'Santa is feeding his reindeer,' the sign read. 'He'll be back soon... But, remember, he's always watching!'
It almost seemed like a threat, Jordan thought, though it was hard to feel intimidated by a fat man in a red suit, especially for a smart girl like her. She was a newly-minted adult, just turned 18 the week before - though she'd already been out of high school for a year as a result of skipping a grade - and that made all of this Christmas nonsense seem especially silly to her now. Of course, she'd always found the story of Santa a little too far-fetched to make sense, and, even as a child, had never understood how other kids could fall for it. She guessed they were just greedy and liked the idea of someone whose only function was to bring them new stuff once a year.
"He's still going to be a little while," came a voice from behind her. "Did you mommy leave you here to wait?" When Jordan turned around in confusion, she found a girl there, perhaps sixteen, tall and trim, and dressed like an elf. She had on a green Santa hat, a red dress puffed out at the skirt with petticoats and adorned on the front of the chest with a green bow, though most of it was obscured by her coat. It was green, trimmed in white fur to match her hat, held closed with a black plastic belt with a big buckle, obviously meant to look like Santa's, and made to leave the top and bottom of her dress showing. Beneath, she had on red and white striped tights, like a pair of long, fairly muscular looked candy canes, and a pair of pointy-toes elf boots.
Though the girl was taller than Jordan even in her high heels, despite looking younger, Jordan couldn't help feeling superior to her. She'd just come from yet another job interview, one that seemed to have gone as well as all the others she'd been on since she'd graduated, so she was in her black pinstripe skirt suit, a red shirt beneath the jacket. Her mother told her it made her look professional, but that had never seemed to help her, and mostly she just thought it looked stuffy. Now, however, staring at this girl's silly get-up, she couldn't help feeling proud of it.
Her pride did take a bit of a hit as the girl cooed, "Oh, your mommy really dressed you up, didn't she? Are you excited to see Santa?"
"Umm, no," Jordan rolled her eyes. "Look, kid, why don't you mind your own business?"
"Oh, I'm sorry!" the elf apologized. "I saw you standing here in front of Santa's chair, and I thought you were... younger. I didn't mean to interrupt you."
"Yeah, well... I guess it's okay. Just be more careful next time." Jordan almost felt bad now for being harsh with the girl. Besides, she didn't exactly want to draw attention to herself. She couldn't quite bring herself to apologize, since she thought it was far worse that this girl had called her a child than anything she'd done to her, but she did manage a, "Merry Christmas," before moving on. The elf parroted it, but almost before she was done, she had her cell phone out.
"Gee, real professional," Jordan snorted to herself. There weren't any little kids around that she could see, but if there had been, did they really need to see Santa's helper acting like a typical teen? She knew it was a little hypocritical of her to act like she cared, when she thought it was silly to pretend Santa was real at all, but she was happy for any reason to disparage the elf. Really, she couldn't help but feel slightly jealous of her. This kid had found a job - a dreadfully simple job, but still a job - while Jordan, who was older, and no doubt smarter, was still searching for one. She was almost desperate enough that she might have taken that job, if she'd known about it, even if being around little kids all day sounded like torture. She was sure she looked young enough to pull it off, and elves were supposed to be short, weren't they? She was certainly more qualified in that way than that girl had been.
She made her way to the jewelry counter. It wasn't as empty as she'd have hoped, and, almost right away, she had someone popping over to ask if she needed help. "I'm just looking," she told her, starting to flip through the displays on top of the counter. Most of them were locked, though she felt like she needed to spin them around once or twice anyway, to make it look like she was browsing before moving on. There were definitely some nice things there, but none of them had prices displayed, which was enough to tell Jordan she had no hope of affording them, though the locked glass cages around them were also a good indicator. Finally, she found a couple of plainer displays, both in terms of security and the items they held.
"That's pretty," the worker commented from behind the counter as Jordan picked up a set of earrings. "And those are 30% off right now!"
"Yeah, I see." There was a sign on top of the display saying the same thing, making Jordan want to point out that she was capable of reading, but she decided to be a little more civil. "They're for a present - I'm not sure they're quite right. Oh, I think you have a customer!"
It was lucky, and probably not the wisest design, that the cash registers were at the opposite end of the counter from these open displays, but it worked out quite well for Jordan. As the cashier scurried over to do her job, Jordan began to slowly spin the display again, inconspicuously looking around herself. It was a weekday, and not deep enough into the Christmas season that it was terribly crowded, and the people who were there were busy with their own shopping. Only the customer at the register seemed to be looking her way, and that changed as the cashier got to her and started ringing her up.
Jordan took a pair of earrings from their hook on the display, turned them over to pretend to look at the price, then did the same with a necklace, then another pair of earrings, before slowly lowering her hand, slipping them into the pocket of her jacket. She glanced around again before starting to walk off, only then noticing another pair of earrings. She debated for a moment before taking them as well. She didn't want to give too much jewelry as presents for Christmas, or it might seem suspicious that she had been able to afford it all, but this pair wasn't for someone else - they'd look much better on her than anyone she was giving gifts to.
She kept her hand in her pocket as she walked away, her fingers wrapped around that last pair of earrings. The price really wasn't that bad, especially with the discount, and it might seem less suspicious if she bought something after lingering so long at the jewelry counter. But why? She was pretty sure nobody had seen her, and if she wasn't paying for anything else, why start now? There were better things she could use her money for than Christmas presents.
"Do you need some help?"
"No, I'm just looking," she said, only intending to give the speaker a brief smile before moving on until she realized it was the elf again. "Are you following me?"
"No, of course not," the elf told her. "I'm just looking around, too. I'm on my break. But if you needed any help finding something, I could..."
"I'm fine," Jordan cut her off. She didn't need someone trailing after her, especially someone dressed like this girl was.
"Okay," the girl shrugged. "But remember - Santa's always watching!"
"Of course he is," Jordan smirked. "Bye-bye now."
She turned and walked away, only remembering a moment later that she had intended on leaving the store, going on to the rest of the mall to finish her Christmas "shopping". That door, however, was now behind her, and she knew it would look silly to just spin right back around, especially if the elf was still behind her, watching, so she committed to her mistake and soldiered on. Maybe it was for the best, she mused. She had parked by this store - maybe she could head out, empty her pockets and her purse, then drive to another of the mall's entrances so she wouldn't have to see the stupid, nosy elf again.
But first, because of the route she'd chosen, she had to pass by the lingerie section. "Who would wear this?" she wondered out loud to herself, stopping to look at a sheer babydoll nightie, red and trimmed in white fur at the top and bottom, obviously meant to look like Santa's usual costume. Did guys find it hot when their girlfriends dressed like an obese, bearded man? She couldn't say that she saw the appeal. She shook her head as she turned away, starting to head for the door again before noticing something else.
There were a few tables set up to display panties, most of which looked fairly normal. The last table, however, looked like it belonged in the kid's section more than with the grown-up clothes, as it held panties decorated with Hello Kitty and Sesame Street characters. She almost wondered who would wear those, either, but she already knew the answer. She had a friend, Chelsea, who would love them - she had quite a collection of cute panties that she didn't hesitate to show her female friends when she had them on. It was a habit Jordan had always found incredibly juvenile. But these were exactly the sort of thing Chelsea would wear.
Especially one pair with Cookie Monster's face plastered all over, and a waistband proclaiming "Yum Yum" over and over. She was a little shocked at that, and a little amused. Chelsea, whose favorite Sesame Street character - Jordan also considered the very idea of having a favorite quite childish - was Cookie Monster, so they would be perfect. It might be a bit odd to give one of her friends underwear for Christmas, and she wasn't sure she really wanted to encourage this behavior in the girl, but she hadn't found anything else for her.
"Looking for new panties?"
Jordan looked up in frustration to see the elf again, having apparently walked around her without her noticing, since she was now in front of her.
"Uh-oh... That's usually not good." The elf shook her head with a wry smile before breaking into a mock whisper, "Did you have an accident, sweetie?" Jordan wasn't even sure how to respond to that. It was stupid, ridiculous, inconceivable. "Well, those look like they'll be perfect for you. Do you want me to show you where the checkout is so your mommy can buy them for you?"
"Okay, look here," Jordan growled, taking a step closer to the girl. "This whole 'acting like I'm a kid' bit isn't funny, and it's getting on my nerves. So stop following me around and leave me alone, or I'll get your manager and have you fired. You got that?!"
The elf held up her hands and took a step back. "Sorry, Miss Crankypants."
Jordan watched her leave with relief, and as she grabbed the Cookie Monster panties, she decided to take a pair of the design next to it - it featured Elmo and the phrase 'Tickle Me', which struck her as even more surprising for something featuring a character from a kid's show. She might give those to Chelsea, too, or she might just throw them away; mostly, she was just getting pissed at the store for hiring such an obnoxious person. It served them right, really.
After tucking them into her pocket, she started, once again, for the exit. This time, it was a hand around her wrist that stopped her. Her heart began to thump wildly as she turned, expecting to find a security guard. Instead, it was still the damn elf. "I told you to go away!" she hissed.
She was surprised at the girl's strength as she found herself being pulled back over to the panties. "Put them back," the girl told her quietly.
Her heart began beating a little more quickly again, but she wasn't about to let herself be defeated this easily, certainly not by this girl. "I don't know what you're talking about," she claimed. "I decided I wasn't going to spend my money at this store after dealing with you, and this manhandling of me is just reinforcing my decision. Now let go!"
She struggled futilely in the elf's grip, only to have her hand swatted, to her great shock. "Stop it," the girl ordered. "Look, loss prevention has seen you, and they've been following you. I've been trying to warn you. If you try to leave here with that stuff, you're going to be in big trouble."
"Shit." Jordan knew that would only confirm that she'd done it, but it didn't sound like there was much doubt. She tried not to be too obvious as she looked around herself, especially as she noticed a guy who she was sure had been over by the jewelry counter when she was there, too. She'd almost been out, too, almost been that much closer to finishing her Christmas shopping. The thought of having to put it all back to start again almost made her want to cry, but not as much as the thought of having to pay for it all from her ever-shrinking bank account. "You don't understand, I..."
The elf pretended to take something from Jordan, then reached over to the panty table, ruffling its contents slightly before giving a thumbs-up to the man following them. "What are you doing?" Jordan asked, confused.
"They won't miss a couple of those," she shrugged. "But you need to work with me here. I can't fake it all."
Jordan looked at the elf with surprise, and appreciation. This girl was really taking a risk for her, for no real reason, after Jordan had been so mean to her. She couldn't help feeling bad about the way she'd been acting. "I know," she agreed reluctantly. "But... Well, I kind of need all of this. Why don't I act like I got away from you, and just make a run for it?"
The elf shook her head. "That won't work. They know what you look like, they have people posted at the exits. Although..." The girl eyed Jordan hesitantly. "I don't know..."
"Maybe you could disguise yourself. Most of LP is stationed at the exits, so there's only one following you. I can distract him, and you can go and change into a different outfit. Leave your purse with me, and I'll say I managed to keep ahold of it, and I'm sure he won't try to hard to catch up with you, because obviously you'd have to come back for it."
"Yeah, but..." Jordan shook her head, biting her bottom lip. "What if he looks at my driver's license and gets all my information, though?"
"You're not officially a shoplifter until you leave the store," the elf informed her. "So he doesn't have any authority to do that. And he won't get it, because he won't hear from any of the rest of his team that you left. I'll stash it in my locker in the back so he knows you'll have to come to me to get it. Then you come up to me when I'm with Santa, pretend you lost your mommy, and I'll take you back to the office to 'help you find her'. Got it?"
"I guess... But why a kid? Why can't I just change into normal clothes?"
"The women's fitting room is right over there," the elf nodded slightly. "There's no way he won't notice you go in there. And if he notices you taking something from here and then coming back around here in it... Well, that won't work. But there are no exits near the kid's section, or that fitting room, so there shouldn't be any LP over there."
Jordan nodded reluctantly. She had to admit it made sense, even if she didn't like it. The elf put her hand on Jordan's purse, then let Jordan break away from her. She didn't have the guts to see if she was being followed by security or if the girl had done her part. She slowed down as she rounded the corner into the kid's section, not wanting the people there to get suspicious of what was going on. Luckily, there weren't many people there in the first place, and she quickly managed to blend in by browsing through the clothes, searching for something that would fit her and not make her look too silly. She found a sweater and jeans, and, deeming them good enough, started for the fitting room.
"What are you doing?"
Jordan's eyes went wide as she once again saw the elf. "How did you get here so fast? Didn't it work? Couldn't you distract him?" Jordan began glancing around, searching for the man she was sure was following her.
"Huh? Oh, no, it's fine. Your purse is in my locker and everything. He knows you're trapped, so he's not too concerned. But you're not going to pull this off with that." She took the clothes from Jordan, who wasn't exactly pleased about getting her fashion sense critiqued by someone dressed as an elf. "That might make you look a little younger, but you need more than that if you want them to think you're somebody else. You need to look like a kid."
She began ushering Jordan to the other side of the department. The clothes got smaller, and less mature looking, as they went, Jordan getting more restless as they passed outfit after outfit that she could have tolerated, if only for the few minutes it would take to pull this scam, and she started feeling more and more sure that the clothes they were seeing were bound to be too small to fit her. Finally, they stopped in front of a rack of dresses. They were obviously meant as holiday dresses, all red and puffy and cutesy, but none more than the one the elf grabbed. It was red velvet, the hem of the skirt and ends of the sleeves ringed in white fur, a white ribbon around the waist tied in a bow at the front. It seemed she couldn't escape Santa after all.
"What about...?" Jordan started to ask, starting to reach for another red dress, covered in embroidered flowers, with a sweater to go over it, but she was already being pulled toward the fitting room.
"We have to hurry!" the girl said, urgently shoving Jordan toward an open door. "We don't know how long we have!"
Before she knew it, Jordan had been ushered into a changing room, the door closed for her. At first she thought to herself that it was lucky this place didn't have the fitting rooms set up for anyone to watch them, but luck had little to do with it - it was a big part of why she'd chosen it for her first stop.
She sighed as she stared at herself in the mirror. She'd never exactly looked her age, but she'd found little ways of helping that along, and she'd felt quite proud of how she'd looked that day. Dorky or not, the suit really was a big help in making her appear somewhat close to an adult, at least when paired with everything else. But now... She looked down at the dress that had been chosen for her with disgust. That was not going to make her look mature at all; that was the point, of course, but that didn't mean she had to like it.
She could always stop this now, go find security and turn herself in, and try to explain. Since she hadn't actually taken anything yet, she wasn't sure they could do much, if anything, to her, other than take her spoils, and either ban her or watch her extra close each time she came in. Considering most of the new clothes she'd gotten over the past year or so had come from there, very little of which she'd paid for, that wasn't exactly ideal. Maybe it was a sign that she was getting too old for this shoplifting thing, that she should stop, but if that was so, then wouldn't that suggest that this elf showing up to help her was a sign, too? And that sign seemed to be saying that it wasn't time to give up after all.
She gave one more sigh, then began stripping out of her clothes, laying them carefully on the bench before slipping the dress on over her black, lacy underthings. It was a tight fit, especially around the chest, and the skirt was perilously short, but, to her annoyance considering the age the dress was actually intended for, it technically fit. However, one look in the mirror revealed just how ridiculous she looked. She wouldn't say she looked like a kid, but she certainly didn't look like an 18 year old, either. She wasn't entirely sure what she saw staring back at her. A pre-teen who had gotten into her mother's make-up?
"This isn't going to work," she told the elf. "Isn't there something bigger?" Just the act of turning toward the door to call out caused the skirt to swish upward, revealing a hint of her black panties beneath her pantyhose.
"Let me see," the girl said.
"Can't you just..?" Jordan started to ask, only to see the door handle jiggle for a moment, then unlock itself and open. It wasn't a difficult thing to do - she'd figured out how to do it long ago with just her house key and a little luck - but having it used on her was a different thing entirely. "What are you doing?!"
"I have to see what I need to look for," the girl said matter-of-factly. "Hmm... Well, those shoes will have to go. And... Yes... Uh-huh... Okay! You sit tight in here and I'll be back in a jiffy!" The girl vanished, closing the door behind her. For a moment, Jordan wondered if this was a strange set-up, and the girl was going to be bringing a security guard in with her, but why go to all this trouble? It didn't make sense.
She stood there for a moment, doing her best to look away from the mirror, looking instead at her old outfit, her real clothes. How was she going to get those out? She hadn't thought about that. She wasn't about to leave them here and hope that, when she came back through, they'd still be there. She needed to take them with her. But how? Clearly, they weren't going to go on under this dress, or likely any other that would be picked out for her. Her purse was in the elf's locker, and the purse section of the store was too far away, and too close to the women's section, where LP had been last she knew. Besides, seeing a supposed kid carrying a purse might set off some alarms. But what else could she do? How did kids carry around stuff?
The answer hit her suddenly, and was rather obvious once she'd thought of it. Slowly, she opened the door, sticking her head out and looking around, relieved to see she seemed to be alone in this little corner of the store. The store didn't carry backpacks all the time, just for the start of school, but she felt sure she'd seen a few on the clearance rack, left over from then. Quickly, she scurried that way, not wanting to be seen like this, and also not wanting anyone to get into her fitting room stall and take her things.
There truly were only a few backpacks left, and two of them were duplicates of one another. She groaned as she stared at her choices - Dora the Explorer or Disney Princesses - loathe to choose, then have to carry around, either one. Maybe she could just have the girl put her clothes in her locker as well? But then if LP asked to see her purse for some reason, they'd probably find the fact her clothes were there pretty suspicious, if the sight of the girl carrying them through the store wasn't enough already.
"What are you doing out here?"
Jordan spun around, shocked to find the girl back already, her arms full. "How did you get all that already?"
"Get back in there!" the girl ordered, and when Jordan didn't move fast enough, the girl juggled her armload a little to give her an extra hand, which immediately went to Jordan's ear, pulling her, squealing in surprise and pain, back to the fitting room. "Sorry!" she apologized as soon as they were in, and she'd dumped everything on the floor. "I just wanted it to really look like you were a kid, you know? In case anyone's watching."
It made sense, Jordan had to admit, but that didn't mean she had to like it. "Yeah, fine," she grumbled, rubbing her ear. "I was just getting a backpack to put my old clothes in." She tossed the bag down onto the bench on top of her clothes. In the rush, it had barely even registered that the one she'd been holding when she'd been so unceremoniously dragged off was the Princesses one. Not that it mattered, but there, in such direct contrast to her normal clothes, it looked extra juvenile.
"All right, let's get to work," the elf announced. "Take that dress off."
Jordan would have been more than happy to do so, except the girl gave no indication that she was going to leave. "I can do that on my own," she pointed out after a minute.
"No, you can't. You're a kid now, remember?"
"I'm not that young a kid," Jordan grumbled.
"You're as young as we can make you look. The further from the truth the better, right? Now, come on. Off." She rolled her eyes when Jordan still didn't move. "Okay, fine, let's start somewhere else. Take off those shoes. Little girls don't wear high heels. Especially not that high."
"Yeah, but..." Jordan stammered, but she couldn't argue with that. Slowly, she stepped out of them, and down onto her pantyhose-clad feet. Instantly, she felt more childish and vulnerable, having to look that much further up at this kid.
"Those, too," the girl pointed to Jordan's legs. When Jordan started to protest she shook her head. "Girls don't wear pantyhose, either, do they?"
"No," Jordan sighed. "Could you maybe at least turn around or something?"
"Come on, you're taking all day!" the girl snapped instead. "If you complain about every step, you're going to get us caught!"
Jordan wasn't sure how to get her hose off in this dress without flashing her skimpy panties, but the girl hardly seemed to notice. She pulled them down, revealing the pale, skinny legs beneath, and tossed them over with her other clothes. The girl handed her a pair of white ankle socks trimmed with lace, still in their package. She didn't even like pantyhose - it was just another step to make her look professional - but even she thought these were a pretty big step down. "I think you're going a little too young," she voiced her concern again.
"Do you not want my help? I'm risking my job here! Do you really want me to go back out and find you something else?!" Jordan did, really, but obviously that would be pretty unfair. She ripped open the package and took out the socks, yanking them over her bare feet. "Now," the girl proclaimed, "dress off."
Jordan still couldn't bring herself to do that. "Why?" she whined. "You didn't bring me a new one!"
"That one is fine," the elf informed her. "It's what's underneath that needs to be changed."
"Underneath?" Jordan squeaked. "Nobody is going to see what's underneath!"
"They will if you're not careful! And considering how many times you've flashed me already, you're not careful!" Jordan's cheeks flushed a bright red. "But that just adds to the illusion... As long as we make a few adjustments."
"I didn't bring any spare panties," Jordan said, looking at the supplies the girl had brought and not seeing any there, either. "Did you?"
"No, I didn't," the girl admitted. "But are you sure you don't have any?" Jordan looked at her in confusion until she glanced over at Jordan's clothes, and Jordan remembered the last thing she'd stolen.
"Well, those aren't really for..." she started to say. Really, it was only the Cookie Monster pair that she needed. The Elmo one had been an impulse snatch, so why not take advantage of that? She didn't exactly want to wear them, but they would certainly look less suspicious under the dress than her normal, grown-up underwear. "Okay," she gave in, walking over and searching through her pockets to pull them out, taking the tag off. She looked over at the girl, wondering if it would be worth it to ask her not to watch. It hadn't worked last time, and she didn't want to risk making her mad, since she could get Jordan caught pretty easily.
Instead, she just kept her back to the girl as she wriggled out of her panties and into the new ones. They were a fuller cut than she was used to, and a thicker, coarser fabric, but otherwise they didn't feel too awful, even if the sight of them made her feel ridiculous. The "Tickle Me" was at the top, meaning anyone who happened to catch just a glimpse of them likely wouldn't see them, and assume they really were meant for someone much younger than her, probably right out of potty training.
"Now will you take that dress off?" the girl asked impatiently.
"What? But I changed my underwear!" Jordan complained, turning around.
"That's not the only thing that's under there," the girl pointed out. Jordan looked down and saw a training bra among the things the girl had brought for her.
Jordan crossed her arms over her chest. "No, I can't wear that!" she shook her head.
"Please," the girl chuckled. "Do you really think anyone believes those are real?" She peeled back Jordan's arms, then started to undo her dress. "You aren't fooling anybody."
"B-But..." Jordan stammered, too shocked to move for a moment, giving the girl, who seemed to have a lot of experience at this, time to get the dress off of her, leaving her shivering there, more than half naked. As silly as she'd felt, putting on those panties, she looked even more so now, and she found herself gawking at her reflection. From the chest up she looked like a normal young woman, in her black bra, her face all made up, but below that, she was in Elmo panties and ankle socks. She watched her knees turn in slightly at the sight, of their own accord.
"There!" the elf declared, having unfastened the bra while Jordan was distracted, pulling it off. Suddenly, the percentage of her body that looked childish, instead of grown-up, jumped dramatically, as the bra took with it all its quite useful padding, leaving her all but flat-chested.
"Oh!" she cried out, covering her chest with her arms again, only to have them once more yanked away.
"See?" the girl pointed out. "Heck, you don't even need this trainer. It's a good thing I picked up these vests, too, just in case." She picked the package up, showing them to the horrified Jordan. They were white, scallop-trimmed, with a little white bow at the front, very much intended for little kids. She made no move to take them, couldn't make herself do so. "Are you going to put it on, or do I have to do it for you?"
That spurred Jordan into action. As little as she wanted to wear them, it would be all the worse to be dressed in it. Hands shaking, she took the package and ripped it open, taking out one of them. The others she put with the rest of her clothes, noting that her backpack was going to be quite full by the time she was done. Like the dress, the vest was a little tight, but, unfortunately, did go on, its snugness only working further to compress her already miniscule breasts, and leave just a little sliver of her white tummy peeking out between it and the "Tickle Me" of her panties' waistband.
"Almost done!" the girl declared, opening the shoe box she'd brought in, revealing a pair of shiny white Mary-Janes, a white daisy decorating the strap. Jordan would never have worn them, but at this point, she barely had a choice. She couldn't stop now, could she? That would make the rest of this a waste. Besides, after her change of underwear, the stupid shoes barely registered, though once she had them on, it was very easy to feel the difference between them, with their flat soles, and her nice, tall high heels.
The girl grabbed Jordan, turning her away from her as she pulled the dress back over her head and fastened it, then spun her back around to slip a white Alice band with a white bow onto her head, pushing her hair away from her face. Finally, she took out a travel package of baby wipes and rubbed them on Jordan's face. Jordan squealed, squirming to try to escape the cool wetness, and the infantile smell, but by the time she escaped, she had been wiped clean of the make-up she'd so meticulously applied that morning.
Jordan gasped as the elf grabbed her shoulders and turned her to the mirror for a final inspection. There was now no trace of her former maturity left, no doubt that the person in the reflection was a child, a little kid whose mommy had gotten her all dressed up to go visit Santa. She could feel, and see, herself going pigeon-toed again as she stood there, heart thumping loudly in her chest.
"I think that will do," the elf nodded. "Now, I really need to go. You clean up here, okay? Then, remember, come find me with Santa and we'll get this all taken care of!" The girl patted Jordan's head, just making her feel all the more small, and stepped out of the fitting room, leaving the door wide open.
Frantically, Jordan scurried over to it and shut it again, flashing her panties again in the process, though luckily there was nobody there to see them. She was really going to have to be careful, she thought to herself. She walked back across the room more slowly, to the bench where she'd tossed the backpack. She removed the tags from it, then unzipped it and put them inside, along with the packages and tags from the other things she was wearing. She ripped the shoe box so she could fold it up and fit it inside, then reluctantly put in her shoes and her old clothes on top of it all, hiding the evidence of her latest rash of shoplifting. It was only when she was double-checking the room to make sure she hadn't left anything that she noticed the little package of baby wipes, so it wound up on top.
The backpack was quite full, but with a little pushing she managed to get it zipped closed and onto her shoulders. The girl in the mirror looked on the verge of tears, which only helped with her illusion and the story of having lost her mother. It was almost impossible to reconcile this picture with what she'd seen in the mirror not fifteen minutes ago, a young woman fresh off a job interview, a little shaken by what was going on, but still confident. She supposed she should feel all the more confident now, since her disguise was so good, but that was very little comfort here, in private. Instead, it was disturbing just how quickly and thoroughly she'd been transformed, shot back in time.
When she finally got the courage to leave the fitting room, the store felt like it had grown around her, dwarfing her even more. She gulped as she looked around herself, staring at all the kid's clothes that, like this dress, she might be able to fit into. Most of them seemed like better options, but when she went to pick up a pair of glittery jeans, decorated with embroidered butterflies, her hands began to shake. It seemed like all the customers in the store had come to this section, that they were all looking at her. She wasn't sure if they saw through her disguise and knew what she was planning to do with the pants, or if they really thought she was a kid, nor did she know which would be worse. Either way, going into the fitting room in one outfit and coming out in another might not be a good idea, unless she waited a good, long time before coming out to give the people time to move to another department, and she really wanted to get out of this mess as quickly as possible.
She put the jeans back and walked to the main aisle, having to force herself to stay slow and her hands on the hem to keep her skirt from showing off what was beneath. The hard, flat soles of her Mary Janes clunked loudly and clumsily on the linoleum, so much different from the confident click of her heels, the sound of each step echoing in her mind, reminding her that she wasn't an adult anymore. Her heart beat faster and faster, and all she could think about was getting to Santa, meeting with the elf, getting out of here.
She didn't even notice the woman she bumped into until it was too late. She let out a surprised, "Oof!" and fell backwards onto her ass, skirt falling haphazardly to reveal her Elmo-covered underwear until she frantically pulled it back into place.
"Oh, I'm sorry, sweetie!" the woman cooed, bending down to help her up. "I didn't see you there!" Jordan's heart stopped as she reached up to take the woman's hand and recognized her. It was Mrs. Patterson, the woman who had just interviewed her that morning! She recalled the woman mentioning she had to do Christmas shopping, too, when Jordan said that was what she was doing after the interview, but she hadn't expected her to be here! Though this was the only mall in the area, so she supposed she really should have considered the possibility.
"It's... umm... It's okay," Jordan mumbled, staring down at her feet, at the stupid daisy on the top of her shoes as they scuffed nervously at the floor. She wanted to run off, but something stopped her, told her that would make her look more suspicious. She could feel tears welling up in her eyes despite herself. She'd already been sure she wouldn't get hired, but being seen like this would only clinch that, wouldn't it?
"Aww, are you okay?" Mrs. Patterson asked, looking around. "Where's your mommy, sweetheart?"
Jordan blinked, glancing back up at the woman. Did she really not recognize her? She supposed the woman must get a lot of interviews, especially this time of the year, but had her transformation really been that thorough that she didn't see the person she'd met just that morning? If nothing else, that just confirmed that she wouldn't be getting the job, if she wasn't even that memorable. "She's... uh... over by Santa. I'm s'posed to get my picture with him," she said finally, making her voice higher and squeakier, trying to disguise it as much as she could.
"Then what are you doing way over here? She doesn't let you wander off on your own, does she? You're not big enough for that!"
Jordan bristled - how dare she say that?! She hadn't even asked how old Jordan was, just assumed, and went right to insulting her mother's parenting skills! "No, I was just..." she started before drawing a blank. What would a little kid like her be doing on her own?
"You didn't run off, did you? That's very naughty! Santa won't like that!"
Jordan blushed, but nodded her head in agreement. "I know..."
"I hope you didn't get mad because your mommy wouldn't buy you something. I've seen little girls like you do that all the time, throw tantrums right in the middle of the store. And then their mommies give in, when what they should do is take the little brats over their knees!" Mrs. Patterson stopped herself, having seemingly realized she was ranting. "But I'm sure you didn't do that, did you?"
"No..." Jordan said, but it didn't even sound convincing to her, and she could tell the woman wasn't buying it either, and she was sure that, in the woman's mind, she was being given a thorough paddling.
"Well, let's go find her," the woman took Jordan's hand and started to lead her through the store. At first, Jordan tried to dig her heels in, but it made little difference, and the woman gave her a look that got her feet moving again. She doubted the woman would spank someone else's kid in the middle of the store... But she didn't want to find out for sure. "What was she wearing?"
Jordan froze up, unsure of what to say. This woman really seemed dedicated to this... She could only hope that the elf managed to convince Mrs. Patterson to let Jordan go with her to the office instead of taking it upon herself to personally find Jordan's mother. "She... uh..."
"You look familiar," the woman mused, startling Jordan even further. "Maybe I know your mommy. What's her name?"
"I, uh... I... Mommy?" she squeaked.
"Oh, sorry," the woman smiled softly. "What's your last name, then?"
That was even worse. Should she lie, and hope she didn't pick the name of someone Mrs. Patterson knew? Should she tell the truth and risk the woman recognizing her? There was no way she could feign ignorance of that without making herself look very young or very stupid. Instead, she exclaimed, "Look, there's Santa!"
As it turned out, that was the wrong choice. From there, they could only see the back of Santa's chair and the elf, but even that far away, it was obvious there was nobody else standing there, waiting for their daughter. "You know what? I bet your mommy put all that information in your backpack somewhere. Do you know where?"
"No!" Jordan's vocal disguise slipped as she thought of this woman looking through the bag, knowing what was hidden there. Unfortunately, Mrs. Patterson took it a different way, and used it as a cue to push Jordan forward and start to unzip her backpack. "No!" Jordan repeated, twisting, trying to pull away.
She managed to get the woman off her backpack, but the action pulled the bag open partway, spilling some of its contents on the floor. Jordan wasn't sure what to do first, as she heard some things clattering to the floor, but finally decided to fumble behind her with the zipper to keep any more from escaping.
"What do you have these for?" Mrs. Patterson asked, and Jordan turned around slowly, paling as she saw the baby wipes. "Do you..?"
"No!" Jordan squeaked. "No, they're just for cleaning my hands!"
"Then why do you have a change of clothes, too?" Mrs. Patterson bent down to pick up the skirt, and Jordan's heart stopped as the woman looked from it to her, and a flash of recognition came over her.
"Th-This isn't what you think," Jordan mumbled.
"Yes, Ms. Hendrickson? Then what is it?" Jordan couldn't bring herself to answer that, either, and now that the gig was up, it made her feel even more stupid. "You let me get worried sick about some poor child lost in a store on her own, when all along it was just you... what? What is this? Some sort of fetish?"
"No!" Jordan shook her head frantically, but she wasn't about to admit to this woman that she'd been shoplifting, and she could think of no other reason to be here, dressed like this.
That wasn't good enough for Mrs. Patterson this time, however. "I'm waiting," she said sternly, crossing her arms, still holding the baby wipes and Jordan's skirt. Jordan stared at the latter with a quiet groan, knowing this woman would never treat her this way if she was just wearing that, instead of this ridiculous dress. After a minute, the woman shook her head. "All right, fine. If you want to act like a child, I'm more than happy to treat you like one."
She grabbed Jordan roughly, shoving the skirt back into her backpack and zipping it back up before turning her around and marching her through the store, away from Santa and his elf, the baby wipes still clenched in her other hand. Jordan's cheeks burned as she realized that, to anyone passing by, she'd look like a child, too old for this, who was being taken to get her diaper changed by her mother, frustrated at her little girl's potty training troubles.
"What are you doing?" Jordan whined. "Let me go!" But no matter how many times she said it, it didn't work, and the looks she got from the other customers just seemed to confirm that they saw the pair only as an unruly, obnoxious child and her mother, not one adult being taken against her will by the other.
They wound up in the bathroom, where Mrs. Patterson finally let go of Jordan's arm, pushing her further into the room while she locked the door, leaving the girl pouting and rubbing her arm. Mrs. Patterson set the baby wipes on top of the changing table folded into the wall, then reached into her purse, coming out with something that made Jordan's eyes go wide.
"Wh-What is that for?" she squeaked.
"What do you think? Turn around. Hands on the wall."
"No! No, no, no!" Jordan stomped her foot, tears stinging her eyes. This was so unfair! She was an adult, this woman had no right to spank her! But Mrs. Patterson had planted herself in front of the locked door, arms crossed, wooden hairbrush clenched tightly in one hand, letting Jordan know in no uncertain terms that she wasn't getting out of there.
"I think I made it pretty clear how I feel about little girls who throw tantrums," Mrs. Patterson said calmly. "Now turn around right now, young lady, or this will only get worse for you."
"You can't do this!" Jordan declared defiantly. "You can't!"
That was definitely the wrong thing to say. Mrs. Patterson sprang into motion at that, walking over to the smaller girl and spinning her around, pinning her up against the wall with one arm. Jordan whined and squirmed futiley, at least until the hairbrush smacked against her backside.
"Ouch!" she cried, a patch of heat and pain blossoming where she'd just been hit, her hand rubbing it in shock. "How dare you?!"
"Get your hands up and against that wall," the woman ordered, stepping away from her slightly. "Now!"
Jordan knew doing so would be to subject herself to more of the same, but not doing it would likely end the same way, if not more-so. "I'm sorry," she sniffled. "Please, I've learned my lesson."
The hairbrush thwapped against her bottom again, and then Mrs. Patterson stopped again, waiting. Whimpering, Jordan raised her hands up over her head, pressing them against the wall. When the woman started the spanking again, she started it for real. Each hit wasn't quite as hard as the first two had been, but they came faster, barely giving her time to yelp between each one. In no time at all, her ass was blazing, and she was crying like a baby. She'd never been spanked as a child, and to have her first spanking being done here, by someone who just this morning had seen her, she'd hoped, as an adult, a potential former colleague, was humiliating.
But not nearly as humiliating as what came next. As the spanking wore on for what seemed like ages, Jordan was sure she could hear her voice growing hoarse from the crying, her bottom swelling from the abuse, her legs turning to jelly beneath her. She just wanted it to stop, but she couldn't even form words anymore. This childish punishment had robbed her of even that, making the pain of it her whole world, making her forget about everything else. And, eventually, her body seemed to forget about everything else, too, including how to control its bladder.
There was no warning, no chance to stop it. She just felt something warm and wet running down the inside of her thighs all of the sudden. It took her a moment to realize what had happened, and when she did, she just started crying all the harder. At about the same time, Mrs. Patterson noticed it as well.
"You dirty little girl!" she scolded. But at least she stopped the spanking as she stared down at Jordan in disgust as the girl stood there in a puddle of her own urine, knees shaking as she fought not to fall down right there. "Well, it's a good thing you did this here."
Jordan found it hard to look at the woman now, after what she'd done, but she still glanced up at her after that, confused about the statement until she followed her eyes to the machine next to the changing table - the one that sold diapering kits.
"Is that what you want? Is that what this whole game was about?" Mrs. Patterson asked, seeing that Jordan had spotted it as well.
"No!" Jordan sniffled. "No, please..."
The woman ignored her, flipping the changing table down from the wall, putting one of the paper covers over its surface. Grabbing Jordan, she pulled her away from her puddle, then yanked her backpack off, setting it to the side before doing the same with her dress. Jordan whimpered a half-hearted protest, not wanting to be seen in her wet panties and vest, but unable to muster much resistance so soon after that spanking. Mrs. Patterson grabbed a handful of paper towels and shoved them at her. "Clean that up," she demanded, waiting for the girl to get down on her hands and knees, red bottom sticking up in the air, then walked over to the diaper dispenser and started feeding in coins from her purse.
"No, pl-please d-don't," Jordan whimpered, not daring to stop in her task, but still watching in horror as the woman popped the final coin into the money tray, then hit the button. A plastic-wrapped bundle popped out of the machine, urging some fresh tears from Jordan. "Please don't diaper me!"
Mrs. Patterson pulled open the package, letting out the faint scent of baby powder. "Throw those away," she said, "and come over here."
Reluctantly, Jordan did as she was told, unhappy to see when she turned back around from the trash can that the diaper was out of the package and sitting on the edge of the changing table. Slowly and meekly, she trudged over to it. As soon as she got there, Mrs. Patterson set to work, pulling the wet panties down Jordan's quivering legs and over her shoes. She stared at them for a moment, sneering as she read, "'Tickle Me'? Disgusting," giving Jordan a look like the girl had designed the suggestive underwear herself, then put them into a plastic bag she'd gotten from the kit. There were some baby wipes in the kit as well, but Mrs. Patterson used those up quickly as she cleaned the now squirming and crying Jordan's wet legs, and moved on to the package the elf had given Jordan.
When she was satisfied that Jordan was clean, she lifted the girl onto the changing table, sitting her on the edge while she removed the girl's shoes and socks. She set the shoes down on the floor, and put the socks in with Jordan's panties, then sealed the bag. Jordan, fidgeting uncomfortably, her throbbing bottom finding no comfort in the hard plastic table, could only watch, knowing what was coming next, and helpless to stop it.
Mrs. Patterson pushed the girl onto her back, sliding her further back on the table. The diaper crinkled loudly as she picked it up and unfolded it. "Nooo..." Jordan whimpered softly, which did nothing to stop the woman from lifting her up and sliding the thick, puffy diaper beneath her. Jordan had to admit the changing table was more comfortable with that bit of padding between her and it, though she didn't really think it was worth it.
The woman took a small can of baby powder from the package, then proceeded to empty apparently the whole thing onto Jordan's crotch, until the faint scent of ammonia in Jordan's nose was replaced with that sweet smell, and she knew she was sure to be smelling like that for the rest of the day. Mrs. Patterson pulled the diaper up between Jordan's legs, forcing her thighs apart as the girl sniffled and whined ineffectively. Then there was a slight ripping sound, and a pressure on her tummy as Mrs. Patterson pushed the tapes onto the landing strip - decorated with little rubber duckies and bubbles - rubbing them a time or two to ensure a good, tight hold, and it was over. Jordan was diapered.
Mrs. Patterson lifted Jordan back down to the floor as the girl stared, wide-eyed, at her reflection in the mirror over the sink. She'd thought the Elmo panties had been bad, but now her skimpy black panties were only a distant dream, and beneath her waist puffed a monstrous white behemoth that seemed to be absorbing every last bit of adulthood she'd had left - not that there had been much. It was thick, though she doubted, with as cheap as it had been, that it was terribly absorbant. She had no intentions of using it, of course, but if she had, she had a feeling that, despite its bulk, it would leak nonetheless, making it all but useless, except as a tool for her humiliation. When she turned just slightly, she could see a patch of red peeking out from beneath the white plastic of the diaper - her diaper, she thought with a sinking feeling in her stomach - from her spanking, and when Mrs. Patterson gave the back of the snug diaper a pat, she saw a small mist of powder puff out of the back.
To make matters worse, Mrs. Patterson began digging through her backpack, putting her old clothes on top of the changing table, leaving them strewn there for Jordan to see, to remember just how good they'd felt compared to this infantile outfit she now found herself in. "Do you have any socks in here?" she asked, though she had already pulled out the pantyhose, and, before Jordan could stop her, found what else was hidden in the bag.
"What are these, young lady?" she demanded, pulling out the handful of tags and the shoebox. Jordan stared down at her feet, unable to answer, but she didn't need to. Mrs. Patterson only had to read them to realize they matched the girl's wardrobe. "You were trying to steal?!"
"You don't understand, I.." Jordan started her explanation, before realizing she didn't have one. It certainly looked bad, she knew that. Not only had she been found parading around dressed like a four year old, she didn't even own the clothes she'd been wearing.
"I don't see any money in here, either," Mrs. Patterson pointed out. "So don't try to tell me you were going to pay for them." Jordan clammed up, staring down past her thickly diapered crotch to her feet. "I thought I felt something in here, too..." Mrs. Patterson picked Jordan's jacket back up, fishing through the pockets and finding the jewelry. "You're lucky I just spanked you," the woman shook her head. "I'm not about to let you get away with this, though. I'll buy these for you, but don't think they're a gift. You're hired, young lady."
Jordan looked up in surprise. "Hired?"
"Not for the position you applied for - no, that's far too much responsibility for you. You're going to be my assistant, so I can keep a close eye on you. You'll be there at least until you can pay me back for these clothes, which I'm sure will take at least a few weeks. I'd love to have you wear them every day, but I know that wouldn't be very sanitary, but you will wear them at least once a week. And you'll be in diapers every day. I'll buy those for you, too, so that will be another thing you'll need to pay me back for."
"D-Diapers?" Jordan whimpered. The whole thing sounded horrible, running around the office as some mere secretary, but it was the diapers that stuck out the most.
"Diapers," Mrs. Patterson repeated harshly. "And you'll be using them, too." She picked up the Santa dress, feeling it for any wet spots, then pulled it back over Jordan's head. It was just long enough to cover the diaper, but it would take even less movement than with the panties for Jordan to flash them, she knew, and the dress would do nothing to hide the waddle the bulk between her legs would give her.
"I-I can't use diapers!" Jordan sputtered. "I'm not a baby!"
Mrs. Patterson seemed to ignore her as she picked up the shoes and cleaned them off, but as she put them on the girl's feet, she calmly stated, "If you ever tell me no again, especially at work, I won't hesitate to spank you again, you understand? No matter what I tell you to do, even if it's to use your diaper. Understand?"
Jordan had no choice but to mumble, "Y-Yes, ma'am."
She was given the backpack, her old clothes again stuffed inside, and finally they left the bathroom, Mrs. Patterson holding her hand tightly as she toddled beside her. Instead of going straight to a cash register, they stopped back by the kid's section, where Mrs. Patterson found a pair of white tights, complete with two rows of lacy ruffles across the backside. Jordan was taken to the fitting room again and dressed in them. They compressed her diaper, pushing the padding more firmly against her sore bottom, which was growing ever hotter now that it was trapped inside the plastic diaper, and now the cotton tights.
Once her shoes were back on, they made their way to the cash register at last. "I'm sorry about this," Mrs. Patterson said as she set the pile of tags beside the pile of jewelry. "This little lady had a bit of an accident and needed some new clothes."
"Oh, it's all right," the cashier smiled down at Jordan condescendingly. Even if Jordan had found the courage to speak up, she couldn't have denied it anyway.
Jordan expected it to be over after that, at least until work the next day, but once Mrs. Patterson had tucked the shockingly expensive receipt - the dress and shoes had both been quite pricy - she took Jordan's hand again and guided her back through the store. Jordan wasn't sure where they were going at first, until she noticed Santa's chair.
"No, don't," she shook her head. She didn't want her partner in crime to see her like this, fallen even further than their plan had required.
"You told me you were getting your picture taken with him. I hope that wasn't a lie, too. You know how I feel about those." Jordan could see the challenge in the woman's eyes, and shut up. She could see the elf standing beside Santa, tried not to think about what the girl would say when she saw her, hoping she wouldn't laugh too hard. Their plan, so simple, had turned into quite a mess.
As they got closer to the chair, Jordan noticed that there were actually two elves. From the back, she wasn't sure which one was her's, and the confusion only grew as Mrs. Patterson guided her around to the front, and she saw both of them. They looked exactly alike. The effect was a little disconcerting, and it took Jordan a moment to realize that they were twins. Was that how they had seemed to be everywhere at the same time?
"Hi, there!" one of them cooed at her. "Is this your mommy?"
"Not exactly," Mrs. Patterson said coolly. "Go see Santa." She let go of Jordan, who stumbled uncertainly towards the fat man in the chair. She could see the elves' eyes light up as they saw her, and one scurried over to the other and whispered something in her ear. The two giggled as they watched her toddle.
She stared up at Santa uncertainly, biting her bottom lip as she stared at his lap. How could she climb up there in this dress without letting what was underneath show.
"Merry Christmas, little girl!" Santa said, jolly as ever. "Come on up here!"
Jordan looked back at Mrs. Patterson, who pointed up at Santa insistently. Jordan did her best to be careful, but the renewed giggling from the elves only confirmed that she didn't do such a good job after all. She looked down at herself, horrified to see that her trek had left her skirt hiked up, diaper quite clearly visible beneath her tights, and before she could fix it, there was a flurry of flashes as the elves and Mrs. Patterson took her picture with their phones.
She pulled down her skirt, cheeks blazing, watching with a growing sense of dread as the elves struck up a hushed conversation with Mrs. Patterson, whose expression grew darker and darker as they spun some tale. She wasn't sure what relation it had with reality, but when one of them ran off, she had a bad feeling that she would be returning with her purse.
"What do you want for Christmas, little girl?" Santa asked.
"I-I don't know," Jordan said, squirming on her warm, red backside. A job would be nice, a real one, one where she didn't have to fear getting spanked. But that would probably just confuse Santa, since she was sure he saw her as nothing more than a little kid, especially considering the diaper he was sure to be able to feel on his leg, very clearly not a pair of big girl panties, and there was no doubt he could smell the cloud of baby powder that had likely erupted from her diaper when she'd sat on his knee. "To get out of diapers," she said wistfully.
"I'm sure you'll get potty trained soon enough," Santa chuckled, "but I don't think I can help with that."
"I am potty trained," she whined, but Santa was clearly not convinced.
"How about a nice dolly?" he asked.
Jordan sighed as she saw her suspicions fulfilled, and the elf returned with her purse, which Mrs. Patterson immediately opened, giving Jordan an angry look as she discovered the other shoplifted items hidden there. "Yeah," she sighed, "That sounds about right."
Mrs. Patterson grabbed her arm as soon as she was off Santa's lap, pulling her away from him angrily. "As soon as I pay for the rest of this," she said, pointing at Jordan's packed purse, "you are getting in your car, and I'm following you straight hom, where I'm going to explain all this to your mother, and make sure she knows that you're to report to work tomorrow, and how you're to be dressed. I'm sure she won't be amused by your antics, either."
"Don't forget," one of the twin elves piped up, "if she's too much trouble at work, you can always take her to get special training at that place we told you about."
Jordan's eyes widened at that, unsure what that could mean. Mrs. Patterson knew, however, and nodded seriously. "I'll be sure to mention that to her mother as well," she told them. "Thank you girls for your help."
"No problem!" one of them chirped, giving Jordan a hug and patting the seat of her diaper.
The other hugged her as well, pulling her closer to whisper in her ear, "Just so you know, security was never onto you." She giggled as Jordan pulled away and gave her a look of shock, then the pair of them continued their laughter as they watched her get pulled back to the cash register by Mrs. Patterson, off to finish paying for the girl's "shopping". It was turning out to be the most expensive Christmas shopping Jordan had ever done.