Imagine: The List
Fic posted by members of Vo's Imaginings YahooGroup
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Princess Irene, her mother had a sense of humor when she named her, watched her two sisters carrying a lot of bags up to their rooms and sighed, shaking her head. She was the more practical sister. She really was. Their mother was already complaining about the shopping trip she hadn't actually authorized as she followed the younger two up the stairs. Then her mother turned on her.

"Rene, dear, why don't you go with them?" she demanded. "You could use some new clothes."

She stared at her mother then waved a hand at her lap, and the chair under it. "Gee, Mom, when did the car they're allowed to drive fit the chair?" Her mother groaned. She stared at her. "Then again, each time I go to the mall I get a lot of horrified looks for wanting a new shirt. Apparently we crippled folk are supposed to be naked and/or wearing rags," she said sarcastically.

"I've had more than a few full grown women who work in stores who decided they didn't sell to handicapped people. Their brands weren't for us." She finished with a look. "When I pointed out one brand had handicapped models on their ads, they had a fit and tore down that poster in front of me." She grinned. "Then again, I'm more practical than fanciful, Mom. Thanks anyway."

"Fine. We'll go shopping together later. Go clean up so we can go." Irene sighed but went to make sure she was suitable to be seen at the mall with her mother. She went up to talk to her daughters. "You forgot your sister. Again."

"She can't get into the car you let us use," one complained. "And she nags the people who help you find stuff."

"Is that because they're snotty to her?"

"Well, yeah," the other one said with a nod. "A whole lot." The girls both nodded. "They suggested she go to Sears instead for practical things."

Their mother sighed but nodded. "Card." She held out a hand and they put the credit card into it. "Thank you. Anything I'd object to goes back, girls. I can already see a shirt I vetoed before in the bag and you *know* what your father will say when he gets back from his current deployment."

"I got it in the right size and I don't have the boobs Irene and Sophie have."

"Hey!" Sophie complained.

"Well, I don't! You two got visited by the titty fairy a few times, I only got hit the once." She pulled out the shirt to try on and show her mother, grinning. "See, not slutty on me, Mom."

She stared at it. "Denise, that's too short," she noted, waving a hand at the belly button she could see. "You can't wear it to school unless it covers your belt line." The girl pouted. "It goes back and we'll see the others before I take Irene with me." They nodded, changing to show her the outfits they had gotten. Only three things needed to be taken back so she took it with her since they were going to the mall anyway. She went down to find Irene pulling up her hair. "Pigtails?"

"Sore from the ponytail the school makes us wear," she admitted, pointing at it. Her mother looked and huffed but got some neosporin to put on the small sore. "Thanks. I couldn't see it to get it exact."

"It's fine." She went to pull the minivan out of the garage, letting her daughter work the ramp out so she could get into the back area. The ramp got pulled in by the automatic system and she drove off. "I've got to return three of their things."

"That's fine, I can browse in those stores. And we have to think about prom next year. It's in seven months."

"It is about time for looking at those," she decided. "Do you have a date?"

"No." She shrugged. "Not that I want to date one of the limp little boys I go to school with. I can go stag. It'll be a rotten night but it's supposed to be one to remember forever and ever," she finished sarcastically.

"I wish you'd date, Rene."

"Yeah, me too but haven't you met some of my classmates? They still don't see me and trip over me, Mom. I'm pretty much invisible."

"Point. I've seen a teacher do that in the class that once," she sighed. She paused at a stoplight, looking back at her daughter. Then she shook her head again. "College will be better."

"Hopefully. Green light." Her mother nodded, driving on. The mall wasn't far, it's why her sisters spent too much time there. Her mother parked and put up the handicapped sign, then got out so they could get the ramp out again. Irene rolled down it and her mother got to hit the button that time to close the ramp and the door. Then she locked it and headed inside with her daughter. At the first store, Irene looked around, grimacing. "Mom, can I look at that pink shirt?" she asked with a point.

"Go ahead, dear." Irene rolled over to look at it. She smiled. "My daughters went too hoochy and they can't wear those to school." The cashier smiled and nodded, taking them to do the return. She looked at Irene, shaking her head. "Wrong shade."

"It's not too far wrong. I have that dress from a few years ago that's this color."

"Yes, but it makes you look flushed, Rene."

"Sure." She put it back and shrugged, rolling back to her mother. "It was a bit short in the back anyway." She smiled at the cashier. "Anything in a slightly darker shade than that one?"

She looked then shook her head even though there was a huge rack of pink shirts in the back. "Not really." She handed the mother the slip to sign. "You have a great day."

"You too." She looked at her daughter then at the back rack then at the cashier again before they went off together. She looked at her daughter. "You get that a lot?"

"And the rolling areas between the racks are too small for me to not end up hitting all the clothes," she agreed with a nod. "Pretzel for lunch?"

"You could probably use the lemonade while I have a pretzel," she said, taking them to the Auntie Anne's in there. Then they went to a better teenager store. The cashier in there sneered until she caught sight of the mother then she smiled at her. "Let us know if you need help, ladies." She walked off to go fuss at a rack as far away as she could get. Irene smiled at her mother then pointed at a shirt. "The school's dress code says next year is button up shirts instead of polos."

"Sophie's going to have such problems," she sighed. "Big busted girls like her can't wear button ups very well." She looked and they got Irene one she liked and would fit. She found out the changing rooms weren't handicapped accessible and it made her fume. She hadn't been shopping with Irene for years and it showed when she didn't find a single thing that her wheelchair bound daughter could wear for pants. She stared at a pair.

"Mom, those aren't comfortable," Irene said quietly. "The waistline digs in with how they're formed. Like those jeans Dad got me last year."

"Oh, those." She grimaced. "That would suck, yes." They bought the shirt and she smiled since it was a manager. "It's a shame my girls can't shop in here together. My other two used to."

"Yeah, that was the year that the last manager told me about Sears," Irene said dryly. She stared at the manager, who was wincing. "By the way, your changing areas have some sort of ceiling leak. The ceiling has a huge water stain."

"I'll check that out, miss. Thank you for shopping with us." They nodded and left together. She went to look and sure enough, the pipes were broken so she got to call that in and block that changing area off.

"I don't know why girls like her go for cute things anyway," the sales associate said with a sneer. Her manager glared at her so she shut up again.

Irene looked at the next store, shaking her head. "I can't get between the racks and I can already tell you that nothing in there fits right. It doesn't even fit right on Denise and she's the stick figure ideal."


"Really, Mom. That...skirt thing as you call it came from here."

"Oh, that thing," she said, grimacing but nodding. They went to another store instead. "That skirt was very weird. Shorter in the back somehow, even though Denise has a flat butt. I thought it looked like a cheerleader outfit." They went to another store.

"Let me know if you need any help getting things down," a cashier said in a perky voice.

Irene smiled. "You guys really do use the vertical space." She looked up and pointed. "That t-shirt?"

Her mother looked. "For off hours. You can't wear it to school."

"I know but I like that band and I do go to the teen center now and then."

"Okay." The cashier was already there getting one of the shirts out of the overhead bin for them. "Large please. She wears a medium but usually we have to go with a large."

"Of course." She got one in that size down. "Our changing areas are a bit tiny for her chair," she said quietly. "But we do have a curtained area she can try it on in."

Irene smiled. "No, it'll fit. But I might when I look at that button up shirt there." She pointed, then rolled over to it. "St. Misery is going to button ups next year instead of polos."

"I'll let my manager know so she can get a few more for the new school shopping time." The cashier smiled. "The green one next to it is a bit loose around the shoulders and chest. One of the other girls that work here like that style because she's busty too." She went to the register again.

"That is a darling shirt," the mom agreed, pulling it down in the right size. "Want a medium or a large?"

She tested it against her. "A medium might just fit for once." She got a few more then smiled at that same cashier. "Can I try these on?"

"Sure. Let's get you to the curtained off area." Her boss stared at her then nodded when she saw the girl was in a chair. "Let us know if you need help." She went back to the register.

Her boss smiled. "They won't fit into the changing area. They are tiny." The cashier nodded. "Do you know them?"

"That's Sophie's big sister and their mom."

"Oh!" She nodded. Sophie had popped in a few times to bring her worker something from school.

"She said next year their school is going to button ups."

"That's good to know." They came out, handing back two shirts then bought three more. "You guys have a great day," the manager said with a smile.

"I love coming in here." Irene smiled. "You guys are a lot nicer than the ones two stores up." She rolled off with her mother following. The bag got tucked into her backpack that stayed on her chair.

Her mother smiled at the girls as they left. "We're near the bridal shop. Do you want to browse for a prom gown?"

She looked in there then at her mother. "There's no way my chair can get in there, Mom. I'd end up ripping something."

"Well, let's try at least. Otherwise we have to internet shop and you know it won't fit." She walked over to the bridal shop then looked at the thin walking areas. "Hmm. Dear, were you thinking fluffy gown or sleek?"

"Not sure yet. I've looked at a few fluffy styles, but they'd have to be tailored to sit right in the chair with me." She sighed. "But I'd look bad in a sleeker gown. I'm not proportioned right for a goddess dress or one of the straight gowns."

The sales clerk came out to look at her. "A lot of them are built for longer waists," she agreed. "But something slightly structured, like a goddess dress, tends to look good on all body types." She pointed and got one. "Something like this?"

Irene rolled over to touch it then grimaced. "That's a weird fabric. Mom?"

"That's not a bad shape," she admitted. She considered it. "But that cleavage will have to be pinned closed." She grimaced. "And the waist with the belt line would sit way too high. You'd look pregnant."

Irene shook her head. "Not that likely until I'm at least thirty, Mom. College first."

"Good!" she said, smiling at her daughter. "That shows sense! I like that plan!"

Irene smirked back. "You'd hate being a grandmother anyway."

"True. I'm too young and feisty to be a grandma." The sales clerk was giggling. "What about the fluffy style?"

"Tulle is going to be easier to tailor," the clerk said, putting that gown back. She walked off and came back with one. "This one's not bad but again the long waist problem."

"And the bust problem," Irene said. She looked at her chest then at the gown's chest section. "That's built for tiny, bitty mouthfuls isn't it?"

"Yes. Most times gowns are made for a slightly smaller size than normal and with a 'B' cup."

Irene touched it. "It's not *bad*," she decided. "You could probably put a few stitches to make it sit right." She looked at her mother.

"And to increase the chest size. You're a generous 'C' at least, dear. And I don't like that color."

"It comes in this color, a Barbie pink with some shimmer in the tulle, and a red version. Again with a bit of sparkle."

Irene touched it again then sighed, looking at her mother. "We'd have to try it on."

"We would," her mother agreed. The clerk smiled and shifted a rack so they could get in there. The changing room wasn't that tiny so she and her mother both fit in there to try on the fluffier tulle gown.

Irene came out to look at the mirror array, looking at herself. "Wow. I look booby." She shifted around to see her back. "They'd probably want straps put on too."

Her mother stared at it, grimacing. "Definitely too booby." She tipped her head to the side. "And that back is too low to not show a bra strap." She looked at the clerk. "Anything like that that's a bit closer to a good fit?"

"Most of them this year are built that way but let me look." She went to look at a few racks, bringing back two dresses. "Two, one of them more Marilyn Monroe with the straps and one more princessy." She held them up.

"That looks like Cinderella's gown," Irene said with a grin. "I was more into Maleficent but sure, I can try that." She took it to go try that one on. She came out, shifting some to get the skirt to settle. "Not my shade but it fits better."

"Still needs straps," her mother noted. She looked it over, helping the skirt get settled. "Hmm." She considered it. "Well..."

The sales clerk shook her head. "The skirt will need a lot more tailoring."

"It will," the mom agreed, nodding slightly. "But it fits her chest better. Hits too long on her waist." She twitched the back up higher. "I don't love it. Is this the one you want, Irene?"

"Not really. Wrong shade, and a lot of tailoring." She took the other dress to try on. It was very Marilyn Monroe but with the goddess looking top but fitted waist area. She rolled out twitching things. "I like but still, a lot of tailoring." The skirt was loose but A-line so it flopped around her legs.

Her mother sighed. "That looks nice on you, but the wrong color. I'd rather have you in a darker color for prom."

"It comes in a lovely dark blue," the clerk said with a point. "About that color. If I remember right it comes in white and red too."

"That blue's pretty," Irene said, staring at it then her mother. Who nodded. "How much?"

"Two-hundred-twelve plus tax."

"That's less than your dress for the eight grade dance they made you attend was," her mother decided, nodding. "If you like it, dear."

"Yeah, I like that. Though we may want to go up a size for tailoring."

"We can do that," the clerk agreed. They changed and she took that dress up to the register to pull up the options for it. She let them see the pictures. "That's the blue."

"It has a ruffle," Irene said, frowning at the dress.

"Only at that size and above." She showed them at the size she had tried on. No ruffle. "I have no idea why they did that."

"Hmm." Her mother grimaced at the ruffle. "We need the room for tailoring."

"Is the ruffle removable?" Irene asked.

"It looks like there's a seam," the cashier noted. "I can get it in red without it."

"I look bad in red. Almost tawdry," Irene said, grinning at her. "I wouldn't mind a date to the prom but not that way." The other girl giggled but nodded. "Mom?"

"Get the bigger size and we can remove the ruffle. At the very least it'll give us extra fabric to help fill in a few spots." The girl nodded and ordered it for her. She paid and took the receipt. It'd be mailed to them in about six weeks. Plenty of time to get it tailored. They went off to look in the other side of the mall. Of course, someone tripped over Irene and spilled their drink all over her. The mother helped the young man up with a scowl. "Be more aware please." The guy ran off. She huffed, looking at her daughter.

"Home?" she guessed.

"Yes. That way you can shower off that soda he spilled all over your back." She wiped at it with some napkins from her purse. "Let's go home." Irene headed for the car while her mother paused to get some napkins from the nearest source, handing them to her daughter once they were in the car. "Does that happen often?"

"Yup. In school too," she complained, wiping at the wet spots. "I'm going to have to wipe the chair down too."

"We can do that at home." She made sure everything was inside then drove them off.

Irene rolled into the house with her bags. "Please have saved us some hot water?" she said loudly. The sisters upstairs quit giggling. Sophie came down the stairs. "You can tell Destiny her boyfriend is a blind idiot."

"Tripped over you?"

"With his soda," she complained. She looked in her bag. "Mom, that one shirt got hit too." She handed it over. Her mother put it in the wash for her. Irene went to shower and wipe down her chair while her mother complained at Sophie about the mall's idiots.

Mom looked at her middle daughter. "We had a lot of idiots," she said quietly.

Sophie nodded. "We've all seen it, Mom. They think her chair is a sign she should be sitting in a corner being mute and begging for pennies."

"We did find her a prom gown."

"If you got it from that place at the mall, watch for the quality. A few of the gowns have come from China and looked cheaper than they did in the store."

"I'd do that anyway." She stared at her. "Snotty people?"

"Whole lots or just a few?" Denise asked as she came down.

"The store I had to take those shirts back to. A few others. The prom shop was pretty nice and the t-shirt store she likes had really nice people."

They nodded. "The rest, the snotty attitude is about regulation," Denise agreed. "Even when we went into the plus size shop for Grandma's present last year they sneered at her for being in a chair."

"That sucks. Are there any nice stores we should use instead?"

"Nope," they agreed together.

Irene came out to grab some paper towels. "A few at the mall in the next college town," she said with a point. She wiped down her shoulder. "I ran out."

"I can get you more," her mother agreed, helping her shift to a regular chair so they could finish wiping down the wheelchair. "Is that regular?"

"I had the principal do that the other day then blame me for sitting at a table," she said sarcastically. "Then got detention when I pointed out I was in a seat and not that invisible. She was on her phone. Texting and walking was as bad as texting and driving. The teachers laughed." She smiled. "I filed a challenge to my two afternoons of detention for it with the school board."

"Charming. I hope they realize it's her problem."

"They had to get a copy of the school's surveillance system. They glared at the principal but I haven't heard back yet."

"You probably won't," Denise said. "They never do. I challenged one last year when a teacher called my snotty for sticking up for disabled people."

"No, that you tell me so I can go yell at the teacher," their mother complained. They smiled at her. "Who?" she moaned.

"Social studies," all three girls said.

"I got kicked out because my chair distracted the other students," Irene said. "The principal tried to talk to her but not too hard."

"I'll handle that shit," their mother quipped. "Monday." She smiled. The girls grinned and went back to their rooms. She went to call another parent with kids in the school. "So I'm hearing that my daughters have problems with the social studies teacher," she said in greeting. "Would Marjorie know anything about that? My girls won't tell me because they want to fight their own battles." She listened, sitting on the couch to talk to her friend and her friend's daughter. That teacher, she needed a life.


Irene got the package for her gown eight weeks later. She opened it and moaned. "MOM!" she bellowed. "It came and it's cheap!"

Her mother came in wiping her hands off. "How cheap?" She let her see it. It was made of faux satin nightgown material. The ruffle was built in instead of being sewn on but it was still crooked. She looked at her mother. "So."

"We're taking that back," she said, taking it and the package, going to find that receipt. "I'll be back. Turn off the oven when it's done, dear. Your sisters should be back in two hours."

"Okay." She let her mother storm the mall for her this time. Irene checked the oven then sighed. Chicken was fine with her but it needed something to go with it.

Sophie burst into the house, grinning to beat anything. "Why weren't you at school!" she demanded. "Dad showed up at the pep rally!"

"I wasn't going to be at the pep rally." She stared at her. "I've been told repeatedly that my wheelchair is not allowed in the gym." She smiled. "Dad!" She hugged him. "Mom'll be back in a few. She's storming the mall because my prom gown came in looking like a cheap nightgown."

"I heard they had that problem and store might've closed," Sophie said. Denise came bounding in. "What's for dinner?"

"Mom started baking chicken."

"I can make a salad," Denise decided, moving to do that.

Their father looked at Irene. "Prom gown already?"

"Yeah. It's my year for that. Even if I am going stag." She grinned. "We picked out something pretty but it came in looking horrible."

"Ah!" He nodded, hugging her ahead. "We'll figure it out, Irene." He looked in the oven. "I've got plenty of time for a shower." He winked at the girls before going up to do that. He'd have at least six months at home.

Sophie looked at her. "Isn't the prom held in the gym?" she asked quietly.

Irene shook her head. "It's being held at the country club. I'm on the prom committee."

"Oh, good!" She smiled. "Mom really mad?"

"Yup." The girls all shared a smirk. "Did you hear the principal was mad at us again?"

"For telling her to be a human instead of a texting and walking toad?" Denise guessed.

"She tried to shove me out of the way earlier and I told her the chair didn't move that way. And that an apology was expected when you ran into someone. If she made us do it, she should model the behavior. She tried to sneer but the history teacher called her out for it."

"Oh, it's nice she does that." They went back to fussing at dinner. Their parents would show up soon. Their mother huffed in first. "Dad's home!" Sophie chirped.

"Oh, that's great!" She hugged her girls. "They closed the store, dear."

"Well, we know what it should be so we'll figure it out," Irene decided. "Even if I have to learn how to sew."

"I've already started a nasty note to the company about returning this piece of crap they sent." She patted her on the shoulder. "Let me go get kisses." The girls giggled so she went up to do that. Her husband pulled her into the shower to cuddle with her.

The girls figured they could figure out dinner on their own. Their parents needed space.


Irene rolled into the other bridal store in town but the women were giving her odd looks. "It's prom time. I'm looking for something A-line and maybe with a slight slit to about knee height for ease of fitting?"

"I'm not sure we'd have anything that would fit you, miss," one of the sales associates said.

Irene's mother came in behind her. "Your principal has evolved to her final level of dumb bitch. I wonder what level of pokemon that makes her," she complained. She held up a picture she had taken at the first store. "We ordered this one for Irene but the store's apparently closed and sent us something that was a nightgown."

"I'm not sure we carry that style but we can look." She walked off to the rack with gowns that were more kiddy style than adult style.

"Please no fluffy skirts. I'm seventeen for another three months," Irene said, rolling behind the clerk. "I can't do a kiddy pageant gown. They're too fluffy and stick up."

The clerk blinked at her. "I was hoping something like this," she said, pulling one out.

Irene's mother looked at it then at the woman. "She's not that tiny. She's only short because she's in the chair. She's a full size eight."

"Sometimes a nine," Irene admitted. "The whole boob thing." She sighed, shaking her head. "They don't make them to fit C cups."

"Too true," her mother agreed. "Unfortunately. Your youngest sister is going to be murder trying to fit with her chest and measurements."

"Well, she's got flat hips so that'll ease it some," Irene said. She looked around then pointed at one dress. "What's that blue one please?"

The woman pulled it down. "It's a bit showy and I doubt it'll fit in with dress code requirements."

"I have to have it tailored usually anyway," Irene admitted, taking it to look at. "Hmmm. Thin satin." She let her mother feel it.

She grimaced. "Anything eighteen-year-old girl appropriate?" She hung that one back up and pulled down another then shook her head. "Have to be a different color and a lot of lace to cover up that cleavage." She looked at a few more, letting her daughter see one.

"That's kinda like the one we picked out but it's more narrow. Can we tailor that to fit my waist?"

"I hope so." She held it against Irene's chest, shaking her head. "The waist is very high on you."

"We can try it on, see if it's just how it lays," Irene offered.

"We'd worry that something might...leak when you're trying on gowns, miss," the sales clerk said quietly, staring at her.

"I'm not on a catheter or an adult diaper," Irene said dryly. "The chair is from a car accident that killed six vertebrae, it doesn't lead to leaking usually." The woman blushed and backed away from her. She handed back the gown. "You have a great day, ma'am." She turned around and rolled out, her mother following but scowling. "I haven't heard that accusation since the Gap two years ago," she quipped once they were outside.

Her mother sighed but nodded. "I remember that trip and writing their corporate office about it." She looked at her daughter. "There's the place in the next town."

Irene looked at her mother. "Some girl was saying she found a fairy godmother there, but I don't need a prince at the prom."

"Still, they can't be worse."

"Point." She rolled toward the minivan, letting her mother hit the alarm and door opening button. "Mom, there's a guy," she called, rolling backwards. Her mother hurried over, calling her husband to come help them. The guy trying to steal their radio tried to back out but Mom hit him with the mom purse and knocked him out. "Way to go!" Irene cheered. She pulled her phone out of her pocket and called. "Hi, 911, my mother just knocked out the guy breaking into our car in front of the Silver Brick Road outlet. No, she hit him with her purse as he tried to climb out of our minivan. Please. Thank you." She hung up. "They'll be here for him in a minute."

Irene's mother sighed but nodded, texting that to her husband so he was aware she might be under arrest. "See if he got anything else while I stand on his throat. I don't need this stress today."

Irene nodded, looking around. "He got your coffee money stash," she said. "And the radio's open and wires. A lot of wires." She opened the glove compartment by leaning over a bit. "Um, Mom, do you still keep Dad's extra sidearm in here?"

"Yep." She sat down to lean over to look. "Shit." She climbed out when the officer got there. "We walked out of the store and she was getting in when he started to climb out of the driver's window. He has my husband's sidearm. It was in the glovebox, Officer."

Irene waved a hand. "The radio's all wires. Her coffee money stash is missing too."

The officer nodded. "Okay. Let me cuff him so we can search him." He looked at the guy. "Looks like he's playing possum."

"I hit him with my purse but I don't have a brick in there today," Mom said dryly. "I try not to shop with Irene with one so I don't hit the people who insult us." The officer looked at Irene then smiled at her. "She just got accused of wearing a leaky diaper because she's in the chair. It's kinda normal anymore."

"I still love the people who trip over me because apparently I'm invisible," Irene said. "Can I get in? I don't want to be in the way when Mom has to hit him again."

"Go ahead," the officer agreed. He bent down to handcuff the guy, who was pretending to be knocked out and tried to fight. Until Mom stuck her pump up his chin and then he decided he had sense.

Irene snickered. "Dude, Moms are always tougher than Dads. They have to put up with a lot more shit than Dads do so they're always tougher and more stressed out." She hit the button to extend the ramp and rolled in then pushed the button to recall the ramp and the button to shut the sliding van door. She buckled herself in and waited. Her father got there in time to casually walk over with a smirk for the guy on the ground.

Dad smirked at the guy on the ground. "I don't argue with her either. She could kill me and then my commanding officer would get really pissed off at her." The guy groaned but let the officer cuff him. "Officer, I took the gun out of the glove compartment last night to clean and haven't put it back yet."

"I wish you had told me," Mom complained, staring at him.

"I knew you were coming to do the prom shopping today, dear. I figured you didn't need the temptation. Pumpkin, you good?"

"Yeah. They decided I'm short so obviously needed the kiddy pageant dress and then wouldn't let me try on something because I might leak in my diaper."

Dad shuddered. "Great," he moaned then huffed at the end. "Sometimes people are dumbasses, dear."

"We know," Irene quipped. "We're really used to it, Dad." She looked at the other side. "Um, Officer?" He looked so she pointed. He looked and stomped over to stop the guy trying to break into a car with a metal rod while the officer was still there. Her mother sat down with a huff, staring at Irene then at her husband.

Her husband nodded. "I can wait for a bit. My CO said to come stop you from killing someone, dear."

"He should worry about me, not her," Irene quipped with a smile for him. "They'd just think I snapped or I was mentally deficient since I'm in the chair. They usually do even without me snapping." She snapped her fingers. "By the way, the college's recruiter gave me a horrified look when I asked about how accessible the campus was because he stammered they didn't expect anyone with any ...difficulties to get a degree, as he put it." She stared at her father. "I pointed out plenty of crippled people work. He got so horrified I might want to be a librarian or a teacher. So that's one campus I don't have to apply to, parents."

Her mother looked at her. "Your college fund will afford that one without loans but not a lot of others. We can check. It might just be his problem instead of everyone's."

"I'd hope so," Irene agreed. "But he also said a lot of the buildings weren't accessible and those that had elevators often went out of service for hours on end."

"Great!" her father agreed with a nod and a smile. "We can ask."

"I can agree to that but don't get your hopes up for me doing the kiddy of alumni things."

"We won't," they agreed.

The officer came back. "Let's finish filling out the incident report," he said calmly. "I heard you talking about the local state campus? Yes, the elevators are all on the blink half the year. My sister started there last year and had to transfer due to stupid frat brothers but she complained often about climbing five flights of stairs to history class." The parents sighed but nodded. They finished the report and the officer took pictures for the report.
Then Mom got to leave, Dad got to go back to work, and Irene got to go looking online for a prom gown from a reputable site that didn't send from China. Her mother was downstairs throwing a fit in the family room so her sisters were hiding. Irene sent Sophie a text message about what had happened so she and Denise came down to start something soothing for their mom, namely a sundae to help her calm down with. They'd ignore her pouring some bailey's liquor over it but she was an adult and they pretended to not realize that anyone had ever drank alcohol before their mother asked them if they had tried it.


Irene rolled into the other nearby store that sold formal gowns, staring at the staring women. "Prom." They smiled and one came over to help her look. "Mom's locking the car. We went to the place at the mall that closed and found a pretty blood red gown that was A-line with a bit of cleavage we could have closed. They called it pretty Marilyn Monroe. Of course, the thing came from China and it was a nightgown." She sighed. "So not amused with Mom."

"I wouldn't be either, dear. Do you want to stay with red?"

"I'm not that picky about dark colors. I'm okay with lighter colors but mom wanted me in a darker one."

"Okay." They went to look at the A-lines and found a few that she'd probably like. Her mother finally came in. The sales clerk smiled. "She told me about the one store's dress. What do you think of these?" She held them up.

"I like that blue one," she admitted, considering it. "But I think the other might be too twinkly."

"I thought maybe the tailoring might have to take some of that off to close up the cleavage, Mom."

"Could be. You can try them on and we'll see, dear."

"Okay." She took the first one into the changing area with her mother to help her try them on. It was the twinkly one and they both shook their heads. The other one was nicer and she came out to look in the bigger mirror. "That's not bad," Irene admitted. "I don't like how it fits around the boobs." She shifted to adjust it. "It's really tight."

"Sometimes dates like that," the clerk said.

Irene shook her head. "I'm so invisible they trip over me in the halls," she said. "I'm going stag to stare at all the things I go to school with. Sometime soon I really need to make a list of who's Thing 1 and who's Thing 2. Though I think 2 is most of the cheer team." She frowned but shook her head.

"Someone forgot lunch," Mom quipped. "You only go weird when you're hungry."

"Mom, I'm not a fan of snickers," she quipped back with a grin for the clerk. "What's next? Maybe a bit looser up top? If we have to we can go up a size to make the tailoring easier."

"Hmm." She looked and pulled down a fluffy gown. "A bit more Disney princess but it might be okay."

"I'm not against fluffy. Just how they settle sometimes." She and her mother went to try that one on. She came out shaking her head. The strapless top was way too short on her chest. The fluffiness of the skirt stuck up everywhere. "Maybe not this fluffy."

"We have plenty of girls who like that look."

"One said they found a fairy godmother here but I pointed out I didn't need a prince at the prom." She grinned. The clerk grinned back and handed her another dress. "Oooh, no." She handed it back. "That fabric feels nasty. Sorry."

"Okay. We can find something else." They looked at the bridesmaid gowns and found something slim but simple. That got tried on and they decided they liked that one. And they could take that one since they liked that color. And it was cheaper than the last one was. "Have a nice day, ladies."

"You too," Irene said with a smile. "You guys were so much nicer than Silver Brick Road." She rolled out. Mom smiled and waved at them too. She walked out putting up praises of them on her facebook. Irene had hung the dress up on the hook after she had gotten in and was closing the door. Mom got in and they drove off to go show her sisters. Finally a good shopping trip! Maybe there was a fairy godmother in there.

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