Arrietty faced herself in Jane's bedroom mirror. Towering over Maribel, who stood on the table beside her, she twisted her body back and forth in order to observe the t-shirt and jeans that Sho had purchased for her. They were fairly tight fits, but she felt alright wearing them.
Jane asked, eyes half sparkling and half nervous, "How does it feel?"
Arrietty, still staring at herself in the mirror, said with a little frown, "It isn't nearly as comfortable as my dress, but it fits."
Sho knocked on the door to Jane's bedroom. "Can I come in yet?"
Jane replied, "Why are you so keen on seeing your girlfriend?"
Spiller, who was standing on Sho's shoulder, shouted back, "What about me?"
Maribel answered for Jane, who gave her the message via their abilities: "Sure, Spiller can come in. Sho can't."
Sho, knowing the game they were playing, didn't say a word. He motioned for Spiller to remain silent as well. It wasn't long before a quivering "Sho?" came from inside the room. Still, the two made no sound. After several awkward seconds of silence, Jane gave in. "Alright, come on in."
Sho's smile was half for his successful entrance, and half at Arrietty's new style. It was somewhat awkward that a borrower was 'human-bean sized' and wearing 'human-bean clothes' (or Secktlaeth as borrowers called it). Arrietty's hair was tied back not with the clip anymore, but with one of Jane's hairclips.
Arrietty looked at Sho, then back down at her t-shirt. "How do I look?"
Spiller grunted disapproval. "You're getting more human-bean all the time."
Sho shushed Spiller, and laughed, "You look just like any other person. How do you feel?"
Arrietty fumbled with her hair, saying, "It is weird. The hairband is so tight, and so light as well. The t-shirt is scratchy, and the jeans are so thick and not flexible…"
Jane propped herself up on her blue bed. "That's what people wear. You're not going borrowing in that anyways. You're welcome to wear what I have, as long as you don't rip or dirty them."
Arrietty spun around to face Jane. "Oh, thank you so much! I can't say how much this means to me."
Maribel motioned for Arrietty to come closer, and Arrietty bent down her ear to hear Maribel's whispers. Arrietty nodded after Maribel finished, and smiled at everyone else, leaving them puzzled. Even Jane, who supposedly could communicate to Maribel through their minds, did not hear what Maribel said.
Out of nowhere, Jane's doorbell rang. Everyone exchanged glances, and they all immediately knew what to do. Maribel and Spiller both jumped into Arrietty's hand, who then put them into her purse. Jane glimpsed quickly at Sho, then walked towards the door, shouting "Coming!"
Sho motioned silently for Arrietty to follow him, and the two guests quietly walked up the stairs to the attic. It was a dark and dry place, but the floor was solid, and did not creak. Sho flattened himself against the floorboards, and heard Jane telling someone to 'get out of her house'. Sho thought to Arrietty, "I'm going to go check it out. You stay here with Maribel and Spiller." With that, Sho crept down the staircase towards the escalating voices. Arrietty bid him a silent good-bye, and huddled in the corner of the attic. She would probably never understand human beans.
Jane was not perturbed when she saw Sho coming out of the corner of her eye. The 'intruder' had his back facing Sho, so he did not notice. Jane yelled back something at him, and the boy shoved Jane – hard. Sho rushed up behind the person and held him in an arm lock.
"Whoa! Who're you?" flailed the intruder.
Sho recognized the voice; it was Jane's ex-friend, John, a person whom she detested and avoided at all costs. Something happened between them that she kept to herself, but Sho knew it probably had to do with Maribel. "It's me, Sho. What are you doing here?"
Jane stood back up, shaken and bruised but firm. "Get him out of my house."
Sho pulled the struggling John towards the door, but he lost his grip before John was out the door. John punched Sho along with a flow of profanities, and Sho flew backwards. Arrietty felt the jarring blow lightly in her mind, and she immediately took action. She took off the small bag, instructed the two borrowers inside it in their language to remain in the attic, and ran down the stairs. Jane was surprised to see Arrietty, and John was as well. "What the hell?"
Arrietty kneeled by Sho, who was struggling to get up. John had landed a good punch on his face, and it hurt like crazy. Arrietty helped Sho to his feet, and glared at John with eyes that may just have vaporized him. Arrietty walked over to John, menacingly, and John began to back away, towards the door.
Arrietty was mentally hurt.
This stranger had hurt her friend, her brother, her family.
She was blind to any apology.
She would never forgive someone who hurt Sho.
Arrietty drew back her arm and sent John flying out the front door and into the pavement, her face stolid and mouth tight.
Jane nearly yelped as she watched this unfold; Sho could do nothing but gape at Arrietty. Neither of them knew of a borrower's strength, but they soon realized that it was normal for a borrower to be strong; it was their only chance of survival.
John scrambled up, eyes tearing and whimpering. He was a good distance out the door, and took a last quivering look at Arrietty before running down the street, hand holding his cheek. Arrietty breathed a sigh of relief, and shut the door. She whirled around, and said to Jane, "He won't be back anytime soon."
Sho regained his senses first. "Arrietty… I had no idea…"
Arrietty blushed, her face as red as a rose. "I'm sorry… but borrowers are naturally stronger. Did I scare you?"
Jane leapt to her feet, and shook Arrietty harshly. "You mustn't do that again. Ever. You're too strong; you'll get too much attention."
Sho shushed Jane's rant. "Don't worry. As long as you keep to yourself, you'll be fine. Now I know that I shouldn't ever mess with you again," he said with a chuckle.
Arrietty shook her head vigorously, frowning. "No, no, I'd never do something like that to you. Never."
Sho smiled. "I heard what you were thinking when you went to punch John."
If Arrietty could go any redder she already was, she did. "It's so embarrassing!"
Jane asked with twinkling eyes, "What did she think?"
Arrietty ran over and clasped onto Sho, all the while moaning "no no no no no no".
Sho patted her head, and reassured her. "I won't say it. Don't worry."
Arrietty, seeing that the immediate danger was now gone, breathed a sigh of relief, causing her to tremble and fall to her knees. Sho caught her before she hit the floor, eyes immediately flooded with concern. Jane rushed up to help him, but Sho shook his head firmly at her. Arrietty's eyes glanced up at Sho's, and she whispered into his mind, "I think I over-exerted myself there."
Sho nodded his understanding, and carried Arrietty princess-style into Jane's room, where he laid her on Jane's bed carefully. Slowly, Arrietty began to shrink back into her default size – a mere half-foot. Jane, carrying Maribel and Spiller down from the attic, watched as Sho brought the exhausted borrower into her room. Maribel and Spiller were both demanding to know what had happened, because they had both felt a burst of energy that was queer. Jane shushed them as she closed her room door behind her, eyes darting from Arrietty to Sho. She set down Arrietty's purse on her desk, and the two borrowers tumbled out.
Spiller was by Arrietty's side in an instant. "Arrietty, are you okay?"
Maribel came running behind, like a little sister would run to an older sibling. "Arrietty!"
Arrietty tiredly waved them away. "I'm okay. I'm just really tired."
Spiller's frown transformed into a mask of anger. "Arrietty! We must go to the elder now!"
Arrietty's eyes opened wearily. "What for?"
Maribel gasped as Spiller brought Arrietty's hand in front of her. "Look for yourself."