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Impersonating a Minor


by


Tetora


Copyright © 2018 Tetora

Distributed by Smashwords


Chapter 1


“Although Miranda was still a desirable woman by any measure, the annuity she got from winning the genetic lottery was worth less and less with each passing year. Taking a hard look at herself in the mirror, she realized that her expiration date wasn’t that far off.” Reading aloud, I paused to give the female therapist a look that said, can you believe my husband of all people actually wrote this garbage?


At that very moment, Lucas and I were in couples counseling and having a heated argument over his youthful fantasy. He wanted to turn the clock back to when I was a schoolgirl. This went way beyond roleplay in the bedroom. Recently, his desire had grown more intense and elaborate. He had a school picked out that I would enroll in as any other student of my intended age would. That necessitated that he had a particular grade in mind, too.


“This is a judgment-free zone, Miranda. We can’t make any progress if we don’t feel safe to talk about our feelings.”


I thought she would automatically be on my side because she was a woman. That was not the case. She said that marriage was all about compromise and her role was to facilitate our negotiations. The give and take of each spouse to both appease their partner and gain a concession from them at the same time.


“I’m not saying that person is you,” my beloved hastily explained. “It is simply part of your character’s motivation for why she feels the need to order a youth potion over the internet.”


Our therapist skimmed through a copy of the story he wrote. In it, this other Miranda doubled the dosage of the age-defying elixir to get immediate results. It worked wonderfully at first, but she kept getting younger and younger until propriety demanded that she sleep in a separate bed. For one reason or another, she ended up in elementary school where various shenanigans ensued.


“I can see that you’ve put a lot of thought into this, Lucas,” she said, setting the manuscript down. “It just isn’t realistic. No adult woman can pass for a kid in primary school.”


“Thank you,” I said, echoing this outsider’s perspective in saying that I was right and he was wrong.


“I wrote down several ideas I had for her cover story,” he said in his defense. “She could be a student teacher who falls victim to a strict dress code or a psychologist who needs firsthand experience for her master’s thesis. It’s up to her what she chooses to go with since she is the one pretending to be a student.”


“He doesn’t seem to get how much trouble I could get in for impersonating a minor.”


“There’s no law against that! I’ve looked it up. If the school finds out the truth, the worst they can do is kick you out.”


“At which point, my name gets dragged through the mud by the media. If I get caught, I am telling them that this was your idea. No way am I taking the fall for you.”


Our polite conversation descended back into chaos. We were stuck in a loop, repeating the same tired arguments again and again.


“Miranda, I can give you a permission slip if that is your only objection to going back to school,” the therapist said, interjecting some tranquillity into the raging storm. “As a licensed professional, I have the authority to do that. No one will question your motives if I take full responsibility.”


Before either of us could get a word in edgewise, she continued, “Lucas, your wife is too old for primary school. Grow up. You’re not going to regress her that far. Be that as it may, I think she is perhaps young enough for secondary school and I would encourage the both of you to find common ground.”


My husband and I shared wistful glances. He unconsciously twirled the gold band symbolizing our union on his finger. I figured with our anniversary coming up, I could at least try to meet him halfway provided that he agreed to indulge in one of my fantasies.


“I am amenable to attending a public high school as a senior for a single day, if you will have an affair.”


He quietly contemplated my indecent proposal. The fact that he didn’t reject it outright as before was promising. It was beginning to dawn on him that my pestering wasn’t a test of his faithfulness, where I would scold him if he didn't decline fast enough.


I used to be as predisposed toward monogamy as he was and might still be if it weren’t for a misunderstanding we had. When I discovered that he wasn’t cheating on me, all those negative emotions turned inward. I was the one who wasn’t committed to our relationship for entertaining the possibility that he was a two-timing bastard. As distasteful as it was, I felt that he was owed a casual encounter to make amends for my accusation.


Imagining Lucas taking a piece of what we had together and giving it to someone else was unpleasant. I resolved to see beyond my natural inclination not to share what was mine by forcing myself to play matchmaker. That was where the seed of my fantasy was sown. Maybe, in a moment of weakness, he would find comfort in the arms of a flirty office intern. What if the pretty young thing got pregnant and wanted to keep the baby? Would he dump me to start a family with her?


It tickled my fancy to give him my enthusiastic approval to an act of infidelity. I was enraptured by all the elaborate details of the scenarios I invented, each more humiliating than the last. I would set my wedding ring on the nightstand when I pleasured myself into submission, leaving it for the mistress who was to replace me. From there, my obsession snowballed to the point where I was begging him to try it out in real life.


“A month in 5th grade at a private school and I choose the woman,” he countered.


How had I married the one man who had no interest in sleeping around? “You’re asking for far too much. I shouldn’t even have to bargain with you. I’ll give you a week as a freshman and that is being generous. Take it or leave it.”


“Why don’t we split the difference and meet in the middle, school?” the therapist quipped. “Two weeks in junior high.” As she had said, marriage was all about compromise.


I sighed heavily from my mental exhaustion of this entire ordeal. The things I did for love. “If I undergo a makeover and determine that I can pass for an adolescent, I will agree to those terms on the condition that I get to pick the woman.”


He skipped over saying yes and began listing all his prerequisites. “You will wear the uniform every day. I will take you to and from school. You will do the homework you are given and sleep in your own room. You will wear age-appropriate clothing when outside of school and any adult activities will be curtailed for the duration that you are impersonating a minor.”


“Fine, but I am throwing all that nonsense out,” I said, pointing at the juvenile drivel he wrote. “I will not consent to being treated like a child. There aren’t going to be any playdates, birthday parties or bossy babysitters. And you can forget about any accidents at school where I wind up wearing a diaper and riding in a car seat. You wouldn’t subject your own teenage daughter to that kind of mistreatment, so I won’t be a party to it either.”


I could tell he was hurt when I told him I was going off script. This would be a complete rewrite from page one. The clue I dropped about who I was planning to be flew right over his head.


“Cheer up. Do remember that I spent a year in drama school before dropping out. It will still be pure, unadulterated age regression, don’t you worry.”


* * *


While I considered my husband’s childish infatuation with sending me back to school to be rather silly, I would try my best to satisfy his ardent desire to strip me of my adulthood. His instant gratification would have to wait, however, as we couldn’t play his fanciful game of make-believe with cheap Halloween costumes.


We said our goodbyes when I flew out of town to prepare for my role as an adolescent. My trip also doubled as a trial separation, which was suggested by the therapist to see how irreconcilable our differences really were. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that. While Lucas was sad that we would be apart, he was nevertheless energized by my commitment. We would keep in touch electronically during my visit to the rejuvenation clinic.


Most of the people there were super old. Aside from the staff, I was easily the youngest person there by twenty or thirty years. Anyone going down this path at such an advanced age was bound to resemble Frankenstein’s monster in their vain attempt to reverse the aging process. They would kill to look like me and end up destroying themselves in the process. In my opinion, they would be better served if they did nothing and aged gracefully rather than trying to recapture what they had lost. The facility took their money regardless.


My first procedure involved a laser erasing all the sunspots from my face. The ultraviolet damage to my skin from the sun wasn’t that extensive, yet it would be a telltale sign that I was older than I claimed to be. I managed to get through the burning of my flesh with minimal pain.


I was not so lucky with the personal trainer I hired to help rid me of a few problem areas. It wasn’t that I was fat, I was merely a woman and not a girl. To that end, I practically lived on a treadmill in my downtime and ate like a hamster munching on leafy greens.


During my stay, what followed was a litany of costly procedures. I had a chemical peel to reduce any blemishes, resulting in a more radiant complexion. Botox was injected to eliminate wrinkles. Resurfacing treatments smoothed out my skin, making it tighter and younger in appearance. At night, there were countless creams and moisturizers to apply.


What I found most fascinating was the cutting edge option to transfuse my blood with the blood from a younger donor. It was all the rage among Silicon Valley executives who wanted to live forever. The rich figuratively feeding on the poor was a story as old as time. To my surprise, this wasn’t snake oil. Unlike everything else I endured, I actually felt rejuvenated with the blood plasma of a kid pumping through every inch of my body.


My stamina on the treadmill was boundless and I recovered quickly. Minor aches and pains in my knees and ankles that would have normally slowed me down were nowhere to be seen. It was evident why this was becoming so popular. The downside was that the benefits of the transfusion were only temporary and it was ungodly expensive. I did get a discount by trading in my own supply. One person’s trash was another person’s treasure, I suppose. I had my very own blood boy while I, in turn, was somebody’s blood girl, not that gender mattered in these swaps.


Lucas questioned if he was going to get his money’s worth at the end of all this as I was racking up a huge bill. I made no promises but assured him that I would definitely make it up to him if he didn’t. The prospect of spending time in detention or being subjected to a disciplinary action in the bedroom was unappealing.


Since I couldn’t be indebted to my husband any more than I already was, I decided to go for broke. No expense would be spared and every effort would be taken to achieve my goal. I ordered a chest binder and shapewear to compress my lean figure even further back in time to the early onset of my physical maturation. I stopped wearing my colored contacts and opted for a pair of glasses. Pretty schoolgirls with deep blue eyes stood out a lot more than those with demure brown eyes and glasses. Blondes with luscious long hair also drew more attention and that was something I desperately wanted to avoid. At the salon, my hair was cut to shoulder length and dyed a mousey brown—my natural hair color.


I talked myself into getting braces again as an adult after looking at some before and after pictures. Teens instantly looked older and more mature when the metal brackets and bright colors were removed. Putting them on would have the opposite effect on me.


Reclining in an orthodontist’s operating chair, saliva slowly filled my mouth as they fitted a metal band around one of the molars in my upper jaw. They repeated the process on the opposite side and then twice more on my lower jaw. A cleanser was spread over my teeth, rinsed off with water and suctioned away.


I bit down on a bite block to keep my tongue away from my teeth as they were dried with a blast of air then coated with a bonding agent to give the glue for the stainless steel brackets something to stick to. A curing light was used to harden the adhesive after each was applied, locking them into place. Once every tooth had been accounted for, an archwire was strung across the brackets and held together with elastic ties. I opted for the high visibility colors of fluorescent pink and electric blue as they could be seen from a distance.


I was grinning from ear to ear when a mirror was held up for me to view their work. The braces were delightfully juvenile and the addition brought about a marked reduction in my apparent age. Most kids would hate this and be reluctant to smile until they were taken off. In my twenties, I was far from the average adolescent, though it was getting harder to tell with the chest binder I was wearing and the slim physique I starved myself into.


Lucas was going to freak when he saw the extent of my dedication. I outdid myself in exchanging my conventional femininity for an altogether subdued and ambiguous look. In the wrong outfit, I might be mistaken for a tomboy. A short skirt and a dash of lip gloss would let everyone know that I was unequivocally a girl on the cusp of blossoming into a delicate flower.


I didn’t tell him I was coming home. In fact, I indicated that I wasn’t ready to return. The true test of my disguise would come when I knocked on our door out of the blue and waited to see if he recognized me. If I could fool him, I would know that I was ready for middle school. I grinned at the story I had prepared for him. It was a significant departure from his stupid youth potion. I did my homework as he requested and would tell him a tale that even I wouldn’t readily dismiss.


* * *


My plane ride back was a bit of an adventure. Going through security was a nightmare. I didn’t look anything like the picture on my passport. The slight discrepancies in my weight, age, hair and eye color got me an in-depth interview with the TSA. They let me go when they concluded that an unaccompanied minor using her sister’s identification wasn’t a threat to the safety and security of the airport.


I ditched my luggage after I touched down as I thought it would be weird if I was traveling without any bags. It was no big loss as the clothes inside were too big to fit me anymore. I dumped everything as a precaution against my husband noticing that they were mine. To the best of his knowledge, I was still recuperating at the rejuvenation clinic. I paid cash for my ticket and the cab fare back home. That way, he wouldn’t suspect a thing even if he checked his online statements regularly.


The cab driver dropped me off in the waning hours of the evening where the fading sun would assist in concealing my true identity. I rang the doorbell and nervously fidgeted in place. After all the hard work I put in, I had my fingers crossed that he would invite me in as a stranger before he pieced together that I was his wife. I held my breath as he opened the door.


“Can I help you?” he asked.


“Are you Lucas Taylor?”


I looked at him dead in the eye, daring him to see me for who I really was. To obscure the familiar sound of my voice, I pitched it lower and changed which consonants I enunciated. The accent was good enough that my linguistic coach at drama school would have been proud. I had to be careful not to slip back into my natural dialect.


“Yes, but isn’t it a little late to be selling Girl Scout cookies?”


I ignored his dad joke and said, “Do you recall dating an Allison Hall?”


I could see his mind struggling to recall the information and piece together why a kid was inquiring about his ex-girlfriend.


“Yes, but I haven’t spoken to her in almost fifteen years. What is your relation to her, if I may ask?”


“I think you are my biological father.”


The blood drained from his face as I recounted the events surrounding my birth. I basically repeated the same story he previously told me. He got a girl pregnant in high school, her parents went ballistic and shipped her across the country and he never heard from her again. He assumed that she got an abortion and went on with her life. There was never any contact or request for child support.


“Where are your parents? Sorry, dumb question,” he said, catching himself. “What I meant to say was, why are you here all by yourself?”


“I was hoping I could come live with you,” I smiled, my shiny metal mouth twinkling in the twilight.


“Your mother is probably worried sick about you. I should give her a call, do you have a number where I can reach her?”


“No. I’ve only met her a few times. She doesn’t want anything to do with me.” I shivered in the cold air. “It’s freezing out here. May I come inside?”


He welcomed me in and made a hot cup of cocoa as I sat on our couch. I presumed he used the time alone in the kitchen to compose himself at this life-altering encounter. He tried to pry as many details out of me as possible as I slowly sipped on my sugary drink. I was purposefully vague on the specifics. This wasn’t my life and so I didn’t have all the answers he sought.


I said that my name was Casey and explained that I lived with my grandparents growing up. They kicked me out of their house when I refused to go to the conversion therapy camp their pastor recommended. My eyes watered with crocodile tears as the strong emotions came flooding out.


“They couldn’t accept me for who I was.”


He swallowed, visibly moved by my masterful performance of a troubled teen. I had him hook, line and sinker.


“I think you are beautiful just the way you are.”


He got up and gave me a great big hug. We had a very touching father/daughter moment. There was no way he was going to send me back to live with those horrible people. I could stay for as long as I wanted with my long-lost dad.


It occurred to me that I was ruining his schoolgirl fantasy by tricking him into thinking we were related. We couldn’t be intimate if he genuinely believed that I was his daughter. My plan was not without risk, however. If he discovered that I was his adult wife, I would need to call child protective services to keep him off of me. For now, the game was afoot and I was winning. If I could get through my two weeks of middle school with him none the wiser, I will have fulfilled my obligation and be entitled to my reward.


Chapter 2


Lucas was busy in my absence, transforming an empty room in our house into one fit for a tween. It would be more accurate to say that it was a grown man’s idea of what his special little girl would want. Barf. The décor was so annoyingly cute it hurt. This was my fault for not forbidding him from redecorating our guest room in our original agreement. I would need a couple dozen posters and an expansive art collage to cover up that pastel shade of lavender on the wall.


Calm down, Miranda. This is only temporary and besides, it is his fantasy, not yours. He wasn’t expecting visitors, though he would have subjected you to this all the same.


I kept my inner thoughts to myself. As Casey, I was grateful to be here even if I would surely be in the “get out of my life” phase by now if I had an ordinary upbringing with a loving family.


“Do you have a daughter my age? Do I have a sister? Is this her room? Does she mind if I sleep in here?”


The look on his face was priceless at my barrage of questions. He hadn’t stopped to consider the ramifications of letting an overeager young girl use the playroom that was intended for his age regressed wife.


“Um, my wife...” he stammered. “She... and I foster girls about your age.”


As much fun as it was to watch him squirm, I would be breaking character if I continued to provoke him. Opening a dresser drawer full of colorful underwear and asking if he wanted me to wear them was going too far. Some things were best left unsaid.


“I can take you out shopping for whatever you need. Feel free to use what you’d like in the interim. If you’ll excuse me, I’ll be right back.”


I was left to my own devices while Lucas frantically messaged me via text.


[Lucas]: Hey, so I’ve been thinking lately. I shouldn’t have pressured you into going back to school or changing your body. It was short-sighted and immature. I like you the way you are. Let’s call the whole thing off.


I sent him a picture of this adorable girl I found on social media. She shared a passing resemblance to me, if I happened to drink one of those youth potions he was so fond of in his writing. I certainly couldn’t come home anytime soon looking like that.


[Miranda]: Can’t wait to be your schoolgirl in person! How many boys in my class do you think will have a crush on me? :P Too bad I’m all yours...


What was a guy to do when his teenage daughter was visibly older than his wife?


[Lucas]: You’re 24! You can’t be that young. It’s impossible. I don’t believe you.


[Miranda]: This is what you wanted, isn’t it?


[Lucas]: Not anymore. Please tell me that you’re joking or that they can reverse it. We couldn’t even sleep together in the same bed for Christ’s sake. I need you to be an adult.


[Miranda]: We can talk about this later. I’m about to do that vampire thing with the blood I told you about.


What was happening to me at the rejuvenation clinic could be a story in and of itself. How long would it take before he realized that I was feeding him his own tired plotlines back to him? I had a strong suspicion that this Miranda was about to regress further still, assuming I could find a photo to send him. Hopefully, I could drag this charade out until my two weeks of school were up.


Following our conversation, he returned with no apparent sign of distress to finish my tour of the entire house. I had a small snack from the pantry then turned in for the night. When I had my privacy, I unhooked the binder that was compressing my chest and the shapewear compacting my figure. Relief poured over me. I was finally able to breathe.


My wardrobe selection was appropriately sized, though sickeningly sweet. The pajamas I put on were warm and soft. I turned out the light and got into bed. The sheets were stiff, though nothing fabric softener wouldn’t fix. I drifted off to sleep, dreaming of the women I might want my husband to lie with.


In the morning, Lucas took the day off work to take me out to lunch. We made a date of it. Afterward, we went to the mall to go on a shopping spree. He proceeded to sit in the cordoned off sections where men slowly lost their will to live as their significant others spent hours trying on clothes, unable to come to a decision. Had I been his wife and not his daughter, the shoe would have been on the other foot. I would have been in and out of the junior apparel that he picked out as he dressed and undressed me like a doll. Nevertheless, the excursion was enjoyable for him in a fatherly way.


While a young lady such as Casey would undoubtedly be more at ease buying personal items with a female chaperone, it couldn’t be helped. Evidently, I was on a business trip when the topic came up. His perfect princess was not the girly girl that I was. In lieu of dresses and skimpy undergarments, I went with low-key slacks and boyshorts. The fewer characteristics I shared with this underage persona, the less he would associate the two of us with each other.


An offer was made to exchange my nerdy glasses for something a bit more fashionable, which I declined. I never wore glasses, let alone a pair as lame as these. In truth, they were kind of growing on me as contacts could be a hassle.


The subject of my education came up. He politely suggested I could enroll at Westview Academy, a prestigious all-girls private school. It was the same one I was supposed to attend. I happily consented to this arrangement and was scheduled for placement testing that weekend. A baseline for my proficiency in reading, writing and arithmetic was required as the story was that I had been homeschooled all my life, which was a sufficient explanation for not having any prior school records.


My new dad didn’t insist on us doing everything together. He gave me my space as we couldn’t replace the time we lost in a single day. We would take it slow and see how things developed.


“You’ll be here when I get back, right?” he cautiously asked before leaving for work the next morning.


I reassured him that I wasn’t going anywhere with a hug. The poor sap melted like butter in my embrace. He was actually crying! What a big softie.


That Saturday, I met with the principal of Westview Academy in her upper school office. I kept quiet during the orientation and let my husband do most of the talking. This woman worked extensively with children and would be able to spot a fake more easily than him.


I kept my comments to a minimum then signed a statement of faith about my personal relationship with Jesus. I wasn’t religious and scribbled a few lines about not being raised in the church. The administration wouldn’t turn any kids away for not believing in their brand of Christianity as it was their sacred duty to convert those living in sin, provided our tuition checks didn’t bounce.


The test proctor thankfully interrupted the awkward meeting. She directed me to remove any electronic devices then guided me to a room with several computers that were partitioned-off to prevent anyone from peeking at their neighbor’s screen. As the only person there, this was a non-issue. Visible security cameras were mounted in the corners and the walls were coated with a paint that blocked radio frequencies. Inwardly, I was amused by their attempts to prevent cheating as nothing in their arsenal would stop an adult woman from posing as a student.


It was crucial that I not do too well. If I got put into high school, even as a freshman, I was running the risk that Lucas would correctly contend that my time at school didn’t count because we agreed on middle school.


The math portion came first and I was provided with a stack of paper and pencils to work the answers out by hand. The timed test would begin the moment I clicked start. I was not expected to finish all of the questions and wrong answers would be penalized so guessing was not encouraged.


I zoomed through basic multiple choice questions on addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. It took me longer to read the lengthy sentences than to answer them. The harder problems involving variables, compound inequalities and algebraic expressions were akin to a foreign language that I hadn’t practiced since I graduated. As I stared at a quadratic equation for too long, I chastised myself for not giving the material even a brief review. The temptation to choose an answer at random was immense, although I knew it was not to my benefit.


The reading comprehension and writing sections were a breeze by comparison. Way back when, I insulted my husband’s writing ability by saying that the schoolgirls he wrote about could do a better job than him. The essay I crafted in response to the prompt was excellent, in my humble opinion.


He was waiting in the school office when I emerged. A packet full of information was in my hands as we departed for home. We would be notified later via email as to how well I had done.


As the school year was already in progress, I was on an accelerated timetable for enrollment. We would have to pick up the uniform in person from a retailer so I could wear it to class on Monday as shipping would be too slow. The old-fashioned dress code mandated that I wear a skirt. He seemed apologetic about it based on my perceived reluctance to conform to traditional gender stereotypes.


At the house, I browsed the online portal specific to this particular academy. Sorting through the inventory, there were red and blue polos, white long sleeve blouses, a cardigan, a sweater vest, plaid skorts, skirts and dresses, knee-high socks in black and white and a variety of hair accessories in headbands, bows and scrunchies. The dress code did not include any pants whatsoever. I added most everything in my size to the order for immediate pickup. While I would be transferring out in two weeks time, I figured my husband would appreciate an assortment of authentic schoolgirl outfits I could wear on special occasions like his birthday.


A few hours after placement testing had concluded, Lucas announced that I was going to be in middle school. He asked if I was okay with that given my history of homeschooling. I had to suppress a sly smile in my approval.


Curious about the email he received, I logged into his inbox from my new phone to read what was written about me. I initially turned down the expensive gift and requested that he return it in favor of a basic model that was reasonably priced. I grudgingly accepted when he wouldn’t budge. It was far nicer than the one I had stashed in an empty shoebox in my closet on silent mode. I waited with bated breath as the webpage loaded. A message from the principal was at the top of the list.


Hello, Mr. Taylor


I have reviewed Casey’s results and it is my professional recommendation as an educator that she be placed in the 7th grade. While she has a high degree of competency in reading and writing, her test scores in arithmetic were below that of her peers. I will instruct her math teacher to assign her extra homework to bring her up to speed. Feel free to contact me if you wish to discuss the matter further.


Regards,

Principal Kathleen Collins


He had neglected to mention that I flunked the math portion of the exam. It was a good thing that my vanity prevented me from holding anything back after I got flustered by simple algebraic concepts like square roots or I may have been at risk of scoring into their elementary school program. I suspected that Westview Academy’s academic standards were a lot higher than those of a public school.


* * *


Day 1 of my 14-day sentence as an adolescent schoolgirl officially began at 5:30 AM on a Monday. To say that I was apprehensive about what I was about to do would be an understatement. My stomach was twisted into knots. Why had I let my husband talk me into this?


I was able to fool him and the principal with my game of make-believe, but they were both adults. My juvenile classmates, on the other hand, would be able to recognize the subtle ways in which I was different from them. I would be under intense scrutiny and they wouldn’t be polite about it. Moreover, I had to interact with those little monsters. Girls of that age can be so cruel. I should know, I was popular back in the day and made all those beneath me fully aware of their shortcomings. My flat chest, goofy glasses and braces would all be prime targets for ridicule. On the bright side, at least I didn’t have to ride the bus.


I almost wished my breasts were smaller so the chest binder hidden under my blouse wouldn’t have to be as tight. That damnable thing had been a terrible idea and now I was stuck with it. If I stopped wearing it and my bra inexplicably increased several cup sizes, that was a surefire method of getting unmasked as a woman in her twenties. Going from straight A’s to double D’s overnight would be cause for concern for any parent and a compulsory physical examination by a doctor would soon follow.


I only had a few bites of cereal before we left. I wasn’t that hungry on account of my nerves. Lucas drove me to school as per our arrangement, not that he was cognizant that I was adhering to his stipulation. He was going to hate himself for not realizing that the uniformed girl in the passenger seat was his wife. His dream of sending me back to school had come true. My would-be dad had to settle for a wave goodbye when he dropped me off as I was way too old to be escorted to class.


Heart pounding, I imagined that my anxiety attack wasn’t that far off from what Casey would be feeling. This was her very first day at a brand new school. Making things even harder for her was the fact that the school year had already started. She was going into an environment where everyone was familiar with one another. The knowledge that she would be uneasy helped me to relax.


Finding my homeroom was exhausting. I got lost in the labyrinthine halls and had to ask someone for directions. It was so weird being in an all-girls school. I kept looking around for boys and there were none. Entering the classroom, the question of where I should sit tormented me. I slipped into an empty desk that was the furthest from the front and prayed for the best.


“Hey! You’re in my spot.”


I grabbed my backpack and hastily removed myself from this girl’s seat. Her makeup was immaculate, which shouldn’t have surprised me. I practiced incessantly when I was her age and would have loved learning from the countless video tutorials that were available on the internet. I only had a minimal amount of makeup on, partially to contrast with what Lucas normally saw and because I forgot how fast girls matured.


Standing face to face, it was made abundantly clear to me that I was not the tallest girl in the class. Far from it. My husband mercilessly referred to me as “fun sized” on account of my youthful appearance. Try as I might to deny it, I fit right in. This was why he was borderline obsessed with sticking me in a class full of girls half my age. The thrill of watching a young woman regress back into a schoolgirl as if her grown-up life had merely been a fantasy, the daydream of an aspiring adolescent that dozed off in class.


“Sorry,” I mumbled, moving elsewhere.


She didn’t seem to pay me any mind, though others took notice that I was the new girl. Any introductions would have to wait as the teacher abruptly arrived and silenced the class.


“Quiet down everybody, I have an important announcement to make. We have a new student joining our school today and I want you all to make her feel welcome. Casey, would you please come up to the front and tell us about yourself.”


Mouth agape, my body unconsciously rose out of its chair and moved forward. While I anticipated a fair amount of public speaking, what I couldn’t have foreseen was that my homeroom teacher would be Becky with the bad grades. This woman, Ms. Rebecca Marigold, was undeniably the same girl I picked on in middle school. The speech I had prepared floated away as I lost my voice. They were all staring at me, each and every one of them. My airway constricted as I panicked. I was taking in lungfuls of air but couldn’t breathe.


“I said, you may return to your seat now,” Ms. Marigold repeated.


“Huh?”


The passage of time had eluded me as I snapped back into the present. There was a round of giggling and some conspiratorial whispering from the peanut gallery at my mental hiccup. My walk of shame felt like an eternity.


“Bethany, since you have taken such a keen interest in our newest pupil, I am volunteering you to show her around this week.”


The subject in question audibly groaned as Ms. Marigold proceeded to take attendance. I was mesmerized by her as she did so. Becky with the bad grades had become a teacher. Reality was sometimes stranger than fiction. The more things changed, the more they stayed the same. She was as dowdy as I remembered, virtually unchanged from her past self.


Judging by her decade-long lack of fashion sense, it was entirely possible that she had never been on a date her whole life. That was about to change. She wouldn’t end up as some crazy cat lady, who swore off all men when her biological clock stopped ticking. I was going to get her laid and it would be amazing.


I fell head over heels in love with the thought of her as my choice for who my husband would sleep with. To see him be intimate with the girl I used to bully would be wonderfully humiliating. I squirmed in my seat at the uncomfortable pleasure of forcing him to break our sacred vows and make love to a woman who was not his wife.


Homeroom was dismissed when the school bell lightly chimed through the intercom. My new friend for the week caught up with me as I was leaving. I was convinced that she would either conveniently forget her assignment or ditch me at the earliest opportunity so I hadn’t bothered to stick around. Bethany actually went above and beyond what was expected of her. She made sure I got to my next class even though doing so caused her to be late for her own. She then handed me off like a baton to a girl she was acquainted with and instructed her to do the same to get me through my day.


Chapter 3


Upon learning who my homeroom teacher was, the rational course of action would have been to discreetly withdraw from Westview Academy. Despite the inherent danger, this was a unique opportunity I could not pass up as it gave Ms. Marigold and my husband a common interest and an excuse to get together. Arranging for the two of them to meet cute would be significantly easier as a student rather than a wife.


Navigating middle school was enough of a challenge without the distraction of being an imposter. On paper, I was smarter than my classmates by virtue of the high school diploma I possessed. In practice, I had been on what amounted to an extended Summer vacation with a distinct lack of intellectual stimulation. I was diving head first into a curriculum I was ill-prepared for. Spanish was brand new to me, biology was long forgotten, math was frustrating and Bible was otherworldly.


The food that was served in the cafeteria was the typical fare. I sat with a group but ate alone. Most of what was on my tray ended up in the garbage as I didn’t feel like eating. I almost lost my lunch from the fear of changing for gym class. While my therapist gave me permission to enroll, that wouldn’t excuse me from going into the locker room. Luckily, I was able to undress in private as everyone else was already suited up by the time the instructor gave me a pair of shorts and a t-shirt that was separate from everything I bought earlier.


Coach had us stretch then go jogging. For all the recent effort I put on the treadmill in order to slim down, I struggled to keep pace. The shapewear and chest binder squeezing my curves into submission made it hard to breathe and move around quickly. Although they were an integral part of my disguise, they were not conducive to any sort of physical activity. Maintaining a low profile was a priority and getting singled out at the back of the pack was unacceptable.


During the timed run, my gait was awkward and my shortness of breath suggested I had plenty of room for improvement. I did not finish last, however, and I called that a win. Class was dismissed before the bell rang so we could change back into our uniforms and my stomach immediately began to churn again. If news of my re-education ever got out, I did not want it known that I purposefully put myself in the same room as a bunch of half-naked schoolgirls. The fallout from that was a bigger concern than letting them see the unusual undergarments I was wearing beneath my PE clothes.


I delayed my return trip to the locker room by taking a roundabout detour to the water fountain. I was dying of thirst after sweating profusely while wearing my unathletic attire. As the weak stream poured past my lips in long, slow gulps, I spotted my salvation—the boys’ locker room. Nobody would be using the male facilities in a school without any! I sent a silent thank you to God as I approached and pulled on the handle. The sound of a deadbolt rattling against the doorframe echoed down the hall. The door was locked. I shook it some more in disbelief as my avenue of escape was abruptly closed to me.


“How are you not dressed yet?” an impatient voice inquired from seemingly out of nowhere.


With my hand still firmly on the handle, I turned to see the chaperone who was to escort me to my next class staring at me in bewilderment.


“Have you seriously been trying to get into the boys’ locker room this whole time?”


I was so stupid for even thinking it was an option. Assuming I got in, then what? None of my stuff was in there. Unblinking, I stood motionless like a deer caught in the headlights, unsure of what to say.


“Ugh! You’re going to make me late for class. Our locker room is this way.” She grabbed my wrist and started pulling me down the hallway with her. Rounding a corner, she pushed the door to the locker room open with her free hand and shoved me in. “I’ll be waiting right outside so hurry up and get changed.”


The muggy atmosphere hit me as I stumbled in. It was the unmistakable humidity of a hot shower in a confined space. The sense of dread paralyzing me was worse than any stage fright. Standing perfectly still, my heart was beating faster than when I was running laps. Every instinct I had told me to flee, except there was no way out. My presence was checked for in each class I went to and any discrepancies in my attendance would be relayed to the office.


The inability to come and go as I pleased reinforced the notion that I wasn’t Miranda when I was inside this building. She was free to leave the campus, whereas if I were to disappear, the school would go into lockdown as they tried to locate me. They might notify the police and getting the authorities involved defeated the primary purpose of me avoiding the locker room.


“Mrgrgr!” I exclaimed through gritted teeth in sheer exasperation of my husband’s youthful fantasy. What was the point of all this if he wasn’t here to bear witness to any of my trials and tribulations? I would have to endure over seven hours of this juvenile detention every weekday that he would have no knowledge of. My inner turmoil, shame and the loss of autonomy all resided exclusively within my domain. His wish to send me to school for real simply didn’t make any sense, not when pretending I was in the 7th grade would have been sufficient.


My breathing became more regular when my train of thought switched from terror to anger. I had stopped hyperventilating and could see that I had no choice but to move forward. I could do this! Head held down, I kept my eyes glued to the floor as I wandered over to where I left my bag. Unlike the acting I did in drama school, there was no pretense in my unscripted performance. I wasn’t merely breathing life into the character I was inhabiting, I had to be Casey if I was to survive.


I caught a few glimpses of legs and shoes as I gave everyone the cold shoulder on my way in. It was hard to say exactly how many stragglers there were remaining with my downward focus. Nevertheless, the crowd had thinned out considerably judging by the number of students that were in the class. The layout of the interior was different from what I remembered, although I hadn’t been admiring the floor tile during my first visit.


My poor posture and the sweat trickling down my brow proved to be a recipe for disaster as my glasses slipped right off, striking the floor and bouncing out of sight. My vision rapidly descended into a blur of shapes without my prescription eyewear. I dropped to my knees and frantically moved my hands around in a search pattern.


“Here you go,” a girl said, presumably offering my lost glasses with her outstretched arm.


From my vantage point, all I saw was what appeared to be her bare feet. In my mind, she was stepping out of the shower and was scantily clad in a towel. I attempted to keep her modesty intact by blindly reaching for where I thought her hand would be and instead got a fistful of thin air in return. With one eye partially open, I chanced a sideways glance and she stuck my glasses in my hand during the second go-around.


“You’re that homeschooled girl, right?”


“Yeah,” I said meekly, putting my glasses back on and orienting myself. My backpack should be over there, I thought.


“You look nice without them.”


I walked over to the locker with my uniform and contemplated how best to proceed. My shirt was soaking wet, but taking it off was a risk even with my back turned. It was better to be safe than sorry, I decided, putting my blouse on over the top I wore for gym. I would have to make do until I got home. The girl from before interrupted me as I was stepping into my skirt.


“Hey!” she whispered to get my attention. ”You can change in the stall if you want some privacy.”


Memories from middle school flooded back to me as I took her advice. Dressing in the bathroom stall was something I teased insecure girls about. I felt like such a nerd for hiding. My thick frames, braces and apparent lack of development weren’t helping in that regard. I didn’t want to think about what would happen if I fell behind in my studies. No, I wasn’t going to turn into Becky with the bad grades. Good grief, why was I worrying about getting picked on by kids in junior high? I could handle whatever they dished out and besides, I would only be here for two weeks.


“I don’t care if you’re ready or not, Casey, we’re leaving.”


There was some shouting directed at me as I was buttoning my blouse. It was my chaperone who barged in after I forgot all about her during my incessant inner monologue. I hastily stuffed my shirt and shorts into my bag and zipped it shut. What’s her name fixed her gaze on me as I exited the stall then seized me by the hand like an overprotective mother with an unruly child. She held on with a death grip as we went out of the locker room, into the hall then up a flight of stairs.


My face flushed bright red as I was lead around by the nose. We were in between periods now and everyone was gawking at the spectacle she was making by holding my hand. Grade schoolers got treated with more respect than she was showing me. This was meant to be humiliating, my penance for having wasted her valuable time. I kept my mouth shut and tagged along, not daring to do anything to upset her lest she make an even bigger scene.


The friend of a friend of Bethany from my homeroom finished her given task when we arrived at my history class whereupon she assigned me to somebody else. I chose a desk at random and the bell chimed about a minute after she split, which probably wasn’t long enough for her to get where she was going. She wouldn’t be happy about that. I settled in, hoping I could go without the pleasantries of yet another introduction as most had to know about the new girl by now.


There was an introduction, however, it was done by the substitute teacher who was obviously unaware that I was a new addition. Without a lecture prepared by the other teacher in advance to give, she had us work quietly in an impromptu study hall. I had a stack of lessons from math to complete and reluctantly began working on those as doing any homework was part of the deal I had with my husband.


About halfway through the class, it occurred to me that I had neglected to use the bathroom after gym and the pressure of all that water I drank was building. Normally, I wouldn’t have any trouble holding it, but my anxiety made me want to go often. Wiggling around, I looked at the clock to check how long I would have to withstand the discomfort. Ten minutes prior to the class ending, my dam was about to burst from rising flood waters so I caved and raised my hand to ask the substitute if I could leave. I called for her when I realized she was fiddling with her phone.


“Mrs. Carpenter.”


“Mrs. Carpenter!” I repeated, speaking louder and waving my arm around.


“Yes, yes. What is it?” she answered, setting her device down.


“May I use the restroom?”


“Can’t it wait?”


“... not really.”


“Hmm, well, you should have done your business during your break. I don’t have any hall passes to give out anyway.”


I lowered my arm in exasperation. She was one of those teachers, people who went on a power trip when presented with an ounce of authority. I imagined that this was why she didn’t have a permanent teaching gig. Straining not to lose control in the classroom, I recalled how I specifically said to Lucas that there wouldn’t be any accidents at school. I was not in one of his stories and about to depart on a one-way ticket to diapertown.


Unable to sit still, I heard some snickering from girls with nothing better to do and that settled it for me. I was an adult and didn’t need anyone’s permission to use the bathroom. I got up and strolled confidently toward the door. Nobody was going to dictate when I could or could not leave.


“Young lady, walk through that door and I’ll be phoning the school office that they should be expecting you.”


I froze at the sound of her threat, haunted by the repercussions of what I had almost convinced myself to do. While she wasn’t the type to write a hall pass, she would most assuredly write me up for insubordination. I got back in my seat like a good little girl.


Rocking back and forth in tune with the second hand of the clock, I had everything packed up and ready to roll on a moment’s notice. I mouthed a countdown from ten and stood up at zero in anticipation of being the first out the door, only the intercom didn’t make so much as a peep. The clock on the wall was running fast and I belatedly sat down again to the amusement of those around me. No sooner had I done so than the class was officially dismissed.


My overstuffed backpack shuffled wildly as I raced out to relieve myself. I had come this close to being a certifiable loser. I knew that I shouldn’t care what they thought of me, but I don’t think I could have faced them again if I had wet myself. I found my final two classes on my own, avoiding whomever it was that had been ordered to take me to them. I had had enough excitement for today. Lucas rearranged his work schedule so he could be there to pick me up.


“So, how was your day?” he asked as I got in.


How was my day?!


I was seething at the innocuous question. Attending middle school at 24 was by far the most demeaning experience in my entire adult life. I hated it. Having said that, he would absolutely love it if his wife were to throw a temper tantrum while dressed as a schoolgirl. No, I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of acting like a petulant child after a single day in the 7th grade. He would be getting exactly what he wanted if I fell into the trap of breaking character to complain about how awful it was.


“It went well,” I said, keeping my emotions in check to enact the initial phase of my plan to pair him up with Ms. Marigold. “Since I missed orientation, my homeroom teacher wants to meet you for coffee after school tomorrow...”


Chapter 4


“My dad wants to meet you for coffee after school today,” I said to Ms. Marigold early the next morning with a sly smile, “since he missed orientation...”


With the jaw-dropping amount the school charged in tuition, it wouldn’t be a surprise that some parents would be aggressive in demanding special treatment. While she was being led to believe that Lucas was just such a person, he was of the impression that she was the one with an excessive interest in my education. Neither party had any reason to suspect that they had been set up on a date by a mischievous matchmaker. Their combined ignorance was essential as my man would otherwise object to going out with Ms. Never Been Kissed, who was liable to ruin any romantic encounter with her inexperience. My lie would help to relieve her of that tension as this was nothing more than a friendly get together between two people who cared about me.


An impulse of electricity surged through my synapses when she agreed as to the where and when. I was literally hardwired to be receptive to getting another woman in bed with my husband and the sensation this unnatural arrangement elicited was intoxicating. A one-night stand with an escort wouldn’t do, not when I could prolong the high of arousal through weeks of anticipation. Gently easing him into a relationship was the right call.


Floating on cloud nine, I was brought back down to Earth when a voice from on high, the intercom, requested that Ms. Marigold send me to the school office. My body went through the motions as a million scenarios ran through my head as to the purpose. Stay calm, I told myself. Panicking will only make you look guilty. This might be as benign as setting up an account for lunch.


Bethany led the way as I was still on the buddy system. She jokingly asked if I needed to stop and use the restroom first. I wasn’t laughing. The woman at the front desk greeted us warmly when we entered.


“You must be Casey. The principal will be right with you.”


The principal? I broke out in a cold sweat as my fight or flight response kicked into high gear, urging me to escape. Running would mean this had all been for nothing. I couldn’t give up that easily. How bad could a chat with Principal Kathleen Collins be?


I couldn’t tell what I was in store for with the poker face she was sporting. She had me follow her into her personal office where the door was shut behind me. I sat in the same chair I was in the week prior. It was positioned in front of her desk where she could best grill students. The atmosphere was different from before as she remained silent, waiting to see if I would crack under the pressure.


“Is there anything you would like to come clean about before we begin, Casey?”


The way she emphasized my fake name indicated to me that she knew I was a grown woman impersonating a minor. Suddenly, that verbal permission slip my therapist mentioned was as worthless as the paper it wasn’t written on. A confession and a plea for mercy was the best hope I had to shift the blame onto my husband. Tongue-tied, my mouth couldn’t find the words to adequately express how sorry I was.


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