The next morning, you prepared Matthew his breakfastonce again pancakes with maple syrup, just like he askedand dressed him in another pair of white ruffled clothing from your childhood before you told him that the both of you were going outside to get him some new clothes.
You held Matthew in your arms as you made your way out the door, instantly feeling the fresh, cool wind beat against your face and flow through your hair. You turned around and shut the door behind you before securely locking it. When you looked down at Matthew, you noticed that his eyes were sparkling in excitement.
"Are you excited to go into town, Mattie?" you asked him sweetly.
He nodded before he buried his face in your shirt. "Yes, Mama."
Thankfully, you knew where the nearest children's clothing store was, and that was only a few blocks down from your home. Matthew was still a baby, but he already knew how to walk, so you didn't have to carry him for most of the trip to the shop. However, when the time came for the both of you to cross a street, you had to wrap him securely in your arms to make sure he wasn't in any danger of being attacked by a car. Just thinking about it made your heart increase its pace and your stomach churn in panic.
The two of you finally arrived at the children's clothing store, which looked much bigger on the outside than you imagined. Matthew walked beside you as you opened the door to the shop and stepped inside, instantly inhaling the smell of fabric.
For a second there, you stood absolutely still, examining your surroundings. One half of the shop was clothes for girls, the other for boys. Each section was grouped according to age, starting from youngest in the back and oldest in the front. You looked around some more. There was a checkout booth, mannequins that were placed in front of the shop's windows, and several advertisements hanging on the walls.
You felt Matthew tug at your pants. When you looked down at him, he asked, "Mama, can you lift me?"
You smiled. "Of course, sweetie," you said as he extended his hands out towards you and you grasped him by the sides, lifting him up and wrapping your arms around him.
Matthew was silent for the whole time that you searched the store for the section for toddlers. You were able to feel his soft, light breaths fall on your shoulder, and the sensation made you mentally giggle.
As you continued to walk through the shop, you realized that you were among the presence of several mothers, fathers, and their kids. Suddenly, you felt your face turn red when you realized how out-of-place you were with these people. They were their children's biological parents, while you and Matthew weren't related at all. He was just a little boy you found in the woods that you decided to take care of. You weren't a real mother. You wouldn't even belong here if it weren't for your desire to get away from the house due to stress and frustration.
You hitting a clothing rack was what disrupted you from your thoughts. You let out a startled gasp as several pieces of clothing attached to their hangers fell on the floor, causing one big mess to form beneath your feet. You covered your mouth with your hand and looked around self-consciously to see if anybody had witnessed. Most of the people in the shop seemed to busy with their own things. The only person who noticed you bump into the rack was a little girl, who let out a giggle and clapped her hands in amusement.
You let out a tiny smile at the girl before you turned your attention to the fallen clothes.
"I can help you pick them up, Mama," Matthew said, his voice muffled through your shirt.
You shook your head. "No, its fine, Mattie. I got this." Carefully, trying to make sure you wouldn't have lost your hold on Matthew, you bent down and picked up each piece of clothing that fell and hung them back on their respectable positions on the rack.
Once you were finally done, you let out a loud, exhausted sigh before you continued moving towards the back of the store. Once you finally arrived in what you believed to be the toddlers' section, you paused, and took a quick look around. You were in the boys' half of the store, so all you needed to do was find some clothes that seemed to fit Matthew, have him try them on, and pay for them and leave. Sounded easy.
You approached a rack that held different kinds of shirts and started browsing through it, while Matthew watched. "Mattie, would you like to help me pick out some clothes for you?"
"Yes, Mama," he replied quietly as you continued browsing.
There were several kinds of cute shirts that you wanted to buy for Matthew, but you were careful of not trying to spend too much. Maybe a few pairs of clothes would've been fine for now.
"I like that one!" Matthew said as you found a white shirt with a red maple leaf on it.
You took the shirt out of its place on the rack and looked down at it. "You like this one, Mattie?"
He nodded. "Yes, Mama."
You smiled. "Okay. I'll have you try on this one, then."
By the time you decided that you had found enough clothes that Matthew liked and decided to try them on him, you had already picked out several shirts, most of them having pictures of maple leafs, polar bears, or involving hockey. You had also picked out several pairs of pants and shorts, and a few pairs of shoes.
You opened the door to the dressing rooms and stepped inside, finding yourself in front of a fairly long hallway containing wooden doors on either side. Your hands were so full with clothes that you weren't even able to hold Matthew in your arms.
As soon as you took the first step into the hall, the sound of a kid wailing loudly filled your ears.
"Stop crying and try this on," you heard a woman say strictly.
"No!" the little kid screamed as he continued wailing.
You continued to listen as the mother tried to get the kid to try the clothes on, and you were able to hear the sounds of him resisting until the woman let out a loud, aggravated groan. It wasn't seconds later until you saw her throw open the door to the dressing room and walk out, dragging the kid fiercely by his wrist. She didn't even bother looking back as the boy tried to resist by kicking and screaming. You realized that once the woman exited the hall that she left all the clothes behind, but you didn't bother retrieving them.
You just stood there, your mouth slightly open. Matthew looked up at you, and his violet eyes filled with worry as he clutched at your leg. "Ma
You looked down at Matthew and smiled despite the disbelief from what just happened visible in your eyes. "Mattie, do you promise me that you'll be a good boy and never behave like that?"
He sniffed before he nodded. "I promise, Mama."
You let out a sigh of relief. "Good. Now let's try these clothes on."
The whole process turned out to be many times easier than you expected. Matthew didn't complain once, and allowed you dress him in every single shirt, pair of pants, and shoes that the both of you picked out. All of them matched perfectly, and you couldn't have helped but let out a tiny squeal at how adorable he looked dressed up in those clothes.
"Alright, I think we're done," you said as soon as you finished trying on the clothes for Matthew and dressed him back in his original outfit.
"Yay!" Matthew said as he clapped his hands in excitement.
You smiled as you looked down at him. "I bet you're happy that I finally got you some decent clothes, Mattie."
He looked up at you and nodded. "Yes, Mama."
As soon as you paid for everything, you had all of the clothes placed in a bag and you carried Matthew in one arm when the both of you left the store. Suddenly, you felt much more like a mother than you did before. You realized that you had shopped in a store among several other parents and their children even though you weren't Matthew's biological mother.
When the both of you finally arrived home, you set the bag containing Matthew's clothes on the floor and set him down on the couch.
"Mama, I'm hungry," Matthew said as he looked up at you pleadingly.
You met his gaze and smiled. "Okay. I can make you a sandwich, if you'd like."
He nodded. "Yes, please."
After you made the sandwich and sat down on the couch next to Matthew while he ate, you noticed that somebody had tried to call you while you were out and left a message. You blinked in confusion, wondering who could've called you, before you pressed the voicemail button, instantly recognizing the person who tried to call you as England.
"_____, if you didn't forget, there's a world conference in London that you need to attend tomorrow. Make sure that you're there by noon, and try to make sure you're organized enough as to not stress yourself. I expect to see you there tomorrow without any excuses. The location of the building will be sent to you in an email."
As soon as the voicemail ended, you let out an exasperated sigh as you rolled your eyes. England always seemed to be getting into your life just when you thought you had finally found some free time, and that annoyed you to the core.
Matthew looked up from his sandwich and looked at you in confusion. "Are you going to a meeting, Mama?" he asked through mouthfuls of food.
You looked at him and gave him an exhausted smile. "Yes, Mattie. I am."
Matthew swallowed the last of his sandwich before he looked at you sadly. "Are you going to leave me her all by myself, Mama?" he asked quietly before he crawled over to you and buried his face in your shirt. "I don't want you to go
You sighed before you stroked his soft, blonde hair. "But I have to, Mattie. It's my job to."
He sniffed. "But I don't want to be alone...I'll miss you, Mama."
You once again felt your heart melt at his sadness before a million thoughts began racing through your mind. You didn't want to leave Matthew all alone in the house, where he definitely would've been upset and lonely, but you had to go to the meeting or else England and everyone else would've been furious with you.
It was as if a light bulb suddenly clicked in your head. Your eyes sparkling with hope, you gently pulled Matthew away from you and looked down at him and smiled. "Mattie, how would you like to go to the meeting with me?"
He looked up at you in surprise, tears staining his face. "R-Really, Mama?"
You nodded before you wiped the stray tears away from his face with the tips of your fingers. "Yes, sweetie. I don't think anyone else would be mad if I brought you along."
"Yay!" Matthew said in excitement before he buried his face in your shirt. "Thank you, Mama."
You let out a sigh before you ruffled his hair, already thinking about how difficult tomorrow was going to be now that you were going to be dragging a baby along to a different city. "No problem, Mattie."