that afternoon. As they had the past several summers, Ella and Jamie would be spending the three days a week together at Jamie’s house under the watchful eye of Becky and Amanda, an arrangement that made the two of them happy and saved Stacy some money.

“Morning,” Jamie said glumly as he fell into the chair next to Ella’s.

“What’s wrong?” Ella knew Jamie’s moods as well as Becky and Amanda did. After all, they were lovers.

“Manda finally told me she was moving out.”

“I’m sorry,” she said, taking his hand. He put his head on the table. “Did she say when?”

“When the summer is over. I guess before she starts grad school.”

“What then?”

“Mom and Manda haven’t said. I think I’ll live with her part time.”

“So you’ll still see her most days?”

“I don’t know.” Jamie sighed and closed his eyes. “I ...”

“What?”

“I was thinking, last night, I was thinking I wished Mom had never made her my guardian.” Jamie sniffed. Ella’s brow creased. “Because then this wouldn’t feel so much like a divorce. It wouldn’t seem ... I just want things to stay the way they are.”

“I know,” Ella said as she ran her fingers through his hair. “So you didn’t talk about any of the details last night?”

“I ...” Jamie felt ashamed and still traumatized, the entire episode a blight. How hurt he was, what he’d said. He hadn’t ever made Manda cry. “I stormed out of the room,” he told Ella. “I lost my temper.”

“That’s okay sometimes,” Ella reminded him. Jamie was past the early phase of his littlehood, when he’d spent the first year veering between moods as he figured out who he really was and how to live in this world, but he still had a temper, and he still sometimes lost it, and he needed reminders not to get too hard on himself. When he did.

“I ...” Jamie choked on a sob. April noticed from the moment Becky dropped him off that Jamie didn’t look like he usually did, and she noticed him sit down and immediately put his head in his arms on the table. With her other charges, April would already be at his side, but after Jamie and Ella had become a couple, she’d kept a greater distance, letting the two of them rely on each other except when she felt she was really needed.

“What,” Ella prompted Jamie quietly. “You’ll feel better if you tell me.”

“I told her ... I kicked Manda, and then I said I hated her. I didn’t mean to!” Ella was shocked but understood emotions run high sometimes. She put her arm around Jamie and rested her chin on his shoulder, shushing him. Other littles took notice. Jamie was popular at daycare.

“She knows you didn’t mean it,” Ella whispered to him. “C’mon, lets go outside.” She guided him him to his feet and toward the door, then outside and across the playground to the grassy area in the back the other littles rarely went to, hidden from view by the small rise of the ground. Jamie had himself under control when they sat down on the grass, though his eyes were still red, mostly from last night.

“What happened this morning,” Ella asked.

“She left for her exam before I got up. Mom dropped me off today.”

“What does your mom say?”

“That everything will be alright.”

“It will be.”

“It’ll be different. I don’t want to live sometimes at Mom’s and sometimes at Manda’s.  I wanna be with both of them everyday.” Ella Just listened. “And now I ... what if Amanda doesn’t even want me, after what I said? She’s ... she’s moving on in life, and what if she doesn’t want me anymore, or what if she gets a new little?”

“Stop, Jamie,” Ella said, hoping to shut down Jamie’s catastrophizing. “Manda loves you more than anything in this world. She’ll always want you. She’s already forgiven you. More than likely, she blames herself.”

“It’s not her fault,” Jamie said sullenly.

“It’s not yours, either. People say things they don’t mean when they get upset.”

“I meant she’s just growing up. It’s not her fault it’s time for her to move out.”

“You should tell her that when you apologize.”

“I’m not sure I can look her in the eye.”

“Of course you can.”

“She’s picking me up today, after her exam.”

“Pretty early then, right?”

“Yeah. I should say goodbye to April and Jenny and some others.”

“You wanna sit a while longer?”

“I wanna turn back the clock to this time yesterday.”

“We’ll figure it out together, Jamie, the four of us. We have all summer.”

“What about long term?”

“What do you mean?”

“One day she’ll get married, have kids. What then?”

“One thing at a time.”

Jamie decided to wait in the reception area for Manda to arrive. Denise had moved on two years ago, and the person who replaced her, Erin, wasn’t as pleased with Jamie being in the reception area, but she endured it. Jamie didn’t often hang out in there anymore. He didn’t need to. But on that day he wanted to greet Amanda right away, and he wanted to do it away from everyone else, so he said his goodbyes for the summer to everyone except Ella, packed his cubicle with April’s doting help, and waited in the reception area with Erin giving him the side eye.

When Manda arrived, the tension between them was obvious, and the excitement at the first day of summer was missing. Manda held the door for Jamie, and the two of them walked to her car. “How was your morning,” Manda asked first.

“Fine. How was your exam?”

“I think it went fine,” Amanda said as she drove.

“Congratulations. On being done with college.”

“About last night,” Amanda started to say.

“Wait. Me first. I’m sorry for what I said. I didn’t mean it. I ...”

“It’s okay, Jamie Bear, I know you didn’t mean it. I’m sorry, too.”

“Can we go somewhere?”

“Let’s go to the park.” It wasn’t far, and when they arrived Amanda got the bag she kept for Jamie in her trunk, then got Jamie out of his car seat. She put him on his feet, and he responded by holding his arms up. She picked him up, and he put his arms around her neck.

“I really am sorry,” he said as she carried him across the grass to a shade tree they had come to like as their own.

“Tell you want, how about we both be done apologizing? I’m sorry I didn’t do a better job telling you, and we can just leave last night at that.”

“Okay.” Amanda sat down in the grass with Jamie on her and leaned against the tree.

“I love you very much, Jamie. You’ll always be my bear. You know that, right?”

“Mhmm,” Jamie said. Her words brought on watery eyes, and Jamie pressed his face into her T-shirt and inhaled her smell. “And you and I are going to have a great summer together, you and me and Mom and Ella. We’ll make some plans together.”

“Like what?”

“We have our vacation planned. We’ll go to the zoo. We’ll see movies. We’ll sleep under the stars. Amy is going to be home this weekend, and I know she missed you. Rosie and Jane will be around. We’ll hang out with Aunt Mel. It’s gonna be a great summer.” They sat silently for a minute,

“I love you, too, Manda. I really am sorry.”

“Shh. It’s in the past.” She rubbed his back and he laid against her. She loved how he felt, small, firm yet so soft, and she focused on that. Their bodies felt familiar to each other. “Do you wanna go play?”

“I wanna take a nap.”

“Didn’t sleep well?” She certainly hadn’t.

“I guess not.” She reached for the bag and unzipped it as best she could with her free arm, Jamie not moving at all to give her the use of her other hand, and she pulled the changing pad from the bag, flapping it open.

“Here,” she said, peeling him away from her. “Arms up.” She pulled his shirt off and laid him face down on the mat, lying down next to him so she could run her fingers up and down his back the way he liked.

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awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww :)

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22 minutes ago, ohiobabygirl said:

I can't remember. Who was amy?

Neighbor’s daughter with the asshole father.

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Love the chapter and that they are still an item! 

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Chapter 4

Jamie sat in his playpen once more watching Becky rush around getting ready for company. Like always, she put him out of the way, though he figured he’d have been equally out of the way in his nursery. Still, he sat in playpen with a coloring book, content except for not having a pencil sharpener with him. Growing frustrated at the too thick lines messing up the design, he decided to watch the Becky Show, as he and Amanda secretly called it, her harried ritual when she was getting ready for a party. Adding to her franticness, since it was Manda’s graduation party, Becky kept insisting she not help, and Manda kept helping, and Becky kept shooing Manda away.

“Maybe you should get in the playpen, and I’ll help,” Jamie said to Manda after Becky chased her out of the kitchen again.

“You say that now, but you’d get all pouty when I finished your coloring book without you. Wanna go play outside?”

“Won’t we get dirty?”

“We’ll change if we need to. C’mon,” she said as she stooped down to lift him out of the playpen. She carried him through the breezeway and into the backyard. “Swingset or sandbox?”

“Sandbox.” He had an unfinished castle to work on. She set him down on the warm sand and seated herself on the edge, and together they worked on sculpting the castle’s features.

“Too bad we can’t hide this,” Jamie said as he worked.

“Why,” Amanda asked, chuckling. Hide a sand castle?

“Because Dozer is gonna destroy it, no doubt.”

“Jamie, that’s kinda mean. He’s only three.”

“I know. I don’t mean anything by it.” He’d never call his cousin Samuel his secret nickname for him in front of him or in front of Daniel or Lauren either. “He just has a tendency to break my stuff.” And he’s huge even for a big, Jamie thought but didn’t say. Being around him made Jamie nervous sometimes, especially when he was tired and acting like a crazy toddler.

“We’ll keep the door to your room closed.”

“Who all is coming over?”

“The people you know, some friends of mine from school, and a bunch of mom’s old friends and coworkers. I think it’s as big an accomplishment for the parents as the graduates, and on the plus side, I’m gonna get more presents.”

“Mel’s coming, right?”

“Looking forward to seeing her?” Jamie hadn’t seen much of her since finals started. She wasn’t quite as natural a student as Manda, so she buckled down more to study.

“I got a job for her,” Jamie said.

“What?”

“You’ll see.” Manda laughed.

“Oh! What are you guys doing,” Becky said as she stood in the door of the breezeway. “You’re all sandy now. People are gonna be here soon.”

“I think this is your grandma’s fault,” Jamie whispered. “Amazing how neurotic a parent can make a child about certain things.”

“That’s okay, Mom,” Amanda said as she stood up. “He’s just a little boy. Everyone will think it’s just cute.” She winked at him.

“Well, brush him off and come inside.” She heard the doorbell ring. “See!”

“On our way! C’mon, sugar cookie,” Amanda said as she reached out a hand to help Jamie stand and then brushed the sand off his shorts and legs.

“Hold on,” Jamie said when he was finished. He took off his right shoe and turned it over to let the sand out, then did the same with his left. Amanda brushed off her own butt. Jamie toddled after her and followed her to their entryway where Becky was greeting their first guest, a friend of hers he didn’t recognize.

“Hi Mrs. Davison,” Amanda said. “Thanks for coming.” She leaned over to give her a hug. Jamie figured this must be one of Becky’s work friends.

“I wouldn’t miss it! Congratulations.”

“Come in,” Becky said, “You’re the first to arrive.”

“That means I get alone time with this guy,” she said as she stooped to pick up Jamie. He exercised his self-control and didn’t push her hands away. “You must be the famous Jamie I hear so much about!”

“Do you work with my Mom,” he asked.

“I do,” she said as she patted his butt. He hid a grimace. “And I used to be Amanda’s teacher.” More people were coming up the front walk. Rather than put him down, she walked back toward the front door, and once Becky and Amanda had greeted their new guest, they turned their attention on him.

“Is this Jamie,” Guest #2 asked. He ruffled his hair.

“This must be Jamie,” Guest #3 said.

“He’s adorable,” Guest #4, #5, and #7 said.

“Can I hold him,” Guest #everyone asked. His butt was rarely so thoroughly patted. Out of respect for Manda’s party, he’d decided to be patient and go along with it, thinking maybe he’d even make a new friend. He wanted to go to Manda or Becky, but they were being the polite hostesses, as he knew they needed to be. Looking at the person holding him, Jamie remembered catching toads as a kid, and half the time they’d pee on themselves to make themelves less appetizing, but that didn’t work for Jamie.

At last, he heard a familiar voice. “Excuse me,” he said to the big holding him, another of Becky’s colleagues. She kept on talking. “Excuse me … Hey!” Out of patience, Jamie wriggled and said, “Lemme go” as the man finally got the point and gently set Jamie on his feet, swatting his butt gently as he started to walk away. Once upon a time, Jamie would have rounded on the man and given him a piece of his mind, but these days it took a lot more to get a rise out of Jamie. He walked gingerly through the see of tall legs, watchful as always to avoid getting stepped on, and when he saw Mel he tugged on her pantleg to get her attention.

“Jamie,” she exclaimed. She picked him up, and he put his legs around her waist and his arms around her neck.

“Congratulations on your graduation,” he said.

“Thank you! Are you having fun?”

“I am now. Just do me a favor and don’t let anyone else pick me up.”

“Point out them out to me! I’ll set ‘em straight.”

“Those ones,” Jamie said as he swept the room behind him with his arm.

“Oh. There’s too many. How about we go get a plate of food instead?”

“Yes, please.” Mel walked into the dining room and shifted Jamie to her hip. He held the plate while she got the goodies. She knew what he liked and didn’t like.

“Kinda crowded in here,” she said. “Wanna go sit outside?”

“Sure.” A few people were outside at the folding tables Becky had set up. Mel sat at an empty one.

“So,” Mel said as the two of them picked at the plate, “Excited for summer?”

“Yeah. It’s my favorite. What are you doing this summer?”

“Working and searching for a real job.” Jamie didn’t envy her one bit. He didn’t want to quash her enthusiasm, so he refrained from apologizing for her misfortune. “And hanging out with you and Ella.”

“She’s looking forward to seeing you.”

“I am, too.”

“Have you got any leads on jobs?”

“Not yet. I may need to settle for an internship for a while. But we’ll see.”

“Hey, Mel,” a male voice said. Mel and Jamie turned to see a man her age approaching.

“Hey, Todd,” Mel said in a friendly but not warm voice. “I didn’t know you to be here.”

“I’m with Kyle. We’re hitting up a few graduation parties today.” Jamie liked Kyle. He was on the very short list of guys associated with Amanda that he didn’t want to chase off. “Is this Jamie?”

“Yes,” Jamie said. “Nice to meet you.”

Todd nodded at him, and said to Mel, “He seems like all the other littles to me. Don’t really see why Amanda puts him first all the time.”

“Nice,” Mel said sarcastically. “Really.”

“Sorry,” Todd said as he backed away.

Jamie grimaced and watched him go over Mel’s shoulder. “I’ve never met a Todd who wasn’t a complete and total prick shit!” Jamie yelled. Todd stopped, paused, and then kept walking without turning around. Mel laughed out loud. “Who was that guy?”

“Someone from school. Total bro. Don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say ‘prick shit’ before.”

“Bonus of being a little. Getting to say what you feel.”

“Better not let Becky hear you say things like that.” He didn’t need the reminder. He knew what soap tastes like.

“Kyle is friends with him?”

“Sort of. I don’t know. I think he’s too nice to not put up with his shit.”

“I bet you a backrub they stop hanging out as soon as the summer’s over, if that long,” Jamie said. “Without school they’ll just drift apart.”

“Hmm. Here’s hoping. You wanna go find Kyle?”

“I’m sure he’ll come find us eventually. So you’ve decided against grad school then?”

“For now. I wanna try working for a while. Tired of school.”

“I get that.”

“And besides, maybe I’ll find something I really like without a graduate degree. Most people do.”

“Or they settle.”

“What’s that mean?”

“It means two weeks after you get your first real job, you’re gonna get the biggest paycheck you’ve ever gotten, and you’re gonna get used to making money real quick. That makes it hard to go back to school, prying yourself away from that.”

“We’ll see. Anyway, for now I’m just intent on finding that job and enjoying my summer in the meantime. Are you full?”

“Yeah.”

“Maybe we should go see who else is here. Don’t wanna be rude.”

“If you insist.” They went inside and dropped the plate off in the trash. While in the kitchen, Mel helped herself to one of the good beers from the fridge, this being her second home, and she made a sippy cup of milk for Jamie.

“There he is!” Donna squealed.

“You put me down, and I will never forgive you,” Jamie whispered to Mel. Donna rushed over.

“Hi, Jamie! Is you having fun at the party? Is you? Is you-is you?” He responded by turning into Mel’s chest and hiding his face where her arm met her body. “How are you still so shy,” Donna asked.

“I’m also here,” Mel said. The two of them had grown apart as college had gone on, and Jamie didn’t wonder if it had something to do with him. They were more cordial acquaintances and less friends now.

“And once more you beat me to this little guy.” Jamie took a deep breath. Respect for Amanda is what kept him from telling Donna off years ago. Sure, Donna’s antics were sometimes funny, but more often she just drove him nuts. One time when he had acquiesced and let her hold him, he regretted so quickly he did his best to flood his diaper in the hope it would leak.

“Hi, Donna,” he said without taking his head from the crook of Mel’s arm.

“Hiyeee. So now that I’ve graduated, as soon as I get a job I’m gonna apply to adopt a little. Won’t that be awesome? A new friend for you to play with!” Jamie’s eyes crossed for a moment. “But I wanna a newborn, no offense.” Jamie breathed a sigh of relief. He could picture that working, and he moreover suspected she wouldn’t get approved for adoption until she was much more established in her career and had some real money tucked away. Jamie had seen the receipts Becky got from Little Hearth.

“That’s … great,” he said. “That’ll be … uh-huh.”

“We’d better keep circulating,” Mel said.

“Lemme know if you get tired holding him,” Donna said hopefully. Jamie imagined if that were to happen he’d just hold on to her shirt the way a baby gorilla hangs from its mothers fur. As they made their way around the room, some people acknowledged him when they spoke to Mel and some didn’t. A few spoke to him, and then introduced themselves to her. The card table Becky had put up in the corner to collect presents and envelopes was looking pretty full.

“I hope I clean up that well at my party next weekend,” Mel said. “You gonna draw me a card?”

“Of course. Don’t I always?”

“You do, and I always save them,” she said as she tapped the end his nose with the last three words. He liked it when she did it. “There’s your aunt.”

“My other aunt,” Jamie said to her as they approached Lauren. He liked thinking of Mel as his aunt.

“I figured he had to be with you,” she said. “Congratulations.”

“Oh, he prefers to be with me all the time.”

“Ha! I meant on your graduation.”

“I know. Thank you.”

“Can I at least have a hug?”

“Yes,” Jamie said and held his arms out for her to take him. He got a hug and a kiss.

“Thank you, Jamie Bear. Sammy is outside in the back with Danny if you wanna go say hello.”

“We’ll work our way out there eventually,” Jamie said. “How are Sammy and Danny?”

“Fine. Well, Sammy is fine. Danny is completely overwhelmed by potty training. Man can build server farms but get completely flustered by accidents.”

“Maybe Sammy isn’t ready,” Mel suggested.

“He’s ready. Trust me. Besides, I’m ready. I told Daniel, I said, ‘He’s not a little who’ll just be in diapers forever. He needs to be out of them before he can start preschool.’ We even explained to Sammy why you need diapers forever and he doesn’t,” she said to Jamie

“I’d have liked to have heard that,” Jamie said. Not that he minded, most of the time, but he was still perplexed by their erroneous understanding of how human bodies work. He’d made his peace with it, but still. One thing Jamie still wanted to know, though, is when big children generally figured out littles were different and how much of what they came to understand littles to be was biological versus cultural.

“I guess we will go say hello,” Jamie said.

“Maybe I could get a summer job chauffeuring littles around on my hip,” Mel joked as they made their way back outside.

“Sorry.”

“I’m kidding,” she said, giving him a kiss on his forehead. Danny was talking with someone, and below him, seated in the ruins of Jamie’s recently grand castle, was Sammy.

“Hi, Danny,” Jamie said, interrupting him.

“Oh hey, Jamester. Liza,” he said to the woman he was talking with, “this is Jamie, of course, and Mel.”

“We’ve met,” Liza said.

“Nice to see you again,” Jamie replied.

“We were catching up on old times.”

“I knew your uncle when he was a total brat. Always trying to drive me and your mom nuts.”

“I wasn’t that bad. What’s keeping you busy these days, Jamester?”

“You know me,” he shrugged, “Corporate espionage, insider trading, staying one step ahead of the law.” Rebuilding sandcastles.

“I love sarcastic littles,” Liza said, “Sorry, Jamie – I know you hate when people say stuff like that – but it’s true. You’re so much more fun than those perpetual infants.”

“Isn’t he,” Mel said.

“And congratulations to you, Mel,” Danny said.

“Oh, did you just graduate, too,” Liza asked.

“Yeah.”

“I’m proud of her,” Jamie said. The three bigs looked at him expecting a punchline. “Really,” he said, “I am. It’s a big deal.” He smiled kindly at Mel, and she squeezed him a little.

“I like him more, too,” Mel said.

“There you are,” Becky said as she approached them from behind. “I was starting to worry where you’d gotten to. What have you been up to,” she asked.

“Mingling,” Jamie and Mel said at the same time.

“Jamie’s like me,” Daniel said, “just loves to party.”

“That may be, but it’s his nap time,” Becky said as she held her arms out. Mel dutifully handed him over.

“He needs changed,” she said. Jamie blushed.

“I bet my Baby Bear does.”

“Do I hafta take a nap,” Jamie whined. “I haven’t even seen Kyle yet.”

“Sorry, but you missed him. He did say to tell you hi, though,” Becky informed him.

“Oh.”

“Night-night, Jamie,” Mel said. He wished it were her naptime, too.

“Bye. I’ll see you this week?”

“Definitely.”

“Bye, Danny. Bye, Liza,” Jamie said. They returned his goodbyes. Sammy The Destroyer of Worlds and Toys seemed content to focus on his inferior whatever-he-was-making.

“C’mon,” Becky said.

“I’m not that tired,” Jamie said.

“Uh-huh,” Becky replied. She’d heard that before. In his nursery, she laid him on his changing table and began to undress him.

“Really,” he yawned.

“Want your binky?”

He sighed, knowing he hadn’t lost this contest because it had never been a contest. She found his pacifier in the crib and put in between his lips.

“Did you have fun with Aunt Mel,” Becky asked as she traced a finger down his bare chest and tummy.

“Mhmm.”

“Well, now that it’s summer time again, you’ll get to see her a lot,” Becky said as she changed Jamie into a dry diaper. “And I’ll be done with work in another two weeks, and then we go on vacation.”

By the time she sealed the last tape on his diaper, Jamie was asleep. “Hmm,” Becky chuckled, “Good thing you’re not sleepy,” she whispered as she laid him in his crib.

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Poor jamie got caught by da naptimes poor kids. *hides from naptimes in her super secret bunker* :)

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 Really loving the new part , and how Jamie is in the community behaving and giving some clever remarks rsrs , one question though where is his dog/bear that we get to know in the end of volume 1 

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25 minutes ago, ohiobabygirl said:

Wheres the puppy Jamie got?

 

 

Becky insisted he stay in the basement during the party.

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