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Null and Void 4
Cowgirl Nymph
This follows on from Null and Void 3. This instaklment runs to 935 words.

Mz Lennix stepped away to take another phone call and the stewardess stepped in to top up Mr Georgiadis’ hot chocolate.

“I agree with your brother that you should take some time to consider your options,” he said between appreciative sips. “It might be that you do wind up living with your parents, working to support them and your siblings as well as being a carer, and in some circumstances there is nothing wrong with that, but I think you should at least be allowed to find out if there is something that would pay better and be more fulfilling than grocery.”

“Someone has to work grocery,” pointed out Yollie.

“Indeed,” agreed Mr Georgiadis, “but if you’re going to one day wind up supporting yourself, two elderly parents, various siblings, your own theoretical spouse and equally theoretical children, then you owe it to everyone to do the best for yourself that you can.”

“I don’t suppose anyone would want to marry me, but it would be nice to have a boyfriend for a while sometimes.” Yollie had already had two mugs of hot chocolate and three ganache-centred cookies and really thought that ought to be enough.

“That, young lady, is a whole different discussion and one you should have with your therapist, not me.” Mr Georgiadis drank some more hot chocolate. “Although I might wind up being your social worker because I’m the only one in the department who hasn’t dealt with your family before.”

“I’ve never had a social worker assigned to me before,” commented Yollie. “They and therapists have always happened to other people.”

“No therapist,” said Mr Georgiadis said slowly and put down his mug carefully. “The only neurotypical child in a family of eight and it never occurred to anyone that you might need someone to talk to?”

“I think it might have occurred to them,” replied Yollie fairly, “but it was a ‘nice to have’ compared to actual treatment, so treatment got the available money.” She shrugged.

Mz Lennix put away her phone and came back over to them. “That was Jorja Weathers. She’s bringing over a travel permission form signed by Ted, Yollie’s older brother. Their parents are away but Ted’s an adult. Apparently there are a few more things she has to tell us about the situation when she gets here.”

Yollie asked, “Can I still get on my flight? It’s due to leave in about fifteen minutes – I could still make it, couldn’t I?”

“You might make it,” said the steward sympathetically after he exchanged a glance with the stewardess, “if they hadn’t already allocated your cancelled berth to a standby passenger who’s now boarded the airship. We’ll have to try to get you on another flight.”

“I have to leave this weekend,” said Yollie quietly, “or I can’t go at all.”

“Our booking staff can do amazing things,” the steward assured her. “As long as your travel permission arrives, I’m sure we can do something.” Then he went over and spoke to the staff at the check-in counter before returning to stand beneficently on the edge of the group. It finally occurred to Yollie that, aside from carrying things for the stewardess, the steward was probably another security guard.

Mz Weathers arrived maybe a quarter of an hour later with a permission form signed by Yollie’s brother Ted. She and the other two social workers conferred for a few minutes then went to talk to the check-in staff, after some interesting changes of expression. There was some deep discussion between the adults, a lot of keyboard tapping behind the counter, and then the senior check-in clerk of the two now apparently dealing with Yollie beckoned her over.

“Mz Renver, we’re sorry for the inconvenience that our need to comply with the recent badly publicised changes in the protection of minors regulations have caused you and we’ve rebooked your flight at no additional fee to you.”

The clerk smiled at Yollie and Yollie smiled back, murmuring,”Thank you,” as she did so.

“The flight will leave here this afternoon but it will take three nights to get you to your destination instead of one. That means you will require a cabin and given the limited options available on the ship in question, we’ve taken the liberty of upgrading you to first class, at no extra cost of course.” The clerk smiled at Yollie again.

“But don’t you need fancy clothes for first class?” Yollie was almost stammering. “Dressing for dinner and stuff like that? And aren’t there extra tips for the staff?”

The check-in clerk smiled. “The Chief Purser can lend you suitable outfits it you lack anything – passengers sometimes don’t realize when they pack that certain dress codes are a requirement, not a suggestion, so a remedial wardrobe is available. We’ll make a note against your record that you’ll need help picking something suitable.”

“And supplying you with a suitable amount of cash to supply tips you wouldn’t have had to otherwise pay, is something I can do,” put in Mr Georgiadis. “The amount is under my emergency cash limit.”

“I’ve conferred with your brother, and we agree with this plan you two’ve come up with to get you to university,” added Mz Weathers. “As this is your technical place of residence, you’ll go on Mr Georgiadis’ case load for at least a year, and he’ll look in on you every so often. Good luck, Yollie.”

Mz Lennix nodded in confirmation and Mr Georgiadis added, “We’re not fairy godmothers and I can’t promise any balls, but now’s your chance. Go for it.”

At the moment, anything seemed possible.

This is now followed by Cocktails At Sunset.

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Yay! *cheers!* WEll... *hopeful cheers*

No-one gets any guarantees, but I don't think she'll be moving back into the family home. :)

I am SO happy for Yollie -- these caseworkers sound like caseworkers SHOULD be (able to be).

The two who've been working with the family already are going to be embarrassed that they didn't pick up on this before, but neither of them were there to look at Yollie except as she affected their assignment, not as that person affected Yollie.

Yay for actually helpful people! ^_^

Though the fairy godmother reference has me a little worried they're stretching what they can do too hard.

Separately, I hope Yolanda has time to start figuring out her own boundaries before someone who sounds too much like her parents starts pushing. :-/

Nit: "I agree with your brother that should take some time to consider your options" -> missing "you" before "should".

Typo fixed, thank you.

They didn't decide to send her to an interstate university and they didn't buy her ticket, they just facilitated a little to get past a few...wrinkles. She did have a signed permission slip from an adult who was legally responsible for her, after all.

But they and the airship staff have arranged a three-day, all-expenses-paid, fancy-clothes-included vacation ... in a 'verse where intrigues and romances on airships seem to be standard operating procedure.

That was more the check-in staff with 'we don't have another commuter flight & we've stuffed her plans and upgrade to avoid the bad publicity..."

<eyes the adult suspiciously>

Do you want her to have an adventure on her way?

*asked innocently in a mild, slightly distracted tone.*

I officially have no input on that question!

I think she deserves an adventure!!

What happens during that could be entirely ordinary from the point of view of most, and still be a tremendous adventure to her. She'll be in an unfamiliar environment, eating the fancy -- dress code enforced! -- meals, and (I think at least) have an opportunity to simply be by herself in her cabin for possibly the first time ever.

All very true.

I'm sorry I haven't replied to all your comments on Yollie but I haven't been entirely sure that I was quite myself this weekend.

(And my phone wanted to correct Yollie to Tolkien.)

Given how lax I am about commenting, without any excuse at all, I can't make any complaint about you being slow in commenting when drugged to the gills.

I hope you feel better soon, and am in no way meaning to insist on timely comment responses. Your health is more important.

My problem was not quite being drugged to the gills but finding that that type of injury/trauma throws me off my personal balance for a while.

I enjoyed your comments but I'm not yet sure what to say to them.


I just saw this without having seen any of the earlier chapters, backtracked, and read it from the beginning all in one gulp. GOD, that was scary!

I want to see Yollie succeed. And heal.

I intend that she succeeds.

Can I ask why it was scary? This came out of some of the story fragments I tell myself in my head so I'm sort of used to them....

“She has no withdrawal space,” replied Ted. “There’s nowhere she can go when she’s had enough of people and needs to be alone. That also means that when she’s trying to withdraw to de-escalate, she’s got nowhere to go. There are too many of us for the bathroom it be a good place for privacy; because she shares with Karla and can’t lock Karla out, she can’t go to her room; and often if she goes for a walk to destress, Mom tells her to take of us with her so we can get some fresh air – often it’s the one person Yollie is trying to get away from. I think Yollie is that close to snapping,” Ted held up a hand with the thumb and forefinger almost touching, “If she starts hitting back and doesn’t stop, which is what I’m afraid of, then someone winds up in hospital and Yollie goes to jail.”

Mz Weathers sat back in her chair and folded her hands in front of her. “I agree that is a suboptimal situation. So your solution is to send Yollie away while your parents aren’t here to intervene?”

“Yes,” Ted nodded just that bit more vigorously than he’d intended. “Now she’s finished high school they think she’s going to work at the grocery and give them her wages, help out with the others, and maybe do a few night courses – if she can be spared. I want her to have the same education chances Mom and Dad have worked to give the rest of us, but they seem to forget she needs then too.”

“Your parents have always been very focussed on getting you and your siblings all the help they need,” agreed Mz Weathers, “but you think that they overlook Yolanda’s needs?”

“I think they’ve got her in a box that says ‘neurotypical therefore doesn’t need help’,” replied Ted. “One of the things I want for my little sister is that she gets to think about what she could do without the people who are now telling her what she will and must do overtalking her thoughts all the time.”


Yay good outcomes! Or at least an awfully nice one given the beginning circumstance. I hope she enjoys the trip, and takes advantage of the first class amenities.

Also, yay for Yollie getting someone outside of the family to talk to. It sounds like she was well on her way to being Cinderella before the ball up until now. (And that now has me thinking vague questions about glass slippers, but nothing coherent enough to actually write down.)

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