It was just another lazy summer morning in Danville, and Phineas and Ferb were sitting against the tree in their backyard, trying to think up their next big idea.
"You know what they should give a Nobel Prize for?" Phineas asked, looking over toward Ferb. "They should give one to the person who made the most people have fun over the last year! I wonder if they'd give the first one to Clive Addison?"
As Ferb opened his mouth to reply, Isabella walked over, a cheerful smile on her face.
"Hi, Phineas! Whatcha dooooooin'?"
"We haven't figured it out yet," replied Phineas, rubbing his chin. "I'm sure it'll come to us soon. I did have an idea for a new Nobel Prize category, but that's not something that can really be built."
"Well, me and my mom are going to the annual Danville Mother-Daughter Swap Meet today," said Isabella.
"Oh, that thing they do downtown where they set up a whole bunch of little shops and all the moms in town bring their daughters to buy and trade and sell all kinds of different cool stuff?" replied Phineas.
"Yeah, that!" Isabella said with a smile, before the look on her face turned a bit sad. "Last year's wasn't so fun because there was this one thing my mom really wanted to find and we spent the whole time trying to find this one thing. I didn't get to have any fun at all or buy anything I wanted, and we didn't even find the thing my mom wanted."
"Awww," said Phineas sympathetically. "If only there were some way to find out instantly who had what your mom wanted and who was willing to take something for it that your mom was willing to give up, then… hey! That gives me an idea! Ferb, I know what we're gonna do today!"
"Cool!" replied Isabella. "Is your mom going with Candace to the swap meet today?"
"I think I heard mom say she wasn't going," said Phineas.
"Well, if you need a ride there you guys could come with my mom and me," Isabella replied. "I bet you could even find some of the things you need for your idea at the swap meet!"
"Actually, we were gonna take one of the vehicles we keep in our secret garage underneath the backyard, but going with you and your mom is cool too," said Phineas cheerfully as he and Ferb followed Isabella to her mother's car.
"Great! We'll grab breakfast on the way!" Isabella replied. "And I get to ride in a car next to Phineas! Yay!"
"Hey…" said Phineas, stopping for a moment. "Where's Perry?"
The family's pet platypus was still sleeping next to the tree, having been given a very rare day off.
"Oh, there he is," said Phineas with a smile. "Okay, let's go!"
Upstairs in her room, Candace had just finished getting dressed and was already thinking about the one thing that had been on her mind for the majority of the summer… busting her brothers Phineas and Ferb.
"I just know they're up to something today, they're probably already building it in the backyard!" Candace said to herself, laughing as she rubbed her hands together. She went over to the window and looked out, but the backyard was totally empty with no sign of Phineas or Ferb in sight. "Huh? They're already gone? They must be over at Baljeet's house or maybe at the Fireside Girls lodge with Isabella…"
Candace turned away from the window with a sneer, her mind racing with ideas.
"Maybe I'll get a head start and go get mom right away! I'll drag her all over town and I'm sure we'll bump into those two somewhere! And when we do they are gonna be soooooooo busted!"
Just then, Candace could hear her cell phone ring. She ran over and picked it up, seeing her friend Stacy's name on the caller ID.
"Huh? Stacy? Hmmm…. Maybe she wants to meet up for breakfast or something," said Candace, answering her phone. "Yeah, Stace?"
"Hey Candace, just calling to see if you and your mom were gonna be at the Mother-Daughter Swap Meet today."
"What? Oh, that's right…!" In all of Candace's ruminations about busting her brothers, the fact that the Mother-Daughter Swap Meet was going on that day had slipped her mind. She'd been going with her mother ever since she'd turned three, she loved spending time with her mom and shopping for weird trinkets and interesting pieces of clothing and jewelry. Plus, her best friend Stacy was always there, so that was another huge plus. "I was kind of caught up in thinking about how I was gonna bust my brothers."
"Of course you were," said Stacy, rolling her eyes even though Candace couldn't see it over the phone. "Maybe you could take the day off from trying to bust them?"
"Knowing those two they'll probably be there pulling something," said Candace with a groan.
"Well, try not to think about them, okay? I'll see you guys there!"
Candace put down the phone and let out a sigh. She did want to bust Phineas and Ferb, but she also knew that her obsession had put a strain on her relationship with her mother, and this was one of the few times they'd get to spend the day together doing something they both liked.
"I guess the swap meet WILL take my mind off of them…" thought Candace as she ran downstairs to the kitchen, where her mother was finishing up breakfast. "Hey mom?"
Linda turned around and smiled at her daughter, who didn't seem to be in the hyperactive, high-strung mood she was usually in. She was putting some scrambled eggs on a plate as Candace began to speak.
"Mom, after breakfast we're going to the mother-daughter swap meet downtown, right?"
Linda's expression grew a bit heavy as she set the plate down on a table and began pouring some orange juice.
"Honey, I think it'd be best if we didn't go to the swap meet this year."
"What?" Candace replied in a very bewildered tone. "But you love going to the swap meet, it's soooo much fun and-"
"And I can't really take you anywhere considering how you've been acting this summer," replied Linda somewhat sternly. "Every single time we go out, you can't seem to keep your mind off what your brothers are doing. Wherever we go, it's 'mom!' this and 'mom!' that, and 'look what Phineas and Ferb are doing!'. I'm tired of it, Candace. I do love you but if you're going to keep embarrassing us both in public, we really can't do anything like this together anymore."
"Oh come on…!" Candace pleaded. "I don't embarrass us ALL the time."
"You remember the grocery store at the very start of the summer, when you kept trying to tell me that the boys were building a roller coaster?"
"But mom, they-"
"And the time you dragged me all the way home and put me on that silly television show with the crazy 'busting' lady?"
"But Phineas and Ferb really-"
"And even under the threat of the Pharoah's curse, you still couldn't keep from trying to convince me that your brothers were up to something. There's no way we're going to that swap meet, especially since Phineas and Ferb asked Mrs. Garcia-Shapiro to take them. With them there you're going to be thinking about them and driving me crazy all day. I just can't trust you, Candace."
Candace's face melted into a gloomy glower. She let out a loud sigh as her mother finished preparing breakfast, realizing that she had indeed ruined many of their outings with her constant pleas to get her mother to notice Phineas and Ferb, even if they really were up to something. But still, she desperately wanted to go to the swap meet, and even more, she wanted to do it with her mother, who she felt as if she was growing apart from over the course of the summer.
"Mom… I… I'm really sorry… I just…" Candace stammered, on the verge of tears. "I just… I can't help myself! Whenever I think about what they're up to I just have to tell SOMEONE who can stop them and that someone is you! I can't get them out of my mind, it's like a compulsion or something!"
"I know, dear, it's okay," Linda replied.
"No, it's not! I need help, mom, I don't know what to DO! I don't want to stop thinking about them but if it's going to ruin our big day then I… I just… I just can't restrain myself from trying to bust them! But… but I'll do anything to stop, anything if it means we can have one peaceful day together! I promise, just help me!"
Linda looked and could see the sincerity and desperation on her daughter's face… but Candace had done this before, and every single time, she'd broken her promise to not think about or try to bust the boys. Clearly, she was going to need some help if the two were going to have a truly peaceful and fun day at the swap meet. She thought about it for a moment, then came up with something.
"Hmmm… okay, Candace, meet me downstairs after breakfast," said Linda. "I think I have a solution to our mutual problem."
"Great! And then we can go to the swap meet?" asked Candace, sitting down at the table.
"Yes, but on my terms," Linda replied. "Lawrence, honey, breakfast is ready!"
As the Flynn-Fletcher family sat down to eat, Candace couldn't help but wonder what her mom had in store.
"I just hope this works," Linda thought to herself. "Knowing Candace, she'll probably find a way to complain regardless… but still, this SHOULD give us both some peace and quiet for the day."
Candace went down to the basement and could see her mother standing next to a metal handtruck. Curiously, the handtruck had leather straps attached to the sides.
"So mom, what did you come up with?" Candace asked curiously, eyeing the handtruck for a moment.
"Well, honey, when you said that you couldn't 'restrain' yourself from bugging me about your brothers, you gave me an idea," said Linda. She fished around in a nearby trunk for a moment. "Ah, here it is."
When Linda looked back up, she was holding a straitjacket in her hands. Candace looked over at the straitjacket and began to realize exactly what her mother had in store.
"Um…. you're going to put me in that thing?" asked Candace, her eyes going wide for a moment. "Is that really necessary?"
"Desperate times call for desperate measures," said Linda, walking over to Candace with the straitjacket in hand. "It's kind of hot out there, so you might want to strip down before I put this on you."
Candace nervously began to remove her clothing, first her red top, then her skirt, and then her shoes and socks, leaving her in just a pink bra and a pair of pink panties. She felt a chill from the cold basement air and put her arms across her chest in an attempt to get warm.
"Where'd you even get that thing?" Candace asked, pointing at the jacket. "You weren't… planning to call the mental hospital on me at some point were you?"
"Oh no, dear, though the thought's crossed my mind once or twice," said Linda, mostly joking. "Actually, I wore this as part of a magic act your father and I put on for a few years after getting married. Just a hobby sort of thing, he'd play this cackling, maniacal crazy person and I'd play the helpless maiden trying to escape. Of course, he never cinched this thing up all the way, otherwise I'd have never been able to get out."
"Wow, mom, that's actually kinda cool," said Candace, allowing herself a bit of a smile. She extended her arms as her mother went to put the jacket on her, though she was still a bit unsure about all of this. "So… you're going to wheel me around town like this in front of everyone? …that's just gonna make everyone think I'm crazy!"
"Everyone in town kind of does already think you're crazy, Candace," said Linda, putting the jacket on her daughter and crossing Candace's arms in it before beginning to tie on the straps. The jacket even had a crotch strap that covered up Candace's panties, and of course served to make the jacket even tighter on the suddenly helpless girl. Candace let out a sigh at her mother's remark, though she supposed she only had herself to blame, acting out all those times in public.
"Even though I really WAS telling the truth about Phineas and Ferb this whole time!" thought Candace, looking back and forth as her mother tightened up the straps on the jacket. It felt extremely constricting, with no give whatsoever… clearly Linda had no intention of letting her daughter escape. "Wow… I can't move my arms at all."
"That's the idea, honey," Linda replied. "By the way, you did use the bathroom before you came down here, right?"
"Yeah," said Candace, who realized she was going to be tied up like this for quite a while and was suddenly glad she'd left her orange juice glass half-full.
"Good… it's not too tight, is it?"
"No, actually it's kinda comfy," Candace remarked, noticing how soft the inner fabric of the jacket felt on her, even as it totally kept her arms from moving. She shifted her body in it but there was still no give, and she felt the crotch strap give just a tiny tug as she fought her bonds, her arms anchored in place. "It almost feels like a nice tight hug! …like a hug from Jeremy…"
Candace closed her eyes and smiled, letting out a sigh as her mother gently took her over to the handtruck and began strapping Candace down. She put one of the straps around her body before taking the other two straps and tightening them around Candace's thighs and ankles respectively, securing them in place and making her body totally immobile.
"Now that you're all strapped in, you've got nowhere to go but with me," said Linda, briefly pushing the handtruck back and forth. The wheels made it quite easy for Linda to push her light, slender daughter around at a comfortable pace. "I don't think you'll be chasing after Phineas and Ferb today."
"Yeah, that problem is solved!" said Candace excitedly. "So can we go now?"
"Not quite yet," said Linda, turning back to the trunk and fishing around in it some more.
"Huh?" asked Candace, trying to look back and see what her mother was doing. "What else can she do, I'm already totally helpless here!"
"Even if you can't run around looking for your brothers, you might still try to yell at me if you see them, so I'm going to make sure you're nice and quiet during our trip."
Linda walked over, holding a red ball with a leather strap attached to it. Candace had never actually seen a ballgag in person before, but she had an idea what her mother was going to do with the object she'd just picked out.
"Ohhh…." said Candace, looking a bit distressed. "Right."
"Now Candace, once I put this on you I'm not going to be letting you free no matter what you do, so I'm giving you one last chance to back out and we can stay home today. Do you still want to go to the swap meet with me or not?"
Candace was somewhat nervous at the prospect of being completely tied down and gagged for a whole day, but she also knew that this would be the only way to have a nice quiet day with her mother… and again, she'd only done this to herself by being so annoying and high-strung the whole summer.
"Yeah, I still do," said Candace. Her mother leaned forward, and Candace opened her mouth. "This is going to be interesting…"
Linda gently pushed the ballgag into Candace's mouth, strapping it tightly but gently behind her daughter's head. The gag was a nice snug fit, filling Candace's mouth quite well but not poking out or pushing past her teeth. It was the perfect fit, actually, and as Candace bit into the hard rubber, she couldn't help but notice how comfortable it felt to have the gag in, even though it was keeping her lips and teeth spread somewhat apart. The strap was tight but didn't cut into her face, and Linda looked carefully to ensure her daughter was as comfortable as she could be.
"Is it okay?" asked Linda. "Your jaw isn't hurting, is it dear?"
"Nmm-mm," Candace replied, shaking her head.
"Okay, I want to see if the gag works. Try to yell as loud as you can, act like you do when you think you see Phineas and Ferb doing something and you want to bust them."
Candace nodded and conjured up a memory of one of her brothers' recent schemes. She took a deep breath and then, at the top of her lungs, yelled as loud as she could.
"MMMMMMMM! MMMMMMMM! MMMMMMMMMMM! MOM! MOM! MOOOOOOOMMM!" screamed Candace, her muted muffles and stifled shrieks still audible but definitely not loud enough to escape the room or disrupt Linda's train of thought. "Wow, this thing does work, I can barely hear myself!"
"Looks like we're good to go then," said Linda, wheeling her daughter out of the room and being very careful when pulling her up the basement stairs. "Honey, Candace and I are going to the swap meet, we'll be back tonight!"
"Have fun!" Lawrence called from the other room.
"Oh, don't worry, we definitely will," Linda replied, looking down at Candace and smiling. "Won't we?"
"Mm-hmm," said Candace with a nod. "I just hope that this isn't totally humiliating… well, it will be, but at least my mom and me are getting to spend the day together! And I won't be worrying about Phineas and Ferb! Not one little bit!"
The two rode to the swap meet with Candace's handtruck lying across the back seat of the car, Linda making sure to use the seatbelts to strap it in extra tight. Once the two arrived, Linda wheeled Candace out of the car and looked down the street toward the main thoroughfare of Danville, which had been roped off for the swap meet. Dozens of tents filled with vendors and traders were lining the street, and thousands of people, mostly mothers and daughters but a few assorted men and boys, were milling about between the various tents. Candace looked around and noticed a few people staring at her and her mother, but considering her public displays and the fact that by now, most of the town thought she was 'that crazy girl', the sight of her strapped down to a handtruck didn't draw too many surprised looks.
"See, honey? Nobody's staring at you," said Linda with a smile. "We'll have lots of fun and I promise I'll let you pick out some things you want to buy."
"Mmph? Hmm mm smmpmmpgh tmm….?"
"I can recognize your body language and I can ask you yes or no. It'll be like playing 20 Questions! Oh, your father and I used to play that game all the time…"
"Mmmphh…" groaned Candace, looking back and forth between the different tents. "Maybe this WASN'T such a good idea…"
As the two made their way to the first vendor, Candace could see three children heading her way. She recognized them immediately.
"Phineas and Ferb…? And Isabella… oh geez, here we go."
"Hey mom! Hey Candace!" said Phineas, suddenly noticing the situation his big sister was in. "Uh… Candace, is this some kinda game you guys are playing to see if you can escape before the end of the day?"
"Ooh, that looks like fun!" Isabella replied. "And it counts toward the Escape Artist patch!"
"Actually, kids, Candace agreed to spend the day like this so she wouldn't bother you boys during the swap meet," Linda said.
"Grrmmph…" groaned Candace, her head slumping a bit.
"I'm going to go look at some things and you can spend a couple minutes with the boys, okay, Candace?" said Linda, walking over to one of the tables inside the tent where some interesting Native American crochet art was laid out. Candace continued looking at Phineas and Ferb, before realizing that the more she saw them, the more she got the irresistible urge to bust them. She closed her eyes tightly, trying to drive all thoughts of the boys out of her head.
"You're not going to bust them today! Even if you WANTED to bust them, you couldn't! So don't even think about busting them! You hear me, Candace? Don't even think about BUST 'EM BUST 'EM BUST 'EM AAAAAAAAAAARGH!"
"Oh, I know!" said Isabella. "This would be a great time to test out that thing you made!"
"Oh, right!" Phineas said, holding up a helmet to which numerous wires were connected. "This device can read a person's innermost desires and come up with the perfect thing that they want to buy! You won't need to say anything, Candace, soon I'll be able to tell exactly what it is that you want!"
Suddenly, Phineas placed the helmet on Candace's head. Candace's eyes snapped open and the helmet began to glow brightly, numerous arcs of electricity travelling between the wires as the device probed Candace's thoughts.
"What the?" Candace thought, looking up at the helmet. "Whmm mmrr ymm dmmn?"
"Don't worry, it'll just take a few seconds! Soon your thoughts will be compared to the thoughts of millions of people from around the world and we'll know exactly what you want, who has what you want, and what they want for that thing! This'll be the best swap meet ever, huh?"
"Mmmphhh!" Candace squealed, before suddenly realizing that the big, sparking helmet on her head was the perfect evidence she needed to bust Phineas and Ferb. "…mmmm! MMMM! MMMMMM! Cmm smm whmmph Phmmmns mmm Fmmrr mmr dmmng! MMMMMMMMMM!"
"Oh, how much is this?" Linda asked the nearby vendor, totally unable to hear the muffled yells of her daughter Candace behind her as she held up a large dreamcatcher.
"MMMMMMM!" shrieked Candace again, jerking against her bonds.
"Wow, she's thinking about what she wants so much she can barely contain her excitement!" said Phineas, taking the helmet off Candace's head. "Don't worry Candace, soon you'll have that limited edition Ducky Momo holographic trading card in your hands! There's a guy in France who only wants four bucks for it!"
The three kids walked away just as Linda turned around, holding up her newly purchased dreamcatcher.
"Look, Candace, isn't it pretty?"
Candace's right eye was twitching violently as the restrained redhead bit down hard into her ballgag.
"Mmmmphh mmrrrph..." Candace grunted, realizing the one good thing about having that ballgag in… she could swear all she wanted and her mother couldn't understand a thing.
"Oh… did you want one too?"
Candace bowed her head, letting out a big sigh.
"Don't worry, I promise we'll go to every single tent so you'll be able to buy exactly what you want today," said Linda, smiling as she wheeled Candace out of the tent they were in. "Just relax until then, we're trying to have a good time, remember?"
Candace nodded meekly, redoubling her efforts to keep Phineas and Ferb out of her mind.
"So they ARE up to something today. Big deal… I can't bust them and even if I could, it'd probably just vanish! Come on, Candace, you can do it! You have to do it! Just try to have a good day with your mom… just one good quiet day!"
Candace calmed herself as Linda pushed her around to the next few tents. The two didn't find much of interest, Linda found a few old video games for Phineas and Ferb but that was about it. The two went to another tent that had a large rack of CDs, and Linda carefully thumbed through them while making sure Candace got a good look at every single one.
"Want this one?" asked Linda, showing one of the CD covers to Candace.
"Nmmph," Candace replied, shaking her head. It was a bit of a tedious process, but Candace really did appreciate how her mother thumbed through every single one, wanting to make sure Candace had just as much fun as she was having despite her restrained condition. "I'm just worried that if I get too bored I'll start thinking about Phineas and Ferb again!"
Linda read Candace's body language carefully, smiling at the slightly different reactions her daughter gave to the CDs even as she refused each one. She particularly noted Candace's intrigued reaction to one of the CDs, despite her ultimately saying no to wanting it as well. Linda looked the CD over.
"You know, Candace, even though this one does have a parental advisory sticker on it, you shouldn't be embarrassed to say if you want it," said Linda with a smirk. "You're sixteen now, and you're a pretty well-adjusted girl… most of the time. I wouldn't mind you getting a CD with naughty lyrics on it as long as you didn't blare it throughout the house or anything."
"Mom, it's a hardcore gangster rap CD, I hate that music, I was just kind of interested in the cover," thought Candace, who of course couldn't currently convey those intricate thoughts in her current state. "I appreciate you saying it's okay to listen to that kind of music though…"
Linda saw her daughter's attempt at a smile and replied in kind before putting the CD back in the box with the others. She seemed to comprehend what her daughter was thinking, and for the first time in quite a while, she was glad to have this kind of moment with her.
"You know, we haven't really gotten to talk much this summer," said Linda. "And now that you're not screaming at me about your brothers, I feel like we can finally have a nice conversation… even if you've got a rubber ball strapped in your mouth."
"Mmmphh…hmhm…" Candace giggled a bit at her mother's remark as she was wheeled out of the tent. The sun felt warm on her bare legs and feet, and even the thick straitjacket could breathe enough to allow some of the breeze in and keep her from overheating. "This is really nice… it's a bright sunny day, I don't even have to move my legs, and I'm getting to spend time with my mom! Who needs busting, this beats busting any old day!"
Out of the corner of her eye, Candace could see Phineas, Ferb, and Isabella with a large crowd of people around them. Every few seconds, someone would come up and Isabella would put the sparking helmet on their head, while Phineas and Ferb studied the readout and began calculating where that person might find the object of their desire. Candace wasn't the only one to notice the crowd.
"Oh, I wonder what's going on over there?" Linda said, peering over. Phineas and Ferb were just out of her line of sight, rendering her unable to see what her sons were doing. "Candace, want to go over and check it out?"
"Hmm?" said Candace, surprised at the sudden turn of events. "This is my lucky day! I don't even have to run and get mom, she's walking right into Phineas and Ferb's scheme! This is AWESOME!"
Candace began nodding rapidly.
"Ymms! Ymms! Ymms! Mmhmm, mm-hmm!"
"Well, I guess that's a yes! Let's go!"
Candace couldn't contain her laughter as Linda wheeled her over to the crowd. Linda noticed her daughter's muffled laughing, stopping for a moment.
"Dear, what's so funny? Is some of the grass tickling your feet?" asked Linda, looking down at the ground.
"Mm-mm!" Candace yelled, shaking her head. "Mom, come on! They're right over-"
"Linda?" came a voice from nearby. Linda turned to see Dr. Hirano and her daughter Stacy walking over. "How are you doing today? And um… why is your daughter-"
"I'm trying to keep her from bothering me about Phineas and Ferb today," said Linda, understanding Dr. Hirano's concern. "She agreed to be strapped down like this before we came, I know it's pretty extreme but it's the only way to keep her from trying to 'bust' them."
"Oh, I know ALL about that," said Dr. Hirano with a smile. Candace's eyes went wide as she saw her mother and Dr. Hirano turn and begin walking together, totally avoiding the crowd around Phineas and Ferb.
"Mmm, nmmm! Mom, no!" Candace shouted, desperately gesturing toward the crowd. "Phmmmns mm Frrr, rmmt thrr! MMMMMM! MMMMMMM!"
"Wow," Stacy said, pacing around her restrained friend. "You must've really cheesed your mom off for her to do this."
"Stmmmcy, ymmm hmmf tmmm nnnmmm mmm! Phmms mmm Frrr mmr mmmvrr thmmm, mmm gtmm bmmf thmm! Stacy, you have to untie me! Phineas and Ferb are right over there, I gotta bust them!"
"You know, sometimes I kinda thought of doing this to you myself," said Stacy with a smirk, placing a hand on her friend's shoulder. "I mean, don't get me wrong, I love you and all, but when you're always trying to bust your brothers or thinking about Jeremy, I kinda thought about taping you up a few times."
"Yeah, maybe we could make a game of it! I've got this pink duct tape in my room that would totally look cute on us and we'd see who could escape fastest! Or maybe I could ask your brothers to make a machine to tape us BOTH up and we could pretend to be captured and it'd be super fun!"
Candace looked over at where Phineas and Ferb had been standing, but the crowd had already dispersed and her brothers were gone. She let out another sigh.
"Well, anyway, try to have fun, okay?" asked Stacy, playfully wheeling Candace around for a few seconds. "Hey, THIS is pretty fun! Wanna see how fast I can push you around the block?"
"Mmmph…" Candace smiled at her friend as best she could, blushing a bit as she tugged at her straitjacket. "Yeah sure, go ahead, Stacy."
"Is that a yes?" asked Stacy, smiling eagerly. Candace happily nodded. "Cool, here we go!"
Stacy began pushing Candace down the street, weaving inbetween groups of people as she took the handtruck around as fast as it would go. Candace could feel the breeze on her face and on her legs, letting out a few frightened squeals as Stacy had a couple of near-collisions with the crowd.
"Don't worry, you can trust me, okay Candace?" Stacy said, continuing to push her best friend down the street. "I totally have to let you do this to me sometime!"
Candace couldn't help but enjoy being pushed around at high speeds like this, especially hearing the gleeful laughter of her best friend behind her. She too began to laugh and squeal as she was pushed about, throwing caution to the wind and feeling her hair blow back from her face. After several minutes, Stacy finally pushed Candace back to where they'd begun, and could see both of their mothers waiting for them.
"I was wondering where you two had gotten off to," said Linda, smirking at the two girls. "I'm surprised you didn't ask her to untie you, Candace."
"Well, she sort of couldn't," Stacy replied. "Besides, I know you guys made a deal and stuff."
"I'm proud of you," Dr. Hirano told Candace. "Letting your mother help you so the two of you could go to the swap meet together. I'm sure this is a very big sacrifice for you."
"Mmmphh…" grunted Candace, rolling her eyes again.
"See you later, okay Candace?" said Stacy, waving back at her friend as she and her mother walked away. Candace nodded in reply, then grunted as Linda wheeled her back around.
"I think it's just about lunch time, don't you think so?" Linda asked her daughter, wheeling Candace over to one of the food tents. "Let's see… you like hamburgers, right? I can tell your mouth is watering, you've got some um… drool, honey."
Candace grunted a bit, noticing a thin stream of saliva escaping her mouth behind the ballgag. Linda giggled before helpfully reaching up to wipe it away with her blouse.
"Mmmphh…! Thmms mm smm mmbrrssmm! Mom! This is so embarrassing!"
"There we go, all gone. Now what say we do lunch?"
"Hrrrmmmphh!" grunted Candace.
"I know, you can't very well eat with that thing in your mouth," said Linda. "I'll order our food and then I'll feed you. Sound good?"
"Mm-hmm…" said Candace, a bit embarrassed about having to be fed by her mother in public. "Guess this is just part of the deal…"
Linda ordered their food and the two got ready to eat, with Linda sitting down and placing Candace's handtruck next to her.
"Now even though I'm taking out the gag, you're not to say anything, okay dear? Resist the temptation to try and tell me about something your brothers might be doing, just relax and enjoy the meal, okay?"
Candace rolled her eyes and nodded.
"Yeah yeah, let's get this over and done with..." thought Candace, who breathed a slight sigh of relief as the ballgag was removed. She could feel her mother gently lifting the hamburger up to her mouth, and she took a nice big bite. "Oh, this is pretty good!"
A few more bites, a few fries, and a few sips of pop later and Candace was feeling pretty good, with a full belly and a sense of detachment from the situation, not caring that her mother was feeding her in public, and definitely not caring about what Phineas and Ferb were doing.
"Okay, now we just need to set up everything to have everyone flown in…"
Candace looked across the food tent and could see Phineas, Ferb, and Isabella sitting with several computers around them. The two were having lunch while chatting with some helicopter pilots who they'd hired to have people brought in from all over the world to conduct the trades that had been set up.
"I'm glad we were able to hire all these pilots," said Isabella.
"Yeah! And who knew they all would agree to work for Fireside Girl cookies?" Phineas commented.
"I'm just glad Addyson and Gretchen were able to bake so many cookies on such short notice," said Isabella, bringing the pilots over to a large truck that had pulled up with thousands of freshly-made Fireside Girls cookies loaded in the back.
Of course, Linda had her back to all of this as she was feeding Candace.
"I… I have to bust them!" thought Candace, her eyes wide as she looked at the scene playing out behind her, with dozens of helicopter pilots suiting up and grabbing boxes of Fireside Girl cookies as Phineas and Ferb charted out their flightplans on the nearby computers. "Mom, you- mmphh!"
Candace was instantly cut off as Linda shoved another bite of hamburger into her mouth. Candace quickly swallowed the bite and opened her mouth to yell again.
Linda jammed another bite of hamburger into Candace's mouth and tightly covered it with her hand.
"Honey, you remember the deal we made?" said Linda, keeping her hand clamped over Candace's mouth. "Now chew your food, don't swallow it so fast this time, if you swallow before chewing at least thirty times I'm not letting you eat anymore."
Candace chewed as quickly as she could, frantically trying to finish her bite before the evidence of her brothers' deeds once again disappeared. Finally, she counted off thirty bites and could feel her mother's hand leaving her mouth.
"Good," said Linda.
"Mom, I- nmm!" Another bite of hamburger went in, and Candace once again felt her mother's soft hand clamp down firmly over her lips. "Nmmm!"
"Come on, Ferb, let's get everyone ready to get their stuff," said Phineas, quickly dispersing with Ferb and Isabella. Candace frantically began chewing again but by the time she finished, her brothers were already gone.
"There we go," Linda said, once again taking her hand off Candace's mouth. "All done, should I order another one?"
"I'm not hungry anymore," Candace said quietly, her eye once again beginning to twitch.
"Okay then," Linda replied, wiping Candace's mouth before offering her one more sip of soda. Candace took a long sip, her fists clenching inside the straitjacket.
"I… can't… BELIEVE what just happened!" thought Candace. "The one day, the ONE DAY my brothers are right there, right behind my mom's back, and I can't even yell to her! Can this day GET any worse?"
Linda placed the ballgag back in her daughter's mouth before wheeling her out of the tent, taking her back out onto the street.
"Come on, Candace, we've still got twenty more tents to hit," said Linda excitedly. "I can't wait to find some great bargains, how 'bout you?"
Candace nodded, letting out another sigh and once again trying to forget her anger and just focus on having a good day with her mom.
"If it's not meant to be, it's just not meant to be… obviously the busting gods have chosen today to play their worst tricks on me! Well I'm not letting them get to me, because I won't try to bust my brothers any more today! I'm just going to relax and have a nice, quiet day with mom! I'm perfectly content not saying a word! Yep, I'm just fine!"
The day went on, with Candace and Linda visiting nearly every remaining tent. Candace even saw a couple things she wanted, and Linda bought them immediately, recognizing the way her daughter's eyes lit up when she saw them. She placed the items, a lovely silken black dress and a 3-D Blu-Ray of the Paisley Sideburn Brothers' latest concert film, in a small satchel she had slung around her shoulder.
"I can't believe I was able to get a brand new 3-D Blu-Ray so cheap," said Linda. "Usually those things are like forty dollars at the store but all the lady in the tent wanted was the earrings I was wearing."
Candace had given her mother a bit of a sad look when she saw Linda removing the earrings, and a bit of sadness still remained on Candace's face as she looked up at her mother.
"Oh, it's okay dear… I've got lots of earrings I like just as much as that pair. Anyway, even if they were my favorite pair I'd still have given them up, I saw how happy you got when you looked at that movie and I know you've been wanting it for a while."
Linda smiled and kissed her daughter on the forehead, causing Candace to smile warmly, or at least attempt to. She instinctively leaned up to give her mother a hug, but of course, the jacket and straps prevented it. Linda noticed this and leaned back down, touching her forehead to her daughter's in a show of affection.
"I'll let you give me a big hug as soon as we get home, I promise."
Candace gave a small, muffled cry of joy, appreciating just how caring her mother was being. Linda wheeled the two of them down to the next tent, though on the way, they encountered another girl out with one of her parents. The girl was standing next to what appeared to be a woman, a woman in a white lab coat with a long, pointed nose and a very creepy grin. Linda raised her eyebrow at the strange pair, especially when she recognized who the girl was.
"Vanessa? And um… you're not Charlene," said Linda, looking the two over. Vanessa heaved a long, exasperated sigh, putting her face in her hand. The person she was with was in fact not a woman, but instead it was Dr. Doofenshmirtz in a black wig and glasses.
"I'm uh… I'm Heinz's… new girlfriend…" said Dr. Doofenschmirtz, just barely trying to disguise his accent and giving himself a much higher voice. "I'm trying to spend some time with Vanessa, she might be my daughter someday, do you mind?"
"So… Candace, right?" said Vanessa, raising an eyebrow. "I have NO idea what's going on but I wish I'd have thought of it, I'd have put my dad in that thing before we went out today."
Candace just rolled her eyes, though secretly she was glad that she wasn't the only one being embarrassed today.
"You know," said Vanessa, too quietly for Linda to hear. "Your brothers are doing something really cool, they're using this computer to find everybody's most wanted gift and hooking them up with the person who has it the cheapest. I'm getting this killer stereo setup and all it's going to cost me is one of my old CDs. Can you believe it?"
Candace's eyes widened.
"Phineas and Ferb are about to bring everybody's stuff here? They must be using those helicopters, everyone will see them… including mom!"
"Oh, that's an interesting device you have your daughter in," said Dr. Doofenschmirtz, looking Candace's restraints over. "You know, I put Perry in one of those things one time."
"…Perry? Who's Perry?" asked Linda. "I mean, we have a platypus named Perry but are you talking about a person?"
"A person? No, I'm talking about a platypus named Perry, Perry the Platypus!"
"…you snuck into our yard and tied up our pet platypus?" said Linda, a look of disgust crossing her face. "…you're sick!"
"What?" Dr. Doofenschmirtz stammered as Linda began wheeling Candace away. "No, you don't understand! Perry is, he's-
"He's a platypus! He doesn't do anything and he never did anything to you! Stay away from us!" Linda shouted, picking up her speed. "That was weird… I'm going to have to have a talk with Charlene about the strange woman her ex-husband picked up…"
But Candace couldn't think of Vanessa or the strange person she was with, all she could think about was that finally, once and for all, her brothers were about to be busted.
"There's no way they can hide the sound and the fury of a bunch of helicopters! You two are FINALLY going down!"
Linda wheeled Candace into the last tent of the day, a large tent with lots of old antiques inside.
"Oh, this stuff would probably bore you, Candace…" said Linda, leaving her daughter just outside the tent. "I'll go in for a few minutes and you can get some fresh air, hmm?"
"Mmm-hmm," said Candace with a smile. "Go right ahead! I want to be right out here watching when Phineas and Ferb finally get busted!"
Linda smiled and made her way into the tent, leaving Candace just outside to look up at the skies. Just across the street in a large field, she could see Phineas and Ferb and Isabella gathering with lots of people, who had brought lots of stuff over to complete their trades. There were signs everywhere, clearly pointing out what was going on, with a big flashing neon sign reading 'Phineas and Ferb's International Swap Meet Pick-Up' that Isabella and the Fireside Girls had just set up.
"Hey Candace!" shouted Phineas from across the street. "I'm gonna go ahead and give the guy with your Ducky Momo card four dollars, you can pay me back whenever you want, okay?"
Candace couldn't help but wipe the smile off her face, even though Phineas had just shouted to everyone within earshot that she liked Ducky Momo. She just slowly nodded her head, waiting for the moment when her brothers would finally, once and for all, be totally busted.
She didn't have to wait long. The familiar sound of dozens of helicopters could be heard flying in from off in the distance. Candace bit into her gag in anticipation.
"Here it comes…!" thought Candace, her toes curling tightly. She even felt a strange tingling under her crotch strap, a tingling that radiated down her legs for a couple of seconds. The helicopters grew louder and louder, and soon could be heard plain as day up and down the street. "This is it!"
"Oh, what's making that noise?" Linda said to herself, turning and walking back toward the opening of the tent. "Sounds like helicopters… lots of them…"
Candace could see her mother coming nearer… within seconds, she'd be outside the tent and would be able to see the swarm of helicopters now descending on the street.
"YOU TWO… ARE SO… BUSTED!"
"…oh… my… gosh…"
Candace could hear her mother speaking behind her. She turned her head as much as she could… and saw her mother leaning over a table.
"Is that a Faberge egg?"
"Why yes, yes it is," said the vendor. Candace's jaw would've dropped if the ballgag wasn't already holding her jaw firmly open. "Isn't it lovely?"
"It's the most… beautiful thing I've ever seen," said Linda, looking over the gem and gold-encrusted egg. Candace's eyes widened.
"NO! I can't believe this is happening!" Candace could see the helicopters landing and the buyers and sellers from around the world hopping out and walking over to meet the people Phineas and Ferb had set up their purchases with. "I have to tell mom, I HAVE TO!"
"MMMM! MMMMMMM! MMMMM! MMMMM! MMM MMMMM MMMM MMMM MMMMMMMMM!" Candace screamed 'MOM!' over and over into the ballgag as loud as she could at the top of her lungs, her frustration growing as the gag muffled and muted her every exclamation. "MMMMM! MMMMMMM! MMMMM! MMMMMM! MMMMMM!"
Candace leaned her head back and screamed to the heavens, a cry of anger and frustration. She struggled fiercely in the straitjacket, tugging at the straps and trying desperately to get just one arm loose.
"MMM MMM GGMMMMM! NMMMM!"
Candace pulled and tugged, desperately seeking some kind of way out of her predicament.
"Mom got out of this thing all the time, right? There's got to be SOME way out of it, even tied up as tight as it'll go! Please… please let there be a way out, I have to get out of this and BUST THEM!"
Candace looked over at the lot, where people were still milling about with the helicopters and signs in full view. Phineas and Ferb were taking their time, letting the traders talk, with Isabella and the Fireside Girls handing out cookies and milk. There was still time… lots of time.
"MMMMMM! MMMMM! MMMMMMMM! MMMMMMMM! MMMMM MMMMM MMMM MMMMM MMMMMMMMM!" Candace continued to scream, her feet planting into the ground as she started to hop in place, up and down with the handtrain still strapped to her body. She let out a gasp. "Wait… when I'm not leaning over I can touch the ground with my feet? I can hop? I can move?"
While bent over only slightly, Candace could lift up the entire assembly of the handtrain and carry it with her, her strength fueled by loads of adrenaline. She could move… she could reach her mom… but she would have to hop for it.
"Come on, you can do it, Candace! BUST 'EM BUST 'EM BUST 'EM BUST 'EM!"
Candace hopped into the tent with the handtrain still strapped to her back, screaming into her gag as loud as she could.
"MMMMMM! MMMM MMMM MMMMM MMMM MMMMMMMM! MMMMMMMM! MMMMMMMMMM!"
Candace hopped with everything she had, finally reaching the table where her mom had just set down the Faberge egg. Linda turned toward Candace, who quickly positioned herself as if she hadn't hopped into the tent.
"Candace, dear? Is everything okay?"
"MMMMMMM MMMMMM MMMMMMM MMMMMMM MMMMMMMMM! MMMMMMMMM! MMMMMMMMM! MMMMMMMMM! MMMMMMMMMM! MMMMMMM!"
Linda could see just how much her daughter was yelling and how hard she was trying to get her attention. She thought back to all those times before, every single false alarm, every time Candace had told her about Phineas and Ferb… she thought back to that morning's promise, and could see now that Candace was once again reverting to her old ways. Still… when her daughter was that frantic, she couldn't just ignore her, no matter what it most likely was.
"Candace, honey…I know what we discussed this morning but if you really have to tell me something this badly, I suppose I could take the gag off and listen to what you have to say."
Candace started to nod her head…but then a thought crossed her mind, and another… and another. Aside from the brief moments when Phineas and Ferb had filled her thoughts, this had been the best day of the summer for Candace, except for maybe that day she got her first kiss from Jeremy. Even though Phineas and Ferb were definitely still out there, even though she could bust them in a second with a nod and just a few words, she couldn't help but dwell on that promise she'd made to her mother, and all the nice things her mother had done for her that day. Candace closed her eyes and bit down hard into the gag… and shook her head.
"It's… not that important," she thought, opening her eyes and giving her mother a smile.
"I'm proud of you, darling," said Linda. Outside, the sound of the helicopters once again firing up could be heard, and Candace knew it was the sound of all the people Phineas and Ferb brought in leaving the area.
"I've just blown my chance to bust Phineas and Ferb… and… honestly… I don't even feel that bad," thought Candace as her mother lightly touched her cheek. Linda began wheeling Candace out of the tent, letting out a sigh.
"I can't believe we couldn't make a deal for that Faberge egg," said Linda, stopping for a moment. "All he wanted was that Blu-Ray and that dress, but I wasn't about to trade him the things I just bought you. I wish I could've talked him into taking my necklace, but I guess that'd be asking for too many miracles, hmm?"
Candace just gave her mother a bit of an annoyed look. Linda read her perfectly.
"You're right, selling that Faberge egg could've bought thousands of Blu-Rays and dresses, couldn't it have?" said Linda. Candace just smiled and rubbed her cheek against Linda's. "Well, we both got plenty of things we wanted anyway, what say we go home?"
Linda wheeled Candace out of the tent, and looked across the street to see Phineas, Ferb, Isabella, Gretchen, and Addyson standing in a now completely-empty lot.
"Hey mom, hey Candace!" Phineas shouted with a smile and a wave. "I got that Ducky Momo card you wanted, see?"
"Aww, look, your brothers got you a gift," said Linda, wheeling Candace over to them. Candace was still a bit annoyed that she hadn't been able to bust her brothers, but she had all the lovely memories of a wonderful day with her mom to show for it.
"And besides… I'll bust you two next time."
"You guys want cookies? We still have a few left over," said Isabella, holding up a plate of Fireside Girl cookies and a glass of milk.
"I think it's wonderful that you girls made cookies to trade at the swap meet," said Linda, going over and removing her daughter's gag. "It's been a long day, hasn't it?"
"Yeah… but it's been a fun one too," said Candace with a smile, leaning over so that Isabella could feed her a cookie. "Even if I didn't get to bust you guys."
A short while later, Linda returned to the car with Candace, who was still straitjacketed and strapped tightly into the handtruck.
"I think it's about time I got you out of this thing, hmm?" said Linda with a smile.
"Mom?" Candace replied, looking slightly away. Even though she'd done her best to make today great for her mom, she still had some lingering guilt about the times she hadn't made such a fine effort. "I um… I just want to say I'm sorry for all the stuff I put you through this summer. I know I've ruined a lot of our outings together and-"
"Candace, you're my daughter. Any time I spend with you is a good time… and by the way, I don't think you're crazy. A little high-strung, yes, but I was the exact same way when I was your age."
"…really?" asked Candace, smiling sweetly.
"Well, maybe not the exact same way, but I didn't have little brothers either, so… maybe if I did, I might've been trying to 'bust' them too. Who knows? All I want you to know is that no matter how I might act, how annoyed I might seem or how fed up I get, I still love you with all my heart. Okay?"
"Okay, mom," said Candace, leaning up and kissing Linda on the cheek. Linda smiled and walked around to begin undoing the straps on Candace's handtruck. "…wait!"
"…hmm?" said Linda.
"Could you… not untie me just yet? And could you… maybe… take me to Jeremy's house? I'd like to um… spend a couple hours with him."
"Like this…?" asked Linda, raising an eyebrow. Candace nodded, her face now beet red. "…I… suppose that's all right."
Linda wheeled her daughter up to Jeremy's front door, still looking a bit skeptical.
"Let me get this straight. You just want me to… leave you here… like this… and go home?"
"Yeah, that's right," said Candace, nodding her head quickly.
"….I think I get it," Linda replied. Candace bit her lip and looked slightly away, hoping her mother hadn't discovered her true intentions. "…you want Jeremy to 'rescue' you or something, right?"
"Uh… yeah!" Candace said innocently, nodding her head. "He's the prince and I'm the helpless maiden! It'll be sooooo romantic!"
"Well, be home by eleven, okay?" said Linda. She started to turn around.
"Wait! Mom, could you um… put the gag back in my mouth?"
"…sure thing, honey," said Linda, still a bit confused as she went over to get the ballgag from the car.
"It's just um, more dramatic if I'm gagged, and stuff," Candace said, still blushing. Linda came over with the gag and strapped it back into Candace's mouth, securing it tightly.
"Have fun," said Linda, knocking on Jeremy's door before getting in the car and backing out. She looked to make sure Jeremy actually answered the door before speeding off down the road, leaving her daughter with Jeremy. "Don't think I don't know exactly what you're up to, Candace. If that straitjacket wasn't covering everything up so tightly I wouldn't have left you with him."
Linda smirked, thinking her daughter probably already knew that.
"So… have fun. And… thank you for such a wonderful day."
Jeremy opened the door to see the restrained Candace on his doorstep. His eyes went wide and he immediately moved to untie her, only to stop when he saw the look of intense pleasure in her eyes.
"Hmm, Jrrmmm…. Hey, Jeremy…" Candace practically moaned into the gag.
"…oh…" said Jeremy, a blush immediately crossing his face. "I uh… um… I'm… not really into kinky stuff."
Candace's gaze remained fixated on Jeremy, and she let out another moan for him. Jeremy blinked… and smiled.
"And you know I can't get to anything without taking that straitjacket off, right…?" he said, still smiling. Candace nodded, and looked down at her bare feet. Her toes were wiggling. "Oh… that's what I thought. C'mon… we'll find a nice soft feather."
Candace was already giggling as Jeremy pulled her into the house.