To Protect Kayla
It was the first day of the new school year, I was finally a senior of Barrington High, I just knew this would be my year to shine, starting football again, making the honor roll, which I had done the three years before, and maybe having a shot at perfect attendance; however, I had to conquer the first day.
So, I get to school, and everything seems fine, but was it? Of course not! I went to pull my backpack out of my car, and the strap broke, "Great John, just when you thought your luck couldn't get any worse." I thought to myself. I gathered up my backpack and went in.
The hallways were packed, almost to a stand-still, it took me five minutes just to get up the hall, but finally I noticed a break in the conjested hallway and made a run for my locker, number 259, which ironically enough, was the same one I had last year.
As I came up to the corner heading to my locker, I heard a commotion. Laughter, followed by what sounded like a squeaky voice could be heard, I rounded the corner, only to see a group of students pointing and laughing at something.
"What's so funny?" I asked.
A red-headed girl looked at me and pointed, "Her." she said with an immature snicker.
I pushed my way into the crowd, and when I looked, I couldn't believe my eyes. Down in front of me, was the smallest girl I had ever seen, she barely stood two feet tall, if that much. This poor, frightened girl looked up at me, unsure if I was there to join in on the torment, or if I was finally there to save her.
I turned to face the crowd, "Alright people, move along, there's nothing more to see here." the crowd of students thinned out, allowing me to focus on the girl.
I looked back down to the small girl, only to find her huddled against the lockers crying. I crouched down beside her, reaching out to touch her, only when I did, it startled her, causing me to pull my hand away.
"Let me guess, you're here to make fun of me too." she shouted in a tiny voice.
"No." I replied, "I was --"
"Save it! I've been lied to long enough to know that I'm alone in this world, nobody understands what it's like to be me, and just maybe no one ever will!" the girl shouted back.
I felt so helpless, here was this poor girl who I knew needed help, but she was pushing me away. I knew not to push myself on her, because that would only make her push me away even more, so I stood up to leave, only to hear her again.
"Wait!" she shouted, "Don't go!"
I turned back to her and squatted down to be back to her level, or as close to it as I could, being a guy at 6'6", it was hard to be right at her height, but the important thing was to be with her if she needed me.
The next thing I knew, this small girl ran to me. I collected her into my arms as she got close enough, I just remember her clinging and grasping my shirt as tight as she could. Words couldn't describe what holding this small girl was like, though it was the first time in my life I actually felt even bigger than I really was.
"I'm sorry I snapped at you." the girl sobbed.
"Don't be." I whispered, "You have every right to be upset, I would be too if I were in your position."
"I'm Kayla." she squeaked to me.
"Nice to meet you Kayla." I replied, "I'm John."
I looked down to Kayla, and our eyes met. I knew I shouldn't think this about her, but she was adorable, how could anyone be so cruel to such an angel? I stood, with Kayla in my arms and began to walk to class, when the loudspeaker came on.
"Due to the already increasingly hot weather, we are closing, all students please report to your lockers." the principal announced.
I found this to be a good opportunity to get to know Kayla better, I carried her and our bags outside to my car, placing the bags in my car, then I carried Kayla to the passenger side, placed her on the seat and buckled her in.
After making sure Kayla was comfortable, I walked to the driver side of my car and got in, only to find Kayla on a tiny cell phone finishing a call.
"I called my mom and told her about you, I told her you would drop me off later." Kayla said.
"Are you sure it's okay?" I asked.
"Yeah, my mom's pretty flexable with things like that." Kayla answered.
I just smiled and nodded to Kayla, then we began the journey to my house. Kayla and I talked the whole way home, finding out that we had a lot in common, we both liked the same music, the same movies, the same TV shows, everything.
When we got to my house, I took Kayla inside and introduced her to my parents, who treated her just as warmly as I expected they would, which made Kayla feel more at ease, though I noticed she still clinged to me a little.
I carried Kayla to my room and placed her on my bed, I put my backpack in the closet and kicked off my shoes, replacing them with my sandals which were easier on my feet. I turned to find Kayla laying on my bed sound asleep, I carefully pulled the covers over her and gently kissed her, letting her sleep.
About an hour later, I heard Kayla begin to stir as she woke up from her nap. I walked over to the bed and bent down beside her, she smiled up at me with the most adorable smile I'd ever seen, I knew it wasn't right for me to think of her as adorable, but she was so small, it was hard not to.
"Did you sleep well?" I asked.
"Yes I did John, I needed it, I had a rough day." Kayla replied.
"Good, I'm glad." I stood up to leave the room, when Kayla got my attention again.
"John? could you come here please?" Kayla asked.
"Sure, what do you need?" I asked.
Kayla then leaned over and put her little arms around me, it was one of those hugs where I couldn't help but pick her up and just wrap my arms around her, gently of course, it was then that I knew that being with Kayla just felt right.
After we shared the hug, Kayla and I looked into each other's eyes, then out of nowhere, she kissed me. It was one of those kisses that was so quick, that if I had blinked when she did it, I would have missed it.
I watched as Kayla's cheeks turned pink, she let out the cutest little giggle that just made me smile.
"What was that for?" I asked.
Kayla blushed more, "I.... I really like you John, you're a really sweet guy.... I just..... well....." she paused.
I could tell something was bothering her, don't ask me how I knew, but I knew. I rubbed her back softly and reassuringly.
"John, there's something you should know about me, something that's really important, so that when it happens, you'll be prepared." Kayla said.
"What is it sweetie?" I asked gently.
Kayla looked up at me, almost scared to tell me, "I'm.... I'm...." she paused again.
"It's okay Kayla, whatever it is you have to tell me, I promise you I won't think any less of you." I said softly.
Kayla finally blurted, "I'm not going to get any bigger, in fact.... I'm only going to get smaller..... I won't blame you if you want to leave me when it happens."
I just sat there in shock for a moment when I heard what she told me, then I looked at how sad Kayla was when she told me, and I could tell that she was very afraid of what would happen when she'd begin to get smaller.
I looked into Kayla's beautiful eyes, "Kayla, it doesn't matter to me how small you become, I'm never leaving you. You've already been through enough torture as it is, I won't let anyone else put you through any torment ever again."
Kayla looked up at me, "I'm scared John.... I don't want to be smaller, I'm already small enough!"
I carefully picked Kayla up, sat on my bed with her in my arms and just held her. I could only imagine how she felt being as small as she was now, but to think she would get even smaller, I knew she was terrified about the idea.
A few minutes later, my mom came in my room, "Kayla's mom called, she wants you to bring her home."
"Okay mom." I replied. I picked up Kayla's bag and carried her to my car to take her home, though what would surprise me even more, is what kind of home she lived in, I'd soon find out just how lonely Kayla felt when I'd see where she lived.
When we arrived at what I thought was Kayla's house, it turned out to be an orphanage, which caught me totally off guard. This place wasn't fit for any human being, much less someone like Kayla.
I no sooner took her to the door, that I got a view of what was inside. The place inside looked awful, the floors were absolutely filthy, there were spots where the ceiling had caved in, and on occasion, even a rat or two was spotted scurrying across the floor.
"Come with me Kayla, I can't leave you here." I told her.
I carried Kayla back to the car and got in, taking her back home with me, when I went in the house my mom was surprized to see me bringing Kayla back in.
"Weren't you supposed to drop Kayla off?" my mom asked.
"Mom, there is NO WAY I'm leaving her at the place I saw." I told her.
"What do you mean?" mom asked.
"It was an orphanage mom, an orphanage that shouldn't even be open, let alone still standing." I replied, "I couldn't leave her there, it wasn't safe."
"Kayla can't stay here forever John." my mom told me.
"Mom please." I begged, "You have to let me keep Kayla here, you have to let me take care of her!"
My mom sighed at first, but when she saw Kayla's face, I think it was then that she knew things were bad.
"I want to see this place for myself." my mom said.
I took Kayla and my mom back to the orphanage, when mom saw what I had described to her, all she could do was break into tears when she saw I wasn't lying. When we got home, I took Kayla inside, my mom however was now on a mission, to get that orphanage shut down.
Meanwhile, I had my own problems to deal with, because as I sat Kayla on my bed in my room, I watched as the girl I now loved, slowly began to shrink in size.
Kayla continued to shrink rapidly, until she stood only two inches tall, I knew she was going to shrink eventually, but not this quickly. I looked down at Kayla, who looked back up to me, scared to death.
I bent down in front of her, and as I did, she curled up into a ball, trembling, I knew right then and there that she was terrified.
"Don't worry Kayla." I whispered, "You're still safe here, I won't let anything or anyone hurt you." I kept my voice down as soft as I could.
Kayla finally uncurled, looking back to me, she walked up near my face and put a tiny hand on my lip, which I softly puckered as if giving her a small kiss, just to let her know she would be okay, I think that did the trick, because I finally coaxed a smile out of her.
I offered Kayla a hand, to which she quickly climbed onto. I lifted her up and stood, but cupped my hand to make sure she didn't fall, because at her current stature, falling from my hand would be frightening indeed.
I walked her out to the kitchen and placed her on the table, my mother was sitting at the table reading, and when she saw Kayla, her heart broke, my mother really liked Kayla and hated seeing what was happening to her.
"I called the department of social services." my mom told me.
"What did they say?" I asked.
"They told me that the building I described hadn't been in use in years, so it's more than likely that Kayla was just dropped there with no one to take care of her." mom replied.
Inside I could feel my anger boil up, how could anyone be so heartless as to leave Kayla like that? what did she ever do to deserve such cruel treatment?
"So, what's the next step?" I asked my mother.
"Well, we can apply for adoption to make Kayla our own, that's about the only option there is." mom answered.
"We have to do something." I told my mother, "Kayla is in a state right now where she can't survive on her own.... I want to be the one to take care of her."
"We'll do what we can." my mother told me. "I know how important Kayla is to you, I'll help you in any way I can."
I looked down to Kayla, she looked up at me and blushed, which made me smile. I offered her a hand to which she quickly climbed in. I took her back to my room so we could have some time alone. As we entered my room, I placed Kayla on my bed after laying down myself, though as I looked down to her, I could tell something was on her mind.
Kayla looked up to me sadly, I could tell something was either worrying or upsetting her.
"What will I do if your mother can't adopt me? I have nowhere to go! I'm too small to fend for myself!" Kayla squeaked.
"Don't worry." I whispered, "My mom has a way of convincing others to let us do things, we'll make sure you get to stay here."
Kayla walked up to the edge of the bed to let me pick her up, which I did very carefully. I lifted her to my chest, holding her delicately, I tried my best to comfort her in any way I could. Later, my mom came into the room.
"Son, child services just called, our application has been sent in to adopt Kayla, though we still have to wait a while before we find out if she's ours or not." mom said.
"I hope she can stay." I replied, "I don't want Kayla to go to anyone else, no one can take care of her the way I can."
"Well, that's not exactly in our power John." mom told me, "We have to do what they tell us."
I didn't say anything after that, mom knew how I felt about Kayla, she knew I loved her, I wasn't going to let her go to some stranger, not knowing if she'd be taken care of or not. A few minutes later, my mom came in with tears in her eyes.
"Mom? you okay?" I asked.
"Yes, she said, I'm fine.... your father's coming home from overseas, he's been on his way and will be here tomorrow!"
Now things were going to get interesting, but not in a bad way. My mom and dad are so happily married it's almost rediculous, my only worry is that my father didn't know about Kayla, which made me a little nervous in how he'd react.
Now, to explain a bit about my dad, he's in the military, though he's not one of those military dads that runs a tight ship, he's more like me, kind of an easy going, laid back guy, I don't think he'd have a problem with Kayla, though I do think she would surprize him, being as small as she is.
I looked down to Kayla, who seemed a little nervous.
"Your father is coming home?" she squeaked.
"Yes." I replied, "But he's very very nice Kayla, I just know he's going to love you as much as I do."
Kayla looked up at me and nodded, though she still seemed a bit nervous about meeting my dad. Little did we know, that the meeting between Kayla and my father, would go even better than any of us could ever expect.
The two days seemed to fly by, as it was now the day my father was to come home from overseas. My mom was going all over the place trying to get the house tidy for my dad's arrival, the look on her face was evident that she could hardly wait to see him.
I sat in my room with Kayla, who seemed a little nervous, I stroked her back with a finger to try to calm her, but I don't think it did much to ease her nerves.
"What if your father doesn't like me?" Kayla asked.
"He will." I whispered reassuringly, "If my mom likes you as much as she does, my father is going to love you."
Kayla looked up at me and nodded her head a little, though I could tell she just wasn't quite sure. About ten minutes later, there was a knock at the door, which to my surprise, made Kayla jump, she must have been a lot more nervous than I thought she was.
I heard my dad's voice downstairs, he shared a greeting with my mom, then I heard him ask where I was, followed by footsteps coming to my room. A few seconds later, dad walked in, and he looked just as I remembered him, he was 6'9" and a little heavier than I was, I weigh about 280, so that put him somewhere around 300 pounds.
Anyway, he walked in and grinned at me like he always does and we exchanged a handshake. We talked briefly about his time overseas, then I could see him looking around the room.
"Where's the girl your mother told me about?" my dad asked.
I pointed him over to my bed, then just watched the events unfold. To say that my father was amazed would be putting it mildly. He walked over to my bed, and at first just looked down at Kayla without bending down.
At first, Kayla tried going under the covers of my bed, but gave up once she found out how quickly my dad was able to find her again. She sat down on the bed next to where my dad had pushed the covers back, then my father got down to a less intimidating level for her.
I've known my father all my life, he's a pretty laid back guy, but I have never seen him act the way he did around Kayla. My dad gave her the warmest smile I'd ever seen, I've literally never seen my father act this way before in my life.
"Hello there angel." my dad whispered.
Kayla blushed about four shades of pink when my father spoke to her, even when I said things like that to her she would blush, but not the way she did when my father spoke to her. I watched as Kayla moved closer to my dad.
My father held out a hand to her, Kayla looked up at my father, as if asking if it was okay to step onto his hand, my father nodded softly to her and she climbed on. Without standing, my father brought her up to his eye level very slowly, getting a closer look at her.
"It's hard to believe that such a beautiful little lady has been treated so horribly." my father told me.
"I know." I replied, "She's been here with mom and I for a week now because she has no place to live."
My father looked at me, then back to Kayla, "As far as I'm concerned, Kayla's one of us now." he looked at me, "You take care of her son, don't let anything happen to her."
I nodded, "I won't dad, she already knows I'm here for her."
My dad turned his attention back to Kayla, who by now was blushing like crazy, it was pretty clear that my father adored her. He gave her a very soft kiss, then gently placed her back on the bed, giving her a wink as he stood back up.
My dad patted me on the shoulder, "I have to go unpack son, we'll chat later." he looked at Kayla, and as he left I heard him whisper, "I love you Kayla, welcome to our family."
Kayla was really blushing now, I went over to my bed where she was and knelt down before her. She looked up at me with the most bashful look I'd ever seen, I smiled at her warmly.
"My dad likes you." I whispered.
"Your dad is wonderful John." she replied bashfully, "He made me feel so loved, it was just like being with you..... I really hope the adoption works..... I don't want to leave here now."
I was hoping Kayla got her wish, because nothing would make me happier than to see Kayla happy, she certainly deserved it after all she had been through. Little did we know, that the happiness Kayla wanted more than anything, was right around the corner.
The next morning came awfully quick, and to my surprize, I was awakened by screams of happiness. I no sooner sat up in bed, that my mom came racing into my room, jumping around as if she had won the lottery.
"It's official!" my mother said happily.
"What is?" I asked.
"The adoption agency just called, Kayla is ours!"
I looked over to Kayla who was still sound asleep, she had stayed up pretty late the night before, so she was very tired, I didn't have the heart to wake her from what was obviously a very well needed rest.
"I'll give Kayla the news when she wakes up." I told mom.
My mother left the room, still squealing happily and jumping all around, it made me think to suggest that she decrease her caffiene intake. I looked back over to where Kayla was, to see her finally beginning to rise from her slumber.
"Good morning sweetie." I whispered.
Kayla looked up at me, and as usual, her cheeks turned a soft pink, I could tell she loved it when I spoke to her that way. I made my way over to her and offered her a hand, to which she quickly climbed onto.
"I have some news for you..... sister." I whispered.
Poor Kayla didn't catch on at first, looking at me confused.
"What?" she asked.
"I have some news for you." I told her.
"No no." she replied, "What did you call me?"
"I called you sister." I answered with a smile.
Kayla looked confused for a moment, but then all at once, it finally hit her, she became so overwhelmed with joy that she sat in my hand and cried happily, I just held her close to my chest, hugging her gently.
"It's official, you're one of us now." I whispered.
By this time my mom and dad had entered the room. My dad, who had taken a strong liking to Kayla, asked if he could hold her, I slid her carefully from my hand to his, I watched as she walked up and hugged my father's thumb, it was the cutest thing I'd ever seen.
"Welcome to the family princess." my father whispered to Kayla.
Kayla giggled cutely, still hugging into my father's thumb with every bit of strength she had, it was so wonderful to see her so much happier, now that she was with us, we were going to make certain that her happiness was top priority, Kayla was now one of us.