DISCLAIMER: Nothing is owned by me. Everything is owned by them.
It was a crisp, clear afternoon in Danville, the changing of the seasons imminent in the air. The leaves were just beginning to make their descent to the ground below, signifying the approach of fall.
And seven young girls in a downtown lodge were beginning to make their preparations for their Fireside Girls Cupcake Delivery Program.
"All right girls, let's go over everyone's route for Delivery Day!"
"Aye aye, Chief!"
The crowd sitting around the fire-pit were holding their assorted papers and pencils, awaiting their delegation from their troop leader, Isabella. She currently resided behind the podium up on the stage.
"Gretchen, you'll be with me for the east side of the suburbs. We have to make sure Mrs. Flynn gets her dozen boxes, OK?"
"Got it, Chief!" Gretchen replied.
"Adyson, you're on the west side. Be sure to avoid Ms. Humphries' bulldog; it chased Holly for almost a mile down the street last year."
"Good thing I have new tires on my bike, then," Adyson sighed, making a note on her chart.
"Ginger, I'm placing you on the north side. Please don't space out like last year, when you ran into a tree off Sycamore Street."
"But can I go to Baljeet's house and deliver his cupcakes?"
Isabella resisted the urge to roll her eyes at her friend's never-ending infatuation for the Indian boy. "Yes, you can."
"...Holly, you'll be doing the south side. I don't see any incidents from last year on the chart, so I think you're good to go."
Holly scoffed. "Man, I'm just glad not to be doing Ginger's route."
"Milly, you and Katie will be doing the inner city. It should be relatively quicker, since there are less deliveries over there. I don't care how you divide it up."
"I'll take the north part, Isabella. I can roll by the park and play when I'm done."
"...O...kay. Katie, is it all right for you to take the south part?"
"What?" Katie looked up from her phone, which she had been busy typing on just a moment ago. "Oh, sorry. Yeah, that's fine."
"So you agree to go to the swamp district and fulfill all of the alligators' orders?"
"Yeah, sure, whatever." The blonde girl had quickly gone back to staring at her phone.
Isabella stepped down from her podium, now somewhat agitated. "Katie, this is the third meeting in a row that you haven't been paying attention. Is there something that we need to discuss?"
"No, there's nothing. I'm just tired. And I'm expecting a call from someone."
"Really?" Now Isabella was intrigued. "From who?"
Holly rolled her eyes. "Geez, Katie, don't be so specific."
Isabella smirked at her comment, then turned back to Katie. "Does 'someone' have a name?"
"Yes, he does."
Now Katie had the entire troop's full attention.
"'He'?" Adyson said.
Too late, she knew she had said far too much. "Umm...no. You didn't hear that right."
"No," Adyson responded, crossing her arms, "I'm pretty sure you said 'he'."
"I know who it is!" Milly interrupted, her hand raised in the air. Katie glanced toward the curly-haired girl.
"How do you know who it is, Milly?" she asked. "I wasn't aware that you follow me around everywhere."
"No, but I went over your house last week to play Skiddley Whiffers and your mom told me you had gone over to-"
"Ahh bap bah!" Katie shouted, covering her friend's mouth with her hand. "No, Milly!"
Immediately the entire house was in suspense mode. Holly stared at Milly, her hands rummaging through her pockets.
"Milly, I'll give you my allowance for the next month if you tell me who Katie's been seeing."
"Forget that!" Adyson yelled as she leaped in front of her. "I'll give you two months allowance!"
There was much shouting over here before Milly put her fingers in her mouth and whistled loudly. The chatter quieted down immediately.
"She went to go see Mr. Emerson, our English teacher!"
The incredulous looks on the girl's faces were very evident. "Wait, that's it?" Isabella asked.
Katie's heart flourished. She was proud that her best friend wasn't going to spill the beans on her. "Yes, that's exactly right. I went to go see Mr. Emerson about the curriculum. See? Nothing more than-"
"And then she went to see her little 'Irvy-Dirv'!"
Katie groaned, slapping her face with her hand. "Thanks. Thanks, Milly."
"No problem!" Milly grinned, clearly missing the sarcasm dripping in her voice.
Holly stood up from her log. "Wait a minute...you've been going to Irving's house?"
The blonde girl sighed for what seemed to be the twentieth time. "Yes. Yes, I have."
There were a few moments of silence, where nothing could be heard but the settling of the lodge. Then, the rest of the girls proceeded to bust out laughing.
"Hey!" Katie yelled over the guffawing. "There's a reason I'm going over there, you know!"
Gretchen got up off the floor still holding her sides. "Why? What inexplicable reason could there be for you to venture to, of all places, Irving's place of residence?"
Her face began to get red from embarrassment as she scanned the faces of her fellow troops. "I really don't want to talk about it."
Ginger wiped her brow of all of the perspiration she had shed while laughing. "Kate, it's wayyy too late for that. Just tell us. We aren't going to laugh at you...any more," she said, giggling after her last words.
"Yeah, Katie, just tell us," Gretchen amended.
A growing chant of "Tell us! Tell us!" from the girls got louder and louder until Katie finally shouted her answer over all of them.
"I'm getting tutored, OK?"
The chant suddenly ceased as a miasma of confusion set itself among the troop. Gretchen turned to Holly, an eyebrow slightly raised.
"Well...that was unexpected."
"But Katie," Ginger said, "It's only a week into the school year. Why did you have to get a tutor?"
Katie scratched the back of her head nervously. "Well, Mr. Emerson said that my understanding of the Shakespearean stories could be a little more...refined. I had the same problem last year too. I would do great with all of the other subject matter, but those specific things really got me in trouble. That's why he got me one of the older students as a tutor before school started. And he just happened to pick Irving." She looked down, feeling her face get red again (albeit for entirely different reasons this time). "And he's...happens to be really good at that kind of stuff.
"So I've been going to his house a few days a week for the past month just to get everything squared away. And I've done a lot better too; Mr. Emerson can attest to that."
Adyson stared at her from across the fire-pit. "So, that's what you've been going to his house for? Tutoring?"
"Yeah. For the most part."
"For the most part?"
Katie desperately tried to keep herself from blushing even further, but she could tell that was to no avail. "There may or may not have been an instance where we may or may not have gone to see the new Space Adventure movie. With our parents, of course!" she hurriedly added, as the rest of the girls started catcalling.
"Did he at least buy you candy there, Katie?" Milly asked. "That's the gentleman thing to do."
OK, if she wasn't blushing before, Katie was most definitely blushing now.
One girl who had not joined in the conversation was Isabella, who had been standing off to the side, a frown growing on her face. She walked up to her youngest troop member, garnering her attention.
"Katie, I don't think that this whole thing is a good idea."
She looked up at Isabella, now perplexed. "Why not?"
"Well, Phineas finds Irving a little strange, and I agree with him. I don't think you should see him anymore."
"What?" Katie was beside herself. "Why the heck not?"
Isabella put her hands on her hips, attempting to calm the situation. "You don't think he's a little odd, Katie?"
"Well...he is, but there's more to him than just his website and his cameras and stuff like that!"
"As troop leader, I do not think it's in your best interest to visit him."
"You have got to be kidding me!" Katie vaulted off her log, anger rising in her voice. "It's because you think it's weird, right? How can you think it's weird that I have a crush on him when...when..." She wildly gestured at Ginger. "When Ginger has a crush on Baljeet?"
"Hey, leave him out of this!" the Asian retorted, fastening another "Talk About A Cute Boy" patch on her sash.
"Or...or...when she's totally in love with Buford?" Katie continued, waving her hand at Adyson.
Adyson's head whipped around so fast it cricked her neck. "Wait, how do you know—"
Katie whirled back toward Isabella, not paying attention to Adyson. "What I do in my spare time is no one's business, Isabella. Not even yours. I had a problem with school, and I fixed it. I just happened to get something else along the way. We're suppose to be Fireside Girls. Support each other through thick and thin. And you're telling me I'm not allowed to see him? Even if it's to benefit my schoolwork?"
Isabella narrowed her eyes. "But Phineas said-"
"I don't care what Phineas said!" Katie yelled, pointing at her troop leader. "Phineas isn't right all the time!"
At those words, two things happened at the exact same time.
Isabella's face began to wrinkle in an expression of molten fury.
And the entire rest of the room collectively gasped.
A few moments passed before any sound was made. Milly, hands over her mouth, withdrew them briefly.
"Code P, everyone! Code P!" Gretchen yelled, and the rest of the troop ran off in different directions screaming.
Sans Holly. "What's a Code P?" she asked Gretchen, confused.
"It's a Code Phineas. We have to enforce it for the times that someone says something really bad about Phineas. I remember the last girl who insulted Phineas," Gretchen responded, shivering slightly.
"Really, what happened to her?"
Gretchen shrugged her shoulders. "That's just it. We don't know. She was here at the lodge for a meeting, then poof! Vanished without a trace. Isabella never told us what happened to her, and that's when Katie joined as her replacement."
"I heard that Isabella's anger attracts bears," Ginger said, half hidden in the nearby umbrella rack. "The bears can smell the frustration."
"Well, that's just great," Adyson sighed, peeking out from behind the podium. She turned to Katie, who was slowly shying away from the enraged form of Isabella. "Did you hear that, Katie? Bears. Now you've put the whole lodge in jeopardy."
Katie could feel her back hit the wall, realizing that there was no more room to walk. She looked up as Isabella towered over her, casting a shadow over what seemed like half the lodge. She closed her eyes, only imagining what sort of hate-filled words that would come of her leader's mouth.
"What?" Katie was shocked.
"What?" Gretchen mimicked, her head peaking out from behind her clipboard.
"What?" Adyson shouted, a stunned looked on her face.
"You're right, Katie," Isabella repeated, her shoulders sagging. "I shouldn't have been so hard on you. I know that we shouldn't be hypocritical of whoever you want to see in your spare time. And like you said, Irving is helping you out with school. Whether you want to see him after your tutoring or not should be your business, not ours."
Katie did not move from her position, although she did calm her heart down a little. "He's really not a bad guy, Isabella. He's just...eccentric."
"Yeah, I know. I guess he does seem like a normal guy, with just a couple of little...quirks."
"He helped us with Phineas' birthday video, remember? So he can't be as bad as everyone makes him out to be, right?"
Isabella thought back to her neighbor's party. "Yeah he did, didn't he? Maybe I let Phineas' words get the best of me."
"Maybe?" Katie thought. She didn't dare say that word out loud, though.
Isabella frowned, her shoulders drooping further. "I'm sorry, Katie."
"It's all right, Isabella."
The chorus of "Awwww!"s that erupted from the other girls would have great if not for the two pairs of angry eyes staring back at them. The rest of the troop ducked back under their hiding places.
"Here, Katie, I want to give you something." Isabella reached around her back and produced from seemingly nowhere a white patch with the head of an owl in the center.
"Katie Brooke, for your responsibility, stand-up behavior, and gracious ethics, I present to you your 'Fight For Your Right' patch!"
She took it, fingers trembling as her friends cheered for her. "Thanks a lot, Chief."
Isabella smiled, and then turned back toward the center of the lodge. "All right, girls. You have your routes! Let's reconvene tomorrow here before we set off. Meeting adjourned!"
Relieved that there was no fight (and also no bears), the other girls cheered and headed for the door. Katie, now relaxed again, started off after them.
"Oh, and Katie?"
The blonde turned back to her troop leader. "Yeah?"
Quickly, she found Isabella jabbing her finger into her chest. "Don't ever. Do that. Again."
Sheepishly, Katie grinned back at Isabella. "Yes, Chief."
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Oh, Isabella. Why you gots to be so uptight? And Katie should know better. Dissing Phineas (even when you are right) will only get you fury and wild Anchorman references.
It's so fun writing about Isabella and Phineas' relationship even when you're not writing about it. I can imagine Isabella treating his words as some sort of Bible and subsequently that getting in the way of rational thinking.
I have another story in the works that is more focused on the Katie/Irving pairing than this one, but some of the basic concepts that are touched on here are the same in the other story. Explaining in a broad sense, Katie does see the normal side of Irving when everyone else tends to focus on the more...creepy parts. Although, I'm not saying those creepy parts will never become a problem. Future stories will expand on that aspect.
Just as a reminder (and I'll do it again whenever I publish that other one), this story has no continuity with my other Katie/Irving story. This was just a one-shot.
Feel free to read and review, if you like. Until next time.