Claudia’s grandma, Mimi, opens the door, so this is a Bad Sign. Kristy doesn’t show. Business is stiffly conducted, along with faces made and sarcastic comments. Mary Anne waves on leaving the house, though, and, encouraged by Claudia’s return wave, gives the note she has written to Mimi. At home, Mary Anne calls Claudia, and is stiffly forgiven. Mary Anne and Claudia discuss the future of the BSC, and Mary Anne promises to talk to Kristy, which . . . good luck with that, little chicken.
Mary Anne attempts accosting Kristy the next day at school. Kristy is haughty and says she doesn’t have to go to meetings because it’s HER club. Buh? Her compromise is taking turns in Claudia’s room, answering the phone and offering jobs to the others only if the girl on deck cannot take them herself. Isn’t that what started the trouble in the first place?
In the meantime, Dawn comes up and Mary Anne invites her over for Saturday. She gets the reaction from Kristy that she’s seeking. But then, Kristy tells Mary Anne that she can now stay out until 10 p.m. on weekends, which makes Mary Anne the only one in the club who has to be home early.
Mary Anne does her first lone shift at the next BSC meeting, and takes a job for the Prezziosos. She tells us that Mrs. P is very fussy, and likes things just so – like Mary Anne’s own father, it seems – and the kid is just . . . well, not. Her mom dresses her in frilly clothes. Mary Anne has a painting book, and the kid spills water on herself, and Mary Anne cleans it up with a problem. I’m surprised to see mention of Colorforms in here! Are those still a thing? According to Amazon, they are! Holy childhood flashback, Batman!
Mary Anne decides to sack up and ask her father about staying out later. She has it all planned out, quite rationally and reasonably, but Awkward!Dad comes home in a bad mood, and then she gets interrupted from her calm, rational approach by the telephone. This flusters her so that she just ends up blurting her demands. Because she’s almost in high school now, damn it, and she’s responsible and mature, and so she’s also too old to wear braids, and have a little-kid room, and she wants to pick out her own clothes, and go to the movies with a boy if he asked, but her dad is such a JAILER, OMG!!!111
Too fast, too far, kiddo. Shoulda reined in that horse; wars are not won in one day, et cetera et cetera. Sure enough, her father tells her to go to her room (go stare at Alice in Wonderland for awhile). Mary Anne feels guilty, but she also doesn’t understand the big deal about her hair being loose or taking down the nursery images from her walls. It means you automatically become a slut, obviously! Come on, Mary Anne. She decides to talk to Mimi and get her advice, as she tells us she has done in the past.
Mimi makes tea and they talk. Mimi listens and responds with serene gravity – she’s the Magical Asian trope, writ small. She tells Mary Anne that if things are that important, Mary Anne will find a way to change. Claudia returns in time to hear Mimi say, “my Mary Anne,” which is a special endearment reserved for Claudia alone, apparently. So Mary Anne is on the outs again, I guess. Good thing she has Dawn for a fallback option!
The next time Mary Anne does her BSC shift, Claudia passive-aggressively plays loud music so Mary Anne can barely hear, and everyone who calls is requesting Kristy to sit for them, leaving Mary Anne to continually contact her. Mrs. Newton invites them all to Jamie’s birthday party to help out. And the Pikes want two sitters and the only two who are available are . . . Mary Anne and Kristy! Kristy really doesn’t want to, but she reluctantly agrees when Mary Anne suggests Dawn come instead.
The Pikes are what it must be like living in the Duggar household, except with fewer kids and without all that Jesus bullshit.
The girls manage to control the pandemonium of 8 children without even really talking to each other. They make it into a big game of Telephone, and the kids are none the wiser. Mary Anne is five minutes late getting home. She doesn’t get eaten by a bear or turn into a pumpkin, but Dearest Dad is waiting.