Chapter 6

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The next morning, Vain came to pick me up for school.

And this time, I was ready for him.

"I demand a rematch!" I said, triumphantly brandishing my new found weapon.

Vain looked lazily up from the book he held in one hand, studying me critically where I stood on the kitchen counter.

If it were anyone but Vain, I'd call the long silence that followed a double take.

Not that there was any reason for him to be shocked at my appearance.

Besides being on a smaller scale, I was dressed in the usual monochromatic uniform, same as any other school day.

Sure it was dishevelled, wrinkled, with buttons undone and the black tie  pulled over my head in it's eternal state of half-assed, since I hadn't undone it since Vain himself had tied it for me on the first day of school.

But at least my shoe laces were tied....into knots, but still.

"Maddison." Vain spoke carefully, as if unsure of my sanity at this point. "For the last time, there is no realistic way for you to go to school by yourself. So please put the tooth pick away and allow me to accompany you."

Snapping the book closed, he reached a hand out towards me, holding it flat so that I could climb on. "Without complaining."

I tsked dismissively.

He should know better than to ask for cake and try to eat it too.

"Too scared to face me now that I have a weapon huh?" I swung the tooth-pick at him, a devilish smile on my lips. "It might not look like much, but this splinter of death will still draw blood..."

Without a word, Vain turned to pick something up from the kitchen table, where my siblings currently sat eating a healthy breakfast.

My breakfast had consisted of a miniature muesli bar, which had tasted like sawdust by the way, courtesy of the Shrink Program.

Further evidence that I was probably going to have a horrible day.

With a bored expression, Vain brought his hand forward, revealing one of the empty glasses set up at the table for when my parents finally decided to venture from their cave.

"Don't you dare...!" I had time to say before he placed the glass over me with a loud thunk.

Sharp and loyal as it may be, my toothpick was powerless against Vain's glass dome of condescension.

Instant K.O.

My arms fell limp at my side with disappointment as I glared through the glass at the muffled outside world.

Vain leant forward, his polite expression distorted in way that it almost seemed amused at my suffering. "I win the rematch. Can we go now?"

Jerk.

"Devin... !" I tried to summon my evil familiar.

"No."

He didn't even look away from his fluffy scrambled eggs. Little traitor.

"This is cheating!" I finally shouted, pointing my tooth-pick angrily at the glass. "Pull out your tooth-pick and fight me like a real man!"

Vain's red eyes studied me seriously, only inches away from the glass. Suddenly noticing the proximity, my tooth-pick slightly wavered in the air.

"Maddison, a real man wouldn't hide in their kitchen playing with tooth-picks when they have a challenge to overcome. Stalling for time because you're scared isn't... manly."

He winced slightly, almost like the words hurt.

I stared at him, speechless. How dare he fight me with my own stupid logic!

Gritting my teeth, I reluctantly hooked my tooth pick back into my belted skirt.

For later.

"Fine." I snapped, crossing my arms.
I could admit defeat, take one on the chin, if only for the sake of winning the in the end.

At some point, in the very distant future.

"But I have a few conditions."

"Of course you do." Vain sighed, straightening and running a hand tiredly through his hair.

I held firm, even as he stared down at me with that calm, yet completely exasperated look of his.

"Can you at least make it quick?" He asked as he lifted the glass off of me "We're late enough as it is."

And by late, he means not half an hour early...

I nodded briskly, swallowing the urge to argue.

"First of all, I don't do pockets." The words came out stiff, matching the tension in my shoulders. "I either stand on your shoulder or walk on the floor."

After a brief moment Vain nodded, silently excepting my request.

He knew the real reason why I didn't want to go in his pocket, but didn't speak as I continued my list of demands.

"Just in case you don't know this already, You are not my mother." My gaze narrowed threateningly. "Don't try to tell me what I can and can't do. Just because I'm small now doesn't give you the right to control me."

He rolled his eyes skyward, as if asking the heavens, Why me?

Again, he gave me a nod of acknowledgement.

"Last of all, let's make one thing perfectly clear. You are not my protector.  Nor my supervisor.  Not even my friend, guardian or neighbour." I pointed a finger up at him, leaving no room for argument.

"You are my Slave."

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