As before, I'm going to attempt to update this story on a weekly basis (preferably every Tuesday, either in the afternoon or at night). If I'm unable, I will be sure to address the delay and double my efforts on providing another satisfying chapter. And as always, your feedback is encouraged and appreciated, as it gives me a good sense of how well my stories come across.
So here it is: the continuing saga of Claire, Jessica, and Sarah. Enjoy!
Love is the fireplace in front of which you and your beloved snuggle up, basking in its glow, sharing in the crackling of the fire that speaks more profoundly than words ever could.
Claire shifted in bed as she felt the covers around her being lifted and dropped. She tried to blink away the last bits of slumber and became aware of the two bodies that were warm at her back.
A slow smile spread across her face. "Morning, girls."
"Good morning, Aunt Claire," said Jessica, leaning over to kiss Claire on the back of her neck. "Are you up yet?"
"Give me a moment." Turning over, Claire saw her two nieces had piled into her bed. She reached past Jessica and brushed at her older niece's shoulder. "Morning, Sarah. Sleep well?"
Sarah nodded. "And pretty dry, too." She teased her hand through the back of Jessica's hair. "It's just Wet Bottom here who needed a change."
Her young cousin blushed, but reluctantly nodded. Claire smiled and drew her into a comforting hug. "That's fine. Are you dry now, dear?"
"Yep," said Jessica, brightening. "Sarah's getting better about changing me in the morning."
"I should hope so." Claire looked over Jessica's shoulder to give her other niece a half-serious glance. "That's part of her rent for living here."
Sarah laughed and began to scoot out of the covers. Claire and Jessica followed suit, and as she reached for her robe, Claire couldn't help but think of how odd but cute it was to see her two grown nieces standing there, wearing nothing but t-shirts and diapers. Jessica had always had incontinence, owing to traumas she'd gotten from living with her mentally unbalanced mother, while Sarah wore them purely as an alternative form of underwear, relishing the sense of comfort and playfulness they gave her.
The morning proceeded as it always had—or at least, as it had since Jessica and Sarah had come to terms with their respective diaper-wearing a few months ago. Claire walked into the kitchen to prepare breakfast, getting out the waffle iron and fresh fruit. The girls took their seats at the dining room table, having put on skirts or a pair of loose-fitting pants to cover up their diapers.
They had a quiet breakfast of waffles topped with fruit—strawberries for Jessica, blueberries for Sarah. And when they were done, Claire went back into the kitchen while the two girls went over to the couch in the living room.
Claire emerged a moment later with two baby bottles full of milk. She sat down between her nieces, giving them the bottles as she put her arms around their shoulders and drew them close. Sarah and Jessica drank eagerly from their bottles, smiling up at their aunt as they curled up against her.
They had engaged in this kind of behavior—which Sarah called "AB play"—ever since the incident about three months ago. Jessica had undergone a nervous breakdown, triggered by memories of her abuse and the sight of her cousin being treated and nurtured like an infant. Since then, she had learned to cope with Sarah’s need for being "little" as a means of handling stress and finding emotional security. At the same time, Jessica had come to terms with her attachment to Claire, whom she saw as a mother figure. Claire was more than willing to indulge her younger niece in any way she desired, and now the girl was much better about her intimacy issues and being treated like a "baby girl" despite the negative connotations she'd built up around that image.
Even now, as Claire smiled down and rubbed Jessica's back with one hand, she could see how far they'd come from the days when she'd brought Jessica home after the abuse. The nine-year-old girl had been rendered completely incontinent and emotionally unstable, becoming physically and psychologically dependent on her aunt. She'd been so helpless than Claire had to feed her, bathe her, and diaper her for a few weeks. Even now, Jessica was still diaper-dependent, but she'd learned to accept them for what they were and finally had a much more stable life.
Almost half an hour after they'd started drinking, Sarah and Jessica set down their baby bottles on the floor. Claire reached down to pat them both on the back, which made them burp and giggle.
She grinned and pulled her nieces into a deeper hug. "Love you, girls."
"Love you, too, Aunt Claire," Sarah answered. Jessica's only response was to snuggle even closer, giving her aunt's neck a quick nuzzle.
"So what's your plan for today?" Claire asked, tracing her finger along Sarah's cheek. "Shopping? Go to a movie? Visit Brendan or Ryan?"
Sarah shook her head. "Brendan's sister will be coming by today, so he won't be available for us. What about Ryan, Jess?"
Her cousin peeked her head up from Claire's shoulder. "He's still in Europe with his friends. When I called him last time, he said he'd be back next week."
Claire glanced at her nieces with a pouting expression, but she didn't hold it for long and a smile came up in its place. "Well, shopping it is, then."
It was at Macy's where Claire heard someone call her name—specifically in the undergarments section, where Sarah and Jessica were buying a few new bras. She turned around to see a woman about her age come trotting up to her. The woman stood out from all the others because of her hair—a dark shade of red with gold highlights—and a bright pink sweater with cream-colored slacks.
Claire needed a moment to register who this person was, and when she did, a grin of ecstasy spread across her face. She enthusiastically ran to embrace the other woman. "Andrea! Oh my goodness, it's wonderful to see you! How long has it been?"
Andrea pulled back to regard Claire with a wistful smile. "Not since Tammy's twenty-eighth birthday party. How've you been?"
"I'm doing great." Claire turned to see Sarah and Jessica with curious glances. She waved them over. "These are my nieces. This is Sarah, Tom's daughter, and this is Jessica, Madison's daughter. Girls, this is Andy, my old roommate from college."
The girls were quick to say hello and smile back. Andrea glanced at them and then at Claire. "I have the vaguest memory of them at one of your family dinners. Of course they were probably still in diapers then."
Claire didn't fail to notice the slight jolt that passed through both girls at that remark. She knew better than to mention that the fact they were both "still in diapers" in public, but she figured she would have to privately tell Andrea at some point.
"So how have you been?" Claire asked.
"Well." Andrea blinked, shooting a nervous glance at the two young women. "Actually, not that well. I don't know if you heard, but Daniel and I got a divorce."
"Oh!" Claire put a comforting hand on her shoulder. "I'm sorry to hear that. How did it happen?"
"I'll tell you all about later," Andrea said, forcing a smile. "Do you think we could go and have lunch sometime this week? I'd love to catch up."
"Sure. How about tomorrow? Give me a call before noon." Claire reached into a purse for a pen and paper to write her number down, which she then handed to Andrea.
"Great." Andrea gave Claire another hug and then waved at the girls. "See you kids later!"
As she left, Jessica turned to Claire with a concerned look. "How come you don't talk about her, Aunt Claire?"
"Oh, it's been a while, sweetheart." Claire glanced at her friend's retreating back and smiled. "Besides, I had you to look after, so I hadn't much time for a social life."
Jessica nodded. "So you're going to reconnect with her now?"
"Why not? You think you and Sarah are the only ones who get to have fun?"