Mary Christmas 2: Christmas in July – Chapter 17 – by lostandwhatever
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Continued from Chapter 16.
Later that night, the group from Department 8 had convened for Alice’s birthday party at a local chain restaurant. It was one of those places named after a day of the week that served an “endless” plate of some kind of appetizer. Around the same time that their drinks had arrived, they were already requesting a second plate.
“I am starving,” Alice declared and wiped her lips on a napkin. “A few magical transformations can really make a person hungry, it seems.”
“Agreed,” Ken mumbled, stuffing his face with something deep-fried.
“Well,” Justin said. “I believe a toast is in order now that we have our drinks.” He raised his glass of beer. The rest of the guys and Carol raised their beers as well, while the other ladies raised their mixed drinks. Candice raised her glass of plain cola. Justin said, “Alice, we wish you a happy birthday, and we wish you many more happy years at the size you are right now.”
“Cheers!” Bill said, and they all clinked glasses and took a drink.
“Thank you,” Alice said. “And, thanks again to everyone for coming out.”
“I’d never pass up a free meal,” Ken said.
Bill gave him a look.
Ken added, “And, of course, we have to show Alice the appreciation she deserves.”
“Thanks, Ken,” Alice said. “That almost sounded sincere.”
Candice took another sip from her straw, and Alice noticed the elf girl looked a bit down.
“Something bothering you, Candice?”
“Oh,” Candice said. “It’s nothing.” She set her drink down.
Alice looked at Candice’s drink and back at her own. “Did you want to get something to drink with alcohol in it?” Alice asked.
“Um,” Candice said. “I guess not. I mean, it would be hard to explain why they should be serving alcohol to someone who looks like me.”
“But, you are an adult,” Alice said. “You said you were 25 before.”
“Yeah,” Candice replied. “It’s not a big deal.”
“Hmm,” Alice mused. Their waiter was walking by, and Alice called out to him, “Excuse me! Can you please get me a shot of rum?”
“Sure,” he said. “Captain Sparrow’s?”
“Sounds great,” she said.
Seeing what Alice was up to, Angela asked, “What are you doing?”
“I felt like having a shot,” Alice said, innocently.
The waiter returned a minute later with a shot glass. Alice took it and said, “Thanks! I’m going to save this for a special moment.” The waiter nodded and left. Alice looked around to see if the coast was clear and then dumped the shot into Candice’s cola.
“What are you…?” Candice exclaimed.
“I was just having a shot for my birthday,” Alice said. “Nothing wrong with that.”
“Alice,” Angela said, disapprovingly.
“What?” Alice replied. “There’s no harm in it. She’s an adult.” She turned to Candice. “Drink up, honey. You’ve earned it.”
Candice gave Alice a grateful smile and said, “Thank you.” She stirred her rum and cola and took a sip. “Wow, that’s a bit strong.”
“Just take it slow then,” Alice said. “Enjoy.”
Everyone was getting a bit tipsy by the time the food arrived. Then, they all hungrily dug into their meals. There were no complaints about the food except for Bill who was avoiding eating his hamburger.
“I shouldn’t have ordered this,” Bill said, staring at his plate.
“Are you going to eat that?” Ken asked.
“No,” Bill said, pushing his plate away.
Ken happily grabbed the burger and transferred it to his own plate. “Thank you!” he said.
“Why not?” Justin asked. “You used to love hamburgers.”
“Yeah,” Bill said. “That was before I spent a day as one of them.”
“I don’t see what the big deal is,” Justin said and took a bite from a fried chicken leg.
“How can you eat that?” Bill asked in outrage. “I mean, that was your leg… today, this morning.”
Justin chewed and said, “And, I’m sure I would have been delicious, too.”
Bill turned away in disgust. “That’s it,” he declared. “I am officially a vegetarian now. No, I’m going vegan. Does anyone have any salad left?”
Alice chuckled and said, “Lighten up, Bill. You’ll only be a vegan until the next time you smell bacon.” She turned to Candice and asked, “How are you liking your pasta?”
Candice swallowed and replied, “It’s delicious. I’m loving this food.”
“Do you get meals like this up in the North Pole?” Justin asked.
“Sometimes,” Candice said and took a sip from her second secret rum and cola. She swayed a bit now that the rum had gone to her head. “Mostly we just eat a lot of meat. I guess it’s good for the arctic climate.” Then, she added, “Sorry, Bill.”
“It’s okay,” Bill said as he munched on someone’s salad.
“I suppose most things about living up there are the same… only a bit colder.”
“What’s Santa like?” Ken asked.
Candice tried to think of a good answer. “I don’t really know. I think I’ve actually met him once. It would be like me asking you what your mayor was like. I’ve just seen him give speeches and walk through buildings once in a while. It is true that he has a great laugh. I’ve heard that.”
“That’s fun,” Carol said. “How about your home? Do you live alone?”
“Yeah,” Candice said. For once, she was enjoying being an outsider. She felt special. “I have my own apartment. I like it better there than here. Everything is the right size for me.”
“Little furniture?” Alice asked.
“…and little rooms,” Candice said. “Little counters, little sinks, little doors, all my size.” She took a sip of her rum and cola. “I miss things being my size. I did like the big tub in my hotel room, though. That’s nice.”
“Is it question time now?” Bill asked. “Okay. Why do you live at the North Pole? I mean, all of you. Also, why doesn’t your city appear on satellite maps.”
“We live at the North Pole because of the strong flow of magic there. The magnetic poles work as a conduit of magic energy through the planet. We collect the magic there to use on Christmas Eve. It takes a whole year to store up enough magic for that one trip.”
“That’s fascinating,” Dr. Schultz said, breaking his silence for the first time in a while. “You store the magic, like in a magical reservoir or something like that?”
“Sort of,” Candice said. “I think there’s some sort of crystalline batteries they use.”
“Fascinating,” the doctor said. “I wonder…”
“Anything else?” Candice asked. She was enjoying having something interesting to share with the group. It made her feel very warm and welcome.
“How is the city invisible?” Bill asked.
“It’s a sort of glamor on the whole city,” she explained. “Unless you’re standing in it, you won’t see the city. Also, we play with the magnetic fields to divert travelers away from the city if they get too close.”
“May I ask you another question, Candice?” Dr. Schultz said. “About magic?”
“Sure,” Candice said. “I can’t guarantee I can answer. There’s all kinds of rules and stuff about what we can share, but I’ll tell you what I can.”
“I’m curious about how your glamor works,” he said. “Can you explain it?”
“Oh,” Candice said. “You mean the one that makes us kids?”
“Well,” Candice said. “I don’t know everything about it, and I can’t teach it to you or anything.”
“I understand,” the doctor said.
“It’s really a complex spell, though.” Candice looked around and realized that everyone was listening with rapt attention. “What do you want to know about it?”
Bill asked, “When do they cast it on you? How old are you?”
“That’s actually an interesting thing about the spell,” Candice said. “No one casts it exactly. Once you have the spell on you, you automatically transfer a copy of it to any kids you give birth to. It’s on us from the moment we’re born. Very simple, really.” She took a sip of her drink again and felt a momentary bit of sadness. “No way to escape it.”
Justin asked, “Do you ever get to take the glamor off?”
“No,” Candice said. “Never. I don’t really even know how you would do it. It’s not like with the milk. It’s bonded to your lifeforce.”
Carol asked, “Didn’t Mary remove her glamor?”
“Yeah,” Candice said. “Not really sure how she did it. I know she transferred it to a human somehow. I guess there is a way. We’re not allowed to do it.” She took another sip. “No matter how much we might want to do it.”
“Wait,” Ken said. “If the glamor turns you into kids permanently and you’re not allowed to take it off, then how do you guys… you know, um… do it?”
“What?” Candice asked. She was feeling a bit confused and drowsy now.
“Ken,” Angela said in a scolding tone. “That’s getting a bit personal now, isn’t it?”
“Huh?” Candice asked. “What’s he saying? What’s ‘personal’ about it?”
Alice sighed and explained, “Ken is asking about elf sex. Don’t feel like you need to answer.”
“It’s a legitimate question,” Ken retorted. “How do elves have kids if they’re kids?”
“I can answer that,” Candice said, happy to explain a complex bit of magic. It was her passion, after all. “It’s actually kind of interesting. You see, the North Pole has limited resources. We have to worry about population control. Elves live a long while, so we have to limit how many children we have. The glamor helps with that. You see, I can’t have kids the way I am right now.”
Everyone listened quietly.
“What happens is there’s a sort of lottery. Once a boy elf and a girl elf become a couple and get married, they can apply to have a child and enter their names into the lottery.”
“Wait,” Justin said. “You mean you date as kids? What’s that like?”
“I don’t know,” Candice said. “I’ve never been on a date.” She ignored the sadness of her own admission and continued on. “I guess it’s pretty innocent stuff compared to human dating. More like childhood friends than romantic partners, I suppose. I don’t feel, um… erotic urges, I suppose is one way to put it.”
There was silence from the group. The humans exchanged a few concerned looks between themselves.
“Anyway,” Candice continued as she blushed. “Once they’re a married couple, they can apply to have kids. If they win the lottery, then they get to have a new glamor applied over our normal glamor for about a year.”
Alice asked, “Then, they get to be adults for a year?”
“Not entirely,” Candice said. “Like I said, everything is built smaller up there to fit our smaller bodies. If they became adults all of the sudden, then they’d be uncomfortably big for everything around them. The girls do mature a bit, but only in the places they need to in order to have a baby. They don’t grow any taller. They just get… wider, I guess. Curvier. They need to buy a whole new wardrobe for a while.”
“And the guys?” Ken asked.
“Yeah,” Candice confirmed. “That part gets bigger too. That’s the only part of them that grows, though. They do get a bit more confident and self-important all of a sudden as well. Potential fathers can be a bit of a pain to be around, let me tell you.”
“So,” Alice said. “Then, they’re still basically the size of kids when they… make a baby?”
“That’s right,” Candice said. “It’s pretty hard on the mothers, to be honest. Most of them are on bed rest for the last month or two while they’re pregnant. All of that weight is a bit too much for them to carry around after a while.”
“Wow,” Alice said. Everyone else was speechless.
“Then, the baby is born,” Candice said. “The mother gets to nurse the baby, since she has… mammaries for doing that. Eventually, once the kid is old enough for solid food, the new glamor wears off, and they both go back to looking like normal elves again.”
The doctor said, “How… utterly unique that is. Really, fascinating.”
Carol asked Candice, “Are you planning on having any kids?”
Candice looked down at her half-empty glass of rum and cola. “I don’t know if I want to be a mother. I might like to feel that glamor once, though.” She took another big sip from her straw. “To feel that way for even a little while would be…” she let her voice trail off. She felt very tired now.
Bill said, “But, why?”
Candice blinked. She was struggling to keep her eyes open now. “Why what?”
“Why do you have the glamor at all?”
Candice recited, “We look like children so that we might serve children best.”
“What does that mean?” Alice asked.
Candice sighed. “I dunno,” she said. “That’s just what we say, I guess.” She gave in and let her eyes droop shut.
Seeing the conversation was coming to an end, Angela spoke up to change the subject, “Should we order desert?”
“No way,” Bill said. “Not after what happened yesterday.”
“Yeah,” Alice said. “I’d rather avoid pastries for a little while.”
Angela said, “I’ll call for the check, then.”
Candice crossed her arms on the table in front of her, yawned, and lay her head down. She was nearly asleep, when Carol nudged her to get up so that they could go back to Candice’s hotel.
Candice woke up fully when she realized Carol was carrying her. She moaned slightly. “Where’m I?” she slurred.
“Your hotel room,” Carol said as she grunted and laid Candice down on the bed. “I hope you don’t mind me carrying you.”
“But, I’m so heavy,” Candice said. “Sorry.”
Carol said, “It’s okay. I’m stronger than I look.” She slipped off Candice’s shoes and adjusted the comforter and sheets.
Candice realized that something felt off. “Is the bed spinning?” she asked.
Candice considered the situation and came to a conclusion, “I’m drunk.”
“Yes, you are.”
“You don’t need to apologize. You weren’t planning on driving or anything.”
“I can drive,” Candice said. “I can drive cars for elves.”
“You don’t need to drive now.”
“Okay,” she said. “Probably safer not to.”
Carol opened the mini fridge, took a bottle out, and set it down on the nightstand. “Here’s some water for you. Try to drink some before you go to sleep. I’ll be by pick you up in the morning. We have that culinary academy to investigate.”
“Are you feeling sick?”
“I don’t think so.”
“You might want to take off your glasses.”
“Right,” Candice said. She took them off, set them on the nightstand, and felt her ears stretch out to their normal length again. That felt good.
“Do you need anything else?”
Candice thought a moment. She wanted a hug for some reason but decided it was best not to admit that. “I’m a little girl,” she said, the words welling up from somewhere deep inside. “I wanted to be grown up, but I’m a little girl.”
“You don’t,” Candice said. “You mean you’re sorry, but you don’t understand. Thank you, though.” She closed her eyes. The room seemed to spin a bit less.
“Do you want me to hang around for a bit?”
“Yeah,” Candice said, opening her eyes a little. “But, you should go home to your family. I’ll be fine.”
“‘Night,” Candice replied with her eyes closed. Then, she muttered, “We look like children so that we might serve children best.”
“What did you say?” Carol asked.
“Nuthin,’” Candice said. “See you in the morning.”
“Drink some water,” Carol said. “See you tomorrow.” Candice heard the door open and close, and then she was alone in the room.
Candice thought about Mary again, and for some reason she worried about falling asleep. Then, she thought about the mini fridge and what was in it.
Candice got out of bed and immediately fell on the floor, having misjudged the height of the bed. She moaned and rolled over and pulled open the fridge. She grabbed some candy bars and eyed the beer, curiously. She could take one, she decided. No one could stop her. Instead, she just shut the fridge and lay on the floor, eating candy until she was very thirsty. Then, she climbed onto the bed and chugged half of the bottle of water, and fell asleep.
Thankfully, she did not dream.
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Will Candice wet the bed? Reply below and maybe I’ll follow your suggestion.
Well, you kinda have to make her do that now! ?
hmm interesting twist, I was hoping to see Candice grow up from a child. To have her wet the bed though and have her build a relationship with Carol as a domineering figure could be fun. I could see Mary putting a spell here that makes Carol want to mother Candice or something.
What ever you do I am looking forward to it.