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  1. 13 points
    Gonna be a fun day at the park! _______________________________________ Chapter 32 Part 1 “I don’t mind staying home with you. You sure you wanna go,” Becky asked. “Yes, definitely. I’ve been either at home or daycare for two weeks.” “Sorry, but …” “I know, I know: I was a very sick little boy,” he smiled. “You mentioned that a few times.” Jamie suspect she was more traumatized by it than he was. Once he was out of the woods she had been a lot more emotive, and there was hardly a time she let him be alone. If she was doing something her bedroom, she picked up whatever Jamie was playing with, and Jamie, and brought them to her bedroom. If she went somewhere, she told Amanda to keep an eye on him, as though she didn’t anyway. Jamie was sympathetic and even found it endearing, but it was wearing thin. “Well, Lauren and Danny are looking forward to seeing you, and Amanda says Mel is going to be there, too.” Jamie remembered that, and he looked forward to it. He didn’t get to see her the week after his illness, or as he took to calling, his Plague Experience. “I know. What are we celebrating again?” “It’s not exactly a celebration. Just a parade and a fair in the park.” Mel and an affair in the park – Jamie liked the sound of that. “We watch the parade and eat funnel cake and play rigged games.” Giant carnies – Jamie liked that part less. “Amanda is going to meet us up there.” They drove into the historic downtown part of their leafy suburb and parked at a brick building that looked like it didn’t belong in in a residential neighborhood. Out front was assign reading “Pancake Dinner Every Tuesday!” “What’s that,” Jamie asked. “It’s the Cayuga Club. It’s a group of people, mostly older men, who volunteer in the community and raise money for things.” “Oh.” A lot of people were around, all like water in a stream flowing to the same destination. Rebecca got Jamie out of his car seat and put him in the stroller. She’d already lathered him with sunblock before they left the house. She grabbed the diaper bag and stashed it below, then handed Jamie a big water bottle to keep with him. He’d been draining six a day even though he wasn’t dehydrated anymore. They started walking in the same direction of the crowd. Every age; littles; bigs; what passed for a dog here. Becky steered them onto a street Jamie didn’t think he’d been on before, just a block over from where they’d gone to lunch with Jane and Rosie. The street was wide and divided by grassy islands. “That one’s ours,” she said, pointing at the one she was beelining for. “We got tickets?” “No, there are not tickets. That’s just where we’ve sat since as long as I can remember. Right in front of the reviewing stand.” Behind the reviewing stand was train station. Small, old, and charming, it looked more like a small-town train station museum than a working station. Lauren was already there waiting for them with chairs set up. “Hey!” she exclaimed when she saw them. She unbuckled Jamie before Becky even stopped and picked him, pressing him to her chest as he wrapped his legs around her and she swung him back and forth saying, “There’s my big guy!” The train station swang out of sight and the next island over in, and then the train station again, then the island again. “Lauren … Lauren … Lauren!” “Oh, sorry! I just got carried away. I’m so glad to see you out and about. How are you feeling?” “Better. Much better.” “You had everyone so worried!” Jamie rolled his eyes. “You were just … so …” she started to get teary and snapped out of it. “Well, you’re fine now. That’s the important thing. And how are you,” she asked, turning to Rebecca. “Fine. Rested,” she laughed. “You know what they say: you’re only ever as happy as your least happy child. Thanks again for coming over that week. Much needed break.” “Don’t mention it. I was happy to.” “Where’s Danny?” “Getting breakfast,” Lauren said pointing to a line half a block long snaking its way out of a pastry shop. Danny eventually made his way back with a box of donuts big enough to be cakes by Jamie’s standards. “Hey! Look at you all conscious and shit,” he said. “Daniel!” Lauren gave him a shot in the ribs. “Oof! Uh, meant to say you’re looking good. Donut?” “Becky,” Lauren asked. “Sure. He’s back on regular food.” Lauren broke out some paper towels and handed one to Jamie and one to Becky. Danny handed Becky a donut the size of a sub sandwich and Jamie a smaller one that he hoped was little food. “Danny,” Lauren whined, “You can’t just give him the whole thing,” she said, taking it from Jamie and tearing it into smaller-than-bite-sized pieces. “Uh, Laurie,” Danny said, looking from Lauren to Jamie, hinting with his eyes. “Oh! What am I thinking. Sorry,” she blushed. Becky watched the exchange with a curious smile. Danny sat down next to Becky. “I called Mom and told her not to come.” “And?” “And she said didn’t plan on it.” Becky sighed. “I don’t want to see her, but I hate to think of her all by herself.” What, Jamie thought, the other fascists banned her from their meetings? Danny cast his eyes down for a second and then took Becky’s hand. “You did the right thing for you and for Jamie and for Amanda. That’s the important thing, right?” “Right.” She patted Danny’s hand and smiled. “Hey!” Jamie’s ears perked up at Amanda’s. “Ooh, donuts!” He twisted around in his chair to see Amanda and Mel helping themselves. “Bikini season is over; go nuts.” “Go donuts,” Jamie said with an idiotic smile on his face. Lamest person ever, Jamie thought, that’s you. Fortunately it didn’t seem anyone heard him. “Hey, Jamie. Remember me,” Donna said, stepping out from behind Mel and Amanda. “Hi, Donna. Good to see you again.” “I heard you were feeling sick,” she said in a voice not quite normal and not quite babyish. “But you must be feeling better because you got a donut! Do you like donuts?” “Hey, Danny,” Jamie said, “Are these little donuts?” “Yeah. Why?” “I’m gonna need another, pretty much right away.” “I got your back. We’re dudes.” Lauren had brought a chair for Amanda; Mel and Donna spread out a blanket in from of their chairs. Jamie wondered if he should or not. It wouldn’t be very nice to Donna. But Mel would like it. Maybe he could make it up to Donna later. Though it was a little shameless. “I’ll share my chair with you, Mel.” “You will? That’s so sweet of you. I can’t say no to that,” she said, turning to mouth ‘sorry’ to Donna. She picked Jamie up and sat down in his place, then set him in her lap. He leaned back into her as the announcer on the reviewing stand welcome them to the annual Founder’s Day parade and fair. The first float was from a grade school, and parents and teachers and kids walked by tossing out candy. Despite himself, seeing a roving gang of young children made Jamie nervous. They were followed by the high school marching band; a car dealership; a real estate agency; more schools; another band; a dance company; a group of older gentlemen and one woman intent on keeping the bagpipe alive in our modern world; a martial arts studio that was running out of wood to break as they reached almost the end of the route; more car dealers; a competing real estate agency; giant men in fezzes driving comically tiny cars, except there were the perfect size for a little to drive; giant men in a classic car club riding in what Jamie guessed were classic cars; what looked like a scout troop, including one mounted scout riding a gigantic horse, followed by a sweaty scout master wheeling a gigantic trash can and shovel; a veterans group; police on motorcycle, and a titanic-sized fire engine that blew its horn and set half the littles and young kids crying. When it was over, everyone stood up and started folding away their chairs and blankets and detritus. Jamie yawned and stretched his arms. “Ya tired, Jamester?” “Nah,” he lied. “Just need to get up and walk around a bit.” Mel set him on his feet and the group started walking toward the park, stopping to put things back in their cars. When they reached the park it looked transformed. The big space was filled with tents side by side filled with vendors art and crafts and clothes and holiday decorations. “Same stuff every year,” Becky said. “They’ve had that spot for as long as I can remember,” Amanda replied, pointing toward a booth right next to the crosswalk selling leather goods. “That’s what I like about it. Tradition.” They walked into the first aisle, and Jamie discovered they weren’t just casually passing through to see what there was, but were instead looking through each booth. Danny looked as bored as he did. “Ya wanna get out of here,” he asked. “Yeah,” “Hey, Beck, how about I take Jamie to find some guy stuff to do?” “Ok by me. Jamie,” Becky asked. “Sounds like fun.” “Alright. Watch him like a hawk, Daniel Allen.” Big sister meant it. Lauren giggled. “Ya know, Dan, if he goes you might actually have to change a diaper for once in your life.” “Hardy har har. Let’s go, Jamie. We can cruise chicks and hit up the hatchet throwing booth,” he said, taking the stroller from Amanda. They backtracked to the sidewalk that ran past the length of the tennis courts near where they came in. To the left was a sea of people. They started to work their way into it. Danny had a firm grip on Jamie’s hand. “Would you feel better if I rode in the stroller,” Jamie shouted. Danny nodded and lifted him in. The crowd parted more easily. This was apparently the food boulevard, set along both sides of the main sidewalk through the park. Typic fair fare. “Do you smell that, Jamie?” “What? Heart disease?” “And I suppose you’re too good for a little heart disease?” “No, just pacing myself. It’s still early.” They came out of pike, and to Jamie’s familiar playground. The last time he’d been here he’d cause a diplomatic row with one of those barbarian countries, or at least that’s how he thought of them, not that he’d ever applied the term to anyone or any place back home. He had more sympathy for cannibals in far flung jungles than for people who tortured and mutilated littles. “This is the do-gooder section,” Danny informed him, able to speak in a regular tone again. They walked past various charities with their booths set up, well-meaning people handing out flyers and information. Jamie talked to each one. He was naturally interested, and since he didn’t watch or read news it was also the first time he heard about some of the issues going on in his area. Of course, he couldn’t contribute anything but a thank you, though that seemed to be much more valuable to these people than any donation. He did, though, take a flyer from each one and stash it behind him in his stroller. At the end of the section was a pet adoption booth with animals in kennels on the ground looking pathetic, or at least as pathetic as a bear can look. “You want to check them out,” Danny asked. “Sure,” Jamie answered. He didn’t want to seem afraid in front of Daniel, which he knew was silly, but he felt that way just the same. They slowly made their way around the circle of pens. A tall woman in a gaudy living-things-love-me-and-I-love-them outfit stopped them. “You looking for a puppy for your son?” “No. And actually he’s just my nephew. He’s a recent arrival, so this is still pretty new to him.” “Oh. Does he want to maybe see one?” “I don’t know. Jamie, do you?” “Uh, sure.” There was a cage between him and them. Jamie got out of his stroller, and the three of them went through a gate into the center of the circle. They followed the woman to one of the cages where a small, by bear standards, black and white was. Danny and the woman got down on their knees next to Jamie, each with a hand on his back, and showed him it was safe by putting their palms on the cage. “See,” the woman said as the dog licked her palm, “she’s very gentle.” Jamie put his palm up to the cage slowly. He laughed when it licked him. “It tickles.” “What’s her name,” Daniel asked. “Muffin.” “That’s good,” Jamie said, “Because, ya know, she looks like a muffin.” “You want to let her out?” “Uh, no, I think that’s okay. She seems so happy … in there … doing her thing … in there.” “Then do you want to meet another?” “Sure.” They moved on to the next cage. Jamie put his hand to the bars, and the dog didn’t stir. This one actually looked content to be where it was. Jamie felt a heavy thump on this butt. “Hey! What was that for,” Jamie ask indignantly. “Oh, Bruno! How do you keep getting out,” the woman asked with exasperation. Jamie heard a long sniff and turned slightly to see Bruno with his snout an inch from Jamie’s butt. Jamie turned around and sat back. He could feel the bear’s breath from two feet away. “Now that’s a dog,” Daniel said excitedly. Judging by the size of the open cage, Bruno was the biggest one they had. Jamie felt himself sweating and his heart rate accelerate. The woman noticed. “It’s okay; he’s safe. He’s very gentle with littles. See?” She gently took Jamie’s hand and pull it closer to Bruno’s snout. Jamie was shaking. Bruno sniffed Jamie’s hand and exhaled with a blow that made Jamie pull his hand back. “Do you want to ride him?” Jamie reacted appropriately to the inquiry. “No!” “C’mon, Jamie. It’ll help you get over your fear of dogs.” “This one, too,” the woman asked. “So strange.” “I’m right here, and Bruno looks like a pussycat to me. Do you trust me,” Danny asked with his hand out. “You? Sure. Bears? Not so much.” “Honey,” the woman said, “This is a doggy.” “You’re a doggy,” Jamie said. I don’t even know what that means, he thought. “No, see,” she said, petting Bruno, “This is a doggy. A nice doggy.” “It’s alright, Jamester. Promise.” Daniel started to pick Jamie up. Jamie’s instinct to get away from the giant and the bear was locked in a struggle with his instinct to seem cool in front of Danny. He resisted only verbally. “Nah, really I’m good,” as Danny got his hands under Jamie’s arms. “Seriously, I’d rather not.” His feet were off the ground. “I said no.” Bruno was underneath him. “No means no! No means no!” I am sitting on a bear, Jamie said to himself. Maybe they have some prehistoric bulls I can run with or a megalodon to use as a bath toy. “See,” the woman said, “He doesn’t mind at all.” Jamie gave her the dirtiest look he could muster. “Interesting, that him minding seems to be your major concern. Daniel Allen, please get me down.” Daniel realized what a mistake he’d made and hurriedly complied. “Uh, thank you, miss. I think we’ve seen all we need to.” Jamie was already walking toward the gate. Daniel caught up with him. “Sorry. I didn’t realize how strongly you felt about it.” “It’s not about the bear.” “Sorry … you, uh, wanna get a beer?” “I can do that?” “Well, if you don’t tell, I won’t.” Daniel got a beer an extra cup for “water,” and the two of them sat at an empty picnic table. “I didn’t … sorry.” “You said that. Look …” Jamie still hadn’t figured out a way to say this to folks without getting angry or hurting their feelings or both. He wanted to empower people to feel confident they could interact with him person-to-person, not frighten or guilt them into treating him with kid gloves. “We can talk about it some other time.” Jamie took a drink and immediately felt tipsy. He hadn’t touched a drop since before his departure, almost half a year ago, and big beer, he could tell, had a lot more alcohol in it. “Wow,” he coughed. “That’ll put hair back on your chest.” It only took a few minutes for Jamie’s tongue to loosen. “So,” he said, “When are you gonna tell everyone Aunt Lauren is pregnant?” Daniel did a double take and unconvincingly tried to deflect. “What? She’s not … you know … your beer is, is what that question is.” Jamie ticked off on his finger, “She was emotional two weeks ago. She was emotional this morning. She was treating me like an infant. And despite her effort to hide it, she has an acne breakout on her left cheek. Hormones, hormones, baby fever, and hormones.” “I haven’t seen any acne.” “Well, your face wasn’t right here,” Jamie said, indicating with his hand how close she’d held him that morning. “You’re not gonna say anything to Becky or Amanda, right? We’re not ready to say anything yet.” “None of my business. I won’t tell anyone.” “Thank you.” “How long is a pregnancy anyway?” “18 months.” “Oh, well, I guess that give you time to paint and everything.” Daniel waved. Jamie turned around to see Amanda, Mel and Donna standing in line. They waved back. “Better finish that.” Jamie polished off the last couple swallows, and Daniel placed the cup under the table. He grinned at Jamie. “So, you got a thing for Mel.” “Yeah, a little.” “Well, you’re not alone. But nothing can come of it, you know?” “I know,” Jamie sighed. “I like her company, though, and I think she likes mine. And a little harmless physical affection …” “I get it. Not so much Donna though?” “She’s just a bit overbearing. She means well, but, well, I guess it’s obvious.” His body was absorbing more of the alcohol. He missed this feeling. No as good as those cookies but pretty damn close. “Yeah. You could say that. Here they are.” He stood up. “Hey, we saved you seats.” Donna managed to sit next to Jamie, with Amanda on the other side and Mel next to Donna. “You guys having fun,” Amanda asked. “Yeah. Uh, what did we do? Oh! We hit on those single moms who thought I was a single dad. Always a treat, right, Jamester?” Amanda was about to laugh, and then Jamie joined in. “Oh yeah, just like old times for me,” Jamie played along. He saw Amanda’s face narrow. “Uh oh.” Too late, a little voice in his head said, she’s seen you! Quietly enough not to be head but loud enough to make it clearly to Daniel how pissed she was, Amanda leaned across the table and said, “You gave him beer!?!” “What,” Daniel tried to play it off. “That’s … that’s my beer.” “Then why is it on his breath!” Amanda said, the sentence coming out as a single word. “Oh my god!” Donna jumped up, smacked her knee on the table, fell back to her seat, and jumped up again. “We have to go to the hospital! We need to call poison control! He’ll need a liver test! What it he’s already addicted!” Daniel looked at her like he was watching a parody of a farce. Mel put her hand on Donna’s shoulder and pulled her back down. Amanda told her to shut up. Jamie wasn’t feeling much pain and leaned across the table. “You know, Danny, I don’t think … we didn’t think this through … very, not very well. “He’s drunk!” Amanda stage-shouted. Mel kept one hand on Donna’s shoulder and kept her face in the other, laughing so hard she was crying. “Manda, big sis, I’ve been drunk before and this is ... is … you got a point, is what you have.” “I didn’t think he was such a lightweight,” Danny said before Amanda cut him off. “Daniel Allen! He’s five-and-a-half-feet tall!” “Ha!” Jamie honked. “That’s the third time someone’s called you by both names today.” “Mom is gonna kill you. If Aunt Laurie doesn’t first.” Yeah, you never wanna piss off a pregnant wife this bad, Jamie thought, not drunk enough to say it out loud. Amanda picked Jamie up. “And his shorts are wet!” “Well, sure,” Jamie said, “Happens sometimes to everybody sometimes when they’ve had a few too many sometimes.” He snorted at his own joke. Mel still hadn’t said a word, but squeals of laughter were escaping around her palm. Donna was on the verge of hyperventilating. Amanda sighed. “Mel, can you go get Jamie a soda and some little peppermint ice cream. And maybe a paper bag for Donna. Mom and Laurie were looking at some lawn ornaments or something. Maybe we can hide this.” “Woah,” Donna righteously but at least not loudly said, “I’m not okay with that. Your mom needs to know!” “Hey Donna,” Jamie said with a smoother voice than he could ever manage sober, “If you promise not to say anything, you can change my diaper and feed me that ice cream.” “Okay!” Amanda rolled her eyes so hard the springs almost broke. Mel went on her errand. “Well, Daniel, now would be the time to offer him some smokes and a hooker.” “I don’t smoke,” Jamie answered, cracking himself up. Amanda sighed and rubbed her forehead. “Daniel, go find Mom and Aunt Laurie and stall them or something.” She handed Donna the diaper bag from under the stroller and Jamie from her hip. “Less than five minutes, please. There’s a change of clothes in there. his shirt, too, not just his shorts.” The line at the bathroom being quite long, Donna headed for a shade tree. Jamie wasn’t feel especially inhibited. Whether trying to help the situation or wanting to show how good she was at it, she kept it short but managed to get in a tummy raspberry, which Jamie found unusually hilarious even as the buzz was wearing off. “Good as new,” Donna reported when she brought him back. Mel was already back, having cut the line by declaring it an ice cream emergency. Donna held the cup up, and Jamie took a long couple pulls on the caffeine. Donna prepared a spoonful of ice cream. “Here comes the airplane …” My god, she’s a piece of work, Jamie, Amanda, and Mel simultaneously thought. “Donna! Tick tock. Just cover the smell, please.” Donna grimaced but did as she was told, making sure Jamie got plenty around his mouth, and Jamie helped out by rubbing it along his gums with his tongue. “Sorry, Manda,” he said. “Did you know how strong the beer was?” “Well, I figured it out after a few swallows.” “So you’re not 100% blameless but for your sake and Daniel’s sake we’re gonna pretend you are. But if this ever happens again you will sleep standing in the corner, buster. For a month.” “Argh,” Jamie said, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Brain freeze? Well, that’s your punishment.” “All done,” Donna announced like she was now having a great time. “Thank you.” Jamie started to get drowsy. Mel saw him wobble a bit. “Maybe mixing little food and alcohol wasn’t the best idea.” “It’s perfect. If Mom asks why he’s being goofy we can blame the ice cream,” she responded. “But a nap is a good idea anyway. Best if you’re asleep when they find us.” She adjusted the stroller for him to lay flat, laid him in, and pulled the canopy over him. “Hey, Manda?” “What?” “A lot of drama happens at this park.” That was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Amanda, who couldn’t help laughing. She kissed him on the cheek. “I’ll wake you up in an hour.”
  2. 13 points
    Chapter 19 Jamie spent the rest of the evening alone his room except for dinner and a bedtime bath. He was glad it was Becky who gave it to him and got him ready for bed. In a way, she was blameless. She didn’t and couldn’t, apparently, know. Amanda, on the other hand, didn’t have that excuse. He wondered what it meant for Amanda to be okay keeping him when she knew he didn’t need them. Even if she believed it was mentally or emotionally therapeutic, she knew it was physically unnecessary, and yet she not only went along with it but actively participated in it. She touched him down there, several times a day, and thought nothing of it. As much as she treated him more maturely than anybody else, if she did this knowing it was unnecessary, then she also did it clearly in the belief that it didn’t matter whether it was necessary or not, and that his feelings about it were a secondary concern. What was that? Demeaning? Violating? Yet he knew Amanda would never demean him, not intentionally. She’d more likely cut her arm off than knowingly violate him. All Jamie had to do, he knew, was to tell her he felt those things, and she would stop, and she’d find a way to force her mother to stop. But Jamie knew she didn’t intend to demean him, and he did not believe she’d do this for selfish reasons, nor to please her mother. Those motives weren’t in Amanda, not when it came to Jamie. If her motives were not unkind, that only left kind. Amanda went along with keeping him diapers, Jamie realized, because she cared about him and believed in what she was doing. She may have been misguided. But, then, maybe she wasn’t. Still, that evening Jamie was mad at her, or at least he wanted to be. She took such good care of him. Jamie thought hard on that. He asked himself, how many people in your life took care of you, not because they had to but because they wanted to; not in some perfunctory way, but with dedication and tenderness? He wished she hadn’t told him. He had become resigned to it, or at least it was getting easier to ignore, and now it was front and center again. And it complicated his feelings toward her. Up until today, there was nothing complex about their relationship at all: she loved him unconditionally, he trusted her in every possible way. The former had not changed. Jamie didn’t know if the latter was still true or not. Is it possible to trust someone when they left out information like that was crucial to you? So Becky bathed him and put him to bed. Amanda noticed. It wasn’t that she always did those things. She didn’t. It was more that he didn’t say much during dinner. He didn’t follow her around in the evening. His hug wasn’t tight like it was every night. It would have hurt less if he just yelled at her. And the person Amanda always talked to when she like this was the one person she couldn’t talk to about it. Nor could she talk to Jane about it. Nor did she think it appropriate to talk to Mel or, god forbid, Donna. The person she wanted to talk about it with made it pretty plain he didn’t want to talk to her right now. Amanda and Jamie both went to bed feeling gloomy. ­­­­­______________________________________________________________________________ It was the first day of the weekend before school started for Becky and Amanda. The two of them and Jamie were finishing their breakfast. Becky knew something was up. Neither looked happy. Becky assumed it was the prospect of not getting to spend the entire day together soon. “What do the two of you want to do today? Let’s do something we haven’t done yet.” Becky tried to sound chipper, as though she, too, wasn’t unhappy with going back to work and putting Jamie in day care. “Any ideas?” There were none forthcoming in the few seconds after she said. Instead, there was just a doorbell. They weren’t expecting anyone. Becky got the door. “Marsha, what an unexpected surprise! Come in.” Amanda heard, grabbed the nearest dishrag, wiped off Jamie’s face, did her best to comb his hair with her hands, and moved him from his regular chair to the highchair, strapping him in for good measure. “What’s going on,” he whispered. “That’s your social worker,” she whispered back. So, he thought, what did we need to do all that for? Rebecca stepped out of the door and allowed Marsha to come in. “Good morning, Miss Webb. How have you been?” Pleasantries were exchanged. “Is everything alright,” Becky asked. Unexpected visitors were always welcome, but with some you had to be wary. “Everything is fine. This is just a regular home visit. Has to be a surprised, remember?” “Of course. Please, come into the kitchen and meet Jamie – awake.” Becky chuckled and hope she didn’t do it nervously. She had nothing to hide, so why was the nervous. “Jamie, I’d like you to meet Marsha. She’s from the agency. She’s your case worker her.” Becky introduced a big wearing clothes halfway between Saturday and business casual, pulling off neither look, with a large bag in one hand and a smile that said, I’ve been trained to be friendly and non-threatening and it didn’t work. Is that what I looked like, Jamie wondered. As a social worker, he must have done around 2,000 of these in his years on the job. “Nice to meet you, Marsha.” “Hello, Jamie. It’s so good to see you again.” “We’ve met?” “When you were in the hospital. Oh, what a pitiful thing you were.” Jamie was having a hard time reading Marsha. It wasn’t clear whether she saw him as Jamie or as the average little. Her voice went both ways; her body language was consciously trying to express openness, but she seemed about business, too. “Marsha is here to do your first home visit,” Becky explained. “Please, have a seat.” She sat in Jamie’s chair. “That’s right, Jamie. I’m just here to see how you’re doing. We’re just gonna talk for a while? How does that sound?” Talking for a while or you talking to me like … a foster kid, he thought. If life is a cycle, Jamie’s was now halfway through the second go-round. He remembered these visits from his childhood; he remembered these visits from the other side of the table (the last one had only been a few months ago); and now he was back on the other side of table again. “That’s fine.” Jamie tried to sound neutral. He had forgotten, somewhat, how intimidating these visits could be. Here was someone who had come to pry into his life, and though she had good intentions, bad outcomes were as likely as good no matter the intention. He’d been moved from one home to another as a kid when he didn’t want to go. He was never told the reasons. He always wondered if it was because he said something he shouldn’t have, and how his life may have turned out differently had he stayed. Maybe he would have been adopted; maybe he never would have wound up in a group home ten years later. “So, I’m going to talk with Rebecca and Amanda first, and then you and I will talk. Is that alright?” The question was for all of them. Jamie knew why: so that if the bigs told any lies, Jamie might say something to make those lies apparent. He looked at Becky and Amanda, who were doing their best to look calm, unconcerned, and unresentful. They knew they had no reason not be those things, but there it was anyway. “Sounds good to us,” Becky said. “I’ll go get Jamie situated,” Amanda offered. She quickly made him a bottle of water; why a bottle, she couldn’t exactly be sure. She unbuckled him and carried him to the living room. She wasn’t sure if she just send him to his own room. Would that be leaving him unsupervised if she didn’t put him in his crib? She put him in his playpen. “Sorry, you’re gonna have to hang out in here. You got what you need?” He had a blanket and his coloring book. “May I have my bear?” He knew he didn’t need to feel nervous or resentful either, but her did. He wanted his bear right then. “Sure.” She was back in a moment with the bear. Before leaving him, she bent over into the playpen to kiss the top of his head, then turned to go back to the kitchen. “Manda?” She stopped and turned. “It’s okay. Promise.” She walked back to the playpen and whispered, “It’s my job to make you feel safe, remember?” “Yeah, but I’ve done this before.” Another kiss, and Amanda went back. “Sorry,” she said as she closed the pocket door, “He wanted his bear.” “Not a problem. Your mom and me were just making small talk. So, why don’t you start just by telling me how things have gone since Jamie got here.” Becky led the discussion with Amanda chiming in. They talked about his moments waking up, the first couple of days, him telling them about himself. Their first day out, the doctor visit, the little bumps those entailed, making sure to downplay Jamie’s outbursts but also sticking up for him. They talked about the day at the beach; Becky wasn’t sure how to handle that, remembering the reaction of the woman on the beach when Jamie had swam on his own. She elided the truth. Becky talked about what a good swimmer he was; she left out the part about how far out he’d gone, and alone. They talked about the park visits, how Jamie played with Rosie and let the slower kids win. Becky did mention the bigoted woman and how she had decided not to tell Jamie about her. She talked about her preparations for daycare. “Thank you, both. That’s all very helpful. Can you tell me more about Jamie himself? What he’s like?” Sure, Becky thought, ask the most complicated question you possibly could. Becky tried to answer first. “I guess, first, he’s a very old soul. It surprises you sometimes, the things he says, a lot of wisdom, little or not. I love that about him; I’d hate to see him lose that, even though I do want him to be a little more … carefree. I think that’s why he’s … very … independent minded. He’s not regressed, as you know, so he … he needs to be treated appropriately for a little who has all his … faculties.” Amanda tried to explain better. “Like when the nurse treated him like he wasn’t even there, Jamie let her know he was there. He doesn’t like being talked to as though he were regressed, and he hates being treated like it.” “But he’s accepted a lot of things that come naturally to regressed littles,” Becky explained, “Like he loves taking a bottle from either of us, and he does use his pacifier when he wants to. He’s virtually attached to his teddy bear half the day. He’s really starting to open up and embrace his littleness.” “He really is just the sweetest, sweetest boy. If you show him you respect him and care about him, he’ll dive right into your lap. He’s my snuggle buddy.” Amanda’s voice made it clear how much she meant every word. Even the last part, though she knew it wasn’t true last night, not that she’d tell Marsha. “His case worker on the other side mentioned some emotional issues. How is that coming?” Amanda felt most ready to answer that, and Becky thought so, too. “A lot of that has to do with his background. He grew up without a family, as you probably know, and he carries a lot of guilt about people he feels he’s failed. When he first arrived, he was … it was all very fresh. The leaving only made him feel guiltier. He got sad very easily, and he still does cry easily. He … I wouldn’t say he has anger management issues; he does have some anger, mostly with himself.” Amanda paused and considered. “Right now he’s doing really well. He hasn’t talked about that stuff in a while. He’s been doing a really good job of staying calm and thinking through his words and actions when he gets angry; I’d even say he doesn’t get angry at others very often. I think that was more of an adjustment issue, suddenly having the freedom to let negative emotions out that he had to hold in before.” “So you think he’s getting better,” Marsha asked Amanda nodded a few times, looking but not focusing on the table as she started to answer. “I think he’s getting better at managing those things. I think a lot of that has to do with so much newness in his life he doesn’t have to deal with those memories and feelings. So we know they haven’t gone anywhere … and when things settle down a lot of that will probably come back to the surface.” “Rebecca, anything to add?” “No. I think Amanda covered that very well.” Marsha nodded. “How do you plan to address that?” Becky and Amanda had only talked a little bit about this. “We want to get him settled in day care and get him into that routine. Then in a little bit we’re going to take him to see a therapist. We’ve been looking, but it’s hard to find one who has experience with unregressed littles.” Amanda added, “And we make sure he knows that he can tell us anything, and we’ll listen, and that we love him no matter what. And we show it every way we can.” Her eyes got misty. Becky took over, “Very slowly, we’re helping him discover who he really is. We think the more he can learn to trust us and depend on us, the easier it will be for him to let go of some of those negative emotions.” “But we’re moving at his pace,” Amanda added. “We’re not going to force anything on him. We want him to grow into his … “littlehood” his own way and at his own pace.” But that’s not what I did when I didn’t tell mom he can control his functions, she thought. She felt guilty; she hadn’t last night. “Thank you for all that,” Marsha said. “I think I’m ready to talk to Jamie, unless there’s anything else you want to tell me.” Becky shrugged and Amanda nodded. “I think that’s everything.” “Great.” Marsh folded the tablet she’d been taking notes on. “If it’s alright with you, I’ll talk to Jamie in his room.” “Of course. He’s in his playpen in the living room, and his room is down the hall to the right.” Becky had a sudden thought. “I’m so sorry; I have no manners today. Can we get you anything? Glass of water?” Map back to where your own business is, Becky said to herself. She knew that wasn’t fair. Jamie was his business, and she knew that was the right thing, in fact the only way this could be done safely without Itali risking turning into one of the countries where littles could be so badly mistreated, tortured even. “No, thank you very much. I’m fine. If you’ll excuse me?” Becky and Amada stood, and Marsha went to the living room. “How do you think that went,” Becky asked in a hushed tone. “I don’t know. I hope we didn’t make him sound like some angry basket case.” “I think it’s probably good to show we know he has his struggles and we’re helping him through them.” “Yeah. Still. I just hope the part she heard most was how much we love him and what a sweet boy he is.” Jamie worked on his coloring book and thought back on his experience with these things, from both sides. He knew parents and foster parents sometimes lied; sometimes to hide something they rightly feared becoming known, more often because they were afraid of something innocent being misinterpreted or taken out of context. He knew kids sometimes lied; sometimes because they were afraid of the parents or foster parents, more often because they had stability in their lives and didn’t want to risk it. He’d had that mentality sometimes: this isn’t perfect, maybe not even good, but it’s the devil you know. Jamie always hoped he’d found out the malicious liars, but it was, by definition, something he could not know. Right now, his instinct was to say anything that would maintain the stability he had worked so hard for. Marsha appeared above the playpen. Twelve feet tall and quiet like an upside down mouse, he mused. “Hey, Jamie. You ready for us to talk?” He sighed quietly. “Yeah.” Let’s do this, he thought. “What did you draw there?” He showed her his coloring book. “Wow! Such a good job staying inside the lines.” He’d have taken umbrage at the implication, but the book was so intricate and the cells so small, it was difficult to stay inside the lines. She picked him up, and he managed to snag his bear. He expected to be put down, but instead she carried him on her hip to his room and patted his diaper to check it. Ya know, he thought, I wouldn’t carry you without asking first, or touch your butt. Instead of pouting, he put on his I’m-so-happy-to-be-here-don’t-make-me-leave face. In his room, he sat in his recliner and she sat in the rocking chair. They went through the same list of questions he had gone through so many times before. They might as well have read from the same textbooks in graduate school. He knew what she was going to ask. His answers were honest, but he downplayed the rough bits. As to how he was feeling emotionally, his simply answered “better.” Did he want to elaborate on that? “No.” For a woman who hadn’t made the best first impression and been awfully presumptuous in picking him up like that, she talked to him now like the unregressed little he was. “Jamie, my next two questions, I want you to answer especially truthfully. And remember, I’m just here today to get information, okay?” He nodded, not that the implication of “today” was lost on him. “How do you feel about Rebecca?” He took a deep breath. “We had a bit of a rocky start. She and I didn’t exactly understand each other at first. Her instinct was to … treat me more like a typical little. I mean, I’ve never doubted that she loves me; she’s always done what she thought would keep me safe and make me happy. And I do feel safe with her. And she makes me happy. I’m glad we found each other.” He msiled and nodded to no one, just think of serendipity, and the work Cheryl had put into bringing them together, and Amanda’s desire to help someone she saw in need of help. “It was just at first, a little too little, I guess. But that’s gotten much better. We’re on the same page now. And she really stands up for me now, if anyone makes the same mistake she made at first.” “What do you think helped her to change her perspective on you?” “Amanda.” “What makes you say that?” “I just know. Amanda got me pretty much from the start. She’s been my advocate all along. I think she and Becky have had a couple long talks that helped Becky see me more for who I am.” “Tell me more about Amanda.” He smiled and held in a single laugh. “She’s …” His smile faded, and his eyes felt just a little wet. “I’d be lost without her. She’s … always listened to me; always been kind to me; always reassured me. She’s … she’s been right about everything so far. When I don’t understand things, or when I’ve gotten upset, she’s taught me … and helped me deal with my feelings, and taught me how to deal with them next time.” He paused. “She sounds like quite a big sister.” Jamie didn’t hear her. “That first night here …” It was a terrible and wonderful memory. How deeply he remembered it. He took back the moment and heard his own sobbing and whimpers; he felt the rocking motion; he felt the warmth of her again; he remembered each word; he remembered that, in the dark, she had made him feel safe and loved; he remembered the softness of her on his cheek and the strong grip of her arms holding him as though she’d never let him go, not even after she opened her arms; he felt her tear-wet shirt; he remembered her smell; he remembered her kiss. His voice broke, and he fought to hold in his tears. “She … I couldn’t be here without her. I wouldn’t be able to stand it. Not for a minute.” He didn’t say anything for several seconds, and Marsha didn’t interject. “She and Becky – they’re a team. I need both of them … I like needing both of them. We’re a team.” Marsha made sure he was finished. “You love them.” Jamie smiled and sat back up, sniffing back a runny nose and not too thoroughly wiping an eye. “Yes. Both of them. Very much.” “We can go back out, unless there’s anything else you want to say.” “No. Thank you.” They stood to go back to the kitchen. “What’s that on your wall?” She was looking at the finger board. “Oh, that’s a puzzle Amanda hung there.” “How does it work?” “Ya know, I haven’t solved it yet.” So one lie. Jamie walked back to the kitchen with Marsha, who smiled reassuringly and told them they’d be very pleased with her report. Becky saw her to the door. In the kitchen alone with Amanda, Jamie, a little sheepishly, tugged on her pants for her attention, and she smiled one of her biggest smiles as she picked up and hugged him tight. “I missed you,” she said. “I didn’t go anywhere.” “You went far enough. I’m sorry, about … you know. I should have said something when I first figured it out.” “I forgive you. I know why you didn’t.” He left his head on her shoulder; she smelled the same way she had that first night. “Manda?” “Yeah, buddy?” “I love you.” “Oh. I love you, too.” Becky came back to the kitchen and found her two favorite people teary eyed. “What’s wrong?” Amanda passed Jamie to her mom, and Jamie put his head down on her shoulder to. As she gently placed him Becky’s arms, Amanda said, “Jamie was something he wants to say to you.” “Oh, yeah? What’s that?” She rubbed his back, amused at what seemed his sudden shyness. “I love you, Mom.” Jamie’s two favorite people had tears in their eyes. So did he. They were making a habit of teary eyes, a risk Becky and Amanda accepted. It’s just the risk you take when you decide to share your home and heart with a little.
  3. 10 points
    Thank you to everyone who bought one of my ebooks since yesterday. You bought me a pizza 😊 The Vacation: https://www.amazon.com/Vacation-ABDL-Novel-Alice-Story-ebook/dp/B079P1B2BT/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?keywords=the+vacation%3A+an+abdl&qid=1555155028&s=gateway&sr=8-3 Wendy’s ABDL Story Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Wendys-ABDL-Anthology-Short-Stories-ebook/dp/B07B4WRFM6/ref=pd_aw_sim_351_of_10?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B07B4WRFM6&pd_rd_r=eac6adf2-5ddf-11e9-bd66-f3c4fc150285&pd_rd_w=tUyP1&pd_rd_wg=ArKxm&pf_rd_p=469620d9-3e90-496d-9dc8-b19f900ba5fe&pf_rd_r=83R2QAZQ85KCEDN7Y4SX&psc=1&refRID=JENFRBZ37SZ7NFJ63HYH ______________________ Chapter 35 When Jamie woke up the next morning, for the first time since he arrived he felt himself aroused to the point of needing to do something about it. As quietly as he could, he unzipped his sleeper and reached into his wet diaper, taking himself out and doing what he needed. It didn’t take more than a minute, and Jamie hadn’t counted on the effect of not having done this in so long. He made quite an unmistakable mess. “Well,” he said as he thought about what Becky or Amanda would say when they woke him up, “So that’s a new wrinkle.” If asked, he was prepared to say he was just a little and didn’t know better. Fortunately, it was Amanda who came in first. “Good morning, Jamie. Did you ... slept great, from the looks of it.” She was grinning, a good sign. “How about we get you a bath before Mom comes in, and it’s a good day for washing your sheets, too.” Amanda stifled a laugh. Jamie turned crimson. “It’s not funny,” Jamie protested, though he was starting to see the humor in it, too. “I told you it was okay weeks ago. Do you remember that?” “No.” “Yeah, I thought you might have been too far off in dreamland.” Jamie stood up, and she stripped his sleeper and diaper off him, using the PJs to wipe his hand and penis and belly off. “It’s not a big deal.” “It’s not?” “No. Even Mom won’t mind. But, uh, maybe you can try to be a little cleaner about it next time.” “Sorry.” “It’s okay.” She carried him nude to the bathtub and set him on the edge while she ran the water. “Did you have a good time last night?” “Yeah. We did.” “Mel sure did. She texted me after she left. Said you guys had fun ... di you really eat from her hand?” Jamie turned crimson again. “Um, yeah.” Amanda helped him into the tub and smiled reassuringly. “That’s okay. Nothing to be ashamed of. It’s cute, even.” “It’s just ... I don’t know. When she does stuff like that, it’s just different.” “Because you have a crush on her?” Amanda new the more appropriate term at this point was ‘infatuation.’ “I guess, but not only. She just makes it feel ... natural. Like it’s our game and not a, not a fact. Like that’s not who I am if I don’t want to be.” Amanda didn’t exactly understand but pretended to. “Well, I know Mel loves spending time with you.” She soaped him up. “Do you remember last night when you got home at all?” “Not really. Why?” “She just said you were ... awfully affectionate.” Jamie looked worried. What had he done? Had he done something inappropriate? “How?” “It’s no big deal.” “Yes, it is, or you wouldn’t have asked.” “Well ... she said that, after you had fallen asleep on her that you, uh, nuzzled into her chest like you were looking to nurse from her. Twice.” Amanda now turned red, thinking of Jamie and her friend that way. Jamie slumped back, looking sad and ashamed. A tear escaped. “I didn’t mean to,” he whispered. Amanda got down on the floor closer to him. “Oh, honey, you didn’t do anything wrong. Littles just do that sometimes.” “But I’m ... “ Jamie sniffled. “A little who obviously likes his friend very much and is very comfortable being little with her. That’s a good thing, Jamie.” “But ... did she ... “ Jamie was feeling an anxiety attack coming on. Amanda splashed his face. “Jamie! Buddy! Look right here,” Amanda said, pointing to her own eyes. Jamie slowly turned his head up and looked at her. “She’s not bothered by it at all. She thought it was sweet.” That calmed Jamie down. While he was glad he hadn’t offended her, though, a part of him wished she thought it was something more than sweet. “But you can’t start putting the moves on my friends,” Amanda added. She finished washing Jamie, combed his hair, watched him brush his teeth, and carried him back to his nursery in a towel. “Hey, Mom,” she said casually as she walked in. “Good morning, babies.” She kissed them both on the cheek as she walked out with Jamie’s laundry in her arms. Jamie turned red again. “Let’s see these new diapers you picked out.” Amanda set Jamie on his changing table and opened the box. “Oh, these are pretty awesome. You’re going to be stylin’ in these.” Jamie just wanted to be dressed. ______________________ “But I don’t wanna!” Jamie didn’t wanna and was feeling pretty adamant about it. “I’m sorry, baby, but you have to. It’s past time.” “Well, if it’s past time then clearly I’m fine and this isn’t necessary.” “James Patrick, this isn’t up for discussion.” Becky wasn’t going to relent. “But …” “Uh uh. You have two choices right now. You can walk inside, or I can carry you inside.” “Fine,” Jamie huffed. He’d walk in, if only to preserve some semblance of dignity. “Good morning,” Becky said to the receptionist. “James Patrick Webb for Dr. Bowers.” “The nurse will call you when they’re ready for you.” Becky and Jamie sat down to wait. He was committed to pouting. He didn’t want a shot. He was fine with a vaccination, but the last time he’d had a shot it was like they’d administered it with a nail. He’d never had a shot hurt that like, and he wasn’t interested in having another one. “I wish Manda was here,” Jamie peevishly said. The statement cut Becky a little. “Well, I’m starting to wish she was here, too,” Becky responded. She didn’t meant to sound harsh, but she only had so much patience and had been arguing with Jamie since bedtime yesterday. She fished around in her purse and came up with a pacifier. “Here. Why don’t you leave this in a for a while.” Now Jamie’s feeling were hurt, too. “Jamie for Dr. Bowers,” a nurse called out from the door to the inner office area. Becky picked Jamie up and carried him in. He glared at the nurse. Once behind closed doors, she said, “Just here for a check-up, right?” “Right,” Becky said, setting Jamie on the table and urging him to lie down. His arms re-crossed his chest. After ten minutes of silence, Dr. Bowers came into the office with a simultaneous knock-enter. Becky stood up, but the doctor went straight for Jamie. “You must be Jamie. Nice to meet you.” The man held out his hand, and Jamie grudgingly shook it without a word. The doctor was older, with salt-and-pepper hair, and a cartoon cat hung from around his stethoscope. “We’re a little unhappy this morning,” Becky offered. “As well you should be,” Bowers said. “No one like going to the doctor, but I bet we can get this over with fast.” He was all smiles and indicated for Jamie to lay down. He asked questions of Becky while listening to his heart and lungs and bowel sounds. “He’s totally over that stomach bug,” he asked. “For weeks now,” Becky assured him. “Then let’s get this taken care of. Sorry, Jamie, but you need a couple of vaccinations.” A couple? Jamie was feeling two scared to be angry anymore. He looked away. “We’ll make it real fast Promise.” “Thank you, Doctor,” Becky said. “I’ll send in my specialist for this,” he winked “C’mere, baby.” Becky put Jamie in her lap. He didn’t understand why he was so afraid. So it would hurt. It wasn’t the first thing that had hurt him, and it wouldn’t be the last. Why was this so different? Could he have really developed a phobia of needles from that one experience? Another knock-entry, and this time the person who came through the door was a woman almost twenty years Becky’s senior. She was short, with curly grey hair and a disarming smile. She looked like a prototype from the grandma factory. Jamie knew she was false. “Hi, Jamie. I’m Nurse Graves. We’ll have you all done in just a sec.” Jamie trembled. ‘Nurse Graves.’ That wasn’t funny. “Thank you, Nurse Graves,” Becky replied. She could feel Jamie trembling. She hadn’t realized he was genuinely afraid. She thought he was just being difficult. The nurse prepared two syringes, an alcohol wipe, and two band-aids. “Best if we get this done fast. Hold him real still for me.” Becky put one arm around Jamie’s waist and did the same with the other, holding his arm at the elbow. Jamie clenched his eyes shut. The nurse rolled up his sleeve. The alcohol wipe went from cold to hot as she rubbed it vigorously on his exposed skin, the air feeling especially cool when she took the wipe away. Jamie clenched. “That’s gonna make it hurt worse, baby. Relax your arm for me … there you go … 1, 2 and 3” The first needle slipped in. Jamie gasped and turned his head into Becky. “And 1, 2, and 3. All done.” She placed stuck the band-aids on his arm. Jamie sucked in air. “Jamie … Jamie, you gotta breathe, honey…” Becky jostled his shoulder. With his face buried in his mom, Jamie wailed. “There you go, let it out.” She rubbed his back and kissed his head. “There’s nothing wrong with his lungs,” fake grandma half-yelled over Jamie. “Take all the time you need.” She put a cookie on the counter and backed out the door. “Shh,” Becky cooed at Jamie. “It’s all over.” “I’m sowwy,” Jamie sobbed. “It’s okay. I know it hurt.” Jamie picked his head up and took his pacifier out. “For what I said in the waiting room. I’m sorry,” he sniffled. “Me, too,” she said, taking the slobbery pacifier from him, noting he bit through it. “We all have our bad days.” “My arm hurts.” Becky laughed. “I really am sorry. That was horrible for me to say.” “Really, Jamie. All is forgiven.” She moved him so he was standing on her thighs and smiled at him. “Do you forgive me?” He nodded. “Hug?” They embraced, and he hung around her neck. “You wanna go home?” “Uh huh.” “You want that cookie?” “Uh huh.” She unwrapped the cookie and handed it to him. “Let’s go home, then.” ___________________________ Jamie was getting tired of drawing so much. “Do you wanna play a game, Ella?” “Um, sure. What do you wanna play?” Jamie hadn’t thought this far ahead. “How about the Game of Thrones,” he joked. “How do we play?” We take turns getting naked for no reason, and then George R.R. Martin kills us off one by one, he thought. “Maybe we can find a board game instead.”
  4. 10 points
    17 - A Night of Celebration While the tv continued to play, Emily busied herself with inspecting just how squishy Pip was. Like a diligent scientist, she’d poke and prod him all over, curious to see just how long it’d take for the dents she’d cause to slowly regenerate and erase any trace of her own impact. Despite being nearly completely naked, Joyce always knew how to keep the apartment regulated. Apart from the occasional shift which would cause her diaper to crinkle, causing her emotions to get a little warmer than she’d have liked, she was overall content. How couldn’t she be? Everything today was about her, and even if it weren’t her birthday, she’d still feel like the center of Joyce’s universe. At times, yes, it could be a little overwhelming, but compared to her initial feelings, when she first walked through her door--correction, when she first woke up in her guest bed, she now had an odd sense of normalcy… She was in a bubble, as best as she could describe it. Her own little oasis she was just beginning to think of as her own. By large and far, it all belonged to Joyce, but so did Emily, too… Even if it wasn’t the most adult and responsible thing to do, nor was her current behavior, someone watching over her had such a positive ring to it. Then, for no explicit reason whatsoever, what’d been hanging over their heads the entire day suddenly sat atop her shoulder; an immovable weight which pinned her worries and nerves deep into her flesh, and near-snapping her spine. Such a pointless and relatively insignificant fear had grown and festered into an insurmountable monster that glared its teeth at the girl. As inside Emily’s head as Joyce’s reassurances and she herself was, a person can never be fully convinced unless it’s by their own conviction. The irrationalities always knew just when the big and scary Joyce was scarce, because it was then Emily could feel them breathing down her neck, staring her down like lasers on an ice cube on a hot Summer’s day. A poor, and cheesy analogy, she knew, but time after time had proven she wasn’t exactly the best thinker… The first thing they’d think of her was what a freeloader she was. How some stranger could leech off of their hardworking daughter, take advantage of her kindness, indirectly spend her money, be spoiled rotten, eat her food, take up her bedspace, waste gas, take up bath water, breathe the same air as-- The room started to feel a bit hotter than she would have liked, and slipped Pip a little bit forward just to give her face something to bury itself into. Something to cool down her overheated gears. Her feet strained into the cushy, oversized cushions of the couch as she made a small, apprehensive whimper. Pointless worrying was exactly how it was called: pointless. Even still, it didn’t stop her from feeling that way. Maybe from the right perspective their relationship was understandable, but how could you explain this sort of dynamic to rational, everyday people? Something was bound to slip, or be misinterpreted as something that’d sour their image. Her parents had no real control over what Joyce or Emily did, but they could certainly make them feel sore about it. And the diapers. Oh, the diapers. The nursery, toys, bottles, pacifiers, bibs; all of it. As far as Emily saw it, they were in a war zone right now, and they were supposed to make it look like paradise again in less than 24 hours. She knew the nursery door was lockable, but to even consider the thought at being revealed nearly made Emily want to take off her diaper right then. All that’d protect them from certain demise was a visual obstruction and a block of wood just a few inches thick. Her cushy underwear was starting to feel less than ideal. That’d disappoint Joyce, though… And as much as she hated the idea, she tried to ignore her constant, inner nagging about how to “better herself.” On the grand scheme, Emily’d like to think that she’d never been steered wrong by Joyce before, even if there had been certainly trying times. She truly was an emotional pillar for the girl. Before, she may have considered the gesture fickle, and something she couldn’t wholly lean on, but after how she’d been emotionally distraught again and again, and made whole once more by such an unyielding, powerful force, Emily might as well have thrown herself at the safety net Joyce was. Emily didn’t think the feeling of guilt would ever leave her, or would at least take an extremely long time to. The feeling that she could never contribute as an equal. Case and point being her naked self snuggling with her personal stuffed toy on another person’s couch. Somehow in Joyce’s world though, this equated to probably the thousands of dollars she’d already spent on her. And to top it off, Emily thanked her in wet and messy diapers? A harsh stretch, she knew, but it wasn’t framed as a belittlement of Joyce’s desires, rather a mocking of Emily’s personal shortcomings. Joyce had everything she could ever need, with the money and power to satisfy any other trivial gap. All Emily brought to the table was herself, and even at that she need not forget how the only she table she came near was the one meant for changing diapers, as well as needing to be carried to it. The worst of it all was how Emily enjoyed it. Certain parts, at least, as she desperately hoped Joyce cleaned her bottom well... But the fact remained that she derived pleasure from everything else. She didn’t feel like she was allowed to. She hadn’t earned it. How was it fair that she not only got to feed off of what Joyce did for her, but what she also did for Joyce? She was eating three-quarters of a fifty-fifty deal. But of course, that’s what Joyce wanted: Emily to be her happy baby. But the give and take were so seemingly lopsided, it still felt like she was shortchanging the woman. This is about the time Joyce would come to cheer me up… Passively, she thought, then briefly became wide-eyed over such a thought escaping her. How much of a dependent had she become? She wanted to feel like a big girl--an adult, more than anything right now. Stumbling over the passive effect Joyce’s matronly vibe has had on her forced an annoyed smirk. Unashamedly, and not even stopping to question it, she felt herself wanting to be intimate with Joyce, just not in this way. It was all just so...confusing. As if she were trying to shake the verbal ideas outside her head and into the physical plane, she let out a deep, annoyed sigh. Her hands grew restless, as they fondled Pip’s face and pressed into the cushions. Flustered all over, she nearly jumped when a cool, burst of air hit her neck. A small ‘eep’ of surprise escaped her when she jumped, and despite being all crinkles, turned her head poutily back to the culprit, the one she’d just been thinking so fondly of. Clearly this’d dock them a few brownie points... Joyce, known far too well for her mischief merely giggled at the sight, and kneeled by the couch, casually working her hands into Emily’s back muscles and shoulders. “This doesn’t mean I forgive you, y-” she was about to say, until an involuntary gasp erupted from a particularly tense spot. A knot in her muscles had just been untied, and the physical fatigue she never knew she had, suspended by a simple cord had been released in one simple stroke. She resigned herself to playfully angry murmurs after that. “I just finished making arrangements for my mom and dad,” Joyce explained whilst she stroked Emily’s lower back, with the pinky of her splayed hand just teasing the elastic waistband of her diaper. Emily looked onwards, focusing herself on the sweet sensations exploding from inside her body. Who knew a basic massage could be so euphoric? “And what time are they coming again?” “Noon, I think she said.” Joyce then looked a bit more thoughtfully at Emily. “Are you gonna be okay with this?” “Of course,” and even if she wasn’t, the thought was unthinkable to be a fresh set of eyes in Joyce’s life, and already create a wedge between she and her parents. “I’m just...” she always dreaded repeating herself, because that just meant Joyce hadn’t done a good job of solving these problems in the first place. “I’m nervous...” From the cheeks down she was absorbed by Pip’s figure. “I’ll be there with you every step of the way, okay? You’re my big, strong girl, and you’re also my significant other,” Joyce then laid part of herself on Emily. “You’re special to me, and I want you to be okay around my family.” Maybe it wasn’t so much of even that. Joyce simply saw it as another sign of validation that what they had was genuine. By introducing her parents, it deepened the connection they had; intertwined Emily’s life with hers. “We’ll get you all prim and proper tomorrow,” Joyce gleefully cooed. “They’ll see what a pretty princess you are~!” Emily knew it was probably teasing, but further emotion was channeled into her back, this time being an uncomfortable chill. “Joyce!” Emily whined, finally looking back. “I know, I know. I’m just kidding,” her upbeat tone seemed to have reeled itself in, as she assumed her complacent self. “You’ll be your big girl self tomorrow.” It wasn’t quite like how Emily would have liked to put it, but it was in the right direction, at least. She tried to find the state of comfort she was in before Joyce’s teasing, but she really didn’t know what to do with herself right now. “Are we gonna start cleaning up soon?” “I’ll work at my own pace, sweetie,” Joyce both answered and simultaneously corrected Emily’s question and self-inclusion. Just the same for Emily, it both stirred positive and negative emotions within her. How Joyce could shoulder so much was completely and totally beyond her, but she never wanted to add to Joyce’s workload if she could help it. Then again, she’d already done that so much already, was she even allowed to feel bad about it anymore? “Trust me,” came the two-word command that Emily never seemed to not follow, “they won’t notice a thing.” “And if they do?” Such a worrywart, Emily was. “They won’t.” “But still…!” “Then if that happens, which it won’t, but if the impossible does happen,” finally inching forward to come eye to eye with Emily, “we’ll deal with it then.” It was a less than fantastic response, and even if it were backed by Joyce’s confidence, the response to Emily felt painfully empty. That’s what someone would say if they weren’t planning for the worst. That always meant the worst was going to happen. The House always wins, and fate always knows how to screw a person over in the end. It probably wasn’t true, or so Emily would like to think, but she couldn’t help but feel that superstition would do them in by the end of this visit. “But let’s forget about the silly stuff,” Joyce ushered, casually dismissing a very not silly and in fact very serious thing. “Did you feel okay about what just happened?” Once and in a long while, just like this time, Joyce looked dreadfully serious, ensuring no misinterpretation of joking could emerge. Emily knew exactly what she was referring to. She could still feel the smell etched into her nostrils… Poking at recent wounds didn’t feel great at all, but she sorrowfully responded. “Truthfully...not great,” Emily gave a small frown. “It’s hard, and...it stinks...” both figuratively and literally. It was taking a lot just not to cry from it right now. “Is it like that everytime?” She stared at Joyce, fearing for the worst. “No, honey, no, it gets easier, I promise,” Joyce soothed. To be honest, she was a little surprised and glad to see Emily take to this so well. Really, she wasn’t, but compared to Joyce’s expectations of outright refusal, this went leaps and bounds beyond that. And now she had Emily’s precious trust and encouragement to move forward with. If she needed to take certain, reasonable steps, that was now expected of her. She’d do anything to ease Emily’s pain. “Is there anything we can do to stop the smell?” Emily’s nostrils already twitched in unfortunate memory, given that she was the one who had the thing around her hips. “Maybe, but I can’t make any promises,” Joyce glumly replied. She didn’t want to say something like ‘you get used to it,’ because even if she might, that wasn’t how she wanted to solve the problem. The diapers themselves already worked wonders on the smell factor, but maybe a little more powder in the future couldn’t hurt as well… And she hated to sound selfish in even her own thoughts, but a foul smell was also a helpful indicator for when a change was in order too… Then, in a stroke of brilliance, a wonderful idea overcame Joyce. “Oh! I think I know of a way to help.” Curiously, Emily looked over. “But it involves when you use the toilet as a grown-up, okay?” “I’m not wearing diapers for when I need to use the bathroom.” ...Not as an adult, at least… “No, no, I don’t mean that,” Joyce calmed, though she still acknowledged it as a perfectly acceptable avenue. “I was getting at bringing Pip with you to the bathroom.” “P...Pip?” She looked down on the toy, half-expecting his inanimate eyes to stare back up to her in disbelief as well. “What does he have to do with any of this?” “There’s nothing to it,” Joyce simply explained. “When you go and use the bathroom,” she helped Emily stand on her knees on the couch, then firmly secured the mochi ball in her arms. “Give him a niice, biig squeeze, okay?” As if to demonstrate, she helped her arms squish the little guy firmly to her stomach. “But I don’t get how that...” “You’ll see later on. Don’t think about it too much. Just start doing that for me, okay?” Awkwardly, Emily agreed, though she still didn’t get how a stuffed toy played into all of this. She stared at Pip questioningly. What had she done to him? Rather, how much did she pay to buy him off? She side-eyed the seemingly innocent friend. Innocent for now... “Apart from that,” Joyce briefly spoke, taking the remote from the table, then killed the noise from the tv. “We went way past your tv limit.” She stroked the top of Emily’s head. “Your brain is far too sweet to go rotten from stuff like this!” Her tickles inevitably caused Emily to giggle. “Then what else am I supposed to do?” amidst her giggles, Emily somehow managed to cry in a writhing, wonderful frustration. “Well, seeing as you’re all tuckered out from your toys, maybe you’ll help me make dinner? Huh? Sound good to you?” Chuckling, letting the excitement rise and fall in her own voice, she didn’t stop her tickles until Emily pleaded yes and yes, begging for her to stop. The larger woman’s strength came into play, as she held Emily firm despite wriggling so strongly, it just proved that Joyce was stronger. She stood Emily on the ground, who was still wiping away her tears. Tears that were induced for all the right reasons. Then, Pip, who was being used to give her some sense of modesty, was taken from her then set on the couch. “No pouting,” Joyce said, as if it were a reminder, and every inch of Emily’s body apart from her nether regions were on display. “Mommy needs a special helper, and we can’t have Pip getting dirty.” It was a silly excuse for telling Emily to forget her modesty at the door, but it helped her move along with things. Watching Joyce in her jeans and sweater was making Emily awfully reminiscent of her own clothes, even if they were just a onesie and a dress… She wasn’t supposed to feel bad about this though. She was supposed to be okay with it. She was supposed to accept the flow of everything. At times it was hard, and others, simply conflicting over how she could go along with it so easily. Was she supposed to resist? She tried not to give it much thought during their walk down the hall. Once in the kitchen, Joyce had Emily stand over by the counter. “Eyes closed,” Joyce instructed. Then, Emily smirked, challenging, “Oh? And if I don’t?” Then, Joyce with a smile responded in an almost deathly serious voice, “Then that’ll be a timeout in the highchair.” Emily was already holding back a giggle, one that would be sounded as soon as she heard the ridiculous, or funny response. But when it came out and she fully processed the words, nervousness affected her laugh more than anything else. “Y...you’re kidding, right?” “Do you want to find out?” Joyce looked back to Emily as if a mama tiger were expecting her cub to get feisty. Then when the fabricated tension finally lingered for a few moments too long, Joyce pulled her in for a hug. “Silly, of course I wouldn’t punish you,” she then slipped an apron over Emily’s neck, then said, “well, only if you do something really naughty. But, you’re my good girl, so I know that won’t happen.” She walked behind Emily to tie the apron, and while the girl gulped, and tried to focus on avoiding punishment, the apron felt fit and snug around her waist. She felt her hair being bunched into the loose bun, and she twiddled her thumbs while she waited for prep to finish. Joyce had been looking forward to this since she last thought of it. They both had cooked, but never together, and never as a mom and daughter. She already had her own apron on, and was just finishing the final touches on Emily’s hair. No matter how she looked, she was always irresistibly adorable. Emily may have considered it a curse, but Joyce found it to be a bountiful blessing. “All done,” Joyce steered her over to the cabinets while she took out a cutting board. “I need you to find me a pot and fill it up with some water, okay?” With confidence, Emily shook her head yes, and so did the bun of hair behind her head. Joyce bit her lower lip, trying her best not to smother her again. They were stored in the lower cabinets, and Joyce couldn’t help but watch her padded rump slouch over while the owner of it searched diligently for such a simple thing. It was the prospect of helping that had Emily so engaged, as well as being able to cook with Joyce. Maybe she could even pick up a thing or two… While she filled the pot with water in the sink, Joyce grabbed all the vegetables she needed from the fridge, stepping behind Emily, washing them under the stream. “Is this much good?” Emily asked, eyeing the level carefully. Normally she wasn’t so anal about something so trivial, but she felt the need to be so persnickety given she was working by Joyce’s standards now. “That much is fine. Be careful when you move it to the stove, okay?” Joyce suddenly didn’t sound so jokey anymore, as she watched Emily move the heavy, jostling pot of water. She nearly let out a sigh of relief once it touched the stove. Not that she didn’t trust Emily, but she didn’t want her getting hurt on her watch. She needed to remind herself that Emily was a functioning adult at times like these. She could get a bit too into her role. “Now come and watch Mommy chop,” she brought Emily to her side, making sure she had a good view. Showing her hand to Emily, the tips of her fingers were curled inwards, saying, “Like a kitty, okay? It’s a good way to avoid boo-boos.” She looked as if she were waiting for a nod, and Emily happily answered so. Emily knew the gist of proper cutting etiquette, but she supposed a review could never hurt, and truthfully it was a little fun playing the ‘aspiring chef.’ There was no harm in mixing a little fun with the more serious bits, and starting with a bell pepper, Joyce in a few simple cuts had it divided into halves. Emily had to blink for a few seconds, processing what she just had seen. Wasn’t that a little bit too fast? Clearly it wasn’t as spectacular to Joyce though, as she was still hinged on the much simpler part of the lesson. Either she considered her level of speed insignificant, or something far beyond Emily’s own level. “See?” She showed off her hand yet again. “Kitty paws.” Emily nodded again, only with a bit more curiosity as she watched Joyce chop. Again, she moved like lightning as the metal blade slipped and sliced through the vegetable, moving by even intervals and leaving uniform victims in its wake. And as a parallel yet synchronized process, she moved her fastening hand down the vegetable as the knife moved, maintaining an even space the whole way. “Think you wanna try?” Unexpectedly intimidated, Emily nervously answered, “Uhm, sure...” The other half of the bell pepper was set in front of her, and the bar had been set awfully high. She felt like she was destined to fail. Slowly, she mimicked the “kitty paw” approach, as Joyce called it, then with much more mindful precision tried to form her first cut. Then when she pressed, it wasn’t nearly as smooth as a motion as Joyce’s was. Instead, there was slight resistance in her cut, and she had to press, then a telltale snap would erupt as the knife hit the board. Then she tried the next, and it was somewhat the same. The next one too, and by now she could see her spacing was off. Before Joyce could give any input, Emily was the first in a whine, “How am I supposed to do it like you?” “Ah...well...” Joyce at a near loss thought for a moment. She was starting to think that she may have made something that looked skilled into child’s play, especially to a novice. It was easy, but only when you had years of dedicated experience to back it… It was an innocent, yet broad question, and it had no easy answer. “Here,” Joyce had taken one hand into each of hers, and positioned the blade. “One step at a time.” Even Joyce needed to pause for a moment, as it was like she had to explain how to breathe. She didn’t put much thought into her technique nowadays, considering the best she could say right now was to just do it, and even if she was above average, she wasn’t exactly a master cook. What a spectacular teacher she’d be. “You need to start with a small cut from the bottom,” Joyce helped her position the knife, just so it was slightly leaning into the bottom edge of the pepper closest to the board. “That way when you press down...” She moved her hand down, and consequently Emily’s, and further down the line the actual blade, as the small, simple incision they had made expanded across the arch of the pepper with ease and a small clack from the knife hitting the board. “Like that, I guess,” Joyce simply stated, whilst Emily stared in awe. “Is it really that easy?” Emily exclaimed over such a simple thing, admittedly giddy to fully try it herself. Her slight shuffles caused a few crinkles from her bottom, and it warmed Joyce’s heart to no end. “...Can you show me again?” Joyce smiled, then set themselves up for the next cut. It had a little more spacing than she’d have usually put, but she wanted to give Emily a generous area to work with. “Ready? One more time. So start with a small cut on the other side, then ease it down...” Another successful cut, and Emily was unashamedly ecstatic. She actually felt like a pro, and had discovered a secret that revolutionized the wheel. She’d been thinking about sliced bread all wrong! “Okay, now it’s your turn.” Joyce let go of Emily’s hands, and after a second went over to the stove to turn on the burner, right underneath the pot of water. She came back to Emily and saw her accelerating into a rapid pace. “Easy now,” Joyce warned, placing a hand on her shoulder to slow down. “It’s not a race, okay?” She chuckled over Emily’s slight remorse. “I just wanted to do it like you, that’s all.” Emily spoke earnestly, already trying to elevate herself to the heights of the greats. But apparently she was flying too close to the sun. “You’ll get there, but only if you play it safe. Mommy’s being very generous letting you use a knife you know,” Joyce spoke sternly, but with a joyful smile as Emily laughed in return. Again, it felt strange to be worried by Emily handling a tool she was more than capable of, but the kid’s diaper around her hips spoke differently… “What’re we making, anyway?” Emily asked while she finished up her final chops. “Stir fry. Quick and easy,” she answered while grabbing the package of noodles from another cupboard. “What time is it though? Isn’t this a bit early?” “Maybe, but it should work right about to dinner time. Besides, if we need to turn in early, so be it. Tomorrow’s probably going to be busy.” She spoke with equal parts simplicity and dread. She had no idea what tomorrow would be like, and even if it went well, that still meant there was another whole 48 hours for something else to go wrong. But for the sake of being positive, she tried not to think that way. Emily had already had her fair share of worry, so she did her best to shrug it off and watch Joyce work, while also moving onto the next pepper. “Hey Joyce?” “What is it, sweetheart?” “How long did you say that you were cooking with your dad for?” “Umm...At least 10 years, I guess?” Emily nearly collapsed from the nonchalant mention of her titanous level of experience. “Er, how long might it take for me to cook like you?” Joyce simply snickered as the water began to bubble, and she took a moment to admire Emily’s progress. “Why’s that? Is Mommy’s cooking suddenly not good enough for you anymore? Huh?” “N-no!” stammering, Emily retorted. “Emm-” she paused for a second, “Emily,” the same, typical smile overcame her face, and the corners of her lips rose just slightly, and the smallest sliver of teeth peered between her lips. “Baby steps, okay? If you really want to, you can practice with me more in the kitchen, if you’d like.” “Really?” Emily responded as if she’d been told she was getting a puppy. Such a simple gesture had her eyes glistening, and she looked to be over the moon. “Of course,” Joyce spoke while filling the pot with noodles. “What’s got you wanting to cook so badly, though?” “W-well...” Emily started, then quickly reeled back into her shell. “I kinda like to cook, I guess...” “Uh-huh?” Joyce asked half-seriously. Not that she doubted her, but Emily tended to be a pretty bad liar in front of her. “And...and I don’t know...” She leaned slightly from side to side, crinkling to and fro. “It’s nice being able to do stuff together...” Mildly surprised, Joyce blinked simply as she looked back to her busy bee. “We can always do more stuff together, Emm, but don’t we already do that now?” “Kinda, I guess...” It was one of those responses initiated by her raw emotions and feelings rather than intelligent thoughts and words. The perk to being so understood by Joyce was being able to skip the translation process. She could throw her messy self at Joyce and she could decipher her very being in just a few glances, pokes, and prods. “Is my little one feeling a little hungry for some more attention?” “...” “Emmy,” Joyce started to laugh, “when you want something, don’t be shy and ask for it! Besides, the worst that’ll happen is I say no?” Emily was suddenly out of things to chop, so she looked over to Joyce, with a bashful blush and smile, then nodded her head. “What can I do now?” “You...” Joyce trailed her voice as she looked about the kitchen, searching for something. A look of clarity came over her though when she left the kitchen, then came back with a familiar item. “You’re on break,” she handed the adult-sized baby bottle to her. “All gone, you hear?” She waited for Emily’s answer, which came right after. With some positive reinforcement, and a pat on the head, she then had the girl busy nursing watch as she seasoned the vegetables. “Hmm...” As if with a fine-toothed comb, Joyce scanned over Emily’s handiwork. “If I hadn’t known any better, a master chef could have been in here?” She held up a finely sliced piece of onion. The obviously exaggerated praise had Emily looking anywhere but at her biggest fan, yet the stream of juice didn’t stop one bit. “Oh, actually,” gently, Joyce removed the bottle from Emily’s mouth, and placed the knife back in her hand, adjusting the pink apron slightly. “Hold the knife up a little bit?” Puzzled, Emily listened as she looked at the knife herself, unsure of how to pose it. But pose it for what? She turned over to Joyce, just about to ask a question, but then the audible snap from her phone said plenty. “J-Joyce!” Partly frantic, Emily set the knife down then rushed over to her. “What’re you doing!?” “What?” Joyce spoke defensively, happily admiring the picture. “You look great! I don’t get to see my little girl in an apron very often, you know...” “But I’m wearing…!” “Diapers? So?” “What do you mean, ‘so?’” Emily continued to whine, and after pulling Joyce’s arm down the slightest bit, she could see the screen as well. It was herself, from the waist up, looking at a kitchen knife with the same level of obscurity as she was feeling a second ago. With her bun tied back and wearing an apron, it was certainly a different look for her… “See?” Joyce’s words pointed to the picture. “It’s a harmless picture. No diapers, and nothing naked.” Nothing we can see, at least. There wasn’t any need to add that though. Unnecessary nerves were the last thing Joyce wanted to stir. “But...” Emily wanted to find some sort of fault with it, because she wanted to believe there was. If she knew what she was wearing underneath, of course her paranoia assumed others would think the same upon first glance. “But nothing.” Joyce calmly, yet firmly ended it there. “The picture stays, and I won’t hear anything else about it, understood?” At a loss for words, Emily mumbled an ‘okay’ and continued to be quiet. It wasn’t that Emily was easy to manipulate, but she was simply more trusting of Joyce now. Maybe if she had really pushed, and even if Joyce felt uncertain about it herself, she’d have considered deleting the photo. But over something so small? Not a chance. Not when she was explicitly given permission to be a shot-caller. To be a mommy. “I’ll need one of you smiling at some point though,” playfully, she warned. “Either that or I’ll need to tickle one out of you...” the minor way she spoke to herself scared and stiffened Emily to no end. When it was a clear joke she knew to take it in stride, but from the outside looking in, it sounded like she was genuinely forming a plan… It didn’t take long for the bottle to be back in her mouth. “Well? How did my special little birthday girl like her num-nums?” Joyce fawned and gushed as she dabbed the washcloth over Emily’s face, barely able to move in her highchair. “Good as always!” Emily complimented, still relishing in the wonderful warm feeling she felt in her stomach. Though, a growing tinge in her bladder somewhat dampened the mood. Figuratively, of course. This was starting to feel oddly repetitive. Joyce had kept to her word though, and after being relieved of her apron, the only clothes Emily had on other than a diaper at this point was a bib just covering her breasts. Thankfully Joyce didn’t use that as an excuse to take away her silverware… It had been a wonderful night though, and what a special treat to finish it off on it was. Being her third time in the highchair, the feeling wasn’t too terrible… The security to it all was kind of alluring, in a way. Happily, and dumbly, because she knew it was okay to let herself go, Emily patted her hands on the plastic tray, swinging her legs, anticipating the release from her confines. “What’s gotten into you?” Joyce curiously nudged, washing their dishes. “You’re awfully cheery?” “I don’t know,” Emily giggled. “I’m just happy, that’s all...” she looked thoughtfully around the kitchen, soaking in all the love, care, concern and comfort she’d been given. “Thank you...” On a similar wavelength, past the jokes and simple banter, Joyce repeated the same back to her. “Now who’s ready for a bath?” Joyce looked around the room, curiously, opening cabinet after cabinet, and even lifting a candle for something that didn’t seem to exist. “Who is it? Hmm...I wonder who...” The simple charade was beyond ridiculous, but it was exactly why the absurdity had Emily cracking a smile. She couldn’t help but give a noise of approval once one by one her arms were lifted, and her armpits were analyzed like footprints. “Where is she?” Earnestly, Joyce continued the little game. “I’m right here,” Emily tried to say plainly, but it was obvious the silliness was infecting her voice as well. She tried to lean her head into Joyce’s, but just as she was going to make contact, Joyce leaned back like something else’d caught her attention. “Hey!”Emily swung her feet from the chair, and the tips of her toes just brushed the jeans of her mother figure. Then, just as she made contact, it looked to Joyce as if it were a fleeting thought, and she passively looked towards Emily with disinterest, then shifted rapidly to ecstatic surprise. “There she is!” after a small gasp, Joyce cooed. “What’s gotten into you?” Emily countered in a jokingly mockful voice. She repeated the same words with an artificial tone that nowhere near resembled her own, or Joyce’s. “Oh?” Joyce sounded in an almost offended surprise. “Is that what you think I sound like, missy? Maybe I should’ve resorted to the tickling, after all...” Immediately Emily’s mouth was tripping over itself, begging and pleading for her not to. It was all too wonderful, to see her little girl have the fear of God be put into her by mere tickles. It made Joyce feel a way she never had before. It was like trying to describe why you called blue, blue. There wasn’t any explicit reason for it other than it simply was that way because it was. It had no beginning chain of logic, nor an end. It was one of the many qualities of life you accepted, and celebrated its existence rather than questioned. “Well, you were being so good earlier, that I thought a little dessert was in order. But I’m not so sure now...” Dessert? Emily perked at the sound. Never once had dessert been on the menu here. Smoothies were one thing, but that came from a tangent, not an orderly sequence. And she’d just threatened the balance of this unknown, but likely delicious treat! She stared worriedly at Joyce, trying her best to seem apologetic. She didn’t even know if she was pretending right now, as the mention of sweets blurred the line between fiction and reality to such an intensifying degree. She was a mess of emotions and sensations, and they all screamed for deliciousness. Joyce had her arms crossed, and she looked reluctant, as if it were against her better judgment. “I don’t know...” “Please?” Emily was back to her innocent self, and it was a single word that could make Joyce cave. She planned to from the start, but Emily sure knew how to dish out the big guns… Joyce turned over to the fridge, opening the door after giving Emily’s most recent artwork an affectionate glance, then moved a few larger items to the side so she could pull out what she’d been hiding this whole time. “Ta-dah!” Covered by a thin layer of cardboard, with a plastic window etched into it, Emily could recognize the simple, yet elegant pattern printed around the display box in a pale orange and pink box. The front of it was a slew of cursive that Emily barely cared to read, but she recognized the logo immediately. It was a bakery, and a terribly expensive one at that. Lowering it just enough for Emily to see, inside was a plump square of marble cake, topped in a fluffy, light-looking frosting, crowned by a small centerpiece of banana and strawberry. Two small mocha sticks stuck out at an angle like an abstract hat ornament, and small shavings were lightly sprinkled about the top. The cake itself looked to be an enchanting gradient, as the dark chocolate core lightened into a vanilla hue at the top. It was a generously sized slice of cake that had Emily’s mouthwatering to no end. “Is that for me?” Joyce nearly rolled her eyes. “Of course it is! It’s your birthday! Did you really expect me not to get you cake?” Emily blinked her glossy eyes, and Joyce moved over to the counter with the box, already setting out a plate. What Emily hadn’t seen was the small piece of white chocolate mounted to the top with her name illustrated in a thin chocolate sauce. The finishing touch was the slim stick candle slipped on top, and Joyce lighting it with a match. Emily eyed it temptingly, almost wishing it were within her power to burst free from the chair. The lights in the kitchen started to dim, to the point where the only lights were the glow from the apartment windows looming over the streets, and the orange radiance from the symbolic flame. “Happy birthday to you,” in an angelic voice, Joyce began to sing as she moved the plate closer and closer to Emily. “Happy birthday to you!” The rise and fall in her voice was perfect, and pure lyrical ecstasy to Emily’s ears. Her voice was complete and total serenity to Emily, and if it were a drug she’d already be an addict. “Happy birthday dear Em-mily!” She made a small, satisfied squeal as she rubbed noses with Emily. “Happy birthday, to you!” With the only light in the room illuminating Emily’s wonderful, adorable face, Joyce looked on with immeasurable satisfaction. Taking a moment, Emily puffed up her cheeks, then unleashed a small gush of wind upon the poor, defenseless flame. The wave killed the flame almost immediately, and marked the first milestone she’d ever shared with Joyce. It made her so happy, Emily even against her adult will pushed heavily on her bladder, and the tight stretch finally snapped as the strange, yet acceptable stream flooded her diaper. Potty face. Joyce sighed with a smile as she watched, but could see she was still focused on the pastry. Plucking out the candle, Joyce also snagged the chocolate sign too and gave it a bite. Sweets weren’t her all-time go-to, but even she was curious to how the cake tasted… Just as Emily went for the fork, Joyce halted her with an “Ah-ah!” Emily paused, looking sorely cheated out of her special gift. Joyce looked stern for a moment, but then went back to an immediate smile, knowing she’d teased her for long enough. Emily wasted no time, plunging the fork into the fluffy, spongy substance, and was overwhelmed by a wondrous sense of stimulation the frosting was a smooth, airy cream that only added to the perfect mouthfeel, and she couldn’t help herself but already include the banana into her first bite. The strawberry would come later, and it’d be just as spectacular of a combo to the rest of the cake as was the concoction in her mouth right this moment. Had her mouth not been full, she’d have been making ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs,’ but because it was, she resigned herself to muffled, content noises. Emily was too caught in a drunken pleasure for her to care when Joyce took the fork from her, stealing her own bite. She kept hers a bit smaller though, just so Emily’s stomach had more to look forward to. Though maybe a bit more reserved, Joyce was as equally pleased as well. Clearly this had been the right choice, and she was happy to see her efforts had paid off in full. No words were exchanged when Emily repeatedly opened and closed her hands, begging for her eating utensil to be returned to her. Joyce happily complied, and while she was eating, Joyce needn’t force a smile out of her for a picture, because the cake’d already done so for her. You could see a bib around her neck, and the high cushion to the back of her chair was questionable...but… She slipped the phone away, going back to admiring the spectacle. It was a never-ending gravy train as flavorful bite came after flavorful bite. She never wanted the mouthgasms to stop, and the only times they did was when she needed to wash it down. At some point her juice turned into milk, not that she cared, and went back to happily munching her food. But in the end, the simple mention of such a state was indication enough of disappointment. Not that the cake was bad, no, but because there was none of it left. Granted, Emily felt like she’d easily overeaten, and her stomach strained to the point of a very mild pain. Punishment for her gluttony, she supposed. “Good, I take it?” Almost sluggishly Emily nodded yes, and Joyce could only chuckle. “I’m glad,” Joyce finally cleared off the tray, and even stole a swab of frosting from Emily’s bib, slipping it into her own mouth. She undid the straps, then gave the suddenly blushing girl a testing squeeze on the crotch of her squishy diaper. She hoisted her off the seat, then slipped the tray back in. “Ready for bath time?” Satisfied on all imaginable fronts, Emily nodded her head. Slipping the bib off, Joyce then took her by the hand and to the bathroom. “You’ve done so much for me today, babygirl,” Joyce spoke soothingly as she laid Emily down on the bathroom tiles, announcing the loud noise of tearing adhesives. The faucet to the bath currently gushed a hypnotic noise as the room slowly heated to a relaxing temperature. A small amount of steam rose from the water, and it was the perfect setting to watch the night sky through the window, whilst surrounded in warm, yellow colors whilst getting ready to hop into the blue, clear water. Everything was clean and shiny, and soon Joyce would do the same to Emily. She’d be refreshed in a sweet aroma of scent and smell, and go back to being her perfect self. Not that she never wasn’t. The diaper was only wet once, and it had a long way to go. Joyce thought about it for a moment, but tabled the idea for later. She wanted to focus much more on what was about to come. After removing Emily’s one article of clothing, she undid the bun in her hair and had her ready to be bathed. Still intoxicated by the atmosphere and everything it entailed, Emily stood dully as she watched the water rise, and feel the steam brush her skin. She could almost fall asleep to the noise, but did her best not to. “Someone’s looking a little sleepy, huh?” Emily turned her head to the source of the noise, and was stunned out of her sleep-induced state. “J...Joyce?” In a muffled reply, Joyce said, “What?” The reason it was muffled was because her shirt was covering her face, namely because she was taking it off. Setting it to the side, Emily wordlessly watched Joyce’s enchanting figure slowly unravel itself from the cruel confines known as clothes. Why was her body of such interest? Seeing her breasts suspended by the purple, patterned bra, the panties which complimented them came on display next as the simple stroke of her fingers slipped the denim flap from underneath the button. Lowering her pants, it displayed the rest of her curves, while Emily’s heart was in a shocking and unexpected tizzy, beating fast and heavy as she watched. The simple shake of her head to fix the state of her hair made Emily’s blood-pumper yet again skip another beat. She watched nervously as she felt herself grow hot from more than just the steam. Joyce paid her shameless ogling no mind though, as she unclasped her bra and her beautiful breasts were a spectacular sight to see as well. She’s a woman, so why am I… Emily tried to question further, but the feelings in her heart were telling her to stop, just so she could spend that much more time focusing on the one thing she could take her eyes off of. They were both women, though, right? So why did Emily feel the need to feel so...so flustered? It was strange how natural it felt to Emily though. She’d recognized this feeling with countless other people, but never to someone like Joyce. She’d never considered it, or at least she thought she hadn’t. Maybe Joyce was just that special? Again, questions were the last thing she wanted to entertain right now. Regardless, the feeling was undeniable. Attraction. Much like Emily, the last thing to come off of Joyce was her underwear as well, and suddenly she was just as naked as her baby girl. Emily stared at choice with reddened cheeks, and a face ridden with personal bewilderment. Her innocence only furthered the passion Joyce was feeling however, as unlike Emily, she knew exactly how she felt, and it was the perfect mix of motherly and partnerly affection towards her charge and partner. “Mommy needs a bath, too, silly. Is it okay if I join you?” Meekly, Emily nodded her head yes, trying not to be so fixated on Joyce’s figure. It was funny in a way, thinking how Joyce’d become so casual to Emily’s naked figure, whereas the first sign of Joyce’s for some reason had Emily registering her as drop dead gorgeous. Skin-to-skin contact came into play once Joyce had Emily in her arms again, and Emily wrapped her legs around Joyce’s waist. Emily pressed her smaller chest to Joyce’s easily larger one, and Emily locked eyes with the one person she couldn’t get out of her head. The water swished as Joyce stepped in, and very slowly she came to her knees, submerging Emily’s body soon as well. Emily wasn’t sure of the body’s melting point, but she was sure she was dangerously close to it. Too many factors right now were pushing her close to a fever induced by sheer pleasure. And partly in the water, with Joyce sitting against the rim of the tub, Emily turned her head sideways so she could keep her face unobstructed while using Joyce’s breast as a pillow. “I hope today was very special for you, Emmy. I love you so much, I want to wish you a very happy birthday.” Not a sound was heard, other than the bathroom fan, and the slight stirs of water. Joyce could feel Emily’s arms squeeze a little bit tighter around her, and her head nuzzle further into her chest. Then, she heard it. “I love you too...Mommy.” So not to disturb the moment, Joyce brought a hand to her mouth as she winced, and her eyes blurred with tears. Emily could feel herself be hugged tighter.
  5. 10 points
    16 - Messy Milestone A small, crestfallen whimper escaped Emily when she could feel a hot spurt escape her bladder, and soak into the inviting, thirsty pad taped around her hips. Trying the best she could to relax her breathing, the pitter-patter expanded into a river, as she started to flood her diaper. She stared off into space as the tingly feeling trickled in her nether regions, acutely aware of the raging battle in her pants; the struggle of her pee trying to pool whilst the diaper absorbed it. Strangely enough, she imagined it like pouring a bucket of water in the sand. At first there would be a tiny pool, but the dry, dry sand would eventually drink it all away. And in its place would be a much heavier, squisher form. Without even realizing it, the corner of a crustless sandwich nudged the edge of her mouth. She looked over to the culprit, and of course it was the only other person in the kitchen. “There she is!” Joyce cooed like it was a game of peekaboo. “I was afraid my little Emmy was petrified!” “S...sorry...I...I just…-” “Didn’t you ask for half of my sandwich?” Obviously jumping over Emily’s words, Joyce interjected with a stern voice. “This little guy still has two more bites to it, and I expect them to be coming from you.” Emily, blinded by her own embarrassment, didn’t notice Joyce’s tactness and tried to press again. “But I just...” The words kept failing her, and her verbal shortcomings frustrated her even more as she shifted in her seat and felt the diaper squish. “There’s no need to talk about it, silly,” Joyce spoke soothingly; not to express her own annoyance; far from it. It was all to calm Emily’s nerves. “We’ll take care of it when we need to. What happens down there is my business when I decide it needs to be addressed.” It was never a tone to belittle Emily, but to help shift any responsibility she might unnecessarily feel was hers. It was Joyce’s job to shoulder all the negativity, and in return for Emily to be her cute little self. “Besides, what kind of mommy would I be if I needed my baby girl to tell me whenever she needed to be changed?” As her role was further defined, and responsibility for her bladder relieved, Emily blushed harder, muttering, “Then how will you know…?” “Mommy’s intuition, naturally,” she spoke in a matter-of-fact voice, figuring the sixth sense was a given. Though, truthfully, it wasn’t like any of Emily’s diaper habits were discrete. Joyce hated to exploit them, but even if Emily didn’t tell her what was going on, the muffled gasp or minor whimper was often plenty enough to tell what was happening. Whenever Emily seemed visibly distraught out of nowhere, it was likely the state of her diaper that was contributing to it. And now that Emily wouldn’t be directly helping her out anymore, Joyce’s eyes briefly trailed to the crotch of Emily’s diaper. She’d have the liberty of conducting some real diaper checks, now. “So now let’s review,” Joyce ruffled the top of Emily’s head. “Who’s in charge of your diapers?” “...You are,” Emily meekly replied, her mouth contorting into an awkward, flustered smile. “And when you use it, you…?” “Do...do nothing?” Emily answered with a slight bit of uncertainty. “Bzzz,” Joyce sounded her error and crossed her fingers into an ‘X.’ “Wrong, my baby girl. You’re supposed to keep having fun!” Emily technically was right, but Joyce considered it another chance to reinforce positive feelings. “The only thing you need to worry about it having fun, and enjoying Mommy’s snuggles and love!” she eagerly rubbed their noses together, and sparked embarrassed giggles from the girl. “Oh, but, I guess you do have an important job...” Joyce spoke with a sudden look of realization, like she’d forgotten something important. “What’s that?” Emily answered with mild, yet genuine curiosity. It was conflicting to seek that sort of stimulation; legitimate responsibility while still trying to act like a baby… But, it was pretty obvious the two weren’t on the same wavelength when Joyce finally revealed, “Mommy needs affection, too, you know?” With an exaggerated expression, she looked to be someone in desperate need of love herself, and though she was joking, Emily still started to feel a new sense of frustration as she couldn’t free herself from the chair to hug Joyce. Annoyed, she swung her legs, trying to at least fire her love like projectiles to the matronly figure instead. Joyce then closed the distance again, but while staring Emily in the eyes, grabbed her fidgety ankles until they stopped moving. “Eat your lunch, then we can talk about getting you out of there.” Not waiting for a response, Joyce picked up the crustless sandwich and slipped the better part of it into Emily’s mouth. And as if she had to instruct the process every step of the way, Joyce continued to jokingly explain as she motioned, “And then we chew...” she lightly tickled the bottom of Emily’s chin, nearly causing the girl to choke in a giggle fit, clearly infectious as Joyce fought hard to look serious too. “T, then swallow,” she muttered, as if trying to hide the laughter on her face. The rolling ball in Emily’s throat announced a successful, and blissful bite, and there was only one more to go. A small amount of fruit remained too; all of which was Emily’s portion, but Joyce was finally feeling merciful as she stole another cube for herself too. With enough coaxing, Emily did finish her food, and the rest of her juice. Satisfied, Joyce unlocked the tray after cleaning her up. And right before Emily could scamper off, Joyce halted her with a quick, “Just a second, hon.” Walking over to her confused girl, considering she’d already wiped her face clean, Emily’s heart skipped an awkward beat as the crotch of her diaper, hidden by her onesie was suddenly pressed closer to her groin, namely because Joyce’s hand was in the middle of feeling it. Emily had moved her mouth, but no words came. “You’re so cute when you’re embarrassed, you know?” It wasn’t something Joyce wanted to see in particular, because truthfully Emily was even cuter when she wasn’t and just falling into the natural flow of things. And as she pulled her hand away from the warm diaper, her face was filled with tenderness and compassion, and the diaper slightly crinkled as the heavy bulk of it suddenly sunk back to the ground, though stopped partway by the onesie. “Maybe in a little bit,” Joyce answered the silent question gleaming in Emily’s eyes, turning back to the sink while she wiped her hands with a dish towel. And given that she’d just been told not to, Emily didn’t make as much as a comment. Not spokenly, at least. The final step to Joyce’s cleanup was refilling Emily’s bottle, and she walked back into the living room to find the girl lounging about the couch, seemingly with little regard for the diaper around her hips; happily displayed for whoever might sneak a glance. “Okay, so what are you feeling up to now?” passively, she tickled the bottom of Emily’s exposed and lazy foot; a mistake Emily would regret right then as it shot away from Joyce’s reach. “We can go back to coloring, playing games, stuffies?” None of it sounded too exciting to Emily right now. Stuffed animals called for more creativity than she had at the moment, and such a high level of coloring like she did before was too draining. Really. Being a toddler wasn’t easy. Joyce could read what was going through Emily’s head as it translated to her face, so she asked, “Maybe some tv? A movie? We could always get bath time out of the way...” Her last suggestion lingered as if she were thinking about it right then. “But, I think it’d be better to do that after dinner.” “Uhm...tv?” Emily asked for confirmation, but Joyce snickered when she slipped the bottle into her mouth, as if a sign that negotiations were finished. “Tv it is.” Joyce walked by the couch where the playmat used to be, grabbing one of the few puzzles she left out. Scooting Emily closer to the edge of the couch, she assumed her position as the bigger spoon and held her charge close. “But we’re not gonna watch too much, got it? Too much tv is bad for you.” Emily almost groaned, but the whole scenario was too wonderful to disobey over something so tiny and insignificant. Curiously, she also eyed the puzzle in Joyce’s hands, who looked to be fiddling with it herself. Joyce turned her eyes from the puzzle to the staring girl, smirking. “Think you can be my special helper?” Quietly, but with childish confidence, Emily nodded her head assuringly. It was certainly a struggle not to smother Emily constantly. Her forming mannerisms and overall attitude as the Emmy Joyce loved equally as much as her more grown-up counterpart were slowly taking shape, and they were all such encouraging signs. It told her everything they had done, and likely were going to do would be magical, and nothing but sweet, pure ecstasy for both of them. With one arm wrapped around Emily’s waist, Joyce used the other to keep herself propped up; giving herself the perfect view of the tv, and her little tinkerer trying to crack the code. Unfortunately, it was feeling a whole lot like last time, and Emily could feel herself wanting to defer to Joyce’s aid already. It was a mess of metal rods with balls fused into them, looking so intricately assembled, yet upon closer inspection finding just how much of a mess the combination was. Simple and pretty from a distance, challenging and intimidating up close. The longer she spent on it, the less calculated and logical her attempts became. Before she’d inspect how a part was threaded into the rest of the jumble, but now she was just giving everything random tugs in whichever direction possible. And she knew that as soon as she gave it to Joyce, she’d make it look so easy; do the things Emily could not so effortlessly. Her power was limitless, and Emily’s own paled in comparison. But with that in mind...it was all the more reason why she should be confiding in Joyce… “Now come on,” Joyce coaxed in a lightly disapproving voice. “I know my little girl is smarter than that,” she leaned back up so she could fit one of Emily’s hands into each of hers. “But I don’t know what to do!” Emily explained, slightly annoyed once more by being told she could do something she knew she couldn’t. Then again, wasn’t she able to meet Joyce’s expectations last time? Coloring suddenly felt like eons ago. That’s what a nap and lunch could do to a person… “Okay, come on,” Joyce gave her a quick kiss on the head. “No more pouting. Now with all these puzzles, there’s a pattern,” she started to pull her hands apart, and by extension, so did Emily’s which were holding a part. Of course nothing budged. “See? I told you-” Emily started to ramble, but was politely silenced, though she didn’t expect to be muffled by her pacifier. The banana taste was nice, but she was a little ashamed to admit that she had forgotten where it went… Another factor she needn’t consider… “And I told you,” Joyce chuckled, “give me a minute, okay? I’ll admit, sometimes for these puzzles I try randomly too. But, it works the same way as the last one, remember?” Trying to recall their first time doing this, Emily envisioned herself sitting between Joyce’s legs, tinkering with an older logic puzzle, and then of course deferring to Joyce for help. But how did she do it? Why did it matter? They were both totally two different puzzles. Maybe even different manufacturers. Taking Emily’s silence behind the pacifier as an answer, Joyce continued her explanation. “You’re half right. Yes, you pull, but what you really need to do is,” letting her hands do the talking, they pulled again, only with a bit more rotation this time. Twisting. Pull and twist. “Pull and twist.” Suddenly, there was much more give to one of the complex metal pieces. It didn’t come out, but it certainly felt like a significant step was taken, and Emily felt like a fool for not realizing the trick any sooner. These puzzles made her feel dumb, and she suddenly didn’t like looking bad in front of Joyce. Seeing this entire venture as a whole new avenue to express her stupidity, Emily dropped the puzzle to the floor and nuzzled back into Joyce. Slightly frowning, Joyce called Emily’s attention when the pacifier was slipped from her mouth and she no longer had an excuse to not use her words. “Why did you stop?” She didn’t sound angry, or expectant for Emily to continue, just concerned about the reason. “B...because it stopped being fun...” Emily answered in a way that made her to be a terrible liar, because even she knew that those words were hard to believe. “And why did it stop being fun?” she rubbed Emily’s shoulder, who seemed to be choking on yet another bitter pill. Although meekly, it was almost strange how easily Emily could let the truth flow out of her. When answering to Joyce, at least. She truly was her rock. Nothing slipped past her, and she made everything better. “Stuff like that makes me feel dumb...and, and I don’t wanna look dumb to you...” “Honey,” Joyce spoke in a neutral voice; caught between mommy-mode and Joyce the tender lover. “Do you really think I’d judge you over a single puzzle?” The silence lingered for a moment. “Do you?” “N...no...” The answer was obvious, but irrational thought still reigned supreme. “I just don’t want to feel inferior.” It was a difficult, and complex desire. She couldn’t exactly be Joyce’s peer when she was having her diapers checked and drinking from a bottle. Not that Joyce minded, and hopefully Emily too. This was a specific kind of inferiority Emily was feeling, and it was in the intellectual sphere. “You’re not inferior,” Joyce stressed. “If anything, you’re the one with all the power!” The claim bewildered Emily, and truly did confuse her. Where were they right now? Doing what? Everything within sight was all on Joyce’s dime! The only thing Emily could call her own was the few cubic inches inside of her head, and even then she was practically leasing it out to Joyce at this point… “Remember what I said? Your happiness is my happiness. When you’re sad, I’m sad. And when you feel troubled,” as if to match the mood of the word, Joyce said somberly, “then so do I.” “But...” desperate to find a counterexample, Emily it was conflicting to find her well of thoughts turning up dry. “But what? When we have adult conversations, you’re more than mature, respectful, kind, funny, and loving. What about that is inferior?” The question she ended it on was partly genuine. “And when you’re able to become a sweet, baby girl like this for me? That’s nothing but to show how strong you are.” “S...strong?” What an oxymoron it was. “Yes,” Joyce confirmed, “strong. Being able to recline yourself into such a wonderful mindset and enjoy such...different things from the norm. And to do it all for me? I’m the one who’s grateful to you, Emily. You’re willing to show me the most vulnerable parts about yourself, and I’m willing to do the same for you. So when we expose ourselves like this, how does that make either one of us inferior? Does it make me lesser to be your mommy instead of your girlfriend?” “No...” Her logic never seemed to fail, and the coming conclusion did make sense. It nearly put a smile on Emily’s face. Joyce always knew how to make things better. “So then why would it be any different for you to be my baby? It’s a sign of mutual trust, Emily. We love each other enough to drop our guard; be ourselves. Why should we feel worse because of it?” “Because...” then she realized, she had nothing meaningful to say. Nothing that’d be sunk in mere moments by Joyce and her limitless arsenal. “I’m sorry...” “For what?” Joyce lightly rubbed her back. “It’s important to talk about these things, because now we can make them better. Whenever you want to talk or share what’s on your mind, I’ll always be here, okay?” With a small noise of satisfaction, Emily nodded her head. “Good. Now,” Joyce leaned over, picking up the puzzle Emily once discarded. “Let’s do this one together. Mommy doesn’t remember the instructions on this one too clearly, so I think we’ll both be struggling...” To her pleasure, it earned a giggle from Emily. For the next two hours it’d be the noises of a tv in the background, small talk, and small clinks and clacks of metal. “Hey Joyce, how big is your office at work?” “Hmm… Well, I suppose it’s somewhat like the office we have here, but maybe a little bit bigger. Why?” “I dunno...” Emily’s voice trailed as she worked on the puzzle. It was just simple and baseless curiosity. Joyce was left with lingering ideas though. It made her giddy to think about bringing Emily into work; being able to show her off to everyone. Under what lens though? Obviously as her partner, but…she’d be lying if she said she didn’t wish she could show off her adorable side, too. The company did have a bring your daughter to work day. Maybe then it’d be a good excuse to show her around? Then she chuckled, imagining the confusion they’d cause. Everyone would think that she was bending the rules, and they would be correct, but wrong at the same time. “Speaking of work,” Joyce added, “have you heard from yours at all?” “Sort of...” Emily glumly replied. “They said we’d be receiving some news either tomorrow or Sunday. I don’t know what to expect...” Sure, the unofficial vacation was nice, but being out of work for so long, longer than even last time wasn’t sitting well with her. “It’ll be fine. Everything will work out in the end.” Joyce continued to soothe her, though, tried to keep her personal opinions on the reserved side. She already had certain ideas about what “temporarily” closing an entire department might entail. For Emily’s sake, though, she would stay optimistic. And she meant it when she said that everything would work out, one way or another. Emily stayed quiet, watching the tv for a few moments, then visible shock crept on her face when she felt it. A pressure. A force. A small movement, or rather, a push. It was coming from the last place she wanted it to. The one forbidden spot; even worse than the bladder. Her bowels. She was just about to excuse herself, but then she realized where she was, what she was wearing, and who she was with. It was a helpless cause, yet the thought of what Joyce would inevitably force on her scared her to no end. Joyce could already pick up on her slight and awkward shuffles, though, asking, “What’s wrong?” Emily’s mind raced a mile a minute, thinking how she could answer such a dangerous question. It potentially defined life or death. Her mind must have been solving quadratic equations in rapid succession, whilst deciphering the ancient texts known as Joyce’s personality while she computed a suitable answer; mentally reviewing all their past exchanges to have her personality figured out down to a ‘T.’ She had probably skipped over discovering the meaning of life itself just to find what words might keep Joyce at bay. And then it came to her. A godsend, words of wisdom, and divine will comprised into the vocal form. Intellectually enriched, and enlightened, she had discovered her profound words which Joyce could not bear to disobey, defy, or question. “Uh...uhm...nothing.” After the slight crinkle and squish from standing up, she excused herself. “I...I need to check on something.” Truly profound words. “Emmy...?” Joyce leaned over in her spot, watching the girl disappear into the hallway. She was more perplexed than anything else for the first few seconds, seeing how unusual this was, but a sneaking suspicion was growing on her. She stood up and followed. Meanwhile, Emily clasped her hands on the knob of the bathroom door, and as she twisted, the knob did not. Stunned, and trying to save herself from a breakdown, she helplessly turned the metal knob over and over, hoping that the locking mechanism would show mercy and let her through. Panicked whimpers escaped her as the sense of worry and distress only seemed to make the pressure on her bottom feel worse. The worst part was she already expected this. She knew Joyce like always had taken the necessary precautions, and this time would be no different than the last. Well, it would, though the only thing different would be what she was doing in her diaper. It was the worst imaginable scenario possible. A hand reached from behind Emily and it sought out her own. Knowing full well who it belonged to, Emily became sorrowfully limp as it handled her. “Please...” All she got as a response was a hug. “I’m sorry, honey, but not this time.” “But…!” Emily spoke with desperation; stuck in a frenzy with what time she had left. There was nothing she felt capable of doing other than skipping straight to the inevitable. Why torture yourself and watch the water rise than just drown yourself from the start? Tension certainly wasn’t good for the muscles, because she was feeling the strain grow on her by the second. It could have very likely all been in her head, but that didn’t discount from how real it felt right now. The need to go. Maybe it was but a second later and Emily was back to tasting synthetic fruit. It didn’t exactly clear the clouds and chase the storm away, but it at least gave Emily a roof to put her head under. There wasn’t much Joyce could do other than employ all the comfort techniques she knew for Emily. This wasn’t going to be easy, and she knew that, but she could at least try and soften the blow. Emily slowly sunk to the floor, still supported by Joyce’s arms whilst she tried her best to come to terms with an absolute fate. “I know, I know...” Joyce cooed, even if she really didn’t, but she took a fair guess that Emily was too distraught to really call her out on that. “The first time is always hard, but I know you’ve made it through to the other side each and every time. This is no different.” While she spoke, Joyce had turned Emily to face her. Emily had moved to take the pacifier out of her mouth, but she was stopped. “Hang on, I want you to be nice and comfy, okay?” Genuinely frustrated, Emily looked at the ground with a sense of bitterness. This was the last thing she wanted! It was her birthday! So why did this need to happen? It all came as a package. There wouldn’t be any cuddling and kisses without the messy parts too… She hated how literal the saying started to seem now… Keeping in mind what Joyce said, she did try her best to stay comfortable. She was being comforted by someone she deeply cherished, was dressed in a soft fabric, and...and was tasting the pleasant flavor of banana… “You know, it helps to have a friend, too?” Suggestively, Joyce added while behind her back she produced a familiar face. “Pihp?” behind the pacifier, Emily questioned. The ovular mochi shape was unmistakable, as generic and nondescript as it was. Granted, that was exactly what made him so unique. His synthetic smile stared back at Emily, and although reluctant, she was suddenly warming up to Joyce’s comfort strategy. Trying not to wince as her diaper squished, she leaned forward to take Pip from Joyce’s hands. Suddenly holding him tight, all she could do was look at Joyce, standing over her with rays of affection. Joyce rested her cheek on her hand, trying her best not to fawn too much over the sight. There she was, her little girl sitting on her knees, sucking on her pacifier, dressed in a onesie and holding her new, fluffy friend. It pained her to know that this was all for something even more significant though. She looked all buckled up for something that would certainly be more intense… “N...Now whaht?” The worst was that there wasn’t any magic Joyce could use to make what was to come any less worse. The sweet, relatively unperturbed innocence on her face wouldn’t last forever, and Joyce was the reason because of it. It was in times like these when it felt like she was kicking a puppy. The way Emily stared at her, it was complete, genuine trust, and Joyce was about to drag her through the mud. Like she told Emily: the first was always the worst. “...Now you do what you need to do.” It went easy through the ears, but not down the throat. Again, a window of freedom. She had complete control over her fate, and the only way she was going to pass her bowels was if she did it of her own accord. There was something oddly reassuring about something bad being done to yourself by someone else’s hand. At least then you had an excuse to claim no wrongdoing. You played nothing more than an involuntary role in the deed. But this was different. This was all done by Emily. It rocked her core to an uncomfortable point knowing she’d have no one to blame but herself. How was she even supposed to start? In a strange, strange, very strange way, it almost felt like she was coloring again… No matter what comparison she tried to make, it was as confusing as it was jarring. It was like peeing...but out the back? It was like she was on death’s door; pushed to a brink where she suddenly had a sixth sense. She could feel it inside of her; this mass, waste, demanding to be released. Waiting to be caught and contained by her diaper… She hugged Pip tighter, and her breaths started to pick up the pace. The gravity was setting in fast, and tears started to roll down her cheeks. “P-please, d-dohn’t mahk me!” Her pleas muffled and slightly slurred around the teat. “I need you to trust me, sweetie, okay?” Looking emotionally pained herself, Joyce leaned close next to her. Emily continued to quiver, and suddenly shake as the answer she was desperately searching for wasn’t anywhere to be found. “B-b-but, but...” “Once you’re done, we’ll get you changed right away, okay? Like it never happened,” she ended it on a content beat, and smiled a smile with the utmost confidence. Emily could already think of a few ways to continue the verbal gymnastics, but they knew who would win in the end. There was nothing she could do. Nothing. Nothing other than push. How she could even push herself this far was one of science’s greatest mysteries, or at least one of her own greatest conundrums. Joyce was the much better one at reading these things, but she’d certainly come far… It felt wrong. It felt like she was doing something she wasn’t supposed to be doing. Something irreversible. Like she was ripping a steel beam right out of a skyscraper. Everything about this had no objective logic. She was tearing herself down for the sake of someone else. Yet even with that in mind she still wanted to follow through? It pushed against her backside like a rude and intrusive guest. The shift in gear was obviously far too much for her body, seeing as her bowels were having just as tough of a time as she was accepting what was going to happen. She grunted, and her face felt hot. From Joyce’s perspective it was red. Not the embarrassed kind of red, though. Clearly she was physically strained. She stood slightly off her knees, whether it was out of necessity or to prevent squishing from the aftermath… She couldn’t do it. She tried and tried, but her body seemed dead-set on refusing her selfish desires. And that made her feel horribly conflicted. Feeling a bountiful joy that both she and her body were like-minded in their adultness, but also downright terrible for not being able to meet Joyce’s expectations. The idea of disappointment was enough to suddenly pop a screw, because she nearly gasped when she could feel just the smallest bit slip between the barrier defining what was inside her body, and what was the outside world. No! No, no, no, no, no, no! There wasn’t a porcelain toilet waiting to receive her mess, and that’s what scared her the most. It was inconceivable to think it was going anywhere else, in her pants no less. To her own dismay, she didn’t stop, but she stared either intently at Joyce for some form of support, or off into endless space. She probably was shredding through the pacifier with how hard she was biting into it, and Pip must have been two pieces by now with how hard she hugged him. Her cheeks were wet, and they were only becoming more damp by the second. It was all a jumbled mess of confusion as she kept pushing on her bowels, and more and more the mess was starting to poke through. She had already crossed the threshold. There was no turning back now. It was all or nothing. And suddenly, the raging fire within her was rained upon by a heavy, yet wonderful shower. It tickled her ears in the most euphoric way possible. Arms wrapped around her shoulders, and she was pressed into the soft, familiar bosom of her dearest. The hums sang like the melodies of a goddess through her ears, and the sweet, gentle smells reminded her of peace and serenity. It was so sudden and so powerful, she forgot what had her so strained for just a moment. To forget how her bottom shook, fighting to release something so vile and disturbing. Something that tarnished and corrupted her mentality as an adult and grown woman. The best way to explain the feeling is like pushing a big boulder up and down a hill. On the way up, the process is tiring, straining, exhausting, and taxing. It takes everything you have to just set the ball into motion, but once you reach the top, all control leaves you. Gravity takes care of the rest and it slips from your grasp, whether you like it or not. It picks up in speed, and the momentum accelerates to a frightening pace. So fast that it’s over before you can even realize it. A long, uninterrupted gasp mixed into a sigh left Emily’s chest once it hit her. Rather, once it left her. She had stretched her sphincter to such a point that her body squeezed the rest out unaided. The poo left her so fast she nearly had a double-take. Even if she wasn’t proud, the relief she felt from finishing the grueling task was wonderful. Her diaper though felt dreadfully heavy, and her bum felt hot, like there was something close to it radiating heat. Probably because there was… What bothered her in a still shock-induced state however was the size of it all. Of course she couldn’t tell how big it really was, but it was enough to just creep between her legs, feeling the muck shift around inside of her. In unintelligible murmurs she trembled all over, as the smell reaching her nose suddenly reminded her why she should feel so mortified right now. She’d finally done it. The one last thing she never thought she’d ever do, and she’d done it. She truly was a baby. If anyone thought otherwise, they need only refer to the current state of her diaper. It made her feel awful, clearly outshining the tiniest bit of pleasure from satisfying Joyce. Speaking of which, what was she-- Emily’s head slightly reeled back once Joyce’s lips with such force pressed against hers. It was so powerful that Emily’s weakened thighs finally gave up, and her lower half collapsed. This was the last thing she wanted to happen, because she was forcibly sat on the ground. Her eyes widened once her bottom hit the ground--correction, her messy diaper. It squished and squelched, and Emily was there every step of the way to feel it all creep and smoosh. The kiss was wonderful, but the consequences not so much. Joyce looked a tad bit shocked too, but she was still clearly riddled with enthusiasm and pride. Once again, she derived so much joy and pleasure from Emily’s infantileness, but the girl was beyond overwhelmed. She didn’t know how to fully react, other than regard herself with complete and utter disgust. But once she found the words, she was suddenly a quivering mess, both literally and metaphorically. Her mind started to waver heavily, and her body all over felt extremely drained. Part of her could almost slump over on the floor and fall asleep right then. She wanted nothing more than to lean into a nice, big, soft cloud. And yet the sensation of a wet and messy diaper was too much to handle. Her lack of total expression was probably to express just how broken she was right now. She felt disconnected in some way. She was present, sentient, and capable of comprehending things, yet she wasn’t capable of any more than that. “Ch-change?” With only one word in mind, Emily look desperately at Joyce. “O-of course!” Hurriedly, Joyce stood Emily up and took extreme caution to help the wobbly girl back to the nursery. Each step was shaky, and she could feel the mess hang in her diaper heavily. Each step seemed to have charged some consciousness back into her, because she grew more upset with each and every footfall. By the time she was walking on the carpet, she was using Joyce for more than just physical support. The whole way, Joyce was sure not to skip out on the positive reinforcement, because lord if she needed it more than ever now. Before she even set Emily on the table, she undid the snaps to her crotch, and the diaper now unrestrained slumped a little bit lower. Emily could only whimper as it happened, and her nostrils contorted and squinched from the unbearable odor. Joyce was probably bothered by it too, but she gave no indication whatsoever. “I want you to know how proud I am of you,” Joyce stole another kiss from her, then pulled her in for one more hug. “W-w-wait,” tearily, in a thick voice Emily tried to stop her. She didn’t want to be smothered when she felt like this. She’d only feel worse. Joyce ignored her pleas though. “No, I don’t want to hear a word of it,” Joyce spoke firmly, yet looked just as supportive. “Emmy, I’ll love you no matter what. Whether you’re messy, wet, clean, sad, angry, embarrassed, or happy, that’s not going to change how I feel. You can tell me whatever you want, but that’s still not going to stop me from cheering you up.” Emily’s vision grew blurry as she was helped onto the table. She nearly gagged when the mess was spread once more upon sitting down. “Besides, you did the hardest part!” Joyce spoke with an upbeat, encouraging tone. “If you need to cry, I want you to do what feels right. Whatever makes you feel better. But just keep in mind two things. One: it only gets easier. It won’t be as hard as it was this time,” and maybe she could passively work on making it easier, too. Anything to ease the stress on Emily’s part. “And I will never, ever, ever, ever judge you for what happens. You might think that this is your fault, but I promise it isn’t,” she spoke as if it hurt her to think Emily felt that way, which she did. “It’s what’s natural. I wouldn’t expect anything else, okay? It may sound strange right now, but I want you to find comfort with all of this. I want to grow closer to you Emily, as your partner and your mommy.” Emily tried her best to smile and nod, but it was difficult when she was sitting in her own mess. The request was certainly strange indeed, but the idea of growing closer was almost always an immediate yes. Still, she wasn’t sure how she could get used to messing herself… That seemed like a definite no. Something impossible. And yet, Joyce always seemed to prove the exact opposite… She could only let out a sigh, the first unashamed one all day, namely because it had nothing to do with expelling something from her body. Instead, it was Joyce undoing the tapes and pulling back the front of her diaper; allowing the cool air to touch her skin. It felt like centuries had gone by before she could feel the rest of the surrounding atmosphere once again. Even with the strap over her, she could lean forward the slightest bit to see what was going on, and unfortunately she caught a glimpse, and a whiff. If she thought it was bad when it was contained, it was pure liquidated hell now. She couldn’t understand how toilet water masked a smell so well compared to poop being just on its own, but the odor was downright unbearable. What had her nearly faint was seeing just the smallest amount of brown tinge in the diaper snaked between her legs. She did that. It was her mess she made. A grown woman. Messing herself when she was perfectly capable of using the toilet. Before she could look any longer though, Joyce pushed her gently back down. “I don’t want you looking down there one bit, missy,” Joyce tutted disapprovingly. “Only Mommy gets to work down there, got it?” Her dominant assertion over Emily’s private parts actually made her giggle, surprisingly, considering how much turmoil she’d just been put through. She knew it was probably to protect her own sanity, and she was willing to go along with it. “Just lean back on your comfy cushion, okay?” Joyce brushed a lock of Emily’s hair. “Look at Mommy instead of the silly old diapie.” She shined her pearly whites with a gleeful smile. “Don’t I look pretty? Huh?” Before Emily could clearly react, a rush of tickles attacked her left foot. Squeals escaped her as she tried to wiggle, but it only made the mess she was sitting in worse. Thankfully Joyce realized that too, and the tickles stopped much faster than they usually would. “Ready to be clean?” Meekly, Emily nodded her head. During the change, Joyce’s nose had an involuntary twitch here and there, because truthfully the smell wasn’t so pleasant to her either. But it was all part of the package. She wanted Emily at her best times, as well as her worst. She’d be there every step of the way to make it all pleasant, and if not that, then bearable. Besides, someone had to keep her baby pretty. Wipes were applied liberally and even when Joyce was sure not a speck was left on her bottom, she ran through the motions once more. “A..Are you sure it’s clean?” Emily asked nervously. She’d hate to be trapped in a new diaper just to get it dirty again… She felt clean, but it’s not like she could say for certain. Then she suddenly yelped when the cold hand using the wipes took a playful squeeze as her bare bottom. “Clean as a whistle, and cute as a button!” Joyce snickered. “Anyways, I’ve been keeping that tush waiting long enough. Let’s get you into something clean.” A new, clean diaper was suddenly produced, and Emily was actually thankful to smell the powder rather than her own poop once again. She could for the moment regard her diaper simply as cushy and soft underwear. Nothing else. The strap to the table was undone and she’d been set back on the ground. “Alrighty, free to go!” Joyce clapped her hands together, as if she were to send the horses off to the races. “H...huh?” Awkwardly, Emily’s eyes gestured to her near-naked self. All she was wearing was a diaper, and Joyce planned to send her off? Joyce either didn’t see what she was getting at, or tactfully played dumb. “What’s wrong?” “Can’t I wear something? Maybe the onesie again?” She started to grow sheepish, asking for such childish clothing. “I think I want you to get used to just your diaper,” Joyce spoke simply, not so much as disturbing Emily, but throwing her into a senseless stupor. “What do you mean? I don’t wanna be naked!” “Remember you said you wanted me to have more control? I think this is what’s best for you right now,” she gave a reassuring kiss. “Besides, dinner might be messy, and I think you look cute right now?” Her casual tone made Emily’s heart skip a beat. Not only had she exercised the absolute rule Emily extended to her, but she so nonchalantly put Emily in her place. Put Emmy in her place. Unwilling to protest any further, looking intently at the ground, finding the puffed crotch of her diaper impossible to notice, she nodded her head. “Attagirl.” Emily with red cheeks looked back to Joyce, and suddenly felt caught off guard. It was the same look as before. Joyce’s eyes had narrowed, and her eyelids had lowered, as if she were trying to focus her view on her prey alone. She took a seductive approach; the steps of a creeping cougar rather than an affectionate mommy. Emily nearly gulped, and she was strangely excitedly ready for an intense and passionate kiss. Then what shattered such an intimate moment was when her diaper crinkled heavily, as Joyce gave it a fun squeeze. Looking back to her, the fire in her eyes had died, and Emily felt off-puttingly cheated, as well as embarrassed. Emily puffed her cheeks annoyingly, and Joyce merely giggled and spun her out the room. “Mommy’s a meanie, huh?” Her teasing even earned a smirk from Emily. “First she won’t let Emmy wear her clothes, and now she won’t give her kisses.” A finger tracing her spine then sent shivers down Emily’s naked back all over as the nail just touched the surface. “You go have some free time, okay? I’ll only be a little bit. I need to make sure there’s a ride for mom and dad tomorrow.” Walking down the hall, Emily yet again felt another need to cover up her chest, but the notion felt so useless around Joyce. She’d seen her naked time and time again. The efforts at this point seemed wasted. There wasn’t anything left to protect, and maybe it made Joyce happy seeing her like this… Emily was trying to find a way to enjoy this all, and in many degrees she really was, but she also wanted to please Joyce too. Alone in her office, Joyce picked up the phone, already dialing the number in mind. Again, she hated bothering staff near or during the weekend, but it was an unfortunate necessity. She sighed not out of annoyance of others, but precisely because of herself. To anyone other than Emily and family, it was just business, but she respected timely boundaries as well. Work should overflow as little as possible. Being a CEO may cause those rules to bend a little, but she made up for it in the countless other benefits along with it. The phone beeped silently for a few moments. “Charles? I’m fine, and you? That’s good to hear,” during the brief paused, she slightly pivoted in her chair, moving the mouse to her business computer, bringing the tower to life. “I’m sorry for calling you at a time like this, but would you be available tomorrow for a few hours?” Of course he’d say yes, but honestly Joyce wish he’d refuse. Charles was one of few workers she held with high regard. Probably because he worked so closely with her. She didn’t like to impose. “You will? Perfect. I’m sorry about taking up your time like this, you’ll be compensated, of course.” A sudden smile crept on her face. Not from Charles’ compliance, but something else. Something far more adorable. From the angle the camera was facing, her monitor gave her a live feed of the next room over. Propped on the couch, A practically naked Emily occupied herself with the ongoing tv. The light from the monitor slightly brightened Joyce’s own face, and her joyful expression. What really tied it all together though was her posture. Laying across the cushions, she laid her bare chest on top of her stuffed toy, Pip, and looked mildly content with what she was doing. It was everything Joyce wanted, and hoped it would someday be so for Emily too. There would be such a wonderful mix of both adult and infantile moments. It wasn’t even Joyce’s birthday, but it might as well have been. She felt so selfish, deriving pleasure from Emily’s big day. The only thing that kept her happy was knowing that it was mutual. And besides, she knew Emily would never let her feel sad. If only it could go on like this for longer… Her brief moment of thought was chased by the reminder of why she was calling. Why this moment couldn’t carry on into tomorrow. “Thank you again, Charles. I’ll send you the details soon. It’s an airport pickup for my parents. Have a good night. Bye.” The phone beeped, and Joyce set it back into the receiver. She had to call her mom one last time to verify the details, but other than that her business would be finished. She happily watched Emily for a few moments longer, only able to pry herself from it by reasoning that the faster she worked, the sooner she could stop being a spectator and become a participant. She was already wanting to cuddle with her little Emmy again! The emotional frustration though only made her heart flutter even more. Quickly, she dialed the last few digits. . .. … “Mom? Is that you? Hi, so I just wanted to...” The story's not dead! Promise. Will respond to comments soon. Sorry about the lateness! Please, as well, let me know your thoughts. I read all the comments, and appreciate them to no end! And again, just give me a little bit, and I'll give you all proper responses. Really, I can't thank you enough for the support and concern over the story's continuation. But just to be clear, it IS going to keep going. (I promise, not an April Fool's joke)
  6. 10 points
    Chapter 26 Part 2 “Walk or stroller?” Another perk of the stroller: he didn’t have to walk after eating so much food. He’d be comatose if he ate that much little food. “Stroller,” he burped. “Ha! Need a tummy rub?” “That’s actually sounds like a horrible idea.” “Good, cuz I was joking.” She got him in and started walking toward the park. It really was a perfect day outside. One of those halfway days between summer and autumn when the temperature is perfect and the air is not too humid or too dry. How many of those are there in a year? Six? Seven? “We can go straight home if you want.” “No, it’s too nice out, and I really should get a little bit of exercise.” The park was pretty full, the playground a zoo. With no open bench, they sat on the grass and talked. “You ready for another week of daycare?” “I guess. It wasn’t so bad after Ella showed up.” “You figure out what her deal is yet?” “No. I’m not sure there’s a polite way to ask. She did show me her scar.” “Where is it?” “Along her spine. I don’t know where it stops, but it starts at her neck. Her hair covers it. She didn’t say what it was from, but that could be because you and Mom showed up right then.” “Does she seem shy about it?” “Not exactly. She just doesn’t talk about it. I wouldn’t have even thought to ask except she walks a little slow and seems to get tired easily.” “Was she glad to see another unregressed little?” “I guess? She’s pretty subdued all the time.” “What else do you know about her?” “She’s an artist. Or at least she studied art in college. That’s all I know.” “How’s everything else there?” “The headphones really help. It’s just loud there. I guess I’m getting used to it. Sorta worried about winter when we can’t be outside all the time.” “Cross that bridge when we come to it.” “I guess the real issue is every day is the same. Imagine being retired and being in the same place doing the same things every day with no end in sight. Read, draw, go outside, repeat.” “Yeah, Mom’s been trying to find some kind of program where you’re not always there. Maybe like one day a week or something.” “Like what?” “Like maybe an in-home daycare with a smaller group, or a field trip program.” “Field trips sound fun.” “Yeah, I wouldn’t mind going on a field trip once a week. Problem is there aren’t any that goes anywhere you would like, at least that we’ve found so far.” “I think I’m ready to get up.” “Wet or dry,” Amanda asked . “Wet, I think.” Amanda’s brow wrinkled. “What does ‘I think’ mean? You’re not...” “No! I’ve just gotten so used to going whenever that I don’t always remember if I went or not.” She flet his crotch through his shorts and found him damp. “I still think this is good for you, but I don’t want you to actually start needing these.” “I don’t think that’s possible.” “Well, we’ll pay attention to it.” She looked at the line to the changing room. “We can wait in line or do this out here.” “Out here?” Jamie looked incredulous. In an open field? “We did it at the beach, twice. That looks like at least a 20-minute line, besides it won’t take long.” “Fine. Quickly, though, please.” He laid back and let Amanda do her thing. “Feels good,” he said. “The cream?” “The air.” “Well, that’s the best thing for a diaper rash.” Jamie sat up on one elbow. “Not going nude at the park.” “I meant at home.” “Oh,” he said, laying back down. “Maybe.” With his shorts back on, Jamie sat up. “Whatcha wanna do?” Jamie looked at the field and tag game. He didn’t really want to get all sweaty on top of the irritation he already had down there. “Maybe just go on the playground, climb around a bit.” It was crowded but he’d make do. He didn’t need much. “Want me to come with you?” “No, that’s okay.” The two of them walked over to the playground and Jamie disappeared into the crowd while Amanda stood off the path with the stroller and struck up a conversation with another young woman. “Which one is yours?” The woman looked around trying to spot her little. “Her, in the hat,” she said pointing. “I’m Alice.” “Amanda. My guy is ... the one hanging from the bar behind the thing,” she said when she saw him through the crowd. “Is he yours?” “My little brother.” “My little sister.” They talked about the joy of having a little sibling in their lives. Jamie was using the monkey bars and climbing up the slide and doing what he could to get a little exercise without getting too sweaty. The day was working against him, not because it was too hot but because he had a belly of heavy food and the perfect temperature and air were making him sleepy. After one more pass down the monkey bars, he dropped down and went to go lay on the grass for a moment. So many people were around he had to walk a little further to feel comfortable no one would step on him, especially a little. He only needed to go ten feet outside the playground boundaries. He turned to make sure he could still see Amanda and waved. She waved back. Jamie laid down with his knees up and crossed one leg over the other with his hands behind his head. He could feel the leaves move, letting sunlight fall and pass back and forth over him in the breeze, the shade and light running warm and warmer over his body. He started to doze when the sunlight suddenly went away. He opened his eyes to find a big child standing in his sunlight. “Hello,” Jamie ventured. The kid was probably about a foot-and-a-half taller than Jamie, with a heavier build. “Hi.” Jamie guessed he was about six; he seemed to speak fine, but he did have an accent, though, his ‘Hi’ coming out ‘Hiy.’ “They stared at each other for a moment. Jamie hadn’t interacted with a big child yet. It was an odd feeling knowing this person towering over him was 20 or more years his junior. “Vhat are yoo duing?” “Just resting.” “Oh.” “Do you want to sit down?” “No. I vunt to playe with you.” “That’s very kind of you, but …” The boy grabbed Jamie by the arm and yanked him right from the ground. He was tall enough and strong to pick Jamie up, but not strong enough carry him without wrapping both arms around Jamie’s middle and waddling away. “Put me down!” Jamie said it as loud as he could. “You’re hurting me!” The boy turned to walk away from the playground, and Jamie saw a half dozen bigs running toward him. Jamie was relieved to see it, but it didn’t change that this boy was squeezing him too tight and hurting his spine. Jamie cocked a fist back with his brain screaming “MORAL DILEMMA! MORAL DILEMMA!” He only had to wait a moment before one of the bigs reached him. The boy was losing his grip and tossed Jamie upward to reset his arms around his waist and digging into his lower back even harder. His brain screamed “DO IT ANYWAY!” With a face half pained by what was being done to him and half pained by what he was about to do, he threw his fist as hard as he could at the boy’s eye, connecting just to the left of his target, catching the boy half in the eye and half on the bridge of his nose. The boy stumbled backward, dropping Jamie, who twisted his ankle as he fell. Some big stepped around the boy and picked Jamie up in his arms. Before he was even settled, Amanda appeared and snatched him away, the man seeing she was his and letting him go. Amanda put her hand on the back of Jamie’s head and gently pushed his cheek to her should, gently bouncing and shushing him. A crowd was forming. Amanda turned away, and suddenly there was were two bigs, a man and a woman, just behind Amanda. The man looked angry; the woman looked concerned, dodging around Amanda to pick up her crying child. The man had a finger pointing at Jamie and had his mouth open to say something when someone new stepped between them, shouting, “Back up!” Amanda spun back around. Now Jamie was facing the boy and his mother, her cooing at him. Behind the woman was a semi-circle of bigs and some littles. The littles looked scared. Some of the bigs look on calmly but clearly angry. A few looked livid. The woman said something unintelligible; the boy was quietly crying. The man started shouting. Amanda stepped away from all of them. “Are you okay?!? Oh, I’m so sorry,” she sniffled. “I’m so so sorry.” She was squeezing him nearly as tight as the boy had. Jamie could survey the whole scene from where she stood, and he was wide eyed. The crowd was standing there. The woman was rocking her child. One man was shouting in too thick an accent for Jamie to understand. Another man, Jamie guessed the who had picked him up, was speaking firmly but not shouting, trying to get the other one to stop shouting. The foreigner threw down his hands in disgust and stomp-marched toward Amanda, the other man right next to him and looking ready to toss the foreigner on his ass. The mother walked over slowly with a thin, insincere smile. Amanda shifted Jamie to her hip and turned half-profile, keeping most of herself between the man and Jamie, with the man between them and the angry dad. Jamie could see nearly everyone had their phone out recording what was happening. Cognizant of the big nearly as angry as he was standing right next to him, the foreigner stopped five feet shy and kept his hands at his sides, loudly asking, “Vell!?!” The woman reached the group and stood part way between her husband, smiling an insincere smile meant to de-escalate the situation. “He fine! He fine,” she said. Patting her husband on the arm. The rage drained from his face, leaving just anger. He said something in a foreign language, and she answered. The woman turned to Amanda and tried to explain, “He don’t know his own strength. He very sorry.” The man said something to his wife in the other language and turned back to Amanda. “Does not matter. He hit my boy.” Amanda found her voice, the calmest angry version of it she could manage. “He was defending himself! Don’t you know better than to let a kid his age near littles? Where were you?” “Does not matter! He’s little.” “It fucking does matter here!” “In my country, we would fix him so he never can hit again!” He ended the sentence with some angry foreign word, though whether it was directed at Amanda or Jamie they couldn’t tell. The Itali man edged closer. The woman tried again, saying something to her husband and then to Amanda. “Is misunderstanding. You punish him. We watch. No police needed.” Jamie saw Amanda’s eyebrows do that thing where they look like they’re trying to escape. Jamie couldn’t understand all of what she started screaming, but he got the gist. The couple started shouting back, and the man put himself between them, shouting over the others trying to get them to calm down. A police office parted the crowd and approached. Jamie wondered who called him. His presence turned the screaming back into shouting, which he added to. “Step back! Step! Back! SHUT UP!!” Now everyone was quiet. He reached to the mic on his shoulder. “11-32 to KGA. I need two additional units on scene.” The mic crackled back, “KGA to 11-32. Two additional units are en route.” The officer turned to Amanda. “Is this your husband, Miss?” “Um, no.” “Sir, I’m gonna need you to wait right over there … Yeah, right there.” “And sir,” he said to the purple-faced father, “Can you please take your family right over there.” He pointed a few yards away. “Be with you in a moment.” Amanda’s adrenaline was running out, and she was shaking, her eyes full of water. The officer turned back to Amanda, “What’s your name, Miss?” “A-man-da,” her voice quavered. “Amanda, I’m Brett. What’s this little guy’s name?” “Jam-ie.” “Everything’s fine, miss. Deep breath. There you go. Hi, Jamie. I’m Brett.” Jamie stuck out his hand. Not his first or even his fiftieth interaction with a cop in circumstances like this. “Jamie.” The cop looked from Jamie to Amanda. “He’s …” “Yeah.” Jamie said for himself, “I am.” Brett bent forward a little to get closer to Jamie. “Are you alright?” “Twisted my ankle when he dropped, but it’s gonna be fine.” The second officer arrived. “Brett, what’s up?” “Hey, Nancy. Not quite sure yet. Can you get a statement from that couple over there?” Nancy walked over to them. “Alright, Amanda? Jamie? Can you tell me what’s going on?” “Brett.” A third officer approached. “Hey, Lester. Can you find out who called this in and start getting statements from those folks? Him first,” Brett added, pointing to the man “Sure thing.” “Amanda,” Jamie whispered. “Don’t be scared.” Jamie was, though. He knew how this ended: Marsha would be over at their house within a few hours, probably with a cop waiting down the block, assuming Amanda was negligent unless they could prove otherwise. He didn’t expect to be separated from her, but standard protocol would be a remedial parenting class, more random visits, and likely restrictions on Amanda being alone with Jamie outside the home until the remedial class was done and Marsha was content. Gears started turning in Jamie’s head to guarantee a better outcome: Marsha just walking away. Amanda closed her eyes and put her lips to Jamie’s forehead for seven full seconds, then pulled him closer. Before she could pull away, he whispered into the ear away from Officer Brett, “Take out your phone and hit record.” Amanda looked at him for a split second and surreptitiously did as he told her, furtively pointing the camera up so that it caught at least some angle of the three of them. Brett gave them a second. “Is Jamie your little, Amanda?” “My brother.” “Do you have legal guardianship over Jamie?” “I have surrogate guardianship.” “Okay. Can you tell me what happened here?” Amanda opened her mouth, but Jamie jumped in first. “The two us were on that bench,” he pointed, “And I decided to go play on the swing set. Amanda asked if I wanted her to come, and I said I’d be fine on my own. She follows me to the playground and stood there,” he pointed.” She watched me the entire time. I kept turning around to wave at her through the crowd, and each time she waved back. Then I sat down in the grass there,” he pointed again, “and waved to Amanda again, and she saw me and waved back. Amanda knew exactly where I was at all times, and I knew where she was at all times. Amanda and I both felt safe as I was near many bigs who were attentive to all of the littles nearby to keep us all safe, and Amanda was close by as well. I laid back, and that boy,” he pointed, “came and stood over me. He asked me what I was doing, and I invited him to sit down. He said he wanted to play with me and grabbed me by the arm and picked me up in a bear hug and started to walk away with me. I saw Amanda was already sprinting over to rescue me, and I shouted for help. At least six bigs heard me and came running toward me. Still fearing for my safety, with the boy inflicting severe pain to my spine, and believing I would be badly injured before a big could reach me, I struck the boy using as little force as necessary to get away. He dropped me and hurt my ankle. That man,” Jamie pointed again, “picked me up and Amanda got there at the same time and took me from him and made sure I was safe. Then that couple,” he pointed, “arrived, and the husband started screaming. That man,” he pointed once more,” put himself between Amanda and the couple, and Amanda turned so that she was between me and the man. I felt safe as soon as Amanda picked me up. The woman came over and said her son was fine, and then her husband said in his country I would be fixed so I couldn’t ever hit anybody again, and then the wife said that wasn’t necessary and that they would watch while Amanda punished me and then there’d be no need to call the police. That’s when you arrived on the scene and de-escalated the situation.” Brett was taking down notes as fast as he could. “Excellent work, Officer,” Jamie added. “Ugh, that’s a very through description. Amanda, anything to add to that?” “No. That’s exactly what happened.” With some harmless truth shading. “I’ll be right back. Wait here, please.” Brett walked toward the middle of the square they had formed, with Jamie and Amanda in one corner, the mystery man in another, the crowd in the other, and the couple in the last. Nancy walked toward Brett. They kept their voices down. “What’s their version,” Brett asked. “They say the little attacked their son.” “Just out of the blue?” “No, they said their son picked up the little and started walking away with him. They saw the little shout something but couldn’t hear what, and then the little socked their son in the face.” Brett scoffed. “And they’re characterizing that as an attack?” “Yeah. And saying the boy is hurt.” “Is he?” “Shit, no. Eye looks a puffy but isn’t even black or anything.” “Take pictures when you go back over there.” “Already done,” Nancy said, “And the jackass wants to press charges, if you can fucking believe that.” “Press charges against who?” Brett shook his head incredulously. “There’s no one to press charges against.” “The little. Says where they’re from if a little strikes a big, the little’s regressed to the point where they can’t make voluntary movements, like a newborn literally right out of the womb. Says it’s just like if a dog bites a person, the dog is put down.” Brett’s face grew tight and his features twisted into disgusted rage. “Where are they from?” “Ros.” Brett huffed. “They fucking would say that bullshit. What do they say they’re doing here?” “On holiday.” “You believe that?” “Awfully clumsy way to kidnap a little.” “For a six-year-old. It would be good cover to have a kid around. Maybe the kid thought he was helping them.” “If that was the case, why stick around to argue? If it were you, wouldn’t you have apologized and gotten the hell out of here?” “Fair point. Still, we’ll let the bosses handle it.” “Should we get a Littles detective on scene?” Lester joined them. “That woman over there was filming her little and got the whole thing in the background.” They watched the video. Two seconds elapsed between the boy approaching Jamie and picking him up. Less than one before Jamie shouted and all the bigs starting running over. Another one before Amanda ran past the woman filming at full speed. Less than one before Jamie punched the boy. And less than one before the man picked up Jamie, and a split second before Amanda took him. All told, about 4-and-a-half seconds. “That’s exactly what the little said happened. What’s the other man say,” Brett nodded over his shoulder the mystery man. “Name’s Marcus. He saw the boy pick the little up and ran over to separate them. Little nailed the kid and got dropped just before he could reach them. Then he got in between that father and the little and the girl because the father was acting like he was gonna start some shit.” “What’s he doing here?” “Just walking through the park.” “Anyone else got it on video?” “Just the one has the whole thing. Eight have the aftermath. I already got all the videos and everyone’s ID.” “Everyone’s? Even the ones without video?” “Yeah.” “Alright. Nancy, could you take them to the station? Call the desk lieutenant and tell him you’ll need a littles detective, a state’s attorney and Immigration to get that process stated.” “You sure you don’t want a detective here?” “Nah, we’ll finish taking statements. Detectives can follow up if they need to. Ask them if they want to take the boy to the hospital first. If they say yes, then have a detective meet you there.” “Lester, send me that video and then get all those statements.” Lester scoffed the way only a fed up cop can. “Amazing, isn’t it?” “What is?” “Boy touches a little, and every witness stays on the scene and wants to give a statement. Everyone turns into a squirrel when it’s a dealer laid out on the pavement. Seems kinda backwards, don’t it?” “No,” Brett answered with no respect for the younger officer’s perspective. “People here are doing the right thing, and if you lived in those other neighborhoods you wouldn’t be doing any witnessing, either.” “Right,” Lester said, clearly not impressed. He sent the video to Brett and went back to the crowd. Brett shook his head and went back to Amanda and Jamie. Amanda had stopped shaking and was now just very tired. “Someone in the crowd got the whole thing on …” “Can you send it to us, please? Right now?” Jamie knew video didn’t always make a difference; rarely did in some kinds of cases, but he wanted his own evidence. “Sure.” He handed Amanda his phone, and she sent it to herself. She was still recording. “Anyway …” “Wait,” Jamie interjected again. Brett looked annoyed. “Is the boy alright? I didn’t mean to hurt him.” The officer gave Jamie a weary smile. “He’s fine.” Amanda weakly smiled. She still looked afraid. Jamie breathed a purposefully visible but genuine sigh of relief. “Thank goodness.” “Anyway,” Brett began again, “the video corroborates your version of events. Nancy there is going to take them down to the station house and the state’s attorney will decide what to do with them.” “Like what?” “They’ll probably be charged with endangering a child, endangering a little, disturbing the peace, and menacing a little. Shit, ya’ll want to make some stuff up, I’ll back it. Throw that dad in jail at least.” “They’ll go to jail?” “No, unlikely. The charges will stay on file, and they’ll be deported within two days. They’ll go on the Alliance watchlist and won’t be able to travel to any member countries. If they do and get caught, they’ll be extradited back here, and the charges will move forward.” “What happens to us,” Amanda asked. Brett sighed and looked sorry as he could be. “I’m sorry. I gotta call DLS.” Amanda looked terrified again and started to hyperventilate. “BUT!” Brent said as quickly as he could, “I’m gonna take you home and stay with you until they’re done. Everything’s gonna be fine. You didn’t do anything wrong, either of you. I’m not gonna let anyone get carried away. I’m responding officer on the scene; my version goes in the official report. Time I’m done explaining this to the social worker, you’re gonna get a medal. Promise. Do you believe me?” Amanda nodded a tearful, “Yes.” Jamie nodded a professional, “Thank you,” and held out his hand again. Brett shook it. “Do you guys have a car here?” “We walked.” “Even easier. I’m parked over there.” They started walking back toward the playground. “Could you make sure that man hears how grateful we are?” “Of course. Lester! I’m gonna take them home. Hit me up on the radio when you’re done here.” As they walked across the playground, first one and then ten bigs started to applaud. It surprised Jamie. He wondered if they’d still be doing that if the boy and his family were Italis. In any case, he was heartened to see the protective reaction of every Big in the vicinity. It made him respect them more, even knowing some likely would see through him. Perhaps not now, though. “I can walk, Amanda.” “No.” She just squeezed him tighter. She wasn’t concerned about his ankle, or at least that’s not why she said no. When they got home, Amanda offered Brett a glass of water. He declined. “I gotta make this call if you guys want to go freshen up and call your mom.” Amanda took Jamie to his room. “I gotta … if you want to go wash your face first.” “Yeah.” She put gently on his feet, making she he could stand without her. His ankle wasn’t even swollen. “Manda,” Jamie said, grabbing her shirt as she turned away, “It’s really gonna be fine. You’re my hero.” She smiled at him with her eyes closed for a moment and went to the bathroom. Jamie wasn’t prone to using dramatic words like that, but he figured it would help her feel better, and anyway, that’s how he was going to play it with Marsha the social worker. He did what he needed to do and waited for Amanda to get back. When she did, she put him on the table and silently got to work cleaning him up. “Manda, you remember what I told Brett about how it happened.” “I think so.” “You remember I waved at you multiple times, and you waved back?” “You waved the once, and I waved back.” “Hey, stop for a second.” She looked at him. “I waved at you multiple times, and you waved back. Remember now.” She nodded her head quickly. “Can you say it, please?” “You waved at me multiple times, and I waved back.” “You never lost sight of me.” “I never lost sight of you.” “You were never more than 30 feet from me.” “I was never more than thirty feet from you.” “You were your sprinting to me before any of the other bigs even noticed.” “The video doesn’t show that.” “The video doesn’t not show it, either. You were sprinting to me as soon as the kid walked up to me.” “I was sprinting to you as soon as the kid walked up to me.” “You reached me right after that man did.” “I know.” “You put yourself between me and that lunatic.” “I know.” “You defended me.” “I know.” “So stop crying. You didn’t do anything wrong. I mean it. Absolutely nothing wrong.” Amanda closed her eyes and let out a sob, sucking air back in in bursts. “I was so scared.” “I wasn’t, because you were there.” Amanda finally took a full breath and opened her eyes, looking up at the ceiling. She finished her task. Jamie sat up. “C’mere.” If Jamie could have picked her up, he would have. Instead she picked him, and they clutched each other to one another. Jamie pushed back after. He still had a situation to manage. “Call Mom and give me your phone, then go ask Brett to move his cruiser around the corner.” She dialed and handed him the phone, then went to the kitchen to ask Brett to move the car. “Mom? Hi! Yeah, Manda and me had a great time today. You know she’s my hero, right. I love her very, very much. Ha, you too. How far from home are you? Oh, good. That’ll be good. Ugh, listen, I’m fine and so is Manda. Understand? No … Mom? … Mom? … Mom! Deep breath with me. Heeeeehoooooo. Good. Good. We had a little incident at the park today. Nothing major. I promise. I promise. Well, a big child grabbed me. Mom? … Mom? … MOM! I’m fine! I promise. I wasn’t in any danger. No. No. No, Amanda was right there. The whole thing was over in a few seconds. Really ... No, really. MOM! When you get here, there’s going to be a policeman in the kitchen.” Jamie held the phone away his ear. “MOM! … MOM! … MOM! Everyone is fine. He’s a wonderful guy. Marriage material, really. No, not a good time to be making a joke. Yes, it’s a bad time. A very bad time. No, you’re right. Mom … Mom … MOM! Someone at the park called them, and he drove us home. He called DLS. Marsha’s probably going to be over here soon probably. It’s standard procedure. No, really, nothing bad is going to happen. Mom … MOM!” He lowered his voice. “I’ve done this a couple hundred times. Nobody did anything wrong. It’s no one’s fault. Amanda did everything right. The cop is on our side. Marsha will be in and out of here in less than an hour. Promise. Drive safe. Love you, too.” He hung up and rubbed his eyes. “Fucking hell, I need a cookie. A triple,” he said to no one. Amanda came back. “She’ll be home in a few minutes. What’s the cutest, most ridiculous thing you have for me to wear?” Which is how Jamie ended up wearing baby blue footies with a hood and bunny ears. Jamie splashed a little baby powder under his arms and across his chest and butt to make the smell match the attire, and then clipped his pacifier to his outfit. They went to the bathroom where Amanda scrubbed his face and teeth and combed his hair. They went out to the living room where Brett was coming back inside. He saw Jamie and chuckled. “Good thing Amanda was never more than thirty feet from me, right Brett.” “Definitely. She saved the day. You look … cozy.” “Manda, can you please make me a bottle?” “Sure.” When they were alone, Brett leaned close to Jamie and said, “You done this before?” “I used to be a social worker. So yeah, done this a lot. We should wait in the kitchen.” “Why?” “Just talked to my mom. She might drive into the living room.” She didn’t, but she nearly took the door from the garage into the kitchen off its hinges. She had Jamie in her arms before he could even think ‘hello.’ She held one arm out for Amanda to join. “Smile,” Jamie said. “What?” “Smile. You saved the day, and you’re happy. And Mom, your daughter who you trust with my life saved the day, and you’re the proudest mom ever. And make an ice pack.” Brett shook his head. The little was leaving nothing to chance. Marsha arrived shortly after. Her greeting was all business. Jamie understood that. He didn’t begrudge it. He’d done the same thing, and he’d been trained, like she had, to be skeptical. “Marsha, been a while.” “Yeah, it has, Brett.” “Let me give you the run down.” Becky, Jamie, and Amanda waited in the living room. “Amanda, lay on the couch with me on top of you, and feed me that bottle. Mom, put that ice on my ankle … The other one.” They heard the video playing and caught snippets of Brett’s commentary. “Whole thing took less than five seconds … witnesses say she was never more than thirty feet from him … never lost sight of each other … didn’t hesitate to put herself between Jamie and that man; he was acting like he was going to get violent … she walked away from him and got Jamie somewhere safe … bystander put himself between Amanda and that guy … that’s when I got there … have you ever known me to do anything to put a little or a child in danger? … right … if I were you, I’d give her a medal … wish I had a sister like that.” Brett thought he was laying it on even thicker than Jamie, until they went into the living room and found him “sleeping” on Amanda’s chest with a bottle in his mouth. “See,” he whispered, “She’s his hero.” Marsha knelt down in front of the sofa and whispered, “How’s his ankle.” Becky moved the icepack, and smiled. “It’s fine. Just a precaution.” “Brett showed me the video. I want you to know, Rebecca, your daughter was a hero today. I wish every one of my littles had a sister like her.” She turned to Amanda. “You’re awesome, sweetie. I’m so glad he has you.” “He’s my guy,” Amanda smiled, running her fingers through her hair. No need to act. “I’m gonna get out of your hair. I’ll make sure those other people are dealt with the right way.” “You’re a blessing, Marsha.” “Just my job.” She left, and Brett followed her out the door, turning in time to see Jamie open one eye and search the room with it. He made sure Marsha was out of hearing distance. “Ya’ll make a good team.” “We are a good team,” Jamie said. “Thanks for everything. Really.” “My pleasure.” He came back in. “I’ll leave you my card, in case you need anything.” “Thank you,” Rebecca said, her voice weak. “Thank you so much,” Amanda said, not smiling when she said it. “Hey,” Brett said, “You did everything right, understand? I’d be doing this a whole other way if I thought you didn’t. You trust that?” Amanda nodded from her head to her shoulders. “I do.” “Good. Now cheer up and have a good evening.” Brett left. Jamie sat up. “Told you he was marriage material. If you ignore the wedding ring.” “I’ll hold him if you want to tickle him, Mom.” “I want to see the video.” Amanda showed it to her, and they both got weepy again. They ran through the whole story, honest this time. Becky was of two minds. The logical person in her knew that Amanda was blameless. The little mother in her lied to her and said if she had been there, everything would have been different. She told that part of her to shut up, but she had to do it twice. After dinner, Becky gave Jamie a very slow bath, gently washing his hand like he’d gone ten rounds with a pro. She was slow in everything she did with him that night, her hands lingering on him when she combed his hair, got him dressed in normal PJs and carried him to his chair. He’d never felt so delicate. He was reading one his new books when he heard a moan from somewhere between heartache and grief. He shook his head, but a tear came to his eye, too. He couldn’t stand this. Hearing Amanda so hurt made him hurt. He’d improved the story and added some props to make sure everything went their way. He’d done this enough to know that facts weren’t foolproof. Social workers are risk averse by nature, and if they erred on the side of caution, they were doing their jobs right. This time, though, Jamie knew exactly what the truth was and he found no blame at all in anything Amanda had or hadn’t done. It was a fluke, and he was fine. There was nothing he wouldn’t do or say to make sure Marsha saw it that way, and just as importantly, he wanted Rebecca to know it, too. Jamie climbed the steps and paused outside his mom’s door. He could make out through thick tears “I was so scared.” The guaranteed way to set off Jamie’s tears was for someone he cared about to cry. He choked it back, leaving a stone is his throat, and went into the room. Rebecca was spooning Amanda and running her fingers through her hair. She saw Jamie come in, but Amanda’s eyes were squeezed shut. Tears flowed, but he sobs had turned to whimpers. Jamie pulled himself on to the bed and made himself the third spoon. Amanda felt him and instinctually put her arm around him, pulling him close and resting her chin just above his head. He’d already said it, but he’d say it again as many times as it took. “I wasn’t scared, Manda, ‘cause you were there.” Rebecca reached her arm around until it, too, was over Jamie. She kissed the back of Amanda’s head, saying, “My babies.” They shared the bed for the rest of the night, just like that. First Amanda, then Jamie, fell asleep like that, as Rebecca sang them their lullaby.
  7. 10 points
    About 90 minutes ago, at 10:20PM, my doorbell rang. I looked out my peephole, and there was a fat kid with a platter of cupcakes. Fucking inexplicable. I didn't open the door. __________________________________________________ Chapter 25, Part 2 “If it’s alright with you, I want to start with before you came here. That will help me understand your reaction to this world,” Mary said. She sat with tablet and stylus in hand. She was older than Rebecca, with rectangle glasses and the soft skin of a woman on the far side of middle age. Her voice to this point had been business-like, transactional. She was practiced in the art of her science, at making her patients know what she needed from them and then gently coaxing it from them. Jamie lay on his back against the arm of the sofa, staring at the door to the waiting area. He could stare at the door silently for as long as she could stare at him over her tablet, or he could cooperate and make this as painless as possible. One thing he was determined to do was not to cry. Enough of that. Too many tears shed during and after a life that was over for him now, or at least behind a curtain for good. “I know what you did for a living. What did you for fun?” “For fun? I was sort of active when I wanted to be … I went to the beach a lot to swim … I went to the gym sometimes, when I cared to … I’d get into it for a few months and burn out on it and stop. I liked to tell people I was a hiker, but that sporadic; I’d go months without … I watched a lot of TV, binged a lot of the same shows over and over, just to have the background noise sometimes … I read a lot, but in the last few years I mostly read news; my attention span wasn’t what it used to be, and I’d have a hard time staying committed to a book, even one I liked … I can’t remember the last piece of fiction I read … I always wanted to do something creative like sing or act or play an instrument or paint or something, but it never seemed like I had time, or if I did that it would be too hard; ya know, like I wouldn’t be good at it right away, of course, and I’d get frustrated.” “Nobody’s good at anything right away, right?” “No, course not. Just, when you’re doing something for fun … it’s hard to have fun doing something you suck at.” “Do you ever draw or color now?” “Yeah. In a coloring book. Nothing original.” “You read a lot.” “I do. We don’t watch much TV at home, so I read a lot.” “What do you read?” “I guess you’d call it young adult fiction.” “No regular fiction?” “Not yet.” “No nonfiction or news?” “No.” “So the average workday for a year ago. What was your evening like?” “I left work around 5:30 or 6. If I was staying fit at the time, I’d go to the gym and get home around 7:30 or 8. If I wasn’t, then I’d be home by 6:15 or 6:45 and have dinner and watch Netflix and surf on my computer. Sometimes I’d play video games, if there was one I liked playing out; I was picky about which games I bought.” “And on the weekends?” Jamie shrugged. “A long version of my weekday evenings. I’d usually get up and take a hot bath and read for longer than I meant to. Go run any errands. Go to the gym or beach, maybe have lunch or dinner out. A lot of time, though, well, really, I guess most of the time, I’d stay home all day. I‘d always make plans to go do something like hike or go swimming and then not go. And I’d feel guilty about that, felt like I was missing out on things, wasting my days.” He nodded his head toward his left shoulder in another shrug. “Eventually I told myself that it was my free time and that if I was doing what I wanted to in the moment then it wasn’t a waste of time.” “You like hiking and swimming and things like that?” “Yes.” “And you’d skip them anyway sometimes. Did you feel like you weren’t taking pleasure in the things you liked anymore?” Jamie knew what she was getting at: anhedonia. “Yes. And yes, I was being treated for depression.” “Do you feel depressed now?” “Well … I’m not sure. Sometimes. If I’m busy or with someone, then no.” “When you were describing your free time, you didn’t mention hanging out with friends.” “Didn’t have any.” “None?” “I had long-distance friends I lost touch with. I had work friends, but I never asked them to do anything outside the office, and they never asked me.” “Why?” “I don’t know. I guess maybe we saw enough of each other during the day, or else we all just wanted to draw a line between work and home … I always thought it would be kind of awkward to ask, because you know they’re going to say yes just out of collegial courtesy … and then what if you found something about the other you didn’t like and had to see that person all the time and act normal? I mean, what’s even normal for colleagues to talk about outside work?” “Did you have a hard time making friends, or did you not try, or both?” “Both. I’m bad at social situations most of the time. Or at least think I am and then overanalyze everything. Takes all the fun out of it … and how do you try anyway? Growing up, all your friendships are organic, and then that stops unless you do make friend-friends with your coworkers. Trying to make friends in some random or even purposeful way seemed like too much work and not enough pay off. I didn’t think I’d make ay friends that way.” Mary paused to take more notes before moving on. “About work. Tell me more about what you did.” Jamie took a deep breath. They made it awful hard to put it behind him. Jamie figured his ability to be happy at times over the past weeks was precisely because he was too busy with other things to think back on it. What was wrong with that strategy? It was essentially what he intended when he left. “I was a social worker. I mostly worked with kids.” “Doing what?” “Child welfare.” “What’s that?” “I think you know.” “Yeah, but I want to hear what you did, specifically.” “A relative, a neighbor, a teacher, a friend’s parent, a cop, a doctor, a priest – whomever – reports a concern about a child being neglected or abused or just in a bad situation – that happens most often, whole family is in a bad situation, not abuse or neglect – and I check it out. Go through the guidelines, make an assessment, and if I find the report substantiated, then I try to fix the problem.” “How?” “Depends on what the problem is. Remove them from the home, or sometimes keep certain family members away. Get the family counseling or other services. Try to get them better housing, get on food assistance, get them medical care, get them job counseling. Work with the school to make sure the kid’s getting what he needs. Or work with the police to keep the kid out of trouble, or more often to get him out of trouble. If I do have to separate them from their family, try to place them with other relatives, or a foster parent, or as a last resort, a group home.” Group homes: Jamie shook his head. “Basically whatever I can do to make sure the kid is healthy, safe, and on a path that doesn’t lead to crime, addiction, prison or death.” “Do you realize you just said all that in the present tense?” Jamie hadn’t. “No … I see your point.” “I saw in your file that your job had a lot to do with why you decided to come here. Can you tell me more about that?” This time Jamie didn’t respond right away. It always came back to this. Well, fine, Jamie thought, out with it. “I got tired of failing at my job and seeing people I was responsible for get hurt. Even when I got a kid out of a bad situation, I didn’t get ‘em far. They’re still poor and still stuck in a high-crime neighborhood and still having to choose between life, if they’re lucky, driving a shuttle at the airport or pushing a broom, or crime. And that’s if they even get that far. I had a client who was shot on the street walking home; someone killed him to steal his cell phone. I had a kid die of an asthma attack because his parents couldn’t afford an inhaler after they got kicked off Medicaid and it took too long for the ambulance to get there from the good side of town. I had one of my clients murder another of my clients over an argument, and they were friends. I don’t even know how many ended up in jail or dead after they aged out. I had girls who were prostituting themselves for drugs. I had 12 year old alcoholics. I had pregnant teens. Every which kind of mental illness you can think of compounded by poverty and every other problem they had. Kids who the court returned to their parents only for the parents to beat on them some more or worse. Kids going to jail. Kids getting beaten by the cops or a rival gang. Kids suspended or expelled from school for having a weapon or drugs, and probably one out of every three of those, it was the parent who gave it to them. Kids just so angry they want to fight the world; there’s no room for learning or maturing or being loved or feeling loved when you’re that angry ... and a lot of them were right to be angry.” Jamie took a breath and slowed down, thinking back on all of it. His eyes fell, and he breathed slowly. “Those were just the worst parts. Ya know, like they stand out, but they were rare. Those were … god, they were so fucking hard, but it was the shit that passed for good that … that’s what burned me out. All the work I’d do getting a kid in a good situation, making sure he had what needed, that he stayed on the right path – success was just not falling into gang life or getting arrested or getting killed. Success was the kid graduating high school, though that wasn’t a must-have to count a case as a success, and then getting a job. Any job. Burger flipper, floor sweeper, bus driver, ticket taker, luggage handler, concessionaire at the ballpark. Success was getting them through high school, graduates or not sometimes, without them getting arrested, killed or addicted, so they could transition from a childhood of poverty into an adulthood of poverty or near-poverty. That’s what’s open to kids from poor backgrounds and yes, usually of certain complexions. And fuck if everybody doesn’t ignore that last part, as if it’s just the natural state of things that nine out of ten janitors in any city are the same color as that city’s largest racial minority. Go to LA, and it’s Hispanic people cleaning the hotel toilets; go to Chicago, it’s African-Americans. This whole sprawling underclass that’s just accepted as the norm. “There’s no winning. I had less than ten percent of my kids go to any kind of post-secondary education. Trade school, community college, college. Most of them didn’t make it through their first year. A-students in the shit schools they came from, and not at all prepared for actual learning. “Best outcome was the military, provided they didn’t get wounded or killed. Hard to fail out of that, and it positioned best for a better life, but only if they survived. All but one did, but what kind of society is that? Having to choose between the street or life of working your ass off and still being poor or maybe getting killed or maimed or PTSD. Don’t even list climbing into the middle class as an option; might as well be a myth for how often that actually happens. “And hardly anyone gives a damn. Social workers, teachers, a handful of cops, some do-gooders. Most everyone else ignores it; even if they acknowledge it exists, they do nothing or next to nothing to change it. And worse, half of them that know it blame the kids, say they should work harder, say the parents should get off welfare, and just to help, they’ll take welfare away. Plunge the kid deeper into poverty just because they don’t like an adult is also getting welfare. And then want to throw the key away when a kid starts stealing or dealing, like they wouldn’t do the same fucking thing if they grew up in those environments and with those same chances in life. Fuck; society just turns racist, maniac cops fucking loose so long as one juror or judge or prosecutor can say ‘he feared for his life’ with a straight fucking face.” Jamie rubbed his face and eyes. “So I couldn’t take it anymore. Failing even when I succeeded, and watching all that happen again and again. … You become a party to it, when you make yourself a part of the system. It ends up being your fault, too.” Jamie sat there silent. “Some people would call you a hero for trying.” With his eyes closed and jaw tight, Jamie answered, “Do you have any idea what a shit feeling it is to be called that when you failed and the consequence for that failure is someone gets hurt or hurts themselves or just ends up in another cycle of generational poverty and discrimination?” Mary hadn’t thought of that. People bandied the word ‘hero’ around in Itali, too. She never considered that being called a hero could make someone feel worse, even awful. “So why didn’t you just walk away and stay in that world?” “Couldn’t. I couldn’t be so close to it, literally, and stay away. Couldn’t live with myself if I became one of the people who just ignore it. Hard enough failing all my kids and abandoning them. I … I needed distance, I guess … and a life so different it doesn’t seem … doesn’t seem like I’m surrounded by it. I know it’s bullshit, but … I guess I feel like my kids are not in this world, therefore I’m not ignoring them. I know that’s wrong. I know they still exist.” “Jamie, why was all of this your responsibility to fix?” “Because I took the job … No, because if a few people hadn’t stepped up for me, I would have ended up like most of my kids. I tried to pay it forward. I took the job.” “Fair enough. But why is it you take it so personally? Obviously, not all of your colleagues feel like they’ve failed because they couldn’t fix everything … and surely some left the job without feeling like they’d abandoned anyone. Why isn’t that you?” “Different perspectives.” “Because you were a foster kid?” “That and just … they can forgive themselves for their failure … and that’s assuming they even think it’s their failure.” “You said yourself these problems are systemic, in so many words. Why is it the individual social worker who needs to ask forgiveness? Or at least, why do you think you do?” Jamie didn’t have a ready reply. He didn’t even have a thought process for a reply. He just lay there with his mind clear, his eyes not focused on anything. No awkward silence was going to give him an answer, nor could he reason one out. He knew it wasn’t reasonable; he felt that way nonetheless. There’s no telling yourself not to feel a certain way. You may get over the feeling, or the feeling can be replaced by another, but you can’t reason your way out of a feeling. That’s why they call it a feeling and not an opinion. Sometimes, though, if you wait patiently, the clarity you need just comes on its own, and the thoughts you couldn’t express on purpose express themselves. Jamie started talking again without putting much deliberate thought into his words. They just came. “You have violent people here?” “Of course.” “We did, too. Always something in the news, no matter where you live, right? Some guy murders someone over a drug debt. I can forgive him; maybe he goes to prison, maybe he doesn’t, but I can forgive him because I don’t think he’s necessarily an evil person or beyond redemption. Does that make sense?” “I think so.” “But someone … hurts someone defenseless, hurts his girlfriend, someone …” He swallowed hard. “Hurts a kid. I can’t …” His eyes flashed, and he choked on the very thought. “I can’t forgive that person. Lot of reasons other than evil someone does that. Doesn’t matter. I can’t forgive it. I don’t want to. Maybe that person is beyond redemption or not …” He shook his head. “Doesn’t matter. He doesn’t deserve a chance at redemption. Least, I won’t give it to him …” Jamie’s forehead knotted and his lips grew thin; his eyes were looking somewhere not in the room. “Fuck him.” He spat the words out. “Jamie, did someone hurt you, when you were young?” “Sometimes.” “Do you think that’s why you feel so strongly about it?” Jamie didn’t hesitate. “Nope. I forgave those people. They … they weren’t worth hating. They don’t get to have me spend the energy on them that it takes to hate.” “Why then?” “Because … I forgave the people who hurt me because that’s what was best for me. I even meant it, sometimes. But what’s best for these kids, my kids … what’s best for them is that I hate those … that I hate those people, so there’s no mistaking whose side I’m on … and so I fight for my kids with everything. No sympathy for the other side. Empathy, maybe, but no sympathy.” “And did you? Fight for them?” Jamie exhaled as tears came to his eyes. “Fuck yeah, I did. For all of ‘em. Not just the ones who were being hurt but all of ‘em, the ones who needed a little help to get by and the ones who needed saving, from themselves, from others. Fought like god’s own army, or at least I tried.” “And yet you feel guilty.” “I didn’t always win, did I? I don’t even think I won half … The abuse cases were easy by comparison; not always easy to prove, but if you did, you could lock those people up. It’s the other ones. Neglect cases where the parent can barely take of themselves; that’s not a monster, just a pity case … Kids getting into trouble; kids who are hungry every day; kids getting pulled into gangs; kids whose only problem is they’re poor or live in the wrong neighborhood; selling drugs, taking drug, drinking; violence. A kid like that isn’t a kid to police; shit, a kid in the vicinity of that isn’t a kid to police … Trying to save ‘em before they get murdered or end up in jail. Just trying to get ‘em out of school and into the workforce. And so many of those kids … Five; five might as well be a million. Like trying to hold back five oceans that are gonna crash on these kids and there’s just one of me.” “Doesn’t trying count for something?” “How much difference is there between someone who hurts a kid and someone who fails to protect a kid? Whether he tried or not? … You fail; you enable all the other shit that comes at the kid, whether it’s the abusive parent or the poverty what’s gonna swallow her like it swallowed her parents. Kid still gets hurt. Kid still gets lost in the shuffle. You tell them they can count on you … when it turns out they can’t, that hurts them, too … I hurt them, too … and then I left and came here, even after telling … I don’t know how many, but telling them I was always going to there. Just the latest person to lie to them and abandon them.” Mary looked down at Jamie. He had that thousand-yard stare; she wondered what he was seeing right then. Maybe nothing. Jamie was case-reportable, she thought, easily no other little like him and with his experiences and problems in Itali. Others had other kinds of suffering. The circumstances behind his arrival and his decision to not be regressed or even have some memories removed just made Jamie unique. “Okay. I think that’s enough for today, unless there something else you want to talk about.” Jamie shook his head. He didn’t have more to say that day. “Do you want to take a minute, or …” “No, I’m good.” It’s scarier when someone with that much pain is calm. You never know how close to an edge they are or how they might let those emotions out. “Okay.” Mary stood, and Jamie stood after her. “I’m going to ask you to wait in the waiting area while I talk to Amanda and your mom. Okay?” Jamie just nodded and opened the door, walking into the outer room. Amanda and Becky stood and smiled gently. “How’d it go?” “Fine. Your turn, I guess,” Jamie responded with a simple smile, as though he didn’t take this all that seriously, that learning to live with it all was his best chance, so why not talk about it? And why take talking about it all that seriously? “Becky and Amanda,” Mary said, “Jamie is going to wait out here, if that’s alright with you, while we talk now.” When they were seated on either side of her desk, Mary put on her professional smile and deliberately sounded upbeat to start the conversation. “That is one complicated little you guys got there.” “Ya think,” Amanda joked. Mary chuckled. “One of you is rubbing off on the other. Jamie has some wonderful qualities, and I’m sure you’ve noticed them. He’s passionate. He’s empathetic. He’s humble. He doesn’t judge people too harshly. He has a strong moral code. Those are all such great things, things that should be encouraged. Where he seems to be running into trouble is believing it’s his responsibility to fix things he couldn’t possibly fix. He sets himself up for failure in that way. It’s a collision of all those good qualities taken to an extreme and then not applied to himself.” “I’m not sure I understand,” Rebecca replied. “Jamie has a lot of empathy, except for himself. He doesn’t judge other people harshly, but he judges himself harshly, and by standards no one could meet and no one would reasonably hold someone else to. That strong moral code and his passion are partly why. He sees a problem, he believes he must fix it, and whether it was fixable doesn’t matter to him. He does or he doesn’t, and because the problems he was engaged in where he comes from were so big, there was virtually no way for him to walk feeling like he fixed anything, even when he succeeded by the standards of his profession. Does that make more sense?” “Yes. We’ve known all along his work drove him here. That and his childhood,” Amanda said. “So basically his whole life,” Becky frowned. “And we know he wanted to leave there; he didn’t really want to come here, per se,” Amanda finished. “In our calls, you said he has anger outbursts. What are those usually over?” “People treating him like he’s regressed. Or just frustration boiling over, but that’s really rare.” “How does he feel afterward?” “If it’s over someone treating him poorly, he stays mad about it. He’s getting better at controlling those outbursts and ignoring those people, and at not letting it get to him in the first place, but you can tell it still does sometimes. When he just loses his temper, though, when he calms down he’s ashamed.” “That makes sense based on what he just told me. He said he has a difficult time forgiving people who can’t defend themselves, and that’s him now. And realizing that’s him probably drives a lot of that frustration. And when he lets out those negative emotions, then he thinks he’s in the wrong and has a hard time forgiving himself,” Mary explained. She pondered silently for a moment. She began again, “Bottom line is he’s angry at himself. He’s angry at others, but anger turned outward stays anger. Anger turned inward is depression.” Becky was getting irritated, not at Mary but in feeling like they’d been going in circles since Amanda opened his file. “We’ve known that. It’s just … he’s such a sweet and kind person. I …” Rebecca put her forehead in her hand and her elbow on her knee, looking at the floor in front of her chair. “I don’t understand how he can’t see it. How he can be angry with himself.” Amanda interjected. “And we don’t want to give you the wrong impression. He’s happy, at least on the outside, most of the time now. Things were harder at first, but he’s had very few outbursts since the first couple weeks; he tends to get more quiet and brooding than outwardly angry. He’s had, I don’t know, maybe two or three episodes where his frustration boiled over. I mean, is he making progress or not?” Mary smiled to reassure them, “Absolutely he is. I suspect, though, that’s he making more progress in adjusting to his new environment – knowing what to expect and so having fewer big emotions, and learning to control those big emotions he does have better. But I don’t think he’s making much progress with the issues that led him here.” “Guilt, right,” Becky asked. “He feels guilty for having left those kids behind, but that doesn’t even make sense. He left because he felt guilty for leaving?” Mary nodded in sympathy. “It’s a little more complex that guilt. He feels guilty because he let them down, both by not being able to solve their problems and also, now, because he left. More problematic than the guilt over leaving, however, is that he sees letting someone down as being the being the same as purposefully hurting someone. That’s not uncommon in professions like his. It’s someone who empathizes too much with the people he needs to help; he loses the critical distance. There’s no way that person doesn’t burn out. What concerns me is how calm he is about it. That usually means someone has made a decision.” Amanda spoke up, “He wasn’t calm about it when he got here. He was … he was a wreck. He didn’t just cry. I mean … he sobbed, full body, clinging to me, shaking all over. He still cries maybe kinda easily for an unregessed little, and we did have an incident a few nights ago where he got very upset over something, but that’s all become rare. We thought he was getting better.” “I think he’s learning to live with it,” Mary replied. “And that’s a bad thing?” “Yes. If he had done something wrong, by all means, learn to live with it. But he didn’t do anything wrong. If he continues thinking he did, it will hang over him forever, and he’ll probably never be happy with himself or fully embrace this or any life.” “What do you think he decided,” Becky asked, her mind thinking of all the worst possible answers. “That because he’s equivalent in his mind to the people who hurt kids on purpose, that he may not be redeemable, and that even if he is, he doesn’t deserve forgiveness.” “How do we help him?” “We have teach him that he does deserve forgiveness. By showing him all the good he does in the world. But he’ll only accept that if he’s trusts us enough to believe we’re not just saying it. Just saying it will make it worse. We have to show it, over and over, and he needs to see it from more than just the two of you. You guys are on the right track: if he can trust you enough to let himself depend on you for anything, he’ll trust you on this. That’s the hardest thing for him to depend on others for and to accept from them, praise and forgo. Then, maybe, if we can get him to at least accept forgiveness from others we can prove to him one day that there’s nothing to forgive. Or if not that, then that he is forgiven, can forgive himself, and move on.” Becky absorbed that and asked, “How do we show it?” “Two ways. The first is praise. When he does something nice or kind or anything that shows what a sweet person he is, always call it out for him. To him, those are things he’s supposed to do, so doing them doesn’t count. Make sure he recognizes when he’s being those things, because he doesn’t give himself credit for them. The second is love. People worth loving are worth forgiving. Every day, make sure he knows he’s loved, and by as many people as possible. A big, loving, social circle.” That seemed too easy, or at least sounded like it. Mary saw that reaction and added, “And we’ll continue to work in here. This is where the heaviest emotional lifting will get done. He’s stuck in these negative feedback loops. We call them cognitive distortions. These are errors in his thinking: he sees what he thinks are negatives about himself – which I don’t think are negatives at all – and his mind magnifies them and makes them even worse. At the same time, he ignores the good things about himself. What he and I are going to work on, and what we’ll eventually need your help with too, is to break him out of those distorted thought patterns and replace them with positive patterns and coping skills.” Becky sat back in her chair. Amanda glanced from her mom back to Mary and quipped, “So you’re saying this is gonna take a while.”
  8. 10 points
    Another short update, but i think this chapter might be pretty long when it's done. ________________________________________________ Chapter 25 Part 1 It was lunchtime. Jamie knew Mom and Amanda would be picking him up soon for his first therapist appointment. He was having mixed feelings about it. To start with, they hadn’t asked him if he wanted to see a therapist. It was just announced. Jamie knew why they would have him see a therapist, but he wasn’t sure he wanted to. He’d seen on a couple of times before. One in college for a while, another during his career. He couldn’t remember the first one’s name – that’s how much she helped. The second one was the classic shrink. He’d say something, and she’d node and say “yeah” and “uh huh” and otherwise stay silent until he felt awkward enough to say something else. Jamie understood the technique, but it wasn’t the kind of therapy he thought he’d signed up for. If all Jamie needed was a friendly ear, he could have talked to the neighbor’s dog or a sympathetic wall. She wouldn’t say anything until the session was five minutes from over, and then he’d leave feeling nothing had been resolved, let alone discussed. Moreover, Jamie didn’t know if he wanted to talk about things. Talking about them helps, sure, but sometimes not talking about things helps, too. Between daycare and everything else he was still adjusting to, why bring up the past, which is what he assumed they thought he needed therapy for. He saw no reason not to talk to Ella about his feelings. “So I’m leaving early today to go see a therapist.” “I’m leaving early to see my physical therapist.” “I’ve been meaning to ask if you’re okay.” “Fine. Just healing from something. Did you notice something that looked not okay?” “No … well, I noticed you get tired easily, physically … like when we walked around the field and you needed to stop … just wanted to know if you’re okay … sorry, I’ll stop talking about it.” Jamie cursed his social skills. There were times when a part of his brain would tell, “Don’t say that,” and the other part would respond, “Saying it anyway, Asshole” and ride away on a motorcycle purposefully throwing mud all over the first part. Ella responded by taking another bite of her lunch. Jamie was sure he’d screwed up the only promising regular friendship he had. He was good at a lot of things, but making friends and knowing when to shut up weren’t them. In a professional setting, he was Mr. Discretion. In social settings, he was Mr. Awkward. He sometimes wondered if he did have some degree of Autism Spectrum Disorder. That was the trendy thing to say or joke about, but he didn’t find it funny. He worked with too many kids who did have ASD. It was just that sometimes he would be so inept in unstructured social interactions that he felt it had to be more than being an introvert or just awkward. He sat there glumly wishing he could turn the clock back 5 minutes. Ella stirred her lunch with her spork. “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.” Jamie head her fine and wasn’t sure if she was being coy or what her intent was. “What do you mean?” “Tell me why you’re going to see a therapist, and I’ll tell you why I go to PT.” Those two things are completely different, Jamie thought. Revealing your emotional or mental health problems wasn’t the same as physical condition. “That’s hardly the same,” he replied. “Why aren’t they?” Ella knew what he was going to say. “Because my … mental health issues are … they’re more sensitive than a … physical problem.” “Is a mental health problem a real health problem?” “Yeah.” “So either you’re attaching a stigma to mental health, or think I am, or you just don’t wanna say. And if you don’t wanna say, that’s fine. We don’t have to talk about.” Jamie didn’t want to talk about it. What he wanted to talk about was Ella and why it was important that no one knew there was an unregressed little at Little Hearth, specifically her. Jamie knew Mom had asked Diane if she had experience with unregressed little, and Diane had responded with just a yes when she must have known telling Rebecca there was another unregressed little in her care would likely have secured Rebecca’s business on the spot. Maybe being a little more open would make Ella a little more open. “I used to be a social worker. I got to the point where I couldn’t stand to deal with everything I had to deal with and be unable to fix it all, and I didn’t think I could stay back there and just walk away from it. So I came here. I think Mom wants me to talk about all that with a therapist.” Ella turned away from Jamie and pulled her back, revealing a scar running down her neck and into her dress. She let her hair fall and turned back. “I had surgery.” “That scar looks old.” “It is.” “But you still go to therapy for it?” “Yep.” Becky and Amanda came through the classroom door. Jamie found himself torn. He wanted to leave daycare; he didn’t want to go to see a therapist; he wanted to keep talking to Ella. All incompatible with one another. “Hey, buddy,” Amanda said when she got near. “You ready to go?” “Yes,” Jamie replied, pushing his lunch away. It wasn’t very good anyway. “This is Ella, by the way. Ella, this is my sister Amanda and my mom, Becky.” Polite handshakes were exchanged. ______________________________________________________________________________ “Nice to meet you, Jamie. You can call me Mary.” “Nice to meet you as well, Mary.” “If it’s alright with you, Amanda and your mom are going to wait in the outer room while we talk alone.” “That’s fine.” “See you soon, Jamie,” Becky said with a small wave as Mary closed the door behind them. Mary turned on a floor fan and pointed it at the door. “Sorry. Just helps makes sure everything we say in here stays in here. Please, have a seat.” Jamie sat down on a regular sofa, one meant to fit littles. It wasn’t a psychiatrist’s couch either, just a regular sofa with a regular coffee table in from of it. Mary sat down in a chair next to the sofa. It was awkward her being so close and looming over him so much, but Jamie liked being on furniture his eye, not up on something he’d have to scramble up or get her help with. Still, he was craning his neck to look at her. It would be easier not to. “Do you mind if I lay down. It’s just hard to talk to you from down here.” “No, go right ahead. Most of my patients do.” Jamie got situated. “Comfortable?” “Yes.” “So, introductions then. My name is Dr. Mary Easterbrook. I specialize in littles only. I don’t see bigs or big children. You should know up front two things. One, I will never tell anyone exactly what you say in here. Two, I will tell your mom and Amanda what we talk about in here, and only them.” “Why them? Isn’t there some sort of privilege?” “No, just like if you were a big kid, I can tell your mom anything I think she needs to know in order to help the two of us in the therapeutic process, and your mom wants Amanda to know, too. If there’s something specifically you don’t want me to tell them, I’ll do my best to abide by that, but I can’t promise. And I won’t tell them anything I don’t think they need to know.” Jamie was trying to keep an open mind. So far this just reminded him of his place in the power structure, specifically at the bottom of it. He understood why she would tell parents and guardians what their little said, but it required him to accept that he was a little and he had no privacy this doctor needed to respect. Therapy works when the patient is open and honest, and already Jamie felt he had to hold back. “How do I know what you think they need to know? I don’t mean to get us off on the wrong foot here, but I mean, why should I be open if I get nor privacy? What if I want to talk about them, for instance?” Mary had worked with a few unregressed littles, and this was always the conversation at first. “I won’t tell them any details unless they absolutely need to know. Otherwise, I’ll keep it vague. As for why you should be open, because it will help you. Do you believe that?” Jamie did, though he also realized the potential for some conflict between his therapeutic interests and his I-have-to-live-with-these-people interests. “I believe that.” To an extent, he wanted to add. “Good. So you know, I do have experience with unregressed littles. There aren’t many of you, and I’m one of the only therapists in Itali who works with them. And I say that just to let I understand your cognitive level. So, I have your file from the agency and notes from what your mom and Amanda told me. Why don’t we start by you telling me about what your time here has been like so far?” Geez, Jamie thought, that’s so much to review. “That’s …” Jamie wasn’t even sure where to start. “How about starting with easy stuff? What makes you happy here?” “Amanda, Mom … Amanda’s friend Mel … Mom’s friend Jane … April, my daycare teacher, she’s nice to me … most little food … not having to go to work, but that’s a mixed blessing … I like feeling younger physically … I exercise a lot here.” When he didn’t add anything after ten seconds, Mary asked, “What don’t you like here?” “When people treat me like a regressed little, you know, like when they think I’m dumb – sorry, not dumb – cognitively underdeveloped, I guess, or incompetent. Not having many people to talk to, getting bored at daycare, getting bored in general sometimes … feeling like I don’t contribute … having to ask for things, you know, bothering people for little stuff … not fitting, but I knew that was going to be a problem … missing my friend, Cheryl.” After another pause, “And what are maybe not sure if you like or dislike?” “Ella, this girl at daycare. I like that she’s there and is also unregressed, but she’s really hard to figure out, too. That sometimes I like being treated like a typical little … I mean, I like when Mom or Amanda feed me a bottle, and sometimes when I use my pacifier; I just don’t like that I like those things, sometimes, I think. And I guess, just being here. I’m not sure if I like it here or not, to be honest. I like my people, and I like not having to deal with a lot of stuff I had to deal with back there, but at the same time I miss certain things … and feel that I walked away from things I shouldn’t have. Mary gave it a few beats. “That gives us an awful lot to talk about.” Jamie laughed for the first time all day. “Ya think?”
  9. 9 points
    This was a silly story written for Valentine's Day. It originally appeared on my Patreon. There's not much plot or characterization- it was just a fun little scene. If you'd like early access to story updates and new stories, please consider joining my Patreon. https://www.patreon.com/Cute_Kitten I want to thank my generous patreon supporters. Your support really does mean a lot to me! I haven't mentioned names- I didn't ask if anyone was okay with that, even just initials, and I don't want to make anyone uncomfortable. I need to ask before I'd mention names, but I'm very thankful for their support. HEART SHAPED PIZZA by CK Could he really do this? Liam stared at the big wooden high chair just waiting for him. His stomach knotted up with anxiety. He never sat in one before. Hell, he’d never done an age play scene before, especially with another person. The only times he’d ever indulged in his AB side was when he was home alone, doors locked and curtains shut. He’d put on a cute, thick, crinkly diaper, a onesie, and break out his secret stash of toddler toys. Today was a huge step for him. His first play time with another person, his girlfriend Zoe. This was her Valentine’s Day gift to him. One night, while looking at pictures on Fetlife together, he’d expressed the desire to deepen his AB indulgences. “Leave it to me!” She’d said with an excited clap of her hands. It was a whole lot of work on her part and a whole lot of blind trust on his. They’d been dating for 6 months after meeting on Fetlife. Liam was 25, a young architect and Zoe was 23 and a legal assistant at the District Attorney’s office. For both of them, this was their first serious relationship, though Zoe had more dating experience but not much age play experience. This was her first time as mommy doing something aside from checking and changing Liam’s diaper. The high chair loomed at the end of the dining room like a king’s throne. A knot formed in his throat; Liam swallowed noisily and froze in his tracks. This was too much; he couldn’t do it. Couldn’t plop his butt in that chair though deep down inside he wanted to. The people in the Fetlife photos all looked so happy in their own highchairs, so carefree and in touch with their Inner Baby. So what was stopping him? The rational part of his brain that screamed how ridiculous this was, the part of him that was ashamed of his desires to be diapered, to be dressed as a giant baby, to play with toys. “Go on, don’t be shy!” Zoe’s hands shoved on the small of his back. Her voice was chipper with enthusiasm. Liam was a big boy, just over 6 feet tall. Zoe was a shorty at barely 5 feet. Their height difference seemed like a colossal joke by the universe. Judging off appearances, tiny Zoe should’ve been the baby and big Liam the daddy. Zoe was a little pudgy, with frizzy brown curls in a mop cut. Liam was big and broad, muscled from years of working at his dad’s construction business while he put himself through architecture school. Liam stumbled forward, catching himself on the door frame. “M-maybe this wasn’t such a good idea…” He mumbled nervously. “It’s your highchair for our special meal together! Come on!” Zoe shoved harder. Despite their vast size difference, her moxie often made her seem much larger than her small stature. Liam’s fingers slipped off the wooden door frame and he stumbled into the room with a series of crinkles from his thick, plastic backed diaper. He blushed at the noise. He wore a blue t-shirt with a cartoon dragon holding a pink glittery heart on it. His diaper was a thick, crinkly ABU Peekabu with the green dragon. Zoe wore a red t-shirt with a panda bear holding a purple heart and a pink corduroy skirt and a pink bow in her hair. Liam braced his legs, stumbling forward as Zoe pushed him. He leaned his full weight back; she grunted but still pushed. “You’ve just got cold feet like our first date. C’mon. I had to drag you out then and I’ll drag you to that chair now. You’ll thank me later.” She was full of exuberant confidence, sure her boyfriend was just being shy and nervous. “This IS our first date. In a way.” He blushed harder. Their first Mommy and Baby dinner together. A dinner she’d put a lot of thought into. Something special for him. For them. Guilt twisted his heart. He really, really wanted to sit down in that high chair and let himself go, be the happy silly baby Zoe loved to fuss over, but self-disgust held him back. “Yes. So why are you being such a wet blanket?” Zoe pushed him again. He stumbled several steps forward, diaper crinkling with each one. “Because.” Liam didn’t want to say what was in his heart. Zoe was so happy; why couldn’t he just let himself go and enjoy it like she was? “Because why? You’ve been wanting this for so long. You’re just a big chicken.” She pushed him some more, grunting with the effort as he resisted more. He crinkled, feet heavy as he approached his highchair. “This is wrong!” Liam blurted out, face red and struggling to suppress his tears. The arms pushing him suddenly stopped as Zoe stepped away. She came around in front of him, reaching up so she could stroke his cheeks. “Liam? What’s going on in that head of yours?” Her tone was gentle despite her brusque words and her big blue eyes probed him. He shuddered. “I want to. I really, really do. But I’m scared. There’s a voice in my head that tells me this is wrong. That it’s disgusting. I’m disgusting and dirty and perverted for wanting this. You’ve worked so hard planning our Valentine’s and I’m ruining it. I’m sorry.” He closed his eyes; a few tears trickled out. Her thumbs wiped them away. She stood up on her tiptoes, but even then she was still too short to reach his face. She grasped his cheeks, gently but insistently tugging him down so his face was near hers. “Hey. Shh. Are we breaking any laws? Nope. Who are we hurting? No one. Okay, so our little activity is a little odd. So what? That doesn’t make it immoral or perverted.” He bit his lip, closing his eyes and leaning into her soothing touch. “How are you so confident?” “Because I know I’m right. You’re worrying about what the rest of the world supposedly thinks. But who cares what they think? You can’t please everyone. All you’ll do is stress yourself trying. You should please yourself. You should please me, too. Since I’m your girlfriend and your hot mommy.” Her tone was warm and soothing as she teased him. He sniffled and smiled. In such a short time he’d come to trust her so much. Just a few gentle words of confidence from her were enough to waylay his fears and uncertainties. She wrapped her arms around his waist, nuzzling her face against the cartoon on his babyish t-shirt. He hugged her back. Her hands drifted lower, cupping the thick plastic backed padding and giving it a squeeze, checking him. “So, you wanna be my baby?” He blushed harder and nuzzled his face against her frizzy curls. “Yes Mommy.” “Good baby. Now, lets get baby in his highchair for his special Valentine’s din-din!” Zoe cooed, giving his diapered bottom a playful pat. His diaper rustled loudly and he smiled, both shy and happy. His insides tingled. Seconds later, his bladder released into his diaper. Zoe took his hand and led him over to the highchair. He followed obediently like a good baby. The high chair was huge, even for his big frame. He climbed up in; his thick diaper made a nice cushion on the hard wooden seat. He blushed, adrenaline racing. He felt like such a baby as his diaper crinkled under him. “First we gotta get the baby ready to eat.” Zoe chirped. She tied a pink bib with little red and white hearts around his neck. He blushed some more. She followed this up with a pair of thick, padded blue mittens than rendered his hands helpless. Liam’s eyes widened and he whimpered his helpless distress. “Mommy, how will I feed myself now?” “Don’t worry, baby. That’s Mommy’s job!” Zoe tweaked his nose playfully, kissing his cheek as she slid the big tray onto the highchair. The tray clicked into place and he felt helplessly trapped, at Mommy’s mercy, and utterly babified. With that, Zoe rushed into the kitchen, leaving Liam sitting there in just his diaper, bib, and t-shirt like an overgrown baby. He wiggled; the high chair was heavy and held him steady as he ran his mitten covered hands across the plastic tray. The padding on his hands was so thick he couldn’t feel the hard plastic tray. He smiled at how helpless and little he felt. He wiggled and crinkled his bottom in excitement. All too soon Zoe was back from the kitchen, carrying a pizza box from a local pizza place. “Close your eyes.” “What?” Liam blinked, wondering what his Mommy was up to. Even sitting in his high chair, he was still bigger than her, but her stern gaze made him feel like he’d shrunk several feet. Made him feel helpless and little inside, like she towered over him. He withered under her Mommy stare, and closed his eyes like a good baby. “Good boy.” The honey in her voice melted his bones and he smiled with a faint blush. He heard the pizza box open. “Okay, now open your eyes and see your Valentine surprise!” She giggled at the silly rhyme. Liam opened his eyes. Instead of a normal round pizza, this one was shaped like a heart. Even the pepperonis were hearts. He stared, not expecting that. But it was a brilliant marketing strategy on the side of the pizza parlors. He looked up at Zoe, who beamed at him. The joy in her eyes was infectious and he grinned back then burst into giggles. Her own smile brightened even more. “Tank..thank you, Mommy. I love...wub...you.” Baby babble was one thing he’d never managed to successfully imitate. He tried, but even when he was happily playing with his baby toys and wetting his big baby diapers, he still talked like a big boy. It was as if some part of him deep inside- the same part of him that was ashamed of this whole AB thing- held him back, kept him from fully immersing himself in it. He knew how much Zoe wanted to hear him talk like a wittle baby boy, and he tried hard. But at the last second his tongue always got tied and big boy words came out. Zoe sat the pizza down on the table and put a small slice on a plastic kiddie plate before cutting it up into little pieces so she could feed him with his plastic kiddie fork. He blushed both in anticipation and embarrassment. She sat the plate down in front of him. “I love you too, baby.” “Happy Valentine’s Day, Mommy.” “Happy Valentine’s Day, baby. Now, open wide for the choo-choo!” He might not be able to babble away, head lost to little space as his inner baby came fully out, but he could still make his Mommy happy. He closed his eyes and obediently opened his mouth, letting his Mommy feed him and telling the nasty voice in his head to shut up. He was going to enjoy his Valentine’s Day.
  10. 9 points
    Chapter 32 Part 2 “Hey! What’d we miss,” Lauren asked when she and Becky and Daniel approached the table. Daniel was walking in back, strategically positioned to run if need be. “What did you guys? Buhahaha. You and your questions,” Donna said like the goody two-shoes she was, completely inexperienced at carrying a perfectly good lie through to its conclusion. Mel and Amanda stared daggers at her. Mel discreetly pinched her legs and mouthed ‘shut up’ when she turned. “Not much, just eating fair food,” Amanda answered smoothly. “Jamie’s asleep? Awww. He’s just so adorable,” Lauren said. “Well, it was his regular morning nap time, and he at some little ice cream and got drowsy.” “Why did you change his clothes,” Becky asked, kneeling down to the stroller to admire her sleeping little boy. “He leaked. Even got some on his shirt,” Amanda answered. “Daniel Allen,” Lauren scolded, “You were supposed to check him!” “18 more months of this,” Daniel muttered. No one heard. “Did you guys find anything,” Mel asked. “No. Same stuff as always. Think our potpourri from last year’s got a few months left in it. How long as Jamie been asleep?” “About a half hour.” “Do you think he’s hungry? Should we wake him and get some lunch?” “Sure,” Amanda shrugged. Please-don’t-be-drunk-please-don’t-be-drunk-please-don’t-be-drunk, she prayed silently. “Jamie … Jamie …” Rebecca sang as she shook his shoulder. “Hey, kiddo. Sorry to wake you, but we thought you might be ready for some lunch.” Jamie groggily opened his eyes. “Hi, Mom.” “Oh, just sleepyhead today. Did Uncle Danny wear you out.” “I guess so he,” he yawned as he sat up and stretched his arms. “What did you guys do?” “Saw the dogs. Cruised some chicks. Had a beer.” Mel pinched Donna as a preventive measure, and Amanda and Daniel both held their breath. Becky tut-tutted at Daniel. “Your sense of humor is wearing off on him.” “Well,” he said, “We’re guys. Guys gotta do guy things sometimes, right?” “If you say so. C’mon, Jamie,” Becky said she put him on her hip. “Hmmm. You smell like … musty peppermint.” “I’ve smelled like worse.” “Like I’ve forgotten. Why don’t you guys stay here and protect the table, and Amanda and Mel and me will bring something back,” Rebecca said. Becky carried him on her hip back toward the food section with Amanda and Mel in tow. They were feeling confident they’d gotten away with it. So was Jamie, and he wanted to get a more definitive verdict on the subject. “Hey, Mom? Are littles allowed to have alcohol?” “No, sweetie. It’s bad for you.” “It’s bad for everybody.” “Well, if you need something to take the edge off, just come find me.” “Why?” “Because this is so much better than a beer, isn’t it?” She shifted him to her shoulder, kissed him on the cheek, patted his butt, and circled the small of his back with her fingernails. He had to admit, it did take the edge off and then some. ______________________________________________________________________________ After lunch they abandoned their table and headed back toward the lake. With tents blocking every view, Jamie felt disoriented even though he’d been to the park so many times before. IT was as though everything were squeezed into the corridor of the tents, and only on the other side of them did it look like the park he knew. A book fair was occupying the field he played tag in. They headed toward the hill overlooking the lake. On the way they passed the booths for the local politicians and candidates running for office. Jamie was intrigued. From Becky’s hip he asked one of the people at a booth which one of them was running for office. A blonde in red pantsuit smiled at him condescendingly. “She couldn’t be here in person today. Would you like a sticker?” “Nope. I like it when politicians show up.” “Little has a point,” Daniel said. The woman was already fake-smiling at someone else. “What are politics like here,” Jamie asked. “What are they like where you’re from?” “You vote for the candidate you want to see in office, and if you’re smart you’re already prepared to be disappointed if they win.” “Meh. Same here.” The tents around the lake were larger canvas affairs and much more spaced out. “What’s this section,” Jamie asked. “This is the re-enactor section,” Amanda explained. “This was my favorite section when I was a kid.” “Because you were a nerd,” Mel chimed in. “Melissa! You’re gonna teach him to say mean things,” Donna protested. Jamie ran through a list of all the means things he decided not to say. So did Mel. “What are they re-enacting?” “Just like at various times in Itali history.” They walked to wear a blacksmith was making … well, not so much making as demonstrating how to hit hot iron with a hammer. It didn’t seem to be becoming anything. At the next booth, a woman was selling homemade soap and candles and jars of honey. The next was selling various homemade, supposedly, knickknacks. At the next, a man was shearing sheep while his wife spun wool. “Hmm,” Mel said, “Smells like hot sheep.” Offended, Jamie shot back, “I did not!” “Sheep,” Mel said. “Sheep. With a ‘P.’” “Oh. Sorry,” he blushed. “What are they supposed to be?” “War re-enactors. From the War of the Islands,” Amanda answered. “Nerd,” Mel whispered. “How come no one ever re-enacts peasants trying to make it through the winter,” Jamie asked. He’d always thought war re-enactors were just a bunch of guys who liked playing dress up and maybe enjoyed history, but there wasn’t much educational in watching two dozen people rush at each other across a football field and pretend to die. “Who even won?” “No one.” That sounded about right to Jamie. “Want to go watch the music,” Lauren asked. Everyone agreed. Past the lake and back in the direction of the entrance they’d come in at. The hill the park sat on sloped down there toward a drainage canal that fed into the lake. In front of the canal was stage, and in front of that an open grassy area serving as a dance floor, and in front of that running most of the way to the top of the hill were picnic tables full of people. Jamie sometimes went to events like this back home. Summer concert series in the park where local bands played covers, fairs, festivals. Always up front there were one or two couples actually dancing and groups of teen and pre-teen girls in a circle sort of dancing. Jamie’s favorite to watch were two other types of dancers. The first were the very young kids dancing alone under the watchful eye of their parents and aunts and uncles and all the adults and older kids and teens who made up their village, jerking and turning and clapping and stepping to a whole other rhythm and not in the least embarrassed by it. For them, dancing was something you did because your body just wanted to and it was fun. They were years away from when dancing became something you were supposed to be good at. He loved watching that age, especially in the summer, a golden age in a golden season. The second were the young parents who rushed on to the grass and stooped down, taking their child’s hands and dancing with nearly as much abandon as the children. Mom and dad were always smiling, and the kids were always laughing and sweating in the fading heat, and their love looked so complete, so innocent, so fulfilling and joyful it made him long for something like it, or at least the memory of it. “Who wants to dance,” Amanda asked. Mel and Donna were in. “I’ll stay here,” Jamie said. “I don’t dance.” “Of course you do,” Amanda said plainly, taking him by the wrist and leading him down to the grass. She knelt and took his shoes off and her own and then pulled near the center of the stage. The three bigs formed a haphazard triangle with him in the middle. Bewildered and embarrassed, he moved his feet a little and stayed more or less in the same spot. He wasn’t having any fun. He wanted to back and sit on the grass and watch. He was comfortable watching. He liked watching. “You can do better than that,” Amanda shouted over the music. “Do it with me!” She slowed down and did what looked to Jamie like a modified chicken dance. He chuckled and watched. “Ya gotta!” He demurred and followed her lead. He started doing what she did, only slower and less coordinated and out of sync. “My turn!” Donna stooped down and took his hand, and suddenly Jamie was spinning around and whipped out to the end of her arm’s length and then spun back in again. She took his other hand and swung her hips to the left, bringing Jamie to his right, and then to her right, bringing Jamie to her left. She pulled him close and pushed him away and pulled him close again. He was sweating and dizzy and out of breath and no longer caring if he was good at this or who was watching or how many. It was just fun, and whether there was any resemblance between the rhythm of the band and the rhythm of his body didn’t matter. Mel bent down and picked him and up, keeping one arm around his waist and another outstretched with his hand in hers. She danced like rock ‘n’ roll had just been invented, part swing and part blues with her hips gyrating and her lead arm going up and down with Jamie’s feet dangling clear off the ground. She set him back down, twirled him in a circle and grabbed his free hands, spinning until his feet left the ground and he couldn’t distinguish the stage from the crowd in the blur. Finally the song ended, all four of them out of breath and sweating and giggling. Rebecca broke into their circle and picked Jamie up so his legs were wrapped around her waist and his arms were around her neck, and as the band changed to a slow tune she laid his head against her shoulder and swayed one hip and the other and the first again as she slowly made a circle. “Mama’s handsome boy,” she whispered, rocking slow back and forth with the music playing slow and Jamie held right against her. So this is what it’s like to dance with your mom, Jamie sighed. It was better even than he imagined it.
  11. 9 points
    Probably won't be an update tomorrow. I have dinner plans tomorrow. 😊/😢 I did get to work out today and still have time to write. I feel lousy. Time away from the gym will do that to you. Yuck. And before anyone says it, yes, it occurred to me that Amanda could wet the bed, and no, it won't happen. I don't want to turn this into that kind of story. _______________________________________ Chapter 23 “How was your day?” “What?!” Jamie could never hear either Becky or Amanda well from the backseat. “HOW WAS YOUR DAY?” Jamie wondered what the right response here was: to include the part about his mini-meltdown or not. He appreciated that what happened at daycare stayed at daycare, though he wondered just how far that maxim went. He figured it didn’t extend to laying hands on someone. “Better.” “Yeah?” That was the word Becky was hoping and not expecting to hear. “Tell me more!” “Can we wait until we get home? I can’t hear you.” He considered what he had to say though, and thinking back on it he was feeling ashamed of himself. Whether he would have actually gotten physical with Jean, he wasn’t sure, but that he was on the cusp of losing control of himself he knew to be true. Ella had it right: a flood of negative emotions he didn’t understand and couldn’t control about to come out as one messy explosion. He hadn’t done that in many years. Once they were, Jamie handed his mom the backpack he’d taken with him that morning. “It has some dirty clothes in it.” Jamie didn’t like handing her a chore to do. He was enough of one already, and though he was becoming more comfortable asking for and accepting things, he wished he could at least do certain chores, like his own laundry, himself. He had thought with a step ladder he could at least do the wash, only to see the machine was so wide he couldn’t reach the controls. “Sorry.” “For what,” Becky smiled. “Laundry? Do you want a snack or something?” That hardly helped. Another chore for her to do for him. “Maybe later.” Becky tried to read his expression and all that came back was he was sad or disappointed or unhappy about something. Of course, that was his expression much of the time, particularly if he was alone. “I’m going to go get the basket from upstairs and start a load.” “Okay. Thank you.” “Just one of my jobs, kiddo.” Jamie actually was hungry as well as thirsty. He just didn’t want to ask. Jamie went into the kitchen on his own and evaluated his options. He could open the fridge, but unless he wanted condiments from the door or a giant radish from the crisper, he’d need to stand on something. The same was true for the cabinets. He’d need to stand on the counter, and to get there he’d to stand on something else. He wasn’t even sure what was in which cabinet. It hadn’t been an issue. Jamie pushed his chair over to the counter, which still left him far short enough he need to pulled himself up with his elbows. He went to the cabinets he was pretty sure the kept cookies were in, and opening it he could only see what was on the first shelf. He could pull himself up to see, but he wasn’t sure if the cabinet would support his weight. Instead he reached up with his hand and felt around. Can. Can. Another can. Box. Box. Bag. More cans. Bingo: something that felt like a tray of cookies. Jamie pulled it out of the cabinet and picked out his prize. A lot of work for a cookie, but worth the effort. He read the ingredient list on the package, and other than noticing how much sugar in them, he couldn’t decipher the chemicals in the list. He wasn’t what he was expecting. MDMA? Acid? Opium? Jamie was sure, though, that whatever it was that made these taste, and not just taste but feel, so good was exactly what Huey Lewis was singing about when he said he wanted a new drug. If I ever go back, Jamie thought, I could be a billionaire with this stuff. Jamie at least knew the glasses were in the cabinet next to the sink, but in the cabinet on the other side of the sink. Fortunately it was a double sink, and he was able to step on the divider between the halves to get to the cabinet. His cups were on the lower shelf, and indeed, none of theirs were practical for him. Looking at the faucet, Jamie decided the best way to fill his cup was to cross back over and sit on the end to fill his cup. The cabinets was too close to the sink for him to bend over. With his cup of water, he went back to where this had all started. He wished the chair was bigger. Climbing down is harder than climbing up, and now the chair seemed unstable. Considering the effort that went into a cookie and glass of water, it occurred to Jamie that asking for things wasn’t so bad. Frustrating though, not only have to ask but need to ask. Control over what he put in his body and when seemed elemental. Jamie put his cup down and turned around to climb down backward onto the chair so he could keep his hands on the counter. He then picked up his glass of water, and Becky picked up him. Sunuvabitch, Jamie said to himself, how the fuck are they so quiet? “Teachable moment: what did you do wrong here?” Now facing Becky, James decided to take a drink first. Becky took the glass from his hand and set it on the counter. “Well,” he began, “I guess climbing on the counter was a bad plan.” He couldn’t help but find it amusing. Not even a bad plan, really, more of a mediocre one. “It’s not funny, James Patrick. You could have gotten very badly hurt. It’s high up, and counter tops can be slippery. Think about that.” “You’re right,” Jamie said. He meant it; he hadn’t consider it might be wet up there. “I’m sorry.” “I know you know I’m right because you already knew better than to climb on the counter because you’re very smart.” She gave him a kiss. “And I want you to remember to make good choices, especially when it come to you own safety. You wouldn’t just have hurt yourself but everyone who cares about you.” She carried him into the living room. What she said had Jamie’s head spinning. Jamie hadn’t really gotten in trouble yet beyond a lecture, and he’d already gotten that. What was she going to do to him? She seemed bigger all of a sudden, and Jamie remembered one of his first conscious thoughts in Itali: you are not in control of this environment. She reached a corner and set him on his feet. “This is your naughty spot; we haven’t had to use it until now. You’re in timeout until I come get you. Nose in the corner, buster.” Becky left the room. Jamie’s relief lasted about thirty seconds before he was just bored. If he had been asked 30 seconds ago whether timeout was an effective deterrent for an unregressed little, he’d have said of course not. Now all he saw was light grey paint, but it wasn’t even the lack of stimulation that was nagging at him now. It was the loss of autonomy, even beyond the amount he’d given up just by being here, it was the not knowing how long he’d be in the corner, it was that he couldn’t leave that were making time stretch out impossibly far. Made to go somewhere and stay there. Boring and embarrassing. I should have protested, Jamie thought, at least said something for myself. Did I not because she’s right? Jamie knew it wasn’t very safe to climb onto a surface seven feet off a tile floor and walk across what was a smooth, narrow and possibly wet surface. And he knew he could have hurt himself. That by hurting himself he would have hurt Becky hadn’t occurred to him. And now that he thought on it, if he had hurt himself, he’d have create even more work for Becky taking care of him, the very thing he was trying to avoid. So what motivated me, Jamie questioned. She’s never said no when I asked for a snack, so I wasn’t trying to get away with something. Did I just really not want to ask for help? And what is so wrong with asking for help? Well, you start to feel useless after a while, and a burden. But they asked for a little specifically knowing it came with things like this. Still, he didn’t like the way asking felt. Dependent, and remembering his days in foster care, a very good way to piss off an adult and communicate weakness to any peer looking for someone to pick on. The front door opened, and Jamie’s ears turned red. And I thought this was embarrassing before. I wonder what would happen if I just walked away? Nothing good. Amanda saw him and didn’t greet him. She knew the timeout rules. She found her mom upstairs looking at her next day’s lesson plan. “What did Jamie do?” “Is he still in the corner? I caught him standing on the counter.” “He’s still there. Didn’t turn around when I came in, but his ears blushed. Why would he get on the counter?” “He probably thought he was doing me a favor by not asking me to get something for him.” Amanda nodded. “Guess that’s sweet of him.” Becky looked up. “You think I’m being too harsh?” Amanda’s face expressed her approval as she said, “Oh, no. That was totally stupid of him, and he knows better.” “Well, it’s been long enough. Guess it’s time to let him out. Gonna have a little chat with him; wanna come?” “Do you think that will undermine you?” “No, I think it will show we’re a united front.” Well, Amanda thought, at least on this. They went to the living room, and Amanda and Becky sat on the couch. “Jamie, you can come out now.” Jamie sighed and turned around. He was feeling guilty and stupid and didn’t want to face either of them. “C’mere; let’s talk a little more.” Jamie dutifully walked over, and Becky picked him and put him in her lap so he could see both of them. “Will you ever climb up on the counter again?” She sounded very sober. “No. I know it’s unsafe.” “So why did you,” she asked, her voice softening. “I’d just asked if you wanted a snack and you said no.” Jamie blushed. Deliberately disobeying would have been more dignified. “I didn’t want to ask.” “But I offered.” “I know, but … I don’t like feeling like a burden.” “Have I done something to make you feel that way?” She needed an honest answer. She certainly had never intentionally done that. “No.” “Why would you feel that way?” “Because you’re always doing stuff for me. I feel … like I don’t contribute anything.” “Oh, baby boy, you contribute exactly what you’re supposed to. I wanted you, not a someone to do the chores. Don’t you know that?” “Well, yeah, but …” “And you do contribute. Taking care of you gives me so much joy, just like holding you and talking to you bring me so much joy. Don’t you know that?” “I just don’t like being a trouble.” “You are never, ever a trouble.” Jamie didn’t respond. “What would be a trouble and would break my heart is if you ever got hurt. I couldn’t stand that, and neither could Amanda.” Amanda leaned in and smiled, just being a friendly presence to tell him what mom said was true. The thought of Becky and Amanda sad because of him being hurt not only made Jamie feel guilty; it hurt to imagine them that way, over anything. “I’m sorry,” he whimpered. “I know you are. And you had a little reminder timeout. And now it’s over. We love you no matter what, you have no reason to ever feel like a burden or a trouble to us. You are just the very opposite.” She pulled him into a hug which he didn’t fully return. He sat back down when she was done, and he still looked miserable. “Jamie, is something else bothering you,” Amanda asked. She knew Jamie’s looks better than he did. Jamie looked at his lap. He didn’t want to say it looking into her face; Becky’s either. “I … I almost threw a tantrum at daycare.” What a pathetic face for an ‘almost,’ Amanda thought. “Do you want to tell us what happened?” Jamie recounted the story. “I don’t even know why I got so upset, and angry. I just ... I got so … I don’t know. So fed up I guess.” Becky interjected. “Wait, so you got upset, and you gave Jean a dirty look and were about to say something or maybe do something, and that’s when April stepped in?” “Yeah.” And you’re this upset with yourself over that, Becky wondered. “Honey, we all get angry sometimes, and sometimes we don’t even know why.” “I don’t. At least, not very often … Mom, I was about to lose control.” “But you didn’t.” “But I might have.” “But you didn’t. That’s a success to me. And when you did get upset, you handled it in a very positive way. If Jean hadn’t gotten in your way, it wouldn’t even have been a thing, right?” “Still,” Jamie moaned in shame, “I don’t want to be that person.” That was more than Becky could objectively take. “Oh, my Jamie,” she said, bringing him to her shoulder, “One bad mood doesn’t make you that person. You are such a sweet and kind boy.” Jamie wasn’t so sure. The line between the thought of a bad deed and the act of a bad deed was blurry in his mind; to Jamie, the former was in itself a bad deed, even if a lesser one. When it was clear Jamie didn’t have anything to say, she just rubbed his back. “Tell you what, how about we go out to dinner tonight. A little treat. After we go change your pants.” At dinner, Amanda was able to pry out of Jamie the good parts of his day. They, too, wondered why Diane hadn’t mentioned having another unregressed little in her care and why only one big talked to her without her speaking to them first. Jamie wanted to try to answer both of those questions tomorrow. Amanda got Jamie ready for bed that evening. She didn’t feel she had done much to help today, taking a backseat to her mom. That was appropriate, but she still wanted to make sure Jamie understood everything Becky had said Amanda felt also. She laid him down, and Jamie wrapped his arm around his bear for a pillow. Amanda sat on the edge of the cribbed and ran her fingers up and down his back. It felt just as good as the first time she’d done it not long after he’d arrived, and when Becky had done it too. He shuddered each time her, soft, light fingers kissed the small of his back. “Long day, huh, buddy?” He just sighed. “Are you feeling okay about everything?” He didn’t say. Amanda stopped rubbing his back, and got down so her face was on level with his, though he was looking the other way. “You can tell me anything, always, Jamie. In fact,” she said lightly, “I’m gonna have to insist you do, and you can’t fool me into thinking everything’s okay. You’ve actually gotten terrible at that since you got here.” Jamie didn’t turn over. It wasn’t the memory of the afternoon, but the memories the afternoon had stirred that were bothering him now that the day was over and there was nothing but the dusk-darkened light of his bedroom to distract his attention. He took a deep breath and let it out. “When … when Mom carried me into the living, to put me in timeout, she ... it scared me.” Jamie choked on a memory. This wasn’t just upsetting for Amanda to hear. It was alarming. She recognized it for the very big deal it was. The kind of big deal that had to be dealt with right then. She scooped him up onto her shoulder, grabbing his bear when he let it go. Jamie didn’t physically resist, but he protested. “No … Manda, I don’t want her to know. Please?” “I’m sorry, baby, but I have to.” She carried Jamie up to Mom’s bedroom. She was on her bed with a book now, her lesson plans set aside. “Hey, Mom,” Amanda whispered. Jamie was silently crying on her shoulder. She sat down on the bed next to Mom. ‘Jamie just told me something …” “Manda, I don’t want to,” he whined, his breath catching now. “It’s okay,” she cooed. “Jamie told me that today, when you were carrying him to the living room to put him in timeout, that you scared him.” Jamie couldn’t hold it back. He broke down one sob at a time, silent and with big tears. Becky hid the horrified look on her face and did her best to look merely deeply upset and concerned. She held out her arms, as Amanda expected her to, and she took him. He rested his head over her shoulder, and she rested her cheek on him, holding him tight but not too tight. Becky thought back on the afternoon. She hadn’t raised her voice or moved quickly or done anything alarming, but she felt like a monster anyway. Or at least an inconsiderate big who didn’t think how her size and words could frighten a little so. The thought that he was afraid of her, even for a second, and that she had caused it, made her sick to her stomach. “Jamie,” she said through her own tears while Amanda now rubbed her back, “I will never, ever, ever hit you. Do you hear me? I will never do that to you ever.” She spoked slowly and deliberately, and it wasn’t clear whether he heard. “We don’t do that in our house. There’s nothing you could ever do to make me or Amanda ever raise a hand to you. I promise on my life, Jamie. Do you understand?” Jamie replied with a yes muffled by tears and Becky’s t-shirt. Becky moved on to apologizing for making him feel that way, saying sorry in every way she knew how. She gently rocked him and herself as well. What an awful feeling, making someone afraid, and how very much worse that it was someone she loved so very much. Becky readjusted Jamie and then reclined back, rubbing his back even though they’d both stopped crying. Amanda, too, was upset to think on how Jamie felt and to imagine how her mom must’ve felt and watching a tender and gut wrenching scene. She left and returned with a wet washcloth, which Becky used to clean Jamie’s face and let him blow his nose before she used the other side to wipe her own dried tears away. Amanda got up to leave them. “Why not stay with us, Manda?” Her mom had never called her by Jamie’s nickname for her. She laid down next to her mom, put her cheek on her mom’s breast, and her arm over Jamie. You don’t outgrow how it feels to snuggle with your mom, Amanda thought, you just stop doing it and make yourself forget it until it’s too late to start again. Another gift from Jamie, bringing physical affection and comfort in the house. She hated to ever think of not having that with her mom or with Jamie ever again. Jamie’s breathing slowed until it was obvious he was asleep. Amanda said quietly, “You did a good job today, Mom.” To hear that soft praise from Amanda forced Becky to stop herself from getting emotional again, even if she couldn’t stop her watery eyes from spilling a few more tears. “We’re seeing the Therapist in two days, right?” “Yes. Double session for his first time. You can miss class this early in the semester?” “For this? I told the professor I was dealing with a sad little, and he practically told me to come back whenever to pick up my A+. But like I wouldn’t go anyway.” Becky ran her hands through her daughter’s long hair. I missed this so much, she thought. Littles really bring love with them, and they rekindle a lot that was forgotten, just like everyone says. “I’ll put him back to bed,” Amanda whispered as she started to ease herself off the bed. “No,” Mom said, “He’s fine where he is tonight.” She smiled down at him; she meant every word she said to him. She realized then that she never would or could say anything to him but the truth. “You bring me so much joy,” she said, kissing the top of his sleeping head still resting just below her chin. Even in the hard moments. How good just holding him felt, this sleepy little boy, how soothing to her heart. Amanda got to her feet, and her mom reached out to take her hand. “You, too, baby girl.” She paused a moment and took a chance. “You can stay with us tonight, if you want.” Amanda smiled soft and slow. “I’ll go change into my PJs. Do you need anything?” “Just a glass of water. And could you bring his bottle back up, too?” “Be right back.”
  12. 9 points
    I figured I'd post this shorter update now and keep writing, and maybe I'll post again before bedtime, which is at 11:30 tonight and not 4am like last Friday. Seriously - tell the nearest grown up on me if I'd up that late again. Took four days to recover. ________________________________ Chapter 21, Part 2 None of them slept very well, each for their own reasons. Back to work; back to school; way, way back to daycare, in Jamie’s case. And knowing they had to get up earlier than they normally did made falling asleep harder. Unfair is what that is: the sooner you need to get up, the more your body won’t cooperate in falling asleep. Everyone was a little groggy. Becky was up first and got Jamie out of Amand’s bed. He was still asleep when she picked up him, and he woke as she was bringing him to her shoulder. He felt displaced and heavy, like he wasn’t ready for consciousness. He’d slept without pajamas as he did most night, and the sudden coolness out from under his blankets made him snuggle in closer to Becky for warmth. She’d already run a tub, and she managed to remove Jamie’s diaper and slip him into the water. The effort to strip him while she still held him woke up the rest of the way up, and he wasn’t too pleased about it. How much difference an hour of sleep makes. This was a business bath. He was in, he was cleaned, he was dried, his hair was combed, his teeth were brushed, and he was on his way back to his bedroom. He did and didn’t want to talk. They’d already talked a lot, and there wasn’t more to discuss so much as a vague hope that talking, even awkwardly, would distract Jamie from the butterflies in his tummy. Today was an Amanda day, meaning he’d get picked up by Amanda because she finished classes earlier than Becky got off work. On days where Becky was done first, she’d pick him up. Some days he might get picked up later if something came up, and Jamie would be told in advance. He’d get delivered directly into Diane’s arms today. She owned Little Hearth, and she’d promised to stay with him until he was comfortable. Her staff would pay especially good attention to him for the first few days. There were no plans beyond that. He was going to have to wing it. Improvise! Adapt! Overcome! He remembered that motto from one of Clint Eastwood’s lesser known movies. Of course, he wasn’t invading Grenada. Daycare, he knew, would be a challenge of a different magnitude. Becky took especially good care in getting Jamie into his first diaper of the day. She spent nearly as long rubbing cream into his bottom as she had rubbing shampoo into his scalp. She picked one of the cartoon diapers. I gotta watch some TV, he thought. Amanda came in bleary eyed but dressed, better dressed than most days. A first day of school outfit. “You look pretty today,” Jamie said, craning his head around from his supine position. “Aww, thanks, buddy. I’m going to go get breakfast started. Any requests?” “Um … toast.” “Mom?” “Whatever you’re having. And thank you.” A few minutes later, Becky and Jamie joined Amanda in the kitchen where she was making eggs and toast. Jamie had been back on any food he wanted for a while, but he was content with toast in the mornings. Amanda made it with butter, cinnamon, and sugar on it for him. He never even liked the small of eggs. He was interested in the shells, though, and wondered what kind of bird came out of an egg the size of his hand. “Cute outfit, Jamie,” Amanda said from the stove. Becky had put him into shorts with snaps on the legs and a onesie with a bear on it. It was a little younger look than Jamie liked (by about 25 years), but Becky wanted him to look especially adorable and figured a onesie would be more comfortable if he played hard. “Want a bottle with your toast,” Becky asked. Jamie nodded with a smile. It wouldn’t help him wake up, but there was never a time he didn’t want a bottle of the good stuff, nor would Becky turn down the chance to feed it to him. Most mornings, if he had a bottle, it was actually a sippy cup and he drank it himself. Sometimes, though, he asked for a bottle or was just given one, and it was fed to him. It was slower, and they were pressed for time, but it was worth it this morning. As Becky held Jamie and his bottle in one hand and fed herself with the other, she thought about how much easier the day would be if Jamie were regressed. He’d have no clue what was happening; she could predict with reasonable confidence that he’d have a meltdown when she left him and then have a good day once something shiny distracted him. This was totally unpredictable. Jamie finished his bottle and his toast, the big finished their eggs, and the dishes went into the sink. Becky went to change into her work clothes. “So …, ” Amanda started. She didn’t know the next word. “So …,” Jamie responded. “You got your book and coloring book.” “Yep.” “A couple outfits if you need to change.” “Yep.” “Your pacifier.” “Uh huh.” “Do you want to put in your pocket right now, just so it’s handy?” “Oh, god, yes.” His body rolled in relief from his neck to his waist as he exhaled. Amanda smiled at him, but without much mirth. She got his paci, and he slipped it into his pocket. “It’s gonna be a good day, Jamie. Promise.” “Yours too. Promise.” Becky came back with her purse. “Well, are we ready?” ­­­­______________________________________________________________________________ Jamie got a decent look at the place from his car seat. It was busy. Bigs dropping off littles, a couple it appeared, like Jamie, for the first time. He could tell the ones who were experienced at this; they looked like it was no big deal, and some even looked happy. The other ones, well, he watched a big hand off a little to a woman in what he supposed was their uniform shirt, and he could hear the kid even though he was in the car. The campus itself had two buildings. On one side, the one they pulled up to, the sign said “Little Hearth.” On the other, the sign said “Baby Hearth.” In between was a large, fenced in play area with a playground and toys scattered about. “Do they have big children here,” Jamie asked. “Yes, but you won’t see them.” Becky turned the car off and they sat in the silence for a moment. Jamie’s instinct was to reassure Becky and Amanda and keep things moving. Instead, he decided he didn’t need to. No one expected him to; he was okay sitting there until one of them decided to open the car door. Let them be the … “Alright,” Becky said opening the car door. Goddammit, Jamie thought. Amanda wouldn’t always be with Becky to drop him off. But on his first morning, she wanted to be there. She carried his bag, and Becky carried him. Part of him wanted to walk; a lot of other littles were. They needed more supervision and care than he did. It was hard to appear mature when he was on someone’s hip. On the other hand, what was the point? Maybe he’d even get sympathy points or cuteness points or pity points or some other currency he could spend later. “Diane …” Becky held out her free hand to a woman halfway between middle age and being a senior. She had long, salt and pepper hair and wore a tie-dye shirt that screamed, “I used to be a hippy and then I started a business and now I wear tie-dye.” I can dig that, Jamie thought. “Rebecca, so good to see you again. This must be Amanda.” She shook Becky’s hand, then Amanda’s. “And this must be Jamie.” To his surprise, she stuck out her hand to him, and he shook it. He expected her to get in his facemand sing his name to him. “I’m so glad to meet you. Rebecca’s told me a lot about you.” “Well,” Jamie said with his straight man face on, looking at Rebecca and back to Diane, “she lies a lot.” Diana cackled, Amanda scoffed and chuckled, and Becky turned the red, mocking scolding him with a pat to his butt, “Jamie! You be nice.” He’s going to run rings around some of my staff, Diane thought. She knew long good byes were harder and held out her arms. Becky’s smile faded, she gave him a kiss, and like she was handing over gold she passed Jamie to Diane. She situated him on her hip. Amanda gave Jamie a kiss and handed his bag to her. “You guys have a good day. Jamie is in good hands.” With forced cheer they bade him goodbye, and he waved. Before they could get more than a few steps, Jamie had to give them once last joke. “Hey Amanda. She turned back. “Make good choices today.” She sighed and walked back to give him another kiss. “Thanks for the reminder. I’ve got your bear in my bag. If I get into any moral conundrums I’ll consult with him.” She ruffled his hair – she loved the feel of his soft, little hair – and she and Becky walked to the car. Diane turned to take him inside. None of them looked back. “Hey, Mom,” Amanda said as the two of them walked. Her voice shook and then broke as a few tears got loose. “This fucking sucks!” Becky leaned over and put her arm around her baby girl, who leaned back against her. “I know, baby.” She remembered dropping Amanda off at daycare the very first time. It fucking sucked. Diane said to Jamie as she opened the door, “You’re funny!” Jamie let himself relax. “I had to be.” “Why?” “So they wouldn’t feel sad.” Diane surprised herself. In decades on the job she hadn’t gotten misty eyed at drop off in a very long time. “And how do you feel?” Jamie leaned against her and sighed. “That’s what I thought.” Rebecca’s right, Diane thought, he really is special.”
  13. 8 points
    Chapter 34 “So you’re good with this,” Becky asked as she put in her earrings. “Yeah. Definitely,” Jamie answered. He wasn’t really certain he was good with it, but he understood she needed a life outside of their home, and so did Amanda. It was just that the two of them happened to be needing that life on the same evening. “It’s just that you’ve never gone to sleep without one of us before.” “I know, Mom. Are you sure you’re good with it?” “Yeah. Definitely,” she lied. Daycare was one thing. This was another. “Hey, buddy,” Amanda said. “Hey, Manda.” “Can I steal him and get a guy’s opinion, Mom?” “Go right ahead.” Jamie hopped off the bed and followed Amanda back to her room. She held up two outfits against herself, first one, then the other, then the first one. “Well?” “The purple.” “You’re just saying that because you like purple.” “It’s pretty on you.” “Aww, thanks, buddy. You sure you’re okay with this?” Jamie rolled his eyes. “Of course I am. It’s not like spending an evening with Mel will be a hardship.” “Ha! I thought you might feel that way. I’m leaving her my car in case the two of you wanna go somewhere.” “So who are you going out with anyway?” “Just some friends from class.” The doorbell rang. “That must be Mel. Promise me you’ll behave yourself tonight.” Jamie rolled his eyes, again. “I promise.” What did they think he was gonna do? Amanda carried Jamie downstairs where Becky was letting Mel inside and thanking her again. “Really, Becky, I love hanging out with Jamie. It’s my pleasure … and speak of the devil! Hey, Jamie.” She bent down and ruffled Jamie’s hair while he still sat on Amanda’s hip. “We’re gonna have fun tonight, aren’t we?” Jamie blushed. “Yeah.” He was feeling more than usually awkward and shy. Just the two of them for the evening. “There’s money for pizza,” Rebecca said. A horn honked. “That’s my ride,” Amanda said. She kissed him on the cheek and passed him to Mel. “Sleep tight, kiddo.” “Be safe, baby,” Becky said as she kissed Amanda on the cheek as she passed by on her way out the door. “I will, Mom.” And then it was the three of them. “So do you have any questions,” Becky asked. “No. I think we covered it all on the phone.” “All the important numbers are on the fridge.” Becky looked at Mel. Mel looked at Becky. “I think the two of us have got it under control.” “Well,” Becky said. Jamie broke the impasse. “I want a goodnight kiss, Mommy.” Rebecca’s eyes softened. “You never call me that.” She kissed him. “I know. I’ll see you in the morning.” “Goodnight, baby. Mel, I won’t be far. Don’t be afraid to text me.” “Go have fun, Becky.” Rebecca bashfully backed out the door. Alone now, Mel shifted Jamie so her hands were under his arm pits and held him out in front of her as though appraising him. “What,” Jamie asked, feeling like was being scrutinized. “I just thought I’d look you over. Get a sense of what I could get for you.” “And?” “I’m guessing eight cents a pound.” Jamie still didn’t know the currency and wasn’t sure if that was good or bad. “But I think you’re worth more to me just so I can do this!” She flipped him so he was lying flat across her forearms and blew giant raspberries on this tummy while he squealed. “Mel! No fair!” “What’s no fair,” she asked as she came up for air before diving back in for another lip-puckered blow on his taut tummy. “Okay,” she said when she was done, “But don’t think you’re getting one of those on demand every time I see you.” “I didn’t want the first one,” he protested. “Well, that’s not the story I’m telling, and it’s your word against mine. You ready to go?” This confused Jamie. “We’re going somewhere?” “To get pizza.” “Oh, I thought she meant, like, order in.” “Do you want to stay in? We can do that, too.” He sort of would have liked that. He was already in his pajamas, and he really just wanted to be with Mel, but Jamie couldn’t say no since she seemed so excited about it. “No, I’d love to go out with you.” “Great! Do you need a jacket?” The evenings were starting to get chilly. Jamie might have said yet, but his fuzzy-warm sleeper felt like it was enough, though he did feel awkward leaving the house in pajamas. “I think I’m good.” Mel took the keys and the diaper bag from the foyer where Amanda had left them, and the two of them got in the car. “This looks familiar,” Jamie said from the backseat. He couldn’t see much, but what passed by above the doorsill wasn’t new. “Where are we going for pizza anyway?” “Prester’s. It’s a family place and it’s pretty good.” Jamie had been to a family pizza place a few times as a kid and remembered them as noisy, full of kids clinking quarters and parents with harried looks and pitchers of beer. He liked the notion in theory; there was something wholesome about parents taking their kids out for pizza on a Saturday night, checkered tablecloths, ignored salads, half-eaten crusts, dim lights, and a flow coming from a game room. Mel got Jamie out of his car seat and and took the diaper bag. “Oh,” Jamie exclaimed. “What?” “I recognize this place now.” It was in the same strip as A Little This, A Little That, the first place he’d gone out in public. “We went to that store.” She was carrying him toward the restaurant. “Did you like it?” “Uh, well, sorta hard to say under the circumstances.” “We can go in there after dinner.” They reaches the door, and it wasn’t as loud as Jamie thought it might be. It was pretty empty. “Two, please,” Mel told the hostess. “Right this way.” The young woman led them to a booth. “It’s quiet in here,” Jamie remarked after they’d been seated. Mel sat him on the same side of the booth as herself. There were two other families in the restaurant, each made up of young kids. “It’s early for dinner, unless you’re a little or a young child,” Mel explained. “Oh. I guess that makes sense.” “What do you like on your pizza?” “Pepperoni.” Jamie was a simple little. He didn’t need any fancy toppings. “Me too.” “Are you ready to order, or do you need a few minutes,” asked a waiter who appeared from the kitchen side of the booth. “I think we’re ready. I’ll have a personal pizza diavolo, and he’ll have the same for a little. And water is just fine for us.” “Oh, didn’t see the little fella back there. He’s a cutie.” Jamie blushed. “He knows it, too,” Mel added. “Can we also get some crayons and a couple placemats to draw on?” “Sure thing.” The waiter disappeared. “I don’t need any crayons,” Jamie said, trying to sound a little more mature than his situation appeared. “Who said they were for you?” The waiter returned with crayons, placemats, a water pitcher, a glass and a sippy cup. “But I may need your help,” Mel said. She put a place at in front of both of them and scattered the mini-box of crayons. “Can you help me fill all these in?” Jamie smiled; he knew what she was trying to do, and he liked that she did that with him. They could be mature friends and she could encourage him to be a little at the same time. It was a hard balance to strike, but Mel had a way of making it easier, and Jamie knew at least part of that had to do with her being pretty and kind and him being attracted to her. But it was also the way she treated him, similar to the way Amanda did but with a little more leeway for mischief, like a fun aunt who wasn’t as bound by the need to be an authority figure. Not that Amanda was much of an authority figure, but she had responsibilities to Jamie that were more intense than anyone’s except Becky. “Here. I bet this makes it easier.” She picked Jamie up and set him in her lap so he could see and work better. She bounced her knee and patted his back. “Good job! That very nice.” All Jamie had done was fill in the front of a house with his blue crayon. “Blue was a very good choice.” He sat in her lap coloring the placemat and doing the maze and the word search and the crossword puzzle with her encouragement. She gently pointed out clues or showed him strategies that he was already well aware of. She smiled at this cleverness and complimented his successes. “Two pizza diavolos. One for the lady, and one for the young gentleman,” The waiter announced. Jamie started to scoot over. “Were do you think you’re going,” Mel asked. “You’re perfect right where you are.” She used a knife and fork to cut a piece of a piece from his pizza and then held it by the crust for him to take a bite. He hesitated. This was new and unnecessary and they were in public, but wanted to make her happy. He leaned forward and took a bite. Sauce got on his chin, and strands of mozzarella wouldn’t let go as he pulled away, but the explosion of pizza goodness in his mouth made him forget everything else. “Omygud,” Jamie said with his mouth full, “This is so good!” “I thought you’d like it.” She fed him a whole slice before she began picking at her own. “You’re a messy eater, Jamie, did you know that?” She wiped his chin and face. “Here.” She took a small plate and served him a slice, and he fed himself none too delicately. The little food was going to his brain as fast as his belly, and both took on the warm glow of contentedness. “You’re not gonna save room for dessert, are ya?” Mel laughed watching Jamie’s eyes droop as he finished another slice. She put her arm around him. “What? You done talking?” “No ... I’m just happy to be with you.” “Aww. Me, too, Jamie.” The restaurant was starting to get busy with the normal dinner crowd. He nibbled on another slice while she finished hers, both with plenty of leftovers to take home. She paid the tab and hoisted Jamie to her hip. “Uh oh,” she exclaimed. “Someone wet his pants. Was dat chu? Did you wet your pants?” Jamie blushed and said yes. “It’s okay. I’m sposed to,” he grinned at her. Between the pizza and her company, Jamie was feeling carefree and flirty. “Yes, you are! Well, why don’t we go to that store, and I bet we can change your pants in there a lot more comfortably than in here.” They walked toward the other end of the strip and into the big store. Mel headed straight for the change room. She laid him on a change table and buckled the straps around his belly and chest. “Don’t want you falling off,” she said in a high voice. She unzipped his sleeper and pulled his feet from it, rolling it up under his back and exposing his wet diaper. “You’re not all that wet.” Mel untaped his diaper and folded it down, thoroughly wiping him down with a wet wipe before lifting his ankles and doing the same to his butt. “You have got the cutest tushy.” She pulled the used diaper from under him and disposed of it, then pulled a clean one from the bag and tossed it over Jamie’s eyes. “O no! Where did Jamie go?” She picked the diaper up. “There he is!” She repeated it until he giggled. “Where’d Jamie go? There he is!” She taped the clean and soft diaper around his loins after applying a little baby powder, taking the chance to spread the excess on his tummy. “And you smell so sweet, baby boy.” She redressed him and lifted him to her shoulder. His knees drew up under him so she was holding all his weight. She kissed his head. “Let’s go see if there’s anything you need.” She placed him in the seat of a cart, and he smiled at her. This had become an even better evening than if they’d stayed home. He didn’t having anything to say; he was just glad to be there. “Oh, I know what you need.” She reached into the diaper bag and found his binky. He smiled as she introduced it to his lips and parted them just enough for her to insert it. “Aww. You still got a little sauce on you’re cheek.” “He’s just perfect,” a woman said. Mel turned and saw a woman with her own little in a cart, sound asleep. “What is he, about infant stage?” Jamie’s face flushed but he smiled. It somehow seemed a compliment, like his ability to blend and to let go we’re good skills to have. “Something like that,” Mel replied. “Wonderful, isn’t it? How it doesn’t end. She’s been my little girl for years,” the woman said, caressing the sleeping little’s cheek. “She’ll always be my angel.” “And you’ll always be her’s,” Mel added. “That’s right.” The woman walked on, and Mel turned her attention back to Jamie. “Let’s see if we can find you something.” She cruised the aisles past plenty of little hear he didn’t need or already had before arriving at the toy section. “You know what you’re missing, little boy? You don’t have have a ball, do you?” Jamie didn’t. “I don’t think so,” he mumbled around his pacifier. “Every little boy should have a ball.” Mel picked up a rubber playground ball. “Do you like this one?” “Mhmm.” “Me too.” They walked back toward the checkout. “And you know what else,” she said, “You need some fun diapees . Less of those plain white ones.” She started to riff. “I mean, sure, those are good for business meetings and formal weddings, but a cool guy like you need some cool diapers for everyday stuff.” Mel turned into the diaper section and slowly cruised up and down its four aisles. “Which ones do you like?” Jamie remember doing this months ago with Rebecca and marveled at the change in him and in his circumstances. “Doze,” he said, pointing at a multicolored package. Mel took it off the shelf. “Cuddles Variety: for little boys who like everything.” The package showed diapers with padded Littles playing sports, diapers with the grey bunny on it, diapers with a fuzzy red animal on them, diapers with trucks and airplanes. “The perfect diaper for extended daytime use. Extra-high leak guards to handle whatever boys can throw at them. Guaranteed to give him the cutest diaper butt ever.” Mel tittered. “ I think you need a whole box of these,” she said. “It looks a little late for this guy,” the checker said. Jamie was tired. The little food and the hour had him ready for bed. “Yeah, he’s going straight to bed when I get him home.” Once home, Mel carries Jamie inside and set him on the floor of his nursery while she got their leftovers and his new ball and box of diapers out of Amanda’s car. She made a bottle for Jamie and took it and a cloth into his nursery. “You about ready for sleep, buddy?” “Yeah,” he yawned. “C’mere, baby.” She picked him up and sat down in the rocking chair, cradling him in her arms. She teased his lips with the bottle. “Can you open up for Melissa?” He nodded slowly, his head heavy, and parted his lips enough for her to get the nipple in. “There’s my good boy.” He drank very slowly until his body was limp and his breathing slow and the bottle was about gone. Mel shifted him to her shoulder. “Still dry,” she said, patting his butt on the way to patting his back until he burped. She sat with him balled up on her chest with his legs curled under him. She rocked and rubbed his back, smelling the sweet formula on his breath and the airy aroma of the baby powder she’d rubbed into his skin, and the various sweet and pungent smells of his nursery. She turned her head down until it was almost resting on his, ready to fall asleep with him. “Woah, Jamie,” she gently said, shifting his head away from her breasts. “Nothing for you there, buddy.” His head instinctively turned back, and he nuzzled into her. She turned him away again. “Jamie? Are you awake, sweetie?” He didn’t make a sound. “I guess not,” she whispered as she gently stood and laid him in his crib, quietly pulling the rail up. Mel was working on her leftovers a couple hours later when Becky returned. “Hey, Mel. Was he good for you?” “Perfect like he always is.” “Ha. That’s what you think. Thanks for watching him.” “Happy to. You want some pizza?” Becky accepted half a slice. “Did you guys go out?” “Yeah. We ate in the restaurant and then went into the Little store and got him a ball and some new diapers.” “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize he was running low.” “He wasn’t. I just thought he might like something more fun to wear. He picked out the cutest ones.” “He picked them out,” Becky asked, surprised. “When I took him there he picked out the white ones he wears during the day.” Mel shrugged. “Maybe he’s growing into his role more. And the little pizza.” “Maybe.” Mel thought for a moment. “Hey, Ms. Webb,” she said, suddenly formal. She hadn’t called her than in years. “You’re not, uh, nursing Jamie, are you?” “Oh, no. He’s never shown any interest in that. I mean, maybe if he were regressed, but...” she trailed off. “Huh.” “What? Did he say something?” “No.” “Then what? You can tell me.” “After I fed him his bedtime bottle and I was rocking him, he, uh ... he nuzzled into my chest. Twice. Once after I turned his head away.” “Oh my. Did he say anything?” “No, he was asleep the whole time. He’s never done that to you?” “Not once. I’m, I don’t know. I’m surprised. He never acts that little.” Mel looked a little chagrined. “Well, I guess maybe I do kind of encourage that with him sometimes.” Rebecca was intrigued. “Like how?” “Like ... he sat in my lap during dinner, and I helped him color. We played peekaboo while I was changing his diaper.” “And he lets you do that?” “He likes it.” “He hated it not long ago. At least with me.” “Maybe ... he’s growing down a bit, so to speak.” “Maybe,” Becky ruminated, “Though it probably helps that you’re a pretty 20 year old. I bet he’d do just about anything for your attention.” “I didn’t do anything wrong, did I,” Mel asked, suddenly concerned she’d pressured him. “Not at all, sweetie. Trust me, if Jamie didn’t like something about the way you interacted with him tonight he wouldn’t have been shy about saying so. I think it’s good he feels so comfortable with you that he can let himself behave that way. It’s healthy for him. In fact ...” “What?” “It would be good if he could do that more often.” “You don’t want to regress him, do you?” “Absolutely not. I just want him to be able to let go and leave his baggage behind. His therapist told us helping him find ways to be comfortable behaving littler would be good for his other issues.” “Yeah. Amanda told me about the other issues,” Mel grimaced. “I think he’s in the right place.” “I’m glad he’s comfortable being so little with you. I just hope he can be that way more often some day, whenever he wants.” “I bet he will.” “Hope so,” Becky said noncommittally. “You ready to go home?”
  14. 8 points
    Chapter Five Gabriella woke up the following morning in a sort of daze. She placed her hand to her forehead trying to recall the previous day’s events, as well as last night. She had that strange dream again. Someone was whispering to her, so close to her ear. What were they saying? All she could remember was a soft, warm voice telling her to do something…but what? She was giving herself a headache trying to remember. She let out a stretch and a yawn, as she pulled back the covers and looked down – noticing the pull-up she was wearing. She felt her cheeks burn slightly as she reached down and touched the pink garment; it felt a bit cool and damp. She had another accident last night while she was asleep. She sighed when she heard the door of her bedroom open, and Miss Molly walked inside. “Good morning, Gabby. Today is Sunday! Time to get up so we can have breakfast and then get ready for church.” Gabriella didn’t say anything as Miss Molly strode over to her and placed her hand gently over the pull-up. “Looks like our little girl had another accident last night, nothing to fret about though. I’m going to go get you a clean diaper and get you changed and ready.” Miss Molly gave her a warm smile before she got up and walked out of the room. Gabriella couldn’t help but wonder what was wrong with her. Why was she lying down in a wet pull-up waiting for someone to change her? She wouldn’t have acted like this a few weeks ago. She would have put up a fight and probably stormed out of the house. But, she honestly didn’t care anymore. Part of her thought that it probably was a good idea for her to wear pull-ups if she was going to keep having accidents at night like this. “Here we go, sweetie.” Miss Molly soon returned with a regular adult-sized diaper this time, not a pull-up, and a bag of wipes. “Let’s get you all nice and clean.” Gabriella laid there quietly as Miss Molly slowly pulled the tabs from the pull-up off and wrapped it together and set it aside. She then grabbed a few wipes and cleaned up Gabriella carefully going over her private parts. When she felt content she was clean enough; Miss Molly placed the wipes with the pull-up before sliding the clean diaper under Gabriella. “You're such a good young lady, not putting up a fight!” Miss Molly praised her as she pulled the front of the diaper up and tightened up the tabs, so they didn't lose. “Okay, let’s pick out a pretty Sunday dress for you to wear!” She walked over to the closet and soon pulled out a light pink dress, with purple and blue flowers swirled around the bottom of the dress. It was puffed up a bit as well, a bit fancier than the dresses that Gabriella wore daily. Miss Molly walked over to her and helped her get into the dress before taking her hand and heading towards the door. “Alright, dear. Let’s get some breakfast real fast before we head off to church. I made pancakes this morning!” “Sounds good, Miss Molly,” Gabriella said with a soft smile as she was led by her hand out of the room and down the stairs into the kitchen. She felt the diaper rubbing against her inner thighs with each step. It felt just as soft as the pull-up, the only difference being the increased thickness. Waiting for her, like always, was pancakes pre-cut for Gabriella when she made her way to the table, sitting down as she patiently waited for them to say grace so she could eat. “Here is some apple juice, dear.” Miss Molly reached down and handed her a pink cup filled with apple juice. “Thank you, Miss Molly.” A moment later Mr. Deacon came down, giving a kiss on his wife’s cheek, saying good morning to Gabriella, before sitting down. “Dear Lord we thank you for this meal,” Mr. Deacon said, folding his hands and lowering his head, “we thank you for waking up this morning, for this beautiful day that we may worship You. I ask you to continue to watch for us and lead us Your way. Amen.” “Amen.” Gabriella and Miss Molly spoke together as they began to eat. The pancakes were absolutely delicious, light and fluffy. If there was one thing she was going to miss when she headed back to school, it would be this food! Afterward, Gabriella helped Miss Molly clear up the table before they rushed off to service. The church building itself was only a few blocks away, so they walked instead of taking the car. Miss Molly held onto Gabriella’s hand like always as she waved to all the other ladies and their husbands that they passed by. Gabriella would wave a quick hello as well, feeling a bit little as she walked to church with a thick diaper between her legs. “Good morning, Gabby. Don’t you look adorable today?” Miss Leslie said as they entered the church building. “Good morning, Molly and Gabby, dear. What a beautiful Sunday morning.” Another lady came up to hug Miss Molly and gave Gabby a quick pinch on the cheek. “Don’t forget we are having lunch at our house after service,” Miss Molly told her. “Oh yes, we will be there. I baked my famous apple pie for it!” The two ladies (and a few others came over) started to talk for a few minutes as Gabriella stood off to the side and looked around. The church building was pretty small, but so was the town. There was perhaps only about fifty or so people in the building and Gabriella was the youngest one there. Soon a familiar feeling pressed against her bladder and she felt her cheeks grow slightly red but pushed the thought away. Service was about to start in a few minutes, so there was no time for her to use the bathroom. She could hold it until they got home, she had a pretty strong bladder, so she was confident she wouldn’t have an accident. “Come on, Gabby. Let’s go to our seat. Mr. Deacon is giving me that look.” Miss Molly said soon, grabbing hold of Gabriella’s hand and leading her to the front of the church to sit down. The normally hard pew was surprisingly comfortable thanks to her cushy diaper. After about twenty minutes of singing hymns, Mr. Deacon came up to the pulpit and started to preach. Gabriella was anxious; the pressure on her bladder was starting to build up. She tried to remain still in her seat, pressing her thighs together to try to help. Another twenty minutes went by, and it didn’t feel like Mr. Deacon was any closer to finishing up his sermon. She sighed slightly as she turned to look at Miss Molly who had her head in her bible with a notebook to the side, taking notes diligently. Gabriella bit her lip, wiggling slightly in her seat, the urge was growing even more urgent. Just because you’re wearing a diaper, doesn’t mean you should use it. You’re not a baby, after all, you’re…you might have had an accident at night…but this is different! It’s okay; all little girls wet their diapers... The other voice was faint at first in the back of her mind, but grew louder, causing it to push away her common sense to the fact that she was a grown woman and shouldn’t be wetting or wearing a diaper. No, you can’t... It’s okay... This doesn’t feel right... It’s perfectly normal... The voices in her mind were battling it out to take control, getting stronger by the moment. Her head felt cloudy and distant. You’re twenty years old…you have outgrown diapers a long time ago. The service will be over soon, and you can wait till then. But, Miss Molly said that it would be okay, that this is how it should be. It’s okay to let go. But…we aren’t... Let go, just let go. The other voice won, and before Gabriella knew it, she felt herself filling the diaper with her warm wetness. She felt the diaper expand slightly, filling up more than she thought it would. She felt her cheeks burn as she lowered her head, feeling embarrassed as she finished filling up her diaper in the middle of a church service. She bit her lip slightly as she twisted in her seat, unable to ignore the feeling of the warm and wet diaper between her legs. She had to continue to sit like that for another fifteen minutes before thankfully Mr. Deacon said his closing message, they prayed and sang one more hymn before they were all dismissed. “Is everything alright, dear?” Miss Molly asked her once everyone started to get up. “Yes, Miss Molly,” Gabriella said softly, forcing a small smile she hopped out of her seat, feeling herself having a bit of a waddle as she walked. “We need to hurry; everyone is coming over today for lunch,” Miss Molly said as she grabbed Gabriella’s hand and tried to rush out of the church (which took about fifteen minutes, because she kept getting caught up in conversations). The whole time Gabriella couldn’t help but think of what Miss Molly was going to do when she found out she had wet herself. Was she going to be mad? What was she going to do? So many thoughts went in her mind, which just caused her to blush even more. She was happy once they managed to make their escape and was back home, but before she could sneak upstairs to change, Miss Molly had her helping her prepare for their company that would be coming over in just a few minutes. About twenty minutes later the house was filled with their neighbors. Miss Molly greeted everyone in as they all took seats around the kitchen table as well as in the living room (as they were connected). Miss Molly walked over to Gabriella holding something in her hand. It was a purple sippy cup with a white lid. Gabriella felt her face blush harder than it already was, not objecting as she slowly took the cup from Miss Molly. “We don’t want you to have any accidents by spilling juice all over my nice table cloth.” The word accident caused Gabriella to feel uneasy as she shifted her weight. Miss Molly gave her an odd look, looking her over as if she noticed something out of the ordinary. Gabriella quickly looked away from her, not wanting her to see. She closed her eyes tightly, hoping that Miss Molly would walk away. But yet, there was still a small part of her that wished… after all she was starting to get uncomfortable with the wet diaper between her legs. Oh, no. Please... It’s okay…just tell her…all little girls have their diapers changed... The still small voice grew louder in her head as she felt Miss Molly grabbed hold of her hand. “We will be back in just a few minutes everyone,” Miss Molly called out; everyone stopped their conversations with each other to stop and look at her, “Gabby here needs a diaper change. We will be right back.” “Aww, poor girl! Hopefully, she hasn’t been sitting in a wet diaper too long.” One of the women called out. “Wouldn’t want her to get a rash.” Gabriella felt her cheeks burn like nothing before; she dropped her head as Miss Molly led her upstairs. She didn’t think she could feel more embarrassed as she did at that moment; she felt tears start to fill up her eyes as Miss Molly brought her into her room. This was different than having an accident in her sleep since that was something she more or less couldn’t help, but this... she filled her diaper on purpose and she couldn’t bring herself to accept it. This doesn’t feel right… “Oh, honey,” Miss Molly said as she noticed that Gabriella was on the brink of tears. The two of them sat on the bed and Miss Molly wrapped her arms around her and pulled her close. “These things happen — no need to be embarrassed. Next time you need to tell me when you need changing, you don’t want to be stuck in a wet or dirty diaper for too long. You’ll start to get sore.” Gabriella couldn’t bring her eyes to look at Miss Molly but just nodded her head, trying to hold back her tears. “Come on, let’s get you out of that wet diaper and put you in a fresh one so we can go down and eat.” Miss Molly kissed her gently on the forehead as she laid her down, before grabbing a diaper, a box of wipes, and a bottle of baby powder from the closet. Gabriella laid on the bed still, a million emotions and thoughts going through her mind. Miss Molly stood up as she lifted up Gabriella’s dress to reveal the full diaper that was between her legs. Gabriella looked away. Miss Molly gently pulled at the tabs of the diaper, removing the diaper down as she grabbed a handful of wipes and carefully wiped Gabriella clean. She closed her eyes tightly, but deep down inside, the still small voice was whispering to her once again. It’s okay to be a little girl, and you know you want it, you know you like it... The voice was familiar like she heard it before. She felt a hazy cloud envelope her mind, making it harder to focus her thoughts. She opened her eyes and peeked as Miss Molly continued to wipe her down, placing the used wipes inside of the used diaper. She wiggled slightly, biting her lip as she felt Miss Molly raise her legs to slide a new diaper underneath her. After dusting her bottom with powder, she pulled the diaper over her and taped up it snug. “There we go,” Miss Molly said as she pulled down Gabriella’s dress, “now let’s go back downstairs, Gabby. Now remember if you have another accident, just come tell me and I will change you into a fresh diaper.” “Thank you,” Gabriella whispered, secretly feeling better now that she was in a dry diaper. The two of them headed back downstairs, with Gabriella still dazed and unfocused, like she was only half-awake. Everything that happened for the next hour was an indistinct blur for her, as she was doted on and fussed over by all the ladies. She recalled a few specific moments, like one of them tying what appeared to be a bib around her neck. Later, another lady was wiping her mouth with said bib and smiling affectionately; she guessed that they must’ve been spoon-feeding her. She felt one of their hands on the back of her diaper at one point; probably checking her, no doubt. But through all this cooing and pinching her cheeks and feeding, Gabriella didn’t care. She was so lost in the haze of it all that she didn’t find any of it weird or objectionable. She obediently opened her mouth when someone fed her; she never flinched when someone lifted her dress to pat her diaper; it no longer irked her when someone called her Gabby. They kept giving her drinks and she no longer thought twice about the fact she was drinking from a sippy cup. All the while, the distant voice encouraged her. Just let it happen... You know this is how it should be... A little over an hour later, Gabriella felt as if her bladder was full once more (which didn’t surprise her, considering all the drinks she had). This time she was more willing to wet her diaper than before. However, another sensation was brewing in her bowels as she felt her stomach cramp up. She bit her lip as she looked around the room. Miss Molly and Mr. Deacon were talking to another couple. She moaned slightly as she bent over, pressing her hands against her stomach as the cramps continued. What was she going to do?
  15. 8 points
    Here is the next chapter! Enjoy! Also, don't forget that I still have an open for commissions! Chapter Six Daniel stared at the screen for a long time, before he finally deleted the last sentence before he hit submit. He was too chicken to admit to that line, even though he thought about it before. There had been times he would write up a long paragraph on how perhaps they could meet in person one day, or at least he could know more about her – but he always deleted it. He was too afraid. After all, he wasn’t the type of guy to just have sex with anyone…would there be any chemistry between them? Was it only the mommy / little boy dynamic that they had? He wanted more than just that. But, he also felt very comfortable with her. She seemed so genuine and real that he did want to get to know her better. But, he always figured that she believed it was best if this was an online only thing. She seemed to be pretty happy with the fact he was going on a date later on tonight. MommyVioletLove: January 19, 20xx 6:17 PM I understand that, baby. Trusting people at times can be hard. But, don’t let that bring you down! There are good people in the world. *kisses your cheek* cheer up buttercup; you do have a date tonight after all. DiaperedLittleOne: January 19, 20xx 6:20 PM Hehehe….thanks, mommy, you sure are the best! And true! I’m pretty excited about it…a little nervous too He didn’t want to admit why he was nervous, those thoughts kept pressing into his mind, but he tried to hold them back, not wanting his imagination to spark fuel to reality. MommyVioletLove: January 19, 20xx 6:21 PM Perhaps my little baby boy should be diapered just in case! Daniel felt his cheeks flush red as he shuffled around in his seat. Wear a diaper to his date?! Wouldn’t that seem a bit creepy? Though….it wouldn’t be like Natalie would know anything about it, he wasn’t one to fool around on the first date. But, wearing diapers wasn’t just a sexual thing for him, they did bring him comfort, and he was feeling a bit anxious about his date with her. DiaperedLittleOne: January 19, 20xx 6:23 PM What?! – I don’t think I could wear a diaper… MommyVioletLove: January 19, 20xx 6:25PM You’re too cute! Why not? I know that you’re probably feeling a bit anxious about your date and it could calm you down! Mommy isn’t telling you to use it, plus you could always wear one of those cute little pull-ups you have so it’s not noticeable. Mommy just wants you to relax and enjoy yourself! DiaperedLittleOne: January 19, 20xx 6:30 PM Thank you, mommy. You’re really sweet. Maybe you’re right…I guess it wouldn’t hurt… MommyVioletLove: January 19, 20xx 6:33PM Mommy is always right! Anyway little one, I need to start getting ready! I hope you have a wonderful time tonight! I’m sure it will all go wonderfully! Can’t wait to hear about it *gives you lots of kisses* DiaperedLittleOne: January 19, 20xx 6:33PM Have a great night too, mommy! *blushes and kisses back* Daniel logged off and sat at his computer for a few minutes before he got up from his chair and headed to the bathroom, figuring it was about time he started to get ready as well and take a shower. Afterward, he stood in front of his closet, naked, holding onto a pull-up that he picked up one time. He held the diaper in his hands, running his fingers across it. Should he dare? It’s not like he was planning on taking Natalie back to his apartment – or going over to his. But, still, secretly he was worried about her finding out he was wearing a diaper….but…his mommy did tell him to wear. He bit his lip as he pulled the diaper on, feeling a rush of eutrophic come over him. Perhaps this would help give him the calm he needed tonight. He finished getting ready, deciding with a pair of light grey slacks and a red button down-shirt. Once he was finished getting ready he peered at his phone noticing he had about thirty minutes before he needed to be at the restaurant, but figured he might as well get there early. The restaurant was only about three blocks away, so he decided to walk. Although he was surprised to see Natalie already waiting for him when he got there, she was wearing a tight sparkling blue dress that fell just above her knees. She looked gorgeous. “H-hey!” he said as he spotted her, feeling a lump in the back of his throat. He wasn’t expecting her to be here already. “Hey, Daniel. You’re looking sharp.” Natalie said with a bright smile, and he felt his knees go weak. “Thank you…and you look stunning.” “Aw, thank you. You’re too sweet.” “Are you ready?” He asked as he headed towards the front door to open it for her. She nodded her head as they headed inside. The restaurant itself was quite busy, but thankfully Daniel thought ahead and put a reservation for both of them. “Hello, I put a reservation for 8:00 PM for Daniel Harris.” He said as they reached the host stand. He turned to smile at Natalie, still not being able to wrap his head around the fact that he got a date with her. He shifted his weight slightly, feeling the diaper press up against him. It made him feel more relaxed. It wasn’t super thick, so it wasn’t apparent under his clothes, and it wasn’t like he was going to use the diaper. “Yes, right this way, sir.” They followed them to a little table by a large window that looked outside. Daniel quickly raced for Natalie’s seat so that he could pull it out for her. “Why thank you,” she said as she sat down, him sitting down across from her, “this is a really nice place.” “Yes, it is,” Daniel replied as he sat down in his seat, feeling the diaper that he was wearing underneath, but he tried to pull his focus from that and back to Natalie. “Would you like to try some of our newest wine tonight? It’s our specialty.” The server said as he reached the table. “How much is the bottle?” Daniel asked. “The bottle itself is $50.” “We will take it,” Daniel said, the server nodded his head before leaving. “Are you sure about that?” Natalie asked. “It’s no problem,” Daniel said with a wave of his hand. He didn’t have a lot of expenses, so he was able to save up quite a bit, even though he only had a part-time job. A minute later the server returned with their wine, pouring them each a glass. Daniel wasn’t much of a drinker, but he figured it was something you did on romantic dates. The wine tasted well enough, but Natalie seemed to enjoy it more. While they sat there with their menus, they talked about everything. Daniel enjoyed learning more about Natalie. She was the oldest child of four; she had been living on her own since she was 18, she’s been a manager for the past four years (he learned she was 28 years old). That she had dreams of being a teacher and that she had her degree in Education, but hadn’t been able to get a job as a teacher as of yet. “Do you know what you wish to order?” The server asked as he returned. “I will have the salmon and pasta,” Daniel said as he handed the menu back. “Hmm, and I think I will have the shrimp scampi with a salad on the side,” Natalie replied. “Very well, I’ll put that in right away.” “Thank you,” Natalie said as she took a sip of her wine.” “Of course, no problem. Thanks for agreeing to go out with me.” “Well, you were so cute, I couldn’t help myself.” Daniel felt himself blush with those words as he quickly grabbed his wine and took a sip, trying to be discreet about the fact he was blushing. “You really are cute,” Natalie told him with a smile. “T-thank you,” Daniel said, blushing even harder this time, knowing it was futile to try to hide it. The rest of the dinner went fabulous. They continued to talk throughout the night, even about an hour after they finished their meal. Daniel never had such a perfect first date before. He felt at ease with Natalie, she was funny, smart, and there was something about her that seemed familiar. He wished the night would never end, but it wasn’t long before the two of them found them walking along the street, not wanting to say goodbye quite yet. Daniel kept staring down at her hand, wanting to reach down and grab it, but held himself back, not wanting to move too quickly. “I had a wonderful time tonight,” Natalie said as the silence between them stretched on. “I did too; hopefully we can go out again sometime.” “I would love that.” Natalie said as she glanced down at her watch, “oh my! It’s almost midnight! I have to be at the store tomorrow at seven.” “Oh, I’m sorry!” Daniel said, not realizing it was that late. Natalie laughed and shook her head. “No need to apologize; I had a really wonderful time.” “Same here, it has been a long time since I’ve had fun like this,” Daniel said, the last few dates he did have, all ended in disaster. Most of them were either super dull or just wanted a one-night stand kind of deal (with a free meal). He prided himself in trying to be a bit different than the average Joe, but of course, that didn’t mean he didn’t have his wants and desires, but he was better at ‘controlling’ himself when it came to that. “Same here, I’ve had pretty disasters relationships before; it’s hard to trust people,” Natalie said her words bringing nogalistic feeling to Daniel as he recalled his Mommy Violet mentioning something about unable to trust people, but that wasn’t an obvious sign. A lot of people have been in a lousy relationship before. He shook his head, wanting to get the thoughts out of his head. “Well, I need to get going,” Natalie said with a heavy sigh. “How about we talk tomorrow after I get off of work? We can discuss date number two?” “I would love that; let me walk you back to your place.” “Thank you, I live off of Johnston Street, in those apartments.” “That’s not far from my place,” Daniel said as they turned around and headed that way, which was only a ten-minute walk. It was such a small town that most people didn’t have vehicles if they had to go to the larger city they often just took a cab or a bus. The walk to her apartment was quiet, they had a bit of small talk, but for the most part, they just enjoyed each other’s company. They soon made it to her apartment, and he walked her up to her door. “This is it,” Natalie said as she fumbled around with her keys in her hand, “once again, thank you for tonight.” “You’re welcome,” Daniel said, taking a step closer. He wanted to kiss her but wondered if it was too soon. “I guess I should go then,” Natalie whispered, but she didn’t move from where she stood. She held the keys tightly in her grasp, also taking a step towards Daniel. Natalie was a bit taller than Daniel when she was wearing heels (he was 5’7, so she was probably about 5’5). He reached up and let his fingers gently brush against her cheek and then through her hair. They didn’t say another word as they came closer and kissed each other. Her lips were soft and a bit moist, he was assuming from the lip gloss she applied as they were walking to her apartment. They wrapped their arms around each other, as they continued to kiss. It was passionate as they pressed themselves against each other. Her hands began to run gently down his back until they reached his bottom. He was too lost in the moment even to recall the fact he was still wearing a pull-up. It wasn’t until she pressed her fingers tight against his bottom and then slowly pull away did he remember. Their kiss ended, his cheeks a bright, red. “Goodnight, Daniel.” She said giving him a small smile as she placed the key in the door. “Goodnight, Natalie.” Daniel managed to say as he waited for her to open the door and walk inside, before taking a step back. He placed his hand on his forehead – did she realize he was wearing? He took his hand and put it upon his bottom and pressed – even though he was wearing a pull-up that was a lot thinner than his regular thick diapers, it was still obvious he wasn’t wearing regular boxers. What was he going to do now?
  16. 8 points
    Chapter 31 Part 2 “Yes, I need to make an appointment for my little ... for this morning ... he’s got a high fever, vomiting, chills, sweats, upset stomach, headache ... yeah, sounds like it ... well, I talked to Dr. Bowers’ assistant, but he hasn’t actually seen him yet, so I guess he’s a new patient ... no, his PA would be fine ... thank you. We’ll see you soon.” “What time,” Amanda asked. “Two hours. I’m going to run to the store and get some LittleLyte for him and something to help his tummy.” “No worries. I’ll skip class today. The prof doesn’t mind when it has to do with Littles, since that’s the course.” Rebecca left and Amanda made another bottle of water for Jamie. He was drinking as much as he could keep down. He was back in crib, sans sheets and with his bear safely in his recliner to keep it clean. Amanda lowered the rail and pulled the glider close. “Hey, buddy. You awake again,” she asked softly, teasing his back. “Mhmm.” “We’re going to the doctor in a couple hours. I got another bottle for you. Can you keep another one down?” “Uh uh. I don’t want it.” “Ok. How about we just snuggle for a bit, and then we’ll get you cleaned up a bit for the doctor?” She lifted him out of the crib and laid him against her chest, his arms limp at his sides. She rocked very slightly, tickling his back. She felt him shudder and and his muscles contract. “Ughmgh,” he grunted, starting to cry. Amanda could hear and feel what his body was doing again. She rested her chin on top his head. “It’s okay, baby. I know you can’t help it.” “It hurts,” he whimpered. “Shh. We’ll get you cleaned up again in a few minutes.” While waiting for his stomach cramps to stop, she sang a song her mom used to sing to her. “🎶Manda loves, you, sweet little Jamie boy, Manda loves you’ve, baby boy of mine.🎶” She didn’t remember the rest of it, but hummed the tune. He kept sniffling. Amanda reminded herself that as bad as she felt right now, that helpless feeling when there’s nothing you can do to fix it and only a little you can do to make your person feel better, that he felt much, much worse. They had just gotten to this topic in her little’s course. His immune system was unprepared for all the pathogens in the world that were new to his body. The vaccinations prevented or at least lessened the severity of the worst ones, but a stomach virus just was what it was. Littles were no different than toddler kids in that way, just new immune systems being exposed to new germs. “Ok, buddy, I think you’re done.” She got him on the changing table and cleaned him gently, noting a little blood on the wipe after she passed it over his back passage. There was nothing left in him but water, and he looked red and irritated back there. He looked sallow and felt hot everywhere she touched him, his expression listless. “Do you wanna bath?” Jamie shook his head. “Is there nothing I can do for you?” He shook his head. She applied rash cream, hoping it would help with the rawness, and put a daytime diaper on him and a nighttime over that. They heard the door open, and Becky came in a few minutes later. “Hey, Jamie,” she said, “Feeling any better?” He just shook his head again. “Aww. We’re going to take you to the doctor in a bit, but first I need you to drink this for me,” she said, holding a bottle of electrolyte solution. “Can you be a big boy and try for mommy?” Becky hadn’t planned on saying that; the more pathetic Jamie looked, the stronger the urge to baby him. She took him from Amanda and cradled him while he suckled slowly on his bottle. Amanda went to shower. If Jamie hadn’t been so miserable, he might have been more concerned about the doctor, his first experience with one here having been so lousy. The waiting room was full of littles who looked like he did and bigs who hadn’t slept much the previous night. The front desk staff wore forced faces of first good cheer. Jamie fell asleep on Amanda while Becky checked them in. When they were taken back to a room, a nurse came in and took Jamie’s vitals, including his temperature in his bum, and he hardly even stirred. Last time, he’d thrown a tantrum. A knock at the door, and the PA came in, herself looking harried. “Hi, I’m Daphne, Dr. Bower’s PA. What’s going on with this little fella.” “He was fine yesterday until he went down for his nap. He slept for almost four hours, and when I got him up he was sluggish and just wanted to go back to bed. He had a fever,” Amanda said. “And his fever got higher, and he woke up vomiting in the middle of the night. He couldn’t stand on his own; he was pretty dizzy. He said everything hurts,” Becky added. “He threw up a few more times overnight, and he’s had diarrhea since he stopped.” “He did seem a little more with it this morning, but he’s hardly said a word.” “Ohhh. Poor guy. How long has he been here,” Daphne asked. “About four months,” Becky answered. “And he’s not regressed,” Amanda said. Not that it seemed to make much difference now. He was beyond helping himself for the time being. Funny, Amanda thought, all her friends and their moms said men turn into babies when they’re sick. “Well, let’s get him on the table, and I’ll check him over.” Jamie submitted to the examination, her hands checking the lymph nodes in his neck and armpits, pressing in his joints, and probing his tummy. He winced a few times. She checked his throat and eyes and ears and nose and reflexes. “Well, the bad news is I can’t do much for him except tell you to keep him hydrated, wipe him down with a cool cloth every hours, and give him a little’s NSAID for his aches. But the good news is if he’s stopped vomiting, he’s already getting better. This just seems to be the virus going around right now. He should be fine in a couple days. He’ll be tired for a while. Make sure he gets all the sleep he needs, and keep him on a bland diet for the next three days. He can eat solids whenever he’s ready. See if he’ll eat a cracker or some dry cereal in the next couple hours. That should help his stomach. Check his temperature every time you change his diaper, and if it goes up or he starts vomiting again, go the E.R. and call our service. Most importantly, he has to stay hydrated. If he can’t drink on his own, he’s going to have to go into hospital so he can be on an IV.” “You’re sure he’s getting better,” Amanda asked. Daphne nodded sympathetically. “Yes, I’m sure. Promise.” “Can we give him something for his stomach at least?” “Best that you don’t. His body just needs to get over this on its own, and that’s part of it.” “When will he be able to go back to daycare?” “Next week. He shouldn’t be contagious by then. And disinfect your house. You guys might get it, too, but it won’t be nearly as bad if you do.” _____________________ By the third day, Jamie was alert and standing on his own feet and had more than a moment’s notice when he needed to empty his bowels, though Rebecca and Amanda kept him in double diapers to be safe; it saved at least one outfit from ruin. His head hurt, and he felt like he’d never catch up on hydration, and he slept all but a few hours, but he was feeling and looking noticeably better. The morning of the fourth day, Amanda woke him by placing the back of her hand on his forehead. “Wakey, wakey, buddy.” Jamie’s eyes opened, and to Amanda’s relief there was a spark in them again. “Your fever’s gone. How do you feel?” Jamie sat up, and Amanda put her hand behind his back to help him. “Sore. Like I ran a marathon. And soaked. Which I don’t remember doing.” She stripped his diaper off him the crib and carried him straight to bathtub. “How much do you remember from the last few days?” “Almost nothing.” “Well, that’s for the best. Wish I didn’t remember it. You had everyone real worried. Aunt Lauren got al teary.” “Lauren came over?” “You don’t remember?” He shook his head. “She came over to give Mom and me a chance to catch a few extra hours’ sleep. You were laying on her chest crying in your sleep again, and she called you the most pitiful thing she’d ever seen.” “Wonder what I was dreaming about.” “I don’t think you were.” She ran the tub warm but not hot and cleaned him extra thorough. Amanda was confident enough he was feeling better that they could tease each other again. “I filled the hole under the sandbox back in.” “What hole?” “We dug a grave, just in case. Under the sandbox, actually.” “Oh darn.” “I’m sure you’ll be more clever than that by the time you go back to daycare.” “You mean The Source?” Jamie hadn’t recalled ever being so sick, but he was sure it had happened in his youth. One kid doesn’t wash his hands well in the bathroom, and then 20 out of 30 kids has novovirus. Amanda got him dried off and into a clean diaper, using extra power and dusting him under his arms and on his chest with it, and texted their mom to let her know his fever had broken and he was fully awake. She took him to the kitchen and fed him a bottle or formula and another of LittleLyte. “How about some sun and fresh air today? Just in the backyard. And maybe something other than crackers to eat.” “Mom’s at work?” “Yeah.” “Then I must be better.” “Sorry I had to go to class yesterday.” “That’s okay. I’m sure you needed a break from everything.” “I just needed to go to class.” But not changing twelve diapers was nice, too, she thought. They went into the backyard, and Jamie felt better just being in the air. Amanda moved to lounge chairs under the big tree. The days were plenty warm for laying out still, but it wasn’t hot and the sun was weaker.. Amanda put on her two-piece, and she stripped Jamie to just his diaper. “Amanda?” “Yeah, buddy?” “Remember after the massage, when you held me after? Can we do that again?” “I’ll do you one better.” Amanda went inside, noticing how much it smelled like a sick person was living there and vowing to scrub everything again after Jamie went down for a nap, and came back out with Jamie’s pacifier and a bottle of baby lotion. “How’s your tummy feel?” “Normal.” Amanda untaped Jamie’s diaper and had Jamie turn over on his stomach. She massaged the lotion in from the soles of his feet to his neck. She felt all the trigger points and uncooperative muscles the masseuse had said he had. Jamie sighed at the good parts and held his breath through some of the painful parts. When Amanda was done, he felt loose and drowsy. “Am I as good as a pro?” “I like your hands more.” “I’m sure I’ll get better at it, but this was my favorite part, too.” She reclined her chair back almost all the way and placed Jamie on top of her. She regretted she hadn’t done this when he first arrived. It was talked about a lot for newborns and in her little class textbook, but no one she knew had said anything about skin to skin contact time with Littles. She made a mental note to suggest her mom try it. I’m gonna have a funny tan line, she said to herself. They fell asleep together that way. _________________ “You got it, too, huh,” Ella said when he walked into daycare. “You had it?” “I think everyone had it. But I didn’t get it as bad as you newbies did. You look like you lost ten pounds.” “Felt like I was dying. Or at least wished I was.” “Been there,” she said as tenet walked toward the reading corner. “You’re walking funny.” Jamie blushed. “Mom put me in double diapers again, just in case.” “Hmm. Why do you wear diapers?” Jamie was taken aback. It was still a sensitive subject even if he didn’t do much to try to keep it secret these days. “You do, too,” he answered defensively. “Because they made me incontinent, and the doctors can’t fix that. But you’re not regressed. So, why? Did you ask to be?” “Why would I do that?” She shrugged. ”Some people who come here like them. That’s a major part of why they adopt themselves out.” Jamie knew about them. He didn’t get it before he got here, but experiencing the tenderness and affection he received every day, he understood now why people whose lives were fine, or as fine as most lives get, wanted to be adopted and wanted to be regressed. “Mom thinks I’m incontinent.” “Why would she think that?” “She just does. Assumed I was, and just couldn’t fathom that I wasn’t even when I told her. Twice” “Bigs are so weird. Sorry, that must suck.” “Well,” he hesitated to say, “Amanda knows. She thinks they make me more ... better able to ... they make me more dependent on them, and I have to trust her and Mom, so she thinks they’re good for me because I have such a hard time doing that. She told me she’d get Mom to stop if I wanted to.” “And you don’t? I’m just asking,” she added when Jamie turned red and looked away. “I ... I guess I think she’s right. And I do like getting to spend the extra time with them. And they don’t feel awful. I thought they’d feel wet all the time, but they don’t.” “No, I don’t exactly mind now either. It would be weird not to have them at this point.” “I can imagine.” Her twelve years to his four months. “I still use a pacifier, too, and a bottle sometimes. Just not in public like you, ya big baby,” she said with a weak punch on his arm. “I’m sorry. Could you say that again? I couldn’t hear you over the crinkling coming from under your dress.” “Whatevs, Mr. Basket Case.” “You, too, Ms. Gimpy.” “What’s all this name calling I hear,” Jordan said, coming up behind them. “We’re just playing,” Jamie said. Jordan looked at Ella, who nodded. “Well, play nice. You’ll set a bad example for the others,” she responded and went back to her regular charges. Jamie grimaced. “Does that ever bother you, being held to a higher standard?” Ella shook her head. “Not really. If you want to get away with more stuff, all you have to do is act like you’re regressing.” “Really?” “Yeah. Especially with strangers. They can’t tell the difference. And it’s sort of expected, long term.” “How do you mean?” “Being a little, your world being kinda small, just magnifies everything in it. Things that weren’t a big deal become a big deal. You start to take for granted that you are little and Littles do certain things and get treated a certain way, and that’s how you start to behave.” “I’m going to end up like them,” Jamie said with alarm, pointing at some Littles across the room. “No, not like that. Just that you won’t be quite as mature as when you got here. Which for you would probably be a good thing. That’s part of why you came here, right?” “Sort of,” Jamie demurred. He blushed again but felt he could tell her pretty much everything. “I don’t always know when I’m wet” Ella’s eye brows popped up in surprise and concern. “You mean you’ve started having accidents? “No, just that I’ve gotten so used to going I sometimes do it and hardly take notice of it, then forget about it.” “Oh. Well, I guess that makes sense.” Sitting cross legged, Jamie looked at the carpet between his legs. “Do you think, maybe, you’d like to do something together outside of daycare?” Jamie hadn’t asked anyone out since college, not face to face. Jamie wasn’t sure if that’s what he done or not. How does a date work when you’re a little? It doesn’t even come up for regressed Littles. Exchanging poorly drawn pictures and sharing half a cookie were as close to dating as regressed Littles got. “Like a play date?” Now she blushed. Ella hadn’t been asked out since college period. Had she been asked out? “Well ... I guess, yes.” “That’d be fun. But don’t you have to ask your mommy first?” “Shut up.” “No, you shut up …”
  17. 8 points
    Chapter 31 Part 1 “Hey, buddy,” Amanda whispered, brushing Jamie’s cheek. “It’s a little late for dinner, but how about a bottle?” Jamie stirred, his eyes opening to see it was nearly dark. “You alright? You slept a long time.” Jamie sat up and pressed his palms into his eyes, the pressure in his sinuses pushing back. I never feel good after a nap, Jamie thought. “How long was I asleep?” “Almost four hours. I guess you needed it, so I didn’t wake you.” “Where’s Mom?” “She’s at back-to-school night, remember?” “Oh yeah.” “Are you hungry?” “A little.” “We had that lunch kinda late, and then you slept so long I figured you’d be okay with just a bottle tonight. I can make you something if you like.” “No, that’s okay.” Amanda picked him up and carried him to the rocking chair. “You’re a little sweat ball. Want a bath after?” “No, that’s okay. Kind just want to go back to bed.” “Must be going through a growth spurt,” Amanda joked. She situated him on her lap, and put the bottle to his lips. He took it and nursed slowly. “Did you have fun today?” “Mhmm.” “Mel had a good time with you.” Jamie smiled weakly. “She thinks you were flirting with her.” Jamie nodded. He knew he sorta was. He figured it was harmless. He liked the way she made him feel, though, when she baby talked to him during his diaper change. It was sort of a game, and they were both in on it, so it felt different than when strangers talked to him that way or even when Amanda or Mom sometimes did it out of affection and an inability to handle his off-the-charts adorability. “I was surprised you were okay with her changing you.” She let that hang there a moment. “Did you enjoy it?” Jamie nodded and stopped suckling. “I’m full.” Amanda held up the bottle, seeing he’d had only a couple ounces. “You sure? You didn’t have much.” “Late lunch I guess,” he yawned. “When she changed you, did you notice anything different?” “Like what,” he asked, his voice low and his eyes lolling back into sleep. “Like, did you maybe feel funny with her doing it instead of me or Mom?” “No. Why?” I guess it’s nothing, just like Mel said – it happens to boys during diaper changes, Amanda thought. “No reason. I’m glad the two of you are friends.” “Me, too,” he said with his eyes closed. She wasn’t sure if she should even say the next part. It definitely felt like something Mom should talk to him about, but then, maybe he’d appreciate it coming from his sister instead. She wasn’t even sure about littles and their birds and bees. It just wasn’t an issue with nearly every little being regressed. “Jamie?” He was falling back asleep. “You with me, buddy?” He just sighed. “You can masturbate whenever you need to. Just do it in private.” “Mmkay,” Jamie mumbled. That was easy enough, Amanda, chuckled to herself, not even sure if he’d heard her. She carried him the changing table and pulled down his diaper cover. It was wet on the inside. She tossed it into his laundry basket and opened his saturated diaper. His diaper rash from a few days ago was gone. She cleaned him and applied a thick layer of rash cream anyway, especially behind his bits, and fastened on a nighttime diaper. She didn’t like putting him to bed the way he was, but she figured he’d be better off getting the sleep he needed than a full bath. She plucked a few wipes from the container and wiped him down everywhere, then poured a little baby powder into her hand and dusted him lightly everywhere. He smelled sweet. She put him back in his crib, saw he was shivering a little, and pulled his blanket back over him. She took the bottle back to the kitchen, cleaned it out and filled it with water, and brought it back to him in case he needed it during the night. She wondered what she’d tell her mother. By the way, Mom, I gave Jamie the same masturbation talk you gave me, and if he’s anything like me back then, we’re not gonna see much of him for the next couple years. Amanda sat his bear upright in the corner of the crib and put the bottle between its legs like she always did. She fished around his blanket for his pacifier and put to his lips. He didn’t take it like he usually did. She set it next to the bottle and caressed his cheek again. How is he already sweaty again, she wondered. She held her hand there for a moment, then lowered the crib rail and put her lips to his forehead. She grimaced in concern and texted her mom. Hey Mom. Jamie’s okay, but he’s running a little fever. Her mom texted back. Okay. On my way home. See you in a few. Rebecca got home shortly after. “Hey, Manda. What’s up?” “Not sure. He went down for a nap after we got home, and I let him sleep for almost four hours. Then when I got him up he was barely awake and he was real sweaty. He fell asleep again, and then he was shivering, and then I pulled the blanket up and now he’s sweaty again.” Rebecca walked into the nursery and put her hand on his forehead. “He’s got a little fever, alright. Not too bad. How were his diapers today?” “Normal.” “Well, we’ll let him sleep for now.” She ushered Amanda out of the room and turned the light down but not all the way off. “Did you guys have fun at the mall?” “Yeah. He was fine all afternoon … did you know that grey rabbit with the carrot is a cartoon?” “Huh. Mel have a good time, too? I hope she doesn’t mind him tagging along with you.” “Not at all. She likes him. She totally knows he has a crush on her.” “That’s so cute. I guess we have our littlesitter when we need one. Though I guess we can always ask the Breens next door.” “I guess. Kinda surprised they didn’t stop by sooner after he arrived. Wasn’t he asleep when they came over anyway?” “Meh. People lead busy lives.” “How was back-to-school night?” “Like always. You meet the parents and it’s always, ‘Oh, that’s why the kid is like this,’ or ‘Damn, that’s why the kid is like that,’ or ‘How are these that kid’s parents?” “I thought you had a good bunch this year.” “I do. Just, you know, some parents give off a vibe, like, ‘Mine gets the most extra attention because I say so’ vibe. Just a couple. But still, I remember not all that long ago when no one emailed a teacher at all, let alone in the evening.” “Yeah …” “You’re still thinking about changing majors?” “Yeah, haven’t made up my mind yet.” “Well, don’t do it to avoid pushy parents. Littles have those, too.” “Ha! I bet people have told stories about us after we’ve left a few places.” “No doubt.” “What do you think he has?” “Just a bug probably. Ya know with littles that can happen a lot, immune system being new to world.” “I know. Probably picked it up at littlecare. Or the mall.” “Or any other place. He’ll be fine.” “I know. Just sucks. He can’t seem to catch a break that lasts more than a day or too.” “Why don’t you call Donna and ask if she’ll littlesit tomorrow?” “You’re joking, right? That would suck for both of them. Mostly him.” “Of course I am. Did you have dinner yet?” “Just a snack. We had a late lunch.” “Well, I picked at school cafeteria food, so whatever leftovers we have should be fine for me. Did you find him a pumpkin outfit for the festival?” “I guess they must be in style this year. All we could find were gourds.” “Shoot. Oh well. It’s still a few weeks away.” ______________________________________________________________________________ It was hot in the car, even with the window down, the sun in front and hanging in the sky refusing to go down at its hour. He drove anyway, down his familiar highway past communities no one remembers except in back-in-the-day nostalgia that never put a dollar in the pockets of anyone left behind in places superfluous to the forces that move until he pulled off the highway and felt that bright-burn sun sear his face on the other side and the dust of the road behind filled his rearview and there was nothing to see anyway. Past that barn again, held up by nails rusted close all the way through and leaning starboard waiting for a wind in the other direction to right it. Past that same house with the light burning out front illuminating only the shadows behind the orange sun-glow of a dusk that wasn’t ending. He drove into the woods that were silent this time, waiting for darkness to hide them, and saw no circles watching him from behind the overgrown ditch with weeds head-high separating him from where the cool shade and damp-green-moss smell were. He went back to the highway and its stubborn glaring sun refusing to leave and kept going until the engine bucked and he pulled into that same gas station expecting to see the same face and he walked through the door and was hit by a blast of heat and it wasn’t night yet and the night clerk was at home resting like he ought to be, this different person behind the counter giving him a different kind of indifferent nod and it just wasn’t the same. It didn’t feel right. None of it felt right. The air was hot. The light was hot. Everything stuck to him. The sun wouldn’t go away. And everything was wet. ______________________________________________________________________________ Jamie woke up shivering and wet and hot all at the same time with his head pounding and his stomach lurching. “Mom!” He tried to shout. He needed to get out of his crib before he … “MOM!” Jamie fought his way to his knees and gagged, gagged again, and let nature take its course. It wasn’t one of those times you feel better right afterward. “MANDA!” He started to cry. The light on the ceiling fan killed the nightlight. “Oh, baby. There, there,” Rebecca said as she came in and lifted Jamie out of his mess, getting plenty of it on herself. Oh, yeah, Becky remembered, this part of motherhood still exists. She put her hand to his forehead and found him much warmer than five hours ago. “Shhhh,” she cooed, rubbing his back. “Mom?” “Oh, good. Manda. I’m going to run him a bath. Can you take care of this?” Jamie wasn’t done and did it again. “Ugh. And come for this shirt in a few minutes.” “Is he …” “He’s just a sick little. Everything will be okay.” She kept rubbing Jamie’s back and took him into bathroom. She set him on the edge of the bath and started to run the water. “Where does it hurt, baby.” “Everywhere.” And he wasn’t exaggerating. He felt like he had the flu and the stomach flu at the same time. Rebecca stood Jamie in the bathroom, keeping a hand on his shoulder to steady him in case he started to fall. She stripped his diaper offer, and turned the tap to lukewarm. With one hand she filled a cup from the sink and lifted it to Jamie’s lips, telling him to spit into the tub. “We’ll get you all cleaned up in no time,” she promised. She lifted him into the tub where he sat and managed to keep himself upright while she took the shower wand down and tested the temperature. When he was clean by appearance she turned the wand off to let the faucet run and stopped the drain, letting only a few inches of water collect. She soaped him well, and scrubbed him gently before draining the tub again, rinsing him with the wand, and then filed the tub about to his hips with cool water. “You’re a very brave boy,” she whispered to him. She left him for a moment got a washcloth from the vanity drawer, dipping under the tap and coming back to across his neck. Amanda came in. “I scrubbed his mattress down, too. Thank god for PUL mattress covers. How’s he feeling?” Becky didn’t want to say ‘Like shit,’ in front of Jamie. “Just yucky is all,” she said instead. “Do you mind taking over while I take a shower?” Amanda sat on the stool next to the tub and wet the washcloth with cool water every few minutes. She sighed in concern. He looked dusky and listless. “Okay, let’s dry you off,” she said, pulling the plug and standing Jamie up. He wobbled on his feet, and Amanda sat him back down. “Manda?” He didn’t have anything else to day. “I know, baby boy. It’s alright.” Amanda took a towel down and wrapped it around him, lifting him out of the tub and onto her shoulder. She carried him into the nursery and got him into a fresh diaper, leaving his otherwise naked and sitting in the rocking chair, very gently rocking with patting his back and humming their mom’s lullaby in his ear. Becky came back, freshly clean, with a pillow, two blankets, and large bowl. She leaned over from behind the chair and kissed Amanda on the top of her head. “Go on back to bed, baby. We’ll go to the doctor first thing.” Rebecca laid out her makeshift bed on the floor, and Amanda laid Jamie down on top of it. Rebecca put the bowl next to Jamie and laid down beside him. “Just dim the lights partway, Amanda. Sleep well.” “Goodnight, Mom. Call me if you need anything.” “Thanks, hun.” Amanda went back to her bed, leaving her mom propped on one elbow running her fingers down Jamie’s back. “See you in a few hours.”
  18. 8 points
    Chapter 30 “Jamie!” Mel picked him up and gave him a hug. Jamie liked the way she smelled, and felt. She intended just a hug, but Jamie saw no reason to let it go there and wrapped his legs around her, and suddenly she was holding him and too bashful to set him down. Amanda watched, knowing exactly what he was doing. She was just glad there was someone besides herself and her mom that Jamie didn’t just feel comfortable being held by but actually wanted to be. Plus, she didn’t mind taking a break from carrying him. Amanda could tell Jamie had a crush on Mel and thought the only thing he could enjoy more than an afternoon with herself was an afternoon with both of them. Amanda had called Mel the night before and made plans with her just to give Jamie something to do that would get him out of his own head. He had come home from daycare not unhappy but quiet and contemplative. He ended up on Becky’s bed leaning against her while she worked on her lesson plan. He just needed some mom time, and Rebecca was thrilled to provide it. She felt a little guilty. She hated to see Jamie unhappy or hurting or not feeling well, but she liked him affectionate and clingy he was when he felt that way. The remembrance of those quiet times when Amanda was very young and would be content just to be with her, quietly leaning against her or wrapped in her arms, were part of what drove her to want a little in the first place, the chance to have those silver moments again. And better, since Jamie had arrived, Amanda was doing that more with Rebecca, too. She wondered if on some level Amanda wasn’t a little jealous. She certainly saw envy in Amanda’s eyes sometimes on those rare occasions when Jamie would want to snuggle with Rebecca instead of her, though Rebecca assumed that was usually because she was jealous of her getting time with Jamie, not of Jamie getting time with Rebecca. “I hear you’re going shopping with us today.” “So do I. What are we shopping for?” “Stuff.” Jamie wasn’t a big fan of shopping, and he’d always been a typical guy shopper; he went shopping for things he wanted or needed, but he knew what that was before he left the house. He envisioned an afternoon sitting in the stroller outside dressing rooms. “Where are we going for our ‘stuff’?” “The mall.” They rode in Amanda’s car because it had the car seat. Jamie brought his earphones, anticipating he’d be bored, but he was glad to be with Manda and Mel. As ridiculous as the thought was, being with them made him feel younger. He could just as easily be a retiree who went to daycare, but being with two college students helped him to feel young, something he’d never been accused of being in spirit. He liked to listen to them talk about class; he missed that, getting to spend whole days just learning. He would have continued taking classes after he’d graduated, just as a hobby, but it was way too expensive. Jamie always hated malls. Crowded, bright, and full of stuff to buy that never seemed like it was made for him. Jamie used to walk past the better stores in the mall wondering if he’d ever be able to afford anything that fit well or felt good the way he assumed the more attractive people in the world felt in their clothes. Most of all, he hated parking at the mall, even when he wasn’t the one driving. He found it helpful that he couldn’t see much outside the car; it kept his parking spot radar from flipping on. Once inside, with Jamie in his stroller, the trio headed straight into a women’s store, and as expected Jamie found himself sitting in his stroller wondering how long this would take. He put in his headphones and watched the world go mute. The sound of hangers scraping against racks; sales people asking if they were finding everything alright; other patrons talking; another little in his own stroller looking completely content, and therefore, Jamie could tell, regressed to the point of infancy. Even a toddler-aged little would be fussing as the bigs went through different sizes, colors, fabrics, patterns, fits, and lengths. And they hadn’t even made it past T-shirts yet. Even though he didn’t care for shopping, Jamie would have felt it a good compromise to shop for guy stuff. Saws (though Jamie had never sawed anything), camouflage (though he didn’t hunt or pursue terrorists), ratchet sets (he didn’t have anything to ratchet), or at least some sports stuff. Still thinking about guy stuff they could shop for (beef?), Jamie chilled as they wheeled him to another store, exactly like the last but with a different name. Retail seemed to be doing better here than back home. The one novelty Jamie did get to see were teenagers. Working in the stores, wandering the corridors. He had seen infants and toddlers and the one handsy six-year-old, but no one older. It felt a little like being back at the zoo, seeing a whole other species. That’s how Jamie used to explain teenagers to parents and teachers who didn’t get them: for a few years, people turn into some other species that looks vaguely like the rest of us but needs more food, more sleep, and more love than they let on. The trick to understanding teenagers, Jamie knew, was they were wired to be more likely to interpret others as aggressive; needed to push boundaries to find their own identity separate from their family; and could vacillate between acting like adults and like children within the space of a sentence. Jamie had only gotten to do the first of those in his teen years. Amanda and Mel were looking through pants a few feet away from a group of teens, boys and girls, on the other side of Jamie. He decided to attempt an experiment. He put his headphones away (always jarring, the return to the audible world with that humming you can’t ever trace to a source), put his pacifier in, and made a show of a big yawn. He waited a moment, and then did it again, catching the eye of a girl who smiled at him. He waved. She came over. “Was you waving at me? Hmm? Was you waving at me, cutie pie?” Jamie laughed around his pacifier, which she took as encouragement to continue. “Yes you was. Just a friendly ol’ fella, is that it? Is that what you are?” Jamie laughed again, amused at his own power and sorta pleased to have someone think he was cute enough to talk to, or at least babble at. “What’s going on, Jamie,” Amanda asked, noticing this girl was so close to Jamie. He said nothing and the girl straightened up. “Oh, he just gave me a wave, and I had to come over to see if we as cute close up as he was from over there.” “Oh,” Amanda responded in surprise, looking at Jamie. He winked at her. The girl turned toward her friends and gushed, “He winks! You guys, you have got to come and see this adorable little!” Another girl and a guy came over. He repeated his “trick” for the two of them. The girl squeeed; the guy smiled at Jamie and joked to his friends, “I think he’s got something in his eye.” The girl who walked over playfully slapped him on the arm. Mel walked over and mouthed, 'what’s up,' to Amanda, who shrugged back, 'no clue.' Jamie winked at the boy with his other eye and grinned. He laughed in response, admitting, “Okay, he’s cute,” while the girls awwwed together. Jamie chuckled at the boy, thinking I just make it look easy. Amanda made their apologies, and they moved on to the next store. When they were out of ear shot, Amanda asked, “What the heck was that!?” Jamie took his pacifier out and couldn’t stop himself laughing as he replied, “An experiment. I just wondered what would happen.” It made Mel laugh, and that gave Jamie that funny feeling in his stomach. “Uh, where to next,” he asked, suddenly self-conscious. “I thought we’d look around for you for a bit. You only have a few fall outfits.” “Oooh,” Mel said, “This’ll be fun!” The first they went into was done up in colors not safe for those with epilepsy. Almost everything in the little boy section had a bear, a ball, a boat, or a truck on it. “Anything you like,” Mel asked. “I’m not sure this place is Jamie’s style.” “Well,” Jamie said, “Turning in his seat to get a good look at everything, “What about ... nah.” “What? Don’t be shy just because I’m here,” Mel said. Jamie was eyeing a pair of overalls. “I ... kinda like those.” Overalls are functional, and Jamie saw the appeal considering he’d be spending so much time outdoors at daycare. Amanda’s eyes went up when she followed his finger. She rolled him across to the little girls section. “These,” she asked, surprised, taking a pair of purple overalls off a rack. “I like purple,” Jamie answered, a little more defensively than he meant to. He already had hardly anything to wear that would be deemed appropriate for a man back home, but he wasn't back home, and he liked purple. No one would judge a little for it, and no one should judge anyone for it back home either. “Think they’ll fit?” “Maybe if we get them a couple sizes up," she said, taking them off the rack and observing the size. “They have a bunny on the butt,” she she showed him, turning them over. “You good with that?” Jamie shrugged and said he was. Not very different from the blue pairs with bears on them in the other section. The observation made Jamie realize what a stupid distinction people back home, and maybe here, made between boy clothes and girl clothes. Mel and Amanda didn't make that distinction. “Let’s go try on a few pair.” Amanda pulled three sizes from the rack, and they went into a dressing room together. Now Jamie blushed, with Mel about to see him pants-less. The second pair fit. “We’ll have to hem them for you.” “They look good on you,” Mel added. They paid and moved on to the next store. “You ... have these cartoons here,” Jamie asked. “What cartoons?” Jamie pointed at Bug Bunny and Daffy Duck and a teenage mutant ninja turtle and Superman and Spider-Man and Mickey Mouse. “They’re all cartoon characters back home." “Really? I guess they just import them.” Jamie explained they came from different cartoons, though he assured her Superman would beat Spider-Man and Bugs Bunny would beat them both, so long as he didn’t have to go through Albuquerque to get to the fight. Amanda and Mel didn’t get it, naturally. “You like anything in here? We do need get you some PJs for cooler weather.” So Jamie would spend many evenings dressed as Michelangelo, the turtle, not the genius. “What about these?” Mel held up a pair of Bugs Bunny underwear. Jamie got a stressed look on his face. Why would she ask unless she knew the truth? “Uh ...” “Those are pretty cute,” Amanda agreed. She held them up and then handed them to Jamie. He inspected them for a moment. “The inside is waterproof.” “Diaper covers are supposed to be waterproof. They wouldn’t help very much if they weren’t, silly,” Mel responded. Jamie felt relieved, and he did like the way they looked and felt; it would be nice if on the many occasions he wasn’t wearing pants he didn’t have his usually wet diaper exposed. He picked out a few with cartoons and a few without. “You’re going to need some actual fall clothes, too,” Amanda reminded them after they’d paid. They walked to the other end of the mall into an anchor store with 'JJ Legume' arching over the entrance. Jamie got stocked up on another pair of jeans, some flannel shirts and henleys, a pair of hiking boots, a jacket, gloves, wool socks, and a hat. His very own take on Elmer Fudd. “Hey, Amanda,” Mel said, waving her over to a different section. “What about this?” “Uh, I think that’s a bit overboard.” “Well, you know you’re gonna go on hikes with him at some point, and you know he’s going to get tired trying to keep up with you.” Amanda made her thinking face and then turned to Jamie. “What do you think?” Jamie hadn’t thought about a riding in a backpack on anyone’s back. “And look,” Mel pointed, “The harness part detached so you can carry him front or back without the pack part.” “Uh, I don’t really know,” Jamie said. “I don’t want to ask you to carry me places.” Amanda laughed. “Buddy, you’re on my hip at least an hour a day. Why don’t we give it a try, and if we don’t like it we can return it?” “Ok. This isn’t too much is it?” “No, Mom told me to find some fall stuff for you. She made me promise to find an excuse to buy you something that would made you look like a pumpkin for the harvest festival, but we can tell her all we could find were gourds.” “I’m good with that lie,” Jamie said. “I’m in, too,” Mel assured them. “Anyone hungry?” They went to a restaurant near the entrance they came in at. It looked old, like it had held on to its spot even as bright and shiny chain restaurants came and went. It was the odd hour too far from lunch and too far from dinner for a crowd. Just one other table was seated. Amanda asked for a booster for Jamie, and the waitress responded by saying, “Ooh, we got a big boy here today.” Jamie got his sly grin on his face and caught Mel’s attention. He put his pacifier back in, and when the waitress came back with two glasses and one sippy cup, he waved at her. “Are you waving at me? Is you waving at me? Huh? Is the big boy waving at me? Did you go shoppin’ today? Huh? What'd you get?” Mel and Amanda both turned away from the waitress to hold in their belly laughs. The waitress was too focused on Jamie to notice their bodies rocking. When she was gone, Mel asked, “Is the big boy trying to impress me? Huh? Is dat whatch're doin’?” She tickled his chin and planted a kiss on his cheek. “Cuz it’s working.” On their way home, Jamie found himself needing to do what he normally did that time of day. Getting better at not being ashamed of it, and feeling like he trusted Mel, he did it. When they arrived home, Mel got him out of his car seat. “Let’s go get those stinky pants changed?” Jamie hadn’t anticipated that; his eared turned red and his eyes got wide. Amanda hadn’t anticipated it either. “You don’t have to do that, Mel,” she said as she stepped toward them with her arms out to take Jamie. Mel turned away just a bit. “That’s okay. I got it,” she said casually. “Jamie?” Amanda asked. He calmed down a bit, realizing he was okay with it. “It’s okay.” Mel got him on the changing table and started taking his shoes and shorts off. “I think someone was feeling a little littler than usual today? Am I right?” Jamie turned pinked again. “I guess.” “Well, you’re gonna look awfully stinkin’ cute in those clothes.” “Thanks.” “‘Thanks?’ Is that all I get?” Mel’s voice went up an octave, and she started to lightly tickle him. “Is that all I get from you? Huh? Is dat all from my little guy?” She blew a raspberry on his tummy, and Jamie couldn’t help but squee and writhe. Mel went back to work, and Jamie relaxed, his body feeling heavier and lighter at the same time, feeling safe and warm and carefree and cute and ... little. Amanda came in with shopping bags as Mel was still cleaning his bottom. She wrinkled her nose. Somehow it always stank worse when she wasn’t the one doing it. Mental fortitude for a dirty job, she supposed. She noted Jamie’s spaced out face. “Thanks for taking care of that. Can’t say I don’t mind skipping one.” “Happy to.” Mel lowered his legs back to the mat. Amanda’s eyebrows shot up in shock. “Uh ...” She stuttered, turning red. “Oh, it’s not a big deal. Happens to boys getting their stinky diapees changed all the time.” Not to him it doesn’t, Amanda decided not to say. She wasn’t even sure Jamie noticed; he looked to be falling asleep. “How about we put one of those new diaper covers on you, huh, Jamester?” He yawned; it was past his nap time. Mel got him into a new diaper and his new Bugs Bunny cover. “He can go straight into his crib,” Amanda said, watching his eyelids start to close. “Thank you,” he murmured. “Any time, buddy." On the way out the door, Mel whispered to Amanda, “I think he has a crush on me.” “Definitely,” Amanda said with a little worry in her voice. Gonna have to talk to him about that.
  19. 8 points
    This is why people shouldn't work 7 days a week you go to post an update on Monday or Wednesday at the latest and suddenly you find out its Friday 😱, sorry everyone. @Jayme Never forget the mindset of a little is if at first you don't succeed lie and manipulate till you get your way 😋 I'm not saying that's whats happening its just based on my own experience with a lg. *** Part 09 The deal I looked at the watch Rose had given me on that first day and sighed “Tick… tick… tick…” I mumbled to myself with each movement of the second hand, I was bored it had been a week since the party and Kaylee's offer had been stuck in my head, I don't think she had even heard my reply before she was asleep could she really get me home when even Rose could or is that Rose wouldn't? I only had her word to go on that she couldn't take me home after all and what person believes their captor even if they seemed nice enough. It's official I was depressed for a number of reasons first because Rose and I found out pretty quickly that the bed wetting was here to stay so Rose and I had to make a deal that I wear the diapers to bed but I can still choose my undergarments during the day with comando not being an acceptable option… I tried. Second reason for this melancholy mood was there isn't anything to do here sure Rose had suggested hundreds of things but it was all way to childish or embarrassing, she really can't see me as an equal maybe it's because of the hight thing… so I have spent the last week doing nothing but laying around the house because of this Rose has started to call me kitten because she says I’m acting more like a cat than a Little and I stupidly mewed back once just to relieve this boredom so now I’m a kitten… sigh. On the plus side I have tried my new found freedom twice both times not making it past the stupid letterbox… I wonder why she even has it, I’ve never seen any mail… back on track, both times Rose watched me from the step of the front door but she didn't stop me or tell me to come back so yay for that I suppose. I heard Roses footsteps approaching and I quickly covered the watch with the longsleeve shirt Rose had made me actually she had been a very busy woman and made a full dozen different outfits, I don't know why I was hiding the watch but Rose hasn't asked for it back so maybe she forgot I had it “Here you go” Rose handed me a small bowl of Little Mac and my sippy cup, she still didn't trust me with glass “Thanks Rose” I know I should be grateful that she was doing all this for me but it was really starting to get on my nerves, from the moment I could walk I have always thought of myself as independent now I’m not much better than a pet… a cat “What are you watching today?” asked Rose “I don't know” I said changing the channel for the hundredth time, Rose took a seat next to me and watched as I kept changing channel after channel the food not slowing me much at all “How much longer?” I asked, Rose looked at her replacement watch and answered “They should be here in another ten minutes” Replied Rose, we had been waiting for Gwen and Kaylee to arrive, it will be the first time we had seen them since the party and I was ready to talk to Kaylee again and see if she really could get me home I really don't want to get my hopes up again for nothing. “How about now?” I asked again “Soon” replied Rose in the same voice she had used the very first time, we only had to wait a few more seconds before I saw the red car pull up in the driveway “How long now?” this time it was Rose asking and she grinned at me “Now” I replied, Rose and I walked to the front door and greeted the two guests “Tea Gwen?” asked Rose after the normal pleasantries “That would be lovely” replied Gwen as she placed Kaylee onto the floor next to me “Emma why don't you show Kaylee your Room” said Rose as she walked into the kitchen with Gwen “Kay” I sighed and I felt something slam into me almost knocking me to the floor, it was Kaylee hugging me from the back “EMY!!!” squealed Kaylee “IT'S GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN” ‘Um yea it's good to see you too” I replied in a much softer voice, this girl was way to excitable but if she can get me home… “IT'S BEEN FOREVER” “Quieter voice I’m right here and it's only been a week” “I know but it feels longer” she replied and finally let go of me. We walked to my room with Kaylee telling me every stupid thing she had been doing since we last saw each other “Now Kaylee…” I started as I closed the door of the room “Hmm…” she was looking around the room rather than looking at me “I wanted to talk to you about your deal from last time” she turned to face me “This is a nice room but it needs more toys and a crib” Rose had modified the bed slightly so it didn't look as much like a stupid kids bed but that's beside the point “So you can't do it?” I was sure of this from the start but I felt my hopes die a little more any way “You haven't been holding up your part by the looks of it” Kaylees voice had changed from her cutesy voice to something more conversational “You went to sleep before we could make the deal” I shot back “Oh… that's right I did too” she giggled, I sighed and said “I wanted to talk to you about it before making the deal” “What did you want to talk about, let Rose look after you the way she wants for three months, if you still want to go home after that I’ll help you” I looked at her unbelievably “It's the getting me home I don't get” “Simple I get you home” this girl… “How?” I asked “I have my ways” Kaylee said proudly “I want proof it can be done” Kaylee laughed at me “And… and how am I going to prove it” she doubled over laughing “It's not that funny” I said waiting for her to settle down “Look you are going to have to trust me that I can get you home” the thing was that I didn't trust her but did I really have any other option at this point “So… so what exactly would I have to do?” I asked “Whatever Rose wants” she said simply “But she wants me to wear diapers and call her mommy and… and…” this wasn't appealing “Then do it, Amazons know what's best for Littles, what are you wearing right now?” asked Kaylee, I have no doubt that if I hadn't been wearing my pants overalls Kaylee would have just looked to see “Um… a pull up” I replied slowly “Why aren't you wearing a diaper?” she asked now looking truly puzzled “Because Rose lets me choose what I wear” I replied “Well that's got to change and there's no telling Rose about our deal” I felt my cheeks get warm, something that hasn't happened for a couple of days now “You want me to wear a diaper?” I asked thinking that the pull up might as well be a diaper “Yep” “But… but aren't pull ups diapers?” “You said that Rose wants you in a diaper so into a diaper you go if you want this deal” I groaned “Do we have a deal?” asked Kaylee extending her little finger, how childish “I do what Rose wants for three months after that you take me home” I said to clarify the deal “And Rose never knows” added Kaylee “Right…” I thought over it one last time “Three months” I said aloud “Three months” echoed Kaylee “And I don't want to be drugged” “That's up to you but they help” I thought about it for the last time looking for something I’ve missed but nothing came to mind soI held out my pinky finger, we locked fingers and shook the deal being made and my imprisonment was now going to get a lot weirder wasn't there something about cruel and unusual punishment… “So first thing how are you going to get Rose to diaper you?” asked Kaylee “I’ll just get her to when I need to use the bathroom again” I said not really wanting to talk about my bathroom habits with this girl “Do you need to go now?” she asked looking down at my crotch “Maybe” I replied and turned slightly “Then let it out and wait for Rose to check you” my cheeks were getting warmer, how could she talk about all this so casually “That will be worse she will think I had an accident and force me back into diapers” “Even better” replied Kaylee “From now on if you feel the need just let it go your mommy will take care of it” “But… but I normally tell Rose when I need to… you know” “Nah ah Rose is mommy now” this is already to much… again and I thought it was bad enough when I first woke up here, three months is going to be hell “Do I have to call… Rose mommy straight away she will know something is up if I do” “Hmmm…” Kaylee thought about it for a moment then answered “Your right ok but you will have to start calling aunty Rose mommy by the next time we see each other” well at least there's a little wiggle room with some of this weirdness “You said you had to go now didn't you?” asked Kaylee after a moment “I do” I sighed knowing where this was going “Well go” said Kaylee like it was just that easy, I have gotten used to going in the pull ups over the last couple of days but I still wanted a bit of privacy “Could you give me a little privacy or something” “Why?” she asked “Because I can't go with you watching me” I said I would think that would be obvious “Your going to have to get used to that it's your new norm” I frowned “What are you my coach?” “Your coach” she said like she was trying out the words “I like it, yep I am your coach to living properly” the old cutesy voice returned in that sentence “You are messed up in the head” I muttered under my breath and closed my eyes “GO GO GO YOU CAN DO IT!” she cheered “That really doesn't help” “But cheerleaders always help” I turned from her and concentrated on trying to pee while Kaylee watched, seriously how do guys pee with others watching in public toilets, it took some time but finally the deed was done “Are you done?” asked Kaylee as I turned back to her “Yes” I replied slowly and started walking to the door “Where are you going?” asked Kaylee “To get Rose to change me” I said “TOOOOOT!!!” I turned to look at the girl “What the…?” “I don't have a whistle so toot” she giggled “From now on you can't tell Aunty Rose when you need a change” oh right she had said that earlier “So… what do I do to tell her I need a change?” I asked already wanting to be out of this wet pull up “Nothing, your mommy will know when to change you” I looked at her she could not be serious I have a mouth and am able to speak why not tell Rose it's just gross and unhygienic to be walking around like this right? Suddenly there was a knock at the door “Girls are you alright in there?” came Gwen's voice “Yes mommy Emy and I are just playing” called back Kaylee “Ok well when your finished come on out we have some good news for the two of you” “Ok mommy” this time listening for it I heard the footsteps of the two Amazons retreating “You could have told your… um… Mommy that I need a change” I said trying to get out of this sooner than later “Your mommy will know when to change you” she said simply and my mind started to wonder what the Amazons would have in store this time “Do you have dolls?” “Where did that come from?” I asked “I thought we could play with some dolls” replied Kaylee “Wouldn't you rather see what the Amaz… our mommys want” “Mommy told us to come out when we are finished playing and we haven't even started playing yet just talked about boring grown up stuff” I think I was starting to get it now Kaylee used the two voices like a split personality I wonder if that's a side effect of the drugs, a cutsey voice for her babyish things and a normal voice for everything else “Dolls?” she asked again “Um I think there's some in the box over there” I said pointing at the toy box with my stupid nickname on it. Kaylee played with the dolls for a bit and of course tried to get me to join her but after the seventh no she finally relented and stood back up “Your no fun I’m going to see what mommy wanted” “Ro… mommy never told me to play with you just show you my room” I said smirking then walked up the step ladder by the door and turned the door handle to let the sulking Kaylee out “There you are how was your play time?” asked Rose as we walked into the kitchen “Emy wont play with me” whined Kaylee, you little twit “Kaylee bear we talked about this Emma is new and might not want to play with you straight away” said Gwen as she picked Kaylee up and onto her knee “But… but… I want a playmate” and I saw the corners of her eyes start to water dam she's a good little actress “Well you might have more opportunities to play soon” said Gwen and Kaylee wiped her eyes with her hand “Did you want to tell them Rose?” Asked Gwen looking over at Rose “Sure, Emma did you want to come over here” I pushed myself off the doorway and walked over to Rose and she lifted me onto the kitchen island bench, I saw the brief pause as Rose set me down and i thought she must have realised that I had wet the pull up but nope “In a couple of days I will be starting work at the School Gwen works at” said Rose with her usual smile “So you have been a jobless bum, I thought so” I said before I could think how that would go down, Rose sighed and pushed one of her pocket pacifiers into my mouth and Kaylee giggled “In essence yes I haven't had a job since I moved here” “When did you move?” I asked around the paci “A couple of days before you came to live with me actually” replied Rose, with how lived in the house seemed I had thought that Rose had lived here for years before I woke up here “So are you the new janitor” I asked with a smirk, Rose knew me well enough by now to know that wasn't a smart ass remark and just my way of asking what her new job is “I will be teaching classes miss smarty pants beside I’m already your janitor” she replied with her own smirk “Gwen was kind enough to give me the good news in person” said Rose, I must be missing something because now of this explained why Kaylee and I would be seeing more of each other “So Emma this means you get to go to daycare with Kaylee” I spat out the paci the moment the words registered in my brain “Fuck no I’m not going to daycare especially like this I can just stay here or with you” Rose sighed and picked up the paci “Emma I can't let you stay here on your own or bring you to work with me” “WHY NOT!” I shot back I could tell vaguely that I was making Gwen and Kaylee uncomfortable “I’ll stay with Gwen” I tried “Gwen and I will be working similar hours” “Becca then” anything was better than going to the Amazon equivalent of day care despite what they think I am not a baby “Becca also has a job” Rose said calmly “Someone else… anyone else” I was frantically racking my brain for some way out and then I heard it, Kaylee cleared her throat and said “Emy it's ok remember I was telling you about it earlier” I was about to snap at the girl about how she hadn’t said any such thing but realised she was talking about our deal… Rose had to have final say in my life for the next three months or there was a good chance I wasn't getting home, I closed my eyes, clenched my fists and breathed “I’m sorry Rose” I said slowly and opened my eyes to see a shocked look on her face, it was clear that she thought I was going to go into full on meltdown which I probably would have if it wasn't for my self interest taking president “I didn't realise it was the same day care…” I gritted my teeth at the word daycare “That Kaylee went to” I said continuing Kaylees lie “Oh my silly Little” said Rose as she hugged me “So emotional over the weirdest things” breath just breath “Sorry Rose” I managed to say like I truly regretted what I had done “It's ok but I think you might need this” and she held up the paci again, I wonder if she thought about forcing it into my mouth to shut me up I wondered as she placed the paci into my now slightly opened mouth. With the horrible news out of the way the Amazons retreated into the living room with Kaylee and myself in tow, a couple of colouring books and crayons were laid out on the coffee table and Kaylee went to work on them immediately I sat down on the floor resting my back against one of the sofas listening to the two Amazons talking about what Rose was likely going to need for her new job and some of the things she should expect, while listening I was also thinking about half a dozen other things firstly how to get Rose to notice that I had a wet pull up without Kaylee realising that I did anything, secondly some way to get out of going to the stupid daycare this time with Rose thinking it was her idea, I groaned in resignation and Rose looked over at me “What's up Em?” “Nothing” I groaned again and rested my head on my arm “Do you need to use the potty” asked Rose, her stupidly infantile way of asking me if I need to use the bathroom “No” I answered honestly “Have you had an accident?” “What no” I sputtered honestly “It's ok if you have hun, just let me know and I’ll get you all nice and clean” yeah and into a full blown diaper I thought, Kaylee had stopped her colouring and was now noticably listening to the conversation “Emma” said Rose “Yes” I replied not looking at her “Come here please” I looked back at her for a second this probably was the best way of letting Rose know I was wet without telling her, I stood up and walked over to Rose where she quickly lifted me onto the couch and without warning reached her hand down the back of my overalls and pull up to feel how wet it was, as much as I wanted Rose to know that I was wet so she would change me I immediately felt my cheeks glow with warmth from the invasion “Oh Emma” said Rose and she scooped me up and stood up “I’ll be back shortly Gwen” Gwen nodded and I was carried off something that Rose had been quite good at respecting since we had been at Gwen's place but just this once I didn't mind as much. “OK Emma what's going on” asked Rose as she laid me on the changing table in my room, the door was closed so along with my room being the furthest from the living room I was quite sure that none of our conversations could be over heard but just in case “Nothing” I replied “Nothing really are you going to stick with that” I looked away from her, is she a freaking mind reader “You hate being in any sort of padding that isn't dry” “Actually I hate the dry ones too” I added and she smiled but continued on “Then I find you in your wet pull up denying it, if you had an accident you can tell me” yea then you would shove me into a diaper but still that's not the reason “Is it because you didn't want me to put you back into a diaper” seriously are you reading my mind I thought at her “Well?” she asked, well at least she isn't a mind reader “Is it because you didn't want to tell me while Gwen and Kaylee are here?” I thought about this for a moment but I didn't want to lie to her “It wasn't an accident” I mumbled “Emma please don't lie to me we have had an understanding for the past week, you let me know when you need to go so I know it's not an accident and I let you wear what you want within reason” I looked away from her, I couldn't lie to her but i couldn't tell her the truth either or could I… maybe part of it “Kaylee and I were talking…” I started, from the corner of my eye I could see that this wasn't news to her “I mean of course we were talking but she told me some of the things that her and Gwen do” this isnt a complete lie “Don't tell me your starting to want this life too” said Rose with a smirk “No, no… it's just…” shit dug myself into a hole here “Emy there is nothing wrong with letting me do these things for you, I want you to be happy” ok this might be a deeper hole than I expected “I know how independent you are and that's great but if you have someone in your life that enjoys doing the hard things for you then there is nothing wrong with letting them help you” I guess this is basically what Kaylee wanted anyway for Rose to have the final say for the next couple of months I guess it's time for some good bad acting on my part “It's not like that…” I said with my shaky voice but my words were cut off as I felt Rose embrace me once more “It's ok Emy I will never let anything bad happen to you” Emy… so I’m now Emy… but the joy in Roses voice I don't understand why “Why…” I choked out and tried again “Why do you want to do everything?” “Because I love you and want you to be happy” Rose had pushed slightly away and I could see the corners of her eyes starting to well up, she thought that I was finally willingly letting her baby me because I want her to but I'm not it's just another manipulation, I’ve turned into one of the girls that I hated from school manipulating the emotions of anyone to get what they want… but Rose is getting what she wants so I’m not bad for using her right? Then again maybe that's the excuse the bad girls make... “It's ok I will take care of everything” said Rose after I hadn't said anything for a while and she hugged me one last time before wiping her eyes and changing me from the wet pull up to one of the diapers I had been wearing at night.
  20. 8 points
    _________________________ Chapter 27 Rebecca was drying Jamie off after a bath, his second in less than half a day. She was being especially attentive. “Mom, can we have a boring day today?” “Heh. Yeah, sweetie, we can do that. Just wanna stay home?” “If we could, yes.” “Sure.” She carried him back into his room and set him on the changing table. She bent down and picked up the bunny outfit he’d discarded after Marsha had left yesterday. “Wanna wear this again,” she said with an earnest smile. “It’s ridiculous how cute you were in it.” “Maybe we should save it for special occasions. Like whenever I punch a 6-year-old in the face.” She folded it and put it away, then approached the changing table. Jamie laid back. “You feel bad about that?” She started getting Jamie into a new diaper. “More and more. It hurt bad enough to justify it at the time, but now that it doesn’t hurt I feel, I don’t know, at least sorry I did it.” She had his ankles up in the air and was applying cream to his butt. “Well, that’s because you’re a good person. Really. Not everyone, maybe not even most, would feel sorry for what they had to do to get out of that situation.” “Still…” “Still, his eye will get better a lot faster than your spine would have if he hurt you back there, which he was going to even if he didn’t mean to.” She got the diaper fastened and put Jamie on his feet. “You’re a little pink back there still. You need to get some air on there today. This afternoon.” Jamie blushed. “I … okay.” “Hey, Mom, when you get a sec can you come find me?” Amanda appeared in the doorway briefly and walked away. Not like her. Becky put a shirt on Jamie. “Why don’t you just hang in this for now? Need anything?” “No, I’m fine for right now.” Becky found Amanda upstairs in her mom’s room with the TV playing quietly. “Do we tell him?” She gestured at the screen. “Is that …” “National TV. And social media.” “Did they use his name?” “No. Mine neither, and everyone’s face is blurred out.” “Why is it on national TV?” “They deported that family last night. Turns out those bigs are important back in Ros.” “How important?” “Important enough that Ros is threatening to expel Itali businessmen living in Ros.” “Shit!” “The media won’t use names or show faces. Against the law since it involved a little.” “Still …” “Think we need to be worried about this?” “What else do they say about Jamie?” “Nothing. Just that a big child tried to carry him away, and the little punched him, and then his dad flew off the handle and his wanted Jamie punished in some way. ‘Injured’ is the word the news is using. ‘Injured’ in some way.” “They don’t mention he’s not regressed?” “I don’t think they know.” “Where did they even get the video?” “Woman who took it posted it on social media, and a local station picked it up; then when Ros threw their temper tantrum, I guess the local station reached out to the national.” “Did Ros say anything about Jamie?” “Not him specifically. About littles who hit bigs, they said it in diplomatic language. Why aren’t they barred from coming here?” “Money, probably. Usually the reason.” Amanda shook her head with disgust. People from a country that tortures littles allowed to come to Itali, and why? Cheap labor, cheap goods, cheap commodities? Who knew? “What if they want to do something to Jamie? Like, let the business people back in if Jamie is punished?” Becky sat down next to Amanda and put her arm around her. “Won’t ever happen, baby. Ever. It’s just people who think they’re tough trying to prove it.” “Do we tell Jamie?” “No, I don’t think so.” “And if he finds out on his own?” Becky hadn’t thought of that. He well may. “Maybe we tell him and make it sort of a joke, so he doesn’t get worried.” “He’s smart, Mom. Or did you not notice how perfectly he manipulated Marsha? He’ll decide for himself whether to be worried.” ______________________________________________________________________________ Jamie wasn’t worried. He knew if necessary the agency would get him out of the dimension, but more to the point, he doubted anything would come of any of it. Chest thumping politicians. Jamie didn’t know anything about Itali politics or who was even president, if they had a president, but he knew people. Politicians don’t back down when threatened by anyone except donors and 50%+1 voters, and the opposite was equally true. People clapping for him when he left the park made it plain that Italis wouldn’t accept any kind of quid pro quo that involved himself. The next day at daycare, Jamie found Ella had beat him there and was already sitting with her sketch pad. “Hey, Mr. International Incident,” she whispered. It freaked Jamie out that she knew. “How could you tell?” “I recognized your shoes.” “Well, please keep it to yourself.” “Don’t worry. I keep bigger secrets than this.” I know, Jamie thought. He leaned over to look at her drawing. “You’re drawing that again?” “Yeah.” “The one before looked perfect.” “They all look perfect. Want me to teach you?” Ella spent the next few hours teaching Jamie the basics of drawing, starting with basic shapes, lines, and how to create the illusion of depth. After three hours, Jamie had managed to draw a sphere. Just the one. “I wish I had learned to do this as a kid. I never could do anything creative.” “Everybody can do something.” “Well, that’s not true. But point taken. I guess I mean visual art. Or performing art. A talent you can show people and be proud of.” “Back there I’d probably be a graphic designer or technical illustrator.” “That wasn’t your goal?” “Hell, no! I wanted to be an artist, the kind that actually makes a living doing it. I’d probably have ended up the kind of artist who makes a living as a designer and who maybe has a booth at local fairs.” “So what did you do, before you came here?” “I was a student.” “You came here as a student, still in college?” “Yep. Want to work on the next step of learning to draw?” “Sure.” “Draw another four hundred spheres.” “What if I want to be a cubist?” That got a laugh out of Ella, a good one. She liked that Jamie was clever and could make her laugh. She didn’t seem the type to casually laugh. “You know art styles?” “A little. I’ve read books. Ya know, typical art history survey books. Hardly anything about any artist still alive.” “Probably read the same books.” “You ever get to see any of the things you read about? I never did. Never got to travel really.” Ella’s face took on a contemplative visage, and she looked away, remembering. “Once. ‘Travel makes men wiser, but less happy.’” “What?” “Thomas Jefferson said that.” Jamie wasn’t sure what she meant or why she’d quote that. “So … where did you go, the once?” She slid her sketchbook toward him in response. “There.” “Just there, or like, the whole city.” “The city.” “So …” She cut him off. “Saw all of the big museums there. Antiquity to the 21st century. Mostly classical period, renaissance, and baroque … funny, in that city nothing really took hold after that. Sort of frozen, like it just ended there.” Jamie was getting a little tired of her being cryptic. He was sure she didn’t meant to be, but she was. He tried an almost direct approach. “I’m surprised an agency accepted you when you were still in college.” She set her pencil down. “Why are you here, Jamie?” “I told you already.” “No, you told me why you to therapy.” “Same difference,” Jamie tried to beg off. Why don’t you just say ‘no,’ Jamie wondered. But he didn’t say it. “No, they are not.” “Lunchtime!” Jordan announced. “We’ll talk about it after nap time.” ______________________________________________________________________________ They went outside afterward and walked to the back of the field where they’d have some privacy. Ella led the way, walking faster than she usually did. “Why do you want to know,” he asked. “Because you do. You’ve been hinting at since the day after we met.” “I’m just … curious. You’ve been, kinda dangling it there, hinting at plenty of stuff yourself.” “Well, I’m not a mystery to be solved. If you want to ask, ask and I’ll decided whether to answer.” “Same.” Jamie wasn’t sure why she was suddenly so short tempered. So she hadn’t been doing it deliberately, but she was still leaving clues in every third sentence. Why would she unless on some unconscious level she wanted to talk about it? “So, I’m asking,” she said. Jamie sat down on the grass and Ella sat next to him. He told her his whole story, birth through the day he left. All of it. The hurt he suffered, the abuse, the anger, the grief, the hate he couldn’t not feel toward the people who hurt his kids, his inability to be a part of it anymore or worse, a bystander. “Well,” he asked when he was finished. “Will you tell me now?” Ella opened her sketchbook and thumbed through it to a random page, setting in front of Jamie without even looking at it. Same drawing, again. Jamie picked it up. “I don’t …” he started to say. “That’s the last thing I remember. Me and a friend, went to go see it together. That’s the last thing I remember from home.” She waited for him to say something, and she saw he didn’t understand, or at least didn’t yet. “I’m a rescue, Jamie.” Jamie hadn’t heard the term, but by context he could guess. “You …” “Were kidnapped. A few hours after being there. And when I woke up …” She turned away and moved her hair again, revealing the scar. She let hair fall and turned both arms upward, revealing faint scars on the inside of her elbows. She pulled her long dress up, showing the same on the backs of her ankles. She pulled her dress up further, showing her scars on her knees. “I can’t show you the others dressed … They didn’t want a little who could walk or sit up or move much. The rest they did with drugs.” “Bigs in …” “Humans. Kidnap and smuggle littles to the dimension, into countries agencies don’t work with and other countries won’t send littles to … I’ve been gone almost 12 years.” Jamie couldn’t guess what she was feeling. Her body language, her voice, her expression, all like she wasn’t on that field with him. He didn’t say anything, letting her decide on her own whether to keep going. “Best I can guess, I went out to get a drink after, and someone dosed it. I don’t know if my friend was with me or what happened to her … I just remember standing outside the place, and I started to draw it while we were waiting in line … and then we went in. That’s it. That’s where it stops… Then I woke up in this dimension. I only found out later I was in Aidu … Woke up, complete agony … No pills. And I couldn’t move, not for a year at least. And then just my arms. Not enough to hold anything heavy or pull myself up … They pumped me full of drugs that kept me from speaking, and when they wore off and I tried to say something they’d just hit me. Eventually they didn’t need the drugs anymore ... and almost all the time, they’re smiling at me, cooing at me, baby talking like they love me, like they did me a favor, like I’m supposed to enjoy this life, come to terms with it and realize it’s the best thing that could have ever happened to me ... like that’s how the story ends, everyone happy and loving each other, not in spite of what they did but because of it ... I don’t even know what you call that sickness.” “How did you escape,” Jamie asked just above a whisper. “I didn’t. A rescue group rescued me.” “And you’re afraid if they find you they’ll try to take you back?” She let out a laugh with no humor in it. “No. We’re disposable to them. Probably cried for an hour that their ‘baby’ was gone and went to go find some other victim. If they find me, though, they have a clue about the rescue group.” “It’s not governments?” “Rumor is that it’s funded by governments and they receive training from governments, but it’s militant abolitionists basically … Terrorists and thieves, they call them in those other countries … ‘Thieves.’ Not even ‘kidnappers’ … They won’t tell me all how they did it. I don’t even remember much of it, I was so doped up.” “They fixed …” “What they could. Even they can’t fix everything.” “Can you leave? Go home?” “I … yes.” “Why don’t you?” Ella didn’t respond for several minutes. “Medicine, at first. They can fix me better here.” “What now? ‘At first?’” She shrugged. “I’m safer here. No one kidnaps us from Itali … And … I’m not from there anymore. I can’t … I can’t be … I can’t just go back and live a normal life … I’m happy here; happy enough. I can’t just … what? What would I be back there now? How the fuck could I just go back and live like a person again? … It’s not in me anymore … She’s just a memory.” Jamie looked at the ground between his knees. “Your people?” “I don’t know. They must think I’m dead … They must’ve made peace with it by now … I did. This place … this is as good as starting over is gonna get … like resurrection … difference between you and me Jamie. You forgave the people who hurt you. I wish to god I had the chance to cut their fucking throats.” So do I, Jamie thought, it would be justice. And it would make sure they could never do it to anyone else. Jamie thought back on that Ros couple. He didn’t know what they deserved, what would happen because they were back home where they were the wronged party. What about the littles there? Would the propaganda make their lives even worse? Ella was right. This world wasn’t better than the one he left; it wasn’t worse, either. It was just a world, and Jamie lived in his piece of it, and for him it was good. For Ella, even, it was good, or least as good as she expected it could be and was willing to accept. “Is ‘Ellafaire’ your original name?” “No … ‘Ellafaire Jenkins.’ That’s me now.” “How’d you pick it?” “How’d you pick ‘Jamie.’ “Amanda did.” “’Ellafaire Jenkins’ is a name I saw on a tombstone in this park we’d go to when I was a kid … this little 19th century family cemetery on what used to be a farm, and now it’s inside the park, back in the woods on this trail … She was 22 when she died … I told my mom and dad I wished they’d named me that … I always thought it was a very pretty name … Now it’s mine.” “ELLA! STACY’S HERE!” Jamie shook his head, indicting himself for thoughtlessness. “I’m sorry. I … didn’t mean to pressure you into …” “You didn’t. Been a long time since someone could make me do something I didn’t want to do. So I guess I wanted to. You can tell yours bigs if you want. Just tell them not to spread it any further.” She started to stand, and Jamie jumped up and helped her. She looked at him without any readable expression, none at all. But Jamie recognized it. He’d seen it a handful of times, watched it come and go like a wave against a seawall. “You ever help me up again without me asking, and I will put you on your fucking ass.”
  21. 8 points
    Chapter 26 Part 1 Dear Cheryl, I’m sorry I haven’t written more. The days are longer here, but somehow, they pass by quick. Not much time passes but that I’m wrapped up in something again. I’ve started call Rebecca “Mom.” I feel that way about her now. The three of us, we feel like a family. We will never repay you for your role in bringing us together. You so perfectly matched us to one another Amanda remains my person. She’s my hero and confidante and advocate. She’s not perfect, but she’s mine, and I’m hers. Whatever force moves the universe, it feels like we were meant to be together, and you did that. Your first letter to me, I’ve memorized some of it. Do you remember what you wrote? ‘I cannot stand the thought of you again without love by your side all day and long night.’ I have that kind of love, Cheryl, because of you. Amanda has a friend named Mel that I have a crush on. I can’t help it. She has red hair. I started daycare recently, and it’s been a rough few days. It’s loud! At first there was no one to talk to except the receptionist and the big who’s in charge of me. I was afraid I’d be bored and alone there, even in a room full of littles. Then I met a friend. I’d tell you her name, but I don’t think I’m supposed to. For some reason, it’s supposed to be a secret. All I know about her is she had some kind of back surgery and needs PT. Having her to talk to has made daycare tolerable so far. I started seeing a therapist. I believe I have you to thank for that. And I am thankful. I’m not sure what the end-goal is, but I’m open to therapy. I do believe, like I always told my kids, talking solves problems. We went to the zoo, and I saw all kinds of new things. Did you know Big Foot is real and that they have pet bears they call “dogs?” There’s more to tell in time. Cheryl, I miss you. The missing you is getting easier, though, and I hate that. I’ve gotten used to a lot, more than I can ever explain. I don’t want to get used to missing you. I want it to hurt, but I hope it doesn’t hurt for you. It shouldn’t hurt you, for I’m in love with the people whose arms you placed me in. Remember that when times are hard. I’m happy because of you. I still struggle sometimes, but a kind word and a firm hug can dispel much more than I thought possible, at least for a moment, when it comes from the people I love and who love me. Please tell me, Cheryl, how are you? What are your days like? Do you still shine when you smile? Are you happy? I think on our reunion. It warms me to anticipate your embrace again. Give me leave to hope you remember the feel of my arms, as I remember yours. Your forever friend, Jamie ______________________________________________________________________________ “Manda, can you please mail this for me?” “Sure, buddy. Who’s it to?” Jamie handed over the envelope. “Ah. Got it. What are you up to now?” “Well, I have a business lunch at noon, but I might have to cancel that for a conference call. Other than that, my calendar is up to date, so feel free to drop some time on it if you need to meet about something.” “Does Cheryl know you’re the most sarcastic little in San Siena?” “She likes that about me, actually.” “Well, I got nothing to do, and mom is out running errands. Why don’t we take a walk and drop this off, then maybe find some lunch?” “Sounds like fun. Can you, uh, change me first?” “You’re the boss.” “Damn right I am.” “Have you ever been tickled while being held upside down by one ankle?” “So what do you want for lunch?” “Thought so.” Amanda hopped off the couch and followed Jamie to his room. The summer was fast closing. Not many more weekends of warm weather. Even better, though, the autumn. Amanda looked forward to the fall and its crisp air and fun outfits. She especially looked forward to dressing Jamie in flannel and sweaters. She couldn’t help it; she didn’t mean to think of him like a doll, but she so loved making him look cuter than he already was. Amanda picked Jamie up and laid him on the changing table. “You’re a little pink down here, buddy. Does it hurt or itch at all?” “Both, a little. Not bad.” “Well, that’s our fault. I’ll Mom know, and we’ll make sure you get changed more often until it clears up. Explains it, though.” “Explains what?” “I’d be a little grumpy, too, if I had a diaper rash.” “I’m not grumpy!” “I said ‘a little grumpy.’ Lift up for me.” Jamie lifted his hips, and Amanda slid the new diaper under. “Prepare to be slathered,” she said as she held up his ankles and smoothed an extra thick layer of nursery cream on his diaper area. Jamie couldn’t help but move his hips a little in response. “Feels good, huh? Have you ever had a massage?” “Like from a professional? No.” “Maybe we can do that after I pick you up one day this month. I know I could use one.” She sealed the tapes on his diaper and a sly grin came to her face. “What?” “I just thought of something new.” “What?” “Promise you won’t tell?” Jamie looked around as if to make sure they were alone. “Sure.” Amanda bent down as if to whisper something to him. Jamie wasn’t unsure what she was thinking. “You listening real well?” “Yeah.” “What I wanted to say is pbbbbbbbtttt!” A dirty trick! Jamie squealed at her raspberry on his tummy. “Manda! Hehehehe! Stop! Hehehehehe!” She relented after three. “I can’t believe that hadn’t occurred to me months ago!” Jamie’s cheeks spread in his typical contented smile. When he laughed, it was a different kind of smile. The one he gave when he happy-warm inside was less expressive, unless you looked at this eyes. The wrinkles that formed at the corner his eyes said more than his lips. “Better late the never. Maybe I ought to return the favor when you least expect it.” “Guess that makes us ready to go,” she said as she put his shorts back on. Jamie was getting to enjoy the stroller. He imagined this was what Roman nobility felt like being carried along on litters. “Hey Amanda, tell me about school.” “What do you want to know about school for?” “Curiosity, and because I want to know more about you. Ya know, the you that I don’t see. I don’t even know what you’re studying.” “Education, like Mom.” “Why did you pick that?” “A lot of reasons. It pays really well, it’s secure, you have lots of time off.” “What about the job itself?” “I like teaching. I’m not sure I want to teach kids, though.” “You’d rather teach college?” “Yeah … though … since you’ve been here I’ve been thinking about switching majors to Little Studies.” “We’re a field of study?” “Yeah.” “What do you … I mean, how … what are they studying about us?” “Lots of things. Medicine, psychology, education, recreation, social work. There’s even a legal discipline about littles.” “Makes sense I guess.” “So I’m taking my first Little Studies course now.” “Do you like it?” “I do. It’s interesting, kinda comparing what I know from you to the class materials.” “Can I see your textbook some time?” “Sure.” “Do I fit the mold?” “What do you mean?” “Comparing me – do I fit what they’re teaching you?” “In some ways. Not many, though. It’s only been a few class sessions. So far the class has only hinted at the idea of unregressed littles.” “Maybe I should come to class.” “I did tell the professor about you. He’d love to meet you.” “I’d be okay with that.” “And I told him no experiments if I did bring you.” “Experiments?” “Electric shock therapy, vivisection, those sorts of things.” “Har har. Very funny.” They were in downtown now next to the library. Amanda dropped the letter in a post office box. “Can we go in?” “To the library? Sure. I haven’t been in here in ages.” She pushed the stroller up the ramp, and the doors opened for them. She lifted him out and set him on his feet, and left the stroller along the wall with a half dozen others. “Smells like the libraries back home.” “Anything you want to look for?” Jamie really just wanted to browse, but now that she asked, he considered what he wanted to know. A lot, he realized. For starters, where was he? He didn’t have a picture of his town, region, country, or planet. He didn’t know anything about San Siena or Tosca or Itali. He didn’t know about the people or the culture. “Can we look at the history section?” “Of course.” They approached the help desk. “Excuse me, can you point us toward the history section?” “Sure. See those spiral stairs? Up there. There’s a storytelling session for little going on downstairs if you want drop him off while you browse,” the librarian replied. “Actually, we’re browsing for him.” “Oh! In that case there’s a more little-friendly history mini-section downstairs, too. Ya know, more pictures you can show him.” Amanda smiled patiently. “Jamie, what do you think?” “Do you have any books on unregressed littles?” “Ohh. Sorry,” the librarian said as she turned red in the cheeks. “I didn’t mean to assume.” “It’s okay,” Jamie said, “There’s not many of us.” “Sorry anyway. Please let me know if I can help you find anything.” “Thanks,” Amanda and Jamie said in unison. The stairs she had indicated was a tight, wrought-iron staircase. Amanda had Jamie go first, and she boosted him along the way. “Little accessibility isn’t a thing here, is it?” “No. There’s an elevator we could have used.” Jamie shrugged. They began browsing together and slowly drifted their separate ways until there were a few aisles between them. Books we’re little-accessible either. To bigs they were the equivalent of a standard paperback. To Jamie they were the size of coffee-table books, but thicker and heavier. He was also limited to the lower three shelves. He spotted a rolling step ladder in the corner and brought it over to a shelf of books on Itali history, locking the wheels in place carefully climb up to browse the spines. He decided to take down one of the newer looking ones. He began to flip through it until his arms got tired holding it, so he sat down on a step and put the book in his lap, getting absorbed in a chapter on pre-historic Itali. The shadow of a big hand fell over the page and pulled the book away. Jamie looked up to see a blue-haired lady with a name tag tut-tutting as she put the book down. “Honestly,” she said to no one, “so irresponsible. How about I help you find your mommy and help the two of you pick something out?” Jamie spotted a name tag. Another librarian. “Like a book on how to be a good big,” she muttered. “Actually, I was hoping to find a self-help book on how to mind my own business.” It wasn’t that Jamie didn’t understand her heart was in the right place, just that she was being kinda rude and was talking like she couldn’t hear him. Three aisles over, Amanda heard Jamie’s remark and said , “Oh, shit …” and started to quick step to wherever he was. “And up on a ladder. Why not just put him on the roof,” the librarian continued. One those, Jamie realized, you don’t even hear me. “Manda!” “Coming!” If I can figure out which aisle you’re in. “C’mon,” the woman said as she put her hands under Jamie’s arm pits and lifted him off the step. Jamie’s patience for being ignored was getting longer; where his patience ran out was being picked up by a stranger, especially one who didn’t even pay attention to what he said. “Put me. The fuck! Down!” The F-bomb seemed to catch her attention as Amanda turned the corner. “Is this your little?” “Put him the fuck down like he asked, please,” Amanda said with her friendliest unfriendly voice and matching face. She set him on his feet, and Amanda brushed past the woman. “You okay, Jamie?” “Yeah.” Just my feelings hurt, as usual. “She’s one of those.” “I can see that,” Amanda said, turning to the librarian. “Thank you for your concern.” “You shouldn’t leave littles alone. He was on the ladder by himself.” “Thanks, we got it,” Amanda replied. She turned back to Jamie. “Find anything you like?” “Yes, that one.” She picked it up. “I’ve heard of this author. He supposed to be pretty good. Informative, but tells a good story.” The woman interrupted, “I think you’ll find that book a bit much for bedtime reading. There’s a little section downstairs. He really shouldn’t even be up here.” Her lips thinned and her eyes flashed wider. Wow, you’re still here, Amanda thought. Jamie saw the expression and knew what it meant on her. He reached over and touched her arm. “Manda.” He shook his head. She let out the breath she was holding and her eyes softened. “C’mon, let’s keep browsing.” She offered her hand and helped him down. Turning back to the woman she held his book and the one she’d found out. “Thank you, again. Do you mind taking those down the front desk for us? We’ll be down when we’re ready. Thanks.” The woman looked irritated. Amanda wanted to ask her how it felt to have someone ignore you right to your face, but she wanted to respect Jamie’s wishes more. He didn’t want her to, so she didn’t. The two of them walked to another section, and the woman went downstairs with the books. “Sorry,” Amanda offered. “Shhh!” Taken aback, Amanda asked, “What?” “Shhh! We’re in a library,” Jamie stage-whispered. Amanda didn’t laugh a library-appropriate laugh. They took the elevator back downstairs and went back to the front desk. The blue-haired lady was gone. The other librarian was still there. “Find everything?” “Everything for this trip.” “You know there are some little books …” “He can read!” The woman let out a patient sigh. “Sorry. I meant there’s a section of books from where he’s from down in the little’s section.” “Oh! I’m so sorry!” “Don’t be. Mildred caught me up on what a “rude” woman and little we had upstairs. I get where you’re coming from.” “Sorry just the same. Jamie, want to go check those out?” “Yeah, that sounds great actually.” “Back corner all the way to left.” “Thanks.” They walked downstairs through a corridor past darkened doors every forty feet. “Did this used to be a school,” Jamie asked. “I think so.” “Looks like it.” They walked down a wide, short staircase into what looked like it had been the cafeteria. Everything was bright from the walls to the carpet to books. They turned the corner, and they both recoiled. Story time was being led guy in a clown costume. One little was hugging her knees while her clueless big rubbed her back. The rest just looked bored. They walked past the group to get to the back, catching a little of the clown’s performance. “Woof,” Amanda remarked after they passed, “Someone over there stinks!” “Yeah,” Jamie replied, “and someone’s got a loaded diaper, too.” Amanda snorted when she laughed. They found the section the librarian told them about. It reminded Jamie of the book section at a charity-run resale shop. It was mostly board books, followed by a shelf split entirely between John Grisham and Tom Clancy. “Wow,” Amanda said, “This Clancy guy must be a celebrated author.” “Yeah,” Jamie responded, “Pudgy white guys in their 50s and 60s who’ve never been anywhere near a battlefield really think he’s the bee’s knees.” “Sometimes I don’t know when you’re kidding.” “Yeah ya do.” On the last shelf in the section was an assortment of authors Jamie had heard of and hadn’t heard of, the grocery-store-quality romance novels in with some of the greats. Twain. Bellow. Whitman. Achebe. Morrison. Walker. Steinbeck. Baldwin. McEwan. Faulkner. Homer. Soyinka. Robinson. Mantel. Coelho. They appeared to never have been opened. Jamie picked a few he hadn’t read before, plus a couple he had. “Jamie!” Startled, he turned around. “Hi, Jenny! Manda, this is Jenny, from daycare.” Manda got down to her level and introduced herself. “I like your dress.” A big approached. “Mama, this is Jamie.” “This is the famous Jamie? A nice surprise.” “Nice to meet you …,” Jamie held out his hand. “Grace. Jenny gushed about you last week.” “I’m Amanda, Jamie’s sister.” “I think I remember you from drop off.” Grace made a sympathetic face. “We’ve all had that day. Jenny tells me your brother is a great reader.” “One of the best,” Amanda replied proudly. “One of the only.” Jenny didn’t care much to listen to them banter. “Jamie, will you read to me? That clown is scary and doesn’t read as good. He doesn’t do the voices.” Grace blushed, “Sorry. I’m sure you guys are in a hurry. Jenny, how about you ask him again at daycare? How does that sound?” Crummy, Jenny’s face replied. “Actually, we’re not rushed today,” Jamie said. “Is it okay if I read one story ,Manda?” “Of course,” she smiled. Jenny handed him her storybook and took his hand, leading him to the carpeted area away from the clown. He sat down and began a story about cow that didn’t feel welcome at a barn dance because he was too heavy to dance and was worried the chickens and even the pigs would make fun of him. Plus he didn’t have anyone to dance with. Jamie’s depressed cow voice was spot on, as were his clucking chickens and supportive goats and a dumb donkey. The other littles heard him and left the clown by himself. Jamie felt bad for him. He paused in his reading and whispered to Jenny, who walked over to the man and led him back by the hand. He sat on the carpet and listened. The bigs smiled at how cute that was and at how Jamie kept everyone’s attention and made them all laugh, even the bigs. When he was done, Jenny’s mom thanked him, and so did the rest of the littles and bigs. Grace nodded toward Jenny to draw Amanda’s attention to the way she looked at Jamie. “She’s got a crush on him.” “Who wouldn’t?” “No kidding!” The librarian behind the counter approached Amanda and Jamie and told them he could come read to the other littles whenever he wanted. She’d post it on the bulletin board if they let her know in advance. Jamie promised he would on occasion. Amanda beamed. They checked out all of their books from upstairs and down and stashed the under the stroller. The big with the stinky little walked out of the changing room down in the corner, reminding Amanda she needed to check Jamie more often until his rash cleared up. “How are you pants,” she whispered. “Damp, I think.” What does he mean ‘think,’ she wondered. “Let’s go take care of that.” When he was up on the change table, Amanda used the time to deliberately follow through on Mary’s instructions. “That was a very nice thing you did.” Jamie shrugged. “Sorta had to.” “No, you didn’t. You did it because you’re a sweetie. And inviting the clown over was very kind. That’s one of the things I like so much about you; not everyone is like that. I’m proud of you.” Jamie blushed. “And you were good at it. All those bigs were jealous of me.” She smiled to herself. She knew exactly how lucky she was. “I’m ready for lunch. You?” “Starving.” Amanda helped him down, washed her hands, and the left. They walked a block and had their choice of several restaurants on the same street. Amanda lifted Jamie so he could see the menu by the door. “You guys imported Tex-Mex?” Amanda chuckled. “After littles I think it’s everyone’s favorite thing about your dimension. You like it?” “Uh, yeah I do.” They got a booth with a booster seat, and soon there was queso and fresh chips on the table. “I meant to thank you, Jamie, for stopping me from going off on that woman.” “You’re welcome.” “I’m sorry so many people are like that.” “I know, they’re just blind and deaf to me because they love littles so much and don’t know any unregressed ones.” Jamie rolled his eyes. Amanda caught the sign. “Want to talk about it?” Jamie grimaced and said nothing, though is face darkened. Finally, he asked, “Am I a person here?” “Of course you are.” “Why … who treats other people that way? She made a mistake thinking I was regressed. I corrected her. It did zero good. She listened to you when you said literally the same thing I’d just said.” He paused, and Amanda could tell he just needed to rant. “She treats me like I’m not even making words come out of my mouth and then lays her fucking hands on me like it’s no big deal. And that excuse, that whole ‘little blind’ stuff, is just bullshit. It doesn’t justify the way they treat me. It just reveals them to be bigots. They treat me like I’m inferior, like I don’t exist as a person they owe any courtesy to. I’m tired of being the one who nods patiently and says ‘It’s alright. I know they can’t help it.” They’re fucking grown-ups, aren’t they? They can, too, goddamn help it!” He paused again before bringing his fist down on the table. “I am not an infant! I am not disabled! I am not inferior! And I am not a goddamn puppy they can just manhandle!” Now he looked done. “Feel better?” He breathed out. “Yes.” “You’re right.” “I know I am.” “Let’s talk about it again later.” “Good.” Jamie rubbed his forehead a moment. “Not gonna let that ruin my day. It’s been great so far. Thanks for taking me out.” He was smiling again. He just needed to get that out of his system. Amanda understood because she wished she could as well, and she likely would when they got home, out of ear shot of Jamie. She knew she and her mother were not perfect, but they’d made a lot of progress, and the excuse they’d make for others was worn thin. It certainly didn’t convince Amanda anymore. “Thanks for coming with me. We can stop at the park on the way home if you want.” “That sounds fun.”
  22. 8 points
    Part 14 The day felt like an eternity, the seconds ticking by as I lay helplessly in the pet bed. I didn't see Eleni again, though Celia came in a few times to refill the sippy cup. She changed me once but her presence was like ice, cold fury at me. She never said a word, never acknowledged me or my apologies at all. And when she was done, just like before, she met my eyes as she closed the door - a silent threat. A dare to misbehave. But I didn't have it in me. I felt sick to my stomach, my headache was constant, I hurt all over... but nothing compared to the intense guilt and shame that I felt. I would have gladly doubled my physical pain to chase that away. Sleep took me a few times, but the pain always awoke with me. When Lana stepped into the room, I knew the day was gone and evening had begun, but I sat up immediately. A wince overtook my face but I knelt, my mittened hands on my knees as I waited, like a good Pet. Like I should have been all along. "Hello Kara." Her tone was soft, quiet, gentle... but it still felt like an icepick in my ear. I tried to think of what Eleni would say. "Hello Keeper. I missed you and I'm sorry." A long, weary sigh fell from her lips as she walked over and sat on her bed, reaching down to pull me into her lap. I looked down, hiding behind the cascade of hair. "Kara. What are you?" Patient. Instructing. In control. "I'm.. " I hesitated, I had never liked being made to admit my position directly. "I'm a Pet." "Are you a human?" "No." It was my turn to sigh. Gentle fingers pressed against my chin, guiding my eyes to meet hers. "You're not human, sweetie. Not anymore. I love you but what you did last night was wrong and dangerous. Do you understand that you could have died?" I flinched, wanting to hide my eyes from her, but she held me firmly. Gentle but unrelenting. "I'm sorry." "I love you and I take your safety very seriously. You can not drink alcohol, ever. Got it?" "Yes Lana." Tears welled up in my eyes. "You're going to wear those mittens for a week, okay? I need you to understand that you're a Pet, I need you to stop putting yourself in danger." Shock flooded me. "But how will I eat?" "Eleni will feed you, or you will eat from a bowl." Lana looked unhappy as she said it, but resolved. My chest tightened and I felt the words bubbling up inside me even as Lana's face darkened at the parting of my lips. "I don't want Eleni to feed me! I don't want to eat from a bowl! Please!" The please was not a question, it was not a request, it was a plea, it was all of my frustration and obstinance squeezed into one syllable. "And I didn't want you to drink half a bottle of vodka and throw up everywhere." I flinched at her biting tone, but that frustration gripped me tighter. I bit back the tears as her verbal assault continued. "But you did, Kara. You decided that you were a Keeper, you sat in my chair, you threatened to 'fuck me', and you drank. You're not in any position to ask for anything. You're lucky you didn't die." "Maybe I should have tried harder." I wished I hadn't said it as soon as the words left my lips. Lana's eyes widened and her face went pale, tears were threatening as her beautiful brown eyes watered. I didn't believe that, I didn't want to die. I was just being dramatic, I was just venting my frustration. But I had hurt my Keeper and as a result, I felt worse than ever. I started to apologize, but only a strangled squeak came out. "Is it really so bad here?" Lana sank onto her bed, sitting down and looking destroyed. Her head hung, her lip quivered. "You'd rather die?" "No, Lana, I didn't mean that... " "Then why did you say it? I try so hard to take care of you, I love you so much... " "I know, I'm sorry." I laid my head down on her thigh, my own tears rolling freely now, darkening a spot on her jeans. "I'm sorry. I don't know why I said it, I don't know why it came out of my mouth. I'm really, really sorry." "We were doing so well... " Her fingers tangled in my hair, and I felt a drop of my Keeper's tears fall on the back of my hand, draped over her lap in my agony. "We were doing so well, you were so happy... " I could hear the shift in her voice as she began to blame herself for my carelessness, my callousness, my jealousy. "I shouldn't have started dating." "No! No, you should date. You should! I just... I don't know, I had been all prepared for a man to be in your life, you know? I mean, obviously I can't give you that... but I wasn't ready for your date to be a woman... I... " Hot tears were streaking down my own face. My head throbbed in sync with my heartbeat, every pulse pounding in my temples. "I thought I was the only woman you needed." The silence hung heavy in the air, heartbeat after heartbeat pounding in my chest and my skull in sync. I wept in her lap, hurt and helpless. I felt like I had been cut open and my feelings were bleeding out onto the bed from a gash in my belly. It felt cold and ill. The gentle touch on my hair surprised me, the softest stroke, her gentle fingers running through. "I know you were mostly straight, romantically... " Her words were as gentle as her fingers, soft and quiet. "But I never was. I'm gay, sweetie, and I'm sorry... but I thought we were ready for me to try romance. I... I'll break things off with Vivian. You're too important to me. If I came home and you were... dea- " "I'm sorry," I cut her off, burying my face in her stomach and clinging to her as though she were the only solid matter in a roiling ocean. I squeezed her with everything I was. Slowly, I sat up, the world spinning and my stomach threatening to revolt. "I'm sorry. Lana, I don't want you to break up with her. I won't hurt myself... I wasn't going to hurt myself with the drink, I just wanted... " I sighed, guilt burning me from the back of my neck to the tips of my ears, lighting my skin red. "I just wanted to forget that I was a Pet for one evening. To watch the shows I used to watch, to sit in a chair, and to have a drink just to take the edge off of things... I'm sorry. Don't break up with her, I want you to be happy. I just want you to be happy." "Sweet girl," she smiled down at me, cupping my face in one palm even as her tears still flowed. "Sweet Kara, I love you so much. I'm sorry you're so unhappy being my Pet." "I'm not! I'm not unhappy being your Pet! Things have been so good lately, they really have. Life... life is good. I love you, I love Eleni, I don't hate Celia." That drew a snicker from Lana, who placed a kiss upon my forehead. "Things are good. I'm starting to like being a Pet." I hesitated, drawing in a long breath as I realized in that moment how I really felt. It hit me head on, plowing into me unseen and knocking me silly. "I didn't like that I liked it." I blinked as the truth tumbled from my lips, a truth that had been unknown to my own heart just moments prior. "I didn't like that I like being a Pet now." Slowly, ever so slowly, I sat up and looked into Lana's face, the surprise as plain on my voice as it was in my eyes. Lana's reply was the most loving, close embrace we had ever shared. Her arms wrapped around me and held me close as she pulled me into her lap in one fluid motion. "I'm so sorry," I whispered. "Don't be. Kara, don't be. I love you so much. I'm sorry this adjustment has been so hard for you, but I can't imagine my life without you in it. Without my sweet, loving girl. Without my stubborn girl. Kara, you're a gift and I treasure you. I don't blame you for stumbling, I don't blame you for resisting, but my heart is so, so happy to hear that you're beginning to like it... even if you don't like that you like it yet." I returned her squeeze, burying my face into the crook of her neck, breathing in her scent and reveling in the comfort of her presence. She held me tightly, and I never wanted to let her go. * * * "Have a good date!" I called from my cage as Lana closed the door with a wave. "Be good!" The week of mittens was up tomorrow, and it had been hell. But I was still in good spirits. Hearing an unexpected truth in my own voice had given me a newfound peace. Eleni and I had only gotten closer over the past week as she had to help me with practically everything. And it had been good for her, too. Things weren't great between her and Celia at the moment, and I had gotten in trouble more than once for sticking my nose in it. The bruises on Eleni's legs were too much for me some days. She deserved better. Ever since the day I had spent recovering from the alcohol, the day that Eleni had disobeyed Celia directly to bring me water, things between them had been off. "Eleni? Come lay with me?" Dinner was done, we were both fed, the shows were done for the day, and Celia was busy with... something or other. "I can't." Her smile was weak, strained. It made my heart hurt. "My Keeper might need me." "We'll leave the door open, I just want to snuggle a little." It was strange how time shifted relationships. I had hated Eleni so much when she first moved in, when she had first Bonded. Now, I couldn't imagine my life without her. My companion, my cuddle-friend, my confidant. It hurt to see her hurt. I loved her. "She might need me... " She stared off toward Celia's room, her eyes looking sad. "What's going on with you two, hun? Is everything okay?" "Everything's fine. Everything will be fine." I wasn't sure if she was trying to convince me or herself. "I just need to be better. We've got a Pet Show this weekend, I'm going to win and then everything will be good again." Good again. Red lights were flashing in my brain. She had been taking care of me this whole time, but she had been hurting. How had I not been all over this? "Is... is she hitting you? Like, in ways you don't want her to?" "I belong to her!" There was heat in those words, an unexpected defense. "If I'm bad, she has to show me. I want her to show me." "She can't hit you, Eleni. It's Pet abuse." "She's not abusing me. She's not. I... I keep making mistakes, I keep messing up. If I did better, she wouldn't have to! I... I want her to." "You don't. You don't want her to, you're scared, I can see it on your face. Please, Eleni. Just come lay with me for a while, let me hold you." I shook the bars of the cage, wishing I had objected to Lana shutting me in after dinner. She didn't want me to be an inconvenience on Celia. "You don't know what you're talking about, she- " She cut off mid-sentence and hung her head. She wanted to tell me something, I could feel it. "She what? Tell me. If she's abusing you, Lana will help. We'll fix it. We'll... " "Abusing her?" A shiver went down my spine as I heard Celia approach me from behind. "What are we talking about, little Pets? Anything I should know about?"
  23. 8 points
    I had a hard time writing the first part of this. In fact, I had a hard time today period. Some Sundays I just feel melancholy. They remind me of something I can't put my finger on. By the way, surpassed 100,000 words yesterday. _____________________________________ Chapter 21, Part 5 Amanda unloaded the car herself and took the various bags to where they belonged, remembering to bring in Jamie’s bear. She tossed Jamie’s new clothes in the washer along with some laundry while Becky alternately fussed over Jamie and dinner. Jamie was just glad to be home. Dinner brought the usual conversation about everyone’s day. Jamie mentioned the good parts, Amanda talked about her classed, and Becky talked about her new students. “I’ll do the dishes, Mom.” “Thanks, hun. I know it’s early, but how about we get you ready for bed, Jamie, starting with a real bath.” Sounded great to Jamie. Once the tub was full, Becky helped him over the side, and he slid under like a hippopotamus. The hot water silenced everything and felt so good Jamie almost imagined he could breathe. When he resurfaced, Becky took a washcloth, folded into in thirds, and pressed it against Jamie’s eyes as he reclined against the rear of the tub. “So how was your day,” she asked. “We just talked about that. It was fine.” “Yeah, but not all of it was fine.” “What makes you say that?” “Mom superpower. C’mon, out with it. Ya know things get better when we talk.” Jamie pulled the cloth from his eyes and rewet it without opening his eyes. He let out a mirthless chuckle; would it t’were so simple. “As quiet as it is under the water, is how loud it can be in that room. Too many hard surfaces and littles. Sensory overload.” “That loud?” “Maybe not if you’re used to it. I’m used to it being the three of us. Could feel my blood pressure rising.” “So what did you do?” “I took my book over to the reading area. Turns out only a few of the others can read, so I had it to myself for a bit. Then some Littles came over and asked me to read to them.” “Did you?” “Of course. Couldn’t exactly say no, and besides, we had fun.” “You could have said no if you wanted to.” “I know. Diane said so. I just don’t like to disappoint people.” “What else did you do?” “Went outside. Walked around the field by myself for a bit. No one seems to play games; they just play on the swing set. So little names Bobby tried to pick a fight with me.” “Tried?” “I just walked away.” “I’m gonna have to talk to Diane about that.” “She knows; not the fight part but that he’s a troublemaker. His brother too, apparently. Then I climbed on this thing and fell off and this big picked me up without permission and didn’t listen to a word I said until April told her to.” “Who’s April?” “The big who’s … well, I don’t know the word. Teacher? Team Leader?” “Do you like her?” “She seems nice. After that, just lunch and a nap, and I sat with Denise until Amanda got there.” “Why did you sit with Denise?” Jamie shrugged. “Someone to talk to I guess. And a break from the chaos.” None of this made Becky happy, especially the dispirited way Jamie recounted it. “So, overall, pretty crummy day?” Jamie sighed. “I wouldn’t say that. Just … felt like an extra. I don’t think I belong there.” Jamie knew that would cause Rebecca some hurt, so he quickly followed it up with, “I’m not giving up just yet.” “What would make it better?” “Someone to talk to or something to keep my brain occupied. There’s just not enough to do, not unless I appoint myself an employee and start taking care of the other littles.” “Well, Diane wouldn’t let you do that, and I don’t want you to either.” “Neither do I.” “Have you tried talking to any of the other littles yet.” Jamie sighed and shook his head. “They don’t seem like talker. But I haven’t gotten to know them much, or at all. But still, can you imagine talking to toddlers that many hours a day, day after day?” Becky got down on the floor next to the tub and took the washcloth off Jamie’s eyes. She soaped it up and began cleaning him. I’m sorry, Jamie. I guess I didn’t put as much thought into this as I thought I had. Can you give it a week, and then we’ll see if there’s something to be done?” “Guess I have to. It’s just day one. Maybe … I don’t know.” “Would it help if you had some harder books, or maybe school work to do?” Jamie looked a little pained, just because that seemed fruitless. “Some, I guess, but … Ebenezer Scrooge had books.” “Who?” “A character in a book. He stayed alone at school during breaks and read books; he thought he was happy, but what he really needed was a friend.” Jamie was bumming himself out. At the start of the conversation he had been looking at things sort of from an outsider’s perspective. Now he hated Christmas. “I don’t mean it like that.” Kinda do though, he thought. “Let’s just see what happens next, and tonight just let it go.” “I think we can do that tonight.” The rest of the evening they spent in the living room together playing a board game. When Becky went into the kitchen to make Jamie’s evening bottle, Jamie told Amanda, “Don’t worry about the headphone thing. I buttered her up for you.” “How’d you do that?” “Told her when it wasn’t nerve shatteringly loud there, it was brain deadeningly boring.” “Did you just say that, or …” “No, I didn’t say that only. I told her the only littles there are too little or too oppositional.” “Sorry. I figured something was wrong when you were sitting in the reception area. Anything to make it better?” “Send my bear to daycare and I’ll come to class with you?” “Ya know, we can think about that sometimes, but we can’t do that every day.” “I know. Just being grumpy.” Becky came back into the room. “Now ladies,” Jamie said, “I don’t want the two of you fighting over who gets to snuggle with me before bed. Plenty to go around.” They ended up with him between them on the couch until he was asleep. Amanda did come into his room after he was put to bed and watched him. This problem wasn’t so easily fixable. She went to talk to her mother, getting more upset with each step. “What do we do?” “Huh?” Becky looked up from the book she was reading on her bed. “What do we do about this?” “Stop pacing, for one. Come sit down.” Becky patted the bedspread next to her, and Amanda sat down next to her. Becky put an arm around her, and Amanda put her head on her mom’s shoulder. What an awful feeling, not being able to fix something for her brother. Becky stroked her hair. “You used to scream at daycare, did you know that? Everyone said it was a phase at first, but a month later you still did it. I think you may have been the first infant that daycare owner ever hated.” Amanda waited for the next part of the story. “And?” “And you grew out of it.” “He’s not growing. How can he grow out of it?” “I don’t think he will. I think we’ll have to find some way to make the best of it and figure out something to do with him at least a couple days a week.” “Well, there’s got to be something.” “It wasn’t easy getting a daycare to take him. No one wants an unregressed little. Too much trouble, or so they think.” Amanda bristled. “Itali isn’t so different after all.” “What makes you say that?” “Everyone wants a designer little. All the same.” “I don’t think we’re that bad.” “Well …” “’Well’ what?” “Fuck that shit.” Becky laughed and patted her shoulder. “There’s my good girl. I wish there was something we could at least do for him tomorrow.” “I bought him some headphones and a music player.” “I hope they’re good ones; sounds like he needs them. He’ll probably just feel better if he can shut out the racket.” Well, at least that was easy. “I want to fix it. Right now.” “Aww, baby. I know you do. We’ll figure it out together. The three of us.” Becky rubbed her shoulder, and Amanda laid there. They both missed this, though they hadn’t though much of it. Welcome to loving someone, Becky thought, where you can’t fix everything, and it fucking sucks. “Mom? You know he starts telling more jokes when he doesn’t want us to be upset?” “I know.” Wish it worked, they both thought. ­­­­______________________________________________________________________________ The next morning found Jamie at an activity table with a tub of small blocks, isolated from the room by the best headphones he’d ever heard, let alone owned. It felt good to listen to music from home again. He’d downloaded a little bit of everything. Just at that moment, he was listening to Bach’s Cello Suites. He put his pacifier in for good measure, hoping to blend. April sat down across from him, and he took out one of his headphones and his pacifier. Her, he actually wanted to talk to. “What are you building?” “Notre Dame de Paris, as best I can remember it.” “What’s that?” “A cathedral. Um, an important church.” “What’s it like?” “I’ve never seen it, actually. Just pictures.” “How’s it coming?” “If I squint it looks sort of like a gothic cathedral. Other than that, like a pile of loosely stacked balsa wood.” He sat back. “At this rate I’m going to end up being very good at a lot of hobbies.” This wasn’t the light and happy conversation April was hoping for. “Listening to anything good?” She held the earpiece up to her ear. “Wow. Most music we get in here involves ears hanging low or wheels going ‘round.” “The cello always calms me down.” Yeah, April thought, you look real on edge. NOT! Sudden angry crying caught her attention. “Fair point,” she said taking a deep breath. “I gotta go deal with that.” She handed back the ear piece. “Thanks for stopping by.” Once again he was sealed off, with both ear phones in and his pacifier in his mouth. Completely soundless except for his music and his breathing, like someone hit mute on the room. Yo-yo Ma was the best cellist in nay dimension. The problem with the blocks, other than then weren’t nearly as ornate as the actual cathedral, or anything like it, was they were too light. Getting the flying buttresses to stand required dropping the keystone in place perfectly. The wall was supposed to be pushed out by the weight of the ceiling, and it was supposed to be pushed back in by the buttresses. Without weight to push back against it, the block just balanced there held in place by downward gravity. There was no weight to counter, so no counterforce from the buttress, so nothing for the keystone to do but pretend it served a purpose. “Maybe they make stone blocks,” he said, barely audible even to himself. Maybe there was something else he could build instead. That thought was half-expressed when hand knocked it all over. Jamie took a deep breath to gather his patience before even looking up. He knew who was there. Jamie was against any form of corporal punishment, but in his less-than-charitable mood thought of Bobby over someone’s knee was satisfying. Jamie didn’t like his mood or that thought or Bobby. He put his pacifier back in his pocket and stood up. Bobby stood there grinning, and when Jamie didn’t react he swept the blocks clear off the table. No reason to even bother (it was a lousy cathedral anyway), he walked past him and went to his cubby, where he retrieved his sunglasses and headed for the door. He was reaching for the knob when big hand got to it first. “Where do you think you’re going,” Jean said. Not harshly. Just the opposite. As if to a newly mobile infant who was crawling where she didn’t belong. He didn’t hear that, but he could read her lips well enough, and her smile belied that insipid tone. He took out his earpiece again. “Outside.” She put her hands on her knees and bent down to his level. “Sorry, Jamie, but you can’t go outside alone.” That’s it, Jamie thought, a little lower so I can reach your face. He could picture the headline: Firemen Wrest Bloody Ear from Little’s Victorious Fist. At least the noise from the littles wasn’t directed specifically at him, unlike her mouth hole. He swallowed the aluminum taste of bile, and spit through is teeth, “Well, Jean …” Little Wins Prize Ear Back; Firehouse Plunged Into Mourning. “Hey! What’s going on,” April exclaimed in an excited and happy voice. It was directed at Jean, not Jamie. “Oh, no big deal. Jamie wanted go outside but …” “What a great idea! Let’s do that.” April hip checked Jean out of the way and opened the door, smiling at Jamie and nodding at him to walk under her arm and outside. She shut the door behind her. Jean protested, “He can’t be outside alone!” And April cut her off, “And he won’t be, but you gotta pick your battles and learn to read their body language. Did you see that, like, at all?” “Well, he looked like maybe he was going to throw a tantrum, but that happens here five times a day.” “Jean, he’s not regressed, remember?” “Yeah,” Jean said impatiently. “So what? It’s the rule and if he throws a tantrum over it, we’ll deal.” “The ‘so what’ is when he throws something at you, he’s not gonna miss.” And you are so worth throwing things at, April left out. “Look at Billy.” Jean rolled her eyes and looked at him. “Throws epic tantrums, right? Look at Jamie.” He was outside taking his shirt off and stretching his calves. The six pack he didn’t have even after the plastic surgery was there now, courtesy of working out almost two hours a day every day. “So?” “So instead of getting in his way, you could have offered to go outside with him. And instead of being obtuse about it, you could realize that he’s struggling with a lot of shit you and I will never understand, and needlessly pushing him over the edge is going to get him in trouble and you hurt.” “He’s still a little.” “And that just makes it harder to grab hold of him.” “Yesterday you said I was coddling him. Today you’re saying I’m being too strict when all I did was follow the rules …” “Yeah. So you’ve been wrong two days in a row. Make it three and it’ll be a streak.” April went to the fridge and got a bottle of water, a regular bottle, and went back to where Jean was still pouting. Apologize later, April reminded herself. “Give me a few minutes, and then let anyone who wants to come out.” Jamie was stretching his hip flexors. April set the water bottle down by his shirt. He looked up at her with would have been a smile if he weren’t in such a foul mood. “Thank you.” “Well, you looked a little murder-y.” Jamie scoffed. “That’s ridiculous. Worst I’d have done is maimed her a little.” “Yeah, well. Remember I’m here for that. You don’t have to carry it alone, whatever it is.” He nodded and stood up, bouncing in place a couple times. “I gotta let every out, but do what you feel.” He sighed and softened his face. “Thanks, really. I’m gonna ..” “Go, don’t let me hold you up.” Jamie took off at a faster clip than he’d be able to sustain, but he wanted to get these feelings out of him. Nirvana, very loud Nirvana, was helping him do that. The cello was for when he was stressed and needed to calm down. Nirvana was for when he was pissed and needed to calm down. He wasn’t even sure why he was. He tried to do a mental inventory, and the best he could come up with was he was away from Amanda and Becky, stuck in place where he didn’t technically need to be, and bored out of his mind. Worst of all, there wasn’t an obvious end to it. The next day and the next until Becky figured something else out or the next extended break from school was. So he ran laps around the field, hugging the perimeter as close as he could, and avoiding eye contact with anyone, not that they’d notice on the other side of his sunglasses. At one point Bobby tried to chase him, and Jamie just shook his head picked up the pace. When he got bored of circles, he retreated to the back of the field behind the small rise and did shuttle runs the width of the field and finally got down on the grass for plyos. The other littles could see him popping over the rise with each burpee. Finally too exhausted to be angry or frustrated or not nauseated, he laid down on the grass. He didn’t need Nirvana anymore, for now. April decided it was time to check on him when she stopped seeing his head pop up. He heard her steps. “Hey.” “Feel better?” “Yeah. Gonna regret that tomorrow, but for now, yes.” She set the bottle of water down next him, which he drained without putting down. “Got a change of clothes for you, too. But maybe … Come with me.” She held out her hand and helped pull him to his feet.” They walked through the fence and around the third building. A sidewalk led from the side of that building around Little Hearth and to the parking lot. Jamie hadn’t noticed the path. They went to the back of the building, where a shower head protruded from the wall. A hose. “We have a tub inside, but I thought maybe you’d be okay with just this?” “Thank you.” She stepped forward toward him and he stepped back. “Sorry, Jamie. Rules are rules. Even with me. Besides, Diane would get a lot more pissed at me than you.” Jamie let it go. No reason to ruin what was a, well, a neutral mood. She helped him out of his clothes and held the hose over him. It was too cold, but it was fine. It stopped the sweat at least. She dried him with the t-shirt she’d brought over; his other was where he’d left it. He laid down and submitted to his diapering, and she pulled his clean shorts up for him. “Ready to go back?” “Yeah.” They walked back toward the group where a few of the littles were doing burpees. “They think you were pretending to be a kangaroo.” Jamie laughed. What else to do but laugh in the face of this absolutely absurd world. “It’s lunch time. Do you wanna eat alone?” “Well …” He didn’t want to be a jerk, but yes, he did. “Yeah.” “Did you see the door next to Diane’s office, in the gym area? Let me get everyone settled, and I’ll be in.” Jamie picked up his shirt and put it back on. His eye caught a little seated against the wall a few meters down wearing a sundress to her calves. She was reading. Jamie went inside and into the room April indicated. It looked like a cry room in a church, with a glider chair and crib. Tired, he laid down on the plush rug, listening to the racket at the other end of the classroom. After not too long, April came in, and Jamie sat up. “Hey. I, uh, don’t mean to be presumptuous, but, well, your mom said this always made you feel better.” She held a bottle. “You can have regular food, if you want.” “That’s …” Jamie looked away, partly out of embarrassment but also thinking of how kind and caring April was being. “The, uh, food yesterday didn’t really agree with me … and, uh, yeah, that sounds good.” April’s hinted toward the glider with her eyes. It was a question, and Jamie nodded yes. She sat down, took a cloth from her back pocket, and lifted Jamie into her lap. He let himself slumps into her arms. She pushed the cloth under his chin, and he closed his eyes. She gently rocked the chair and brought the bottle to Jamie’s lips. He sighed and began to drink. April watched him and wondered what was going on inside him. When regressed littles get ready to throw a tantrum, it’s undirected. They’ll thrash in any direction. The tantrum she helped Jamie avoid would have been a lot uglier. And he’d worked it out himself, literally, by pushing himself to the point of exhaustion. And then he meekly climbed into her arms and accepted a bottle from her, which he was slowly suckling on now as he slept. She had to respect how complex he was, how complicated his inner life must be. She didn’t know much about him but what Diane had told them, and she only knew what Rebecca had told her, which was only what she needed to know. He interested her, and being his champion and caregiver was more rewarding than for the average little. A hand reached around the doorframe and knocked. April held a finger to her lips when Jean peaked around the door. She looked humbled, not that she wasn’t a sweet person but that she was still a kid figuring out that she didn’t know much about the world and that the rules she’d followed all her life only applied so well outside the cocoon of school. The scene in front of her made sense, though. A little taking a bottle, regressed or not, this made sense. She said quietly, “I’m willing to admit I don’t understand him, and you do.” “I don’t, really. I just understand littles, and the first thing to understand is they’re not unlike us. He’s not regressed. We have to treat him differently, even differently than Ella.” “I’m sorry.” April nodded toward the crib, and Jean sat down against the edge. “I’m sorry, too, Jean. I was out of line. I had no right to say what I said to you.” “Thanks for … thanks for saying so.” “It’s just, he’s my guy. It’s my job to be his champion.” “I get it. I just … I want to learn.” “So let’s learn together. Really. Lesson #1 is his emotions don’t fly everywhere like a regular little’s. He’s going to bottle them up way past the point a regular little would lose it, and when he does it’s gonna be directed at whatever set him off.” “Kinda like a big.” “Exactly. I don’t know what he would have done, but he was ready to go around you however he needed to. I didn’t want either of you to get hurt. Either of you.” “So, how do I help?” “For now, step back and try to observe more. We all have to learn him; he’s way more complex than regressed little. Just … give him space. Same as yesterday – don’t pick him up or coo at him unless he’s really hurt, don’t get in his way unless he’s really in danger. We have to … we have to make the rules work around him. Does that make sense?” “Kind of. But, rules are rules. It’s only fair everyone follows them.” “Well, the good news is you’re legally not a kid anymore. When you’re in charge, fair is whatever you say it is. Lesson #2. People who aren’t good teachers think ‘fair’ means holding everybody to the same standard. Good teachers know ‘fair’ is about holding everyone to the standard they can just barely reach, because that’s how we learn. Them too.” “I think that makes sense.” April stood up and walked toward Jean. “Here. Take him.” Jean took him into her arms and looked at him. He looked like any little on the outside; she was starting to see how he wasn’t. “Let’s put him down and go have our own lunch, huh?” Jean placed him the crib and lifted the rail quietly. “And we can talk to Carrie, too. She’s known Ella a long time.”
  24. 7 points
    I like the way the two parts of this chapter came out. Feels more like the 'vintage' story in some ways, even if the story is less than six weeks old. Reminds me of the earlier chapters. ___________________________________ Chapter 39 Part 2 The trio walked down the street to the cul de sac where the party was centered. Long tables were set up in the street under garden lights and surrounded by folding chairs. Buffet tables were set up on the sidewalk and filled with seasonal and unseasonal foods. Giant men were working giant barbecue grills on which sat the delicious remnants of giant beasts. Nearby, people were roasting chestnuts over makeshift grills. Someone had a pot of mulled wine simmering over a portable stove; Jamie could smell the sweet, deep, rich redness of it even before they reached the tables. The air was crisp and smelled of chill, dust, and many-colored leaves. Becky set down her dish on the dessert table, and they moved into the crowd. Jamie was on his feet in his first crowd of giants. He stayed close to Becky, and craned his head up to see who was talking, not being able to make out much of the conversation over the din and distance. All around him were thighs at eye level, a sea of blue denim legs. He instinctively moved closer to Becky until her was in front of her, confident he couldn’t get stepped on there. From where he was, Jamie could only catch glimpses of people walking by. He thought he saw other littles or young children, he couldn’t quite tell. He could tell people brought their dogs, though, giant walls of fur moving through the crowd. A roar met by a growl as leashes tangled not very far away sent him scrambling up Becky’s leg. “Wuh, hey, I got you. You’re okay,” Becky said. “You can’t prove that,” Jamie muttered. He wasn’t exactly afraid of the bears anymore, but they did make him nervous. He could picture himself being dragged off to a dog house and devoured in privacy, followed later by the bones being buried around a suburban yard, leaving the homeowner complaining about what their beloved pet had done to the lawn. “This is Jamie,” Becky introduced him. “Hi, Jamie,” the neighbor said in a high, cute voice, “I Andrea. I live next door to you.” “Hi, Andrea,” Jamie replied. “So anyway,” the woman said to Becky, “Our air conditioner went out the very last week of summer.” Jamie preferred the bears to listening to people discuss the woes of homeownership. Amanda looked to feel the same way. He held out his arms to her and she took him from her mom. “What’s up,” she whispered. “I was just bored.” “Let’s go see if we can find something to do then.” Two front yards down, a group of littles and small children were play together under the watchful eye of a group of bigs. “Here,” Amanda said setting him down, “Go play.” She sent him off with a swat on his bum. Jamie cautiously, uncertainly stepped into the yard, not sure what he was supposed to do with this group. He worked his way over to a little wearing a romper and seated on his obviously thickly diaper butt in the grass and sat down next to him. “Hi,” Jamie began. “I see you have a ball there. Do you want to play with your ball?” The little looked at Jamie and smiled a wet, open-mouthed smile and laughed. In a fast, jerky motion the boy whipped the ball at Jamie, bouncing it off his head. Jamie caught it on the rebound. “That’s a very good try,” he said patiently, seeing it wasn’t malicious. “Why don’t we try rolling the ball?” Jamie scooted back and sat with his legs open. He rolled the ball back to the little. It bounced gently off the little’s leg, who laughed, picked it up with both hands, and in an awkward, jerking motion threw it over Jamie’s head. He went to get it. Amanda watched Jamie come back and try again, proud of how patient he was with the deeply regressed little. She saw the neighbor teen from the other side of their house and approached her. “Hey, Amy. You here with someone or you just watching?” “Just stopping by. Which one is …” “Jamie. He’s right there.” She pointed him out running to get the ball again. “Aww. He’s so cute. I love how you dressed him up in those overalls.” “They’re his favorite. How’s school going for you?” “Good year so far. I’m on the football team again this year.” “I’ve seen you practicing in the yard.” “Yeah, I’m sure I’ll get better by the time I graduate. What game is Jamie playing, anyway?” “I think he’s playing Catch, and the other little is playing Fetch. I’m surprised I haven’t seen you around. I thought for sure you’d come over as soon as we brought him home.” “I went to camp this year instead of staying home, and I guess I’ve been busy with school and football since I got home.” “School hard for you this year?” “Meh. Just math and science.” “Is Mr. May still teaching?” “Yep, and I got him.” “When’s he gonna retire?” “When he’s taught everyone all there is about geometry or when he permanently loses his voice from shouting out theorems.” “I have flashbacks.” “So are things going with Jamie anyway?” “He’s doing real great. It’s been, wow, next month will make six since he got here. He’s finally starting to adapt and enjoy his new life.” “How are you doing with it? You weren’t exactly enthusiastic about having a little.” “And then I met him. He’s my favorite person now.” Amanda beamed. “Aww. See? You’re a softie like the rest of us.” “You just try to resist it when its you someday. The first time you see them yawn in their sleep you legit want to gobble them up. And then the first time they smile at you, forget about it. Done.” “Don’t need to convince me. He’s very good with that other one.” “He worked with kids where he’s from. And he’s too shy to talk to littles who are a little more progressed.” “Aww.” “We’re working on it. You wanna meet him?” “Yeah, duh,” Amy said, already walking toward Jamie. “Jamie,” Amanda said as he was walking back from his latest sojourn to get the ball, “This is Amy. She lives to the left of us.” “Hi, Amy. It’s nice to finally meet you. I’ve seen you through the fence.” “You were spying on me?” Jamie decided to go with the cute answer. “I can’t help it. I’m just a little.” Amy laughed and Amanda blushed. “Who taught you that line,” Amanda asked. “Ella.” Jamie handed the ball back to the other little, who seemed content to finish the game by sucking on the ball. “Cute friend ya got there,” Amy teased. “What do you do,” he asked. “I go to high school with the big kids. What do you do?” “I go to day care?” “Do you get good grades?” “I’ve never gotten any frowny faces.” “What a good boy you must be then.” “Thank you. I’m not regressed, ya know.” “Oh. Well, Amanda didn’t mention that.” “Sorry,” Amanda squeezed in. “Are your parents here?” “Somewhere.” “I think it’s time to eat, if you wanna eat with us.” “Sure.” The teen, the 20-year-old and the 30-year old went to go find Rebecca and claim a spot at one of the tables. There was no high chair for Jamie, so he ended up in Becky’s lap for just a moment before they went to the buffet tables. Jamie saw a much wider variety of food than was cooked in his own home. There was meat to be sliced off the bone or stewed in thick, brown broths or shredded next to big rolls; potatoes and yams roasted and mashed and julienne and fried; browned onions dripping butter and root vegetables sprinkled with sea salt; salads with red and white and brown and beige dressing and vinaigrettes; round pasta and long pasta and flat pasta and bow tie pasta served hot and cold with red and white and oil sauces and sprinkled with olives and capers and cheese and sausages; a dozen kinds of bread; fresh fruits, cooked fruits, candied fruits; and so many cakes and pies and turnovers and Becky’s humble brownies. Jamie held his own plate while Rebecca filled her own and his well past the point he could finish everything. “You have to eat the vegetables first,” she said. There an awful lot of them. “Why so many?” “They’ll help your tummy.” If there was something wrong with his tummy, this was the first he was hearing about it, but he figured she was just being a mom pushing vegetables. They returned to their seats and Becky kept one arm around Jamie’s waist they both fed themselves. Jamie dutifully began with his vegetables, mostly. About ten minutes into the meal, a man with white hair stood up on a box in the middle of the street between the rows of tables and rang a hand bell. “Welcome! WELCOME! Ahem … Welcome to another Harvest Day Festival where once more we gather as a community to give thanks, enjoy our neighbors, and celebrate another year together. I know none of us wants a long speech, so I’ll skip all the jokes my wife told me weren’t funny and go straight to the benediction: We give thanks to the land that has yielded us this bounty that we may share it with open hearts for all to partake. May the memory of our friendship and love for one another warm us through the winter and remind us of the richness of our land and the wealth of spirit that sustains us through the hard times. Now, go eat if you haven’t and keep eating if you have.” Everyone politely clapped and then follows his instructions. “That was a good speech,” Jamie remarked. “It’s tradition,” Amanda replied. “Are there any other traditions?” “Many years ago they’d sacrifice a lamb and then roast it,” Amanda chimed in. “But people decided that was cruel so now every big takes a turn spanking the least regressed little,” Amy said with a straight face. “Stop it, you two,” Becky interjected. “You’ll give him nightmares.” “He knows we’re kidding. And anyway, the lamb part was true,” Amanda replied. “So what does happen then?” “Fireworks. But Jane and Rosie are going to come over. She’s afraid of fireworks. But you want to watch you can. She’ll hopefully sleep right through them.” When they were done eating themselves past the point of fullness, they couldn’t tell if Jamie was waddling because he was too full or because his diaper was too wet. Amanda playfully lifted his shirt and pulled it back down, mock-gasping. “What,” Jamie asked with a smile on his face. “You have a food baby!” Amy’s parents approached them while Amanda did her routine. She lifted his shirt again and probed his tummy. “Yep, those are its potatoes. And – ah ah – here’s its vegetables. And I think this is either roasted lamb or pulled pork – hard to tell since you had both. But these,” she said as she tickled his tummy, “these are definitely brownies and cake.” He giggled and jerked where she tickled him lightly. “He’s just adorable,” Amy’s mom, Maria, said. Amy smiled proudly because she’d discovered how cute he was first. Jamie smiled because someone had called him adorable. “We hardly ever see you anymore,” Becky said as she stood up to give Maria a hug. “Jamie,” Amanda said, “This is Amy’s mom and dad, Maria and Bill.” “I heard this guy isn’t regressed,” Bill said. “That’s right,” Becky answered. “Kinda silly then.” Maria subtly jabbed him in the ribs, and he took no notice. “I mean, if he were regressed this would make sense, but, I dunno, you tell me Jamie, isn’t it a little ridiculous for you to go along with all this? Don’t you feel embarrassed? Or are you one of those diaper fetish littles.” “Bill,” Maria almost shouted as she gave him a death ray glare. “Why don’t you go see if anyone needs help packing away their food.” He glared back and wandered off. Amy looked angry and embarrassed. “He doesn’t mean anything by it. He’s just …” “I know,” Becky said with some sympathy for Maria, a lot of sympathy for Amy, and none for Bill, the neighborhood’s high functioning alcoholic-slash-asshole. “Really …” Amy said as she got to her feet. “Amanda,” Jamie interrupted, “Can you please put me down,” he asked in a subdued, overly inflected business tone of voice. “Sure, buddy,” she complied with a grimace. “Actually, we have some friends from another neighborhood stopping by for the fireworks. We should get home to meet them,” Becky said by way of exit. “I understand,” Maria said. She turned to her daughter. “Amy, did you get enough to eat?” Jamie, Becky and Amanda walked back to their house quietly. Once inside, Jamie said, “I’ll be in my room.” “Okay,” Becky said. She and Amanda went to the kitchen. Amanda closed the pocket door behind them before taking a deep breath and letting it out. Just when it seemed she was calm, she let got as loud as she could without Jamie hearing down the hall. “Motherfucking asshole piece of shit! I hate that guy!” Becky knew when Amanda needed to just rant. “Why doesn’t she just divorce his ass? Even Amy doesn’t like him! He’s just a total fucking prick! FUCK!” “Amanda, honey. It’s okay. We’ve known for a while that not everyone is enamored with unregressed littles. We can make this better.” “I should have stood up for Jamie! And for us!” “By call him all those names?” “And by telling him to fuck off and mind his own fucking business.” “And you didn’t because Amy was there.” “Yeah.” “And you were right to because Amy was there, which is why I didn’t say anything and also because Jamie would have been even less happy if he were the center of a public scene.” “Yeah …” Amanda said, finally done pacing. She folded her arms across her chest. “Tell you what. Why don’t you go check on Jamie, and I’ll move your sheets to the washer … that’s not why you’re so upset, is it? Because it’s no big deal if you …” “JAMIE DID IT!” “I know! I know! I’m just teasing! Here – give me a kiss.” Amanda gave her mom and kiss, and the two of them hugged for a moment while Becky rubbed her back. “Now, go check on our boy.” She prodded Amanda along with a pat on the butt, unusual for her, but then a lot of things between them had come back round to how they used to be since Jamie’s arrival. Both of them did it often enough to Jamie. Something about a cute butt in a diaper – it just needed to be patted. She went down the hall into Jamie’s room, where she found him sitting his chair clutching a pillow. “Hey, buddy,” she said softly. “Can I come in?” He didn’t say anything, so she came in and knelt down in front of the chair. “Are you alright?” Jamie sighed. “I feel stupid.” “Baby, don’t …” “I’m not a baby!” “I know you’re not,” Amanda said, changing her tone from soft and gentle to plain and rational. “He’s right.” “About what?” “About this! All of this! I shouldn’t like this. I shouldn’t let you or Becky or April or anyone treat me this way!” “Okay.” “’Okay’ what?” “We’ll stop. If that’s how you feel, we’ll just turn things back more to the way they were around when you first arrived.” Jamie sat silently. Amanda stood up and sat down in the rocking chair. She watched as his shoulder went from up around the bottoms of his ears until they slumped down. He didn’t say anything or look at her. She let him be for a few minutes. “Or,” she started again, “We can march over to their house and tell Bill to go fuck himself sideways and do whatever you want to do that makes you happy.” Jamie chuckled mirthlessly. “Or we can skip the first part and just do the second part.” He looked at her with his cheek on the pillow. “You don’t … think it’s ridiculous, the way we …” Amanda got up and knelt in front of him again. “What? The way we have fun together? The way we love each other? The things that make you laugh? No, I don’t think any of those things are ridiculous.” He looked at her and smiled just a little. “So Do what do you want, Jamie. That’s what matters. You being safe and happy is all that matters to me and Mom.” Jamie picked his head up and displayed a sour frown. He rolled his head and said with contempt, “Fuck him.” Jamie let go of the pillow, and Amanda scooped him up. “There’s my good boy!” She swung him gently as her hips rotates back and forth with one hand support him and the other running up his back with her hand in hair. “You’re perfect the way you are.” He squeezed back and shuddered at all the wonderful feelings she was making him feel. She carried him to the kitchen where Becky was folding her sheets. “Everything alright,” she asked. “Yeah,” Jamie said. “Good. I’m sorry he said that. He’s not a very nice person.” “He’s not mean to Amy, is he,” Jamie asked, concerned for her wellbeing. Becky told the truth. “I think when she was younger he hurt her feelings a lot. Now she knows not to pay much attention to him.” “That’s sad, too.” “I bet she’d like to get to know you better, though,” Amanda added. “I don’t know where Jane is. She should be here soon.” Jamie turned inward so just Amanda could hear. “I gotta go.” “Okay. Let’s …” she whispered as the doorbell rang. “Speak of the devil.” Becky went to answer the door and came back momentarily with Jane, who was holding Rosie, who was asleep on her hip. “Aww,” Amanda fawned, “Her pumpkin outfit is just so adorable. Now I’m sorry we didn’t find one for Jamie.” “Hey,” Jane said, “I haven’t seen you two in forever!” She gave Jamie a half-hug with her free arm and then did the same to Amanda. Looking over her shoulder, she saw the pink sheets on the table. “Ohhh, Amanda, honey, you didn’t …” “Jamie slept in my bed, alright? He did it! For the millionth time.” “Sorry,” Jane said, embarrassed. “I’m not,” Jamie grinned. “It just my way of showing her I love her so much.” “In that case, Rosie has shown me more than a few times how much she loves me, usually when I’ve put her down without changing her first.” Becky laughed. “Speaking of, whose is that,” she said, peaking over Rosie’s shoulder and pulling out the back of her pants and diaper. “It’s this guy,” Amanda said. She didn’t go to the nursery right away in case he wasn’t done. She learned that trick last week when he needed to be changed twice in twenty minutes, to his embarrassment and her chagrin. Jamie blushed hard thinking if he’d known it would be a topic of conversation with guests, he’d have held it, but he was feeling awfully full from his feast. “Can we change the subject,” he asked. “Yes,” Amanda said, “let’s talk about something other than who went what where,” she finished pointedly. “Especially since it was Jamie both times,” she muttered. He gave her a dirty look. “Yes,” Jane said as she sat down. “How was your feast?” “I’m gonna go get Jamie into some fresh pants.” “And why don’t talk about it why I put these back on Amanda’s bed,” Becky said as she picked up the sheets. “Do you want to put Rosie down? I’m sure Jamie won’t mind sharing his crib.” “No, she’ll be awake soon. It’s past her feeding time.” When Jamie was legs up again on the changing table, he apologized. “Sorry I wet your bed.” “It’s not your fault. I should have checked to make sure your diaper would last through a nap.” “Still, sorry you’re embarrassed.” “It’s alright. Mom’s probably just disappointed is all.” “Huh?” “She loved getting to take care of me when I was in diapers at night. Bath time 2 hours before bed; diaper an hour and a half, and she insisted on doing it right until I stopped and for a month afterward.” “Seriously?” “Yep. I didn’t exactly hate it. It was our special time together. She just misses it.” “Do you?” “Special time together? Yeah, but we make up for it in other ways. And no, I’ve no desire to go back to bedwetting or diaper-wearing, thank you very much.” “Good,” Jamie said, “I’d probably be jealous watching Mom change your diapers. Littles sometimes get jealous when there’s a new baby in the family,” he said with a Cheshire cat grin that Amanda smiled back at but let go. She folded the diaper away and dropped it into the pail. “Sorry anyway. And sorry for you having to do this twice today.” “Not surprised since you ate almost as much as I did. Probably jumpstarted your system.” “Sorry anyway.” In a flash she was blowing raspberries on his tummy as he shrieked in delight. “What’s going on in there,” Becky shouted from the front room. “Nothing, Mom. Jamie just gave himself a raspberry again, that’s all,” she shouted back. Looking back at Jamie, she said, “Stop apologizing. It’s gonna be late by the time fireworks are over. Do you mind going straight into your pajamas?” “Nope.” The two emerged from the nursery with Jamie clad in one of his warmer sleepers and thicker nighttime diapers, under which was a creamy layer of rash cream to get him through the night. Amanda added a diaper cover over his diapee, joking she’d be darned if he’d wet her bed twice in one day, and making Jamie look forward to snuggling with her all night long. He liked the way the thick diaper and soft cover hugged his hips and butt so tightly. Amanda set him on the couch next to Becky and went to make him a bottle of water and a glass for herself. At first he thought Rosie was still asleep, just in a different position, and then he looked away embarrassed. “So Jamie, did you like the festival,” Jane asked “Yep.” “Did you get enough to eat?” “Sure did.” “Are you embarrassed so see me nursing Rosie?” “Not at all! That’s silly.” “Then why are you craning your neck to look behind you? It’s not big deal. I’m just feeding my little girl. No different than feeding her a bottle. You can look.” Jamie turned slowly so as not be rude but didn’t look directly at her. “Did you ever try this, Becky.” “No. We never discussed it when we learned Jamie wouldn’t be regressed.” “Hmm,” Jane said in response. Amanda came back in and thankfully gave Jamie a direction to look in other than the hallway. “So do you want to go watch the fireworks,” she asked. “They should be starting soon.” “Is Rosie going to stay inside,” he asked. “Yes,” Jane answered. “She prefers to sleep through them. I gave her a little something to help her do that, and a belly full of her mama’s milk should help, too. Just hope she sleeps all the way through them; she woke up last year terrified.” “I have an idea.” Jamie left and came back with his headphones. “When I worked at summer camp we’d always take the kids who were afraid of fireworks into the office and turn the music up super loud and have a dance party. Maybe just the noise canceling on these will help.” He nervously approached Jane and handed her the headphones. He looked at Rosie, fast asleep even as she slowly ate. “Thank you, Jamie. That’s very nice of you.” He stood still. “She’s gonna be sorry she missed you. You can give her a goodnight kiss if you want.” Jamie bashfully leaned forward and kissed her hair, cognizant of how close he was to Jane’s open bra. “She can use my crib,” he said when he straightened ack up, “and my teddy bear.” “That’s so sweet of you. I’m sure she’d be happy to borrow your bear,” Jane said, reaching out and caressing his cheek. Becky sniffled when he turned around. “What,” he said. “I’m just very thankful today.” He walked over to climb into her lap, but she stood up before he got there and picked him up. “Fireworks time.” Amanda took the blanket off the back of the couch, and the three of them walked to the front door, where Amanda picked up another blanket she’d stashed there. On their front lawn, she spread the blanket from the foyer, and Becky set Jamie down with his bottle of water. Becky and Amanda sat down on either side of him, and Becky shifted him into her lap without resistance and took over holding the bottle while Jamie nursed. “Oh!” Amanda jumped up and started walking down the street. “I’ll be right back.” Jamie finished his bottle and burped. “Thank you for a fun day, Mommy.” “Aww. You called me that again. I like it when you do that.” She hugged him, and over her shoulder he saw Bill in the next yard. He solemnly flipped him the bird and went back to snuggling his mommy. Amanda came back with the only partially eaten pan of brownies, set it down on the blanket, and walked inside, passing Jane on her way out. “I was putting Rosie down and saw this in your crib and thought you might want it,” she said, handing Jamie his pacifier. He smiled at her and took it from her. Amanda emerged a moment later with a jug of milk and four glasses. “Could you leave the door open in case Rosie wakes up?” “You think we’ll hear her all the way out here?” “If the fireworks wake her up, yes, definitely.” The foursome settled on to the blanket and dipped their brownies into the milk. “Good job, Becky,” Jane said with a mouthful. “Jamie helped.” “I just broke the eggs.” “That’s the best and hardest part!” When they couldn’t hold anymore chocolate until breakfast time, fortunately not too many hours away. They laid on the blanket, Jamie snug between his mommy and his sister, Amanda between her brother and the woman who had practically been her surrogate mommy growing up (she called her that until she was three), and wait for the fireworks under their blanket. It was past Jamie’s bedtime, and the pacifier and heavy belly didn’t help, but he managed to make it to the fireworks. The wait was worth it as the inky sky lit up in bursts of red and white and orange and blue and yellow in burst of stars forming circles and streaks and canopies and trails as they whistled into the heavens and snapped, popped, cracked, and boomed their way back to the earth in a fading hiss of a run out fire. For a moment, Jamie was transported back to the baseball fields in the park he’d go to on the Fourth of July, the smell of dust and sweat and spilled soda and hotdogs and summertime all around him while he waited on a blanket with his foster brothers and sisters for the fireworks to start, back to when he was a kid and all the falling stars seemed like wonders and the booms echoed in his thin chest and felt so carefree. This time was even better because he wasn’t one kid seated on a blanket, but Jamie, laying between the warm and soft and safe embrace of his family. When it ended in a crashing crescendo of lit explosions and star shine, the four of them laid still for a moment before stretching out their arms and sitting up. Jamie yawned wide, and his paci fell from his lips. “Why don’t you go upstairs, and I’ll be there in a minute,” Amanda said. “Goodnight, Jane,” he said. She snagged him before he could take another step, pulling him into a hug and saying, “Thank you for being so nice to Rosie.” She planted a kiss on his cheek and let him go. He dragged himself inside and up the stairs, ready for the lights to go out. He waited ten minutes, listening to Jane collect Rosie and say their goodbyes until Amanda came in with his bear and a night time bottle. He was pretty full, but he wouldn’t say not to a warm bottle, especially on a cool night. She set the bottle and bear down. “Stand up for me, buddy.” Jamie stood on the bed, and Amanda unzipped his sleeper, reached inside the diaper cover, and gave Jamie’s diaper a squeeze. “Still dry. Perfect.” She arranged the pillow at the head of the bed, sat down with her back against them and gestured for Jamie to climb in her arms. He wrapped an arm around his bear, and she cradled him in her elbow, removed his pacifier and put the nipple of the bottle to his lips. After a few swallows, Jamie opened his eyes. “What is this,” he asked with a happily surprised look. “Jane left it for you.” “Is it …” “Yep. Do you not like it?” “No. It’s … I like it a lot.” He opened his mouth, and Amanda continued to feed him. Jamie’s little body wiggled from his nose to his toes as he sighed a soft mewl and gradually went limp as the long day overtook him and he fell asleep. Becky came in and sat on the bed, running the back of two fingers on Jamie’s little-soft cheek. “Is that the bottle Jane left for him?” “Yep,” Amanda whispered. “How does he like it?” “He wriggled, went ‘hemh,’ and fell asleep,” Amanda said with a chuckle. “We might have to talk about that then.” She rubbed his cheek again. “Remember to use the potty before you go to sleep, hun.” “Jamie did it, Mom,” she hissed. Rebecca laughed as quietly as she could, trying not to shake the bed. “I know, baby. I’m just teasing. Sleep well.” “You miss it, don’t you, Mom.” “Do I miss our special evenings together, yeah. But we find our special times together, don’t we?” “Yeah, Mommy, we do,” Amanda sighed. She missed it, too. It wasn’t quite the same, but then she wasn’t a kid anymore. Becky leaned over Jamie gave her daughter a kiss. “Night, Manda.” “Night, Mom.” Becky slid off the bed and went to her own room. Amanda took the empty bottle and set it on her night stand, replacing it in Jamie’s mouth with his binky. She eased him out of her arms and onto the bed, then gently stepped out so she could go use the potty, brush her teeth, comb her hair, and come back to change into her pajamas. When she awoke the next morning, her arm was asleep from Jamie laying on it for who knows how many hours, and there was a teddy bear laying above her of the top of the pillows. Furtively, she slid her hand out from under Jamie’s chest and put it under Jamie’s hip, feeling a swollen diaper and a dry bed, and then put it under her own hips. “Thank god,” she said in dry relief.
  25. 7 points
    I spent the day working on books that I get paid for, and getting a massage again, and taking a nap. I called the doctor today to ask if it was normal for me to still be bleeding, and she said yes and that I should wear pads for a couple weeks. Um, I seem to have that covered. 😂 ______________________________________ Chapter 39 Part 1 “So what are we celebrating this time,” Jamie asked. “Harvest Day,” Becky explained. “Each neighborhood holds a big potluck dinner to celebrate the harvest.” “Do people do much harvesting around here?” “Not that far away, but you know, it’s just a tradition.” “So what are you bringing?” “We’re bringing brownies. Do you want to help me make them?” “Can I lick the beaters?” “’Til your heart’s content.” Rebecca wasn’t an expert baker, but she knew how to follow a recipe. A brownie recipe is pretty easy: just enough flour to hold together the sugar, chocolate and butter. Rebecca laid out all the ingredients on the countertop and pulled a chair over for Jamie to stand on. “Let’s wash our hands first.” Rebecca pulled the chair to the sink, helped Jamie get on top of it, and turned on the tap for him. “Open your hands.” She poured a little dish soap, then helped Jamie lather his hands. Not that he couldn’t wash them on his own, but he liked the feel of her hands massaging the soap into his own. She scrubbed up to his elbows, then rinsed him off and patted him dry before washing her own hands. “How about you break the eggs while I mix the dry ingredients.” Becky measured our flour and sugar by weight while Jamie cracked eggs the size of soft balls into a giant bowl. The shells were hard to crack. “This is hard,” Jamie said as he picked shell fragments out of the goo, some of which was on the counter. Becky got him a clean towel to wipe his hands on when he was done. She poured a large bag of chocolate chips into another bowl and placed them in the microwave. “By the way,” Becky said, “I talked to Stacy, Ella’s big, and the two of you have a play date this week at her house.” “Oh. Uh, thank you.” Jamie was happy to hear that, but he was also apprehensive. Something about Ella still put him on edge. She was blunt and she was usually right. She didn’t have patience for Jamie’s sulking attitudes. He felt he learned more from her than just how to draw. Still, it was time with a human away from a bunch of regressed littles and nosy bigs. All he really wanted was to sit across a dinner table from her and talk uninterrupted for a while. “Stacy is going to pick you up early one day.” “Uh huh.” The timer beeped on the microwave, and Becky took out a bowl of melted chocolatey goodness. “We could probably just serve it like this, and people would be content,” Becky joked. She got out a stand mixer and put the dry ingredients under the beaters, turning them on low. Jamie watched passively as she added vanilla extract to the eggs, stirred them, and upended the bowl into the dry mix slowly, letting all the dry ingredients mix with the egg mixture. Lastly, she took the bowl of chocolate and pour it in, using a rubber spatula to get as much as she could. “Here,” she said as she handed the spatula to Jamie as a down payment on the beaters. Becky added some more chocolate chips to the brownie batter and let is all mix together. Jamie happily licked the chocolate off the spatula. Becky pulled the bowl, now too heavy for Jamie to lift, out from under the mixer and poured the batter into a cake pan. She put the pan in the oven, set it to 450, and turned the timer on for three hours, the perfect amount of time for a giant’s pan of fudgy brownies. “You’re not gonna sugar crash on me, are ya?” “No,” Jamie replied with eyes already a touch brighter than normal. Becky gave him one of the beaters and put the other one in the sink along with the rest of the dishes. Jamie did his best to lick the batter off without getting too much on his face, not easy to do considering the size of the thing. “Hey guys,” Amanda said when she came in from a morning out with Mel and Donna. “Ooh, did you save me one of the beaters?” “Sorry, hun, you’re too late.” “Ahh, no fair.” She approached Jamie and ran her index finger down his cheek, then licked off the batter she’d collected. “Hmmm. Those are gonna be good. Shame we have to bake them. You’re looking a little chocolatey, buddy.” “He’s gonna need a bath anyway before dinner.” Jamie blushed and handed Becky the nearly clean beater. She put it in the sink and laughed as she wiped off Jamie’s face. “Can I take a nap first,” he asked. “Sure. Plenty of time. In fact, I think we should all do that in case it’s a late night,” Becky said. Amanda scooped up Jamie. He thought on how often he was being carried around the house these days. It still was the easiest way to get up the stairs. He could climb them, but it was an effort, though one he had gotten pretty good at. “Do you want your bear?” Jamie smiled, knowing that meant he got to take a nap in Amanda’s bed. “Yes, please.” The two of them went into his room to get the bear. “James Patrick, I think you need to spend a little time cleaning your room after your nap,” Amanda said as she stepped over and around toys spread across the carpet. “Okay,” Jamie somberly said, “I’m sorry.” “Don’t be sorry. I just don’t want to step on a block and do a half gainer onto the floor.” She leaned into the crib and picked up the bear. “And neither does your bear.” She turned around and started up the stairs. “He doesn’t walk.” “Not when you’re around.” “Um, I’m pretty sure he never walks.” “How do you know? Maybe he just saves it for when he’s alone. He probably paces and back and forth in the crib waiting for you to come back. See, he’s lonely.” “He’s lonely?” “Yeah, look at his face.” “He’s smiling.” “He’s just being brave. It’s a lonely smile.” She sat down on the bed with Jamie on her hip still. “I’ll show you.” Taking the bear by the back of its neck, she walked it up to Jamie. “A boo boo boo boo boop.” She touched its nose to his, and walked the bear back ward and did it again. Jamie smiled; he liked that Manda liked paying this kind of attention to him. It always seemed random, and he’d play along and it made his belly warm to think how much she loved him. “You’re being awfully silly today, Manda.” “That’s because it’s fun. I like being silly with you. I’ll bet you nap better minus the pants.” She removed Jamie’s pants and then her own jeans. Jamie didn’t mind; he didn’t even blush. She pulled back the covers, climbed under, and then snuggled Jamie up close to her. Jamie did the same with his bear, three spoons in a drawer, all falling asleep with smiles on their faces. Amanda woke up and hour and a half later to unpleasantly familiar, cold, wet feeling. She felt under the covers and found it emanated from Jamie rather than herself. She sighed in relief. It didn’t bother enough to wake Jamie. He was still snuggled against her fast asleep. She put her nose to his hair and smelled the sweet little shampoo and ran her hands through his soft hair. She considered that she should try that shampoo if it made his hair this soft and tangle free. Her fingers made Jamie stir. “Hey, baby,” she said, delivering a kiss to his head, “you definitely need a bath now.” Jamie felt the wetness under him. “How do you know I did it,” he teased. “Excuse me?” “You’re a bedwetter, too.” “Former bedwetter, you little stink rat.” “But how can you be sure?” “Because my panties are dry and your diaper is saturated. Also, I can tell because …” She was up quickly and tickling him under his arms. He tried to clamp them to his sides, but her fingers got in anyway, and when she got tired of tickling him there, she tickled his ribs and belly and back to his underarms until Jamie was squealing and apologizing. “I give! I give,” he pleaded before she let up. “Bath time for the Jamester,” she said, tossing him over her shoulder delivering three swats to his butt as she carried him down the stairs like a sack of rice. “This isn’t very comfortable,” he protested. “Sounds like a you problem, diaper butt.” She swatted his butt again. “In fact, if there’s anything else you want to inflict on that diaper before your bath, now would be a good time.” She set Jamie down in his room and went to run the bath. Jamie did his business and started putting away toys while he waited for Amanda to come back. She returned and found him waddling to his toy chest with an armful of toys. She shook her head, thinking on how much more comfortable he was being himself now. “Let’s get you cleaned up,” she said. When his legs were in the air and she cleaning him off, he said, “Manda?” “Yeah?” “You’re not wearing any pants.” “Well, duh! Neither are you and I didn’t want you to feel awkward being the only person in the house without them.” “My bear doesn’t wear pants.” “That you know of. He probably paces back and forth in the crib wearing his pants and wishing you were home to play with.” “Now you’re just being silly.” Becky stopped in the doorway with Amanda’s sheets in her arms. “I stopped in to see if the two of you were up and found these.” Amanda blushed. “You’re not, ya know, again, are you?” “Jamie did it, Mom.” “Oh, well, okay. But you know if you ever do …” “Jamie did it!” “Okay.” Amanda rolled her eyes as her mom left to go start a load of laundry. She looked down at Jamie. He was biting his lip. “If you don’t stop laughing, that bath might be a lot colder than normal.” “On one condition.” “Condition?” “Do you think we could start emptying my diaper pail twice a day?” She chuckled. “I think we can do that.”
  26. 7 points
    😁 Thanks a ton! I hope you continue to enjoy reading! 18 - Tub Time The tiny bronze bell jingled and jangled as a pair of brisk heels shifted from concrete steps and over to a polished floor. The blaring noises and shining sun on the backs of her heels dulled as the door closed She gave the victorian-styled shop a few simple glances, but with an overall indifferent attitude, moved over to the finished wooden counter. The hum of cars and beeps of horns polluted just the outer edge of the shop and unapologetically rapped against the glass. Mannequins in their plastic poses flashed their cloth trinkets, each one dressed and decorated in some form of fashion. One brandished a two-piece suit, and the other a simple, yet elegant, red party dress. The last was what could be best described as casual high fashion; wrapped in a scarf, small jacket, pants similar to, but not quite jeans, and some form of a shoe the spectator really couldn’t care to identify. The kind of fashion you needed to be rich enough to understand. The vibrant, yet synthetic displays beckoned for the attention; just to have a pair of eyes ogle their most defining features. The freedom to express was as much their own as the ability to hear, think, feel, and speak. Despite being of such rigid and regulated mindsets, the customer looked on with envy. Bundled at her side was the fur-lined jacket she’d just removed, trying to alleviate herself from the newfound warmth in the shop. Underneath she wore a blouse, and her face was dolled up in the kind of makeup that screamed business and professionalism. Her face stayed neutral, and harbored little enthusiasm. There was little expression at all. No indication of anything, really. After a thoughtful glance and her phone, and allowing an exact minute to go by, she let a small sigh as she pressed the tiny head to the second bell on the desk. A ding rang with a considerably higher pitch compared to the doorbell, but lasted half as long. “Coming! Coming!” With each frantic response, the distance between the two closed further and further. While the customer waited, she’d taken to admiring the countless rolls of fabric stored inside the wall. Admiring may have been too strong of a word. Observing them, at least. The door behind the desk suddenly opened, and a face familiar from countless business dealings had emerged. With a pencil sticking from her ear, and her blonde, shiny hair tied back, she raised the rimmed glasses she was wearing just the slightest bit. “Joyce! How have you been?” The looming gray over her expression seemed to fade somewhat, as an albeit small, yet sunshine crept between Joyce’s sealed lips, and a true smile came. “I’ve been fine, Amy. And you?” “Same old same old, I guess,” her pupils drifted to the upper right as if it reflected her thought process. Then she looked at Joyce with a puzzled look. “I can’t remember, was I supposed to have something ready for you?” She partly chuckled, as her confusion managed a lasting smirk on Joyce. The mental image of her spacious office, and empty home started to fade the slightest bit. If she had any real friend, surely it was Amy. The one and only person she had a soft spot for. She slightly laughed herself, as she seemed angry with herself for letting the same trick get her time and time again. “No, did you already forget? I thought I said I needed to be remeasured?” Once clueless, her eyes suddenly lit up. “Oh! Right! You have a dinner coming up in a few months, right? Did you want something new altogether?” “Ideally, yes,” Joyce spoke with a slight passiveness, already trying to formulate the perfect image in her mind. What would be appropriate? Taking the business climate and occasion into account, she at least knew where to start. Then again, Amy usually handled the creative process for her. Then she looked at Amy disapprovingly. “You didn’t schedule something over me, did you?” “Other than getting a coffee started without you? Nope!” She lifted the side panel of the desk. “Come into the back. We can get started right away.” The pair’s heels clicked to their own tunes as they moved into the back. Joyce had already set her jacket on the sofa, and was stepping out of her heels. “Not that I mind, and from one friend to another, why did you want to be remeasured?” Amy asked, already sifting through her small basket. With her small roll of measuring tape, she turned back to the CEO who was already unbuttoning her shirt. “I’ve been doing a bit more exercise lately,” without giving Amy her full attention, she unzipped her skirt next. Considering the bitter cold outside, it was at times like these she hated being a slave to business culture. Forget the stockings, she may as well have been naked from the waist down when it came to the wind and freezing temperatures. The seasons were ever-changing, but the clothing expectations always seemed to remain static. Or at the very least, no theme seemed to appeal to the winter… “I just want to make sure I still fit my normal sizes?” Amy silently gave her figure a split-second scan.“I can understand that. Should I get something started for you too, by the way?” She gestured to the stairs leading up to her apartment. “I don’t mind making you a drink too.” “I’ll take a coffee after,” Joyce fixed her hair as in just her underwear she stepped onto the small platform, looking into the mirrors. “Am I good to go?” Amy wrapped the tape around her skin in various places, capturing all the digits that defined her as a person. With the most recent numbers by her side, Amy had supplemented her last few suspicions with visual truths. The measurements hadn’t deviated much really at all, but for the kind of money Joyce paid, the deviations were by a significant margin. “You know, if the whole CEO thing doesn’t work out, I’d say you’d make a pretty good model for a magazine or fashion in general.” Amy eyed her with the look of an inspired artist. “I could always hire you as a mannequin?” Craning her neck back, Joyce looked down on her backside. “...I’ll keep it in mind, but right now I think I prefer the entrepreneurship kind of business.” Taking advantage of the mirror, Joyce had taken to adjusting her hair the slightest bit. “You’d be pretty surprised...” underneath her subject’s arm and close to her waist, Amy eyed the amount of inches with squinting eyes. “Fashion can be a dangerous game!” “Really.” Her words carried off into the void. It wasn’t a question, or rebuttal to Amy’s claim. Her bland response killed what small talk they had going, and the rest of the review went on in silence. “There is some difference...” Amy glanced from an old page to the new. “But not a terrible lot. Are you sure you want me to use these numbers? Didn’t you say it was a few months from now? Shouldn’t I expect an even greater difference then?” About a second went by until Joyce had responded. “...I’ll have it fitted from there. I just felt like setting a new baseline, that’s all.” “That’s all?” Amy muttered in a lowered voice, clearly unconvinced. And as Joyce remained still on the platform, with no one watching Amy’s face, the corners of her mouth slowly rose as Joyce’s intentions were as bare as her skin. With money being no object to Joyce, trivial visits like these were considered more of a social gathering interaction than a sizeable bill. If it only took a thousand to schedule a simple chat, or the company of a friend, even if Joyce wasn’t honest with herself, clearly she was willing to go through with it. “A new baseline? You mean to tell me I reserved 45 minutes of my day just for me to spend only 10 of them measuring you?” Suddenly flustered a tad bit, clearly hitting a sore spot, Joyce looked finally from the mirror and to Amy. “W-well...what do you care?” she countered with shaky nerves that did a poor job of shrouding the truth. “You’ll get paid.” With a small ‘hmmf,’ Joyce curtly turned herself back to her clothes and started to dress herself again. “You drink yours black, right?” “...Yes.” “Just tell me if you want to chat for a while. I’m not cheap, but you don’t need to buy my friendship, you know?” Genuinely trying to play dumb, Joyce feigned ignorance, saying, “What are you talking about? I just didn’t know how long it’d take.” Her hand clutched the jacket’s arm. “But I guess you’re right, there is a bit of time left. Forget the coffee, I’ll just head back early,” after finishing putting the rest of her clothes on, Joyce already turned swiftly for the door. “Wait.” Amy spoke simply, and without even giving her a meager glance. And Joyce did so, reluctantly, yet ultimately turning back to the couch. So little was Joyce ever talked to as an equal, and ordered around like this. She hated it, namely because it meant that they knew her down to a ‘T.’ Considering Amy knew her cup size, that probably made sense… They saw past the empire she had built and what might she wielded. Rather than the hard facts and monumental numbers, they saw her in a light where she was stripped of all superficial qualities. Without her highrise, she was nothing more than a cocky and crude unpleasantry, which is why it was so hard for her to stay that way like this. “Pretend all you want, but you’re a pretty bad liar. At least when it comes to this stuff,” Amy snickered as she briefly excused herself. She supposed the one perk to black coffee was how she could make it without even intending to. It was the same recipe as her own brew, except all you needed to do was stop at step 1: make the coffee. Joyce with an annoyed sigh quit while she was behind, and waited until Amy came back down with two mugs in hand. “So, what’s new?” Joyce accepted the warm mug. “Nothing noteworthy, I guess. I just moved into my new apartment about a week ago.” “Oooh. Anything nice about it?” “I guess.” She didn’t seem to look so enthusiastic about her monumental purchase. “Once you pass a certain price threshold, they’re all nice, I suppose.” It’s all it ever was. The same bells and whistles across the board, just under a different roof and different by a margin of a mere couple tens or few hundred thousands of dollars… Nothing that really affected the numbers too much. “I guess,” Amy mimicked in a mocking voice, sipping from her mug. Joyce stared with a mindful look, trying to determine if she should be offended or not. “Really? Tell me more!” Amy slightly shook Joyce’s knee with her hand. “How many rooms does it have? Bathrooms? A garage? Balcony?” “Two bedrooms. Well,” she paused, “three, I guess, but only two were furnished to begin with… I don’t think I’ll bother with the third.” The empty white walls echoed in her head. “How’s the bathroom?” “Good. Better than my last place, I’ll give it that. It’s one of those models where the showerhead is built into the ceiling?” Her nonchalant attitude earned an obvious look of jealousy from Amy, raising a brow in disbelief while Joyce continued to seem oblivious, or rather, continued to stare off into space. It never was easy talking to Joyce. Sometimes she was so absorbed in her mind at times, she was too deep in her own thoughts to hear the outside world. It was a silent and unspoken suspicion that Joyce didn’t know how to socialize outside of a work setting. Maybe she’d forgotten how to. Maybe she didn’t want to. “Well, not all of us can live in a highrise with our sky showers!” Playfully, Amy joked, mostly, and even causing Joyce to laugh when she slowly started to realize how ridiculous she may have seemed. “Sorry. I know I can’t be easy to talk to, sometimes...” “Maybe if we did this more often you’d be a bit more relaxed?” Joyce simply breathed through her nose, wishing for the same, yet regarding it like it were an impossible dream. “Sometimes I miss not having all of this, you know.” “What? Money? Fame? Status?” “Yeah.” Joyce spoke simply, despite there being a chance that Amy was being rhetorical. Then she looked at Amy with an odd sense of seriousness. “All of it.” “...Really?” Suddenly with a much more forced attitude, Joyce backpedaled. “Yes...and no...I do like it, and I do feel accomplished, but I feel like I miss out on other, simpler stuff.” “Well, what’s a normal week like for you?” “Wake up, check the news, drive or be driven to work,” her ‘be driven’ part struck yet another unfortunate chord with Amy. She listened on though. “Work, maybe leave early if I need to make a dinner meeting or party, then...” “Then?” “Go home. Wash, rinse, and repeat. The weekends don’t exactly get much more exciting.” “Have you tried taking up a hobby?” “You mean exercising?” “I don’t know... Actually, wait!” A bulb had lit above Amy’s head. “Didn’t you say you used to cook with your dad? Why not that?” “Cook for who? Myself? You can’t exactly make spectacular one person meals...” she spoke somberly. “Well what about...you know...” Joyce looked at her with a puzzled expression, clearly indicating she did in fact not ‘know.’ “Dating? Meet someone?” Joyce looked as if she were told to jump of a bridge; plagued with uncertainty and apprehension. “I don’t know about that… I don’t think I’m very interested in meeting someone...” “Come on, really? You’re gonna shoot it down without even considering it? There could be a great guy out there for you!” Joyce didn’t look any more convinced. “Or a great gal?” She looked at Amy with strangeness, and Amy decided to cut that avenue short. “Fine, fine. Don’t blame me for trying though...” She sighed, as no other immediate ideas seemed to strike her. Thankfully though, for comedic relief and to alleviate some of the tension, a silent predator pounced from the ground below and onto the top of the sofa between Amy and Joyce. Each surprised in their own way, Amy was the first to speak. “Ashes!” She tutted disapprovingly, but of course she couldn’t really be mad. The cat meanwhile seemed to care little for the scolding, and positioned itself next to Joyce. “Ugh...he always manages to slip out when I move up and downstairs...” Setting her mug down, she moved over to the furry friend nuzzled against Joyce’s leg, who was currently watching the cat with a pleasant fascination. “Sorry about that, I’ll move him back upstairs, where he should be,” with her last few words being heavily directed at the culprit. The only thing that stopped her from grabbing him though was Joyce’s polite refusal. “I don’t mind,” a small smile crept over her face as she started to pet him, and a quiet purring ensued. “I don’t get to see him much, anyway. He can stay like this.” As she looked over to Amy, the warmth in her face seemed to dissipate a little. “Is that okay?” Suddenly realizing the dynamic, Amy conceded with her own smile, sitting back down, admiring the exchange silently for a few moments. She then gave her expressionless cat the kind of eyes that spoke “You got lucky, buster.” But as she watched Joyce calmly continue her pets and light scratches, she spoke simply. “Isn’t the answer pretty simple?” Somewhat lost in petting the cat, Joyce turned over to Amy. “What is?” “Your loneliness issue? Why don’t you just get a pet? A cat would probably be good.” Amy then interjected the brief silence though, adding, “But Ashes is off the table. He may be my little troublemaker, but he’s still my furball.” Joyce danced her index finger along the top of his head, and it earned a wonderful meow, warming her seemingly cool and collected demeanor. But it did little for her response to Amy. “I don’t think a pet is really for me, so he’s all yours.” She spoke simply, ending it on a small chuckle. “I guess I like the idea of something or someone to be with...but, I’m not so sure. I don’t know what I want. Besides, I wouldn’t be home enough. Even if it was a cat, then they’d be just as lonely.” “So get two?” “One of anything is plenty.” “Then just spend more time at home?” It was doable, which was exactly why Joyce knew she was making excuses for herself. It didn’t stop her refusals though. “That’s not what I mean...” “It won’t get any better unless you try to make it better, Joyce,” Amy took a sip from her mug. “There’s a difference between trying to solve your problems and learning to live with them. I’d like to think that someone will come along the way and change your mind, but really, I’m not so sure considering we’ve known each other for so long, and nothing seems to have happened yet...” It was enough to make Joyce remorseful over her own inaction, but Ashes, meanwhile, had rolled onto his other side, purring as he rubbed more against Joyce’s thigh, beckoning for the the pets to continue. Amy watched with a tad bit of annoyance, realizing just how much of a drama queen her cat really was, muttering to herself. “Always trying to be in the limelight…” “I want a relationship, but I don’t know what kind I want. It’s hard to talk about…” She had moved on to testing the squishiness of his paw pads. “Does that make any sense?” “As much sense as using a seamstress for therapy?” “What can I say? You haven’t steered me wrong before?” At the lighthearted comment, both women shared an equally genuine laugh, polishing off the rest of their coffee. “Something will change, Joyce. I’m sure of it. When something does come along though, I wouldn’t pass up on it. Chase it, and see how far it goes!” She wanted something to come, and she’d earnestly try to never let go, but it’d already been so long, and never once had an opportunity come. She figured her chance at happiness would never present itself. There wasn’t any way Joyce could confide in another person truly and wholly. She wanted such conflicting things in a partner; independence, dependence, innocence, determination. They had to be self-sufficient, and capable of doing for themselves, yet also to lean so heavily on her. Her desires were so scattered, it was likely impossible to find someone who could piece that sort of relationship together. Nevertheless, she could only hope that Amy’s words of wisdom applied to a desire as peculiar as hers. She had the business, but now she wanted the homelife… Alas, she doubted that she’d ever meet someone that’d understand her on such a level. Never. “I think it’s about time I start heading back to the office.” She watched Ashes thoughtfully when she stood up, a little sad to disappoint the feline by ending their little cuddle session. In his relaxed position, he cocked his head awkwardly, looking for where his cuddle buddy had gone off to. He briefly meowed. Amy walked over to the whining cat and substituted with her own petting.“You sure?” she glanced at the nearby clock. “I’m sure I could find a way to kill 10 more minutes?” With the joke of today’s meeting still far from wearing thin, Joyce had taken it in stride. “No, I think I’ll be alright. Traffic will probably eat up that free time for me.” “Mmm. I suppose you’re right,” Amy spoke somewhat pensively, already feeling the flame they had begun to forge slowly dim into nothingness. On rare occasion could she actually get Joyce to be herself, and it was times like these when it was just long enough to tease Joyce’s true personality. It took a little bit of time, but she could feel reminded that life wasn’t lived inside an office, and that there were people who cared for her. They were friends, but Amy couldn’t say she truly knew the woman. It made her a little sad to say that, despite Joyce only being a client, but as a sense of recourse she reminded herself that socializing was a two-way street. They said their goodbyes, and after slipping her jacket back on, her dimmed attitude felt at home once again when it dived into the windy morning, just a few minutes shy of noon. Despite the crisp chill that froze her cheeks, and reddened the tips of her ears and nose, her eyes wandered aimlessly about the city street, being a silent observer to her surroundings, and a spectator to her own life. Just when her cheeks started to sting from the cold, she reminded herself that there was a heated car right next to her. Her hands gripped the durable foam surrounding the wheel, and her directional clicked and clicked. And clicked. And clicked. And clicked. One hand sank to her side, and seemingly by chance fell down by her phone; just close enough to grab it. With a few simple strokes, the ringing on her phone hummed as a substitute for the silent engine. “Sheila?” Using her rearview mirror, forced habit begged for her to check her eyeliner, and to make sure the coffee mug hadn’t harmed her lipstick. She knew her blouse wasn’t wrinkled, thankfully, and her pantyhose were as smooth as could be. “I wanted to tell you that I won’t be back today. I’m not feeling very well.” A few moments went by, and the directional still continued to tick endlessly. “I understand. George can be my stand-in for the quarterly report, and just have him give me a recap tomorrow. And if you could reschedule the meeting with Anderson for Thursday I’d appreciate it.” … “Then if not just shoot for Monday next week. If not then...” How much she didn’t want to deal with this right now. She wanted to drop everything… She loved her job and what she did, but sometimes it could all just be too much. “Then we’ll handle it from there.” Finalized in her decision and action, she finally pulled out and onto the road. “I’ll see you tomorrow. Bye.” The apartment was shrouded in a daytime darkness, with the only light coming from the open doorway behind Joyce. Unlike the hallway behind her, a few thousand square feet felt terribly empty. Stepping out of her heels as she stepped into the supposedly homely part of her home, she glanced longingly at the kitchen. She couldn’t be certain, but it was probably a safe guess that three of the four chairs at that table hadn’t moved since the people she paid had put it there. The couch was neat and orderly; a cushion to each corner, and the coffee table’s contents fitted in the proper position. She liked to keep things clean. And the biggest secret to it all? If you never used it, it couldn’t get dirty. Not a single light was turned on, and apart from the few spots light did manage to seep in through the large windows, a great deal of shade hung in varying degrees throughout the home. Each and every room that mattered was fully furnished, and there wasn’t a touch of echo. But how could you know it echoed if you barely spoke? There wasn’t anyone to speak to. And she lied, there was an echo. Not in the verbal sense, but the emotional. With a destination already in mind, she skipped by the tv, windows, bathroom, guest room, empty storage room, office, and stepped into the one place she could call familiar out of forced circumstance. There was a slight jostle of keys when the jacket pocketing them hit the ground, and she laid herself on the luxury mattress, yet finding absolute zero luxury in it. A dead silence sang throughout the apartment in its tone deaf lull, and it was loud enough to make her ears bleed. The cushy pillow and memory foam knew exactly how to make her body feel comfortable, but not her emotions. Not her mind, and not her heart. And as her head sunk into the pillow, she stared into the ceiling, and nothing stared back at her. The tears wouldn’t stop, but neither did each other’s embrace, which is exactly why her ducts showed no signs of stopping. Her cautious hand clutched the back of Emily’s head, fastening her securely to her chest as she openly wept, moved to pleasant shambles as a weight inside her seemed to be pulled away with such jarring force, she was simply stunned. There was a gaping hole left inside her heart, and almost immediately it was being filled with some inexplicable substance that infected her with complete, total euphoria. She wanted to hear it again. She needed to hear it again. What gave her purpose, what gave her meaning. What reminded her how to feel and have emotions. The only thing that could shock her out of such an emotional state was when she could hear a sobbing other than her own, and feel the trickles of something down her chest. “E...Emmy?” between her sobs, Joyce managed to ask. “What’s the matter?” Tearily, she chuckled. “What’s wrong?” “I...I don’t know...” sniffling herself, Emily rubbed one of her eyes. “You started to cry, so I started to… I don’t like seeing you sad.” It was another innocent line from the person she loved the most, and to hear even as the provider she was still so deeply cared for, she bit her trembling lip as she rested her head on Emily’s. “Emmy?” “Mhm?” “Can I be a little selfish?” “Of course you can!” Emily spoke with disbelief, trying not to mind the slight crack in her voice from such a rapid shift in tones. After all she’d done for her, and she still felt the need to ask for one measly thing in return? Hell, at this point Emily was prepared to sign off her left kidney! Still very much using Joyce as her cushion, she still looked upwards to the loving woman that stared back at her. “What is it?” “...again?” It sounded as if she said something before that word, but they came as tiny, incoherent whispers. “What?” With some leeway in Joyce’s grip, she rose slightly in her lap to become better face to face. “What did you say?” “...say it again?” “Say it? Say what...” And as Emily began to repeat the question, she felt her nerves and anxiety creeping to an all-time high. Had she really forgotten so soon what she just said? It was hard to believe those words came from her mouth… Nevertheless, they did, and she could feel the strange, yet pleasant remnants of the distant syllables trying to burn fiercely once again. And as her face spelt realization, Joyce herself started to look incredibly nervous, yet with eyes that begged shamelessly for the repetition. Emily had never seen Joyce so vulnerable before. So innocent… “M...mom...my...” Emily awkwardly played with the word, not finding it to be so easy this time, now that she had all her mental and emotional ducks in a row. The thought of Joyce being the flustered one was oddly sobering for her own mood. As if it were a trigger word though, she could feel Joyce’s arms squeeze her waist, and a gleeful noise escape the woman. “Now the other part!” Eagerly, Joyce egged on. Despite taking up the majority of her vision, Emily started to find it extremely difficult to look at Joyce. In mere moments the tables had been turned… “I….ov...you...” In a tiny whisper, Emily spoke. With the shoe on the other foot, Joyce turned her ear towards her. “I couldn’t hear you, honey. Louder?” Every part of her personality told Emily that she was on the edge of her seat, and given it was a sight so rarely seen, Emily felt compelled to satisfy. “I...I love...you...” A sudden, yet welcome tender exchange began as Emily felt her lips interlocked with Joyce’s. One smooth set of lips pressed to the other, one of their hands were interlocked with the other while Emily used the other for support. What Emily experienced was what she’d been teased this entire time. The seductive, dangerous lover that lurked underneath the sheets, and hid behind the matronly mother Joyce portrayed herself as. It was the third persona hiding behind the business woman and caretaker. Another friendly face Emily had only been given tidbits of, and was just only starting to understand. Only just starting to enjoy. For a few moments, Emily forgot she could breathe through her nose, which is why she suddenly pulled away for a breath of air. Joyce meanwhile had found her bravado and confidence once more, as if she’d stolen Emily’s like a succubus. It was certainly a strange departure from Joyce, as despite all being rolled into a single package, and considering Joyce a single entity, the name ‘Mommy’ felt oddly appropriate right now… It was off-putting, yes, but an unexpectedly interesting privilege she now felt she had exclusive access to. Joyce only had one baby girl, and Emily only had one Mommy. The pair was intertwined, and one held all the interest of the other. Trapped in a symbiotic relationship, one’s love longed for the other’s. “I’m sorry it took me so long...” She looked down at Emily with a curious stare. “So long for what?” “You know, to say it? To call you...M...mommy?” The tone, circumstances, and expression didn’t seem to matter. The two syllable word tickled Joyce’s heart no less, and it felt just as amazing as the last time. That being said, it didn’t deter her from comforting the girl. “Awwh… Don’t worry over something as silly as that,” she brushed Emily’s hair, but then slowly leaned forward, just enough to submerge Emily’s hair in the warm water. “But you’ve always thought of me as your,” she paused for an embarrassed moment, “baby, and only now I’m starting to...” Her heavy hair clung to Joyce’s skin as the water seeped from it, but none of it seemed to change either one’s attitude. They were so focused on each other, their surroundings had lost its meaning completely. “Maybe it was a little sad that you’d call me Joyce instead of Mommy...” Joyce spoke truthfully, and it doubled Emily’s regrets. “But,” with a finger underneath her chin, she slowly rose Emily’s eyes to hers. “Now that you’re saying it, I know that you mean it. That makes me a thousand times happier than if I forced you to.” Her smile spurred one for Emily as well. “I want you to call me what feels right, okay? Mommy, mom, mama, or even Joyce. Whichever name makes you feel the most comfortable.” Joyce knew what she really wanted Emily to call her, but hearing it twice already was more than enough, and her desires had been extremely humbled. Even if she could only hear it every once and while, it’d be more than enough to satisfy her. “Well...I want you to call me what feels right, too.” Emily spoke with certainty, and Joyce happily agreed, though, truthfully she’d been doing it from the very start. She wouldn’t try and trample on her kindness, though. “Are you ready to get squeaky clean, now?” Without waiting for an answer, Joyce already spun her around and into place while she reached for the shampoo. “I can do it,” charitably, Emily reached for the bottle, but it was pulled outside her range. Still outside her reach, Joyce poured some into her hands and was already rubbing them together. “Nice try, but I’m not gonna miss out on giving my little one a bath!” “I was just trying to help...” Emily muttered defensively. “You need to wash your hair too, you know?” “That’s very true, my little Watson.” Chuckling, she already made contact with Emily’s scalp. “But I can do that after I get started on you.” “Whatever you say...” Emily’s eyes had already closed their curtains, as she sat lazily on her knees, slightly slouched forward while the tender scrubs forced her forward and back. “So, have you had a good day?” Joyce spoke slow and soothingly, already aware of just how lazy Emily could get during tub time. It was a disarming voice that confirmed and reinforced Emily’s desires to eject and cruise on autopilot. “Mhmm. It’s been the best one yet...” Yet. Emily unknowingly had set the bar, and Joyce was already itching at the challenge of trying to top it. Too bad this one still had 6 more hours to it… Even with that in mind, it meant 6 more hours until she could give it her all yet again, but also 6 more hours to enjoy what a personal treat today had been as well. Maybe she should have put two candles on the cake? “Well I’m very, very, glad to hear that,” a small trickle of water pouring from a cup expanded into a mini waterfall as it washed through Emily’s soapy hair. After a few more repeats it was slowly transitioning back it its sleek and shiny self. The only way of knowing anything changed was if you took a moment to smell the wonderful fragrance imbued in her hair. “And after we get all cleaned up we’ll have a little more time to play, alright? So start thinking about what you want to do.” “Let’s watch a movie,” Emily somewhat mumbled in a murmuring voice. Joyce only laughed the tiniest bit. “A movie? I don’t know. We just got finished with two hours of tv. More than two, I should add.” Emily could feel the scolding stare on her back, and it only made her smile, and try not to fidget. “Maybe, but I was thinking maybe we could do something else? I’d prefer for you to be a little awake before bed.” “Huh? Why?” The idea of being awake before bed seemed a bit counterintuitive, and it didn’t make Joyce’s intentions any clearer. “Mmm...” Joyce ‘hmmed’ thoughtfully. “It’s a surprise. You’ll just need to wait.” Emily tried to turn her gears as best as she could, but her concentration was often broken by the gentle scrubs in her particularly sensitive spots. The whole way Joyce made no comments other than positive reinforcement, taking in every moment of bathing with her baby. “Joyce?” A small, personal trance inside of Joyce wavered the slightest bit. So did that mean it was a grownup question? “What’s wrong?” “Why do you have such a...nice body?” Joyce blinked, then felt her cheeks grow a little warmer than she’d have liked. “Wh, what do you mean?” She tried to laugh it off, but Emily still looked just as focused. “I’m serious though! I’m jealous...” Emily spoke on a more somber note, downcasted with a view of her own significantly smaller proportions. Namely her height. “Honey...” Emily could feel her bum slide across the bottom of the tub, and two soft cushions receive her back as they came to a halt. “You’re beautiful, I promise. I wouldn’t want you any other way.” “Yeah, but maybe I want myself like you...” “Well, I want you the way you are,” Joyce countered in a matter-of-fact voice, and Emily stared back all flustered. “What do you mean? You’re like a head taller than me! If someone didn’t know any better, they’d think I’m your adopted-” Suddenly, Emily was overcome with a sense of stupid. She slowly turned back to the bathwater. “Wrong,” Joyce ‘bzzed’ with her mouth, pulling back the dejected girl’s gaze. “Yes, maybe a little bit your size helps with me carrying you around,” Emily wouldn’t admit it, but she probably liked that advantage to being smaller, too… “But I like it because it’s part of what makes you, you.” She spoke with emphasis on the last part. “When we snuggle, hug, interact, do things together, I always like having my gal. I can’t explain it very well, but just know that you’re perfect the way you are. Don’t let these things get in the way of that,” jokingly, she lifted one of her breasts then dropped it. She then decided to take a gamble, saying, “Besides, if you were as tall as me, then both of our boobs would get in the way!” Emily tilted her brows upward, clearly hurt, yet right before Joyce was going to say something, and odd giggle escaped her. Soon it became a chuckle, then a full-on laugh. Internally for Joyce, it was a sigh of relief. “I’m sorry,” Emily wiped a joyful tear from her eye. “You’re right. I’m just talking about stupid stuff. Sometimes I like being the smaller one, too...” “It’s never stupid to talk about stuff like that,” Joyce had moved onto washing her own hair. “If you’re ever feeling bad about something, I want to hear about it.” It was another one of those moments where even the joking and teasing Joyce spoke with the utmost seriousness. With nothing left to do but watch, Emily admired the sight as her caretaker and lover cleaned themselves of the day’s fatigue. Though, she had to be truthful when she said that it can get boring even to watch the one you love the most. As if reading her mind, Joyce said, “I know, I should’ve thought of this.” “Thought of what?” “A bath with no bubbles?” Joyce spoke as if the answer were practically a given. “No toys, either?” Her second comment came with a little more personal disgust. “Er, Joy- M...Mommy,” clearly she was still getting used to that. “I’m fine though?” “Well I’m not.” Despite acting like the grown adult, Joyce’s small aggravation came off as a tiny temper, and Emily watched with amusement. Still, maybe bubbles could have been fun? The idea of trying to be imaginative with toys though felt like another task she wasn’t up to. For the time being, she’d take a simple soak over clashing plastic boats and rubber ducks together any day of the week. She looked over at Joyce who still seemed to be internally feuding. Maybe six days of the week? Joyce finally sighed, then looked over to Emily. “I guess until then you’ll just be my little sea otter.” “I thought I was a cat?” Emily narrowed her eyes. “Kitty,” Joyce corrected. “And only on land. Cats don’t like swimming, you know? We need to keep the story believable, silly.” The bewildering logic only made Emily snicker, trying to piece together just who they were trying to prove something to. At some point she’d drifted to the far end of the tub, and turning back to the relaxed Joyce, she crouched on her feet, then tensed her muscles, propelling herself towards her target. A large swish and swosh of the water resounded in the waves she left in her wake, poised like an arrow soaring through the water. Her momentum was absorbed by the water and Joyce’s body as she wrapped her arms around the woman, slightly surprised by the sudden attack. Fixing her hair, Emily looked up to Joyce with a smile, both of their hair swept behind their heads, hanging heavy from the water. “You know, I’ve never seen a sea otter before?” with no real reason, Emily said. “Really? I know the city aquarium has them… You haven’t been there?” “No, I’ve only been here for about two years, you know?” “Two years is a lot of time, you know?” “Besides,” Emily dodged the question. “You wouldn’t really catch someone like me at a zoo or aquarium...” Her face partly sunk into the water, just enough to make bubbles with her nose. “Why not?” “That’s where people bring their kids, or, people go on dates. Jack and I didn’t ever go there...” The last bit seemed to have dampened her mood a little bit. “Well isn’t that convenient then?” Emily wordlessly looked up to Joyce. Only then did the words ‘kid’ and ‘date’ strike her. “But-!” She’d been through this song and dance too many times before to not know where this was going. “No butts,” Joyce pulled Emily a little closer. “The more that I think about it, either the zoo or aquarium sounds like a fun outing. I don’t think I’ve ever took my mom and dad?” Double panic started to sink it. “Wait! No! We can’t go with them!” Joyce smirked. “So is that your way of saying you’re okay with it?” “No! Well...” she started to look sheepish. “Yes. But, they probably have things they want to do too, right? Won’t we just be getting in the way?” “That’s very thoughtful of you, sweetie, but we actually needed some stuff to do. Now that’s one day taken care of. Such a good helper...” Joyce quietly remarked as Emily’s nervous thoughts were coming into play. “Won’t they think it’s kiddish?” “No? Going to see animals isn’t as silly as you think, Emmy. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I want to go too,” Emily couldn’t help but agree, as she watched Joyce’s conviction quickly cement and become absolute. Why did she have to be so good at churning out ideas? “I’m sure they’ll like the idea too. And how else am I supposed to show you what a sea otter is?” “I can google some videos?” Joyce scoffed in an exaggerated manner, looking at Emily with pretend-condescending, yet still just as loving eyes. “I think you’ve had enough screen time for one night.” Emily puffed her cheeks at that one. “Trust me, you’ll be happy I showed you the real thing.” Emily could only hope so, because her immediate feelings right now weren’t too stellar. She could only hinge herself on her genuine excitement of seeing the animals. It was more about the mixed setting that involved Joyce’s parents. Nothing against them, of course, but where she was with Joyce still felt awkward to publicize. Their watery cuddles were then interrupted by the taller of the two rising from the water. Losing her cushion, Emily suddenly looked up to her, dreading the fallout. “End of the line, kiddo.” Joyce leaned over to the console and pressed a button, and Emily could already start to hear the water drain. “Do we have to? Just five more minutes?” Emily tried to use a pleading look. “You may have me wrapped around your finger, but not this time.” Emily suddenly felt Joyce’s hands under her pits, and she was lifted to her feat. The sudden emergence from the water sent a wave of chill down her body, even with the bathroom fan humming away. Almost immediate with goosebumps, she was beyond thankful for the towel that wrapped around her like a cloak. While she was busy holding it together, a pair of hands bunched her hair while it was wrapped in a much more manageable-sized towel. Turning to the culprit, Joyce was almost exactly like her, except her towel gave her feet and arms free access. “I want a towel that fits me like it does for you...” Emily passively spoke. “And so it shall be.” Joyce spoke simply, stunning Emily over her casualness. Snapped out of her thoughts, Emily tried to protest. “Wait, no, I wasn’t being serious! I was just venting!” “Why not?” Joyce gave Emily a brief look while staring into the mirror. “It is cute using the bigger towels on you, but I know convenience is pretty important too.” “Then just tell me how much it costs and where I can get it.” Emily knew she wasn’t going to get out of this one, but she could at least minimize the damage. “No, and double no.” How quick she was to forget Joyce’s signature trait… “What? How come? J...Mommy, I can pay for it myself.” “And that’s especially why I said no.” Joyce booped the annoyed girl on the nose, which simultaneously excited her as well as aggravate. “Mommy’s don’t give their babies an allowance, much less expect them to buy something on their own. If you want something, all you need to do is ask. And you did, which I’m very happy about, by the way~!” Calling it asking was a stretch, considering it came off as a fleeting comment than a genuine complaint. She didn’t like the idea of having to watch her words around Joyce, but she knew if she didn’t then there would probably be a few too many unexpected purchases on their doorstep. If she wanted anything henceforth, she’d need to be discrete about it on her own time… “What are you thinking about?” Emily’s eyes wandered to the window. “...Nothing.” Clearly unconvinced, Joyce shrugged for now and checked the wall-mounted screen. While Emily’s eyes wandered, she noticed Joyce’s small pile of discarded clothes, right next to her pile. Well, where her pile should have been. Instead, all there was on the ground was a used diaper. Slightly used… “Do you wanna get in your jammies now, or later?” Joyce asked in a small shout over the hairdryer. “Already? I can’t be that late, can it?” Another glance at the clock read close to eight, and Joyce gestured to Emily to come closer with an authoritative finger. Emily took a few steps, then slowed to a halt as the door to the hallway came into her vision and mind. There wasn’t any real reason for it, but a strange idea popped into her head. Something totally unusual and unlike her typical self. It was odd, and devious? Devious, yet tempting… “Emmy? Yoo-hoo?” Joyce wiggled the dryer as a reminder. What was she thinking about? “Coming?” Blankly, Emily looked back to Joyce, then the door, then Joyce. And then as a smile crept on her face, she gleefully shouted, “Nope!” Joyce didn’t even react when it happened, or was at least too surprised to. While it sunk in her head Emily just refused a simple gesture to have her hair dried, Emily’d done something so out of left field to the point where she quite literally ran for it. Darting to the exit, she swung the door open, still in her towel and slipped into the hallway. Joyce could hear the rapid thumping of her feet across the floor. Wordlessly, with a cocked eyebrow, she clicked off the dryer and poked her head out. “Emmy? What’re you…?” Poking her head outside the doorway, she noticed the sudden draft as the apartment wasn’t nearly as heated as the bathroom. She slightly shivered peering down the hall. She could see into the far end of the living room where Emily was, positioning herself behind the couch as she stared back with eyes of mischief. Only then did it finally click for Joyce. “Ohh?” with an amused laugh hidden in her taunting voice, Joyce looked to the girl who seemed to be troubled with keeping down a laugh herself. “Emmy? You know I’m supposed to finish dressing you before you leave? Running around like that is going to get you hurt!” “Not true!” Emily countered, balling her fists into the edge of the couch as she crouched in front of it as her pearly whites flashed themselves.. “I’m wearing a towel!” Joyce excitedly paced her own mental steps; pleasantly surprised by the sudden naughtiness in her charge. “Maybe, but we both know that you’re not wearing your diaper.” Emily’s laugh slightly stuttered, and she blushed, but she still seemed adamant. “Emmy,” taking a small breath, she stood fully in the hallway. “I’m going to give you to the count of three, and by then your tooshie better be back in this bathroom. You’re going to get the apartment covered in water!” It was a real issue, but Emily knew how to distinguish between Joyce and Mommy. The threat seemed real enough, but so did the desire to cause a little havoc. She didn’t know why, but there was something about chaos that suddenly tempted her. The only reason she kept it going was that Joyce seemed to be enjoying it too. “One,” sternly, Joyce tapped her foot. Emily hadn’t moved an inch. “Two.” She was really going through with this? Joyce’s heart was in full swing. Joyce opened her mouth for the final call, until Emily spoke. “Wait!” Emily suddenly blurted, and her face shifted to one of remorse. “I’m sorry… I shouldn’t have left...” “Are you ready to apologize?” And so the thrill had come to an end… Emily slowly walked around the couch, and Joyce could already see a few drops of water trickle down her legs and onto the floor. Thank goodness the floors weren’t carpet… Joyce kept her hands around her hips, doing her best to impersonate a scolding mother, and Emily had just reached the entrance to the hallway. “Just kidding!” Joyce simply blinked yet again, when from Emily’s perspective she pulled a sharp left and scurried off to the kitchen, past the shoe area by the door. Out of sight, Joyce held a hand over her mouth as she silently laughed and giggled. Apparently her little princess had become a bit of a trickster, and she was loving every second of it. Back to her stern self, she called, “Three! That’s it missy, you had your chance!” She followed the trail of giggles and water into the kitchen, which sure enough harbored the runaway toddler. “Last chance,” Joyce warned, already looking ready for a chase. She held her arms open, equally meant for receiving a willing participant, or a rebellious runaway. Emily as best as she could to keep the tension high and the atmosphere bubbly, regarded Joyce’s sweet embrace as certain death, and was determined to do anything she could to avoid it. Joyce started with a calm, yet brisk walk around the left side of the island to where Emily was, and Emily in response already made an even faster motion to the right. The advanced moves were already in play though, because Joyce even faster pivoted on her heel to swap directions. She near-leaped around the side, and Emily’s reaction was just soon enough to space her a foot away from Joyce’s reach. The sudden surprise and narrow victory caused her to squeal, and at Joyce’s failed attempt, Emily stuck out her tongue in a teasing reaction. “Oh, you’re gonna get it now…!” Joyce quickly abandoned her feints and went for a much more direct approach, and for Emily to counteract the disadvantage she had in stride, she worked twice as hard to move her legs. The whole way she needed to hike up her towel to keep her range of motion free, but in the process the towel on her head slipped off and her damp hair flowed freely. They did two close laps around the island, and then the table, which nearly once again spelt Emily’s defeat. She was breathing fast as the adrenaline worked through her veins, and even though Joyce was much more composed, and obviously less tired, she looked to be working a small sweat up herself. And even though she still fully intended to maintain the chase, Emily started to wonder in the back of her head, what would Joyce do once she caught her? Suddenly she didn’t like thinking about the consequences so much… She went back to focusing on the fun of the process. “Never gonna catch me!” Emily cheered as she made a beeline back into the hallway, and Joyce followed right behind. Joyce knew she would catch her, of course, which is why she prolonged the chase so she could think of an appropriate punishment. Nothing actually bad, but something to ‘punish’ her for being ‘naughty.’ Did she have a stool for the corner? Maybe an earlier bedtime? The last one would be certainly severe… Emmy probably wouldn’t appreciate that one… Emily too… As Joyce followed her down the hall, she noticed the wet trail they were on since their entrance. It was all fun and games, but Joyce called, “Careful! Don’t slip on the-” It was too late, because with each step Emily suddenly became much more shaky as her center of balance wobbled and collapse, tumbling forward and hitting her face against the backside of the couch. As friction left the building, so did her feet, rising into the air along with the rest of her body as it hit the floor. She must have hit a slight stud on the sofa, because there was a bit of a sound to it upon the collision. “Emily!” Gasping, Joyce hurried with caution over to the girl, who was already collecting herself. The thrill and fun they were having quickly drained as Emily pushed herself up from her position, and Joyce was already there helping her. Joyce didn’t know how to react, whether as a mother or a lover. She carefully looked Emily’s face over, likely still red from the heated bathroom. Emily looked a bit uncomfortable though, and she was, considering she just hit a couch face first. There looked to be no lasting damage, but it really did hurt. She clutched her nose as her eyes became teary from the stinging and pain. “Emily? Are you okay? Does it hurt anywhere?” She held Emily close and she continued to inspect, meanwhile Emily started to sob. Joyce knew the nose was an area of concern, but was otherwise relieved to see nowhere else looked bad. “Can I see your nose, sweetheart?” She resorted to the much more cushy language to be all the more comforting. Emily had been through worse, but that didn’t meant this was any less bad. She carefully exposed her nose for Joyce to take a look. It definitely looked a little bit redder, but thankfully nothing lasting. “It’s alright, you’re okay. Just a few boo-boos, huh?” Joyce comforted, whilst Emily still tried to brace the lingering effects of the fall. Why was she running around in the first place? Didn’t she know how stupid of an idea that was to begin with? Her adult mindset was already back and waiting to scold her. Meanwhile, the very person who warned her not to do what she did was nurse her. “I’m sorry...” Emily tearily mumbled as she leaned into Joyce. “Well, I’m not going to say I told you so, but I think you’ve learned your lesson, huh?” Emily meekly nodded, just beginning to feel the throbbing pain die down. “Still, that wasn’t like you? What happened to being my good girl?” “I don’t know...” she rubbed her eyes, slowly standing up with Joyce. “I thought it would be fun...” “There’s much safer ways to have fun, silly.” She patted her head. Joyce had nearly broke into her own hysterics had Emily seriously been injured. It genuinely scared her to think of what else could’ve happened if they got a bit too careless. They could consider themselves lucky on this one… “No more leaving the bathroom unless I say so, okay?” Once again, she agreed. A wet and cool kiss planted itself on Emily’s nose. “Pain, pain, go a-way! Come a-gain a-nother day!” With swirls and twists of her two index fingers, she finished the small ritual with imitated fireworks using her hands. “Better?” Emily nodded her head, smiling. “Lots.” “Good. Once you’re all dried up, we’ll get you in some nice and soft jammies, then you can help me clean up the little mess you made.” her voice nudged to the small puddles of water. Emily slightly giggled, knowing the punishment was well-deserved.
  27. 7 points
    Chapter 28 “How was your day,” Amanda asked with Jamie on her hip. She could tell by his expression that the answer wasn’t good. He looked gloomy, slumped over and not holding eye contact. He responded by burying his cheek in the space between her arm and her body, leaning against and taking comfort in how soft she was. This part of being a little Jamie could accept. He didn’t want to deal with his emotions, so he decided to be sullen and let someone else do the emotional heavy lifting, namely taking care of him. “I’m sorry, buddy.” She got him buckled in, and Jamie didn’t notice where they were going. “I got something that might you feel better, at least on the outside. Remember what we talked about? A massage? Remember?” Jamie didn’t respond. “Well, I scheduled one for us. Won’t that feel good … well, it will.” She pulled up to some chain massage place and took Jamie from his seat along with his diaper bag. A woman working the front desk greeted her, speaking in an affected soothing voice over the sound of recorded nature. The babbling brook made both of them need to pee, but only Jamie got to. “Webb. We have an appointment for a mama and little massage.” “Yes! We talked this morning. You’re lucky we had a cancellation. Normally we’re booked a couple weeks out. Please follow me.” The receptionist led them through a dimly lit hallway into a dimly lit room with a little and a big sized table. A small stereo was playing different nature sounds, and the room smelled of a mixture of lotions and artificially scented candles. Amanda didn’t care that the place looked cheesy. She was content just to know the masseuses were licensed and the place had decent Welp reviews. “Your masseuses will be in shortly. If you don’t mind, you could please make sure he’s in dry underpants, and the two of you can get settled under the sheets.” Amanda quickly changed Jamie. She knew sometimes people were sad or angry or stressed or upset and didn’t want to talk about it. That had never been Jamie’s problem though. She wondered what could have happened at daycare to put him in this funk, sure that if it was something obvious like a fight or bullying or something of that kind, Diane would have told her. Dressed only in a clean diaper, Amanda put Jamie on her should and folded down the sheet, then running her fingertips up and down his back the way he always liked. Funk or not, the kiss of her nails in the small of his back made him shudder. “This is gonna make both of us feel real good, baby,” she said and kissed on the temple. “And then we’ll figure out the rest from there. Promise.” She laid him between the sheet, then remembered his second pacifier in the diaper bag. His lips parted as she offered it to him. Amanda undressed to her own underwear and got beneath the sheet. A few seconds later there was a knock. “We’re ready,” Amanda said just over a speaking voice. Two women came in and exchanged a few words with Amanda. In minute, Jamie’s and Amanda’s backs were exposed, the sheets tucked into the top of the underwear, and gently scented oil was spread on both of them. One of the women leaned down to Jamie and said, “Sweetie, can you tell me if it hurts?” Jamie nodded. “Okay. You just tell me if you want it softer or harder.” She began by rubbing her hands up and down either side of his spine, warming her hands and starting to loosen his back, then switching to be on his side and moving her hands briskly in opposite directions across the width of his back, starting to pull everything apart. Once his back was hot to the touch from the friction, she applied more oil and began to knead his muscles from his neck on down. When she reached areas with deep soft tissue, it felt good. When she reached areas with the soft tissue was shallow and she worked over bone, it hurt. “Harder,” Jamie said. The masseuse found trigger point after trigger point, releasing them like a fault line pulls at the earth. Jamie winced and held his breath through the worst parts, but he didn’t ask her to go lighter. She worked her way across his deltoids and down his upper arms, then gently laid them back at his side and pulled the sheet back up. She took the bottom of the sheet and folded it up so one leg was exposed, tucking the loose end under his hip. Through his diaper she dug into his glutes, working her hand outward to his hip. Jamie shuddered, the pleasure of her hands there catching him by surprise. She worked down his legs, through the large muscles of his thigh and then the thick muscle of his calf. It hurt, the calf. She reached his foot, and her hot hands took the chill from his sole, her kneading fingers and knuckles making his toes curl. She repeated the other side, lifted the sheet, and indicated for him to turn over. Starting back at the top, she dug into his ribs, getting at the muscle and fascia connecting each rib to the next. It hurt. She lifted an arms and worked her way from elbow to wrist, her hands holding his forearm in place while her thumbs pressed and pulled and twisted their way out, down and across. She shook his wrist gently, loosening his hand, and ten worked his palm before tenderly placing it back at this side. She then resumed working on his legs. He rolled back over again, and her fingers worked through his hair, kneading his scalp, and then his forehead; pinching the skins under his eyebrows; rubbing his cheek. A timer dinged. “Take your time getting up and getting him dressed, and ten you can go back out to the reception area.” It wasn’t a short massage, but it did go fast. The two women left. Jamie felt loose, relaxed, relieved. He sat up with is binky still in mouth and saw Amanda do the same. He’d seen her in a bikini but not topless. It didn’t excite him or shame her. She put her arms over her head in a stretch and yawned. Jamie felt like he could sit where was for a few more hours. Amanda stood and picked up Jamie, carrying him to the only chair in the room and resting him against her, his head over her shoulder, their skin still hot from the massage and smelling of lilac and lavender. Amanda had read about the importance of skin-to-skin contact in her littles books, but until today it didn’t seem necessary or natural. She leaned further back so that Jamie was lying flat against her, his cheek resting on her chest. She rubbed his back and hummed the same lullaby their mom sang. Jamie held none of his own weight, but he wasn’t slumped so much as limp, eyes closed and breathing slowly. After a few minutes, she looked down to see he was asleep. She got him redressed, then himself, and carried him to the receptionist. His masseuse was there. Jamie was out cold. They didn’t need to keep their voices down. “Awww. Just look at the little guy,” she cooed. “You did a good job, I guess.” “He’s full of knots and muscles that don’t want to move. You should think about doing this at home on a regular basis. He’s probably so used to feeling the way he does that he doesn’t know how bad all that feels.” “That doesn’t surprise. He carries a lot of stress.” “And it feels like it. He’s gonna have some bruises tomorrow. Make sure he gets plenty of water to flush all the toxins out.” Jamie slept through the car ride and woke when they got home. She carried the groggy boy inside and made him a bottle of formula he leaned against her in that halfway space between awake and asleep. “Buddy,” she said, “Buddy?” She brushed his cheek and he sighed. “Are you hungry?” “No. Can I take a nap?” “Of course.” She laid him in his crib, pulled his clothes off of him, and made sure he had his bottle and bear and binky, and then pulled his blankie up over his shoulders. She left the door open. ______________________________________________________________________________ “Hey, baby,” Becky said coming in the door. “Hey, Mom. We got another problem on our hands. Or, not a problem. Just another situation.” Becky set her purse down, concerned it had to do with the incident at the park. “What’s wrong,” she said, her voice hard and fast. “I don’t know. He hasn’t said.” They walked down the hall to his room. “He was subdued, to the say the least, when I picked him up, and he hasn’t said a word to me. We went the massage place and he feel asleep on me after, and we got home he asked to take a nap.” Becky approached him and put her hand to his forehead. “Does he not feel well?” “I don’t know.” “Has he been doing that the whole time?” “Crying in his sleep? For the last twenty minutes. Guess he’s having nightmares about something.” “And Diane didn’t say anything, or April?” “No. Nothing. I called Diane and she didn’t know what happened, if anything. Then she called April, who said Jamie was quiet after Ella left for the day but that nothing happened that she saw.” “I wonder if they got in a fight.” “Maybe. What do we do?” Amanda sounded worried and upset. Her instinct, as always, was to fix what was wrong. She was prepared for skinned knees, bumped heads, and hurt feelings. She was doing her best to be there for Jamie’s special needs. But until Jamie told her what it was, she couldn’t say or do anything. “Let him sleep. He’s gonna feel awful when he wakes up.” And Jamie did feel awful when he woke up, his eyes crusty and red, his sinuses overfull, his head aching. He stirred, and Becky and Amanda were both there, Amanda letting their mom do the emotional heavy lifting. “Hey, baby,” she whispered. “I bet you’d like a bath.” Jamie nodded weakly and pushed his arms out for Becky to lift him to his feet and pulled off his wet diaper before picking him up and running him a tub. Amanda went to make him a bottle of water and some cold medicine to help with his headache. Mom gently cleaned his face with a washcloth and had him blow his nose on it. She set it aside for a clean one and slowly scrubbed his body, peeling away the thin layer of massage oil on his skin. He drank from the bottle Amanda handed him. She looked pensive. He knew they were both waiting for an explanation, Becky, with twice the years in the world, looked more patient. “Sorry,” he said. “For making you worry.” “Don’t be sorry, baby.” “I just … I guess I needed to just let it suck for a little while.” “Are you ready now?” He nodded and swallowed. “Ella told me she’s a rescue.” At the word, Becky’s eye shut tight and her hand wrung the washcloth as she held her breath, finally letting out an exhale. Amanda’s lips quivered and her eyes watered. Not wanting to lose her composure in front of Jamie, she stepped into the hallway and sat down on the floor with her back against the wall. Jamie told the story. Becky nodded along with her eyes on the rim of the tub, not being able to look at Jamie as he used the words needed to describe it. Amanda put her arms around her knees and let silent tears out. It only took Jamie a minute to tell the story. He could see Becky was holding back to keep from letting more out than she wanted to in front of Jamie, afraid to set his tears off again. “You knew about this stuff in the world.” They must have. Jamie knew when he went to the agency the first time. Becky nodded. “It’s different, isn’t it?” Becky swallowed and asked, “What’s that, baby?” “When it’s someone you know. It’s different.” Jamie knew. He’d known since what felt like forever, since he knew the first one, and the hundreds since. Not ever like Ella, though. He wondered, had he abandoned his world to avoid becoming a bystander there, only to become a bystander here?
  28. 7 points
    Short chapter! _____________________________ Chapter 24 “Hey.” “Hey back. How was your night,” Ella asked. She was sitting in the art corner with a sketch book and pencil. “I learned my middle name is Patrick.” “Uh oh. Wuddya do?” “What makes you think I did something?” “Either you were looking at your arrival certificate, or you got called by your full name, and that only happens when you’re in trouble.” “I climbed onto the kitchen counter.” “That was dumb.” “I know. Already got that lecture. What are you drawing?” She turned the book to show him. “Wow. That’s really good. You’re doing that from memory?” “Yep. I went there when I was in college during a semester abroad. I studied art.” “It’s really good.” “Lots of practice. I draw this a lot. I can draw you if you like.” She turned to a fresh page and started sketching. “Hold real still.” “Uh, okay.” Jamie suddenly felt very self-conscious, and he wasn’t sure if she was flirting with him. He was never sure about that. “Done.” She tore out the page. “Already? That’s incredible.” Jamie took the page from her and grimaced, handing her back the drawing of a stick figure falling off a kitchen counter. “Ha-ha. Very funny.” Ella did get a good laugh out of it. “So why’d you climb up there anyway?” “To get a snack.” “And you weren’t allowed a snack?” “No, I just didn’t want to ask for one. Ya know, it gets old being a constant burden.” “That’s what they signed up for when they adopted a little. It’s also what you signed up for when you put yourself up for adoption. Does your mom ever make you feel that way?” “No. I’m just not used to asking for things.” “I get that. It takes getting used to, needing permission.” “Not just permission. I mean, just having to ask. Makes me feel like all I do is take.” “You ever have something you loved? Pet, sibling, kid?” He’d never had a pet or sibling. If he counted his clients, he’d had a hundreds of kids. “Kids, in a manner of speaking.” “When they needed something, did it feel like they were taking?” Jamie frowned. Of course it didn’t. “No.” He felt compelled to explain more. “I grew up in foster care. Most of the homes I went through, you didn’t ask for things. Bad luck, ‘cause most foster parents are just wonderful people, else they wouldn’t become foster parents. I just got a few bad ones. Asking was seen as not being happy with what you were given. That wasn’t … well received.” “I’m sorry.” “I know I’m not a foster kid, but this is still so new. Still feel like I’m a guest … Does that go away?” “Doesn’t sound your mom thinks of you that way. It’ll go away when you decide to stop feeling like a guest.” Fair enough, Jamie thought. He knew Mom and Manda didn’t think of him like a guest, and he knew he wasn’t a guest, but the feeling wouldn’t go away. It was always there, making him always a little bit uncomfortable. “So what was your punishment?” Jamie blushed. The two of them were getting to know one another awfully fast. Friendship grows fast in extreme circumstances, and being in a different dimension living in this way among these people certainly counted as that. “Timeout.” “Hard to get used to at first, isn’t it?” “Timeout? That was my first.” “No, I mean the reality that you can be punished again. Being accountable to someone in that way again, subject to their authority. No jury, no appeals court.” Ella scoffed. “Parenthood is the one true dictatorship, especially for littles.” The last part of the statement sounded a bit dramatic, but Jamie understood what she meant, and he agreed wholeheartedly with the first part of what she’d said. “Definitely. For a moment, I thought ...” He sighed and stopped talking. “That she was going to spank you? Does she hit you, or would she, do ya think?” Ella had a definite opinion on corporal punishment: it was hitting, no matter word people used. And she had a definite response to people who would insist a spanking is not hitting: fuck you. At the very word “spank,” a number of littles ears turned up, and several little looked uncomfortable to hear it. James was. “Yes. And no, I don’t think she’d ever do that. And then she told me so last night. It’s just … in the moment … it just brought up bad memories is all.” So someone, or more than one someone, hit him as a kid, she thought. Fucking sonsabitches. She figured he didn’t want to talk about that, so instead she turned to the bright side. “Good that you know that now. at least, that she never would. What did she say when you asked?” “I didn’t ask. I just said that I got … afraid when she picked me up and told me she wanted me to remember not to do it again. I told Amanda, and then when Manda told her, Mom cried.” “Then she must really love you.” “Yeah, she does,” Jamie said without a smile. Just a fact, and fact that wasn’t new but was still fresh, still a puzzle to him. She just loved him. From the start and even more now. What did I do to deserve instant love, Jamie wondered. Don’t suppose you know why, Jamie wanted to ask. Instead, Jamie decided to ask, “So how come Diane didn’t tell my mom another unregressed little came her? My mom was real concerned about that.” “Privacy.” “Just saying there’s an unregressed little doesn’t violate privacy, does it?” “In San Siena it does. I’m not even sure there are a dozen of us here.” That still didn’t make much sense. “So what if someone knew an unregressed little came here? We have to hide or something?” “’We?’ No, we don’t have to hide. How ‘bout I draw your picture for real now?” Jamie knew when a conversation was being purposefully but politely ended. He didn’t try to get an answer to the obvious follow up question. ______________________________________________________________________________ After taking another couple days to think over her letter, Cheryl decided she couldn’t be so serious, not in this letter. She feared causing Jamie any kind of negative emotion that would take his mind out of his new reality, which she knew well would likely set back his adjustment to Itali. She knew how hard it was, and screwing it up for her own reasons was just wrong. Dearest Jamie, I’ve tried to think of all the reasons you haven’t written me in so long, and the reason I want to accept as the truth is every moment brings you so much happiness your hand cannot hold a pen. I want to believe that. We’re so far apart. I want to believe so many things, at least as many as I fear. I did receive the report from Marsha’s home visit, and what relief it was to see happy news to hear she found you are safe and loved and loving in turn. I needed to know that. Becky and Amanda seem to understand you, or at least be coming to it, no easy feat as I know; every day I still think on you. I don’t think you realize the light of soft joy you bring to those you let in. It’s not the ecstatic kind, which never lasts, but deeper a hue of fulfillment in having gained the trust of someone worth counting as a friend, and more. I’ve kept my promise. I take the names from where I keep them and read them. It’s like a prayer, I suppose. I’m not sure who I’m praying for when I read those names. Them; you; me; this whole world and its broken heart. I say your name, too. Are you using my gifts? Have you given your bear a name yet? A token of my love affection for you; it doesn’t seem much now, but I hope it gives you some comfort happiness and reminds you of me. I know it is not over, the time of change in your life when you are trying so hard to come to terms with a new world and yourself in it, nor is it likely to end for some time more. I’m loathe to interrupt what progress you’ve made and how I may set it back seeing you or even writing this letter. But much longer without you, and name me for a liar, Jamie, and know me for one, too. So I am keeping my other promise, too, and planning to visit as soon as I can. I know not when yet I don’t know when exactly, but within the year. I’m sure you understand given how long a journey it is, but that only gives us more time to anticipate and plan. Do you have a soft word for me? Give me leave to hope for that at least. I can’t wait to hear from you again. I want to know about your latest adventures and the people you’ve met. Your forever friend, Cheryl Once she had edited her letter, she rewrote a clean draft and sent it. She knew it would be weeks before her letter even arrived, and she’d just have to wait to hear from Jamie. But hopefully not much longer than the time it took for a letter to get there and a response to come back. She wondered for real, why hadn’t he written. She prayed it was for a good reason.
  29. 7 points
    I'm not exactly an AB. An adult kid at best, but really just a DL. But when I was out at dinner tonight I saw a young mom with her diaper bag backpack on and the little bottle of milk in the outer pocket and she was pretty cute besides - well, I felt a little flutter in my tummy and wished she was my dinner date instead of my dad and brother. That's been happening as I'm writing. After almost 20 years as an active age player and diaper fetishist, it's not often that something feels new and exciting again, but writing this has brought some of that back. ☺️ A nice, long update. PS, the typos re starting to bother me, but not enough to proofread. I post each chapter as soon as I'm finished writing it. Sorry for all the word my brain said but fingers forgot to type. ________________________________________ Chapter 21, Part 4 Jamie knew how to fight, or at least protect himself. The neighborhoods he grew up in, and the group homes, that was something he had learned, and as a social worker in those same environments, he had been trained to safely restrain a violent child or teen. He’d done it a few times, most often pulling one kid off another. Girls, he recalled, were worse in that sense; once it escalated to fighting, they didn’t stop swinging just because he separated them. Bobby was bigger than Jamie and bigger than anyone Jamie had ever gotten physical with, but he was also regressed, not much but probably enough to make him clumsy. But Jamie didn’t care. It was easier to walk away, and what would he want to get in a fight for anyway? “Sorry you feel that way. Maybe we can be friends someday,” Jamie said. He didn’t trust Bobby to not do something stupid, so he backed away by going under the swing set. Bobby just glared at him, disappointed that he had failed to even hurt Jamie’s feelings. Jamie had a better perspective. Bobby, he knew, didn’t even know why he disliked Jamie. More likely he just enjoyed being mean. A psychologist could tie all kinds of motivations to it – acting out frustrations, poor role modeling, a desire to dominate those he couldn’t be superior to in other ways – and maybe one or all of those was accurate, but Jamie knew probably simpler: sensory stimulation. It just felt good to Bobby to be mean. Jamie could walk away, so he did. He walked over to a dome-shaped piece of playground equipment made of steel bars in a honeycomb structure. No one else was playing on it. At the top, it was probably only fifteen feet from the group, within reach of the average big if they stood under it. More out of boredom, Jamie stepped through one of the opening and started to climb up the inside of it. That’s what he needed, just the physical outlet. It wasn’t easy or hard, and he reached the top in less than a minute, hanging there by his knees and hands. This group could be a lot livelier, Jamie thought. He’d been hoping that it would be more like the park and he could at least get in a good game, but the littles sat in their sandboxes or climbed on the swing set or toddled after each other. Maybe I should bring a set of workout clothes tomorrow and just do laps, he thought. Jamie had been fit before he left, but he never really enjoyed working out. Now, starting with the gifts Cheryl had sent, he was working out more than before, mostly because it gave him something to do. There were too many hours in the day for him, considering nothing much happened. He didn’t have deadlines or even any responsibilities. At least he had Amanda and Becky to keep him company, though. Jamie had been getting pretty good with the finger board. He wondered how he’d do on this. He worked his legs out and hung by his hands, looking at the mat fifteen feet below. You’re lighter here, he reminded himself, and the mat is there. The bars were thicker than the finger board openings, a little harder to hold, but he lets his hands go loose until he was just hanging from the bar with the first two joints of his fingers. He let his pinky go, and then his ring finger, and that was all he could hold. He tried to pull himself up to get his hands around the bar again, he his hands we’re too sweaty and arms too tired. He fell faster than he could say “oh shit!” but had the presence of mind to let himself fall and not try to stay standing. He landed on his feet and let himself fall. He took a moment to let himself be; nothing hurt but his pride. As he pushed himself up, though, he was being pulled off the ground from behind. “I’m fine.” “Oh my goodness! Are you alright?” “I’m fine, really.” He was resting on her shoulder so quick he wasn’t sure who had him. She was bouncing him gently and inspecting his legs and hips and back and head. “I’m fine.” “Shhh. You’re okay. Shhh,” she soothed him. Who is she shushing? “Excuse me, I’m fine.” “Yes you are. Shhh.” She kept patting his back. “Let’s go back to April.” She cooed for twenty meters. One of these again. “I stole the Lindbergh baby.” “I know. That must have been very scary.” “I know where the WMDs are.” “Shhh.” “I’m the reason why everything that tastes good is fattening.” “April will make it all better.” Jamie just sighed. “Your hair smells like peaches and almonds. And your skin is very soft.” Meh; there are worse places to be. “April, I believe this little guy belongs to you.” “Is everything alright?” “I’m doing fine.” “Someone had a little fall.” She said as though I don’t exist. April frowned and moved to where she could see Jamie. “Everything alright?” “Yep.” “Here.” April held out her arms, and Jean passed him over. April set him on his feet. “Then go play.” She sent him on his way, but he stayed within hearing distance. Jean was a sweet girl, but this was her first job, and sometimes talking to her reminded April of talking to a little. She wanted to ask which part we use to listen with, our mouth or our ears, but she had sympathy for anyone’s whose heart is in the right place. “He’s not regressed, remember?” As in Diane had two separate staff meetings about him? “I know.” “Good. Next time, if he’s not crying, bleeding or unconscious, please be sure to ask him if he’s okay before picking him up.” “Oh. Sorry. I guess I forgot.” Jamie was starting to appreciate April. He went back to the dome to try again. “That’s okay. Just remember he can use words just like you can.” April wondered how Jean got a job as a little care worker. These were coveted positions. “Okay. Again, sorry. I’ll remember.” April smiled at her and reminded herself she was young. “Let’s round them up for lunch.” April rang a bell next to the door, and the littles started running inside, some lingering longer than others. Jamie climbed down from the dome this time and walked in. ______________________________________________________________________________ A nap followed lunch, and Jamie found his mat to not be nearly so comfortable as his crib, but the little food they served was enough to take the edge off. He felt odd sleeping out in the open, not that he wasn’t in his crib but that he was on the floor with a bunch of other people around him. When he woke up it was still quiet in the room. He didn’t want to waste a minute of being conscious without the chaos and sat up yawning and rubbing his eyes. He’d hoped to avoid it, but couldn’t, so he gave in and wet himself. April noticed him awake and came over to him, getting down near the floor. “Hey. Can’t sleep, huh,” she whispered. “Guess not.” “Wanna get up?” Jamie nodded. “Mind if I pick you up?” “No, that’s alright.” She picked him up, felt the warmth of his butt on her arm, and started carrying him toward what he thought was the bathroom. He didn’t want to do this, but he also knew there wasn’t anything he could say to stop it. No way would she not change him now that she felt he was wet. He knew this would happen and most likely today, but still. He had only been changed in public the once, and now it was going to happen with a stranger. At least she wasn’t doing it in the classroom. It wasn’t a bathroom, or rather was a bathroom but that was a second rom behind the door. The main area held three changing tables. The germaphobe in Jamie figured there was no way this could be clean. He was set down on one of the tables and laid back. There was no point in not making it go fast, hopefully fast enough that it stayed just the two of them. April silently buckled a strap across his chest, which he figured she’d always do give the liability, and put on a pair of disposable gloves. Jamie lifted his hips and made it easier for her. “I saw you reading to Jenny. She likes you.” “She’s sweet. We had fun.” “That makes you a rarity. Only a couple of the other littles read, and not fluently.” “I can’t imagine that. That’s got to be boring.” “Maybe, but they always manage to find something to do. Did you have fun outside?” Jamie scoffed. “Some. It’s too bad none of the other littles are … athletic. Hard to play with them. Like playing with, well, a toddler.” “You just got to learn to do it on their terms. What do you like to play?” “I don’t know. At the park we play tag.” “What do you like about it?” “It’s … well, it’s not a challenge to win, but it’s still effort. Feel like I’m doing something.” “Maybe there’s a version of that we could play here. Sorry about Jean. She just forgot is all.” “I know; thanks for sticking up for me.” Jamie considered what she’d said. “You can, pick me up, when you think you may need to, or even, if you just want to.” April let out a laugh. “You getting a crush on me already?” “No! I mean, I don’t mind, at least when the person doing it doesn’t pretend I don’t exist. She didn’t hear a word I said.” “If it makes you feel better, it’s not just you. She’s new at this; she still hasn’t figured out littles aren’t made of porcelain.” Jamie’s shorts were being buttoned back up. He was released from the strap and placed on his feet. April went into the bathroom and washed her hands. “You may want to go hang out with Denise for a bit.” “Why?” As he said it, the door opened and in came Carrie with a ripe, crying little. He looked out the door and saw maybe a third of the kids who were awake were crying. “Got it.” Good idea. “You can go ahead.” Jamie went back through the classroom, stepping over littles and surprising himself by being jealous of the few in a crib. At least they had their own space. As he neared the door, Jordan stepped in front of him. “Jamie, right? Can I help you with something?” “April said I could go hang out with Denise.” “Oh. I’m sorry, go ahead.” She opened the door for him. From behind him, Jamie heard, “Why does he get to…” The door closed behind him, and Jamie answered the question in his head. Because I still have my mind intact to not be subjected to the sensory assault of 20 groggy littles. “Hi, Denise.” She looked up from her computer. “Hi, Jamie. What’s up?” “Nothing. April just thought I’d prefer to be out here while they get everyone up.” “Aha. That’s why like this side of the door. You can sit here.” She pulled a rolling stool out from under the desk and held it steady while he climbed on to it. Jamie didn’t like it. Either he sat in the middle like on a lazy susan or sat on the edge like the thing was going to fly out from under him. But it was that or stand or the floor. “So, how’s your first day?” “Uh …” Jamie exhaled. “What am I supposed to every weekday like this? I mean …” He was frustrated. “It’s okay. Say what you feel. I won’t tell anyone. Diane can’t hear through the door.” “I feel like my brain is gonna run out my ears. I had run reading to some of the littles, but if I want to have a conversation I’m going to have to have it with the bigs. And that jerk Bobby tried to pick a fight with me.” “What did you do, when he tried that.” “Walked away. Not like I have anything to prove to him.” “I don’t know what makes him like that.” “He probably just likes it.” “Like, the attention? Getting in trouble all the time?” “No. Being mean. It feels good sometimes, doesn’t it? Makes you feel powerful. And he doesn’t have the mental capacity to stop himself. Littles that … young, I guess is the word, don’t have much impulse control and have a hard time connecting an action to a consequence unless it happens right away.” “How do you know that?” “I used to work with kids. Human kids.” “Any suggestion on how to fix it?” Jamie shrugged. “Replace the good feeling. He does it because it feels good, so find something else that feels good.” Basic applied behavioral analysis, something Jamie knew a little about and was in awe of the people who had the patience and skill to actually manage. Not that it didn’t have its detractors, but it was hard to argue with results. “Makes sense. You meet Billy yet?” “No.” “He’s the same.” “Are they real brothers?” “You mean human brothers? Don’t know. Does it make a difference?” “No, I’m just curious.” If they’re not, it was either a coincidence they ended up together, or a deliberate choice, or the bigs they lived with somehow made them that way. “What are you going to do about the other thing?” “The being bored and having no one to talk to?” “Any of the bigs will talk to you.” “They’re at work. I don’t want to take up their time.” “You’re their work, too, right?” Denise smiled at him. She wanted him to feel worth their attention. Jamie blushed. He didn’t like to think of himself that way. “I mean, they got things they should focus on instead of me. They got their hands full.” “That’s their job, balancing their time and attention. You don’t have to do it for them. Just … do what you need to.” Jamie wanted to change the subject. “April is nice.” “Diane assigned her to you on purpose. She’s a little less enamored with littles.” “You say that like it’s a good thing. Why would Diane assign someone who doesn’t like littles.” “She loves littles, just not as … intensely, as others. She’s better at connecting with them as …” She didn’t want to say ‘people’ or ‘equals;’ those weren’t the right words. “As individuals.” “Unlike Jean?” “Jean is just out of secondary school. She’s taking a year to figure out what she wants to do, and she’s Diane’s niece, otherwise no way would someone without a graduate degree get the job.” “You need a graduate degree to work here?” “At any little care. These are competitive jobs.” “They’ve to be making almost nothing, though, right?” “They make almost as much as teachers.” “Mom mentioned that. I don’t get that. Why do teachers get paid so much?” “Because everything else is based on that. If you don’t have good teachers, how can you anything else work like it should? Who wants a doctor who had a bad teacher?” “This place is like Scandinavia on steroids.” Denise didn’t get the reference, of course. “Anyway, my point is Jean is young. She’ll learn.” Jamie signed and slumped. “Tomorrow is an even longer day.” “Well, you can always help me.” “Answer the phone. Yeah, but I also do the accounting and the paperwork. How are you with spreadsheets?” Jamie looked at her closely. She was almost as good at being the straight man as he was. “Good joke.” He chuckled. “But seriously, you’re always welcome out here. You can even keep some things in my desk. And I’ll bring you a book or something if you’d like.” “Thanks.” “Well, anyway, it’s almost time for Amanda to pick you up.” “It is? Oh! Thank goodness.” ­______________________________________________________________________________ Amanda arrived not long after and was surprised to see him sitting at the desk. Jamie felt his heart flutter when he saw her. Deliverance! Jamie wanted to get down and jump on her, but the felt the stool would fly out from under him if he tried it. “Hey, buddy!” She wrapped him up and gave him wet kiss. “Mmmmwhuh! What are you doing out here?” “Keeping me company. It gets boring out here with no one to talk to,” Denise answered. Amanda smiled at the two of them. As painful as leaving him that morning was, picking up felt nearly as good. “Do you need anything from inside?” “I don’t think so.” “I’ll let April know picked him up,” Denise volunteered. “Thanks.” “Thanks, Denise. It was nice talking with you.” “You, too. See you tomorrow.” Jamie’s mood instantly improved. What a difference a friend makes! Amanda was just as happy to see him. “Your friend’s been waiting for you all day, too, buddy.” He was about to ask what friend when they got to the car and he saw his bear strapped into his car seat. Jamie let out a big breath. “Thank you. I missed you.” Amanda liked what he said but not how he said it. She got him strapped in and pulled out of the parking lot. Jamie could see everyone back out on the playground. He wasn’t the least sorry he wasn’t with them. Amanda wanted to hear everything but didn’t want to push it. Finding him hanging out with the receptionist and hearing the tone of his voice were dismaying. It was obvious it hadn’t been the best day. “Want to go home, or we can go anywhere else you want,” she said into the rearview. “Like where?” “Well, I was going to meet Mel later to go get some school stuff. I can call and see if she’s free now.” Jamie liked that idea. He hadn’t seen Mel since their lunch together, but he liked her, and he did sort of have a crush on her. He couldn’t help it. “Okay!” He didn’t mean to sound so excited. The day was definitely getting better. Amanda called and arranged to meet Mel. “Where are we going?” “A store called Bullseye.” That sounded odd. “What do they sell?” “A little of everything. Maybe we’ll even find something for you. Good thing we’re going now, too. Probably be a zoo when school gets out.” They pulled into what looked to Jamie like a big box store. Jamie held Amanda’s hand across the parking lot, and they waited in the little café near the entrance for Mel. “Do you want anything?” “Some water?” Amanda returned with water in a baby bottle. “Sorry,” she said, looking embarrassed on his behalf. “They’re out of little cups and have a store policy about littles and regular cups. I’ll start keeping a bag for you in my car.” “It’s okay. No one will care.” “You’ve got to be one of the most easy-going people I’ve ever met.” “Accept the things we cannot change, right?” “Is that a saying where you’re from?” “Part of a prayer, actually.” “Mind riding in the cart? We’re going to need it.” “No. Kinda prefer it today.” They walked over to get a cart and were met by Mel coming through the door. “Hey,” she said coming in. “Thanks for being able to meet us so soon.” “No problem. I was leaving my last class when you called. How’ve you been, Jamie? Staying out of trouble?” “Doing my best. It’s nice to see you again.” Jamie blushed. He didn’t know her. He just thought she was pretty, and she had been kind to him, talking to him like a grown up. They made their way to the school supply section. It had been picked over pretty well. “I always think I’m going to be able to finally take my notes on my computer and never can,” Mel said while trying to find a notebook that wasn’t way too small or way too big. “You remember better this way anyway.” “Any good classes this year?” “That psych course, remember.” “Oh yeah! That’ll be interesting for you.” “What about you?” “I’m trying to murder my last gen ed credits this semester. Saved up all the worst for last.” “Any of it hard?” “Only in the sense that it’s so boring to me I don’t want to actually study it, but I’ll get over that.” “Need anything, Jamie?” “Um, now that you mention it, I could you use some more colored pencils.” In the cart they went. Figuring they may as well since they were there, they went down each aisle picking up any run of the mill household things they needed, followed by a run down the grocery aisles. Amanda pulled some little food items off the shelf. “Want a cookie?” “Always,” Jamie brightened. He didn’t know what they put in this stuff, but he’d be fine if they just sold it raw. Jamie was hooked. “Will you share on with me?” “Sure.” Amanda opened the package and broke a cookie in half. Jamie’s disappeared almost as soon as it was in his hand. Amanda took a bite and looked like she’d bit into a rotten onion. She forced herself to swallow, her body wiggling as she did. “How can you not like a cookie – especially that cookie,” Jamie asked. Amanda responded by taking his bottle and sucking a mouthful from it, wanting badly to spit it out on the floor, but she swallowed that too. “Sorry,” she said. “You like those?” “Yeah! More for me, I guess.” “Exclusively for you, definitely. I guess little food is for littles.” Jamie got a sly grin on his face. “Should we offer one to Mel?” Amanda laughed. “No, I like her and want to keep her around.” Mel came back from the wherever she had gone with her own cart filled with a few more items. “Want to go see if they have any cute clothes?” “Sure. You don’t mind, do you, Jamie?” “No. Not at all.” They cross the store to the clothing section. Big box clothing, but then, college students on a budget. As they browsed, Jamie started to get uncomfortable. It was past that time of day. “Do you like this,” Mel asked, holding up a light but vivid blue blouse. “Yeah. I like that color on you.” “Jamie, what do you think?” She held it against herself for him to see. “Very pretty. Almost matches your eyes.” “See, who wants a regressed little when they can be friends with guys like this,” Mel said. She collected a few things and went into a dressing room. Amanda kept browsing, and Jamie kept squirming. You can only squirm so much in the seat of a cart. Discomfort was turning into an emergency. Amanda noticed. “What’s wrong?” Jamie couldn’t have blushed any harder. He hadn’t considered this when he woke up from nap and decided to wait, or when he said he wanted to go out instead of home. “I …” He exhaled audibly through his nose. He couldn’t say it. Amanda put two and two together. She leaned in so only he could hear her. “Even if we left right now we wouldn’t be home for 20 minutes. Can you … just, go?” “Can I use the men’s room? Or the ladies’ room?” “There’s no such thing as a little-sized public toilet.” Jamie groaned, mostly but not only in disappointment. He hadn’t felt such an urge to go in a while; perhaps it was the daycare-quality lunch he’d had. “Why don’t you go now, before Mel’s done? We’ll go straight to get you cleaned up.” Jamie’s shoulder quaked a little in embarrassment and hurt. In months, this just hadn’t come up outside their home. “Okay,” he said in one of his sad voices. All around not a great day. Amanda steered them toward the dressing room and knocked gently. “Mel? Jamie and I will be right back. We’ll come find you.” “Okay,” Mel said in response. Amanda headed toward the family restroom at the front of the store. She couldn’t exactly give Jamie privacy, but she could not talk or look at him. Halfway there Amanda exclaimed, “Oh shoot!” She turned around. Jamie was slumped against the rail with is forehead in his hand. “I’m sorry, Jamie. I don’t have your bag with me. Stupid of me,” she cursed under her breath. “It’s okay,” Jamie said with a long sniffle. “Oh, you sweet baby boy. No need for that. We’ll just what we need here.” She took him to the little aisle and got a package of the same diapers he wore at home for daytime and a package of wipes. Jamie squirmed and slumped again. “Are you feeling okay?” “Yeah,” Jamie answered in a miserable voice. He kept his eyes on Amanda’s shoes as they walked back to the restroom. “It’s really okay, baby. We’ll get you cleaned up in no time.” “I know; it’s just … here.” Big-box stores are even bigger when giants shop there. The restroom was far away by Jamie’s standard. “Look up for me, baby.” Jamie did. “No one is even looking, see? No one cares.” No one was looking at them as they walked past; they were doing their own thing. “Do you have your pacifier with you?” Jamie had forgotten about it. He pulled it from his pocket. “Put it in. Trust me.” Reluctantly, Jamie did. “Even better, right? Camouflage. No one is judging you anyway, and with that in, you look just like any regressed little. No one will think anything of it at all.” Jamie did see and put his head back down anyway. The family restroom was actually several private stalls with floor to ceiling doors, fans, and self-cleaning changing tables. It was private and clean, and so was Jamie in a few minutes. Amanda threw the diaper into a chute that led to the incinerator and washed her hands in the sink in the room. She helped Jamie sit and lifted him on to her hip. He wrapped his arms around her and put his head on her breast. She wasn’t surprised, exactly, but she hadn’t expected him to so upset. He’d been changed at the park; he’d been changed at daycare. This was more private and it was Amanda doing it and no one in the store even batted an eye. Clearly it wasn’t just embarrassment or even humiliation. It was, Amanda searched for the term, a loss of status in Jamie’s own eyes? Amanda shifted Jamie so she could hold him with both arms and gently rocked him, patting his bottom and cooing to him just above a whisper. Her phone beeped; she ignored it. He just needed a minute. He picked his head up and blushed, now embarrassed at suddenly crying. Jamie took his pacifier out of his mouth, and said, “Sorry.” Amanda brushed a tear from his cheek and swept his hair back in one motion. “Don’t ever say that to me because you need to cry. Ever.” She kissed his flushed forehead and moved him back to her hip. She took a paper towel from the dispenser and held it up to his nose. “Blow.” Jamie did and felt much better. She took another one, wetted it, and cleaned his face. “There. Handsome like you always are.” They went back into the store and put Jamie back in the cart. He put his pacifier back in, which Amanda didn’t remark on, and she checked her phone. A text from Mel: “Found your cart. Take your time.” Amanda texted back: “DON’T say anything about it.” Mel responded: “Still in the clothes.” Why would she say anything about it? They went and found her. “Did you like anything you tried on,” Amanda asked as they approached. “I’m keeping the blouse. The rest was meh. Do you need anything?” “No, don’t think so.” “Want to take a look at the little’s department?” “What do you think, Jamie?” Feeling emotionally exhausted, Jamie just shrugged. You can judge how much a society really cares about something by the amount of retail floor space it gets. The little’s department was big. The women poked around while Jamie daydreamed. “You sure there’s not anything you want,” Amanda asked. Jamie looked around. “What about there,” he said pointing to some active wear. “My regular clothes get pretty uncomfortable when I’ve been running around.” “See,” Mel said, “We’ll turn you into a first class shopper.” A few pairs of gym shorts, some quick-dry t-shirts, a pair of running pants, and some ankle socks. “That’s kind of a lot,” Jamie said. “Don’t worry. Mom will pay me back. Is that everything?” “Woah!” Mel interjected. “How can you do your brother like that?” Amanda laughed but felt self-conscious. “What?” “We’re not even gonna walk through the toy section?” Amanda joined in with an exaggerated response, smacking her forehead. “You’re right! I am being such a space cadet today! Thank goodness we brought you along, right Jamie?” Jamie chuckled and took the pacifier back out of his mouth. “Very lucky.” They browsed the toy aisle slowly. “Anything look fun?” Nothing much did, and then Jamie spotted the electronics section. “Do they sell stuff for littles over there?” “Sure,” Amanda said, wheeling the cart over. “Did you have something in mind?” “Well …” Jamie was still getting comfortable asking for things. Old habits die hard. “It’s kinda of really loud at daycare some times.” “Ah,” Amanda said, “Got it. Let’s get you hooked up.” She headed toward a display of headphones. “What kind do you like? Over the ear? On the ear? In the ear?” “In, if they’re soft.” Amanda read a few packages. She felt like spoiling him more than usual. “Excuse me,” she said to the clerk. He walked over. “Can we take a look at some in the case?” “Oh,” the young man said, “We got a connoisseur on our hands?” Jamie looked him over. Looks like a hipster and smells like weed, Jamie thought. I could get along with this guy. Jamie was neither of those (though he was starting to question how much he enjoyed little food), but he always had a penchant for the outsider, even if the outsider affectations of a hipster. “Can we see those?” Amanda pointed to a pair. Wireless, silicone ear pieces, sweat proof and won’t fall out when being active. “What do you think?” She handed Jamie the box. “They seem perfect, but, are you sure?” “If it will help you enjoy daycare, Mom won’t mind at all.” Mel chimed in. “Think your mom would mind if I said they’d help my enjoy daycare? Those are nicer than mine by like a way lot.” The midafternoon toker chimed in. “You gonna need something to play on ‘em?” “Uh, yes, I guess we are. What do you have?” They walked to another case. “We carry Pear products and SumSing and some off-brand stuff.” “In for a penny, right? Is that the latest uPod?” “Dude,” he said to Jamie, “You’ve got her wrapped around your finger.” “Oh,” Amanda said, ruffling his hair, “He knows. You can share my uTunes account; it’s a monthly subscription, so as much as you can download.” “Thank you, really.” “Don’t mention it. Seriously, to Mom. I’ll break the news to her later.” Mel couldn’t stop herself from cracking up. “And with that, I think we’re done.” The man had to walk them to the front because what they had came out of the case. Amanda and Mel couldn’t see him checking out Amanda’s butt, but Jamie sure could. “Hey!” Jamie barked, glaring at him. “You don’t check out someone’s sister right in from of him!” Basic dude etiquette. “I … Uh … heh …” he sputtered. Amanda stopped and looked at him, her ears red. Mel’s chest was heaving and despite her efforts to hold them in, guffaws were escaping as grunts and uncontrollable shaking. “I think … uh, you can take these, yourself. Sorry.” He handed over the headphones and player, and walked away as quickly as he could. Mel had no reason to hold it back anymore, and Amanda neither. Jamie found it funny, too, but he wasn’t joking when he said it. “Sorry, I didn’t mean … I know you don’t need me to … he just crossed the Dude Line.” “The Dude Line?” “The Dude Line.” Amanda looked at Mel. She had an older and younger brother. “It’s a thing.” Amanda turned back to Jamie. “Thanks anyway. You’re a good brother, Jamie.” Amanda was right and now that school was out the place was getting full. They picked a lane. Mel went first and waited for them. Amanda handed the checker the headphones and player. She said, “Jason is supposed to bring these up to me himself.” “Oh, he did,” Amanda answered, “He got most of the way here, and then he had to go be somewhere else.” “Huh.” The checker winked at Jamie. “Someone must have behaved real well to get presents like these.” The checker rang everything up and got to the wipes and open bag of diapers. “And I see someone must’ve got caught unprepared, huh, fella?” Jamie frowned, but Amanda saw red. “Excuse me,” she said, probably louder than she meant to, “Did you use the toilet during your last break?” The woman stopped cold. “Oh, sorry to offend. I just thought I’d ask since we’re not respecting people’s privacy.” The checker turned a different shade of red than Amanda and finished her job. Mel looked a little stunned herself. When they got out of the store, Jamie said, “I don’t think you needed to do that.” Amana put her hand on top of his on the rail of the cart. “Probably not, but I did anyway.” “Thank you.” “Any time.” Mel smiled at them. “You two are really something, the way you take care of each other.” “Well, you do that for the people you love, right Jamie?” “Right. We should do this more, the three of us.” Did I just ask Mel out, Jamie wondered. “That’d be fun.” Amanda got Jamie and their purchases loaded into the car. Mel helped and waited until Jamie’s door was closed before saying, “Alright. I know we make fun of Donna for being little crazy. But he is just … ugh, the tenderest, funniest, sweetest, most adorable little guy. And oh my god! The purple pacifier really seals it. Just … ugh. I finally get what people mean when they say they want to gobble a little right up.” Amanda listened and felt proud. “Anyway, thanks for inviting me along.” “I’m glad you could come. I think Jamie really likes you. You can little-sit anytime.” “I’d like that. See you on campus tomorrow?” “Yeah, I’ll text you.” “Cool. Bye.” Mel walked to her own car, and Amanda got into hers. “What was that about?” “Nothing, just school stuff.” “Ready to head home.” “Definitely.” An up and down day for both of them. For Jamie, it had been the most eventful day of his months here. Amanda reprimanding that woman was surprising. She hadn’t needed to be so aggressive, or really say anything at all. He’d been thinking it over, and this seemed more or less like a final barrier surpassed. In the end, it hadn’t been the catastrophe he’d made it out to be in his head. She’d made it much easier. Still, some things are easier to say when you’re not looking at a person, so this seemed the perfect time. “Manda? About that thing we talked about a couple days ago?” Amanda didn’t need to think to know what he was talking about. “Yeah?” “Can I still change my mind later?” “Of course. Whatever makes you happy, we’ll make it work.” “Well, uh, I trust you. Let’s … leave things the way they are and do it your way.” “Okay.” That was the perfect response. She didn’t need to belabor it. She did wish, though, that she could tell Mel, if only to see her swoon again, but this between the two of them and would stay that way unless and until Jamie decided otherwise. When they pulled into the driveway, Becky was parking her car in the garage. She lit up to see them pulling in and walked into the driveway. “Hey, you know what would make Mom really happy?” Amanda parked and let Jamie out, and he ran to Becky and jumped so that she had to catch him. She picked wrapped her arms around him just like Amanda had done and kissed him all over his face. “Did you miss me, Jamie. Huh? Tell me all about your day.” She looked like there was nothing that could have made the day better than Jamie leaping into her arms. Becky winked to Amanda and turned to inside. Once they were in the door, Amanda, still in the driveway, said, “By the way, Mom, you owe me $500.” Just rehearsing.
  30. 7 points
    Short tonight. Big chapters ahead, though. _______________________________________________ Chapter 20 The three of them opted to stay in all day instead of go out. They were content just to be in each other’s company. While Jamie was curious what Amanda and Becky had said, as they were about what he had said, by silent agreement they didn’t ask or volunteer. Marsha had been a mirror, and their obvious relief and happiness and renewed affection in the wake of reflecting on each other was enough to tell each of them that it had been a good day. When the three of them weren’t together, Jamie wandered between them, seeing what Amanda was doing and what Mom was doing. Each time, Jamie used the word, it made him a little giddy, and it made her feel that good kind of heartache. Amanda behaved as though she’d been starved for affection in the few hours when Jamie wasn’t hanging on her, and whenever he drew close she grabbed him or picked him up or rough housed with him. When it came time for his afternoon nap, she gave him the purest expression for her physical affection for him, holding him on her chest for nearly an hour and half as he slept. Jamie still didn’t know what to think about Amanda’s revelation. He was done feeling upset with her, but he still didn’t know how to go about deciding whether to continue to go along with it or not. His instinct was not to. But the intimate alone time he spent with her, and with Mom, were important to him; he wasn’t sure if those times could be replicated. He never felt more vulnerable than in those moments; he was more open during those times because of it, and they in turn met his vulnerability with tenderness. It deepened the trust he had in them and gave Becky and Amanda the warmhearted satisfaction of getting to take care of him. Trust, Jamie thought. Trust is what everyone has been saying to me for over half a year. This took trust, so much of it, and now to continue would require more. It wasn’t just trust he wasn’t sure he felt. It was trust and more: if he trusted Amanda was right and his staying in diapers would help him, he gave up not just the trust but independence, comfort, and yes, some dignity. And it wouldn’t just be given up to them, but to all the bigs in whose care he would be placed, and soon. As much as he tried to linger in the moment of the day, he couldn’t help but feel a sunset of sorts. He recollected the end of summer in his youth; it wasn’t real until after a few weeks of being back in school. It would come to him of an evening in September with the first chill air hinting at the fall. In a breeze or in the scent of the wind, it augured autumn, and with the fading summer evening light, weaker by the day, it marked a transition from one time to another. In the days before seeing the transition, a curtain had been falling a little more each day, so slow as to go unnoticed. But once noticed, the curtain closed the last few inches to the stage near at once, cutting off the light. The old light, in which everything was illuminated so clearly, was in the past; the new light, which hid much of the future in its glare, was now; in between the lights, a curtain no one had asked to close. Childhood. Summertime. Love. Curtains fall with the end of these, and once fallen, the objectivity of time becomes irrelevant. There is before the curtain. There is after the curtain. The before always seems impossibly far away. You think you can pass through, go back; it is only thread, after all, thin as silk. You cannot. The new light off the silk creates illusions of idyll. But touch the curtain, and the smallest turn of fabric around a fingertip bends the light, and the illusion disappears. Try to pull the curtain back, and it will not move. Where Jamie came from was already behind a curtain. He’d lost track of the time. He had only a vague sense of how long he’d been in his new world. He rarely saw the sun rise or set; he didn’t have or need a calendar or a watch. He lived his own rhythm. But now he sensed another curtain falling, or at least feared it. These last few weeks – an idyll, perhaps, and now, maybe, another curtain. It wasn’t that Jaime feared day care. He feared change. He liked so much where he was right now. He liked so much how he spent his days. He liked so much who he was with. Spending part of his day elsewhere, doing something else with someone else – it wasn’t just that he feared he wouldn’t like those things. He feared that those would change what he had. Would the autumn bring with it the end of the summer? He tried not to think about it, to stop looking for the curtain and enjoy the light he had right now. ______________________________________________________________________________ Jamie (née Eric) continues to adjust to his new home and family. Being unregressed has created challenges for Jamie in how others relate to him, and in turn how he relates to others, often in anger. However, Rebecca and Amanda continue to work with him to control these negative emotions and report he is making progress. The emotional struggles Jamie’s first case worker observed are still present. They are dormant at the moment likely due to the distractions of his new surroundings. I and his guardians believe these will resurface one Jamie’s routine becomes normalized. Rebecca is searching for a therapist for Jamie. Overall, the new Webb family has formed strong attachments to one another. Becky and Amanda both report and exhibit love for Jamie. Amanda is especially close to Jamie, as is he to her. The two of them, as Jamie’s previous case worker observed when first meeting Amanda, do “belong together. Jamie told me he loved them both “very much.” Cheryl read the same few lines of the report over and over. The rest was not important. All that mattered was that Jamie, for the time being, was happy and loved and loved in turn. No guilt. Regret, maybe. Longing, definitely. She could live with that until her visit. She opened her calendar.
  31. 7 points
    Thanks for the compliments, everyone. I like this part for a couple reasons, and I think it will explain @Bluebird67 why I've included some of what I have. Also, I've gotten much better at not typing "Jaime." 😂 _______________________________________ Chapter 18, Part 2 When Jamie was done playing, he took Rosie’s hand and they returned the group. “Did you have fun Rosie,” Jane asked. “Yes,” she said in her younger voice, “I was the only one who could catch Jamie. She winked at him. “I saw. You were so good!” “I bet you both worked up an appetite,” Becky said. “Are you guys ready for lunch?” “Yes, please,” they said in unison. “Let’s change your shirt first,” Amanda said, picking up her backpack and pulling out a clean shirt. “Do you want to keep your shoes on, or do you want your sandals?” “Sandals, please.” She tossed him a shirt and helped him change his shoes. Rosie was helped into her stroller, and Jamie opted to walk. Amanda handed him another water bottle. “We can walk to downtown?” “It’s not downtown downtown. Just the downtown of our suburb,” Becky explained. “You know, restaurants, little shops, city hall.” It was only six blocks, but it was six Itali blocks, and Jamie was already tired when they started walking. Jamie would have easily pegged the area as the older part of town. The houses looked less modern and more ornate. Some could have been featured in Giant Home and Giant Garden, if there were such a magazine. They past what looked like a church, though Jamie had no idea if they had churches and, if they did, no reason to think church architecture here was the same as back home. Across from the church was where the commercial district started. Bar-and-grill restaurants stood on opposite corners. A small hardware store was nearby. Clothing boutiques, an antique store, a bike shop, knick-knacks, other restaurants. It was a healthy downtown, and Jamie sensed a spirit of community and civic pride. Becky led them into a tavern that said “O’Donnell’s” on the door. A waitress greeted them between the bar and half-wall with a brass railing past which were the booths and tables. “Three and two littles?” “Yes,” Becky answered. The waitress took five menus and showed them to a table. “Do we need highchairs?” “How about one highchair and one booster seat.” The waitress nodded and was back shortly with both. Jamie looked at the menu. It was laminated and felt well used, old, the way menus at long-established restaurants are supposed to feel. On the walls were pictures, some that looked decades old, of sports teams; Jamie assumed they from the local schools. “You can order from the regular menu or the little menu,” Becky explained. “Can I start you off with some drinks,” asked a new waitress. Everyone stuck with water. “Is the little menu like the food from the grocery store,” Jamie asked. “Yep, and it’s a smaller portion size.” Jamie liked the sound of that. He wasn’t sure what it was about the formula and the cookies; it wasn’t just that they were sweet or even that they tasted so good. It was more like a feeling of release. Jamie knew about how the brain worked, and he figured whatever it was triggered some kind of dopamine and serotonin release. He’d be worried, but he assumed they wouldn’t put anything harmful in little food. Sugar, he knew, was the bigger threat. There wasn’t much on the menu Jamie could eat yet; he chose the grilled cheese. When he emptied his water glass, Amanda refilled it from his bottle. The bigs chatted, and Jamie peopled watched. There was the office crowd, but it was small. There weren’t many offices around that he could see on the way. There was the stay-at-home parent crowd, like they were, at least until summer was over. More tables, though, were occupied by older people, young retirees to old retirees. Jamie watched them and tried to listen to the conversations nearest him. After a few months in his first job, he liked to tell people that when he grew up he wanted to be a retiree for a living. It was just a little gallows humor, but the core of truth in it always bothered him a bit. It seemed a waste to have to wait until the very end of middle age to be able to have leisure in life; real leisure, not weekends interrupted by errands and two weeks a year spent answering emails on a beach. Leisure to learn; leisure to grow; leisure to just relax, take a greater interest in the people in your life, be a part of your community. Not everyone gets to retire, he knew, and it wasn’t just that some people had to keep working into old age, but that some people didn’t make it retirement. Life was as much luck as design, and a system that left some people working up until they died young seemed a system not designed for the humans stuck within it. Or those who did make it to retirement age, but with such health problems they couldn’t enjoy the years they had literally worked their entire lives for. What good did that system do for anyone, he wanted to know, who wanted to put more of the brief time they had to their own purposes? Even those at the top didn’t benefit from it; there was no longer such as a leisure class defined by wealth; now, the wealthy work longer than the people like Jamie, sadly, it seemed, because they couldn’t think of anything better to do. So Jamie watched the retirees, some of whom must have been eating here for decades, whose pictures may even be on the walls. Perhaps some of the met their friends here once a week. Perhaps their lunch out was part of some eventful day. Regardless, they looked happier than the office crowd or the stay-at-home parent crowd. This was the time they had worked for, the time to linger over a meal with someone they cared about. “Jamie?” “Oh! Sorry, I was watching people. Um, what did you ask?” “Whether you were excited for day care.” “Well,” he pondered, “It’s gonna be a hard, I think. But, sort of, I am.” “Why is that?” “I miss getting to know new people. I don’t like being very social, but I still like to meet new people; maybe I’ll even make a friend.” “I think that’s a very positive attitude to have,” Jane said. “Some littles go to day care screaming like they’re being left on the street corner in a cardboard box marked ‘FREE.’” That got some laughs, except from Rosie who has engrossed in coloring in a book. Jamie tried to see if, but he couldn’t from this angle. “Are you scared at all?” Jamie half-frowned. “Yeah, a little. I don’t make friends easily. And I haven’t had much luck with bigs so far, except family and you, Jane.” Their lunches arrived. Jamie’s was as good as he expected it to be. The French fries were perfect, the bread was grilled just the right amount, the blend of cheeses was perfect, and it all melted together so well. “Watching you today I think you’re going to make friends easily.” “Ya think so? I’m kinda worried about being the only unregressed little. Or, maybe the only.” “Why is that?” “Because … if you’re regressed then it make sense for bigs to treat you the way they do. If you’re not … some of it seems … infantilizing. And I wonder if some people, even littles, judge people like that.” Becky and Jane tried to reassure him with a smile. Rosie, as always, looked like she and she alone knew where to find unicorns and couldn’t be happier to keep the secret. Amanda looked uncomfortable. “Baby,” Becky began, “No one judges littles for being littles, I promise you.” Jamie smiled back, but he didn’t understand. What was the difference between treating someone like an infant and treating a little like a little? And where did that leave him, someone with the mind and body of an adult? Like he signed away his agency and his autonomy, essentially agree to be treated however a big wanted to fully aware he capable of taking care of himself? It also wasn’t lost on him that Becky had addressed the judgement part, but she hadn’t addressed, maybe didn’t even notice, Jamie’s implication that, to him at least, it didn’t make sense to treat an unregrssed little like a regressed little. At least, not in so many ways. Jamie could see how it make sense to bigs if they saw all littles as never being adults, though he wondered what the right analogy would be then (pets, sub-people, mentally incompetent?). He didn’t see himself that way. Even as he became more comfortable with being here, he didn’t know why he was here or how he thought it would help or why Cheryl thought it would or if he should be resisting every attempt to “little-ize” him or infantilize him with every tool he could grab hold to. Becky continued, “It’s like we talked about, remember, the day of your doctor visit? You’re a little, too, different from the regressed ones but still a little. And bigs like us and the people at the day care – who I made sure you’re going to like – know what’s best for littles. You just follow the rules and be yourself, and everyone will love you by the end of the day. I promise.” Jamie did remember that conversation, and he remembered the question he chose not to ask that day: But why do littles get treated differently? He wanted to ask now, but he was suddenly feeling tired from playing. Very, very tired. And good. Tired and good. Good and tired, he thought in his head but chuckled out loud. “Okay, Becky. Want some of my French fwies?” All she had was a salad. How boring was a salad? It hardly had any fat in it! Did I just say ”fwies,” Jamie wondered. “No thank you, sweety.” Jamie didn’t either; he was done with his lunch. He didn’t hear much of the rest of the conversation. When everyone was done, Jamie felt so good. His muscles were loose, and he felt warm but not too warm. He was fine staying there for a while. Maybe getting a fresh order of those French fries in a bit. “Ready to go, Jamie?” He smiled back at Amanda, who knelt down to get a closer look when he didn’t respond. “Everything alright, Amanda,” Becky asked. Amanda waved her hand in front of Jamie’s face. His eyes looked heavy. “Yeah, he’s fine. If he’s going to play that hard, we should make sure he eats some regular food before little food. I think it just got good to him,” she chuckled. She lifted him up on her shoulder and carried him back to the entrance, where they’d left their strollers. Jane looked at his eyes, drooping so far. “I think they call that ‘food drunk.’ Sorta like a sugar crash but without the ground shattering temper tantrum. He’ll get used to it the more little food he eats.” Jamie fell asleep on the ride home dreaming of dipping French fries in cookies blended with formula. ­­­­______________________________________________________________________________ Jamie woke up in his crib feeling especially well rested, and also thirsty. A bottle of water was there with him, and he drank without stopping until half of it was gone. As after every afternoon nap, he did his business knowing someone would be in soon. As it very nearly always was, Amanda came in. “Hey, buddy. Ya sleep good? You were out like a light.” “Yeah, real good.” He still sounded sleepy, but really he was just very relaxed. She lowered the rail and moved him to the changing table. She’d put socks on him because his feet felt so cold, and now one was hanging off his foot. She had an evil idea. She buckled the two straps over Jamie. “Why’d you do that?” Neither she nor Becky had in a long while. Coyly, Amanda answered, “In case you squirm.” Jamie felt a little demeaned by that comment. “I never squirm.” “No, but you might today.” The sock came off, and Amanda went to town tickling his foot. Jamie did indeed squirm and laugh and beg and laugh til he cried. Amanda hadn’t done that to him in a while. Jamie had no objection. “Now, let’s get you cleaned up.” Amanda went to work. “Can I ask you something, Jamie?” “Sure.” “At lunch today, when you said you sometimes feel infantilized, when you feel that way, how does that make you feel?” “Um, guess it depends on who’s doing it, and why. And how. Sometimes it’s nice to be taken care of. Other times, it feels like … people are belittling me, even if they don’t mean to.” Amanda felt a little hollow space open up in her chest. “Do Mom or I ever make you feel belittled?” “No! Not at all.” “Ever?” “Well … when I first got here, for a while. But not anymore. Maybe sometimes, for a bit, but I can’t even remember the last time.” Amanda had been thinking about this for a while. She wasn’t sure she should bring it up. Her mother would probably by very upset if she did, and as much as Jamie denied it, she was sure he more than a little nervous about day care. But given what Jamie had said, it seemed like now was the time to rock the boat, even if it wasn’t a good time. But Amanda asked herself, who are you really responsible to? “You really do know when you need to use the bathroom, don’t you?” “What?!? Are you kidding me? You knew!?!” Jamie instinctively tried to sit up, but he was still strapped in. “Yeah, well, for a while now.” “Just how long is a while?” “Uh … your second day here. No little can go as long as you did dry; I don’t even think a big could hold it that long without some serious pain. And you only ever have a poopy diaper at home, and almost always after your nap. No one is that regular.” Jamie’s head was spinning. “FUCK! Why didn’t you say anything? I thought you were on my side!” “I am … no, there are no sides. You, me, mom – we’re on the same team.” “I. Am not. On Team Diaper.” “Look, it’s Mom’s decision. And besides …” “Besides what? And you could have told her!” “I’m not sure she’d have understood me any more than she understood you.” “Yeah, but you could have tried!” “I didn’t because …” She exhaled, expecting an unhappy response. “I think they’re helping you.” “How … the fuck … are they helping me?” “Alright, buster. Language. One more F-bomb today and even I’ll put you in time out.” “… Sorry …” “You need to learn to trust people and give up control.” “Of … my bowels?” His face was a mixture of incredulity and profound annoyance. “No, you need to let yourself depend on others. Until you do, and let others help you, you’re never going to stop being Eric, somewhere in there.” She said, poking him gently on the temple. “And Eric was miserable. And giving up control, letting others help you, letting yourself depend on others and letting them show they love you – all that will help you get rid of the parts of Eric that made you so unhappy.” Jamie didn’t reply. He folded his arms across his chest and thought about what she just said. He didn’t disagree with the goal or the means, but this specific form of the means – ugh! Amanda waivered again in deciding what to say next. “Besides … I know you don’t hate it.” “I do, too!” “No, you don’t. I see your potty face sometimes. You may be embarrassed and hate that, but you don’t hate the sensation.” Jamie hadn’t considered he even had a ‘potty face.’ He wished she hadn’t told him. But she was right, he knew, it didn’t feel so bad. Sometimes it even felt good. “And it’s pretty obvious you do like this part of it … and not just the sensations.” “What’s that mean?” “That if we didn’t have this time together, you’d miss it.” “ …Yeah…” “… And so would I … And anyway, I know it doesn’t feel so bad.” “How the fff…” He stopped himself and took a breath. “How would you know?” “Bedwetter.” “Really?” “Yep. Until five years ago.” “As a teen …” “Hey! Little boys in dirty diapers shouldn’t throw shade, you little stink rat!” “I didn’t mean …” “I know. I’m just teasing.” “So Becky doesn’t know?” “Mom? Not a clue. Even if she wanted to believe it, and she definitely doesn’t, I’m not sure she could wrap her head around it.” “How is that even possible? It’s like trying to explain calculus to a 10-year-old.” Jamie didn’t know 9-year-old bigs learned calculus in school. “Not even calculus. It’s like trying to explain the color blue to someone who already knows what blue is and can’t believe the blue thing you’re holding is blue. It’s fff … It’s bizarre. I’d say it’s impossible but, but there it is!” He felt slightly better for venting. It’s like explaining a dog is a bear, he realized. “No clue how it works. Littles and Bigs, I guess.” “But you get it.” “Yeah, but I don’t know why.” “So you’ll try to explain it to her?” “Well, that’s why I wanted to talk to you about it first. I’ll try, but only if you want me to.” “Of course I want you to!” “Do you? I want you to think about it for a couple days. Think about what we talked about. I’m sure this is helping you; you’re fine with it, even if you don’t want to admit it.” Should she tell him this next part? “And … well, I like it this way, too, with you. Our time together.” She could see him thinking that over in his mind; it didn’t look like he perceived it as a selfish statement. That was a great relief. “Will you think about it, at least for another day? After that, I’ll do whatever you want. If Mom can’t understand it, we’ll find a workaround. Promise.” Jamie took in a deep breath, closed his eyes and shook his head gently. “Fine. For you.” Amanda was relieved to hear that. Never mind the logistical difficulties – there was no such thing as a little-sized public toilet. She did believe this helped him, and she knew both of them would miss this. Becky would probably be unable to understand it, which would undo all the good things that had happened in their relationship, and if by some miracle she did understand it, she’d be very upset to lose this, like he was growing up to fast, and she didn’t him to grow up at all. Amanda knew, though, that what Jamie needed was to grow down. Not a lot; just a little bit. Just enough to get to the point where he could let loose his demons. “Also … you’re awfully stinkin’ cute in diapers … even to the point where I don’t mind having to do this. Lift up for me…” Jamie lifted his hips and pondered.
  32. 6 points
    Curious to see how people react to this. If you tell me, I'll tell you. __________________________________ Chapter 38 Autumn days are good for letting the body take a rest. The cooler air reinvigorates, but it does so best when well rested and in no hurry. That first real autumn day, that intruder that doesn’t know it’s not quite time for clouds and cold, is a prime candidate for a rest day. Rebecca found Jamie asleep still, unusual for him, when she went into this room to wake him up, and he hadn’t assisted much in getting into something dry and warm. He opted to stay in his room and feel back asleep, and it was mid-morning when he stumbled into the living room with his hair sticking up, rubbing his eyes with one hand, and dragging his bear with the other. “Looks who’s finally awake ... sort of,” Amanda said upon seeing him. He was still in a sleeper and looked like he’d spent the night on a bender. “Where’s Mom,” he asked. His voice was dry and strained “Out running errands. Why?” “Just wondering.” “C’mere.” He shuffled over, and Amanda picked him up and put her hand to his forehead. “Do you feel okay? You’re not hot.” “No, I’m fine. Just tired.” “And wet. Let’s go take care of that and then get you some breakfast ... or lunch.” She carried Jamie back to his nursery and laid him on his changing table where he hugged his bear but participated in the change. “Manda, I, uh, don’t remember doing this.” “What? Wetting your diaper? You said a while ago sometimes you forget.” “Yeah, but I think I was asleep.” Amanda had initially been afraid Jamie would start to actually need diapers, but now it didn’t seem like such a big deal. What difference would make? He didn’t seem to care much anymore. “Does that bother you?” Jamie wasn’t sure if it bother him because he was so tired or not, and he wanted it to bother him, but that it didn’t bother him also didn’t bother him. “Not really,” he yawned. “Then I guess it’s a good thing you wear diapers to bed. Do want clothes, or are you good in your PJs?” “This is fine.” “Would you rather be eaten by one giant hamster or a thousand regular ones?” “Whatever we have.” “Are you sure you’re feeling okay?” “Yeah. It’s just the weather.” “Maybe some food with will wake you up. How about I cook something real?” She took Jamie to the kitchen and set him in his high chair with a sippy cup of water. “How about an omelette?” “With cheese?” “Do they come without cheese? I’ve never had one of those before. Sounds terrible.” Amanda raided the fridge and came up with ham, onions, peppers, mushrooms, and cheese. Jamie would have needed two hands to carry an onion. It still freaked him out a little. In short order, Amanda served up two omelettes and some toast. “Thank you. Good work,” Jamie said. “You, too.” “I didn’t do anything.” “You didn’t get it all over your face and clothes.” “I never do that,” he said indignantly. “You’re also never so spaced out.” She wiped his face for him anyway; she couldn’t help it. “Do I need to let the beast out?” “Huh?” “The tickle beast. He’s pretty good at getting you to wake up.” “No! I’m fine. See?” He opened his eyes wider and smiled, though he secretly hoped she’d ignore his plea. “We’ll see. Do you want to do anything?” “Not really.” “Then how about you come watch a movie with me in the living room?” First they collected Jamie’s set of blocks from his room. He hadn’t played with them in a while, and it seemed a good way to pass the time. Jamie wasn’t very good at just doing one thing while he watched a movie. He also took his bear; he hadn’t been carrying it around as much. “You’re kinda attached to that guy today.” “I just like him.” “Any more thought to giving him a name?” “Not really.” Amanda laid out a play blanket on the floor and arranged Jamie and his toys on and around it. She flipped through the channels until she found a movie she liked that was just starting. “What are we watching?” “Chick flick about a group of lifelong friends who go on a trip together.” “Think I’ve seen that one,” Jamie mumbled. Within twenty of the start of the movie, just as the group of friends was setting on their road trip, Amanda got down on the floor with Jamie. “What are we building?” “A ... castle.” “What kind of castle?” “Um, German romantic era.” “What’s that?” “There was this king named Ludwig who liked castles way after they stopped being useful, and he built a few in this exaggerated style more out of a storybook than history book.” “People must have liked that.” “He bankrupted his kingdom, and they found him floating in a lake.” “Good thing we don’t have lakes at home then.” She started by handing Jamie pieces. He’d place one, and she’d have the next waiting for him. He didn’t ask for any; she just picked the next one, her being the architect and him being the engineer. With a solid platform and base, Jamie spaced out the second tier so there was room between the uprights, making arrow slits or windows or maybe just a draft German romantic-wannabe-medieval castle. Or perhaps French or English. He couldn’t tell. “Where are they going,” Jamie asked. “To a cabin their families used to rent together during the summer.” “Why do they have such big hair?” “That was the style twenty years ago. Maybe we can find some pictures of Mom from back then, if she hasn’t burned them all.” The next tier went back to pieces flush against one another. It was tall enough now to start being delicate. Jamie was taking longer to place the pieces, spending more time watching the movie. “Jamie?” “Oh, sorry.” He took a triangle piece and laid it along the top edge of the upper tier. “Why is that one mad at everyone?” “She’s not, really. She’s mad because her friends were right when they told her not to marry her husband.” “Oh.” Jamie scooted back so he was resting against the couch, leaving Jamieberg unfinished. He was absorbed in the movie. Amanda left and came back with salty snacks; she knew how to watch movies. She sat on the floor and put Jamie in her lap. The group relived their younger days, splashing in the lake, sharing beds, staying up after dark talking, eating way too much junk food, flirting with random men, drinking too much, skinny dipping, gossiping, all interspersed with moments of pathos as the women talked about their husbands, exes, kids, careers, lack of careers, and aging parents, all as the one who seemed to be the leader reminded everyone to keep the mood light. Jamie had seen this before, except the actors were human, it was set at the ocean/mountains/farm instead of the lake, and it took place at Thanksgiving/Christmas/Labor Day. But he still got deeper into it. Amanda was finishing the bowl of snacks herself. Mid-scene, Amanda felt something warm and different on her leg. She cocked her head and looked at Jamie from an angle, but he was focused on the screen. Does he know he’s doing that, she wondered. The sensation stopped. “Are you done?” “When the movie’s over.” “What?” “I want to see the end.” “Okay.” It wasn’t much longer; his pants could wait. Amanda shifted him off her lap. She’d seen the movie many times. The castle needed a roof. She returned to work. The women were all asleep when one of them called out for help. Her friends found her in the bathroom on the tile. She couldn’t stand up. Jamie was alarmed; they called an ambulance. In next scene, the group was having a sedate breakfast. The one woman had been released from the hospital; everyone looked tired and teary. The one who had gone to the hospital told them to cheer up. Another smacked the table with her fist and got angry. How could she say that? This was happening, and she couldn’t ignore it anymore. The leader tried to intervene. The sick woman got angry back. Who was she telling? This was happening to her! She didn’t want their last day at the lake to be about that! The group split up, some going to pack, others going to walk by the water, some to call their kids and others to talk with one another behind closed doors. The day was grey and misty and they were all wearing sweaters instead. Jamie didn’t like that they were fighting, or that the woman was sick. What was happening to her? Amanda decided her castle needed towers. The woman who got angry and the woman who was sick were on the dock together. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have ... this is your weekend. It’s our weekend. I’m just sorry we waited until now to do this. It’s life. People get busy. People grow apart. We said we wouldn’t. I guess that makes us all liars. Just people. I don’t know how you can be so calm about it. What’s the alternative? Go to pieces? Get angry? Yeah. Well, I did get angry. But I still have kids who need a mom for ... for ... as long as ... They both started crying, sitting on a bench looking at the water. Not big, melodramatic tears. The kind that run in long trails down cheeks until they reach your chin and form into drops that fall loose as you work to hold in a sob or a scream or a wail. They got themselves under control. I’m just glad we could this one more time. We were so happy here. Didn’t think it ended. Couldn’t ... apply the idea of aging to ourselves. Remember that? That we’d never be as old as our parents? That we’d always be hound and beautiful and never have bills to pay. It seemed like it last so long. It was like forever. Weeks just ... they went on forever. So did this place. Ten days here was like the entire summer. I don’t remember it being such a dump. I don’t think they’ve painted a thing since we were here last. Should have brought the kids up here. You took them lots of places. They’ll remember those forever. Yeah, but ... I don’t know. This place just seemed special. It is. We’ll ... we’ll bring them up here. Next summer. The sick woman started crying again. I can’t ... it’s not fair to them. They shouldn’t ... they should get to have their mom. The castle was missing crenellations. The sick woman leaned over until her head was in the other woman’s lap. She stroked her hair and wiped at her own tears, trying to not sound like she was crying, too. They’ll have us. Always. All of us. The sick woman sobbed so hard the sound carried across the lake. Her friend bent down and rested her cheek on her hair, not trying to hide her own tears. The rest of them heard from their rooms and watched from the deck. The scene faded and the credits rolled. But there was still crying in the room. “Jamie? Oh, baby,” Amanda said as she turned over her shoulder and saw Jamie full on sobbing, complete with chest-wracking heaves and a runny nose. “Honey,” she said as she picked him up an laid him faced down against her chest. “It’s just a movie. Shhh. You’re okay.” He sobbed into her shirt. He couldn’t help himself. He felt ridiculous, but he couldn’t help himself. She rocked him and let him cry it out until he was just sniffling. The door from the garage opened, and Rebecca came in. Jamie was still gasping for the occasional breath, his eyes were red and puffy, his PJs and Amanda’s shirt were a wet mess, and Amanda was still rocking shushing Jamie. “What happened,” Becky asked in concern. “We watched ‘Lake Island Resort And Boat Rental.’” “Oh, geez. Why not just show him a kitten being euthanized?” She bent over and held out her arms, and Amanda handed her Jamie. He laid against her but was done crying. Now he was tired again. “He liked it until the last ten minutes.” “Everybody likes it until the last ten minutes.” She patted his diaper and twitched her nose. “Are you done, baby?” “I still need to add the outer fortifications,” Amanda answered.
  33. 6 points
    Chapter 36 “So, Jamie, tell me about what’s been going on since I last saw you,” Dr. Mary said. Jamie caught her up. He only missed a session because he was sick, and then they went a couple weeks while she was on vacation. He told her about Mel, about his questions about why littles were treated differently, and his sudden needle phobia. “Let’s talk about the needles first,” she said. “You weren’t scared of them before you came here?” “No. It’s just that they hurt so much more here. But they look exactly the same.” “Well, maybe you’re not the same.” “What does that have to do with how much they hurt?” “Think back to the first time you had a shot here. What was that like.” “Horrible! The nurse and the doctor treated me like I wasn’t even there, and then she stabbed me.” A tad dramatic, but not inaccurate. “Then what happened?” “Mom and Manda hugged me.” “Did you like that part?” “I was embarrassed. Crying over a shot is stupid.” “Why is that?” “Because it doesn’t hurt that much.” “But that one did. What happened later?” “I got a lecture on not being rude to people who are rude to me ... and Amanda told me it was okay to cry because it’s just another way of asking for help.” “Do you believe that?” “I guess. I mean, yes, but it’s still silly.” “Maybe you needed to ask for help and didn’t know how?” Jamie rolled his eyes. “That’s a little Freudian, isn’t it?” “A Little what?” “Never mind.” “I’m just saying, I don’t think your fear of needles is a big deal unless it bothers you. You got vaccinations you needed, and you learned a little lesson.” “And the second time?” “A little refresher perhaps. How did you feel after?” “Tired. And it hurt.” “Anything else?” “Like what?” “Like your mom said you were pretty clingy for the rest of the day.” “I ... I got mad at her and said something I shouldn’t have, and I felt bad about it.” “Is that the only reason?” “I guess I also sorta liked the attention she was giving me.” “Tell me more about that.” “Well ... I don’t know. She was just being very sweet with me, and I ... maybe I needed that sort of attention ... that day.” “Just that day?” “Not ‘just’ that day. But some days.” “How can you tell the difference between those days and other days?” “I don’t. I just, ya know, sometimes want to be more ...” He trailed off. “More ...” “More little.” “Why do you have a hard time saying that?” “Because I’m not.” “Not what?” “Regressed. I shouldn’t need that.” “Being little and being regressed aren’t the same thing, though.” “Yes, they are.” “Well, I think being little is just emotionally needing to be taken care of more than normal, and sometimes that means much more. Being regressed is physically and emotionally needing that kind of care all the time.” “Seems the same to me.” “I’m saying, Jamie, that you can be unregressed and as little as you feel like in the moment at the same time.” Jamie didn’t respond. A couple things had been weighing on his mind that he didn’t feel comfortable discussing even with Amanda. The first was Mel. He didn’t understand why he felt so different around her, why he so easily slipped into such a little mindset when she goaded him into it. That didn’t happen with anyone else. In fact, the opposite happened. If someone else tried to initiate that kind of interaction with him, he reflexively pushed back, sometimes harshly. If he initiated it, which he only did with Amanda and Mom, then it was different. “How much did they tell you about me and Mel,” Jamie I’ve asked. “That you willingly behave a lot littler around her.” “That’s all?” “That’s all. Do you want to add some detail?” Jamie wasn’t sure if he did. It seemed more private than anything else the two of them talked about. “Well, I’m just ... she makes me ... she finds it cute, and I like it when she fusses over me.” “Mom and Amanda fuss over you, too, though. What do you think makes Mel different?” “That’s she’s not my mom or my sister ... I mean, neither are Becky and Amanda, technically, but, um, I guess I just feel differently about Mel.” “Is she pretty?” Jamie smiled. “Yes ... she has red hair.” Jamie couldn’t see Mary smile. “Do you think this could just be a case of a young man doing things he wouldn’t otherwise do in order to get the attention of a pretty girl?” It was obviously that, but Jamie felt it was also something more. It wasn’t just what he did but that he liked the dynamic. He didn’t feel foolish with her, Jamie’s default feeling whenever he had tried to get close to a woman. Moreover, Jamie wasn’t trying to get close to Mel as a woman. She was beautiful and kind and funny, but Jamie didn’t know her well. He didn’t know her behind the narrow relationship he had with her and what he knew of her through Amanda. He certainly wasn’t in love with her, and while he admired her physically, he wasn’t exactly sexually attracted to her either. He could describe exactly what the attraction was. “Yes, but ... it’s not just that I like making her feel the way she does with me. I like the way it feels for me, too. It’s, um, I’m not sure of the word. Comforting?” “And that bothers you?” “I’m not sure. Maybe, I guess.” How’s that for a definitive answer, Jamie thought. Mary knew there was more. She knew Jamie was the kind of person who could take any feeling and complicate it until he was completely at a loss for what to do next, all the while having no clue he was doing it. “Jamie, it would move things along in here a lot faster if you try to be a little more forthright and say what’s on your mind. I don’t think either one of us wants to feel like we’re pulling teeth in here.” Jamie sighed in irritation. “This isn’t easy, ya know.” “I know.” “I ... fine. When we were out together, I let her treat me much younger than I let Mom or Amanda do, and I liked it. Some woman said I was ‘infant-stage,’ and that didn’t bother me. And then after I fell asleep - okay, after - I ... I apparently tried to ... nurse from her. There.” “Okay. Did you feel pressured into doing any of that?” “No. That’s the problem. I just wanted to, with her.” “Do you ever feel that way with anybody else, Jamie?” As long as we’re being honest, Jamie thought. “Sometimes, with Mom and Amanda.” “But you don’t think you ever behave that way with them? Ever?” “Maybe a little, but never that much.” “So what’s bothering you? That you behave that way with Mel, that you don’t want to, that you want to with your Mom and Amanda but don’t, that you do want to and don’t like wanting to ... some other combination of all that?” Mary would have chuckled at all the possibilities, but she knew better than to laugh at something that was causing a patient distress. “Yes.” All of the above. Probably some other stuff, too. “Can I tell you what I think?” “Sure.” “I think you’re afraid that if you let yourself behave this way with Mel, and admit it feels good, you’ll do it with other people, and maybe they’ll start to see and treat you differently, and maybe you’ll start to be different, and then you won’t be yourself.” She does have a way of cutting through the bullshit, Jamie admired silently. “That’s ... a good summary.” “But isn’t it possible for you to behave one way with some people and at some times, and differently others, and it’s your choice and it’s always you?” “I guess ... but what if other people start to treat me like that when I don’t want to be?” “Like who?” “Like ... Mom and Amanda, for one.” “Do you think they’d ever do that?” “Well, no. They wouldn’t.” “I don’t think so either. And you’ve never had trouble asserting yourself when people treat you in ways you don’t like. Our time is just about up. Do you want to send them in for me? We can talk more about this at our next session.” ____________________________ Right after nap time was still the worst time at day care for Jamie. Too many people were crying, and it smelled like everyone was on the same bowel schedule. Jamie at least could time that part of his day to avoid having to wait for a change. Each day when he woke up, he went straight outside. When the wind blew these days, sometimes it was cold. The occasional dry leaf was turning into several. Autumn was closing in. “What are you so moody about today,” Ella asked. Jamie’s ability to brood for such long stretches was a marvel to her. Her day to day life didn’t change much; she wasn’t sure what caused his moods to swing so much each day. “I dunno. Just had a complicated few days.” Shocker. “Do you wanna talk about it?” “No. I’ve done plenty of that.” “Do you wanna fight about it?” “Heh. No, that’s okay.” “Do you wanna just sit here?” Jamie smiled with just the left side of his mouth, his relieved thank-you-for-making-this-easy smile. The two of them sat against the wall of the building in the weak sun. Somehow Ella, since she told him about herself, became one of the easier relationships in his life. He supposed that was because they both understood trauma and connected on that visceral level, even if their respective histories were of such different kinds. “You ever ask your mom if we could have a play date,” she needled him. “No. I’ll do it today. Promise.” Ella has been hoping for a sarcastic response in kind, something she could build on, not an earnest promise. “Shit,” Ella responded. “What? I mean it!” “Not that. Bobby.” The pest was headed right for them. Enough was enough. Jamie stood up before he reached them. “Go away, Bobby! Not today!” Jamie hoped to avert a problem, but this was just what Bobby wanted. Finally, a confrontation. Bobby wasn’t in need of words this time. He walked up to Jamie like he was on a protest march, smiling. “I don’t like you.” Jamie lost count of how many times Bobby told him this. The phrase had talismanic properties for Bobby akin to ‘I won’t be your friend anymore,’ though it wasn’t clear if Bobby had any friends. “Ya know what? I don’t like you either. Will you go away now?” Bobby was visibly taken aback. Who was this Jamie person to say something so mean to him? Didn’t he know how hurtful those words could be? His upper lip quivered, and Bobby realized he didn’t need to take this kind of abuse from anyone. He shoved Jamie, and Jamie had to plant his right foot behind him to keep from stumbling on to Ella. Before he could stop himself, Jamie pushed back. Bobby responded with a clumsy swing that Jamie stepped out of the way of, and Bobby’s own weight brought him around so he was behind Jamie. “Jamie instinctively grabbed the collar of Bobby’s shirt and pulled back hard. Bobby fell backwards onto his back, bumping his head. He started crying. Ella got to her feet. “C’mon.” “I didn’t mean to do that,” Jamie said. He felt stupid. He’d let this idiot get the better of him and done exactly what he’d said he wouldn’t, and he’d done in front of Ella. “I know. It’s not a big deal,” she said as she took his hand. He didn’t move. “Yes, it is. I ... “ “He’s fine.” “What happened here?” The two of them turned around to find Jean picking up Bobby. “He bumped his head,” Ella volunteered. “I hit him,” Jamie corrected the record. “Jamie! You know better! Let’s go find April.” “Why did you do that,” Ella whispered. Jamie shrugged and took Jean’s hand. With Bobby on her shoulder and Jamie in tow, she went to find April and Jordan. Curious, Ella, who Jean was intimidated by, followed at a distance. Inside the classroom, Jean passed the sniffling, sniveling Bobby to Jordan and walked Jamie up to April. “Jamie, will you tell her, or do I need to?” Jamie sighed and owned up to it. “I hit Bobby.” “I’m surprised at you, Jamie,” April responded, but only because he’d been so adamant he wouldn’t. She would figured he would have six weeks ago. “I’ll leave the two of you to work this out. I’m very disappointed in you, Jamie.” Jean departed feeling she’d done her job. “What happened,” April asked, bending down on one knee so she could look Jamie in the eye. Jamie told her with tears in his eyes. “I didn’t mean to,” He sniffled. April hugged him. “I know you didn’t. And like I told you, you’re not in trouble.” Jamie wished he was. He felt guilty; he’d hit a regressed little, or at least hurt one, a little. “Do you want a little quiet time to calm down?” “Yes. Please.” April thought he must be the most pathetic looking little she ever saw when he felt guilty about something. Her dog made the same face when she ate her house plants. April grabbed his bag and took him to the quiet room. “Let’s change your pants first, kiddo.” She gave Jamie his pacifier, and he wiped at his eye, starting to feel silly. Ella poked her head around the corner. April did her job and stood up. “Just take all the time you need ... oh, hey, Ella. Didn’t see you there. We’re gonna give Jamie a little time to calm down, okay.” “Um, okay.” “No,” Jamie said, “she can stay.” April shrugged and left carrying the used diaper out with her. Ella slipped in. Jamie sat up, and Ella sat down next to him. “So,” She said, feeling awkward. “Were you faking it?” “Faking what?” “Being upset.” “No,” Jamie replied, sounding ashamed and embarrassed. “That was very wrong of me.” “Well, if it makes you feel better, I don’t think you’d have done it if I wasn’t there.” “I wasn’t trying to impress you.” “No, I mean, if he hadn’t gotten so close to me falling all over himself, I don’t think you would have pulled him away so hard.” “Oh.” Jamie had on his gloomy face. Ella gave him a kiss on the cheek. Jamie grimaced. “Was that a reward?” “No, you just looked like you needed it.” Jamie’s face softened. “Oh. Thank you.”
  34. 6 points
    This is why we can't have nice things........
  35. 6 points
    Chapter Four The next couple of weeks were pretty much identical to each other. Gabriella began to fall into a routine; she was woken up at 6:00 AM sharp every morning, was made breakfast, then helped Miss Molly with chores around the house. At first Miss Molly would follow her around and show her the right way to do something and would correct her if she did something wrong – but by the second week, she had gotten so familiar with the work that she was now off on her own most of the time to do the chores by herself. She both enjoyed and hated these times of solitude. It made her start to feel more like herself again. Although Miss Molly was very kind and generous to her; she doted on her like a child and always made her feel small and little. But, at the same time, being alone also made her think of the past and where she was. She was still stuck here for another five months. The thought caused a tightening in her chest and made it difficult to breathe. She took a deep breath as she tried to shake those thoughts away and wipe down the tables, making sure not a lick of dust was anywhere in sight. “How are you doing, dear?” She heard Miss Molly calling from the laundry room in the next room over. “I’m almost done, Miss Molly.” “Very good, after this, we are going to head to Miss Martha’s house for some tea.” “Yes, Miss Molly.” She replied, not surprised as they went over there almost every afternoon. They all were kind enough, gave her a bunch of sweets, but they talked down to her like she was a little girl and most of the time her head felt fuzzy, and she couldn’t remember half of their conversations. She just assumed it was from all the work she put in that morning. After they would spend a few hours at one of their houses, they would head home where Gabriella would have an hour of two to do whatever she wanted (usually it was to do homework, but sometimes she would settle for an excellent book or write in her journal). It wouldn’t seem long before Miss Molly would call her down for dinner, where she would be met with cut up food waiting for her. Afterward, she would start to feel herself getting a bit tired again, and Miss Molly insisted on helping her with her bath and getting ready for bed. The night ended with the same dream every night. She couldn’t help but try to remember the little details that she felt like she was missing, but perhaps she no longer cared anymore. She was even getting accustomed to the way Miss Molly and the other ladies treated her, pinching her cheeks, jokingly telling her to sit on their laps, and talking to her like she was a child. But it seemed that it was just the way things were in this strange town. There were no children around that Gabriella could see, nor were there any people her age. Perhaps they got fed up with all the adults doting on them all the time that they left. Gabriella was split down the middle on how she felt. Sometimes she would think of ways she could escape from the grasps of these women, but there were other times when it felt a bit nice to be doted on. She shook her head as she continued to clean up the living room. What was going on with her? “Are you finished, dear?” Miss Molly came around the corner just as Gabriella was finished with the living room. She quickly brushed off the yellow dress that she was wearing as she nodded her head. Another thing to note was the fact that Miss Molly chose all the clothes that Gabriella would wear, insisting that it’s something that young ladies shouldn’t have to worry about and she wanted to make sure that she was appropriately dressed from now on. She was getting used to being dressed like a little girl, in addition to being spoken to like one. “Very well; let’s head off to Miss Martha’s house then.” As soon as they walked outside, just like clockwork, she held Gabriella’s hand as they headed across the street to Miss Martha’s house. “Welcome, dears,” Miss Martha said as she answered the door, taking a step back to let everyone in. “Gabby, honey, do you mind going in the kitchen and making the tea for everyone?” “Yes, ma’am,” Gabriella said as she made her way to the kitchen, knowing better not to argue. She could hear Miss Molly and the rest of the ladies in the living room laughing and chatting away. Most of the time they gave her little tasks to do around the house while they gossiped away, sometimes they would put her in the middle of the floor and talk to her, one of them would braid her hair, and they would give her cookies and tea to drink. She shook her head, trying to bring herself out of her thoughts as she started to make the tea for all the ladies. She couldn’t lose herself. She was here for another five months, but she was still an adult. Regardless of how Miss Molly and the others treated her; she was a full-grown adult. She wasn’t sure why she let them get away with treating her younger than she was. “Oh Gabby, thank you, sweetie.” They replied as she entered the living room with the tea for everyone. She had one for herself, but before she could drink it, Miss Martha snatched it away. “Careful, sweetie. You don’t want to spill that everywhere. I’ll go get you a special cup.” Gabriella reached out to protest, but she saw the look in Miss Molly’s eyes so kept her mouth shut. Miss Martha returned a few moments later with a larger cup for Gabriella; it even had a lid on it. She frowned a little bit as she took the cup and took a few sips. “Thank you,” she mumbled under her breath as she sat on the floor quietly. One of the ladies, Miss Leslie, began to brush her long hair and put it in two long braids. “Perfect for little girls!” She replied, and all of them giggled. “You’ve blossomed so much these past few weeks, honey.” “I’m sure by the time you’re finished; you’ll be a good girl who won’t get in trouble again.” All the ladies began to giggle around, and Gabriella felt her cheeks flush as she sunk lower into the ground. They brought up the reason why she was here multiple times, but they also sang praises of how well-behaved she was. This doesn’t feel right; she kept telling herself. Later that night after dinner, Gabriella was feeling more tired than usual, and for the first time was almost happy with Miss Molly’s help in taking a bath and getting ready for bed. She pretty much conked out as soon as her head hit the pillow. “Rise and shine, Gabby!” She heard Miss. Molly was calling from her doorway the following morning. Gabriella felt groggy as she sat up in her bed, trying to make sense of her surroundings. It was then when she felt something wet beneath her. She yanked back the covers to notice that her bed was soaked. Her cheeks turned a bright pink as the pieces started to come together. She wet the bed?! How could this have happened? She naturally had a pretty strong bladder and hadn’t had any accident since she was three years old. What was going on? She tried to recall what happened last night, but after dinner, everything was a bit of a blur. About ten minutes later she heard a knock on the door, and she felt the blood in her face drain. Miss Molly. She bit her lip as she tried to throw the covers back over her mattress, wanting to hide what she had done. “Is everything alright, dear?” Miss. Molly asked as she walked into the room and glanced around. “Why haven’t you come down yet?” “Sorry…I’ll be right there.” Miss Molly stood there for a few moments before she strode over and pulled the blankets off of Gabriella’s bed. “No!” She shouted as she tried to pull the blanket back on, but it was too late, Miss Molly had already seen what she had done. “Oh my.” She said with a shake of her head. “I was afraid this might happen. Young ladies often can’t control themselves at night. I should have known this was going to happen. Don’t you worry, Gabby. We will take care of it.” “It’s okay…” Gabriella said, trying to find her voice, she knew her cheeks were a bright red, “I can do it…I can do it…” “Nonsense, I am looking after you these next few months, and I’ll make sure everything is all clean. But, I’m worried that you might have another accident, dear.” “I mean…I don’t think…” Gabriella wasn’t sure how to respond to that. She couldn’t really promise she wouldn’t have another accident…when if she were asked this the previous night she would have sworn she never had any accidents since she was a little girl. “It’s okay,” Miss Molly sat beside Gabriella and pulled her close to her, running her fingers through her hair, “you leave it all up to me, sweetie. No need to feel ashamed; these things happen at your age. We will clean you all up, wash the sheets, and I’m going to get you into some protection.” Before Gabriella could even ask what she meant, Miss Molly grabbed all the sheets and whisked them away, leaving Gabriella there alone for a few moments alone. She came back holding a washcloth and what appeared to be a small bowl of water. Gabriella knew what that meant... “Alright, dear, let’s get you cleaned up.” As Miss Molly dipped the cloth in the water and reached down towards her groin, Gabriella involuntarily let out a whimper in protest. “Shh, it’s okay, Gabby. We can’t let you walk around like this all day, can we? There is no need to be embarrassed; it’s just like bath time...” Her soothing words had a calming effect on Gabriella, who let her proceed with the sponge bath. Though still embarrassed beyond description, she stood still as Miss Molly gently wiped her groin, before turning around and letting her clean off her bottom. All the while, she started to zone out, feeling dazed again just like last night when she was bathed. Miss Molly just seemed to have that effect on her, but she couldn’t explain how or why. Once Miss Molly was satisfied that Gabriella was clean all over, she stood back up. “There we go, all done. Now, I just need to fetch something else before we get you dressed for today, okay, dear?” After walking out for a moment, she returned with something in her hand, but Gabriella couldn’t get a good look at it as Miss Molly walked over to the closet, pulled out a green dress and turned to Gabriella. “Let’s get you out of these wet clothes, Gabby.” She said as she helped Gabriella out of her clothes, leaving her there naked. It was then when Miss Molly held up a cute pink pull-up looking diaper, and Gabriella felt the color from her face disappear. “What?” Gabriella felt her mouth grow dry as she tried to scoot away from Miss Molly, already feeling embarrassed enough at it is after just being given a sponge bath by her. “Really, I’m fine... I-I don’t…” “It’s okay, don’t you worry! Miss Molly will take care of everything.” Gabriella still felt in a daze, but she even tried to shake her head, but Miss Molly walked over to her, and without any struggle, Gabriella let her pull the pull-up over her and put the dress on. The rest of the day played out the same for Gabriella – going down to eat breakfast and helping Miss Molly with the chores. Of course, this time around she had protection under her dress. A few times she would stop what she was doing, pull up her dress, and touch the fabric of the pull-up. It was very soft, and she hated to admit that it was more comfortable than she thought it would be. Of course every single time, she felt her face turn red and felt ashamed at the thought she needed to be wearing a pull-up. No matter how comfortable it felt on her, she had to remind herself that it just didn’t feel right. If anyone found out at university, I would be the laughing stock. I would never live it down…though I suppose they’ll never find out… “Gabby, dear, are you ready to head over to Miss Martha’s house?” Gabriella dropped the broom she was holding as she turned to look at Miss Molly. She had forgotten that they usually headed down to one of the ladies houses for the afternoon. She felt her cheeks burn, the last thing she needed was them to find out she had wet the bed and was wearing a pull-up, but she knew that Miss Molly would tell them all about it – even if Gabriella begged her to keep it a secret. “Come on,” Miss. Molly held out her hand, and Gabriella took it in her own as they made their way out the door and across the street. Once they were inside, Gabriella was waiting for Miss Molly to spill the beans to everyone. They sat down on the couch as they all began to sip their tea, gossiping the latest events as Gabriella shifted in her seat –waiting. “Dear, do you need to go potty?” One of the ladies asked her, and she felt her face flush as she shook her head no. “Do you need to be changed?” Miss Molly said out loud in front of everyone, and Gabriella felt herself sink lower into the chair as everyone’s eyes settled upon her. “Changed?” “Oh yes, poor Gabby had an accident sometime last night. You know how young ladies sometimes forget to go potty before bed – she woke up soaked! So she is currently wearing a pull-up just in case she can’t make it in time.” “Oh, you poor thing!” Miss Martha said. “It’s a good thing you have Miss Molly to take care of you.” “Show them what you are wearing, Gabby, dear. It’s okay. No need to be shy.” Gabriella couldn’t bring herself to look anyone in the eye as she rose from her seat and slowly lifted her dress to reveal the bright pink pull-up she was wearing underneath. “Aw, how cute!” “Little girls should always wear protection, I was telling that to Ethel just the other day, wasn’t I dear? I was waiting for this to happen. Every little girl has an accident sooner or later.” “Yes, no need to fret about it! You’re in good hands with Miss Molly! She’ll make sure she’ll take good care of you.” “Cookie, Gabby?” The ladies continued to make a huge fuss over the fact that she was wearing a diaper. She could feel her cheeks grow hot as they continued to talk about it, but she didn’t feel ashamed or as if they were making fun of her. Their words were warm and gentle, and part of her was starting to think that perhaps they were right, maybe it was a good thing she was wearing a pull-up, just in case.
  36. 6 points
    Chapter 29 When Rebecca asked Jamie if he wanted to stay home the next day, he said no. It wouldn’t help anything, and he felt he needed to see Ellafaire again. The way they left it, the more time apart the harder it would probably be. Still, Jamie didn’t know quite how to connect with her, so he spent much of the morning in the reading corner, occasionally looking her way, and she did the same from the art corner. April eventually came over to check on Jamie. “You’re wet. Wanna go take care of that?” “Yeah.” He followed her into the changing room. Once he was down this diaper, April just asked him straight out. “Why don’t you just apologize.” “How do you know I have something to apologize for?” “I don’t. I’m just saying it might help the two of get past whatever the problem is … There. I bet I’m quicker than your bigs, aren’t I?” Jamie sat up, thinking quick wasn’t always a good thing. “Thank you.” “Don’t mention it.” Jamie did have something to apologize for, but he wasn’t sure it was the right thing to do. Apologizing would just bring it all up again for her again, trigger the memories. Or maybe it wouldn’t. She didn’t seem triggered. She seemed somewhere between clinical and emotional, but it wasn’t, or at least didn’t appear to be traumatizing. In fact, Jamie realized, he’d been more upset by it than she did. He got up the courage to approach her. She set her pencil down. “I’m sorry I touched you. That was wrong of me. I get upset when people do it to me,” Jamie said, not quite making eye contact. “Well, sorry I said what I said. I just got emotional and lost my temper. You didn’t deserve what I said to you.” “It’s okay. And I’m sorry for bringing that all up.” “It’s never that far from mind ... if the hang dog look is just because of that, you don’t have to feel bad about it.” “Not just that. Just been thinking about ... I feel bad for all those people, the ones still there.” “Me too. But it is what it is. No reason to let it kill your whole mood.” “Well, it’s not something to shrug off casually,” Jamie responded, feeling a bit defensive and a bit indignant. If that shouldn’t kill your whole mood, what should? “Who’s shrugging it off? It happened to me. For all I know, it happened to my friend and she’s still there. ‘Accept the things we cannot change.’” “I’m not good at that.” “You talk a lot about what you’re not good at.” They both paused and let the conversation stop for a few minutes. Ella started it again. “I don’t feel guilty about not feeling debilitated by the thought of what’s happening in those place …” “To those people,” Jamie interjected. Ella rolled her eyes slightly. “… to those people in those places.” “Maybe everyone should.” “Why?” “Because it’s our responsibility to help everyone who needs help.” “Fine. But when there’s no way to help?” “Then raise awareness of it. Find a way to help.” “Everyone’s aware of it, Jamie. This whole planet knows. Opening the dimension completely re-shaped this world. The entire geopolitical structure is revolves around it. Good countries on one side, bad on the other, and a bunch of in-betweens the sides are fighting over. It’s the Cold War all over again. Find what way to help?” “What about the rescue groups?” “Don’t officially exist. And no, you can’t join them or donate money to them or any of that.” “Well, something then.” Ella regarded him for a second. She’d had too many well-meaning, impractical people in her life in the aftermath of her rescue, too many cheerful, everything-will-be-great-if-we-believe-hard-enough cheerleaders. If they drew energy from that, good for them. If they titled at windmills and only made themselves unhappy, it was counterproductive for everyone. “This how you felt when you went home last night? Depressed,” she asked “I hurts! It hurts and then it hurts worse when … when it’s someone you know.” “Is this the same thing with you like when you had to come here because you couldn’t deal with not being able to fix everything back there?” “Sort of. Like the thing I was trying to get away from just followed me here.” “Jamie, you have nothing to do with this. You’re not part of any system here, you didn’t make any promises, you’re not letting anyone down.” “I’m not stopping it either. Same difference, at least to me.” Ella regarded Jamie for a moment, trying to figure out where that thought process originated. “Mind if I hurt your feelings,” she asked. He sighed, “Say what you feel.” “You’re not God. You’re not responsible for everything that happens in the world. That one, either. Piling all that … Internalizing all this guilt that you don’t deserve is self-indulgent bullshit. It's vanity. You want to find a way to help, go right ahead. If you can’t fix the world’s problems, you don’t need to feel bad about it because it’s not your job alone, and you don’t get to bad about it because not in your power to do it. You’re human like the rest of us.” “I know that,” he said, irritated. He didn’t say anything else, and Ella filled the silence. Seven years not talking had done away with any filter she had. “I know you know it. You gotta to learn to live like you know it.” Already got a therapist, Jamie thought. He didn’t want to talk about himself anymore, rarely did anyway. “Let’s talk about something else.” “Happily.” Ella didn’t just want to leave it at that, though. It didn’t feel so much they’d apologized to one another as gotten into another fight, or something like it. And she could tell if she didn’t do something, he’d just decide to add this to the list of things to feel bad about. She took the chance and opened her arms a little to tell him it was time to hug. He took the hint and awkwardly hugged her. “I really am sorry I got mad at you, Jamie.” “I’m sorry, too.” “Want to work on your drawing some more?” “Sure.” “Let’s try to draw a hand then.” She started taking him through the steps.
  37. 6 points
    This chapter will involve all three characters though most of the focus should be on Alice. Hope you enjoy. Kinda skimmed through the proof reading. Have a lovely and padded day everyone! Chapter 5 Serena looked up at the ceiling, the pail moon light emitting from her room gave the bedroom a majestic feel. “I still need to get some sleep but I still can't believe how fortunate I am.” Serena watched as Jessie continued to slumber on the Amazons bare chest. “This girl is going to be a handful for the next couple days. Perhaps to make things easier, I should put her on a all milk diet. She will spend most of her waking hours with a regressed mindset but in order for her to assimilate smoothly with our culture that would be for the best.” Serena replied as she slowly massaged the sleeping little's back before heading back to sleep. - - - - - - “Finally!” Alice stated in her mind as she noticed the sign that said police department. Alice was thankful that the neighborhood that she was in was mostly desolate. She knew it wouldn't be the case by morning. “Now, how do I get in without being noticed?” Alice carefully inspected the building while remaining in the shadows. After spending a few minutes searching, Alice found a window slightly open near the side of the building. After a few failed attempts, the girl managed to open the window and pull herself through. “Looks like a conference room.” Alice thought as she scouted the room and soon noticed a couple of computers in the corner. “Bingo!” Alice started to head over to the corner but she soon hid herself under one of the tables as the door to the room soon opened. Alice watched quietly as a couple of officers were placing some paperwork info a filing drawer. “We are so understaffed, it's stupid.” One of the Officers stated as he went to get a soda from a vending machine. “ I know what you mean but there is nothing that can be done about it, the budget cuts were needed to open more adoption facilities to house more little's. The other officer stated as he grabbed a can of soda himself. “The government should be focusing on us, the hard working Amazons, not some lowly impudent little's.”The cop stated as he headed for the exit. “Things will get busier if the government will someday allow us Amazons to visit the dimension of little's, then we can truly assert our dominance over them. The other cop laughed as he exited the room as well after turning off the lights. After a few minutes of silence, the red headed little got back onto her feet. “The moment you freaks decide to enter our world, we will have guns waiting for you.” Alice could not hide her disgust with how The Amazons thought of themselves as some higher life form. Alice walked over to the computer and pressed one of the buttons on the keyboard. “Thankfully, most of of the things in this world are similar to ours...Just bigger.” Alice saw that the computer was only in sleep mode which made things easier as the desktop screen appeared with several icons. “Now here comes the tricky part.” Alice spent several minutes going through different applications, trying to find one that could be used for searching up license plates, the girl finally felt she found the right one. “Please enter your user name and password?!” It was so simple and obvious that Alice groaned a little bit at her failure to remember where she was. “Of course this application is password protected, it's a government owned building.” Alice felt so stupid for not realizing the road block before she left Kyle's house. “God, if your listening, please throw a bone my way.” Alice planted her face onto the table as she was unable to come up with any decent idea's to help her friends. “Maybe I should head back and try to convince that Amber woman, she didn't sound all that bad.” Alice thought as she typed something into the user name and password. “As if something so obvious would work.” Alice stated with a defeated tone in her voice. Access granted... Alice's eyes popped wide open as the words appeared on the screen. “You have got to be kidding. SERISOULY! The user name is user name and the password is password. The police here are freaking incompetent.” Alice couldn't believe her luck that something so simple would actually work. “I won't let this opportunity go to waste.” Alice took out her phone to get the license plate number. After typing in the plate number, Alice was relieved that things were finally going her way. “Serena Sohma, huh? Your the bitch that kidnapped my friend. I'll be paying you visit soon enough.” Alice stated as she typed the address into her phone while reviewing the distance between her and the location in question. “It's not too far from here, it looks to be around a five minute drive from here which would mean that I should give myself around a half hour or longer since I will be going by foot. After finishing things up on the computer, Alice turned it off as she quietly headed towards the open window. “I expected this to be a tad more difficult, but I'm not going to complain.” Alice exited via the same window she came in. Alice could hear some police sirens and quickly looked for a bush or something similar to hide into. “What's going on?” Alice asked as she hid by a tree near the building. “Hurry up you lazy bums, it's code forty seven.” A cop stated as he sat in his vehicle near the entrance. “Unbelievable, why can't these little's behave like the babies that they are?” One of the cops stated as he entered the vehicle. “If they acted obediently and didn't try to run away from there adopted parents, we would probably be out of a job. Haha.” Another cop stated as he sat on a motorcycle and soon followed the vehicle to whatever location they were assigned to. “This world is messed up.” Alice thought as she began to think of all the little's that were born into this reality and how there lives were basically forfeit because of the Amazons. - - - - - - A sudden urge in Aura's bladder, caused the girl to awake. “This isn't good, I really need to go.” Aura stated as she tried to lower the railings. She knew that she would not be able to climb over, given it's abnormal height. “This can't be happening!” Aura knew that she had a strong bladder but the urge relieve herself was far stronger than she had ever imagined. The distraught girl, quickly began to nudge on Kyle's shoulder, urging him wake up. “Ugh.... is something wrong, Aura?” Kyle replied. “I really need to use the bathroom, so do you know how to...” Aura didn't even have the time to finish her sentence as she felt her bladder release. The warm substance began to fill her pull up without a moments notice. Aura didn't move an inch until she was finished. “Did you go potty? If so, you will have to wait for morning for mommy to change you. Just go back to sleep and she will take care of us both in the morning.” Kyle yawned before falling back into his slumber. “But how? My bladder was never this weak.” Aura slowly poked her soiled pull up. The girl winced as she heard the crinkly yet squishy like sounds coming from it. “It's so gross.” Aura slowly placed her head back onto the pillow as she slowly recovered from the shock of wetting herself for the first time in years. “Is this going to be my life from now on? Am I just a big baby?” Aura looked up at the mobile with bunnies as she pondered her future. Aura's eyes began to get heavier as she continued to look at the memorizing yet simple mobile above her. “Alice” Were the girl's last words before she fell back asleep. - - - - - - “Damn it's cold.” Alice could see her breathe as she was reaching closer to her destination. “According to my phone, it should be around midnight, hard to say if that's the same time as here.” Alice made sure to keep her guard up. Even though the streets were empty, there was occasionally a couple of locals that were walking about on the sidewalks, she made sure to not allow herself to be spotted. “Just hang in there Jessie! I'll save ya!” Alice's determination was unwavering as she pressed on. - - - - - - “Shit, where am I?” Jessie stated as she woke up from her slumber. It didn't take the girl long to realize that she was laying on top of the Amazon that captured her. “That's right, this vile woman, made me drink from her nasty breasts.” Jessie knew that her best time to escape had finally come but before she could hop off the Amazon, she took another glance at the large breasts of her caretaker. She didn't know how or why but all of Jessie's thoughts of escape soon disappeared as she unconsciously crawled so she could continue her meal from earlier on. Serena soon woke to see her baby girl in action. “Oh, looks like a little someone is hungry for a late night meal.” Serena sat up so that could get a better view of Jessie and she continued to breast feed her. “I appreciate you not running off like that, then again, once you have a Amazon's milk, it will dominate your reasoning.” Serena pulled Jessie's head off her breast to take a glimpse of the girl's expression. A look of sadness and and sounds of whimpering could be scene from the little's face “I'll let you have a bit more, but only for five minutes, okay? We have a big day in the morning, my love.” Serena asked Jessie simply nodded her head without saying a word, her mind was regressed to the level of an actual infant as she continued to nurse. “While this is nice, I do miss that spunky attitude of yours.” Serena gently played with Jessie's long blonde hair. - - - - - - “Is this really the place?” Alice thought to herself as she looked over a house, but not just any house. It was a home that looked Japanese in style with wooden sliding doors, tiled roofs and tatami mat flooring. Alice didn't enter the house at first, she took her time to inspect it and double check the address to make sure it was the same as the one she put on her phone. “I've got a bad feeling about this...But if Jessie is really here, I can't back out now.” Alice slowly opened one of the sliding doors, she found it to be oddly easy to do. The little was always worried about any security systems but from the looks of the place, it seemed to follow a very traditional setting without any modern upgrades. “This place looks rather sleek and clean.” Alice continued to search the house, fascinated by the asian architectural scenery. Alice felt relieved to not find anyone within the house as of yet, but she was disappointed to not find any sign of her friend. “Wow...This is incredible!” Alice walked into a larger than normal Dojo. “This reminds me so much of my martial arts training school.” For the first time since arriving, Alice felt at ease with her surroundings. “And what exactly is a little like you, doing here?” Alice's nerves shot up to hear a voice from behind her. Alice quickly turned head to see a woman standing near the opposite entrance of the dojo. The amazon woman had long silver hair with crimson red pupils, like something that you would see out of a Japanese role playing game. “Shit, it's not her.” Alice was pissed off at herself that she had somehow entered another Amazon's home and not of the one that took her friend. “Sorry to bother you but you wouldn't happen to know anyone that goes by the name of Serena Sohma, would you?” Alice asked as she took a few steps back. “Why yes, I do know of her, are you an acquaintance? She asked as she remained still motionless. “Sort of.” Alice could feel the overwhelming presence of the Amazon, she knew that she was not someone to trifle with. “Then explain yourself and as to why you are trespassing on my property.” The Amazon kept her eyes on the red head without blinking. Alice knew that lying would not get her anywhere. “That Serena person, kidnapped a friend of mine, I'm trying to find out where she lives so I can rescue her.” Alice began to scout the area if she needed to find a quick escape attempt. “Serena is a former student of mine, she used to live here not long ago, but has since moved out into a house of her own, so in other words, she is not here.” The amazon replied. “Is that so...In that case, would you be kind enough to tell me her location?” Alice could feel her heart beating as the seconds went by. “Serena called me a few hours ago to inform me that she had recently adopted a little of her own. It was the first time I've heard her so happy in years. Do you think that I'm going to allow you to deny her own happiness.” Alice knew at that moment that no matter what she said or did, it would not be of any help and quickly turned to exit the dojo, fearing for her own safety. As Alice was about to exit, she could feel a large hand grab hold of her right shoulder, the red head managed to twirl out of the way and create some distance between her and the Amazon. “How the hell? She is fast...Abnormally fast!” Alice was surprised to see how the Amazon woman was able to close the distance between the two in the vast open area they were in. The young girl had no choice but to keep her guard up. “You have a good reaction, and your defensive stance is commendable.” The amazon stated as she casually walked closer to the little. “You think you can just do whatever you want because I'm smaller than you?” Alice replied in anger. “I have no desire to adopt a little, however our law is in place to keep your kind in check. If you surrender and and hand yourself over to the authorities, I promise I will not harm you.” The amazon stated as she stopped within a few feet from Alice. “Ya right, just surrender so I can be babied you freaks.” Alice had confidence in her martial arts and knew ways to take down an opponent bigger than her. However, the Amazon that stood before her, looked to have been trained in some form of combat which was the last thing that she needed “How unfortunate.” The Amazon began to take a stance to go on the offensive. Alice knew that she didn't stand a chance but she wasn't about to go down without a fight. “What the hell is the commotion all about?” Another Amazon appeared from the entrance. Alice took a quick glimpse to see the other figure that entered the room. “Oh wow. It''s you. What are the odds.” The Amazon stated as she looked at Alice. “You...You are the one from earlier! That saved me from that corrupt cop.” Alice was at a loss of words to see someone familiar. “You know her, Tohru?” The silvered haired Amazon asked as she relaxed her stance. “Kind of. Remember the story I told you about when I left work today and found a couple of stranded little's being chased down by a corrupt cop? This girl is one of them.” Tohru stated as she pointed at Alice. “I see.” The Amazon was intrigued by the revelation. “I'm surprised that you haven't been caught yet, I knew you were in for a rough time given how little's are usually treated. So what brings you here at my sensei's place.” Tohru stated as she walked up to the girl. Alice started to relax, while she knew next to nothing about Tohru, she felt that she was someone that she could reason with, given her actions from earlier in the day. “I'm looking for a Amazon by the name of Serena. She kidnapped a friend of mine and I'm simply trying to get her back.” Alice stated. “Oh! So it was one your your pals that she adopted. That's pretty amazing.” Tohru chuckled as she adjusted her glasses. “So...You think you can help me out here? Alice backed a away a bit as she focused on the silver haired Amazon. “Master Kanna?” Tohru turned her attention to her martial arts teacher. “I'm going to call the authorities and hand this little over to them, after all, it is the law.” Kanna stated as she suddenly appeared behind Alice and quickly held her down. “Let go of me, you freak!” Alice tried to move but the overwhelming strength of the Amazon was too much. Tohru watched as the little struggled in vain. “Tohru, would you be kind enough to call the police while I hold down our little intruder.” Kanna asked. “I actually think I have a better idea. What's your name?” Tohru asked as she knelt down to look at the defeated girl. “Alice.” Replied the little. “Well, Alice, how would you like to come and live with me temporarily? Tohru asked. “Tohru, are you actually thinking of adopting?” Kanna gave off a surprised look on her face. “Nothing like that, it's just...I feel kind of sorry for the girl. She lost one of her friends to adoption and given her other friend isn't with her, I can only assume that she has now found a loving family as well.” Tohru replied “You do realize that it is illegal to have a little live with you unless she is registered and chipped.” Kanna stated “I know Master. How about cutting me some slack and even more so, for Alice here.” Tohru helped Alice to her feet. The red head quickly hid behind the Amazon while glaring at Kanna with ill contempt . “I'll let this slide for now, but you should consider adopting her, I think it will do you well given all that you have gone through.” Kanna stated as she started to exit the room, leaving the two alone. “Holy...You saved my ass again.” Alice took a deep breathe. “Heh, it's not a problem, consider yourself lucky though. I was about to head back to my house. If you arrived a few minutes later, you would have found yourself trapped and most likely ended up in a reform school by tomorrow.” “What's a reform school? Alice asked as she walked beside Tohru to her car. “The very last place you want to end up at. Basically it's a school made to mentally and physically regress you back into babyhood before being adopted. “ Alice gave off a look of disgust as Tohru approached her car. Alice was hesitant to enter the drivers seat of someone she didn't know, but her other option was to wander the cold streets without any direction which was not very inviting at the moment. “Unfortunately I don't have a proper booster seat for you, so the seat belts in the car will not be of much help, just keep your head down, especially if there is any law enforcement on the road.” Tohru started her car with Alice at her side. “Everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong.” Alice stated as she slammed the back of her head on the backseat. “I don't doubt that at all. With today's current law's on little's, you really don't have much breathing room for anything.” Tohru replied “Why did I have to end up in a freakish world like this? Why cannot it be like Wonderland?” Alice sighed. “I kind of figured you were a portal little” Tohru smirked as she continued to drive “I really hate that term.” Alice tried her best to relax as she adjusted her seating “If you didn't like this world, why did you visit it? Didn't you read the pamphlets before coming? Hell, why did you even lose your tourist guide? That's the most important thing a portal little should know.” Tohru asked. “We didn't come here by choice, me and my friends entered a forest in our world when we heard some weird noises and then soon after, our vision started to get distorted and then we eventually found ourselves in a city of Amazons.” Alice replied “Unbelievable. So that's how you got pulled in.” Tohru stated with awe. “Wait!? You know how we got transported to this dimension?” Alice was curious for an answer. “There have been stories that in the world that you come from, that there are abnormalities called a dimensional tear which can cause people from your world be transported to ours by accident.” Tohru stated. “Just my luck...Thank you for bringing us to that damn forest, Jessie.” Alice thought to herself. The drive was rather quiet with the exception of a few yawns coming from Alice. “So what were you doing at that Amazons house? Alice asked “I was just simply visiting my sensei, nothing special. Tohru responded. As they entered the driveway, Tohru could see that Alice was barely able to keep her eyes open. “You look exhausted, when we get inside, you can knock yourself out on the couch if you want.” “I appreciate it. As much as I want to save my friends, I don't think I will be of much help if I can't think or move properly.” Alice began to close her eyes, letting the darkness consume her. “Poor girl. Things are not exactly going to get easier for her.” Tohru brushed Alice's red hair as she pulled her car into the garage of her house. As Tohru opened the passenger door, she picked up the Alice and brought her inside the house. “The next few days should prove to be quite interesting.” Tohru stated as she placed the slumbering girl onto her couch.
  38. 6 points
    And on the lighter side ... __________________________________________ Chapter 25 Part 3 Back in the car, Amanda sat next to Jamie so she could talk to him. Becky turned the radio off so she could hear and be heard. “How ya feeling, buddy?” “Fine.” Really, he was. No breakthroughs or emotional epiphanies, nothing he didn’t already not on some level know already. Amanda looked skeptical. “Really. Nothing new today.” Amanda’s face soften and she put her hand on his knee. “Alright. You know you don’t have to talk about what you discuss with Mary with anyone, even us, unless you want to, right?” “I know.” Jamie couldn’t remember the details of what he’d said anyway. He knew the narrative, but if he’d had to try to reproduce his own words, he’d come up with semi-accurate paraphrasing at best. Amanda wasn’t so sure she liked what had just happened. Jamie had been smiling and happy just yesterday, and now he looked closed off and miserable. She understood it was a process, but what was the point if he had to be made unhappy long-term when he could feel at least somewhat happy, if not wholly so, without therapy? Maybe Jamie had a right to just learn to live with it. She wished they weren’t in the car so that she could do the one thing she knew always made him feel better: hold him. “Since we all have the afternoon free, Jamie, we thought we’d go to the zoo and meet Laurie and Danny. How does that sound?” Jamie had mixed feelings about zoos. He liked animals, but he didn’t like to see them in cages. He hadn’t been to a zoo back home in ages. But he was curious to see what animals they had here, and he hadn’t seen Danny or Laurie since his arrival party. It was starting to bother Jamie a bit that he so rarely saw any men. Jamie assumed it was due to old fashioned gender roles. Single men didn’t seem to want littles; they didn’t go into caring professions like little day care; as far as he knew, they didn’t become little therapists. Jamie loved spending time with all the women in his life, and he never felt out place as a Little boy, but he missed talking to other guys, and he liked Danny. Something about him made him want to spend more time with him, sort of like a little brother wants to tag along with his big brother. “Sounds good,” Jamie answered, sounding in earnest as he actually was. “Where’s the zoo?” “It’s in Wood’s Park. That’s the main park where we live, where the art and history museum are, the science center, the city theatre, those kinds of things.” So an entirely new place. Jamie watched new scenery outside the window, or what he could see of it. Just the normal things on a highway passing from a suburban area and into an urban one. “What’s that,” Jamie asked, pointing. Through the windshield he saw a statue rising between buildings at least five miles away. It shone in the sunlight. “That’s Solea,” Becky answered, “There used to be a stone version of him there, and it broke apart in an earthquake. That’s been there for about 100 years. It’s on the harbor front.” “When did original one collapse?” “A few thousand years ago?” Jamie considered that. “How old is Itali?” Becky and Amanda didn’t know the answer. People had lived there since there were people. “Um, I guess a couple thousand years before the statue fell down.” “Wow.” “Is that a long time where you’re from?” “Very. Humans didn’t start living in settled communities until 5,000 years ago. They couldn’t build anything like that for probably two thousand more … doesn’t seem that long when you think about it.” After a minute of silence, Amanda glanced at her phone and leaned over to whisper to Jamie, “If you need to go, now would be a good time. You’re soaked anyway, right?” He was, enough that he felt squishy. Sighing and looking away, Jamie did what he needed to. The confined space of the car didn’t help. Fortunately, they pulled off the highway a few minutes later and made a left across the overpass, directly into the park. Urban parks are so different from their surroundings, you could forget you were in a city at all. The road split into four directions, two through woods and two falling across opposite sides of the hill Jamie didn’t realize they were even on, past picnic pavilions and sign posts for the different things in the park. The followed one of the roads, and at a corner a large wall made to look like a rock stood out, impossible to miss for its size. Jamie could only imagine the size of the animals a wall like that must have been built to contain. If the trees were an indication, big. Jamie hadn’t never been in a redwood forest, but he didn’t think those were as large and these, and they were everywhere. Rather than park in the lot, Becky parked on the street since it was free. She got out and went to the back to get their things while Amanda got Jamie out of his car seat. “We can do this in the back or in the park. Up to you.” She unbuckled him and lifted him out of his seat, which she saw was wet. “Actually, we have to do this in the car. Sorry.” “Why?” “You leaked. It’s not a big deal.” Easy for her to say, Jamie thought. She wasn’t about to worse than nude in front of anyone passing by. Jamie now felt the cool wetness on the backs of his legs. He followed Amanda around to the back. Becky had heard the exchange and had started setting out what they’d need. Jamie stood there blushing. “Thanks, Mom. I’ll take care of it.” “Fine by me,” Becky laughed, though she also felt she wasn’t getting many of these personal moments with Jamie. She knew he preferred Amanda to do this, and she wasn’t sure why or what difference it made. She was a bit put out by it. Amanda lifted Jamie into the back, and he managed to lay back on the changing mat without sitting first. Amanda took a black cloth from the corner near the seat and unsnapped a clasp to unfurl it. She found two loops at either end and put them over two hooks on the inside of the frame of the gate, blocking the view of passersby. “See? A little privacy.” She got Jamie’s pants off and discovered his onesie was wet as well. “I’m sorry, Jamie, we should have gotten you changed before we left.” “It’s okay,” he sighed. He’d either be back here anyway or uncomfortably holding it. Jamie wasn’t sure why his need to go was more urgent but figured it had something to do with little food. So that ruled out little food having opiates in it. Amanda got him cleaned up. From the other side of the curtain they heard a woman’s voice. “Those are becoming so popular now. I honestly don’t get it. What does a little care about being seen getting her diaper changed?” Rebecca heard it, too. The two women were walking side by side, and didn’t seem to think much of commenting on Becky’s purchase right in front of her. “A good Big mom cares on her behalf,” Becky said. The woman who spoke gave her a not unkind look, while the one who hadn’t spoken yet added, “I like it. If a little doesn’t care who looks at them, I still care what I have to look at.” “Thank you,” Becky replied, “It’s also good for naps. It blocks the entire back when it’s hung up all the way.” “Clever.” The two women went on their way. Amanda wondered what Jamie thought of that exchange. He hadn’t changed his neutral expression. When she had him in a clean diaper, Amanda said, “Let’s see what outfit we have in the bag for you.” She rummaged around, found something, and smiled coyly. “What,” Jamie asked. “It’s your favorite puppy shirt,” Amanda sang, pulling out the shirt with baby bear on it. She tossed the shirt so it landed over his eyes and went to work tickling his chest and ribs and belly and underarms and feet while he writhed and laughed and tried to get away, squealing with equal parts delight and pleading. “What are you guys doing in there,” Becky asked, knowing exactly what they were doing. “Jamie’s tickling himself again, Mom. Didn’t even think that was possible.” Jamie lay mostly off the changing mat panting with tears in his eyes. He hated and loved when she did that. “And for real this time.” She helped him sit up, and he put on his own shirt while she found some shorts for him in the diaper bag, plus his sunglasses and a hat. “One more thing,” Amanda said, taking some sunblock from the bag and rubbing it on the parts of Jamie exposed to the sun, especially the tops of his legs. He then quickly applied some to herself. “Hey, Mom,” she said, sticking a hand out from behind the curtain. “Oh! Thanks a bunch. I forgot.” Amanda stood Jamie up. He thought she was just helping him down, but she put her arms around him and kissed him on the neck. Jamie liked it, of course, but he didn’t need it. “Really, Manda,” he said as he stroked her hair, “I’m fine. Promise.” “I know. But sometimes I need a hug, too.” She let him go, took the curtain down, grabbed the diaper bag, and helped him down. Her hand was on the gate when Jamie said, “Um, Manda?” He pointed to the rolled up diaper. “Oh!” Amanda laughed. “Thank god one of us remembered. Nothing worse than leaving one of those in the car on a sunny day. Ha!” Stashed the diaper bag under the stroller and took the diaper over to a trash can, saying a quick prayer of gratitude and strength for sanitation workers. “There’s a lot of walking today, Jamie. You can hop in and out of the stroller whenever you want.” Jamie opted to walk to the entrance at least, and the trio walked down the wide sidewalk. The walked under a sculpture of two dolphins touching noses and through a turnstile. “No tickets?” “Nope. Our zoo is free. If you don’t count taxes.” A large fountain with a pool under it was about fifty meters from the entrance, with the flow of people going around it in two different directions. Danny and Laurie were sitting on the edge of the pool and waved when they spotted the trio. When they drew nearer, Danny stood up and declared, “It’s the Jamester,” like he was announcing the main act at a rock concert, and knelt down with his palm out. Jamie slapped his palm, and Danny moved it. “Up high.” Jamie smiled and gave him his high five. He did that with young kids back home, trying to get them to warm to him. It worked on the youngest, but stopped around age 9. Laurie smiled and waved rather than emulate her husband’s antics. Danny stood up and gave Becky a hug, a smidge longer than just a greeting. “How you feeling, Beck?” Becky returned the hug. She was his big sister, but ever since he was taller than her their relationship leveled, and he gave her as much guidance and support as she did him. “Oh,” she answered, betraying some stress she didn’t share at home, “I’m ready for summer again, and it’s only been a week.” Danny let laughed and released her, but kept her wrists in his hands. “You’ve said that every year since you started teaching. And before that as a student.” “Jealousy, is what you’re feeling right now, Daniel Webb, Systems Analyst.” He let go of her wrists. “That’s ‘Dr. Daniel Webb, Systems Designer.” Laurie spoke up, “Have I ever told you guys how weird I thought your relationship was when we first met.” Amanda choked on a laugh and turned red. “A few times, yeah,” Danny smiled. “Then I met Dana and it all made sense.” She smiled and looked down at Jamie. “I heard all about your encounter with her. Any thoughts to share?” Jamie didn’t need to think on that one. “She’s a cu … she’s careless with people’s feelings,” he caught himself. Glad I’m not the only one to call her that, Lauren thought. Danny put his arm around his sister and wife, then nodded toward Amanda and Jamie. “I think we have all the family we need right here.” He meant it, but he also wanted to put a stop to discussion of his mother, for all their sake’s but especially Becky’s. “Jamie, wuddya think? Mammals or reptiles first?” In solidarity with his own mammalian class, Jamie chose mammals. Jamie imagined this is what it felt like before pictures and books when a person saw an animal for the very first time. No one could dream up the variety, the colors, the abilities, the proportions, the specializations, the way nature had shaped each one to near perfectly fit its environment. All that was more impressive than the sheer size of some of them. No one could design them all. Jamie asked a lot of “What’s that” questions, and when he couldn’t see, Daniel put him on his shoulders. Not every animal was new to him, though. They went into the ape house, and Jamie watched the silverback gorilla sitting with his back against the glass watching his extended family climb, sleep, groom, and play. Jamie loved gorillas growing up; gentle, yet a mighty force when roused to protect its family. He liked to see them, but he hated to see them there. They deserved to be wherever home was for them, safe and free in their forest. He tapped the glass slightly and put his palm against. “Hey Manda?” She knelt down. “Yeah, buddy?” “Are they endangered here?” “No. Far from it. No one would hurt a gorilla.” “Good.” He left his palm there for another second before taking it away and continuing down the path back into the sun shine. The path wound around the building and gave them a view of an open pen where more apes played and enjoyed the sun and snoozed in the trees. Daniel picked him up for a better view. Leaning out a little to look down against the wall, Jamie saw something moving mostly upright. At first, he thought it was a zookeeper, but then he realized it was another animal. Something about it intrigued him, and he kept watching until it moved far enough away and turned to the side. “What do you call that one?” “The tall one? It’s called an ‘allpamell.’ You don’t have those where you’re from?” “Um, sort of. They’re supposed to be a myth, not really exist.” “Maybe they went extinct a long time ago and endured as a legend. What do you call them?” “Maybe. We call it a ‘sasquatch.’” “The ones that live in snowy places are almost entirely white.” “Seriously?” Weird. From there they moved into big predator country. Jamie always wondered how those predators felt when the breeze blew the scent of prey animals over them. There were a few different species, but the morphology was pretty much the same, evolution sculpting just a few different types of big predators that fit perfectly in their environments. Cats, canids, including ones much larger than the ones at home. They came to a glass wall with something large and brown curled up against it. Its fur was thick and coarse and in need of a comb. It looked like a large lump of hair to Jamie. Danny let Jamie down, and he approached the glass. It was visibly breathing, its huge form rising and falling slowly. Jamie tapped the glass with just a knuckle, and the thing stirred. He had to look just to see the top of it. He tapped again, it stood, shaking itself, and in a blur turned and slammed against the glass, sending Jamie sprawling back in alarm. Even the bigs were startled. His heart beating against his chest and his pants feeling warm, Jamie saw the thing walking away, and only when it was a several yards away did he get a good look at the whole of the thing. It was a gigantic bear. Amanda bent down and helped him up the armpits, laughing. “Did he scare ya, buddy?” She dusted off the back of his shirt and shorts. It had moved out of sight. Eyes still wide, Jamie asked, “What do you call that?” He knew it wasn’t called a ‘bear.’ “That’s a wolf.” Jamie’s face fell into a ‘you’ve-got-to-kidding-me’ expression, and once more he felt like he was breaking the third wall. “Really?” “Yeah. Dogs are their cousins.” He looked at her for some hint. If this were a joke it both very elaborate and very good, and Jamie was impressed by their commitment to it. Daniel was back at the glass trying to catch a glimpse of the thing around the corner. He’d missed the conversation. “Danny,” Jamie asked, gesturing toward himself with his index finger as he stepped away from Amanda. Danny knelt down again. “Can we be guys for a second, a little honesty between men?” “Uh, sure,” Danny replied, expecting some guy parts question or something. He didn’t have much little experience. “That thing,” Jamie said pointing to the enclosure, “what’s it called?” “A wolf. They’re related to dogs.” Jamie eyed him skeptically, looking for some sign Danny was being facetious. He saw nothing. Truth, or an elaborate joke. “Thanks,” Jamie replied. “Uh … any time,” Danny said, confused. He stood up, and they walked back to the group. He leaned over to Amanda and whispered, “What was that about?” “Jamie’s got this thing about dogs. Not sure why.” They kept walking. Jamie saw the elephants, who he especially didn’t like to see behind a fence, and ungulates of all kinds. In the largest enclosure yet, Jamie saw something about the size of an elephant, but furry, with a thick tail and long claws he could as it sat upright. “It’s a giant ground sloth,” Lauri volunteered. “New to you?” “Sort of. We used to have them. They went extinct, I don’t know, like 20,000 years ago.” They were now walking back toward the entrance, passing through the reptile and amphibian section. Some were outside. The tortoises we’re apparently in heat, something none of them had, and the sound the male made with each … effort … gave them a good laugh, though Becky led Jamie away quickly. The went into the reptile house, which didn’t do the building justice. It was more like a stadium, accommodating a menagerie of cold-blooded beasts large and small and in between. “We’re not going down the snake corridor,” Laurie declared. Jamie declared, “I’m on her side.” The animals started small and got larger as they got deeper into the complex. It was humid in there and smelled of perpetual wetness. By the time they reached the end, Jamie was unsure whether he had just seen dinosaurs or not. “Want to check out the petting zoo?” They walked through a gate decorated with anthropomorphic animals. It was loud and crowded with littles and with very young big children. Jamie expected farm animals, but instead found pets. They approached a large enclosure filled with commotion. Peering over the top, Jamie saw dogs and puppies. The familiarity of it as much as the cuteness of it made him smile. “Can I go in?” “Sure,” Becky answered, lifting him over the short wall. Jamie walked a few feet in, and first one and then another dog came over to see what he was about. Jamie liked dogs but had never had one. He knew many of the breeds. There Labradors and English Mastiffs, Dachshunds and Spaniels, Weimaraners and Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Shiba Inus and Poodles, Lhasa Apsos and Beagles and more. Many of the dogs were over the scene, no longer excited by the people. They laid in a pile or by themselves, allowing themselves to be pet but not much engaging. Others were all wagging tail and happy panting, going from person to person sure each one was their new best friend. The couple of dog that came to inspect Jamie became three, then four, and then Jamie sat down on the ground and was surrounded by lolling tongues trying to lick his face and cold snouts sniffing him everywhere and the wonderful, vicarious pleasure of dogs with no sense of personal space climbing and leaning and lay on you. Jamie laid back and let the dogs get in his face and lick his hands and step on and over him and lay down next to and on him. After a bit, Amanda quipped, “Which one is Jamie again?” Danny could keep up with her. “The hairless one at the bottom.” Jamie made furry friends fast. When he stood up, a couple followed him and whined when he got out of the enclosure. Luckily, they’re dogs and made new friends instantly. Becky brushed Jamie off. “So what are those called here?” “Bruins.” A very elaborate joke. “What do you call them?” “Dogs.” Amanda eyed him suspiciously. “I think we’ve seen everything,” Becky interjected. “Who’s hungry for dinner?”
  39. 6 points
    Just noticed that our next hosting payment will officially put us over the $50,000 mark, just for hosting costs since 2007. Wouldn't be possible without our sponsors and those who have chosen to donate to the site!
  40. 6 points
    Chapter Eight Marinette spun around and then flopped down on her bed, legs hanging, arms spread to either side. She’d kept her hair down today, and the dark locks spread around her head like a halo. “Hey!” The protest was slightly squeaky, and a moment later, Tikki wriggled out from beneath Marinette. The girl blushed and sat up, flipping onto her stomach. She’d landed on her purse, probably squished the poor sprite a little. She cupped her Kwami in her hands and rubbed her forehead with one finger. “I’m sorry, Tikki,” she apologized while the Kwami giggled under the attention. “I should have been more careful.” Tikki’s eyes were wide, a pretty blue, but there was no negative emotions lingering in her gaze. Marinette knew the Kwami wasn’t actually mad. “I am glad you had a good outing, but that doesn’t mean I want to be crushed by a big oaf,” the Kwami teased back. She zipped up out of the cup of Marinette’s fingers and hovered in front of her face. “I think you’re the only person to ever call me ‘big’,” Marinette responded. “Well you are to me!” Tikki pointed out. Marinette couldn’t help but smile. It was true, she supposed. Next to Tikki, a small red and black sprite who could fit easily in the palm of her hand, she was big. “And Amazons are practically titans. Who even wants to be that big anyways? Could you imagine trying to keep a body that large fed?” the Kwami laughed. Marinette joined her. It was soothing sometimes to poke fun at the oppressive larger counterpart of society. “Well, regardless, I’m sorry I nearly sat on you. I was just…really happy. It’s strange, but I…I really like him,” she admitted. A tingling sensation rose in her cheeks, spreading through her face, and she chewed her lip to keep her small smile from becoming an idiotic gapping grin. She’d never had a crush before. It was a strange, though far from unpleasant feeling. She only wished she hadn’t made such a fool of herself in the process. Just the thought of her onset rudeness and then complete lack of ability to form a coherent sentence made her groan and want to bury her head under a pillow for eternity. “Really?” Tikki giggled. “I definitely couldn’t tell. You were speaking so clearly and intelligently. ‘That sounds blunderful, I mean wonderful, that is ugh, ahh, blaa,’” Tikki mocked, making a slack jawed, thoughtless expression at the end. Marinette rolled her eyes, trying to brush the comment off, but her blush deepened and she sighed. “I know, Tikki. He must think I’m an absolute idiot. I sounded like a total dorkasaurous.” The Kwami flew up and patted her on the cheek. “Only when you say things like ‘dorkasaurous’. Cheer up, Marinette. He seemed very starved for a friend. I think he liked you fine. And you made some really pretty sketches this afternoon. Which ones are you going to go with for your project?” Marinette smiled. That much was true at least. She fished out her sketchbook and plopped down at her desk to flip through the pages she’d filled today. Adrien had actually been rather helpful. She had loads of different ideas, but he had the experience with actually wearing designer clothes and had made some very helpful tips about sizing and proportions, especially on infantile little wear. Not the most thrilling of tasks, sure, but something she acknowledged she’d have to work with in the future, probably quite a bit, and she welcomed the chance to learn before an error taught her the hard way. As she looked over the rough drafts, Marinette’s mind drifted back to the park, to that tree. Sitting with him, pouring over the pages and ideas. He had such an engaging personality. She’d judged him unfairly, and now saw the real person, and she was immensely attracted to his kindness and mannerisms. He was sweet and funny and charming, and she wished he were here now. She’d sketch well past the point of her hand cramping if it meant the excuse to spend more time. Great. I’m so totally doomed! She sighed. It wasn’t that a relationship with him were bad, just difficult, if she could even work up the courage to admit she liked him. Littles didn’t exactly have an easy go of dating, finding love, or building a life with someone special. The Amazons would never interfere with a marriage, of course, or the raising of a family. They didn’t seem to like it or approve, but she figured they quietly accepted that if it didn’t happen, there wouldn’t be a next generation of Littles, and the idea of running low on a supply of forever babies seemed enough of a stick to force them to begrudgingly accept nature’s course. That didn’t mean they made it easy, though. There were lots of dumb societal rules and views about Littles engaging romantically, especially in public. Simply holding hands or attending a restaurant or theater’s date night special was enough to get you publically berated. It was frustrating, but she also decided it would be worth it. Even if Adrien’s status and family made it hell for her to try. Just the thought of telling him had her heart racing, and she was quickly lost to rampant fantasies about the future. She knew she had a tendency to obsess to unhealthy levels over things, but the habit was ultimately harmless, even if it ate away her time occasionally. “Marinette!” Tikki’s shout jarred Marinette from her thoughts and she glanced up, her brows furrowing quizzically at the Kwami. Tikki sighed and pointed at the clock on Marinette’s desk. “Ladybug is supposed to be meeting Chat Noir tonight, remember? It’s sunset. You have to go!” Marinette jolted from her seat, hastily flipping the sketchbook closed and stuffing it into her drawer. “You’re right, Tikki. I’m sorry. I lost track of time.” She scrambled over to the window, pushed it silently open and poked her head through to glance around. Luckily, her room faced an alleyway and it was mostly deserted. After a quick check to make sure no one was around to see, she glanced back at her Kwami. “Ready? Tikki, spots on!” There was a soft flash as the Kwami was absorbed into the Miraculous and the magic began to course through Marinette’s body, her red and black suit and mask manifesting across her form. Split seconds later, Ladybug was crouched in the opening of the window, hurling her yoyo out towards a distant satellite antenna. When the wire pulled taunt, she launched herself out the window and off to find her partner in crime. Landing on the wide, flat rooftop of a department store, four stories tall, Ladybug paused a moment to glance around. She never tired of viewing the city from these angles, where the sky looked close enough to touch and the Amazons below her were the small ones for once. As her gaze drifted lazily over the crowds in the parking lot, then over the barren concrete rooftop and ventilation points, it settled on another hunched figure. It appeared, she was the one to locate him for once. It wasn’t so much that they planned out meet spots or times, they just had a natural tendency to gravitate towards one another. At least, she assumed. She never had to look overly hard to find him, nor did he seem to struggle catching up to her either. She grinned, after the near heart attack he’d given her yesterday, creeping up like he did, she couldn’t resist stepping a little bit lighter than she normally would as she approached him. She wasn’t a petty person, but some playful payback was long due. Besides, perhaps it would cheer him up. She could tell even from the distance the way his shoulders slumped, head bowed. His arm was moving, and as she got closer, she could see him fiddling with his staff, tracing the green cat pad marking in the center. She leaned over his shoul’der, her tone a breathy whisper. “Boo.” As she’d hoped, Chat jumped, pitched forward like she had the day prior. Except she’d made an error. He was perched on the very edge of the building, and careening forward was beyond dangerous. On instinct, she grabbed a hold of his tail. It was really a belt, wrapped around his waist and trailing down, but he sometimes acted as if it had feeling. He grunted at it pulled taunt and she tugged him back. He stood and spun around quickly, cupping the end of the tail and stroking it. He grinned at her. “Don’t you mean Bugaboo?” he purred and she scowled. “I should push you,” she retorted. “No need, Milady. I’ve already fallen head over heels.” He waggled his eyebrows and she almost rolled her eyes in response when she noticed that the smug grin on his face didn’t quite reach his eyes. The playful banter suddenly took a sour note and she frowned. “Chat?” she inquired. “Are you okay?” He sighed and plopped back down on the roof, his feet coming together and he rested his hands on his ankles. She crouched down next to him. “I really screwed up yesterday.” Ladybug chewed her lip and paused for a moment before shaking her head. “Chat, it’s okay. We’ll figure it out, I promise. Yes, it wasn’t ideal and there could be some backlash we don’t know of yet, but we’ll figure it out. Don’t beat yourself up over things passed. Be glad that Little is no longer in such a highly abusive situation.” Chat nodded. “I sent my Kwami to the Guardian last night.” “And?” Ladybug pressed. She licked her lips. She’d been planning on sending Tikki. Chat saved her the trip, but she still felt bad he was putting himself through the wringer. “What’s done is done. Lay low a while. Be extra cautious. Take extra care of our Miraculous. What I expected, I guess. Doesn’t make me feel much better though.” Ladybug sighed. Enough was enough. The personality change was starting to unnerve her. “Alright, stop. Chat, you made a choice. It was a drastic one, true, but you need to stop tormenting yourself over it. I may have done the same thing if I’d seen what you saw. This mindset is going to start affecting your judgement, your reflexes. Chat, I need you on your game. You did nothing wrong.” He finally seemed to buck up at that. Gave his head a shake. His shaggy blond hair flew into his face, the black ears atop his head shuddering at the motion. “You’re right. What’s done is done. I’m better now.” “Good. Then let’s get to work. We’re going back to serious scoping. Maybe there’s a way to make it look like the Littles we liberate are merely runners. We’ve gotten too good lately.” She bounced her yoyo in her hand a few times before flinging it skyward. “Lucky Charm!” she called as she watched it spin. The ability she hadn’t had to use as often lately. The ability linked directly to her Miraculous alone. Each of the jewels granted the wearer a disguise, tool, and various abilities, along with a particularly useful power to help them in their tasks. Hers did one of two things depending on the circumstance; leading them to the Little in most need at the time or producing an aid to help them in a bind. Her yoyo glowed brightly, the shimmering black and white stream of magical ladybugs swirled around her and then shot off across a sky tinted a deep crimson gold with the sunset. No one but them would notice the trail, the power was discrete that way, thankfully. But it was immensely handy at pointing them in the right direction, even if it cut her time able to remain transformed in half. She glanced back with a grin at her companion. “Ready?” He spun his staff and gestured with a gloved hand. “After you, Milady." Sorry about the wait on this one, everyone. The next one will be out much faster, and I have some rather interesting things planned for it. I plan to write a good chunk of it today, so maybe we'll even get it done and out for tomorrow, eh? I mean, I know I have a bad track record for those of you who know me, but I plan to actually finish this story and in a respectably timely manner too, lol. Damn though, new jobs and schooling and life just love sucking away all the time in the day, huh? Have a great day everyone. Until next time. - Auntie Maya
  41. 6 points
    Part 12 "What do you mean you're going out on a date?" The last word seemed to echo as it came from my lips. "You've never gone on a date!" "I have," Lana laughed, ruffling my hair. "Just not since I got you." "Well I'm still here," I said defensively - why did this even bother me? We weren't dating, we weren't married, we weren't technically a romantic couple... lots of Keepers were married, it only made sense that Lana might want that. But that didn't change how I felt about it. And I felt like I was being replaced. Ignored. Discarded. "Sweet girl," Lana smiled down at me, stroking my cheek. Completely unfazed! "You sound jealous. It's just a date, Kara." My name sounded so strange on her lips this way, like an equal. Not like a Pet. "But you're mine," I whined. Again, I said things I didn't expect but I leaned into it, I let my feelings lead and I followed. "You're mine! We have sex like every night, I gave up everything for you!" With a heavy sigh, my Keeper sat down on the couch next to me and pulled me into her lap. I pulled away, I tried to evade her grasp, but she had a finger hooked in my collar... and after years of being with her, I knew that there was no escape. Better to just give in. I leaned my head on her shoulder, her finger still holding me close - she wasn't done with me. "I know you didn't choose this, sweetie. You didn't choose to give up everything. And I know this isn't going to feel fair," she paused to kiss my temple. My heart fluttered at her gentle touch. "But neither did I. I didn't choose to be a Keeper, and I didn't choose to give up the love of an equal. Kara, it's been years since someone held me. And I met a really nice person and we're going on a date." I could only blink at this. Even I was kind of dating now - Eleni and I had been more than friends for a few months now. Pets didn't really date, per se, but we cared for each other, we were kind to each other, we helped each other when we were sad and we kept each other company... she felt like my girlfriend, more than Lana sometimes. Guilt flushed my cheeks red as it hit me that I had more companionship than Lana. I nodded. "Where are you going on your date?" I asked quietly, burying my face in her neck, breathing in her scent. "Just dinner," her voice was low and soothing, and I felt her finally release the collar before she began stroking my hair. "Just a nice dinner. Celia promised she'd take care of you tonight, you and Eleni will be fine together, right?" "You... you're jealous of Eleni?" I asked, stunned. It was a hint in her voice, the lightest strain, the faintest pain. "I'm not jealous. I'm just going to have a nice dinner with a new friend... who might turn out to be more, that's all. I love you, I adore you, you're the most wonderful Pet, you're the perfect Pet to me." "I hope you have a good date," I whispered to her, nuzzling her cheek with my nose before planting a small kiss there. "I bet he's really nice." "Thanks Kara," her hand slid up my arm to my shoulder. She guided my chin with her fingers, tilting my eyes upward to look into hers. "You're a good girl." * * * "It's just a date," Eleni nudged me, her teeth brushing against the line of my jaw. Even though I had my own cage, I spent more time in Eleni's lately. "She's just going to eat dinner and be awkward and realize that no one can love her the way you do! You two are so cute together!" "We're not cute," I could feel the heat rising in my cheeks. "We're like any other Keeper and Pet couple." "Couple!" Eleni giggled, latching onto the word. She leaned away, laying on her side next to me, facing me, our legs a tangle as we enjoyed the warmth of her cage together. "You are a cute couple, and you are a couple. She's not going to find someone else, nobody is going to love her the way you love her and you know it." "I'm just a diapered Pet to her, Eleni," I sighed. "I mean, sure, nobody's going to love her like I do - that's true. And she'll never love anyone the way she loves me... but she specifically said she wanted the love of an equal and I can't give her that, I never can! All it takes is a stern word from her and I crumble, how could I ever even pretend to be her equal?" "She only thinks she wants an equal, Kara," her tongue tickled the spot on my neck just below my ear. "She's going to go on this date and realize how much better you are for her, how much she loves. Her. Delicious. Pet." "Eleni!" I couldn't help but wriggle against her, my pulse quickening. She'd gotten good at leaning on both the natural Pet instincts that Lana had cultivated and the conditioning that had been implanted. "How could you possibly be worked up right now? You wore Celia out!" "What! I'm just in a good mood today - I got accepted into the Pet Show!" I hated the very concept of the Pet Show, the humiliation, the Spectacle. But Eleni watched every week, some new region, some new city, new Pets and Keepers. She watched the Pets debase themselves, performing for not just their Keeper but hordes of strangers watching in person and on television. A few of the acts were elegant, the duo of Keeper and Pet dancing in unison, fluid and graceful... but more often than not it was heaps of humiliation, nearly nude women with exposed diapers doing gymnastics for treats. I shook my head. I wouldn't be caught dead performing like that. But Eleni loved it. "That's great!" I put in my best effort to appear enthusiastic for my friend. My thoughts were still on Lana, however. Who is this guy? Someone from work? My mind spiraled into the possibilities. What if they move in together? What if they get married? What if he hates me and keeps Lana from me? What if he makes her happier than I do? That last thought broke my heart for multiple reasons: it was selfishness, and it seemed very possible. I wasn't the perfect Pet. I struggled, I argued, I snuck treats and complained that I needed more respect. But I knew I should want her to be happy, no matter what. No matter if it was me bringing that happiness or not. I imagined my tall, powerful Lana with a man even bigger - barrel-chested with a chiseled jaw underneath a masculine beard and a perfect, pearly smile. Gleaming blue eyes, full of love for my Lana, big arms wrapped around her, making her feel protected. Things I could never, ever give her. We had never really talked about past partners. Talking about my pre-Bond life brought pain, it was easier to avoid the topic. And because I did, she did as well. The love of an equal. My mind clung to those words. I could never give that to her, I would never be her equal. I was fairly certain I had gotten even smaller in the past few months. I couldn't stand up to her, I couldn't defy her - it was beyond my abilities to even feign equality. "...and then I did the twirl at the end and everyone clapped!" "I'm really happy for you, Eleni!" My enthusiasm felt faded, my heart heavy. The imagined man wouldn't leave my mind's eye. "You don't seem happy," Eleni frowned. "She's not going to leave you. You're Bonded, she'll be with you for forever." "But what if she likes him more than me?" "That's not possible." Eleni reached forward and slid her impossibly soft fingers along my cheek. "Look. I love you." I blinked, surprised. We had never said those words to each other. "You're my friend, you're my lover, you're amazing. But I love my Keeper more. I always will. And you feel the same about Lana." Part of me wanted to be hurt over that as I stared into those emerald eyes, shining with joy and caring. I felt irritated that she was so thoroughly submissive that she wouldn't even speak Celia's name. But I also knew she was right. I did love Eleni, her joy in simple things, her kindness and compassion, the size of her heart. She was the most genuine, sincere person I had ever known. "You're right," I admitted, feeling a little guilty that I hadn't returned her declaration of love. "But she told me that she missed the love of an equal, hun. I can't give her that." "Of course not." It felt strange to see that pitying, knowing smile on Eleni's face. I felt so much smarter than her, it was almost uncomfortable for her to look at me with that expression. "And you shouldn't try to. You should be the best Pet you can be. If Lana falls in love, it doesn't mean that she will love you less. It just means... she has more love to give." "But how would you feel if Celia brought someone else home? An Unbonded lover." I didn't like my tone, but the words were out there. I sounded desperate, accusing. "Honestly, I hope she does." I could only stare openly at her, shocked. "I can't love her that way, Kara. I can't. If she needs it, if she wants it, she should have it. I just hope that if she does, she picks someone nice who will want to play with me and be nice to me." "I guess you're just better than I am," I said sullenly, sighing. I moved to crawl out of the cage, I suddenly didn't feel like hanging out with her. "Hey," Eleni reached up and wrapped an arm around my waist, gently pulling me toward her. I sighed and collapsed into her, her breasts in my back, her hand on my stomach, and her voice in my ear. "I'm not better than you. We're different, we see things differently but that doesn't make you bad and me good." "You're so selfless." The pain in my throat came out in my voice. "You would just accept another person into your life, just like that, just because you want Celia to be happy. How is that not being just better than me?" "Because you're amazing. You're smart and funny and caring, you're devoted and passionate. I'm different than you, but I'm not better. And I think that maybe, if you open your heart for Lana, you can find joy in her happiness even if it's with someone who isn't you." I wasn't sure how long I cried, how long hot tears streamed from my eyes as Eleni held me, how long it was before she pressed gentle kisses to the back of my neck. I fell asleep in her arms, the blackness taking me in the midst of my guilt and pain. I didn't deserve Eleni and I knew it. Perhaps no one did.
  42. 6 points
    Chapter 5 The smell of soup reached my nose as I awoke slowly from wonderful nap, one that made me stretch from my sheets when I awoke, slowly stirring. It was one of those naps where you forgot who you were, what year it was; the nap was so refreshing. “Someone was a sleepy one, hm?” Daniel said, his voice warm as his brown eyes were watching me. I cracked open an eye, thinking that earlier was just an embarrassing dream. That this morning didn’t happen. That I hadn’t wet myself… twice. I felt a cold breeze between the hem of my burgundy baseball-style shirt and… diaper. I sat up quickly, looking down and blinking at the diapers edge exposed underneath the white blanket. I rubbed my eyes, covering my midsection to have some type of modesty. I looked up to Daniel who was walking over to me, an oven mitten in his hand. Daniel leaned down to me. He gently pushed the blanket away, finger going under the leak guard of the diaper quickly. I immediately tensed up, realizing he was checking my diaper like I was a toddler. My face felt red and I couldn’t move because I was wet. How did I not even notice until he checked me? “Looks like someone needs a change.” Daniel said to himself, standing straight and looking down to me. “I’m sorry. You don’t have to-“ I shook my head in worry. He cut me off, “No, Blake.” Daniel placed his hands on his hips, “You can’t change yourself. That’s a rule.” Can’t? I’m not allowed? My eyebrows knitted together as I shook my head, “But-“ My mouth was open, ready to talk this through. “Do you want to argue about this, young girl?” He said, in a stern voice and a serious stare. I shook my head, honestly confused why I suddenly felt like I did something wrong, “I- uh, no.” I closed my mouth, looking shyly up to Daniel who was still serious, as if I did something bad. I shifted, feeling the warm squish of the diaper. I cringed at the thought that I wet myself… again. What was wrong with me? Daniel walked up the stairs as I sat, wanting to go to the restroom to relieve my bladder some more because I apparently didn’t get enough out during my sleep. Could I even use the restroom? I didn’t know. Daniel reappeared down the stairs with a few items in his hands. I shifted in discomfort as he flicked on his living areas lamp, lighting the room as the sun that once lit the room was going down. It must have been close to 6 ot 7 PM! I slept for a long while. He set down the items near my legs crossed in an indian style. “Lay back down, sweetie.” He said ‘sweetie’ and my heart melted a little. The word made me cringe, but also gave me a feeling of comfort. I nodded, as I laid back, “Um-“ Daniel sat at the edge of the couch, hand falling on the tape as he looked up to me, undoing one tape, “I-uh, still have to pee.” I said, softly, almost in a whisper. Daniel removed the second tape, acting as if he didn’t hear me, “Well then I’ll make the diaper change quick so you don’t peepee on the couch.” I felt embarrassment hit me like a semi-truck as he said the words 'peepee'. I got the message loud and clear: he was in control of when I got the diaper change and that I wouldn’t be using the restroom. I went quiet as he opened a new package of Huggies wipes, taking out a few. I squirmed as I felt the cold wipes tickle my inner thighs and travel down. The cold wet material caressed my bottom as he pushed my legs up, “Bring your hips up.” He commanded and I realized he was waiting for me as I snapped out of my embarrassed thoughts. I lifted my hips as he slid the diaper out from under me, “Good girl.” Hearing a positive affirmation made a small part of me happy, that I did one thing good today, even though I was being belittled. My legs were almost over my head and I never thought I’d be in this position with Daniel when I agreed to live with him. He rolled the dirty diaper, taping it closed and unfolded the new one, sliding it under me with one of his hands on the back of my thigh to let me know I had to keep my hips up. He shook a waft of powder on my bottom, rubbing it gently. He let go of my leg as I lowered my bottom, he adjusted the diapers position under me and rubbed the powder on my front section. The front of the diaper was pressed down over me as he secured it on with tapes, cleaning up his supplies after. He went to the kitchen, washing his hands in the sink and checking on the soup as I sat up, looking at the television that quietly hummed with reruns of Game of Thrones on. I turned to it, realizing that I wasn’t caught up with the newest seasons because I hadn’t had a television in my own apartment. The television beeped and went black. I blinked, turning my head in annoyance to Daniel who was standing, watching me carefully. “You’re allowed 30 minutes of electronics a day, understand?” I gulped, nodding. It was better than having no TV, right? “Good. Dinner’s ready.” Why was he so strict? It was odd, alarming. He was a young guy, you’d think he’d be lax in that department and understand that the normal millennial population watches much more than a half an hour of TV a day and is on their phones or devices waaaaay more than one hour. This was going to be an adjustment, that was for sure. I hesitated before getting up, wondering if I should take the blanket with me to the table. I had this feeling that Daniel would make me put it back, considering how strict he was being. Daniel was placing the silverware on the table as I slowly walked, no, waddled, awkwardly clutching the hem of my shirt and pulling it down in front of my midsection, although it didn’t cover the white diaper between my thighs. As I walked, it was stiffly pushing my thighs apart, causing me to walk awkwardly to the table. I sat, with the pillow of the diaper under me, making sitting much more comfortable. I glanced up to Daniel who was watching me the whole time, with a warm smile on his face as if it were a cute sight. I blushed as he turned back to preparing the food. A dark green ceramic bowl was placed in front of me, steaming with chicken and dumplings in it. It smelled wonderful and looked to be homemade. I glanced to the counter and saw a bag of flour and chicken broth, which reconfirmed my suspicions that is was homemade. Daniel caught my glance as he walked back over and my eyes fell on a pink sippy cup in his hands that he set in front of me. It had some sort of red juice in it. I stared at it am he got himself water. “Cranberry juice. It’s a good source of antioxidants.” And it goes great with vodka, but terrible to vomit out. I nodded, “Proanthocyanodin.” Daniels eyes flashed in surprise, “Yes, good girl.” He smiled, sitting down in front of me, “The more we talk it becomes more impressive to me how intelligent you are.” A twinge of surprise hit me from his sudden complement. It made me feel appreciated, special. I couldn’t make out the difference between flirting or him just being genuinely nice. I didn’t know but Daniel was a different breed of a person, willing to be a caretaker and take in someone hurt, lost. He was a puzzle I didn’t understand. “Uh, thanks.” I said, grabbing my spoon and dipping into the hot soup, letting it cool, “Too bad it didn’t get me anywhere.” I added, my self-sabotage reappearing without me stopping it. Daniel shook his head, “You’re still young and you have your whole life ahead of you. Just because you were dealt some bad cards and took a few wrong turns doesn’t mean you can’t bounce back.” Easy to say, hard to do. If you don’t care or have no value, then what’s the purpose of all of that? I sipped the soup, not responding. I changed the subject, “So…” I took a dumpling, “What made you decide to take a special interest in me? I still don’t understand why you decided to help me, out of anyone else?” I ate the dumpling too soon, burning my tongue in anticipation of his answer. Daniel set down his spoon, looking to me for a long moment. His eyes traced my face, “Do you remember how we met?” “At the hospital?” I asked, not understanding. “We met a long time before that.” He said slowly, thoughtfully. I shook my head, “You look familiar but I just can’t remember.” I said, my eyes trailing from his tanned skin, his warm brown eyes, to his strong jaw line. He took a moment, waiting for some type of spark of memory to turn on in my eyes. Daniel sighed, “We met at a party in college. I saw you with your friends and I don’t know why but there was something about you that made me want to introduce myself. You passed me and looked at me while you were walking inside. I decided to follow you in to say hi a few minutes later.” Daniel closed his eyes, as if he were in pain, “By the time I got to the kitchen to be alone with you, you were on the ground, seizing. You were choking and needed immediate help before you went into cardiac arrest.” He opened his eyes, fixated on me. He was the one who saved my life? How did he know I was the same person that he met years ago? “It was too late though, you had already lost oxygen and you had no pulse. You passed out and I began performing CPR and my friend came in. I told her to call an ambulance. My friend was an emergency room resident and that CPR wasn’t enough to revive you. I didn’t listen, I couldn’t.” He shook his head, “I followed you inside because I wanted to talk to you and maybe get your number.” He laughed lightly to himself in thought, “The last thing I was expecting was that.” I stopped eating and put my spoon down, covering my face. So that’s what I was? A damn charity case. Great. He just felt bad for me. This whole time I thought he was being kind and now it made sense. “Are you okay?” Daniel asked, concern in his voice. I shook my head, “Nothing. I’m just stupid.” I added quickly, “You don’t have to do this all for me. I get it, I’m a piece of crap, but don’t do it because you feel bad.” I looked down at my food, sadly. Daniel said, “No. I’m doing this because you were the one that got away. I wanted to be there in the hospital when you woke up, but they didn’t let me. I only knew your name because of your friends. Ever since, I’ve wanted to see you again.” That was almost four years ago! How could he still even care? He paused, eyes tracing my face, “I haven’t not thought about you since and, by luck, you showed up at the hospital where I am a PRN clinical psychologist during the week that I was on-call. It was, admittedly, unprofessional to take you under my wing, but I couldn’t let you go away again, especially under your circumstances.” I was confused, was I a possible love interest of his or just a previous patient who needed help to him? I laughed, “This is crazy. I’m literally a stranger to you. It still doesn’t make any sense why you’d even consider helping me.” I was just some girl that passed him and he considered asking for my number… not that important. He could get any girl, any one! Especially someone else who didn’t wet themselves. Daniel looked at me thoughtfully, “Because you’re the reason I changed my career path. I went into psychology to help people like you. If I can’t help the person who is the only reason I changed my perspective of life and the importance of mental health, then I’m a failure to myself and to you. Simple.” Daniel said, going back to his food. There was an awkward silence as I looked down to my food, “Bullshit.” His head snapped up, a calm expression masking his face, “Excuse me? Would you like to repeat that?” Daniels voice was smooth, but something told me I did something wrong the way he spoke low and slow. I shook my head with a frown and he said, “You’re not allowed to curse, understand?” I nodded timidly. “You’re a good person. I don’t see why me seizing in front of you would change your perspective on life? Isn’t that a bit much to say?” I said, questioning him. He looked taken a back by the sudden skepticism to his vulnerable and honest moment. He cleared his throat, “I was, excuse my language, a real cocky douchebag before that day. I didn’t care about people’s emotional state, although I was going to become a cardiologist. I thought that depression and anxiety were excuses, that addiction to drugs and alcohol were myths until I saw you.” I gave him an unbelieving look, squinting at him. Well, I still think it's all a myth and that I don't need counseling, but, apparently, no one believes me. Daniel paused, looking at me carefully, “You caught my eye. I wanted to try dating you; I even told my friend with me that I bet I’d get your number that night. Obviously, that didn’t pan out, but I thought you had a seizure disorder when I found you on the floor. Then, when the EMT declared it was a drug overdose, I couldn’t believe it. You were so innocent looking, so seemingly normal. It interested me why you decided to do drugs in the first place. It made no sense in my head, to be quite honest. So I decided to take a few psychology classes and changed my specialty entirely. A few drug and alcohol addiction classes later, I found myself writing a dissertation on addiction. I began understanding what drove people to harm themselves and it changed me, as sappy as you may think it sounds, to be a more sympathetic and understanding person.” I took a moment before speaking, deciding to steer away from this subject, “Well, thank you, for letting me stay here. I don’t know how I can repay you, but I’m going to try.” I said, trying to act like the possibility of me getting a new job would be soon enough. Daniel smiled, shaking his head as his dark straight brown hair moved, “I don’t expect that from you. Having someone here with me is nice as it is. Being alone most nights in a large home like this becomes lonely after a while.” He said, drinking his water. I nodded, looking up timidly, “Was this whole regression thing something you wanted to do? Or just an idea you really think will help?” I asked, curious. I glanced down to my diaper, realizing I felt my bladder still building and an urgency growing to pee. Daniel looked caught off guard by my sudden question, thoughtfully looking at me, “Both. But only with you, no one else.” He said, slowly thinking. I squinted, confused as I set down my spoon, “So what makes me special?” I asked, my head tilting like his during our old therapy sessions. Daniel sighed, looking down at my bowl, “You have to eat that all before you leave the table, Blake.” I frowned, looking at my half eaten food. He got up, cleaning the dishes at the island counter. I went back to my soup, eating the chicken and dumplings. They were very good and I loved the fact that it was homemade. I thought he was going to ignore my question until he began speaking, “You need structure in your life. Someone to depend on. A stable home to grow in. Just because you're legally an 'adult' doesn't mean you're not still impressionable.” He dried a plate, looking at me, his eyes going down, then back up. I blushed, noticing he was looking at my diaper and bare legs underneath the table, “I tried contacting your parents and it became apparent your having issues with parental alienation which can cause severe depression, especially when you value their opinion.” He tried contacting my parents? He went that far? Why didn’t he tell me earlier? I interjected, “I don’t-“ Daniel gave me a look, “You do, no matter how much you say you don’t. Your parents shouldn’t be so harsh and I think it’s counterproductive to helping you, but that doesn’t mean that it’s set in stone.” Daniel paused, placing his hands on the sink, “As far as the regression therapy…” I gulped, waiting to hear his reasoning, “It’s something I had heard about once or twice, but with the wrong caregiver or technique, it can go downhill quickly. I wouldn’t have actually considered it if you weren’t living with me; however, for the fact that you are going to be living with me, I thought this therapy was specially designed for someone like you. You need structure, as I said before, and if I restrict certain things, you’ll begin to appreciate them when it becomes a reward.” He said, as if giving a lecture. Ugh, it was like I was living with a professor. I looked at my soup, moving around a carrot at the bottom of the bowl, “So, uh, why the diapers then?” I asked, glancing at him as I ate the carrot. The word 'diaper' made me internally cringe but my curious mind wanted to know. “You wet yourself three times today.” He said, giving me a serious look like I should know why. I internally winced; he was right, but it hurt my ego to hear aloud. I responded quickly, trying to wipe away the humiliation creeping up to my face, “Agreed. But will I have to wear them every day?” “That’s dependent on circumstances and your behavior.” He said, firmly. I frowned, I was hoping that maybe he’d say he was into some type of kinky shit that involved diapers… not the fact that it would be a form of punishment or because I wet myself. My interest was lost as I ate the rest, “I finished it, may I be excused?” I looked up to him with innocent eyes. He threw his head back with a laugh, “Not so fast, little one. You have to finish your drink too.” Little one. The words made me feel cute, in some weird way. Ugh. I have to stop melting every time he uses a new combination of words to call me. I frowned, sighing as I took a sip, knowing I’d be wetting myself soon, “So why aren’t you disgusted with the diapers and all? Or are you and your just being nice? Like, I don’t get it.” My thoughts spilling out quickly. Daniel sat at the table with me, watching me drink with a small smile on his face, “Because I think you’re cute.” I somehow fumbled my sippy cup and sat it on the table, blinking in surprise about how blunt he was. I wasn’t expecting that. “… but it’s gross.” I tilted my head at him, now judging him when he could have judged me this whole day for wetting myself three times. Here I go again, attempting to ruin a good thing. He was being nice and I was turning the tides on him. He cracked a smile with a chuckle, “It’s not to me. I see you as no different than an actual baby and you’re just one in adult form in my eyes. I’m not grossed out as much as you may be and, being in the medical field, trust me, I’ve seen many things and smelled many things worse.” I blushed, feeling the embarrassment of him comparing me to an actual baby. He paused, as if deciding to continue or not, “You just are precious in my eyes. It’s hard for me to not look at you in a diaper and not smile.” It’s like… I wanted the answer and he gave it to me and it just placed me lower on the embarrassment spectrum. I sighed, “I was hoping you were just into super kinky stuff or something taboo but apparently you’re just strangely really nice and it’s disappointing.” He rose his eyebrows at me, cocking his head as he looked thoughtful, “I was not expecting you to say that but I’m sorry to disappoint you, Blake. This is something platonic to me and I don’t want to cross that line with you. I want you to feel safe and secure with me, nothing else.” Daniel smiled warmly. I felted a ping of sadness, almost forgetting who I was for a moment. What was I thinking? That he actually may like me in a way more than friends? That he may find me sexually appealing? Why did my brain go there? I was disgusting and not appetizing, he would never see me in that way. Sure, he had wanted my number to pursue me when he first saw me, but ever since I seized in front of him, he probably sees me as a little sister or friend. Although I may think he’s handsome and dreamy in some weird way, he wouldn’t go for someone like me, ever. He was a doctor and I was a college dropout and Daniel deserved better. Much, much better.
  43. 6 points
    I'm excited about this chapter and the next several. New characters on the way. New experiences. Makes me wish I was starting daycare (instead of setting this down now to send a work email at a quarter to 11pm.) _________________________________________________ Chapter 21, Part 1 The next day was spent in preparation. Becky had considered throwing an end-of-summer party, but she decided not to. She didn’t want it to seem like a momentous event. Just another day, followed by another and another. The logic – live today there will be a next not so different – made sense to her, and worried making a big deal out of it would only make the day to follow more daunting for Jamie, and for herself. By late afternoon, Becky and Amanda turned to getting themselves ready. Jamie crawled up the steps, still the easiest way given how tall and ride each riser was, and went into Amanda’s room, where she was packing her backpack. “Hey, buddy. What’s up?” “Nothing.” She picked him up and placed him on her bed. It was one of his favorite places. He grabbed a pillow, big enough to be a body pillow for him, and pulled it under his chin. “Nothing at all? Did you cease to exist for a moment and then come back? Because I bet we could make a lot of money doing that on street corners.” She was putting pens in the little loops in the front pocket of her bag. She had her headphones, a bottle of some medicine, and a phone charger in there. When her bad joke didn’t even get a dismissive eye roll, she knew something was up. She put her bag on the floor and laid down next to Jamie, her face to his, and stroked his hair. “C’mon. There’s nothing you can’t tell you Big sister.” “I won’t know anybody.” “Not right when you get there, but by the end of the day you’ll know lots of people.” “But what if none of them want to be my friend?” “What makes you say that?” “Because …” Eric always had grappled with this. He was too shy to approach people; too awkward to make small talk; too awkward to flirt. He’d mad exactly one friend in college, and they’d lost touch. He’d dated one woman, and it didn’t last long. And that was a social peak of his life. In a work setting, he could turn on the professional charm; he was somebody there, not just some random person but someone with expertise and skills. He didn’t have to make small talk; he didn’t have feel shy. But he never made friends with his coworkers. “I don’t … I never learned how to make friends, as an adult. Not really. I guess Cheryl was the first friend I’d made in almost ten years.” And he’d walked away from that. Amanda edged closer. “I’m your friend. Mom is your friend. Jane is your friend. Laurie and Danny are your friends. Mel is your friend. Donna desperately wants to be your friend.” “They don’t count,” Jamie said before realizing what he was saying. “I mean, bigs don’t count. Bigs are going to be friends with any little.” It had been that way for Jamie as a kid. He was friends with more teachers than peers. Even as an adult, he had made a strong social connection to his boss than the people his own age. “Rosie is your friend. Any one of those littles you play tag with would be your friend.” True Jamie knew, but it was still somehow different. He’d been introduced to Rosie. He was popular in the game of tag because he was the best at it, a lot bar considering how many of the little velcro shoes kept falling off. He wouldn’t be the best at everything at daycare. He’d just be the new kid. “I’ll be the new kid. Everybody will know each other but me.” Everybody hates the new kid, at least at first, because they’re an outsider. The group protects its own by driving away the other; adults, school kids, chimpanzees, even birds. “You won’t be the only new kid. And besides, you have a big advantage.” “What’s that?” “You aren’t regressed.” Jamie didn’t think that was an advantage. He thought it would be easier if here regressed, not as aware and with lower inhibitions. There’s a thought, Jamie said to himself, I need a few margaritas. “You get to be the cool little, the one who knows stuff. The one who can do more stuff.” “I just think that makes me …” He paused. “What?” “I just think that makes me pathetic.” Not the word Amanda was expecting. She wanted to embrace him, but she knew he needed space to talk about these feelings. And he need to talk about them; she couldn’t make them go away for him. “What makes you think that?” “All the regressed ones … they need that kind of care and attention. I’m a grown man just being treated that way.” He shook his head. “Even if bigs don’t judge me for that, other littles will.” Now she could pick him up. He didn’t resist. He was chest down on top of her with her arms crossed around his waist. “Do you trust me, Jamie.” He sensed a lecture coming. “Yes. You know that.” “And you know that I’d never do anything to hurt your feelings?” “Never.” “I think that Eric was bad at making friends. I think Jamie is great at making friends, especially little friends. Has any little you’ve met not been nice to you?” “Well, no, but...” “And do you know why? Because you’re so nice to them. You help them have fun. They look up to you.” This next part was the harder part, something Amanda and Becky both said in so many words but that Jamie hadn’t heard, or at least not caught the nuance. She wasn’t sure if he would take it the way it was intended. “And Jamie, those other littles get treated that way because they need to be, and they need to be because they’re littles. You … no one treats as though you were a little. They treat you the way they do because you are a little, too. No little will judge you for being a little; no big will judge you for it, and if someone does, fuck ‘em.” Jaime looked up, surprised. “I’m allowed,” Amanda said, “But don’t tell Mom. The point I’m trying to make, and not doing a good job of it, is you be you. I love that person; Mom does, too. This,” she took his head in her hands and kissed him on the forehead, “is who you are. It’s not pretend. It’s who you are. Do you believe that?” Still looking downtrodden, Jamie didn’t have the energy to say yes just to make her happy. “I want to.” Amanda sighed. “C’mon.” She stood up from the bed and took him with her to the mirror on the closet door. She pointed to her reflection. “Who is that?” Jamie rolled his eyes. “That’s you.” Amanda pointed to Jamie’s reflection. “Who is that?” He rolled his eyes again, impatient. “That’s me.” “Who are you?” “Jamie.” The point was obvious. He didn’t need a locker room pep talk. “You’re sure? You’re sure that’s Jamie? It’s not Eric?” Jamie felt like he walked into that. “Eric would get judged for being treated like a little. Jamie is a little.” Amanda turned away from the mirror and looked at Jamie face to face. “Eric doesn’t live here, and you shouldn’t compare yourself to Eric. I love you, Jamie. I met Eric; I liked Eric; I even loved Eric. But you, Jamie, shine so much brighter, and everyone who meets you sees it. It’s okay to be Jamie; it’s okay to need the love and attention and care that Eric didn’t. Eric even knew he needed it, and that’s why he came here. You be Jamie, and don’t ever, ever, ever be ashamed of it.” She paused and looked at him. Over the top, perhaps. A little too much like a school counselor giving a group talk on bullying. But she meant every word. If Jamie kept comparing himself to Eric, he’d never get past thinking of his new self as an affectation or of the changes in his life as temporary and pretend. This was Jamie’s life; there was nothing pretend or temporary about how Jamie and Amanda and Becky felt about one another. This was life at its top. There was so much to love and like in Eric. Yet Jaime liked Jamie more; Amanda and Becky liked Jamie more; and so would everyone. Amanda was sure of it. Jamie wanted to just feel that way; to know it and feel it, to will himself to feel it. Maybe he could later, if he tried, if enough other people could show how much Jamie was worth loving. Love justifies us; Jamie the little knew that, even if not consciously. “I’ll try.” Amanda figured that was the best answer she could get today. It would just take time and love until Jamie only saw Jamie, only felt like Jamie, was wholly comfortable being Jamie and being seen and treated like Jamie. “That’s my good boy,” Amanda said. She hugged him tight, part reward and part she wanted to. She always wanted to. “Manda? I’m still scared.” “I know you are, buddy.” She kissed him again. I’m scared for you, too, she thought, but she’d never say it to him. “Let’s go pack your bag for tomorrow.” She carried him downstairs to his room, talking along the way. “May I take my bear?” “Yes. You may have to share it with others, though.” Big head shake. “No way.” Never mind, not happening. “You don’t want to share your bear?” “No.” Hell no! Regressed littles and my bear? Why not just pour juice on it, let it ferment in the sun for a few days, and run it over with the lawn mower? “Well, that ruins my plan.” “What plan?” “I was going to ask if I could borrow your bear.” “What for?” Jamie was suspicious. What did she want with his bear? “I was going to ask if I could sleep with your bear tonight. Do you think I could if you came, too?” Jamie loved that idea very much. Very much. “I’d like that.” He smiled. She sometimes took a nap with him. How good it felt to have her warm body against his and her protecting harms over him. They reached Jamie’s room and she set him on the changing table while she packed his bag. “And you know, Jamie, I’m a little scared, too.” “About me going to daycare?” “No, about me going back to school.” “Why?” It wasn’t her first year of school. “Because it’s a new year.” She put two whole outfits into his bag, plus enough diapers for the week, the coloring book he hadn’t started yet, his own bottle and formula, his pacifier, and a book she got for him at the library. “I think you’ll do fine.” “Probably be … buuuut, it might make me feel better if … nah, never mind.” “What? Tell me.” “Well, if you promise to keep an open mind, can I take your bear to school with me tomorrow, to protect me? Just in case?” A conundrum. What if something happened to his bear? But he did trust Amanda more than anyone. And if it would help her … “You’d just carry my bear around all day?” “I’d keep him in my backpack.” “But it’s dark in there. And how will he breathe?” “I’ll leave the zipper open a little. And if he gets hungry, there’s a bunch of places on campus. What does he eat?” “Um … salmon.” “Then he’ll love the sushi place. Do you think he can make it all the way through class without needing the bathroom?” “Oh, he has a very strong bladder. He hasn’t peed once since I’ve met him. Been holding it the entire time.” Amanda lost her poker face; he was too cute and too funny. “Then it’s decided. It’ll be good to have someone to take notes for me, too, in case I decide I need a nap.” She zipped up his bag. “I think that’s everything. Wadduya want to do now? “What’s Mom up to?” “Why don’t we go find out?”
  44. 6 points
    Chapter Seven Marinette kept one hand pressed to her purse as she walked down the hall, gently of course so she wouldn’t hurt Tikki. She couldn’t shake the eerie queasy feeling in her gut that something was off, though she kept trying to pass it off as simply her meal not quite agreeing with her. After seeing the abuse exacted upon that poor girl last night, she’d instantly understood why Chat had done what he’d done and she didn’t disagree in the slightest. But it definitely exposed him. Any questions or speculations about the culprits were just confirmed or redirected and it terrified her. Being Ladybug was wonderful and liberating, but often without the mask, Marinette was often shy and skittish. She chewed her lip. She knew that there was little to no chance that she could be tied to it and even if she could, certainly not this quickly. She secretly wished he could have been a bit more discreet. They could have followed the woman and helped the Little when backs were turned. She sighed. She knew there was nothing to be done about it now, and Chat Noir had only done what he believed was right, what they were supposed to do anyways, and it was better that the Little was out of harms way as quickly as possible. But she knew it was a dangerous gamble he’d taken and she could only hope it wouldn’t blow up in their faces. Was it too soon to send Tikki back to the Guardian for advice? She shook her head. There would be time for that later, she’d feel more comfortable keeping her Kwami close. Walking into her class, Marinette walked straight to the back of the room and plucked up the small stepping stool kept in the corner. It always managed to get shoved haphazardly into a crooked space between two sets of supply cupboards even though she was meticulous with returning it after every class. She grunted softly as she tugged it free. It was plastic, so it wasn’t heavy even though it was literally half her size and she felt a little ridiculous lugging it over to her chair, but it was far less silly than the legs flailing scene it took her to haul herself up onto the Amazon sized seat without it. Setting it down, she climbed the two steps up onto the chair. Thankfully, while kneeling, the desktop wasn’t too tall for her to reach. She set her notebook down on the surface and flipped it open. The rest of her classmates were filing in and taking their seats. She was the only Little in the course and went largely ignored aside from the occasional prodding or bullying when the young Amazon adults saw fit to notice her for a few minutes. Most of them were chatting in small clumps about weekend activities or current inspirations or projects. None of them spoke to her and she was fine with that. She looked up, however, when the professor walked in. She almost liked him, for an Amazon he wasn’t half bad. He was far more interested in the art of the craft than he was in the stereotypes and generalizations between their two peoples. Sure, he still belittled her a bit, but she never felt it was totally intentional so it was sort of endearing in a twisted way. He didn’t hinder her from taking the class and graded her the same as the other students at least. She valued that. The class gradually quieted over the next minute or two and all focus was on him. Professor Picard clapped his hands together and grinned at them all. “Time to discuss your highly anticipated end of term assignments. Now before you all jump to the argument that we’re not even a third the way through semester, you should all know it’s never too early to be thinking about your finals, and it will be forty-five percent of your final grade. You’re each going to be paired with an up and coming model or minor celebrity, all of whom have volunteered to work with you. Your goal will be to design, produce, and stage a three outfit line that best suits your partner’s image and tastes. They’ll all be shown off in an end of year show where the winner will receive a special invite to a top tier summer course, as well as a guaranteed extra ten percent on your final grade. You will of course, be graded on creativity, design, quality and production, and of course, how well the designs suit the model you’re assigned.” There was an eruption of murmurs among the group. It was definitely an exciting draw. Working directly with a model to produce up and coming designs that were going to be shown in public was a very appealing concept for a final product. “Oh, I hope I get paired with a darling Little. There are so many adorable Little models that would be grand to work with,” one girl piped up. Professor Picard cleared his throat. “Sorry to say, Julie, but you’re being paired with an Amazon model. Of course working with Little fashions is always appealing, but it will be a better show of your talents to work with a larger canvass. So everyone in the class will be paired with someone of similar stature to themselves.” Of course, at his statement, several pairs of Amazon eyes were suddenly fixated on Marinette. She visibly shrunk in her seat. Of course. She’d be the only one working with a Little, and of course that likely meant coming up with degrading designs. So much for the project being fun. She listened with half attention as the man listed off pairings. One by one, the class dwindled as her classmates departed with the partners already waiting on campus to begin discussing ideas. Despite having a last name higher on the alphabetical list, she was the last to be called. She wasn’t sure if it was intentional, but Professor Picard always called her after the Amazons. She assumed if there were more Littles, it would be a separate way of categorizing. It didn’t matter though. It meant she drew less attention during presentations, since no one paid attention by the end anyways. “Marinette Dupain-Cheng,” he called finally and she looked up once more. “You’ll be working with Adrien Agreste.” Instantly, her heart sunk. She’d known working with a Little wouldn’t be pleasant. Not because she had anything against her own people, but Little models tended to be overly infantilized with overbearing mommies or daddies. But Adrien Agreste was the last option she wanted to end up with. She didn’t know him well, but she knew of him. He was a free Little, so far as she knew. Unclaimed. And yet he willingly modelled baby fashions and products. It soured the reputations of Littles everywhere to willingly partake. She watched with a bit of an irritated expression as the blond haired Little walked into the room. To his credit, Adrien was wearing a simple pair of jeans with a black shirt and white jacket. Nothing demeaning, she didn’t think she could handle meeting him like that. With a soft sigh, she closed her book and climbed down off her chair. She chose not to glance at him as she returned the step stool before reluctantly approaching. Adrien smiled at her and offered a hand. “Marinette, right? I’m Adrien. I guess we’ll be working together.” “Guess so,” Marinette agreed, though she didn’t shake his hand. “Let’s go, might as well find someplace quiet to start.” “Oh…uh, okay then,” Adrien agreed. She almost felt bad at the deflated tone in his voice. She wasn’t a nasty person by nature, but it was hard not to dislike someone who so openly supported the heinous treatment of Littles. They ended up in the courtyard. The sun was warm, beating down on Marinette’s face in beams between the leaves of the tree she currently had her back leaned against. Her knees were drawn up, sketchbook balanced on her knees, while she chewed the end of her pencil. She’d drawn some designs for adopted Littles before. She acknowledged it was likely she would be hired for it many times in the future and it wouldn’t serve her much use to pretend that wasn’t a truth and neglect practicing, but in this instance, she was at a loss for inspiration. She sighed. Her annoyance grew when Adrien flopped down next to her, his breath tickling her arm as he peered over at her book. “So what are you thinking you want to do? You must be pretty good if you’re still enrolled in this particular program. I’ve heard they really try to weed Littles out in years one and two. For you to be in third year is really impressive.” “Yeah well, I try not to let my size hinder my dreams,” she grumbled back. She pressed her pencil too hard against the paper and the tip broke. Hissing in annoyance, she fumbled in her pocket for the sharpener. As she glanced down, she saw her purse open. Tikki was staring up at her with wide eyes and a slight frown on her face. “You’re not being very nice, Marinette. What’s wrong?” she whispered. Marinette shook her head at the Kwami. She didn’t expect the tiny sprite to understand. She knew it probably wasn’t fair to be so judgmental, but it was hard to struggle through the day to day and look someone who flaunted it by toying with the things most Littles were forced into. She could barely look Adrien in the eye. “Have I offended you?” Adrien asked. Marinette jumped a little, her gaze whipping back to him. A blush began to color her burning cheeks. “It’s hard to jump with joy at meeting someone who mocks Little independence. Choosing to dress as you do, do what you do. It’s offensive.” Adrien pulled back a little and frowned. He shook his head. “I don’t choose to model baby attire, Marinette. I do it because I have to. Because my father expects me to.” It dawned on her then and her blush deepened, shame surging through her. She’d judged him unfairly. “Your father is Gabriel Agreste,” she acknowledged. Gabriel was powerful in many industries including fashion. If Marinette weren’t a Little, she might have even idolized the man. She often forgot that Adrien was a Little born to an Amazon and one of the only Mids left in the country. It was a marvel he’d been allowed to grow up at all. “I-I…I’m sorry,” she stammered finally. “That wasn’t a fair assumption for me to make about you.” Adrien shrugged. “It’s alright. Happens a lot, honestly. Littles don’t care for me because of what I model most of the time, Amazons treat me like I’m a child, my father ignores me most of the time so long as I don’t embarrass him. I’m used to the loner life.” Seeing him with new eyes, Marinette’s heart softened. She offered her hand to him now, returning the ignored handshake from earlier. “I won’t make that mistake again. Friends?” “Friends,” Adrien agreed, taking her hand eagerly. Her blush deepened even further and her heart fluttered in her chest for a moment. The way she’d treated him, he could have ditched her easily enough to fail her project or at the very least been nasty back. Instead, she was staring at a boy who for some unknown reason was offering her a smile and forgiveness. She didn’t know a lot of people that kind. It was really rather refreshing. “So, do you have any ideas?” Marinette pursed her lips. “That depends.” “On what?” “Whether I should do what I want to do or what I’m expected to do,” she admitted. “If I do what I want, I have a lot of creative inspiration I’d love to bring to life. But the project is supposed to fit the model and you’re not exactly known as a progressive Little model. My grade will probably suffer if I take the mature styles route, plus I’d lose any chance of the winning prize.” Adrien paused for a moment, even brought a hand up to stroke his chin. “You could do both,” he said. “Give them the line they want, and make one for yourself too, no restrictions. I’ll happily mannequin for you. It’s been a very long time since I’ve gotten to work with someone who is actually willing to chat with me too. You know, without pinching my cheeks. Plus, my father approves of this use of my time so he won’t question it and I’d get to spend more time out.” Marinette grinned. It would be more work, but it would also be a wonderful portfolio build and she actually really enjoyed making outfits. “Founds, I mean sounds. Sounds like the begging- beginning- beginning of a good partnership,” she forced out. She blushed again and rubbed the back of her neck, unsure as to why she was suddenly tripping over her words. She grinned sheepishly at him. Adrien looked a little stunned for a moment, but then a smile spread across his face too and he began to chuckle. Marinette, desperate for an out to her self-induced embarrassment, laughed with him.
  45. 5 points
    Adopt a little. Written by: Jessi Foo Foo Hello my beautiful munchikuns, my name is Jessi (in the arms of an angel song starts playing in the background), I come to you with a pressing issue in our community. As many of you know, we have a bunch of orphan littles within our community. Every single day an orphan little will go to bed unspanked or uncuddled. It's everyone's duty to make sure we bring an end to this unfortunate situation. For only a few texts, a stuffy, a treat, a word of encouragement like (You little shit, either you behave or my hand will have a close conversation with your ass), a cute picture, and a spank or twenty an hour, you could be bringing a little the help and guidance they so desperately need. With your help and a lot and I'm not joking, A WHOLE LOT OF PATIENCE! You could finally bring down the little orphan rate to an end. An average little does not take too much of your life, when we put things in perspective. What is sacrificing ninety percent of your daily life? Or having a little occupying the majority of your sleeping space with cute, soft stuffies? Or being woken up by a nice wiggle of a padded bottom at odd hours of the night when they need that extra attention only a Daddy or a Mommy could give? It's easy all you have to do is make a post on any social media page where there are others as kinky as you. State that you are looking to adopt a cute little, and the littles will be overflowing your mailbox with cute little original introductions. Yes it's that easy! Our team is ready to assist you with the translation of messages that are just a nicely colored drawing or a bunch of hyper excited gibberish, native language often used by littles, kittens, puppies, adult babies, adult toddlers, middles, baby girls or baby boys. We are trained professionals...well mainly me, but I am qualified by my imaginary training in heavy construction equipment, and fireworks operations, so if you have a bulldozer, or a bunch of fireworks that need to be taken care of, can I pleeaase?.....No? Well worth the try… Our team specializes in baby talk, puppy whimpers, dino roars, meowing, even brat behavioral interpretation!! (Among many other forms of communication.) It's our personal guarantee that you can communicate to your satisfaction with that elusive little orphan eager to be adopted. Call us today at 1800 spank-a-little. Legend tells, that every single time a little gets adopted a slave earns their collar, so you'd be killing two birds with one stone! Adoptions are not guaranteed, do not bother the writer of this article unless you are a Daddy interested in adopting her. In that case.. Hi I am not a weirdo, I swear! The writer does not take responsibility for the actions of any bratty behaviors, so please do not take it out on her, pleeeaaasse! Littles do not take the previously stated amount of space if carefully bounded by rope before putting away for the night. Lead director. Jessi Foo Foo Lead producer. Jessi Foo Foo. Casting by. Jessi Foo Foo. Catering by. Jessi Foo Foo. Makeup by. Jessi Foo Foo. Special effects by. Jessi Foo Foo. Sound director. Jessi Foo Foo. Stunts by. Jessi Foo Foo. First production assistant. Jessi Foo Foo. Second production assistant. Jessi Foo Foo. Third production assistant. Stupid the bear. Lighting operations. Jessi Foo Foo. Fireworks by, (See I told you!) Jessi Foo Foo. Set management by. Mommy. Jessi Foo Foo’s manager. Mommy. Jessi Foo Foo’s emotional support. Stupid the bear. Jessi Foo Foo’s personal nurse. Mommy. Jessi Foo Foo’s body heat source. Mommy. Jessi Foo Foo’s behavioral manager. Mommy. Jessi Foo Foo’s behavioral enforcement team.. Mommy. 2017 all rights reserved, this has been a production of Jessi Foo Foo Inc.
  46. 5 points
    Chapter 37 “I don’t know about this,” Jamie said as he paced back and forth in his mom’s room. “I think we’re making a serious mistake.” Becky watched him pace, his hands folded behind his back, becoming more agitated each time he reached a wall and turned on his heel. “This could … we should have stopped this.” “She’s 20,” Becky responded. “Exactly! That’s … teen brides are only a few months younger than he!” “Jamie, it’s just a date.” “That’s how it always starts. ‘Oh, let’s get coffee.’ ‘Ooh, how ‘bout dinner?’ ‘Ohh, sorry you’re pregnant – gotta run!’” “Jamie …” “And you! Just sitting there so calm about this. Did you even have the birds and bees talk with her? Because I will. There are birds, and there are bees, and not under my roof!” “Jamie …” “Big can of bee spray!” “Jamie …” “And him! That sonuvabitch! Asking her out?!? Who even does that?” “She asked him.” “Oh, so he couldn’t even work up the nerve to ask? What a prize this one is!” “Jamie, hold still …” “And if that motherfucker so much as hurts her feelings …” “JAMIE!” She reached out and picked him up. “It’s just a date. She’ll be fine. She’ll be home in a couple hours.” The doorbell rang. “Let’s go say goodnight to her.” Becky carried Jamie downstairs on her hip. He wished he was wearing something cool, like a leather jacket and blue jeans, or tactical assault gear, something besides his Bugs Bunny sleeper. “Hey! Do you wanna come in for a sec,” Jamie heard before they reached the bottom of the stairs. “Sure,” said some male voice. “I just gotta say goodnight to my little brother.” “He’s right here,” Becky said when she reached the foyer. “Ohh, I love that sleeper on you,” Amanda said. Jamie surveyed her outfit and was disappointed to see she wasn’t wearing a suit of armor or even just a hazmat suit. Even better would be if he were wearing a strait jacket. Or the trunk of a car. “Yes, it certainly is functional,” Jamie said haughtily. “And who is this?” Amanda took him from her mom. “Jamie, this is Miles.” Thank goodness, Jamie thought. ‘Miles.’ That won’t last. “Hi, Jamie. I’ve heard a lot about you,” Miles said, sticking out his hand. You presumptuous … “Oh? Funny – I’ve not heard a word about a ‘Miles.’” “Oh, he’s just teasing,” Amanda said. “Can I get a goodnight kiss?” Jamie obliged with a long kiss and a tight hug he held after Amanda was ready to let go. Jamie used the opportunity to level his eyes with Miles’ and make it clear, I get to do this. You do not get to do this. “Okay, baby, I gotta go,” Amanda said as she pulled Jamie away. “He’s, uh, cute,” Miles said. He’d never met such an off putting little before. “Make good choices, Miles,” Jamie said, burdening the words with all the authority a diapered little in a bunny suit can project. “We will. Promise,” Amanda said. She handed him back to her mom, and the two of them left. “Did you see that,” Jamie near-shouted as soon as the door closed behind them. “What?” “Him! Just standing there! When she gets home, she and I are gonna have a talk about boys and waiting for marriage and postponing marriage until after you’ve been working for at least five years. How are her grades anyway? I don’t care if she is in college! Bad grades means no social life. That’s a basic rule. Basic! She should be focusing on getting into grad school. And you! I’m sorry, but you don’t seem to appreciate the gravity of this situation. He’s a boy, and boys …” “JAMIE! ENOUGH!” Her raising her voice stopped his rant. He looked at her, waiting for what she would say next. “Amanda isn’t going to love you any less because she goes out on dates sometimes.” Jamie’s lips turned into a frown and he put his head on Becky’s chest. “I don’t wanna share her.” “I know, baby. Let’s get your bottle ready.”
  47. 5 points
    Pt 1 Frankie stood in front of the mirror, looking at her shorts. Not short shorts but not long either, they cut a fine figure around her body, a slight unnoticeable bugle around her bottom, but one you would strain to notice. She ran her hands down her t-shirt and pants in a brushing fashion, more of an instinct than anything else. Watching her mother do it for years kinda glued it in her brain. She grabbed a hair clip with an attached dark blue bow and brushed back her fringe clipping it in place off to one side. She grabbed her keys and backpack and slid on her jacket as she left the front door, clicking the door firmly behind her. She walked out to the garage and stood in front of her bike, zipped up her leather jacket, donned the backpack, and threw her leg over the bike. A turn of the key and a push of the electric start and it gently purred to life. She took a left out of the driveway and headed towards town. She loved the feeling of the cool crisp air cutting through her jacket and the clear cloudless sky above her head. Time on her bike was time away from life, nothing but the sound of the engine, no distractions, no music, no conversation, just thoughts and fresh air. After 15 minutes she pulled into a car park out the front of a dilapidated looking building, it’s awning hanging in a couple of places in an unstructured way. She turned the key and her bike goes to sleep, awaiting for the next outing to show its mechanical prowess. She took off her helmet while walking around the side of the building, sliding open a large glass door. Frankie! The only occupant inside exclaims. “long time no ocean. I was wondering if you were ever coming back.” he says warmly. “Hey James, sorry, life has been…busy. Its a bad excuse I know. How are you?” “Not bad at all, very busy as well, but life has been treating me well” “Good to hear” Frankie said with a shy smile. A moment of awkward silence before James chips in “ready to get started then?” “Sure just let me go to the bathroom while you prep and I will be right back” She opened the door, shutting it behind her as she walked in. Leaning up against the wall she takes a deep breath, a wave of nervousness whips over her. She looks down at her pants, again patting them down and slightly adjusting the waist band. Turning and doing the same for the back, looking at herself in the tiny disintegrating mirror attached to the wall. “It’s fine” she tells herself, “you can’t see a thing”. She takes one last deep breath, pulls her shirt down covering her waist band and opens the door and walks back out. James has a table with a white plastic cover prepped, a table to his side with a a few items. Frankie hope straight up on the table and lays down on her stomach. “Okay, ready to finish this tattoo off?” James asks. “You look a little nervous today. A bit unlike you, everything okay?” “Yeah I’m fine” Frankie says, lying. Well, a lie is not really true, the tattoo was nothing to be afraid of, it was but one of many. The decision she made a week ago was what made her nervous, the slight but mostly unnoticeable bulge on her bottom made her nervous, along with the faint smell of baby powder. As she was laying there lost in thought, a slight stinging pain brings her mind sharply back into focus. This was her 3rd session on this tattoo. Located on her calf, 3 sittings was pretty unusual, but finding time with James was always hard. He continued as Frankie started to drift off. It wasn't quite sleep, but she wasn't quite awake. There was something about the strange sensation of getting a tattoo that always put her in a trance, and today that trance was welcome. Anything taking her mind off things was very much welcomed. After about 2 hours with a quick break in the middle, her tattoo was finally finished. “Well you're done, want to have a look?” Asked James. “Yeah of course I do!” Frankie said sounding excited, Jumping off the bed. Her padding shifting to remind her what she was wearing, Frankie turned bright red as she remembered what she was hiding under her pants. “James, it looks fantastic! I love it, the colours are just perfect” she walked up to him and gave him a huge hug. “thank you so much, its been worth the wait” she said genuinely. “All part of the job, plus it was a fantastic idea, and it was something I genuinely wanted to work on. No biggie at all” James said with a smile. “Hey, what are you doing later tonight? Are you free to grab a drink?” he asked politely. Frankie immediately tensed up, and James noticed. “It’s okay if you don..” James started before Frankie cut in. “Thanks James, its a lovely offer, but its just not the right time. Maybe sometime soon” she said with a genuine smile. She gave James a tender kiss on the cheek, held his hand briefly then grabbed her bag. “hold on two seconds” James said as he walked over to a bench. He grabbed a clear piece of plastic and some tape, covering her fresh work. “You know the deal” he said sheepishly. “The money will be in your account tomorrow” she said as she smiled and shut the door behind her. Frankie walked to her bike, lent up against it and let out a huge sigh. It’s not that she didn't like James, it just wasn't the right time. Same old story, but its true. Life hadn't been very kind to Frankie and the thought of starting something new, at this time was overwhelming. She threw on her jacket, zipped it up, put her backpack over her shoulders and jumped on the bike. The added thickness between her and the bike seat was something she was still getting used to. It felt awkward, but comfortable, a strange feeling she was only used to in small small doses. The ride home was uneventful, aside from a stop at the shops to grab a few staples, bread milk, some fruit and veg, and more baby wipes. She stuffed these into her backpack and continued home. Frankie parked the bike in the garage and headed inside. She opened the door and dropped her bag, jacket and helmet on the floor and puts her keys on the side board. She headed into the kitchen to turn on some lights and then headed straight to her bedroom down the back of the house. Frankie’s house wasn't big, in fact it was quite small, an old workers cottage. The previous owners had spent a lot of money renovating it back to its former glory. Its beautiful high ceilings and polished wood floors made it feel very homely. During winter, the lounge room with an open fire was the place to be. And as winter is Frankie’s favourite time of the year, having a fireplace was a added luxury. She walked down the hall way and past the bathroom, the toilet door open almost taunting her. It had been an interesting decision to make, going 24/7, but it was one she was excited and nervous about all at the same time. On one hand she loved diapers and the comfort and safety they bring, but going 24/7 made her downright terrified. Having only really ever worn inside the house and the odd late night trip to the corner store, so many situations in her life have never been experienced with the added bulk between her legs. “What if I leak? What if my but looks big? What if I get found out? What happens if i need to go……number 2?” All thoughts that had been running through her head over the last couple of weeks. All of this anguish and worry had culminated today. The first day. Picked as an arbitrary date in the calendar almost a month ago, it was unfortunate that it landed on the only day that James was available for a session. “A trial by fire” she thought to herself. So far so good. She walked into the bedroom and unbuttoned her shorts and slid them down her milky white skin. She expertly kicked them up into the washing basket near her cupboard. She stood in the mirror and looked at herself. The white nappy hugging her figure, a crisp v of white plastic heading between her legs. She pulled up the front of her nappy, tensioning it across her skin and between her legs as she poked down. She needed to pee but couldn’t. It had always been easy in the past, but her brain was putting up a last stand, knowing it was going to be reversing all it has done for the past 25 years. She stood for sometime, trying to relax her muscles to no avail. The bright white nappy, remained so. She took off her top, and unclipped her bra in the front between her breasts, letting it fall to the floor. She grabbed a t-shirt of the shelf and threw it on, its hem ending mid bottom. She walked out of her room and back to the bathroom, and headed for the toilet. She sat down, nappy and all and waited. After a few moments she loosened up and she felt the material between her legs warm as she flowed into her nappy. After a few seconds of solid stream, she could feel the slight dampness against her bottom. She got up and flushed the toilet out of habit, realising her mistake as soon as she had flushed. She ran her hand over the front of her nappy feeling her wetness and then strained to turn around and see the back, again running her hand over the white plastic. The nappies were not great, not horrible. Some of her last supplies of a store brand she found. They had a white plastic backing, and 2 blue tapes. They held 2-3 good wettings and were reasonably comfortable. They were a great find but had recently switched to cloth backing. Frankie loved the feeling of cloth, but hated the stretch factor, they just never stayed tight around her waist. Tight was a big thing, maybe it was the security maybe it was just the fit, but Frankie had never been a loose fit clothing person. Jeans were always tight, Skirts are always neat and form fitting. The closest Frankie got to free flowing, was pyjamas. That was slowly starting to change, mostly out of necessity. Being down to the last pack or so of store brand nappies, she had ordered some more late last week. Some good quality medical style nappies, some boutique ABDL style nappies, some pull-ups, goodnights and also some reusables. The thought of the amount of waste disposables would create, Frankie thought it only fair to try out some more environmentally friendly options. Some new reusable goodnights tru fits were ordered, along with some cloth nappies and plastic pants, 20 pairs of cloth in all. It wasn't a small investment, the reusables costing more than a few hundred dollars alone. But for this to work, Frankie knew she had to invest in it, the money spent would be a good justification to keep going. The reusables hopefully saving money as she continued. She ran her finger round the leg band of her nappy, and decided it will do for a while. She turned the light off and headed to the lounge room. Her padded bottom plonking on the couch as she flicked on the tv. After watching tv for a while, the door bell softly chimed. Frankie got up and walked over to the door. “ Who is it?” she asked while looking through the oneway glass. “delivery” came the reply. A young man in his mid 20’s was at the door with a trolley and some large boxes. Frankie could see he was looking at his digital device, finding her delivery as he scanned the sides of the boxes. “okay give me a minute” she said as she skipped to the back of the house. She went into her bedroom and found a pair of jogging shorts to throw over her nappy. The slight crinkle made her nervous, but its just a delivery guy she thought. She walked to the front of the house and opened the door. “Hi, sign here” the delivery guy said. Frankie singed the digital screen. “where do you want these?” he asked. “Just somewhere over there thank you” Frankie replied with a smile. He wheeled in the plain boxes and left them in her lounge room. “thank you” the delivery guy said as he walked out. She walked over to notice one of the boxes wasn't plain like she asked, the bold letters of Tena Maxi written down the side. “Shit! I specifically requested plain boxes” she said to herself. She lifted the boxes from on top of each other onto the floor. She grabbed a pair of scissors off the coffee table and opened the boxes up. She pulled out the contents of each box and sat them on the floor. She wasn't so interested in the tena’s, the goodnites or the attends, she was more curious about the cloth nappies, the reusable goodnites and the plastic pants. “Ooh that pattern is cute” she said as she held up a pair of dependeco all in ones. She had purchased 5 pairs of these, all made from soft flannel. Next were the terry cloth nappy squares, 10 in total, and lastly 5 dependeco pull ups. An assortment of gary and suprima plastic pants, a few in clear and the rest in colours. Most of which are all high waisted. She thought she may need to wear plastic panties sometimes with disposables, so there was a few pairs that sat lower in waist as well. Inside the cloth nappy box was a list of instructions. “before use, please wash and air dry 2 times”. Frankie read the washing instructions as she grabbed them all to throw them in the wash. She walked to the bathroom and opened a sliding door which hid her washing machine, and threw in the terry cloth nappies, leaving the others in a basket on the floor. She started the machine and walked back to the lounge room. It was starting to get dark, and it was starting to get colder. The air crisp at night, and the skies bright blue and cloudless during the day. She grabbed one box of nappies and took them to her bedroom put them on the bed and went back and started to bring in the rest in. She had removed all of her undies from her top drawer and also moved some other clothes from the 3 draws below. She grabbed the nappies and started to put them into the draws, ABDL ones in the top, medical style ones in the next, pull ups in the third and space in the forth for cloth and plastic pants. Frankie was a little OCD, and everything was always aligned. All the nappies were stacked on their ends, so it was easy to count how man were left, everything in neat rows. After unpacking everything, Frankie took off her jogging shorts and checked her Nappy. It was still wet from before, but the absorbent material had started to bulk and get lumpy. “Almost time for a change, better make the most of it” she thought to herself. She stood there and attempted to pee before getting changed. No point in wasting this one she thought. As she stood she relaxed, closed her eyes, started to slow her breathing, relaxing her muscles. She stood for what felt like like minutes, but after about 40 seconds, she felt herself let go, a warm jet flowing into her nappy. A distinctive hiss sound followed. After a few seconds she finished, her hand instinctively reaching for the front of the nappy. This was the first time she had been able to pee reasonably freely since she decided to wear 24/7. She sighed in relief. “Was that so hard?” She asked herself. “I need to get a pet”, she immediately said after realising she was talking to herself again. She grabbed a change mat and laid it out on the bed. She was hoping to tryout a cloth nappy, but since they needed to be washed, she grabbed a rearz from the top drawer. She grabbed wipes and powder and sat down on the bed. Her still wet nappy immediately leaking. “shiit!” she exclaimed in frustration. It mustn't have absorbed everything yet. Instantly grateful and glad she was on the change mat, even though it was still annoying. She slid her bum up the mat and laid back, her head falling on a fluffy pillow. She pulled the tapes on the nappy and then flipped the front down, her milky white skin meeting her fiery red hair. She grabbed a wipe and cleaned herself up, lifted her bum and pulled out the nappy while sliding a new one under. She applied a modest amount of powder and then tapped the fresh nappy up. She sat up, checking the fit before grabbing a pair of flannel pyjama pants to throw on with her t-shirt. She headed back to the kitchen to start dinner flicking the TV on as she went. As she listened to the news of the day she cooked. Soup was on the menu tonight, it gave her a chance to use the stock she made a few days prior. Frankie loved cooking and home cooked hearty style dishes were always her favourite. About 20 minutes later, she grabbed a big bowl and sat down on the couch, two pieces of crispy bread sat on a plate beside her. She dipped the bread and watched TV for a couple of hours before dragging herself up to do the dishes. She cleaned and put everything away, portioning her soup into tupperwear for the following days, and throwing some in the freezer for later. Frankie looked at the clock and realised it was getting late, she turned off the TV and preceded to head to bed. She turned the lights off and made sue the front door was locked as she went. In her room, she grabbed her handbag, opening a conveniently large pouch on one side. Already inside was a small container of powder, a travel pack of wipes. She added 2 goodnites and a medium thickness tena from her new order. She button up the pouch and put it on the floor. She grabbed her backpack and opened it up, grabbing some items from the cupboard and drawers before throwing them into the bag. She brushed her teeth in the bathroom, while looking at herself in the mirror. She flossed and then washed her face before heading to bed. She climbed in, turned the lights off and flicked on her sleeping music and she was out in seconds. Pt 2 “What is that sound?” she thought in her head, in the middle of a dream. “why is it so…. screechy? Make it stop!” the voice said. She instantly woke to the sound of her alarm before hitting the snooze on her phone. “ I bloody hate that alarm” she thought to herself, missing the irony in her thought. She climbed out of bed and stood up, stretching. Her nappy was bone dry as usual, but she was desperate to pee. She closed her eyes, and relaxed and after about 40 seconds her bladder released its grip. Her nappy soaking up her warm pee, the material absorbing and spreading warmness all over. Frankie was always a heavy wetter, and nothing was more appropriate for that then the rearz she had taped between her legs. After a good while she finished, she stripped out of her PJ’s and headed to the cupboard. She grabbed a pair of leggings, pulling them up her legs and over her nappy. It was bulky, and damp but no where near capacity. She grabbed a flowing dress and threw it on replacing her T-shirt. Frankie was quite small in the chest, or so she thought, her friends always said she had a great body but she wasn't convinced. She grabbed a hair clip and pinned her hair up, throwing on a pair of flats, grabbed her bags and the headed off. She picked up her keys, and a banana and walked out the front door locking it behind her. The sun was only starting to peak above the horizon, throwing shades of beautiful pink and red colour all over the sky. She walked quickly, to keep warm, but also because she was nervous about being out in a nappy. The tights squeezed the nappy close to her body and minimised the gentle rustle of the plastic. But none of this mattered to Frankie, for all she felt, she may as well be walking down the street with nothing else on. After about 10 minutes a enjoying the beautiful colours as the sun was coming up, she arrived. She walked in the door and scanned her card to unlock the turnstile.. She walked through the building and found the change rooms. She found a stall down the back of the room, and checked to see if anyone was around. With only one stall occupied at the other end she closed the door and locked it behind her. She pulled her dress over her head, leaving her chest bare with just her tights with a nappy underneath. She looked in the small mirror, turning around to see her bum, instinctively running her hands over her nappy area. “It’s not toooo bad” she said to herself. One thing she found hard to admit, even to herself, the nappy did add some much needed volume to her slim backside. After a moment lost in thought, the tights came down, and the nappy untaped. She pulled it from between her legs and rolled it tightly before refastening the tapes. “Shit” she thought, “what do I do with it now? I’ll have to grab some plastic bags to put wet nappies in if i can’t throw them out right away”. She placed it in her bag for the time being and opened the side pocket and grabbed the baby powder, she then opened the top and gave it a squeeze sending a puff of powder in the air. She grabbed something latex like from her bag and began to give it a quick coat. Putting it aside she reach further back in the bag and grabbed an item of clothing. She stepped into it, pulling it half way up and then put her arms through pulling it up over her shoulders. She ran her fingers around the leg openings and tucked in a couple of stray copper red hairs. “God another thing I need to do, I’ll try and get to the beautician and get a wax on friday” She made a mental note. She grabbed the latex cap and her bags and left the stall. She put her bags in a locker after grabbing something else out, and then turned the lock. she entered in a 4 digit pin to lock it and then walked out. It was humid and steamy, completely the opposite of outside where the cool air gave her goosebumps as she walked. Frankie twisted up her hair into a tight bun and wrapped a hair tie around it, she grabbed the latex cap and pulled it over her hair, again tucking in a couple of loose hairs. She walked up to the pool and jumped in. The warm water immersing her senses as it rushed past her body. Her eyes closed, she rose to the surface after about 15m and proceeded to swim to the other end. Once there she lent against the wall and rested while she pulled on a pair of goggles. Her swimmers were cute, racer style, but with big polka dots in multiple colours, her cap matching. Her mirror finish goggles looking decidedly meaner than her swimsuit, hiding her blue eyes behind a sleek exterior finish. Frankie was an accomplished swimmer and made the trip to the pool before work as much as possible, the warm water was relaxing and being underwater transported her to another world, away from the noise and distractions of regular life. But mostly, it was thinking time, time without disruption. Her whole life was mapped out in the pool, days planned, chores noted and thoughts pondered. Today she was lucky, there was almost 2 hours before she had to be at work so she could get in a decent number of laps before getting out. Turn after turn, following the black line, Frankie counted the number of laps. Every few laps she would glance at the large clock before tumble turning and continuing on. Frankie hadn't considered swimming and her quest to go 24/7, and it only dawned on her now. It was the first time she hadn’t been wearing a nappy in a few days. “Do they make adult swim nappies?” she though, “I wonder what they look like…I wonder if I could swim laps in them?” a million thoughts about nappies flooded her mind as it took off on a million tangents. “I’ll look into swim nappies when I get home” she decided. She also thought whether not wearing a nappy while swimming was against her self proclaimed rule about wearing 24/7. More things to ponder. 2km later, it was almost time to get out, she could feel her muscles starting to sting with lactic acid as she slowly swam to the end of the lane. She pulled herself out and sat on the edge of the pool, removing her polka dot cap and pulling out her hair tie. Her bright orange hair released from its shackles, promptly exploded in tight frizzy curls from the humidity. She got up and walked over to the locker rooms and found her locker, she punched in the details and retrieved her bags then looked for a cubicle. Each one had a shower, a bench to put things on and a few hooks to hang clothes on. She hung her handbag and put her backpack on the bench. As she turned on the shower, a warm cloud of steam rose, coating everything in a light mist. She peeled off her swimsuit and washed it before wringing it out and leaving it to one side. She washed herself thoroughly before shutting of the shower. Frankie grabbed her towel and quickly dried herself before the chill set in. Bending over forwards, she collected her hair in the towel and then flicked it back with a turn on the way and left it to dry. In her backpack was her work skirt and shirt, a bra, some tights, toiletries and deodorant and lastly her protection. She hadn't worn to work yet, after a couple of rostered days off late last week, and the weekend, today was the day she had to face one of her biggest fears. The whole weekend had been leading up to this point. Wearing anywhere else would be easier than work, she knew these people, and they knew her, very well too I might add. Not only that, but she spent 8 hours with them a day, so there was always a chance she could slip up and be discovered. Two pull-ups and a Tena, a Tena would probably last the day but was bulkier. The pulls ups didn't really hold much, and she would have to change. It wasn't an easy choice either way. After a bit of consideration, she grabbed a pull up. Putting one leg in then the next, she pulled them up, easing them along the way. By no means was she too big for them, she sometimes had troubles with tearing the sides by being too hasty pulling them up, and with only one other pull-up with her, she didn't want to chance having to wear the nappy. She wiggled it over her hips and straightened it out, running a finger through the lag bands to make sure everything was in place. It sat snugly against her body, only adding a little more bulk than her usual undies. She grabbed her bra and put it on and then gave a quick re adjust before grabbing her tights. She stepped into one side pulling it halfway up her leg before doing the same to the other. She gently pulled them up to her belly button, cinching them up afterwards till they were comfortable. They covered her pull-up and pressed everything close to her skin. Frankie could clearly see the pull-up underneath, but in reality they faded into invisibility. She quite liked her work uniform, her company had actually got all the employees uniforms custom made and tailored, so it was comfortable to wear and fit neatly. Her skirt was high wasted and was long down to her knees, dark grey in colour and made from a cotton blend. It had some elasticity in it so it hugged her when it was on. Her work shirt was a simple blouse with the company logo embodied on the breast. She pulled up her skirt, doing the zipper on the side and then put on her blouse tucking it in. She threw on her flats again and grabbed her things and left, she would do the rest once at work. Within a few minutes she was out the door and onto a tram heading into town. Frankie loved the tram, it was a piece of nostalgia that her city had never forgotten. They were everywhere she needed to go, fast, efficient and cheap. After a few stops she was at her work stop. She jumped off after the tram had slowly come to a stop, and skipped across the road dodging the slow moving traffic. She felt confident all things considered, she knew her pull-up was there, the extra padding on her bottom and between her legs were a constant reminder, but she didn't feel like it was obvious. She scanned her ID as she entered and headed up to the office. Frankie worked in logistics, specifically medical logistics. A fairly niche field but incredibly diverse and always changing. She got her start as a volunteer working in south east Asia. Frankie a young woman at this stage was only a couple of years out of school and working in a disaster stricken country. She was in the country as a tourist on a visa for 6 mths when an earthquake hit, destroying the town she was staying in, along with scores of others. She couldn't get home, and she couldn't enjoy her holiday, so she volunteered at a red cross camp. She was assigned to help a medical logistics unit, who were in desperate need of hands for general duties. She was basically there to take notes, answer phones, make photocopies and be a general dogs body. She hated it at first, but after a few days she started to bond with the team, and became more and more interested in it. She also took it upon herself to make sure the team ate when they could and get whatever sleep they could afford. After spending 3 months in country, when she was only initially meant to stay for maybe one, it was in her blood. When she flew home, she kept her contacts and enrolled in university. There isn't a “medical logistics” degree as such, she already had a degree in health sciences, and then used that to fly overseas to do a masters in medical logistics. She worked in general logistics roles for a couple of years before a job opened up with the team she worked with in South East Asia. She applied and was offered the position with open arms. It was fantastic to be back with the crew, but also learning the ropes of day to day business. She settled into her desk and got stuck into the endless stream of emails and had a morning tea as always. Today most of the office was at a conference, Frankie had drawn the short straw to stay back. It didn't really bother her too much. It’s not like the conference was somewhere exotic, it was just on the other side of town. At about lunch time she felt the urge to pee, so she got up, grabbed her handbag and walked to the bathroom. She opened a stall, walked in and shut the door. She thought about sliding down her tights incase she leaked, but she didn't really feel like she had a full bladder. “Hell, i'm going to have to get used to this, may as well start now” she said to herself. She relaxed and after a few seconds she felt the warmness in her pull-up. After she finished she rubbed the pull-up, it was only a little wet and she thought she will keep it on for the time being. She straightened her skirt and left the bathroom. The day flew by without her really noticing, the quietness allowed her to keep her nose down and plough through a bunch of things she had been meaning to do for ages. It was almost 5.30 when she grabbed her bags, logged of her computer and left. She made her way down stairs and walked to the tram, one showing up about 4 minutes later. After a short ride, she jumped off the tram and walked the short distance home. She was very much looking forward to getting home and getting changed, both out of her work clothes but also out of her wet pull-up. Frankie put her key and the door and turned the lock, the door popping open. The smell of garlic and onions hit her straight away, the sweet roasted aroma filling the house and her nostrils. “Hello?” she said wearily. “Hey Frankie down here” the voice called. Frankie walked through the house, past the kitchen and towards the back of the house. as she got to the bathroom and laundry, a figure caught her eye. “Leah!” Frankie said with surprise and excitement, “what are you doing here?” She said as she walked over to give her a big hug. “Hey bub, I haven't seen you in a while, and I thought I would come round and cook you dinner. I just wanted to spend some time with you” she said with a warm smile. “What about the kids and Matt? “oh they will be fine, Matt’s a big boy, I'm sure he can manage the kids for a night” she said with a cheeky smile. It was at that point Frankie noticed that leah was doing a load of washing, and she hadn't removed her dry cloth nappies from the machine after their wash dry cycle. She could feel the blood drain from her face and she felt her stomach drop. “ Ummmm, i’ll be back in two secs” Frankie mumbled as she left the room hoping she removed them. She walked into her bedroom to find the cloth nappies and the pull-ups folded on the bed. Leah walking in behind her. “Sooo, want to fill me in?” She asked in the mostly friendly and innocent tone she could muster. Leah sat on the bed and patted it motioning for Frankie to sit down. “I know you have had a tough time lately Frankie, hence why i’d thought id pop round. But I wasn't really expecting this. And it's not a bad thing, I just don't know what to make of it. I guess I just want to understand” she said understandingly. Frankie sat motionless for a few moments “ Umm it’s complicated but it helps I guess” she said. The life drained from Frankie’s voice. “Hun, that's okay, you don’t need my permission to do anything, and I love you regardless. Do you want to talk about it?” leah said reassuringly. “Maybe later if that's okay?” Frankie replied sheepishly. “Sure, we don’t even have to talk tonight, just when you feel like it you just let me know okay? As long as you're happy, i’m happy okay?” “okay” Frankie replied. “Okay, no moping, I’m going to let you freshen up and get out of your work clothes, i’ll be in the kitchen, come out when you're ready, okay? “sure” Frankie said while mustering a strained smile. Leah left and shut the door behind her leaving Frankie sitting on the bed. She didn't really know what to think. It was bad that she found out, but she was relieved that leah was so understanding. Frankie stood up and unbuttoned her blouse and unzipped her skirt. She pulled down her tights and slipped them off. She looked at herself in the mirror in her pull-up and bra. She felt a little embarrassed, but she felt comfortable in who she was, this was her, it had been with her since her birth. She knew it was what she wanted, she just had to make it work for her long term. She opened the wardrobe, grabbed some wipes and some powder and a abena M4. She tore the sides of her pull-up and placed it in the bin next to her wardrobe. pulling out a wipe. she cleaned herself up while standing. After a couple of wipes she bent over and unfolded the nappy on the bed and sprinkled some powder on it. She sat down on the nappy and laid back. She lifted her hips and adjusted the nappy pulling it up between her legs and re adjusting to get it just right. She found having her legs flat on the bed gave her a better fit. She pulled the side and tucked it in while taping up the bottom left tape. She did the same to the right before taping the top two. She hopped up and pulled the band of the nappy, it pulling snugly between her legs. She walked over to the cupboard and grabbed a pair of pyjama bottoms and pulled them on, then grabbing a loose fitting shirt, she pulled it on over her bra. She checked her bottom in the mirror before patting her bum and leaving. “Find something on netflix, i’ll bring dinner over” leah said, her head buried in a draw looking for some bowls. Frankie was pretty much in shock. She never thought she would be found out like this, it was such a rookie error. She was very quiet as she made her way to the couch, instantly regretting her choice of nappy as it crinkled gently with every step. Leah dished up some minestrone soup and some crusty bread and brought 2 bowls over and sat down. Frankie was on the couch and leah sat next to her, threw a pillow on her lap and handed her a plate with the bread and bowl of soup. Leah sat down and grabbed a pillow and got comfy next to Frankie. clicking through channels, Frankie finally found a movie and hit select. The two got comfy as the movie started. “Is it comfortable?” Leah asked suddenly. “what?” Frankie replied. “The nappy” leah replied somewhat sarcastically. “I don’t want to talk about it” Frankie replied sharply. “Oh come on, I’m interested, you can't leave me hanging” she replied with a slight smile. “Not open for discussion” Frankie replied tersely. “Fiiiine” Leah replied as she grabbed her spoon and stirred her soup. The movie opening scenes playing out before them. “It is” Frankie replied out of nowhere. “Well it kinda is, it's hard to explain. I like it, I know it's not for everyone obviously.” “I like the pull-ups but they're not the best size, and adult pull-ups are really baggy, they just make you feel like an old person.” “What about the nappies?” leah asked curiously. “I think they’re the most comfortable, they mould to your body better I guess, and you don’t have to worry about leaking as much” “soooo you wet them?” Asked leah. “Well…yeah” Frankie admitted, her pale white skin going a rich red. “So what about…well you know, number 2’s” Leah asked, Profusely blushing herself. “well yeah guess so, I don’t know I haven't done it yet” “Are you going to?” Leah asked. “Well I haven't had to yet, but it's kinda a challenge I have set myself, so I guess I will find out sooner or later” “What do you mean challenge?” Asked leah, getting more and more interested. “It’s kind of hard to explain, I don’t want to explain it” “Okay, well what about the cloth nappies” “I don’t know I haven’t tried them yet, i’m hoping they are soft and a bit more comfortable for sleeping” Frankie admitted frankly. “can…..can I see you in a nappy?” Leah asked sheepishly “LEAH! of course you can't! Why would you want to do that?!” Frankie exclaimed “I don’t know I’m just curious I guess. Pleaaaaase” leah pleaded. “No!” Frankie replied “Fiiiine” Leah replied shortly. The two sat on the couch in silence eating their dinner. It had been building for a while, but the urge to pee had started to become more apparent. Frankie tried not to focus on it hopping she could hold on until leah got up to get something. After a while, the pressure was almost unbearable. She knew she had to release her bladder without causing too much suspicion. She relaxed and slowed her breathing, after a few seconds her bladder let go, and a jet of pee shot into her nappy. Frankie heard it clear as day but hoped that it wasn't loud enough for leah to notice. After about 20 seconds she felt the flow slow, feeling a final trickle of pee run down between her bottom. Her nappy swollen and wet between her legs. Luckily Leah was none the wiser. Time disappeared and before either of them knew it dinner was finished and so was the movie. “Another? Said leah and after a long pause “I’m sorry” she mustered. “It's okay I guess, it's just embarrassing…I didn’t want anyone to know, I wanted to keep it private.” “Well yeah!” leah said sarcastically with a giggle. “Of course you want to keep it secret!” leah said as she burst out laughing. “look, I am genuinely sorry, i’m just curious, i’m kinda intrigued. Would I be able to just have a quick peek? a tiny tiny little peek? I promise I won't say anything. Pleeeeease!” Leah begged. Frankie mulled it over in her head. She didn’t really have anything to lose by showing her, after all she already knew. The only thing in the way was her pride. Besides they had seen each other naked more times than they could count, so it's not like that mattered. “Well I have to get changed, you can see it quickly for 2 seconds okay!?” Frankie said quite annoyed. She wasn't sure why she was annoyed, probably because she was angry at herself for forgetting to put the nappies away in the first place. “Okay” said Leah enthusiastically. Frankie hopped up from the couch and Leah followed. They walked to the back of the house to the bedroom. “sit there” said Frankie as she pointed to the end of the bed. Leah sat down with her hands on her lap, quiet as a mouse. Frankie nervously pulled down her PJ pants and stood there with her head down ashamed.The pants fell down to her ankles leaving the poor embarrassed Frankie standing there, the bottom half of her nappy exposed to the world, her pale white legs naked for the world to see. Leah sat with a half smile on her face, a million things running through her head. The only thing she could get out was “wow!” “Okay that's enough” Frankie said as she pulled up her pants awkwardly to cover her exposed bottom half. Her head still dipped in shame. “Oh sweetie, it’s not bad! it’s kinda cute, it surprisingly does wonders for your butt, it looks great!” leah half joked. “Its different not bad, and if it’s what you want then that's all that matters” Leah said reassuringly. “I noticed you’re a bit wet…would you like a hand? I’ve got plenty of experience” Leah said with a kind smile. I think that made everything worse, as soon as those words left leah’s mouth, Frankie burst into tears. “sweetie” leah said as she leant forward and grabbed Frankie’s hand. She pulled her towards the bed, and sat her down. “It’s okay, I’m sorry I asked, I shouldn't have. You just do what you need to do and i’ll be on the couch. Remember I love you no matter what” Frankie sat as leah started to get up, Frankie reached over and gave her a huge hug around the waist. Leah hugged her back then patted her on the back, she gently let Frankie go and left the room, leaving the door open as she left. Frankie sat for about 5 minutes before getting up. She checked her nappy, it was hardly wet. She thought about changing but she would probably have to change again before bed so she decided to leave it. “If i’m going to do this then I need to get used to it she said to herself. She took off her pants, leaving just her shirt and her slender legs and cute bottom. She walked out to the lounge room where leah had cued up the next movie, and sat down on the couch, bringing her legs up and resting her head on leah’s lap. It caught leah by surprise to see Frankie in just her nappy sitting on the couch next to her. She said nothing, and hit play on the movie. Frankie woke up suddenly with the intense urge to pee, it took her a couple of seconds to realise she was still on the couch and the movie was long over. She slowly stood up, grabbed Leahs hand and pulled her up. Leah was super drowsy and was still fast asleep. She hobbled with Leah down the hall turning lights off as she went. She let leah fall onto the bed and crawled in next to her. She turned the lights of from the switch next to her bed and started to pee.
  48. 5 points
    Part 13 "So," I began quietly from the Pet bed on the floor next to Lana's bed. "How was the date?" I tried to keep the resentment from my voice but I wasn't sure that I managed. Eleni's words hung in my brain, but they had not yet moved into my heart. "Kara," my Keeper sighed, pained. Guilt bloomed in my chest, anxiety following behind it. I was hurting the person I loved the most. I knew I should be in her arms, basking in her joy, she had been so happy when she came home and I was ruining it. "It was good. Dinner was nice, she was nice. It was nice." "She?" I sat up, looking over the edge of the bed at Lana. "Yes, she. Her name is Vivian and she's a sweetie." Vivian. My mind raced, the image of the barrel-chested man vanishing as I constructed a new perfect mate, a female, to match Lana... in my mind's eye, she looked a lot like Eleni. A question burned in my chest, a tightness. Anxiety, fear, self-loathing. I knew I shouldn't ask, but I couldn't help myself. "Is... is she prettier than me?" I hated myself for giving in, for giving voice to those thoughts. "Oh Kara," Lana sighed. "We're not going to have this conversation. I'm not going to compare you two. You're my Pet, she's a girl I've gone on one date with. Don't make this hard on me, okay?" "Okay." I laid my head down in my arms as Lana reached over and turned out the light. This felt awful. She was upset now and she had been smiling wide as she walked in the door. I had ruined it. I had ruined her good mood. Eleni would have kissed her and climbed all over her and encouraged her to gush about her date, to retell every moment and share the joy of meeting someone new. I hated myself silently, and sleep wouldn't come. Before long, Lana's soft snoring began. I sat up with a soft sigh, pondering my options. I wasn't tired. I had a fresh diaper and everyone was asleep, in a way I had the whole place to myself: Celia had taken Eleni to bed a while ago, they would both be worn out by now and snoozing. Marcie was at work. My right hand closed around the bell on my collar as I stepped quietly to the door, slipping out into the hallway. I'll just grab a quick snack and watch some TV, I told myself as I walked through the apartment. There would be something in the fridge that would make me feel better - a slice of pizza or some leftover steak - Marcie had grilled for everyone recently and I had only gotten a small bite from Lana's plate. I knew it was wrong, that I shouldn't eat human food any more... but I needed to feel human in that moment. The glow of the fridge lit up the room, and there it was, staring at me: a half-full bottle of Grey Goose vodka, nicely chilled. I hadn't had a drink in two years, and now seemed like a great time. Some small part of me was screaming inside, telling me not to do it. I pushed that back and away as my hand closed around the neck of the bottle. A drink would make me feel better, it would chase away this awful feeling for a while, it would get me out of my own head. Just a drink or two and some TV. I set the bottle on the counter and reached for the cabinet where the glasses were - with some effort, I grabbed a tumbler and poured myself a drink. Two fingers, not enough to get drunk on - just enough to take the edge off. I returned the bottle to the fridge and carried my glass to the living room, taking a seat in Lana's comfortable recliner. I was painfully aware of my nudity, sitting there. The reflection of a small blonde woman with long, wavy hair stared at me from the sleeping television... wearing nothing but a collar and a diaper. I looked like a Pet pretending to be a person. I banished the image with the glow of Netflix and looked for something I watched in the beforetimes, wishing I had pulled on one of Lana's shirts or something, even though it would have been uncomfortable. I thought back to the day in the store, where I had *wanted* to be a good Pet, where I had *wanted* Lana to praise me and care for me. And I hated myself. I shuddered as the cold alcohol rushed down my throat. It tasted awful, even chilled. I sputtered, wiping my lips with the back of a hand. It wasn't enough, I needed more. The second drink would taste better, it always did. Th