Warnings: Eh, fer cryin' out loud. I don't even have an excuse. Sorry for making you wait way too long. They've finally finished expanding/remodeling the library (and it looks amazing!), so maybe I can manage to force myself over there to write more often. The only warning I have for this chapter is that not nearly enough of consequence happens, and Kenny and Pip are far too conspiratorial.
Special thanks to Ciccialine for your help with the pricing. Wasn't planning on asking how you know, but it is about what I figured they would be.
Scarlet Wolf: Nope! Not dead! Just a very slow writer. And yes, more blondes. Always more blondes.
Everyone Else: Thanks for reading and reviewing, guys! Pff, "slut-Pip". I wondered how y'all would react to that.
I really am glad other people think this was a good idea. Remember, I always plan on continuing, even if it takes me a while.
Not So Naïve Anymore
Not much more of consequence happened before class, or for the rest of the day, for that matter. Oh, sure, throughout the morning I had people staring at us funny, or coming up to ask what was up. But not much else. Of course, from the moment I set foot in school, there was no more of that silly forgetting what had changed over the weekend. It was clear that something had to everyone around us, so how could I forget again? But at the same time, they very quickly went through the phases of acknowledging and accepting and moving on.
That was the thing with our school. Well, actually, same could be said of our whole town. Something huge could happen, and while they might react equally hugely at first, just a little bit later the people would just look back at it and say, "Eh, it's South Park. Crazy shit happens all the time." So, by the time lunch had even rolled around, it was already old news. Still, that didn't make lunch any less… different.
I made an entrance. I made an Entrance. With a capital "E". I've since made many, but at the time, that was my first one ever. Damn if I wasn't nervous as all heck.
Okay, so that might be a bit of an exaggeration. It's not like the entire cafeteria halted all movement and sound for me. Still, I did manage to turn heads where normally no one noticed me at all, so that was something.
Under Kenny's persuasion, I had arrived late to lunch, Sally and Kenny flanking me as I attempted confidence walking through the main double-doors. The other girls were already there, reserving a table, so we wouldn't have to waste any time looking for a place to sit.
We filtered through the food line and marched straight past the table with Cartman and everyone, where me and Kenny usually sat, to the table just beyond, where Mercedes was cheerfully waving us down (I think she even called out my name a couple times). Most of the other kids at our old table had gotten over the change from that morning and were unconcerned with the lunchtime change that came with it.
Kyle, Stan, Wendy, and Craig all simply spared us a glance and perhaps a nod and went on with their lunch. Cartman was furiously and obnoxiously ignoring us. Tweek was still staring at us as if the world was coming undone and we were the ones causing it. Clyde was too focused on his own issues to even notice that anything was different. Token, who hadn't seen me yet that day, but had likely heard, stared in surprise as if he hadn't expected to actually see the phenomenon in person. He quickly sobered though, as he doesn't like to poke his nose into other people's business. Quite the opposite of Bebe, who also stared openly at us. She watched in delight as we moved by, and as soon as we sat down, she jumped up, grabbed her food, and ran around their table to come sit at ours.
I settled down between Kenny and Sally, across from Porsche, Mercedes, and Lexus, beside whom Bebe had by then appeared. I could see the whole cafeteria from there, and as I glanced around the room, my eyes landed on a certain lonely looking British blond eating alone at a table on the outer edge.
I nudged Kenny on my left. "Tsk, go get him," I told him, point to Pip.
Following my gaze, he quickly understood what I meant and rose to do as I had asked with no more than a nod and a grin. I watched him cross the lunch room, and Pip looked up as he approached. Kenny leaned across his table in a familiar manner and looked to all the world to be flirting with the other, chatting him up. Pip soon flustered, cheeks coloring just a bit, but just as soon, he was smiling, nodding, gathering his things, standing, and following.
I, too, smiled at this success. If he was going to be part of this group, I wanted him to feel just as accepted as I had come to feel from it.
When they rejoined us, I greeted the British boy, and the girls all followed my lead. Except for Bebe, who tilted her head inquisitively at him, "Oh. Pip, too?"
"Yup!" Kenny declared, happily patting said boy on the back. "He's our newest recruit. We don't discriminate around here."
"That's right," I smiled. Catching Pip's eye, I added with a wink, "As long as you're any good, we'll keep you 'round."
He glanced away a little bashfully, "Well, I shall certainly try my best so that I might stay as long as I can." He paused, glanced back up at me, the carefully added with a shy, yet sly smile, "Daddy."
And our whole table went quiet.
I was completely flustered. I'm certain I was a tomato with a fish mouth. Kenny grinning wildly at me like that didn't help. Pip hid again by poking at his food with a bashful smirk and a bit of a blush covering his own face. Bebe must have been confused out of her mind, but I don't think anybody was going to help her out at that point, and I guess she could tell that because she didn't say anything either. The rest of the girls were content with tossing all kinds of small smiles and smirks and raised eyebrows and looks all over the table to convey what all of us "in the know" were thinking.
Eventually, when it was clear nobody was going to say anything about it, we all kind of just left it at that and focused instead on our food.
Finally, after a while, Kenny blurted out, as if the conversation had never stopped, "Well, okay, y'know, 'Daddy' doesn't really feel right, but it does bring up a good point. What should we call you? For that matter, Pip needs a nickname. And so does Bebe."
I looked up towards Kenny with a raised eyebrow and a "hm?" as Pip gave a very enthusiastic "oh, yes!" And very soon the conversation was in Pip and Kenny's hands. I believe I would call it "conspiring", what they were doing over there, right next to me. Among the excited whispering and giggling coming from my side, I did hear the words "daddy", "sugar", "bitches", and even my first name. It worried me, but I forced myself not to pay much attention to it. I kind of had to figure it would work itself out.
Meanwhile, Bebe was finally trying to figure out what was going on. I could hear her asking the girls on the other side of the table with her, "Nicknames? Why do we need nicknames?" And the girls trying to explain away some excuse without really giving anything away just yet, "Well, we just thought it would be cool! Y'know, have little nicknames that only we would use for each other, or something…" They weren't really doing a good job of that. But that was okay. I knew none of them really wanted to be the ones to tell her something like that. Besides, the school cafeteria wasn't exactly the best place, either.
So I sat back with my lunch and basked in being around the people who I had become close to so quickly; with whom I would likely be spending a very long time in even closer capacity than I could yet imagine.
A little while later, towards the end of our next class, I found out that I had been right to worry about the whole nickname thing. Seems Pip and Kenny had launched a plan to figure that out. It was Physics, and everyone from our little group except for Pip shared it with me. So when the teacher allowed us to group off and study/do homework for the last bit of the period, I was practically swarmed by the girls. I may not have forgotten what I had become, but it was still a shock to now be popular in a sense. I was usually left to myself at that time, but not today. I don't think Kenny would ever allow that again.
"Hey there, Lolli," Kenny grinned at me like he was playing a prank and trying not to laugh. And kind of failing. At both.
"W-what?" It was almost less of a question and more of a demand that left my lips. I was not a lolli.
"Me and Pip are just trying some things out, see if they work. We figure this'll help us figure out what to call you."
"Rriight. Well, it's not gonna be 'Lolli'. I get that ya can't call me 'Butters', but c'mon."
"Alright, alright," Kenny held up his hands in surrender. "Not 'Lolli'. Sugar?"
I sighed and rolled my eyes.
"Fine. Yes, I'm kidding. Gawd."
"Look, can we just… not do this right now? This is gonna be a long rest of the class if you keep this up the whole time," I told him, and we managed to get to the end of the period with only a few more "suggestions".
I don't remember everything those two came up within the next few days in their quest, but none of them were the answer. By the time we all met up again on Wednesday, I had been called so many ridiculous things, it was... ridiculous. Most of which were met with a general, resounding, "No. Absolutely not."
Let's see, Buttercup and Buttman, which were supposed to be derivatives of my name. Clueless, which, okay, I see that they were trying to be ironic there, but nobody's gonna get that. Crazy Eight got thrown in at some point, I know, which literally had nothing to do with anything, and really just made me further question the sanity of my staff. Marjorine and Professor Chaos even came up, but of course, I was trying to create a new persona, not revert to an old comfort zone, so that got them nowhere. And so, so many more.
Finally Wednesday afternoon had arrived, and Kenny and Pip had nearly exhausted their supply of horrible nicknames. The three of us had caught a ride in Lexus's Miata, while the rest of the girls went in Porsche's car to meet us there.
Basically, by this point, those two conspiring blonds weren't paying attention to a whole lot more than staying attached to me while spouting out "ideas". They perched in the non-seat space of the car behind Lexus and myself, leaning down on the shoulders of the seats.
They were going through a food-themed list now, and it still wasn't really working.
"Ooh! White Chocolate!"
"Kenny, what in the hell kind of name is that. You know you're not actually going to call anyone that."
"He's got a point. How about Cherry?"
"Pip, that is a girl's name."
"Do I strike you as a berry? Like, I mean, I gueeeess. Sounds too much like Barry, with an 'a', though."
"Kenny, why is it that you can't seem to come up with anything anyone would use as a name?"
"That's… not really any better, Pip. I appreciate the effort, though."
"Peaches 'n Cream."
"Kenny. No. Bad Kitty."
"Okay, Pip? You're not doing any better than Kenny now."
"Will you guys get off the fruit thing already?"
"Heh, no, not really."
"How about Lemon?"
"That's still a fruit. Better, but still fruit."
We piled out of her car and into Kenny's bedroom. The blonds kept going, but I began tuning them out again at that point. I took my seat in the middle of Kenny's bed as he flopped behind me. Lexus took the desk chair, and Pip perched on the edge of the bed. I crossed my legs as I pulled out the notebook, now accompanied by a folder.
I paused then. Suddenly, I turned to Kenny, "Wait, what was that?"
"What, Soy?" he asked incredulously.
"No, no. Before that."
"Yes, that one! I like that one."
"My Vanilla Pimp," Lexus said, trying it out. "I like it."
"Right," I was glad to finally put an end to that. "So, no more spreading Butters—" Kenny interrupted with a loud snort. I gave him a blank look and continued, "There was too much risk of that leading back to me outside of the underground, anyway. Not to encourage your incorrigibleness, but that was a good idea, to come up with something different, that nobody else knows me by."
Kenny and Pip beamed.
"So…" We were still waiting for the others, and I wasn't really sure where to go from there. I looked back down at the notebook.
"Oh!" Lexus interjected into the silence, "Our schedules! Here. All three of us have the same hours, and it doesn't usually change much," she handed me a slip of paper.
I examined it, and cringed. I bit my lip and looked up at her, "You all work all night, Friday and Saturday?"
I heard Kenny hiss behind me.
Lexus looked kind of sheepish as she answered, "Y-yeah, sorry. Those are the busiest times over there."
I sighed, "Yeah, I know. Which is why they're also the busiest times on the streets… but I get it, it's fine," I assured, shaking my head slightly. "We can work around that. Y'all can work the weeknights, I'll just make sure everyone else is out there on the weekends."
"Oh my gosh, thank you, Butters! I'm so sorry!" Lexus exclaimed. I smiled at her. She meant well.
"Are you fucking kidding me?!" We looked to the room's exit as a shocked voice filtered in, and the rest of our group followed it in through the door. Apparently someone had finally figured out how to tell Bebe what exactly was going on over here. She met my eyes, and I raised my eyebrows at her. "You! Is it true? What's going on here?"
"Um…" I said brilliantly. "W-well, I can only assume that they told you the truth, so… yes?"
"For serious?! You're their pimp?!"
"Um… aheh… yup," I could only smile sheepishly at her.
But it turned out it wasn't so bad. The only thing she said at first was, "huh," before she dropped her bag distractedly onto the floor, and sank heavily into the first available seating she could find, which I guess was the end of the bed. She kind of zoned out there for a while, and we let her.
Without her, we went ahead and updated everyone on the "Vanilla Pimp" business, took care of scheduling and info, went over a few reminders and such, and basically wrapped up the entire meeting. Not too long after, and the rest of the girls were heading home. I asked Sally to hang around to help me and Kenny deal with Bebe, but otherwise, the main business had been taken care of. Now we just needed to console one more shocked blonde.