The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game
By Vilastis

“STOP IT!” Cassie yelled at her infuriating younger brother Caleb.

“STOP IT!” he yelled back.

She really hated when he did this kind of thing. And her parents didn’t fucking care. Even though he was fourteen now they still saw him as a cute little kid.

“Seriously, stop it!” She clenched her fist.

“Seriously, stop it!” He clenched his fist.

A grin spread across Cassie’s face as a new strategy occurred to her.

“I’m a girly girl!”

Caleb swallowed nervously before repeating, “I’m a girly girl!”

“Oh, you are, huh?”

“Oh, you are, huh?”

Cassie walked upstairs to her room, Caleb following at a short delay. She sat down at her vanity and pulled out a tube of lipstick. Caleb paused for a moment before he reached out and grabbed a similar color.

“Time to get pretty!”

“Time to get pretty.”

A few minutes later both siblings had fully made-up faces. Next Cassie grabbed her purse and headed for the front door.

“Hey, Mom, we’re heading to the mall!”

“Hey, Mom, we’re heading to the mall!”

“Yes, I know, your sister just told me,” their mom shouted back, annoyed. “Be back by three, Caleb, you have basketball practice. Cassie, make sure your brother doesn’t get into any trouble.”

“Yes, Mom!” Cassie silently rolled her eyes.

“Yes, Mom!” Caleb rolled his.

At the mall Cassie walked into Claire’s. “Hi, I’d like to get my ears pierced,” she said to an expectant employee with a nametag reading “Denise”.

Denise was squinting at Cassie’s earrings, confused, when Caleb parroted, “Hi, I’d like to get my ears pierced.”

“Oh, okay, sure, honey! Which earrings do you want?” Cassie pointed to an especially girly pair of glitter hearts, and Caleb followed. “Great choice!”

“We get more and more boys in here,” she confided to Cassie as she led Caleb to a chair. She swabbed a solution onto his ear.

“What school do you go to?” Denise asked Caleb. “Sou—” he started to reply but then suddenly yelped. “Hey, I wasn’t ready!”

“I find it’s best to just go ahead quickly. Like pulling off a bandage!” Denise said, pulling the piercing gun away from Caleb’s ear.

Caleb sulked as Cassie paid for the earrings and a cleaning kit.

Next the two headed to Forever 21. Cassie picked out a short, floral-pattern dress—after making sure it was available in both her and Caleb’s size. Caleb groaned as he grabbed one off the rack and headed into the women’s changing room after her. A store employee looked at him slightly strangely as he passed but didn’t stop him.

He started to head into the same stall as Cassie before a store employee stopped him. “Miss, we have a strict one person per stall policy.” He groaned in annoyance and entered the adjacent stall.

Cassie finished changing into the dress and examined herself in the mirror. Meanwhile, Caleb was having trouble figuring out how to put his dress on. Did you pull it over your head or put your feet into it? After several aborted attempts he figured out that his legs wouldn’t fit through the neck hole.

Cassie, satisfied, exited her stall. She looked around and didn’t see her brother anywhere. Maybe they wouldn’t let him come in here? I better check the main store? she thought.

Caleb exited from his stall, his cheeks hot with embarrassment, to find his sister gone and her stall empty. She must have finished up. I better go look for her.

Leaving the dressing room distractedly, Caleb crashed right into a boy around his age carrying a stack of clothing, knocking him over and sending black jeans flying everywhere.

“Watch where you’re going, dude,” Caleb snapped before he remembered he was trying to only talk when his sister did. He reached down to help the boy up.

“S-sorry” the boy said, bolting to his feet and running his hand over his hi-top fade.

“What’s your name?” the boy asked Caleb, seemingly recovered. Caleb remained silent.

The boy waited a little bit. “I’m Neal. It’s nice to meet you.”

More radio silence from Caleb.

“Okay, I can take a hint,” Neal said. He turned to leave. Just then Cassie showed up.

“Who’s your friend?” she asked Caleb.

“Who’s your friend?”

A wicked grin spread over Cassie’s face as she remembered the situation. Neal just stood there looking confused. “Is this your sister?”

Cassie looked Neal up and down. “You know, you’re pretty cute.”

Caleb gulped audibly before repeating. “You know, you’re pretty cute.”

Neal started glancing around nervously and drumming his fingers on his thigh. “Thanks!” he said. “I think you’re a little old for me, though,” he said, addressing Cassie.

Cassie pulled out her phone and tried to offer it to Neal. He glanced at it in her hand without reacting.

Caleb thrust out his phone. Neal gingerly took it and entered his number. His lips quirked irrepressibly upwards.

“Shit, I gotta get going,” Neal said. “Maybe I’ll see you later.”

Caleb just stood there in a daze as Neal waved and walked away.

***

Caleb and Cassie walked in the front door at about two thirty. Their mom yelled from the kitchen, “Is that you, Caleb? You need to start getting ready for practice.”

She started to walk into the front room before freezing at the unexpected sight of her two identically dressed children.

“Cassie, I thought I asked you to keep your brother OUT of trouble!”

***


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This story is 941 words long.