In this part, no more secrets remain.
I woke up at my usual time the next morning. After I had my shower, I got dressed for the day. Since we were doing plaid, well...remember the plaid shirtdress that Lucy got me for my birthday? Yep, I decided to go with that. I posted a photo of it on that story, so if you want to see it, it's there.
Once I was dressed, I combed out my hair a bit more, and then added a red hairband to hold it back. Now it was time for breakfast.
I walked into the kitchen to see Dad cooking up some Eggs Benedict. When he saw me he grinned.
“Morning Chick-a-boom,” He greeted. I was actually taken aback by this, as I had never heard him call me that before.
“Okay, that's a new one,” I said, in response.
“I went up to wake you, but I heard the shower was on, and I didn't want to disturb you,” He then told me. I just shrugged, as he plated two of his wonderful creations onto a plate, and passed it along the counter to me.
“Thanks,” I chirped, and took my plate to the island to eat.
Once breakfast was over however, it was time for us to leave for the store. I went back to my room, and slipped on a pair of black knee high socks, along with my trainers. I then put on my hoodie jacket, and zipped it up about halfway.
I thought for a second or two if there was anything I needed besides my phone. I shook my head no, and put my phone into my coat pocket. It was now time for me to join Dad down stairs. (Or wait for him - one of the two.)* * * *
Once we got to our local Fred Meyers, Dad grabbed a cart, and we were on our merry way. I'd usually help him by fetching items from across other isles, and checking our notes for any price differences being offered by other stores. I also had my eyes open for any of those Free Sample stations. As we turned the corner, we had a bit of surprise.
“Oh, Hi Linda,” I greeted, as we rounded the corner.
“Hi Kate, fancy bumping into you here,” Linda greeted back. She was dressed for the occasion as well. She had on her plaid skirt from last weekend, and a green oxford shirt with long sleeves. My Dad and her Mother also shared their greetings as well.
“Is this the last of your Christmas shopping?” Dad asked.
“That's what we're hoping,” Mrs. Trotter said, with a hint of annoyance in her voice. Her cart was filled with goods leaning towards baking, and hosting a party rather then regular groceries which is what we were doing.
“Well, it was nice bumping into you,” Dad said.
“I'll see you at Sam's house,” I told Linda. She nodded, and we both went our separate ways.* * * *
Once we were done shopping, we headed for home, but not without stopping at Taco Bell for some lunch. We'd take a few bites in between putting groceries away.
“Can I head to Sam's house now?” I asked Dad, once everything was put away.
“Yeah, go ahead,” Dad said. I nodded, and headed out the door, and across the street to Sam's house. I knocked on the door, and was greeted by Lauren.
“Hi Katie,” Lauren chirped. She had on a green T-shirt, a pair of plaid pajama pants, and pink slippers.
“Hey Lauren,” I greeted back, as I was allowed entry. I unzipped my coat, took it off, and hung it up on the coat rack.
“We started without you, I hope you don't mind,” Lauren told me, as we walked into the living room. The tree was already set up, the lights were strung up as well, and Sam was currently finishing up with the first garland at the top. Sam had on a green long sleeve plaid shirt with the sleeves rolled up to her elbows. She paired her shirt with some light gray sweatpants.
“Hey Katie,” She greeted with a smile.
“Hey Sam,” I greeted back.
“Sorry, I wasn't able to greet you at the door,” She then said, in a bit of a sorrowful tone.
“It's fine,” I chirped. I saw Amy was present along with Lucy as well. Amy had on a blue plaid shirt that she paired with a pleated denim skirt. Lucy had on a plaid shirtdress like me, but hers was a bit different. Here's a photo...https://cdnc.lystit.com/photos/1073-201 ... ormal.jpeg
I also noticed one more person who I was rather surprised to see.
“So, how've you been Kelsey?” I asked her. Kelsey grinned, and shrugged.
“As cheerful as I can be,” She chirped. To see her so happy in spite of her condition always made me happy in turn. Oh, I almost forgot. Kelsey had on a classic red and black plaid shirt that she left unbuttoned over a white T-shirt featuring Rudolph. She also went a bit further, and had on a green knee length plaid skirt as well. She then winced, and reached down to her leg. I now looked a bit concerned.
“Something wrong?” Lucy asked, also taking notice.
“No, I just need to sit down for a while,” Kelsey answered, as she took a seat on the couch. She then removed her prosthetic leg, and began messaging her residual limb.
“You've never had this problem at school,” I pointed out.
“True, but I'm usually sitting down at school,” Kelsey explained. “I've been on my feet for a few hours now, and it's starting to hurt.”
“Oh, yeah, I gotcha,” I said, with an understanding nod. Sam was now gracing the tree with it's first ornament: The angel on top. I couldn't help but notice something was missing however.
“Hey Sam, where are your parents at?” I asked her.
“Oh, Mom had a doctor's appointment, and Dad's upstairs,” She answered, as she stepped down off the stool. We then heard the door bell ring again, and I had a pretty good idea who it was. Sam walked over to the front door to answer it.
“Hi Linda, come on in,” Sam greeted. I was right, although the fact that she didn't greet Mrs. Trotter puzzled me a bit. That is until I looked out the window, and saw their vehicle drive off. I guess she was just being dropped off.
“Well, fancy seeing you here Kelsey,” She said, once she saw Kelsey.
“Hi Linda,” Kelsey said, leaning her head back on the couch, to face Linda. Linda then greeted the rest of us as well.
“Leg hurting?” Linda asked Kelsey.
“Yeah, I needed to sit for a bit,” Kelsey answered. Linda nodded, and turned to the rest of us.
“I see you all got off to a great start,” She said, now noticing the tree.
“Not all of us, I only got here a few minutes ago,” I said. Linda just shrugged.* * * *
For the next couple of hours we were removing ornaments from their boxes, and hanging them on the branches of the tree. Kelsey then decided to break the ice.
“So, what's your fastest time for an escape?” She asked.
“I think about a minute, and two seconds,” Sam answered. This was a safe topic to discuss since there were no parents around. “But I also just had my hands and feet tied.”
“How did you escape?” Amy then asked her.
“I slipped my hands under my legs, and around in front of me,” Sam answered. “If you can that it, it's pretty easy.”
“The thing is, we have a fail safe for that now,” I said, with a snort. My smile quickly dropped with what I heard next.
“So that just leaves me one question,” A man's voice said. I felt my blood run cold. I turned to the direction of the voice to see Mr. Parker leaning against the wall with a smug look on his face. Talk about getting caught with your pants down. As you can imagine, we all looked pretty embarrassed, and nervous.
“Yeah?” Sam asked nervously.
“Anyone care to test their metal against me?” Mr. Parker asked. I blinked a bit. I was not expecting that.
“Seriously?” Lauren asked. Mr. Parker then nodded, his grin still intact. A grin that told me something beyond what he may have overheard just now.
“How long have you known?” I asked him. He scowled at me.
“Ever since Halloween,” He told me. That's right, how could I forget that. It was the day we told Sam's Mother about it as well. “You're Mother told me about the fun you all have been having with it.”
“You never said anything,” Sam pointed out. Her Father just shrugged.
“I didn't think there was a reason to,” Mr. Parker said, flatly. “Truth be told, I've done a couple things like this with my wife in the past, so this isn't entirely unfamiliar to me.”
“The things you learn,” Linda said, with a shrug.
“Now, if you all don't mind, I'd like to see how you do this,” Mr. Parker insisted. “Who's going first?”
“I guess I can,” Kelsey said. We all looked at her.
“Well, good for you Kelsey,” Lucy said, with a smile. Kelsey just shrugged.
“I gotta rest my leg a bit more, and I really have nothing else better to do,” She stated.
“Makes sense,” I said. With that, Mr. Parker briefly left the room. He returned about a half a minute later with a neck tie. He then walked around behind Kelsey. Kelsey repositioned herself on the couch, and placed her hands behind her back. Mr. Parker then applied a new from of tie that I hadn't seen yet.
He set the middle of the tie over her wrists, and wound each half around each wrist individually. Once the tie was reaching close to the end, he brought both ends together, cinched it once, and knotted the whole thing off.
“Okay, that's a new one on me,” Linda said. Kelsey tried it out. Sure enough it held firmly.
“Well, it works,” She said, and shrugged.
“Now let me see you get out of it,” Mr. Parker requested. Kelsey smiled, and used the technique I had shown her. She leaned back, and slid her arms under her legs, and around in front of her. She then used her teeth to pick the knot loose, and unwound the tie from her wrists.
“That was about forty four seconds,” Mr. Parker stated. Kelsey looked pretty please with herself. “Can anyone else beat that?”
“I think I'll go ahead, and try my luck,” Sam volunteered.
So that's where I'm going to end this off. I was not expecting Mr. Parker, of all people, to not only be okay with what we were doing, but to become actively involved with it either. It seemed that the elephant in the room had finally been addressed however, and we no longer needed to be so timid about our games around Lucy's and Sam's Parents.
It also looked like Kelsey might become a bit more active as well. I have to go now, but there is something else that someone wanted to mention before he leaves.
* * * *Author's note:
[Thank you Katie.] Just letting everyone know that I was thinking about starting up a brand new series along with this one. This series will be hosted in a world of complete fantasy with elements from classic fantasy settings. (Like LOTR or D&D.) A world of castles, knights, sorcery, dragons...and a little Wild West stirred in for that little bit of extra flavor. If you want to see it, please let me know.