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Standing at the front door, Novella nervously clutched her binder. The nineteen year old had never actually worked with anyone in this capacity let alone held a job before. Highschool was a year behind her and her second semester of college ahead. If she wanted to be a social worker, she thought this would be a great start.

The door slowly opened, a tall man with a red polo and slacks stepped out. "Ah Noel how are you? Did you have trouble finding it." He asked with a toothy smile. His hair was gelled and spiked. The smell of his cheap cologne made her gag a bit.

Covering her mouth as she coughed. "My name is Novella sir," a little put back as she had just interviewed with him the day before. "But no, it wasn't too hard to find."

"Oh my mistake." He stepped aside opening the door up wider. "Well, come on in and we'll get started."

She nodded and followed him in. The house was mostly bare, the hardwood floor was the only contrast to the white wall. Every step seemed to echo and Novella began to wonder if this hadn't been some kind of joke.  But any question as to wether this was an actual residence was quashed as she was led to the bedroom.

There was a single desk and chair, a few dressers and on top of one sat what appeared as doll furniture. Sitting in one of the tiny chairs was a tiny man that looked around her age. His face was nearly blank unlike Novellas' who despite having been informed beforehand, was still quite surprised.

"So this is Daniel." The supervisor started. "I know we had talked about his condition, but just as a recap, he has Thomas-Palmer syndrome. Basically it just means he was born small. He is completely cognizant, he just need some extra help."

She gave a slight wave to him but Daniel didn't react. He just looked at her with the same blank expression.  She then looked back at the supervisor. "So if you don't have any questions,  I'm going to turn you over to Daniel and let you two get acquainted, and let him tell you what his expectations are."

Her body felt stiff as she turned to Daniel. She wasn't sure what she was supposed to say nor was she ready for a second interview. "My name is Novella, I'm nineteen and uh....This is going to be my first time working." 

"Nice to meet you." His voice was oddly louder then she was expecting. She was expecting more of a squeaky mousey voice, but no he sounded like a normal person. "I'm Daniel, so you've never done this before?"

She shook her head. "No."

"Well..." He seemed to be considering something. "I'm not too hard to work with, I just need someone to help me."


"I'll do my best." She tried to be as reassuring as possible. 

"Thats all I'm gonna ask for." He said, still not showing much emotion. 

Novella then asked. "So what do you like to do?  "

"I don't really know, I'm a full time college student, so.... What free time do I really have?" 

"Oh really?" 

He nodded his head. "I'm a C.J. major, I have like couple more years to go. I say go, but its all online. At least for now."

She couldn't hardly believe her ears as she listened to him. Who would have thought, someone like him would be interested an being a lawyer. He continued to speak but she was at this point barely listening as she pictured a tiny attorney defending some one in a courtroom. 

"That's another thing." He said breaking novella from her thoughts. "I have papers I need to write but, i can't really use a proper key board, so I need help with that too."

"Oh!" She looked over at the supervisor, he had failed to mention that aswell. 

"Oh yeah, man I'm really muffing this." The supervisor laughed. "Yeah we are only allowed to write what he says, we cant do the work for him He knows that, but let me just emphasize that you cannot do the work for him."

Daniel scowled at him. "I've never asked any one to do it for me." He mumbled.
 
Novella just nodded and turned her attention back to Daniel. "I don't think that will be a problem." 

The supervisor continued to ramble for a moment about the code of ethics, before he finally decided that she had enough of a run down. "Alright well, you're relief will be here around six, so yeah I think that does it." 

Both Novella and Daniel bid him farewell as he left them two. When they heard the echo of the front door shut, they both sat in his room staring at each other.  They sat uncomfortably for a moment until Daniel spoke. "Gotta love Derek huh?"

She giggled. "He's uh...."

"Clueless, stupid, oblivious. Pick an adjective." Daniel spoke in a harsh tone, enough to where Novella couldn't tell if he was joking around. He got up and walked closer to the edge of the dresser. "He barely knows who I am." He then sighed. "Really its simple, make me food, take me to shower and poop, help me with homework. And try not to goo and gah over me too much."
    
"Uh...  What?" She look perplexed. 

"This company is.....don't worry about it. Anyway I haven't eaten today so, can you give me something. I don't really care what."

"Oh ok," she got up  and started towards him and put her hand down next to him. But he didn't move, infact he looked at her like he took offense.
    
"What are you doing? Don't pick me up." He scolded her. 

"I-I just assumed you would want to go in there to eat." She now felt like the rolls were reversed. She felt small and like this had been a huge mistake.

"Don't just assume." He sighed. "Sorry, that probably came off wrong. But yeah, I usually eat in here when I eat and I don't like to be picked up unless I have to be."

She put her hand down at her side and nodded. "Ok, sorry, I didn't know. I'm still new to all this."

"It's fine." 


She turned without saying a word and started for the kitchen. Feelings of anger were bubbling to the top. She didn't like him already she thought however her inner monologue told her to give him a chance. Besides she thought he might be a little bit nervous himself.


When she had found the kitchen, Novella looked through the cabinets. There wasn't much there. He had a few cans of chili in the pantry, a box of noodles and stack of flour tortillas. In the fridge was a half drank soda and plastic container of store bought mash potatoes.  With a sigh she grabbed the only thing two things that went together.


Retuning to him she had a bowl of hot chili and a tortilla. Walking up to the stand she could see him kicked in a chair. "So uh, how do we do this?" She asked. Setting it down in her lap. 

"Just dip the spoon and let me eat off of it." He said in a calm tone. 


The day went along slowly, the two didn't talk to each other much. Novella was not very comfortable with him yet nor apparently was he. She did what ever he asked, she took him to the bathroom, helped him do some homework which was nothing more than responding to a lecturer. 

But when the day was finally almost done and she was getting her stuff together to go, she walked over to the stand where Daniel was. He gave a smirk and said "hey, Novella."

She turned her head a little surprised. "Did you need anything else."

He shook his head. "No, just wanted to say thank you."

"For?"

"Actually doing your job." He gave a slight chuckle. "Most people ignore me."

"What?" 

But before they could continue there was a knock on the door. Daniels face drew back down in almost a frown. "You should get that, I'll see you tomorrow."

---------

The water rushed between her fingers as Novella skimmed the large bowl for pebbles. Her mother stood over the counter chopping onion and peppers to put in with the pinto beans. "Hija, how was you're day?" She finally asked.

"Oh, it was alright I guess." Novella looked over at her heart shaped face and warm smile.  "My person, client, whatever the right word is, he uh, I don't know what to think about him."

She giggle to herself and turned to the side now with her hands on her hips. "What is that supposed to mean?" 

"I don't know mamá, he seemed kind of, short with me? Like he was waiting for me to mess up or something." She gazed into the eyes she had inherited. Those eyes often time could see right through her and tell immediately if there was something wrong or if she did something she wasn't supposed to. "I don't know if this is the right job for me."

"Isn't he the one who is pequeño?" She pinched her fingers together and continued in her calm sage like tone. "Maybe he is just nervous or something."

Novella sighed and looked back into the bowl, picking a pebble out as she did. "I don't know, I was nice, I tried to be as helpful as I could." She then thought back to his parting words. "But he did tell me thank you for doing my job now that I think of it."

"Hija, that's all anyone can ever do."  She said as she went back to cutting. "But think about this, if you were in his shoes, would you not be a little, eh stand off ish?"


She thought for a minute about what if the roles were reversed. "I would probably shit myself. It would be scary being that size." She admitted with a renewed sense of compassion, right before her her mother's hand swatted the back of her head. "Ei! Why!" 

"You might be nineteen but you still live here. No cursing." She scolded. "Now hurry up with those beans. I want to get them started."

"Yes mamá." Novella rubbed the back of her head and brought over the bowl to the sink. Draining it, she threw the beans in the pot with the vegetables. 

---------

The next day, Novella arrived at work even earlier than the day before. She went to the door and quietly knocked. Her stomach was still filled with butterflies as it had been on her first day. But today she hoped he was a little more personable than before. 

She began to become impatient as she waited. Checking her phone she noticed she had been standing there for at least a few minutes. Knocking again a little louder,  but still there was no answer. "Hey, I'm here to relieve you." She called out.


But when there was still no answer, she grabbed the door handle and began trying to open it. After she fumbled with it for a moment the door came open. The overnight worker stood there on the doorway with his hair a mess and looking like he just woke up. "Oh hey, sorry I didn't hear you." 

She looked at him with a confused expression. "I beat on the door pretty loud I thought."

He shrugged his shoulders, much to her annoyance and began to walk out of the house. "He's still asleep. See you later."

"But what about a shift report?" She asked as he continued to his crappy little car and got in. "It's in my notes." He said. "Have a good day." And then he backed out and drove away leaving Novella standing in front of the doorway with her mouth agape.

After he was out of sight she went into the house with a sense of unease.  Quickly she made her way down the hallway to Daniel's room. The door was wide open and the light was still on. She went over to the table where his bed sat but noticed Daniel wasn't even in his bed. She turned and looked around. 

"Looking for me?" She heard a voice call out behind her. She turned to see him standing on the computer desk next to a laptop.  

Walking over she squatted down to eye level with him. "Oh, I thought he said you were still asleep." She said, 

"I never went to bed."  He said with a yawn. "And judging by how loud you beat on the door, I think he's the only one who did." 

"So you did hear me?" Daniel shook his head. "So he was sleeping?" 

"Now you're getting it."

Novella angrily stood up and pulled out her phone."I'm reporting him." She scrolled through her contacts looking for the agency phone number. But before she called, Daniel interrupted.


"Don't call them!" He chided. "They wont do anything. Besides, unless they fire him, he's just going to retaliate." 

She squatted down again and looked at his weary eyes. "But that's illegal, besides he should be taking care of you. Someone should say something."

Daniel then scoffed. "You clearly haven't worked in the field. You guys are underpaid and overworked and half of you don't care anyway.  The way things are supposed to be aren't always the way they are. Just please don't do anything. I just want to go to bed and try not to feel like crap."

She hesitantly agreed not to and laid her hand down next to him to pick him up. It was an odd sensation as he crawled into his palm. If she hadn't been so annoyed, she would have thought it was adorable. 

Novella only got to pick him up a couple times yesterday, so she was still pretty awkward with him. He assured her though, she could walk with him normally. She found herself taking awkward exaggerated steps, treating him more like an overfilled glass of water.  Despite this she made it over without issue.

Setting him down she looked at him with empathy. His tired body nearly collapsed in bed and she sheepishly ask. "Is there anything you want me to do?"

He stripped off his shirt and tossed it to the side and got under the covers. Turn off my computer please and wake me up in a few hours." He yawned.
 She did as he asked and turned it off. She then collected his tiny shirt and found his laundry basket nearby. The basket was not much more than a plastic cup and it was filled with clothes. "I'm gonna wash these." She said taking them up. 

"Oh....really?" He turned over and looked at her. "Usually people just wait till I'm out of cloths."

"No, this is full." She said, "So do I put these in a washer or..."

"No, it would destroy them. Do it by hand." He said then laid his head back down. "Thanks...again."

"Of course."

 She then took his basket and left the room. She headed down the hallway to the laundry room.  It was a small closet attached to the kitchen. A basin sat on an ironing board with a box of detergent. After filling the basen with water and soap she tossed his clothes in and stirred them up. 

Still mad about how the overnight shift had left him, she wondered if she should contact her boss. It wasn't right for him to be left like that and to essentially keep him awake all night was very much wrong. She did however promise Daniel not to say anything. 

When she was satisfied with his clothes she took them out and laid them out to dry. Novella didn't imagine it would take very long at all, especially with how thin the fabric was, so she decided to go back into his room.
Entering she sat down in the chair near where he slept. She leaned her head back against the wall and began to twist the strands of her dark hair and think some more on what to do. And as she did she wondered why he was so afraid of retaliation. Did people really do that? Besides, who would want to hurt some one so.....small.

It wasn't long before she noticed his breathing. It was faint, but she could hear his snoring. She turned her head and looked at him curled up in bed  and she smiled. It was like looking at a living doll. His chest heaved softly in he blanket.
But soon though she noticed his breathing become gradually quicker. Her smiled faded when she notices him toss himself over a few times. Leaning forward she raised her hand to do something but she was unsure of what to do. He called out in a mumbled voice. "No. Please no."
Novella watched him squirm a bit more before calling to him. "Daniel?" She placed her finger on his shoulder and when she did he let out a loud scream.
Daniel sat up gasping for air and looking around the room. When their eyes met he again before relaxing. "How long have you been sitting there?"

"Not long." She admitted. "Sorry, you were havin a nightmare." Her hand slid back to her side as she watched him study her. 
"I, " he started. "I have them a lot. Its ok though," he. Wiped the sweat from his face. 
"Do you want to talk about it?" She sheepishly asked. 
He shook his head and laid back. "Lets just say, my life's fucked up." He then rolled to his side and looked at her. His body was visibly shaking under the sheets. "I'm going to lay here and try to sleep again. You don't have to sit there if you don't want to." He then groaned. "Just make me get up in a few hours." 
She sat back against the chair still looking at him. His breathing eventually becoming more even as he drifted to sleep again. Her thoughts raced as she wondered what had just happened. Opening the binder with his information she skimmed through trying to see if it said anything about this.But Novella was disappointed to see there wasn't anything like that. Infact she was sure some of the information she saw was wrong. She closed the book and set it on the floor beside her and waited. Out of fear maybe of him having another nightmare, she stayed with him.
While she waited she looked up in her phone more about his disease. She saw a lot she already knew. His body stopped growing after so long in the womb and then conformed to his current physique. Many people who are born with it, she saw, died after a few weeks. The ones who survive usually live no later fifty. Even still, usually its not the disease that kills them.  It's negligence or accidental deaths at the hands of their care givers. 
Novella then had to wonder where why his family didn't have him. If one of her siblings had his condition, she knew her parents and herself for that matter, wouldn't let them out if their sight. But here was Daniel, living all alone with no one but his staff.
She opened her contacts and started to type out a message to the supervisor, "hey does his family come around at all?" She nearly sent the message before stopping herself. It wasn't her business and of course they had to come around.

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