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TheJ

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  1. I've been meaning to look into the EU elections and finally did after I saw this topic. I found my candidate from the Finnish Green Party. They share much of the same values as I do. According to life expectancy I have some 62 years left to live, so it would be sweet to keep the planet habitable in the future. The Green Party is pro-Europe, too. I don't want to see the European countries running backward into nationalism after the trend has been so positive for decades. We live on the same continent, so to make an actual difference we need to work together instead of everyone doing their own thing. From economic aspect, small European countries would be in for quite a hard ride, if they had to face US, China and other major economies in the global market alone.
  2. I'll have to see... I should be relatively free this month to keep writing the story. I appreciate the compliments! I'm going to be honest, as soon as I had published the chapter I realized I forgot to follow up with what happened to the keys due to getting invested in writing about the diaper conflict. I quickly sneaked the keys back in picture in the story when Jay wakes up from his nightmare. They shine on the nightstand when the phone's screen goes on. It wasn't ideal fix, but the best I could come up with in the heat of the moment.
  3. Chapter 2: Keeping it buried Hayleigh woke up to loud screaming which was quickly followed by a thud. Her eyes locked on the digital alarm clock on her nightstand. She never used it as an alarm anymore, but kept it to check the time with a quick glance at night. The clock showed couple of minutes over 3 am. She threw the covers off and jumped out of her bed to go investigate the sound that must have come from Jay’s room. The moonlight squeezing through the sides of the blinds illuminated the room. Hayleigh saw Jay who was sitting on the floor, next to a pile that was the covers, his back against the side of the bed. He was heaving heavily, which was giving away that he was shaken by something. “Jay, are you okay? Are you hurt?” she asked quietly and flicked on the small lamp on Jay’s nightstand. She sat down on the floor next to Jay and wrapped him under her arm. Jay’s heavy breathing broke down to sobbing and he leaned his head against his sister’s shoulder. Hayleigh kept hugging Jay, trying to calm his crying. “It was just a nightmare. It wasn’t real. Everything is okay,” Hayleigh worked out the source of Jay’s emotional outburst. After a while the crying quietened down. They just sat there in silence. Hayleigh’s presence was enough consolation for Jay, so neither of them said a word as minutes passed. “Do you want to talk about it?” Hayleigh eventually questioned. She didn’t get an answer. “Jay?” Hayleigh turned to look at her little brother. His eyes were closed and his face was blank. He had gone back to sleep leaning against her. Hayleigh let out a small sigh and carefully got up, supporting Jay with her hands. She wrapped one arm below his legs and one behind his back to slowly lift him up. It was quite an exercise for her, but she managed to get him back on the bed. Amazingly, Jay showed no signs of waking up through the process. Lastly, Hayleigh picked the covers from the floor and tucked Jay in. She switched off the light before tiptoeing back to her room. She collapsed into her bed, and after deciding she would bring up the night’s scene in the morning, she was back asleep. * * * A groan. A turn to other side. Covers over the head. “Just let me sleep. It’s way too early,” Jay was not cheery in the morning, unlike Hayleigh who was trying to pull him out of the bed, verbally at first. That attempt was fruitless, so she moved on to more radical and physical methods by pulling the covers off Jay. “It’s ten, kiddo. The breakfast is waiting.” “I don’t care. I’m tired!” “I know you are, but you can fix that tonight. By the way, what was that nightmare last night? Do you want to talk about it?” Jay’s whining got a sudden stop when Hayleigh brought his nightmare up. He just lay in the bed, staring at the wall, his back turned to his sister. “What nightmare? I don’t remember anything...” “I’m sure you do. Come on, you can ta—” “I don’t!” Jay yelled back as he turned around on the bed, now facing Hayleigh. He lowered his voice, “I don’t remember.” Hayleigh wasn’t happy with the answer, but didn’t want to try pressing any more buttons on Jay before she knew which button detonates a nuclear bomb and which bursts open the dam that was holding in whatever troubled the boy. “Okay, okay! Just come down or you’re not getting your eggs and bacon.” She marched out of the room, annoyed. Talking to Jay could be like coaxing a brick wall to crack open. Shannon was waiting downstairs at the table. She glanced at Hayleigh from behind her steaming coffee cup. “What is it, honey? You’re frowning and I’m pretty sure I heard Jay shouting,” Shannon asked. Hayleigh hadn’t realized she was frowning as obviously as she was. She tried to shrug it off, “Ahh, nothing. Jay just wouldn’t get up.” Shannon wasn’t buying it, “Are you sure that’s all? That happens every other morning.” “He was just groggier that usual,” Hayleigh said and forced a lopsided smile. Shannon studied her daughter’s face for a moment, and then said, “Oh well, he’s not a morning person. Neither was his father.” They both fell into their thoughts. It wasn’t the time yet. The time the memories no longer were coated with pain. They still felt the loss of a husband and a father. Maybe another month, another year would numb it. Jay joined them at the table. The breakfast time was unusually quiet as no one was in the mood for chatting. Shannon’s instincts told something was going on between her children, but she chose not to poke them. She trusted they would settle it together the way they had done so many times before. Just two years ago Jay and Hayleigh had ended up in an argument over school supplies. Jay had always lost his supplies and borrowed Hayleigh’s without her permission, sometimes it was markers, sometimes a pair of compasses. Hayleigh only reached her boiling point after she found her ruler on her desk, neatly split in two. Apologetic Jay handed over his own ruler he had later found from beneath the piles of papers and books on his desk. From then on Jay never borrowed anything without asking her sister first. * * * After breakfast Shannon and Hayleigh left to the mall. They told Jay they would be back in the afternoon and Jay mentioned he’d go out in the neighbourhood. Not long after Shannon and Hayleigh had gone, Jay got dressed in blue cotton shorts and grey t-shirt with Batman logo, and left the house. His bike was leaning against the porch. The dark grey mountain bike had a thin coating of mud on it. Some short straws of hay were sticking out from the pedals. Jay knew the bike needed a wash, and he would totally wash it next week. Jay rode the bike down the driveway of their house onto the street. He could hear laughter and screaming of younger kids playing on one of the yards, but otherwise it was mostly quiet. Jay picked up the speed. The sound from the whirl of the air drowned the playing children’s voices. At the end of the street, Jay got on a wide gravel path which entered a forest. The forest wasn’t very thick, the trees were scattered around, as if to leave plenty of personal space to each other, to avoid crossing too many branches. The sunlight trickled through between the leaves, allowing verdant undergrowth. Birds’ singing echoed, at times from the distance, at times from a nearby tree. Jay turned left onto narrower path. He had to slow down to ride over and around rocks and large tree roots that stuck out from the trail. Effortlessly, Jay worked his way through, shifting gears whenever he needed to change the pace. Then it opened up in front of him, the meadow. Flowers in various colours slowly rocked in the light breeze of wind. Few butterflies flapped around, searching for nectar to satisfy their hunger. In the middle of the meadow was an old oak tree. Its broad trunk and vast branches that reached to the sides demanded respect. Tree that was standing right next to be pathway was what Jay leaned his bike against before he jogged through the meadow to the oak. Like an expert, he grabbed a sturdy branch that was at his shoulder level and pulled himself on it. From there he could step on another bigger branch. He plopped down on it, leaning his back against the trunk and hanging one leg down while the other lay on the branch. His eyes could see below the tree, but looking from sides of the meadow, he was out of view. Jay leaned his head against the trunk and enjoyed the peaceful tones of the nature. The fingers of his right hand played with something on the bark of the tree on the side of the branch. It was an old engraving, a simple “F + J”. Jay had been six when Finley took him to the meadow for the first time. He had shown Jay the oak tree. With some struggle and help from each other, the boys climbed up on the branch Jay now was sitting on. They’d used a chisel Jay had nicked from his father’s toolbox and a rock to carve the initials to the wood. Over the years they had played countless of card games sitting on the branch, not forgetting the best of three rock-paper-scissors matches to find an agreement of who would need to go pick up the cards wind had blown down from the tree. Now it was another summer Jay didn’t have a friend to sit with in the tree. Something whooshing in the meadow brought Jay out of his thoughts. The maker of the sound was coming his way, ploughing the flowers and hay to the sides. A black creature popped out and stood against the oak tree, letting out a bark. “Hi, Hades!” Jay greeted the dog. It was too adorable to live up to its name. It was toward smaller side of dogs and had long shaggy fur. The large left ear was hanging down while the right counterpart was sticking up. “Did you come alone?” “No, he didn’t, silly,” girl’s voice answered. She had followed little behind Hades, holding the leash that had held the dog back on the pathway Jay assumed they had come from. The girl was taller than Jay. She was evidently older too as she had gone through puberty. Few strands of her dark brown hair had been blown on her face by the light wind, so she brushed them aside. “Maisy! I thought you were in Florida.” Maisy was the same age as Hayleigh, and best friends with her. Jay stepped on the lower branch of the oak before hopping down. On the ground he was met with vicious face licking assault from Hades and giggled. “We had to fly out early. The forecasts show bad weather for the weekend, so the flight we were supposed to take will pretty surely get cancelled. Hurricane, you know.” Hades was now lying on the ground and Jay was rubbing the dog’s belly. “Aww, that sucks.” “Yeah, it does. At least I got one week of lying on the beach.” “Wow, I thought you weren’t as boring as Hayleigh. How wrong I was…” “You just don’t understand it, kiddo,” Maisy shot back and ruffled Jay’s hair. Jay stepped back. “Hey! Don’t do that!” he pouted, but couldn’t help the smile that replaced the pout. Maisy was always so nice to him. She reached out with her hands to make another hair ruffling attack, but Jay spurted from underneath the oak tree. Hades ran after him and they made a few laps around the meadow. Both panting, they returned to Maisy who had been watching and grinning at them. She clipped the leash back to Hades’s collar. “You may need a leash too, if you just run away like that,” she blurted out as a joke. Jay grimaced internally at the joke, thinking about yesterday and the upcoming weeks. He couldn’t think of a comeback nor did he feel like saying one. Maisy noticed Jay’s reaction. “It was just a joke. That would be outright crazy, wouldn’t it?” she tried to fix the situation, but made it worse, unbeknownst to her. “Yeah, it would…” They headed back home. Jay pushed his bike, walking behind Maisy and Hades on the narrow pathway. Hades was walking all over the path and its sides, smelling everything remotely interesting, and stopping at times to stare at birds and one squirrel that was scaling a tree with cone in its mouth. “Where’s the rascal number two?” Hayleigh asked Jay about Finley. “In Oregon,” Jay’s tone made it clear he wasn’t happy about it. “Oh, right. At their summer place. Hey, chin up! Maybe Hayleigh, you and I can find something fun to do together. You can’t sulk over your friend all summer.” Jay doubted their definition of fun was the same, but he would give the girls a shot, “Yeah, sure…” “Whoa! Don’t be so overly excited. It may be contagious!” Maisy said sarcastically and got the smile on Jay’s face she was after. They got back on Jay’s street and parted ways at Jay’s house. Maisy asked Jay to say hi to Hayleigh for her, and Jay agreed, even though it seemed dumb to him as the girls were texting each other anyway. The time was little past midday when Jay stepped on the porch and dug the pocket of his shorts to get his keys. Except there were no keys. Jay froze for a moment. He tried the other pocket, but it was empty as well. “Damn it!” he hissed to himself and begun rewinding time in his mind to when he left the house. He couldn’t recall did he grab the keys. Desperate, he also tried the door handle, but he had indeed locked the door. Just to be sure, he walked around the house to try the backdoor and to see were any of the windows open. No such luck. He sat down on the porch steps. Shannon had warned him that they would need to replace the locks, if he lost his key. The operation would be expensive, and he could lose his right to have a key for a while after. He deeply wished the keys were awaiting him in his room. Thinking about them lying somewhere in the woods made him feel uneasy. Growing bored of just sitting out front, Jay took a soccer ball that was sitting on the lawn and begun juggling it. The ball had let out some air making it bit softer than ideal. It bounced from feet to feet, sometimes going so high or so far Jay dropped it. He was on a streak of 20 bounces when signals turned into a sensation, sensation of pressure from a nearly filled bladder. Jay stopped juggling and looked nervously down the street. No sign of the car he wished to see. No sign of the rescue he needed more and more. Long minutes passed as Jay paced back and forth on the lawn. He wasn’t far from the point where his body would skip asking permission to release. While Jay saw it as inevitable betrayal, the muscles that were holding back the stream would let go in the interest of his well-being. Jay gave up moments before his body would. His rescue wouldn’t be home soon enough. He walked to the backyard, steadily to avoid wetting himself. Behind the garage was the most private spot he could find. While the garage blocked the view to the street, their house to the left and bushes to the right, he could still be seen from the next street house that was right behind their backyard. Jay pulled his shorts down in panic, letting them fall all the way to his ankles. His briefs followed — stopping above his knees — just in time. The urine shot out and fell on the lawn in steady stream. It didn’t stop for a good while, and when it did, Jay sighed from relief. Realizing again where he was, Jay pulled his briefs and shorts back in place while looking over his shoulders for any witnesses. He spotted no one. Mere minutes after the embarrassing episode, Jay heard a car pull up the driveway. “Great!” he thought. “What an absolutely perfect timing…” Shannon had just slammed the trunk closed and was carrying bags to the house. She noticed Jay. “There you are! We brought you McDonald’s,” Shannon shook a paper bag she was carrying in her right hand. Jay, however, was fixated on something utterly different. * * * “But I wasn’t supposed to wear those until next week!” Jay complained and stuffed fries into his mouth. His feet were dangling restlessly below the dining chair, stopping every time he took a bite from the hamburger. “I never said that, sweetie. We got them from the mall pharmacy, so you can test the first garments Martha finished,” Shannon reasoned to Jay. Hayleigh pitched in too, “You’ll have to wear the diapers sooner or later. Why not get used to them now? They can’t be that bad.” “You don’t know that!” Jay retorted. “It’s easy for you to say. You won’t have to put them on.” “Actually,” Hayleigh paused, “I’ll have to.” Jay froze midst putting a fry into his mouth and stared at Hayleigh bewildered. “On you,” Hayleigh specified. Jay kept staring for a fleeting moment, then popped the fry in, and took off from the table. “Jay, wait...” Shannon said. Jay turned around at the door and got back to the table, but just to pick up remainder of the fries, then left upstairs. Shannon sighed and shook her head. “Just give him a moment. He’ll get used to the idea,” Hayleigh assured her mother. “You could have been a little more sensitive about it.” Now it was Hayleigh’s turn to sigh, “I’m sorry, mom.” “It’s fine, dear. I should have been clearer to him about everything. I was just too afraid he’d refuse to help. It’s too late now. We’ll just have to ease him in, bit by bit. If he’s like this to begin with, I don’t even want to imagine how he reacts as we get deeper into this.” “Don’t give up on him yet.” “Oh, I won’t. We made a deal after all. Only thing that’s for him to decide is whether he behaves and gets the reward or doesn’t behave and can forget the reward. I can’t say I’ll relish in putting him through it while he keeps fighting back. I’m simply out of options.” “Yes, I understand what you mean.” * * * Jay was leaning against the headboard of his bed, watching Netflix when Shannon popped into his room. He had had few hours to calm down from the argument, but pretended to ignore his mother entering the room. “When it’s a good moment, would you pause the show?” Shannon requested and sat down on the bed to idly watch the show with Jay. She needed to have a talk with him, and didn’t want it to start off wrong. Few minutes passed before the end credits came to the screen. Jay considered letting the autoplay start another episode just to test his mother’s patience, but decided against it, and lazily walked up to his keyboard to pause the entertainment. He then flopped back down on the bed next to his mother. “I understand that the diapers and rest feel overwhelming to you,” Shannon begun talking and continued, “and you have every right to feel that way, but I want you to try seeing the bigger picture, for your mother. Can you try that for me, dear?” Jay doubted for a moment. He could go the path of silent treatment, not replying to his mother. He was still annoyed about the surprise they had organized him. He was still frustrated that they saw making him wear diapers as a casual thing, while for him it was a huge deal. He could decline his mother’s request. It would surely frustrate her and test her patience. It could also hurt her, which aroused conflicting feelings inside Jay. “Okay,” Jay heard himself say instead. He felt defeated that he couldn’t bring himself to resist his mother. “Thank you. You see, while what you wear can show your identity and personality, it isn’t that big aspect in life. For example, relationships are more important. It meant so much to me that you agreed to help, but if we keep arguing, it will start pulling our family apart. What I’m asking is that from now on you try to keep your calm. You can take deep breaths or count to ten. Try to reason and bring your concerns out with words instead of storming out of the room. Can you do that for me, sweetheart?” “I… I can try,” Jay said hesitantly. Shannon was delighted with the small progress they had made. “Thank you, that’s all mom wanted to hear. You know what? I have a suggestion.” “What’s that?” “Whenever I give you something new to test, I’ll explain what it is, how it works and what purpose it has. Would that make you feel more in control and comfortable?” “Maybe a little,” Jay admitted. “Every little bit matters! Let’s try it in practice,” Shannon said and got off the bed to pick up a cardboard box from behind the door of Jay’s room. The tapes had already been cut open. Shannon set the box next to the bed and sat back down next to her son. As she grabbed an item out of the box, Jay leaned in to see it better. The item was a navy-blue garment which Shannon unfolded and begun explaining. “These are shorts, as you can see. What makes them special are the zippers that can be pulled down the sides to help with undressing more or less immobile child. They can be adjusted, fastened and unfastened easily at the waist thanks to the webbing belt with plastic buckle. When we look inside the shorts, there’s a part that resembles briefs sewn to the shorts. It helps to keep a diaper in place.” Jay wasn’t particularly fond of the last remark, but didn’t voice his thoughts. Shannon handed the shorts to Jay who fiddled with them, testing the buckle and zippers. He turned his attention back to Shannon who had taken out another piece of clothing from the box, this time something that was black with light blue dots. Shannon opened it up by throwing the other end of it on her legs that were stretched out on the bed. “These are footed pajamas, pretty much just like those younger children wear. They stay on better than two-piece pajamas, keeping the wearer comfortable and warm. These jammies have a zipper in front that goes down to tummy level and another zipper that goes from thigh to thigh. The latter is for diaper changes.” Again, Shannon handed the garment to Jay. He inspected it more closely and tried the tab that covered the zipper pull of the front zipper. It felt surprisingly tight, but he could pull it open and snap it closed. Curiously, Jay leaned closer to Shannon when she picked up what seemed to be the last item in the box. She unfolded it much the same way as the previous one. It turned out to be another pair of footed pajamas. They had wide, horizontal black and white stripes. “These jammies are much the same as the pair you have on your lap. The key differences are that there’s only one zipper and it’s in the back,” Shannon explained and turned the garment around. The zipper indeed went from the neck all the way down to the right ankle of the pajamas. What caught Jay’s attention was the zipper tab. It was a lot more heavy-duty than on the sleeper he was holding. Instead of a small tab with one pop stud, the tab was wide and came some 5 inches down from the collar, narrowing the last inch until it met the point of the seam. Shannon handed the pajamas to Jay and he further inspected the tab. On the side of the zipper where the tab wasn’t sewn onto the pajamas, there was a Velcro closure. Pulling it open took some effort from Jay and only revealed another method of keeping the tab closed. There were three small buttons that went into the tab, but didn’t come through it. They were tight to undo, taking a toll on the muscles of Jay’s small fingers. Even that wasn’t enough. The last line of defense standing proudly was a smaller tab with a snap. It had a loop underneath that kept the zipper pull in place. The tab wasn’t loose and the snap was placed near the left edge of it to eliminate the leverage that could be mustered from pulling the tab from the side. Pulling it from between the seam and the snap wouldn’t be effective, because the force would spread to both the seam and the snap. Jay held the sleeper tightly with one hand and managed to pull the tab open with the other. “You can probably tell from the design of the tab that those PJs are meant to stay on, unless an adult takes them off. It is to stop undressing or taking off diapers at night.” Jay gulped at the explanation. If the reason the diapers had been bought hadn’t materialized before, it did now. Jay wasn’t sure knowing what he would be put in made him feel more in control of it. It felt more like he got to witness from a front seat the last bits of control slipping through his hands before they did. Perhaps knowing distanced him from the children whose parents would buy the clothes. They wouldn’t be obligated to detailed explanations before being zipped in the confining sleepwear. “You’ll get more pairs of the shorts and jammies along many other clothes next week. These are what we have to begin with. Stay right here. I need to get few more things from downstairs.” Complying with the order, Jay sat legs crossed on the bed and fiddled with the clothes. While he was holding clothes that should become his worst enemy, he couldn’t complain about their fabric. The pajamas felt smooth, and while the exterior of the shorts was nylon, the interior part that wrapped around the crotch was soft cotton. Shannon walked back into the room, holding what looked like small and thin mattress and a package, package of diapers. The graphics and text on the pack indicated that the diapers were for youth with incontinence. Jay hopped off the bed with the clothes in hands to allow Shannon place the mattress — that had turned out to be a changing pad — on the bed. After dropping the clothes over the pillows on his bed, Jay stood with anticipation rather than shock. This time he had seen what was to come. “Ready for your first diaper of the summer, darling?” Shannon asked, gently brushing Jay’s hair off his cheek and leaving the lock of hair resting behind his ear. “No,” Jay replied, but lay down on the pad. Shannon pulled him back up sitting. “Let’s get that shirt off first.” Without protests about how Jay could do it himself, he just lifted his arms up and allowed Shannon to pull the Batman shirt off. Shannon then encouraged Jay to lay back down with soft push to the boy’s chest with the palm of her hand. Jay stared at the ceiling, listening to the diaper package ripping open and a diaper being pulled out. The new padded plastic underwear brushed Jay’s arm when Shannon placed them next to him to start removing what was to be Jay’s former underwear. When Shannon grabbed Jay’s ankles in one hand to push his legs up, lifting his bum, it caught Jay off-guard. The other hand eased Jay’s shorts to his ankles. Shannon lowered Jay’s bottom back on the pad, but held his legs up from his knees to take off the shorts fully. He repeated the whole process to take off Jay’s briefs, and the boy found himself lying on the pad completely naked, face mercilessly blushing. Up went his legs and bum once more to make room for the unfolded diaper. Shannon placed it below her son’s bottom and brought him back down on it. She spread his legs to bring the front of the diaper up, taping it snuggly and finishing off with checking the leg gathers. They were in place. “There! Your new underpants are all snug!” Shannon announced and tickled Jay’s belly. Despite the awkwardness, or maybe because of it, Jay couldn’t hold in his giggles. “Now, the diaper you’re wearing and the rest of the diapers in the package are expecting to be used. Only that way we’ll truly see how functional the clothes are. Letting go in the diapers may feel gross and odd, but you’ll adjust to it in no time. I recommend you release your bladder more often than normally. The diapers take little at once better than a flood from full bladder.” “Do I have to…” Jay started saying, but wished Shannon would finish what he was trying to say. Shannon didn’t catch on it. “Do you have to what, dear?” “Do I have to, erm… Go number two in them,” Jay bit his lip and found the ceiling more fascinating than his mother’s face after the embarrassing question. “At some point, yes. For now, you can ask me to take the diapers off, so you can use toilet.” The answer wasn’t what Jay hoped to hear, but he had predicted it. Throwing some water in the diapers was somewhat acceptable deed, but dropping a load was unthinkable. Yet, Jay only responded meekly in agreement. “Let’s get some jammies on you now, sweetie,” Shannon said softly and picked one of the pairs off the bed. The odds were fifty-fifty, and on Jay’s side. Shannon guided lying Jay’s legs into the feet of the blue dotted sleeper. She briskly pulled him up from the changing pad, and manoeuvred Jay’s arms into the sleeves. The zipper came up and the tab went over it. The pajamas were fairly loose, but the diapers made them quite puffy. Shannon gave Jay’s bottom two pats for good measure. “I can help you with the diapers and clothes for rest of the day, but starting tomorrow you’ll have to get used to Hayleigh helping you too. She can do it just as well as I can. You don’t have to be embarrassed about it.” Jay just nodded slowly. Not being embarrassed about it, easier said than done. It’s not like he got changed by his teen sister on a daily basis, yet. “How does a movie and popcorn sound?” Shannon asked to change the subject to lighter one. Jay nodded again, this time faster, “Good!” “Down we go then!” Shannon said and got Jay up to speed with a pat on his back. She knew the anti-slip soles were a must under the feet of the pajamas when Jay jogged down the stairs. It had been a good design choice to include them. While Shannon went to the kitchen to make a bowl of popcorn, Jay stayed in the living room that was by the stairs. His task was to set the movie ready. He was the handiest around electronics in the house after all, although Hayleigh didn’t come far behind. He browsed their Blu-ray disc collection until he found the movie of his choice: Avatar. After popping the disc in the player, he went through the legal warnings and menus to get into the movie itself, then paused it. Meanwhile Shannon had finished the popcorn, and set the bowl on the living room table. “Dear, would you go get your sister?” “Okay,” was all Jay said when he spurted to the stairs. At Hayleigh’s door he slowed down and knocked before walking in. She was sitting cross-legged on her bed in front of her laptop. “We are watching Avatar. There’s popcorn too. Wanna come?” Jay asked Hayleigh who just eyed and adored his outfit. “You’re so cute! No offense, but you are.” Jay rolled his eyes and repeated his question, “Are you coming or not?” “Yea, yea, little brother. Right behind you,” Hayleigh answered and closed her laptop, setting it on her desk. Shannon was already sitting on the couch when the children came down. Jay grabbed the remote and sat on the couch, propping his footie covered feet in Shannon’s lap. He was conscious about the padding he felt between his bottom and his mother’s left thigh. He was wishing it was something he could get used to, as he watched Hayleigh get comfortable in a recliner. It wasn’t too warm in the house, so she threw a blanket over her feet and lap. When she seemed to be set for the movie, Jay pressed play. Passing the popcorn bowl around, they obliterated the contents of it before half the movie had gone. Jay had dropped some of the popcorn on his pajamas, so Shannon picked them up and popped them in his mouth. They made the same comments as the movie progressed, despite seeing the movie countless of times. Before Sully had tied the bond with his ikran, Jay was fast asleep from the exhaustion of previous night’s restless sleep. His chest moved up and down at a peaceful pace. The flashing of the TV or the sound of the gunfight didn’t wake him, so by the end of the movie, Shannon had to carry him upstairs to his bed. Shannon opened the crotch zipper of the pajamas just enough to stick her finger around the leg gather of Jay’s diaper. The finger met dry padding, so she just pulled the zipper closed and tugged Jay in. Brushing the blond hair off her son’s forehead, Shannon gave him a gentle good night kiss. * * * Few clouds cruised across the blue sky. Jay was lying on the meadow and saw a flower swing into his field of vision with every gust of wind. A boy craned above him, blocking the sunlight. He was smiling. “Finley! I’ve missed you,” Jay said as he recognized his best friend. As soon as Jay had said that, the smile on Finley’s face faded. “Whatever. I have a new best friend. He’s so much cooler than you. See you after summer, looser,” Finley said coldly. Jay hadn’t noticed that Finley was holding his bike before Finley hopped on it and rode it away, dumbfounded Jay yelling after him. “Wait! Finley! I thought we were friends!” Jay kicked the flowers of the meadow aimlessly. They hadn’t done anything wrong, but became victims of amensalism. There wasn’t anything else at hand to release the anger of getting betrayed into. Seemingly, the meadow was next to betray Jay. It begun changing under his feet. The long lively plants turned into short and neat lawn. Gravestones rose out of the ground and an open grave with a casket by its side appeared in front of Jay. Out of nowhere, people — all dressed in neat black clothes — surrounded the grave, the casket and Jay. He knew them: some were closer relatives; some he had met only handful of times. They didn’t seem to notice him, just chatted, smiled and laughed. It reminded Jay of his father’s funeral. At a restaurant after the burial, people had brought up old memories of Rhys and wistfully laughed at them. Jay couldn’t understand it. It made him feel sick. He was bitter and crushed by the sorrow, yet people around him had just enjoyed their time. Had had a blast like it was just another dead man put in the soil. A hand landed on Jay’s shoulder and Jay turned around to see whose it was. Standing behind him was Rhys, warmly smiling. “See? I told you everything would be alright,” he said. “What do you mean? Nothing is alright! Mom is putting me in diapers, Finley just dumped me and, and…” Jay swallowed the lump that was forming in his throat, “and you’re gone.” “Am I?” Rhys asked, and to Jay’s horror, Rhys’s skin started cracking. Flies landed on him and maggots ate their way through his flesh, poking out of the skin. Rhys walked towards the now open casket and talked, “I heard you’re not looking forward to trying my beds and changing tables.” Rhys climbed in the casket and continued, “You know what, son? It’s your funeral!” As the casket slammed closed, the crowd burst into laughter. One boy was rolling on the ground in a giggle fit. Jay was in a ghoulish sitcom. He held his hands over his ears, but it did nothing to muffle the voices of the howling people. Suddenly, a harness begun to materialize on Jay. Hades ran out of the crowd and took the leash clipped to the harness between his teeth. The dog begun to pull him towards the grave and snarled as Jay fought back. The harness grew tighter, crushing Jay’s ribcage, making it impossible for him to breath. He fell on the ground. Unable to fight back, Hades dragged him to the edge of the grave and he fell in with a thump. People gathered around the grave, still laughing. With two slings, they lifted the casket above the grave. Jay wanted to yell, but he couldn’t. He could only weakly raise his arm to stop them, but it was no use. The slings went loose, and with nothing holding the casket up, it came falling down. * * * The bed shook when Jay shot up from his sweaty pillow, gasping for air. He got his breathing steady by taking deep breaths. He buried his face in his hands that were still shaking from the adrenaline. Another nightmare about his father. It was hard enough for Jay to see reminders about him around the house. Did Rhys really have to push into Jay’s dreams as well? Wasn’t it enough that he got himself killed, taking away half the joy of living Jay used to have? Now he was taking away Jay’s rest, depriving him of energy. While Jay blamed his father inside his head, the nightmares were a product of Jay’s own subconsciousness. They were the consequence of Jay’s inability to move on. The screen of the smartphone on the nightstand by Jay’s bed went on, lighting the whole room and making the keys sitting on the nightstand shine. The phone notified of being fully charged. Jay realized someone must have plugged it in. At the same time, he begun tracing back his memories of the night, trying to figure out at which point he went to bed. Last thing he remembered was sitting on the couch with his mother, so he figured he must have passed out during the movie. That brought him to another realization. His bladder was full. He hadn’t gone to toilet before bed like he normally did. Well, under the circumstances it would have meant wetting the diaper and getting a change from his mother. He weighed his options. While he could take the diaper off and use the toilet instead, he doubted he could put it back on right, and his mother would know he had been cheating. On the other hand, he already felt low from the nightmare. Should he really try wetting a diaper for the first time in years right after the emotionally wearing experience? He was tired of going through choices in his head, and went with what took the least physical effort from him. It wasn’t hard to release the full bladder, and he soon felt the padding grow warm and thicker between his legs. Jay didn’t bother trying to see or feel did the diaper keep it all in. He just squeezed his eyes closed, trying to get back to sleep. A lonely tear rolled down his cheek and the pillow case hungrily absorbed it. And another patch of ideas and scenes stitched together in the most secret corner of my Word. I hope you enjoy! I can't picture myself writing full-blown horror, but I can't deny using the other aspects of the story to come up with the nightmares tickles me in some way. I always find the dreams I can in some way connect to previous day's happenings the most fascinating. J
  4. You challenged my story, so I believe it's only fair I do the same, just for lighthearted banter of course. I was literally enjoying Saturday night in sauna when this question popped up in my head. Could Psion manipulate his restraints using his power? If we are talking about Segufix type locking mechanism, couldn't he manipulate it by moving the prongs inside the lock top open it, and then he could just rip open the Velcro straps. Is it that the restraints are too sophisticated or require too much fine motor skill, if you can talk about that regarding his power. Or is it that he is too exhausted after the tests to undo them?
  5. I've come up with waterproof plan to discreetly get diapers. I found one Finnish online store that sells medical and ABDL diapers. They have a shipping option that allows me to get the products without anyone suspecting anything. I still live with my parents for the time being, so I have to be careful when buying ABDL things online. As soon as I get them into my room, I should be safe, but everything before that is the issue I've had until now. So, now that I've figured that out I need to decide what diapers to try first. I've only tried Drynites and Libero SleepTights before, so while SleepTights were pleasant surprise, wouldn't take much to upgrade from them. The main issue I want advice with is that are there diapers that can be taped on at least twice? I'll be wearing the diapers in private at home for some hours at a time, at nights probably, not necessarily wetting them every time. It would be a shame to waste a dry one because of the tapes not sticking back on. Also, given that I've never taped one on before, the chance of putting it on poorly exists, so it would be nice to have a diaper that doesn't punish you for sticking the tapes in wrong spots the first time. I could consider getting some medical pull-ons to eliminate the tape issue. That's not impossible either. The brands the store sells are the following: ABDL diapers Abu Bambino Crinklz Fabine GetNappied (NRU) MyDiaper Rearz Tykables Medical diapers Abu (?) Abena Attends BetterDry Forma-care iD Molicare Seni TENA Medical pull-ons Abena Attends Seni TENA Oh, and my waist is about 32 inches (81 cm). The diapers have different sizes, of course, I can figure that out myself, but if my waist size happens to be significant in terms of choosing a specific diaper or brand. I would highly appreciate suggestions of what could fit my needs. I'm sure majority of you have way more experience than I do. The store has 2 piece samples for just about every diaper, so I can buy couple different ones to test. Thanks in advance! J P.S. I did some research on the tapes of different diapers myself, but I'm not sure what sources to really trust on the matter.
  6. Great new chapters! Have you ever tried writing mainstream literature? I think you could go far on Wattpad or somewhere. Don't abandon us for that just yet, though.
  7. Thank you for all the answers. Firstly, you're right. It doesn't really make sense telling anyone else than perhaps a partner sometime in the future about the fetish. I wouldn't achieve anything by doing it, the opposite more likely. I'll be more careful to keep it to myself. Secondly, it's not long from when I joined, but I think I could get accustomed to the idea that I can express myself here and feel less alone with who I am. From your answers I can see what you mean by this being a supportive community to lean on. I'll stick around and promise to try my best not to do anything stupid I'll regret. Thank you for talking sense into me! I really appreciate it.
  8. Thank you so much for all the feedback! The next chapter is in the works. I don't have much written yet, but it will come, eventually. Thanks for the kind words! I wouldn't go that cheap nowadays either, but 10-year-old me would have gone with an Xbox and five games, no doubt. Although an important factor is that I might have enjoyed it.
  9. This topic seemed bit too long and wrong for the introductions section, so I chose to post this here instead. I'm sorry if this is the wrong place. I've been a moderator on a forum about the same size, so I know the frustration of moving ignorant users' topics around. Enough apologies. To the topic! I don't know how many of you can tell a specific reason or incident that led you to have this bizarre fetish. For me it's very clear. It all happened back in 2003. I was three. Yes, the state of affairs here is that there's now at least one member who was born in 2000, although I doubt I was first. Anyway, I'm derailing. My family and I were leaving to visit a wildlife park that was several hours of driving away. To this day I don't know why, but I refused to use the toilet before we left, to the point my parents threatened to put me in diapers, and I found out they weren't bluffing. I had gotten out of diapers earlier the same year, so it was so devastating to find myself back in them, devastating enough to scream the whole drive to the wildlife park, or so I've been told. I honestly doubt I have any real memory of it. I've been told and teased about it so many times over the years that I really cannot know. I've been into diapers as long as I remember. I clearly wasn't back in 2003, as I highly doubt 3 year old could fake not wanting to be put into diapers, but when I was maybe 4 or 5, I vividly remember asking my mother at a breakfast table that would I fit into diapers. She laughed it off and said I wouldn't. I never brought it up after that. It's clear that the trip back in 2003 was faithful and left permanent mark to my mind that I later as a teen understood is a fetish. Puberty has been the most difficult part I've had in my life so far. I had low self-esteem. I hated myself, especially due to being some freak who finds satisfaction and comfort from something meant for small children or incontinent people. While putting together pieces of my self-esteem, I slowly learned to accept who I am, and now it has got me to the point I'm writing stories on the internet. Although I'm at a better place in life now, there are still things about liking diapers that make feel uncertain, distressed and sad. There's no one in my life who really knows who I am. Well, there's an online friend I met in one community who I was brave enough to tell after our discussions somehow ended up in a discovery that we have mutual interest in BDSM. When I told him my "darkest" secret he simply said that I was blowing the thing out of proportions, and that he was expecting something way odder. The problem is that he's an online friend, not a close, real life person, and I feel that I need to tell someone who's really part of my life. Back when I had my ups and downs during puberty, my parents reassured me I could tell them anything. They said they might be shocked at first, but would love me regardless. They meant something such as being homosexual. I can believe that from my mother, but my father doesn't always come across as the most tolerant, making jokes about homosexuality and showing disgust towards it. He does say that for each their own and doesn't mind things like that as long as they're not shoved down his throat. It still makes me feel uncomfortable to think about opening up about diaper fetish to him, which at the same time closes the option of opening up about it to my mother. It would be unfair to make her keep a secret like that. I've also been thinking about using guilt to make them accept my fetish. They had a part in what happened back in 2003 after all. I do blame them on who I became to an extent. Then there's my big sister. She's the one I've perhaps considered the most. She has already moved out and lives in a nearby city. Given that there's just a few year difference in our ages, she's way more open-minded and modern. The topics I can imagine myself discussing with her are a lot closer to "Hey by the way, I like diapers" than those with my parents. During my early teen years I probably opened my heart to her more than them. Right now I really do not have the courage to tell anyone, even if I want to. At the same time I've been taking more and more risks what comes to someone finding out. After I got my driver's license I went to a store next city to buy some bedwetters' pull-ups. I hadn't been able to do that before, because the town I live in is small and the risk of running into someone I know at the stores is practically 100 percent. After I got them, I started using them at home mainly when I was alone or in bed. Then I started using them at times throughout the day at home when I wasn't alone. One time I went as far as wearing one to school. I guess I've just been pushing it, hoping to get caught, so I would have no option but to reveal my fetish. Simply burying the whole thing has crossed my mind at times. There have been phases I've done nothing related to the fetish, although those have been a lot less common the past few years. I just find it difficult to think I would ever find a woman who would accept my fetish and not feel uncomfortable about it. Some halfhearted "I don't mind" reaction is perhaps what I fear the most. It would make me feel bad and eventually come back to bite the relationship. Speaking with experience from next to non relationships, so correct me should I be wrong. To summarize, refusing to use the toilet when you're three can lead to mental misery at the age of nineteen. I guess I wrote this hoping it would make me feel better, but I don't feel any different. My thoughts are probably much the same as some of yours and something that has been written about over and over again, but I hope this was worth a read.
  10. It's usually just another option you can choose from. I'm on another forum that uses IPB and has a dark theme as an option. I have to say I find it a lot easier on my eyes.
  11. Off to an interesting start! I was wondering from the beginning of the story that how could you implement something from the ABDL world into this, but the ending of the second chapter clarified that a little. It's a nice hook to catch the reader's attention, so they return to the story — at least I most certainly will. I've always had a small itch for writing mainstream sci-fi , but I lack the imagination you have for coming up with all kinds of technology and extraterrestrial places.
  12. Thank you for all the compliments! They really keep me motivated to carry on with the story. Woops... I caught one of those when I proofread the chapter one, but I missed that one back when I proofread the prologue. My excuse is that we don't have gender specific his/her words in Finnish, just gender neutral "hänen". Thanks for pointing it out! I'll fix it. So am I! To be honest, I don't have the story fully thought through yet. I just have some scenes that hopefully turn out emotional and everything between those scenes is still a bit foggy.
  13. Chapter 1: Striking a deal Arrow sticking from the forehead, the body tumbled down to the ground, disappearing with a pixelated poof. The creeper was no match to the surgeon like precision Jay moved his mouse with on his The Avengers mouse pad. Jay was deeply focused in the world of blocks, partly due to his headphones harnessing his hearing into the virtual word. The extra concentration Jay was giving to the game was needed. His faithful Minecraft buddy and best friend was in another state hundreds of miles away from his keyboard. Finley and Jay had been partners in games, adventures and troubles since kindergarten. They had practically spent the summers together apart from going home to sleep, doing that together too as many times as their parents agreed to the sleepovers. Last year had brought an end to those summers. Finley’s family had bought a summer cabin from another state. Finley had no say in his family’s summer plans, so Jay found himself friendless the whole summer for the first time. The two boys had been torn apart like a sheet of paper and a notebook page that cheap glue was supposed to keep together. Jay knew none of it was Finley’s fault, but he blamed his best friend a little regardless. After all, Finley had come back from his holiday so excited to tell about his new friends and all the fun activities he had done at his new summer home, while Jay just nodded silently, listening and thinking about the long summer he had spent trying to entertain himself. Not even his father had stuck around with his countless unbeatable pastime ideas that had rescued Jay from umpteen dull days, and Jay didn’t know how he should feel about it. Just as Jay was about to stick his diamond sword into a zombie that was getting closer than comfortable, someone lifted his headphones off his head, spooking him bad enough he nearly ended up on the floor. He quickly smashed a key to pause the game, before the zombie could cause too much damage, and then turned to give an annoyed glare at the intruder. “Jay, I have come to bargain,” Shannon said with low and pretentiously serious voice. Jay wasn’t impressed with the joke nor about nearly becoming one of the youngest people to die of heart attack. “Very funny, mom. What do you want?” Shannon grinned at her son’s sulky reaction. “Sorry about the jump scare, honey. I came to discuss something important I need you to help me with this summer,” Shannon said, directing the chat to more serious tracks. Jay was both flattered that his mother needed his help with something important and suspicious about the nature of the request she was going to make. “Uhh, yeah?” Jay answered, expecting his mother to continue. Shannon sat down on the side of Jay’s bed and patted it next to her invitingly. Jay got up from his office chair and hesitantly sat next to his mother. “You know how much I appreciate it every time you agree to try on some of the clothes from my work,” Shannon started and got a slow nod out of Jay. “Well, what I’m going to suggest is similar, but for longer than just a quick test and with some tiny extras.” That was all Shannon had to say. Jay was already certain he had been right with his suspicion. “I, I don’t know…” “Hey, I haven’t even gotten started yet. Don’t shoot it down already,” Shannon said and bumped into Jay teasingly. “What I’m asking you to do is test our new clothes and other products for the summer holiday.” Jay’s eyes shot wide open as he turned to look at his mother, trying to figure out was she being serious or kidding. He couldn’t find any signs that would give away that Shannon was trying to fool him, which added to his shock. “What? The whole summer? How?” “We would treat you like any child who needs the products. One perk would be no chores for the whole long summer!” Shannon said cheerfully. She knew it would take quite a few bribes to even get Jay through all the terms and conditions. “You would treat me like some special needs kid?” Jay asked puzzled. “Yes, that would include dressing you, perhaps feeding you, overall taking care of many things you would usually do yourself,” Shannon explained to her son who was looking more and more reluctant. “No way! Why don’t you get one of those, those… kids to do it?” Jay settled to ask. He wanted to blurt out “retards”, but knew better to hold his tongue. The one time he had said the word as a joke his mother didn’t find it worth a laugh. Three-day grounding was what she found to be a fitting response. “Because, Jay, if a product doesn’t work properly, they could end up harming themselves. You, on the other hand, would just shrug it off and let me know,” Shannon reasoned. “I haven’t gotten to the best part yet, so listen up.” Jay rolled his eyes and gave in, “Ugh, fine! Go on.” “Before we get to that, you know how many of the clothes are designed to stop the wearer from getting their hands into their diapers? Because of that you would need to wear and use diapers, as you can’t take the clothes off to use the toilet, and to test the practicality of the clothes.” At this point Jay was ready to scream “no way” as loud as he could, but Shannon lifted her finger to stop him. “Nuh-uh, let me finish. When you play along the whole holiday without complaints you will get a reward: that console you have been longing for and five games you get to choose, and I’ll even stretch the age rating to teen.” Jay stared at the wall, now contemplating the deal in the light of the rewards. Teen rating would mean no GTA V, but the offer was still tempting. “I don’t know.” Shannon knew she was close to victory and decided it was time to play dirty, now or never. She already felt a sting in her chest, even before the phones in her mouth became words and the words sentences. “Do it for your father. You would help the furniture he designed make it to the people who need it.” The silence in the room had dragged on a few seconds shy of a minute. Shannon was getting ready to apologize for mentioning Jay’s father, when Jay broke the expecting silence much to her relief. “Make it six games." “Deal! I love you, darling,” Shannon said, put her arm around Jay and gave his temple a kiss. “Love you too, mom,” Jay sighed. He wasn’t sure what kind of a ride he had agreed to for the sake of an Xbox One and handful of games. What he knew was that playing special needs for the summer wouldn’t interfere with his lone plans of spending it, and at the end of it, he would get to show off his new console to Finley. “Now,” Shannon started taking a cloth tape measure out of the pocket of her jeans, “we need to take some measures. Lose those sweat pants, honey.” Jay blushed and asked, “Do I have to? Can’t you take the measures over them?” “No, Jay. They won’t be precise. Come on now. Last time I checked I was your mother, not some cute girl you have crush on,” Shannon joked. “Eww!” Jay replied and pulled off his pants, leaving him with blue and white striped briefs where the hem of his t-shirt ended. Shannon first wrapped the measure around Jay’s slim waist and looked up the reading before taking out her phone to write it down. Next, she moved down to Jay’s hips, patting her son’s legs so he would spread them a little. After tapping the measure into her phone, she wrapped the cool tape around Jay’s thigh, making the boy shiver and wiggle impatiently. “Hold still or we’ll still be taking measures when the sun is setting.” In just couple of minutes Shannon had everything from her son’s wrists to ankles measured and noted. Looking at the numbers she had written down, she knew the few clothes and other accessories they had in storage most likely wouldn’t fit on Jay. The boy was average height, but small in every other way. At his last checkup the family doctor had warned Shannon that Jay was near the underweight limit. Coming out of her thoughts, Shannon handed Jay his sweat pants and announced, “All done! We’ll leave to visit the company in a few, so if you want to change into something else, do that now. Come downstairs when you’re ready.” With that Shannon left the room. Before going down the stairs, she knocked the door of Hayleigh’s room that was right next to Jay’s and went in. Hayleigh was lying on her bed, buried in a novel, listening to music. She noticed her mother come in and pulled out the earbuds. Before she could ask, Shannon answered her question. “Jay agreed!” Shannon said. Hayleigh couldn’t hide how surprised she was much to her mother’s amusement. “How did you…?” “Mother secrets!” “By any chance also know as bribes and blackmailing?” came Hayleigh’s sarcastic retort. “You little…” Shannon gave Hayleigh — who was giggling behind her hands — a light slap on thigh. “I’m going out for a walk with Jay to drop his measures to the seamstresses and see is there anything his size in stock. Do you want to tag along or rather stay home?” Without giving it much thought Hayleigh agreed to come. She wasn’t going to miss it if there happened to be something out of the wide product range that fit Jay. It wasn’t that she wanted to ridicule Jay. She just figured it could be just a tiny bit funny to find out what kind of garments and contraptions she and her mother would be putting Jay in. All the sisterly love she would be able to give to Jay over the summer without him being able to refuse would be limitless. Hayleigh and Jay had been closer before, but ever since their father had been gone, Jay had closed himself up so tight Hayleigh couldn’t drill her way into his head. Every time Hayleigh tried to start meaningful conversations, which she was desperate to have with his brother, Jay would just give vague answers until he had had enough and asked Hayleigh to leave him alone. She did have her mother to open her heart to. Shannon would listen to Hayleigh whenever she needed that, but it just wasn’t the same. The topics she could talk about with his brother were way different. Well, they had been way different. Jay had changed his outfit. He sat on his bed in light blue jean shorts and a white t-shirt with picture of the New York City skyline, ever so popular theme to depict on mainstream garments. Jay didn’t spend much time thinking about what to dress in. It wasn’t too important for a 10-year-old boy. What he thought about were the words of his mother that still rang in his head. He should do it for his father? Like he would know. He wasn’t around anymore to get joy from his son giving a test ride to all the furniture he had designed. No. It wasn’t his father Jay was doing this for. The Xbox was his motive. At least that was what Jay reassured himself. He bounced out of his bed and went downstairs before Shannon could get a chance to wonder what was taking him so long. * * * The walk to the sizeable building complex that worked as the storage and factory for clothes and furniture had taken them roughly 15 minutes. The buildings weren’t exactly something that would make Sydney Opera House look like a 4-year-old’s doodle, they were symmetric and the exterior was made out of metal, save for windows and some wood details, but they had been cheap to build and gave the business a home. That’s all that had mattered to Shannon and Rhys. Rest of the products the company sold, such as diapers and strollers, were outsourced. Shannon and her employees came up with the design ideas and the companies specialized in the products fulfilled all the requests they could. The receptionist greeted them in the lobby and Shannon small talked with her for a moment before they entered the clothing side of the factory. They found twelve workers who were all focused in their respective tasks. “What do my old eyes see?” came a question from a woman who was in somewhere around her sixties. She was drawing lines on fabric with a marker as Shannon and the kids walked in “Hey there, Martha!” Shannon greeted the lady. Martha had been Shannon’s first employee when the company had started its expansion. She had stuck around ever since and was now the head seamstress at the factory. She had also become close family friend and had often given tours for the kids around the machines that were involved in the long process of making clothes out of fabric. Jay and Hayleigh both liked the kind-hearted woman. “Have you brought me two guinea pigs instead of the one we had in plans?” Martha asked Shannon with mock confusion. Jay had only just learned that Hayleigh knew about the plan before him and now he knew Martha did too. It made sense to him to let Martha know beforehand, but he was a bit hurt regardless. “No, you aren’t that lucky, Martha. You’ll have to cope with one,” Shannon chuckled and handed Martha her phone with the measurements open on the screen. Martha took her notebook and started scribbling them down. “No worries. I’ll cope just fine with this skinny boy!” Jay blushed. He wasn’t a great fan of being a topic of discussion, especially when the discussion was about looks. “Hayleigh, go check can you find anything from that storage room,” Shannon said and pointed towards vertical-lifting fabric door, “meanwhile I go to my office and send some emails.” Hayleigh nodded and left to investigate what the room was hiding inside. Jay went to Martha and sat on the table meant for cutting fabric. Martha had already taken her notes and was carrying on with cutting pieces of fleece. “Do you know how flattered I am that I’m getting my very own model for the summer?” Martha said and pinched Jay’s cheek. “Oh, and your mother, it means more to her than you might even realize.” Jay raised his eyebrow and looked at Martha, giving her a sign to continue. “She has been so stressed about finding someone to test all or at least some of the fruits of years’ work. No matter how hard she tried to cut a deal, everyone turned her offers down. She didn’t want to ask you, because she was afraid how you would take it.” Slight pang of guilt hit Jay. Had he really been that reluctant to help his hard-working mother over the years? He sure didn’t fancy being affiliated with things meant for kids who couldn’t even find their way to toilet. It was humiliating that clothes meant for them fit him, as if he was supposed to use them. Still, Jay liked to think he sucked it up and did what his mother asked. Martha noticed Jay’s troubled expression and consoled him, “But hey, don’t worry about it. It’s all sorted out now thanks to you!” “Yeah, I guess…” Hayleigh barged out of the storage. She was clearly excited, which worried Jay. In her hands were two bundles of webbing, orange and blue. “I found something!” she exclaimed. Jay couldn’t figure out what his sister had. Whatever the two bundles were, Jay was sure he wouldn’t be as excited about them as Hayleigh. “What are those?” Jay questioned. Hayleigh ignored him and asked, “Orange or blue?” “Tell me what I am choosing first!” “Orange it is!” Hayleigh announced and grinned widely. She set the blue bundle aside and started unwrapping the orange. Once the webbing was opened up, it became clear to Jay what his sister was holding. “Is that a —” “Harness? Yep, it is!” Hayleigh interrupted Jay. “Let’s try it on!” Hayleigh kneeled in front of Jay and held the harness at ankle level. “Step in!” Jay shook his head, but complied. “Did I agree to this?” he asked as Hayleigh pulled the harness up his legs. Next, she guided Jay’s arms through the correct loops and then swung him around. Two clicks could be heard as the buckles of the loose harness closed behind the boy’s back. The harness wasn’t loose for long: Hayleigh tugged the straps that went around Jay’s chest and abdomen. To finish off, she tightened the crotch strap. It made the harness little less comfortable, but not unbearable thanks to the padding on the strap. “Snug as a bug!” Hayleigh said as she inspected the results of her work. “A bug that is about die from lack of air,” was Jay’s answer. He pretended to suffocate on the last word for the sake of emphasis. “Oh you, always so dramatic.” Martha was chuckling at the kids’ exchange of words as Shannon returned from her office and noticed the harness secured on Jay. “Oh, that’s perfect!” Shannon said, clearly pleased from what she saw. She walked over and gave the harness few pulls to test for herself how it fit. “Try to take it off, sweetie.” Piece of cake, or so Jay thought. With only slight struggle, Jay got his right hand on the lower buckle behind his back. He was sure the harness was as good as off, but as he pressed the buckle, nothing happened. He pressed it again with some more force, yet still nothing. “I think the buckle is broken,” Jay stated. “No, it works wonders,” Shannon said joyfully, and to demonstrate, she opened and closed the buckle. “But, but… Why can’t I open it?” Before Shannon could, Hayleigh explained Jay that the buckles had a child lock that made it practically impossible to open them without full use of hands. The child lock was a small button on top of each of the buckles that had to be pressed down or the buckle wouldn’t budge. For the wearer of the harness the small button was difficult to feel on top of the buckle, let alone press. “Just to be safe, take these too,” Martha suggested and handed two Velcro wraps to Shannon who thanked her. The small wraps went around the buckles. They were so tight it was difficult to pull them open with two hands. Jay wouldn’t stand a chance pulling off such move while wearing the harness. The cherry on top was the leash Hayleigh got the honour to clip on the harness. She gave it a test tug to make sure it was intact. Jay nearly lost his balance and shot an angry glance at his sister. “Looks like we are ready to head home. How soon do you think Jay’s clothes are ready, Martha?” Shannon asked. “There are some old orders in line, but I’ll try to get the first of Jay’s done tomorrow. I’ll let you know when you can pick them up. The rest will be sewn together over the week.” “Sounds good! You know what, the furniture should be ready and the test products I ordered from outside be delivered here early next week. How about I come get whatever you have ready tomorrow and leave the rest to be delivered to our house with the company truck next week?” “That’s fine. I’ll see you tomorrow!” “Yep, I’ll stop by. See you then!” After Shannon and Martha were done with deciding the logistics and saying their byes, Shannon and Hayleigh headed towards the front door. Jay, however, was frozen in his spot. “Wait! Aren’t you going to take the harness off?” he asked perplexedly. Wearing the harness on the way back and on top off that being held by the leash was not what he thought of when he put up with Hayleigh strapping him into it. “Jay, it’s part of our deal, one of the things you’ll test use this summer,” Shannon explained. “Anyone can see me! I cannot walk out there like this!” Hayleigh — who was holding the leash — tried to calm her brother down, “Most of your peers live elsewhere in the town or are away for the summer holiday. We didn’t run into anyone you know on the way here, remember? Now come on, it’s not a huge deal.” Jay just let out a moan of frustration and let himself be pulled out to the street. * * * Hayleigh’s prediction had been right. The walk back was uneventful. No one Jay knew got to witness what he considered a walk of shame or Via Dolorosa. They had walked by some children who were out playing, but apart from few longer stares, no one had paid much attention to Jay. The part that was most embarrassing to him was that his sister was the one to hold the leash the whole walk back. Although she was the one in charge whenever Shannon was away, it was humiliating for him to be led through the streets by someone who topped his age by five measly years. Jay set his foot through the door of the humble abode — the nickname was from Rhys who had known his way in the field of irony — and didn’t waste any time demanding to be released. Hayleigh complied, working the buckles open and pulling the harness down for Jay to step out from. “It wasn’t that bad now, was it?” Shannon asked. Jay mumbled something back and scaled up the stairs. Shannon and Hayleigh looked him go, and shrugged. They went to the kitchen to cook dinner before someone from the family of three would fall from starvation. Jay sure remembered that freedom from chores was part of the deal: he didn’t even peek into the kitchen before the dinner was ready and Hayleigh went to get him. While emptying plates of spaghetti Bolognese, Shannon and Hayleigh came to an agreement that they would go shopping at the mall the next day. They also reached an understanding that even listening to Rebecca Black’s Friday on repeat for 24 hours would be better pastime in Jay’s opinion. In other words, he would stay at home. After the dinner Jay lay on his bed in his room watching A Series of Unfortunate Events from Netflix. After nine Shannon came in and told him to switch his TV off and get ready for bed. Jay made sure to correct his mother by telling her that he would switch his computer off. Before long, Jay was tucked in his bed, and Shannon peeked through the door to say good night. “Mom is so proud of you for choosing to help, you know that?” Jay replied meekly, “Yeah. I know, mom.” “Good night, honey. Sweet dreams!” “Night, mom!” * * * Jay stirred awake. Straight, empty highway opened in front of him as far as he could see. He was looking through truck's windshield from the right-hand seat. Beams of morning sun came in from the side window and lit his face. Trance music accompanied by the static noise from the truck engine and tires was all he could hear. It reminded him of his father. He used to listen to the electronic music genre, which Jay found way too monotonic, while riding his Chevrolet Silverado down the highways. “It’s beautiful day, isn’t it?” Jay heard someone speak up. The voice was familiar to him. Jay turned his head and noticed its source sat behind the wheel. The man was fairly muscular. The hard skin and few blisters on his large hands suggested he did manual labour. The sunglasses that protected him from the bright sunlight had orange flames on the temples. Hayleigh had always judged the man’s fashion sense, which is probably exactly why he had bought the glasses: just to tease her. Jay had just said he found the glasses super cool. Even if they weren’t the latest fashion, they did justice to the man’s persona. “Dad? Where are we going?” Jay asked Rhys who had his eyes tightly on the road, although there wasn’t anything to look out for. “Good morning to you too!” Rhys laughed. “We are on our way to my work!” “Why are you always listening to the same music?” Jay asked and reached towards the radio to switch the channel. Rhys shooed his hands away. “Because I like it. It keeps me going,” Rhys replied and made some dance moves with his shoulders for Jay. Jay rolled his eyes. “Oh, we are taking this exit,” Rhys said and steered up the ramp. They were headed to some city Jay couldn’t recognize. He saw tall skyscrapers arise in front of them. “One last job to do and then it’s all furniture business for me. I’ve promised your mother countless of times, but this time I’ll really keep the promise,” Rhys said and added, whispering, “or she might really kick me out.” One last job. His father’s words made Jay feel uneasy, but he couldn’t quite explain why. Jay looked out the window. The streets of the city were just as empty of cars as the highway. No one was walking down the sidewalk either. “This is it!” Rhys announced and parked the car to the side of the road. They were in front of an apartment building that seemed tiny and out of place between the enormous skyscrapers. It was made of brick whereas the skyscrapers were shiny glass. Jay read the sign that sat above the main door: “DAMON APARTMENTS”. That’s when it hit him, the shock. “Dad… Please don’t go.” “It won’t take long. I’ll be right back!” “No! You can’t go in there!” “Don’t worry. I won’t get arrested for trespassing. I was invited there after all,” Rhys joked and winked to Jay. “You don’t understand! Please, get back in the car! We have to go!” Jay begged and tried to reach his father’s arm, but he was already outside the car and closed the door. He walked around the car and stopped by the passenger side door. “Everything will be alright, son,” was the last thing Rhys said before he walked towards the building. Jay tried to open the car door, but it wouldn’t budge even though he had unlocked it. He banged the window as hard as he could. “No! Dad! Come back! Come back! You can’t leave me! Come back!” Only couple of seconds after Rhys had stepped through the main door and closed it behind him, large cracks begun creeping up the brick walls. Jay could hear them advancing until they reached the top. There was a brief movement of dead silence. Jay closed his eyes. He couldn’t watch what was about to unfold. The moment of silence ended violently as the building crumbled down, crushing everything and everyone inside. Jay couldn’t hear his own scream over the sound of the building turning into a pile of bricks and iron rods. He opened his eyes and the last thing he saw was a cloud of dust closing the truck into its dark embrace. I actually got another chapter out! Is anyone else surprised or is it just me? Took me long enough, though. My writing feels a bit dry and repetitive, but bear with me. I'll try my best to spice my English up. I'm not as good in writing English as my native. Shame there's hardly any internet audience for anything I would write in my native language.
  14. Whoa... I have to say I'm a little flattered! I've been working on the next chapter. I would say about one third of it is written so far.