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Reincarnation (Finished!!! 8/23/2015)

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vampire4    6

CH. 17

Zeke/Alexander Blackburn


Once James had left for work, conversation slowly began. It was mostly between the women though. All three chatting about stupid, boring, girl stuff. Ashley didn't join in all that much, but looked happy all the same. Zeke had noticed that despite her earlier nervous breakdown, she looked pleased as punch now. To be honest, he wasn't sure i that was a good thing or not. Even as he tried to push Ashley's strange behavior from his mind, other thoughts kept intruding. He felt exhausted, and while he used to pull all-nighters when he was in college, it seemed that his new body wasn't built for it. Part of him wanted to go up to his room and go back to sleep, but he was worried that he might have more nightmares. Mirah hadn't exactly eased his mind on the subject either. Fact was he did have nightmares as a child, often, and they were very similar to the one he had last night. Plus, going to sleep meant another diaper change by Tara. He just wasn't ready for that right now.


Zeke decided to do a little exploring while the girls talked on. As he was getting up though, he failed to realize that his small legs didn't touch the ground from the chair he was sitting in. Taken by surprise, he landed hard  on his butt, then hit his head on the table.


"Agh, shit that hurt." He said without thought.


Instantly, he looked up, praying the infernal maid hadn't heard him. She had. In an instant, she had him by his arm again, pulling him up gently, but not relasing her grip on him. Erica had put her face in her hands, abandoning him to the nanny's wrath. As Tara once again lectured him, he did his best to look apologetic. It was only after an excruciating 20 minutes that she let him go back to the kitchen while she scurried off to do some housework.


Zeke did his best to ignore the smug looks his new "family" gave him as he entered the room again. Sitting down once again, he couldn't help but voice his irritation.


"Is it just me, or does that lady have it out for me?" He grumbled.


"Eventually, you might learn to not use bad language in front of her."  Erica said with a smirk.


"How many times is it gonna take I wonder?" Ashley chimed in.


"Bah, forget her. More importantly, I need to get to the bookstore. Today if possible. I need some better reading material before I lose my mind." Zeke said.


Erica stared at him for a second. "I don't see why not. I already promised Ash we would go do some clothes shopping anyway."


Zeke rolled his eyes. Clothes shopping? Could his day get any worse?


"Yeah, sure.....that sounds great. Super great......ugh." Zeke moaned.


The girls beamed at him before Erica grabbed his hand.


"Well then, lets go pick you out something nice to wear." she said.


"Hell would freeze over before I let you choose my clothes." he said, taking his hand away and heading out of the room.


He picked out a button up shirt, quickly rolling up the sleeves, before grabbing his pants. By the time he got back downstairs, Tara was back, ready to drive them. Ashley was letting Erica tie her shoes, and Erica looked happy to do it. "Not me, you freaky woman." Zeke thought as he put on his own shoes. They once again piled into the nice town car, getting comfortable as Tara got behind the wheel and started driving. As he listened to the girls talk about some t.v. show he didn't care about, he felt his eyelids getting heavy. He didn't even try to fight it, letting sleep take him.


He saw the girl again, her crimson red coat bright and distinctive. She always wore that coat. Zeke was yelling at her from the door of his old home, telling her to stay. It didn't matter, she never stopped walking, and soon he was alone again.


Zeke jumped as he woke from his nightmare. The girls were still talking, Tara was fighting traffic, and no one seemed to notice him. A little panicked, Zeke was relieved to see he hadn't wet in his sleep. That would have been bad. Wanting to get the dream out of his head, he decided to strike up a conversation, even if that meant interupting one already in place.


"So Ash, tell us about your family." He ordered. "You seemed pretty worried about your mom the other night."


Ashley looked over at him. "You're awake? I thought you had passed out."


"I was just resting my eyes. Answer the question."


"Um.....ok....well I have....HAD....two younger  brothers name Lucus and Eric. Their both seven. My dad passed away.....about three years ago. That was pretty rough for my family."


Erica looked pretty interested, so Zeke figured she didn't know her friend all that well. "Figures." he thought.


"How did your dad die? If that's ok to ask." Erica asked.


Ashley looked shaken now, obviously not entirely comfortable with the conversation. For a minute, Zeke felt a little guilty, using Ash to forget his own past.


"He died in a car accident." Ashley continued, her voice flat and dull, tears building in her eyes. "And after he was gone my mother got.....sick. Well, I called it that. She just....she couldn't cope with him being gone. She started drinking.....a lot. At first she hid it pretty well, but after a while she barely got out of bed. I.....I'm sorry, could we talk about something else please?"


Erica had wrapped an arm around her, and Ashley wasted little time burying her face in the woman bosom. Zeke watched the scene uncomfortably. He hadn't meant for her to get so personal. Why did people feel the need to burst out their life's tragedy's? Not another word was spoken until they finally pulled up to the bookstore. Zeke got out of the car, happy to be out and away from the sadness that had invaded the car.


He wasted little time, grabbing any  book that he was interested in. He found a book on the fall of the Roman Republic that especially interested him. He loved Roman history. He had a whole cart full of books, most of them history books, before he finally deemed his trip a success. Erica had already given him some money, so he was ready to go. On his way to the checkout, he saw Ashley standing by the childrens books, holding one almost reverently. Against his better judgement, Zeke walked over to the girl. As he drew closer, he noticed that the book was The Lorax, by Dr. Suess. He also noticed that Ashley had tears in her eyes again. Feeling awkward, he tried to slip away, before she noticed him.


"My dad used to read this to me all the time." Ashley said.


Zeke stopped in his tracks, cursing his curiousity, and turned back to her.




"He used to do this voice....for the Lorax....hahahaha....it was really funny." Ashley said as she smiled. "He sounded so stupid. He read to us every night. But the Lorax was always our favorite."


"Why don't you get it then?" Zeke asked softly. "We have the money."


Ashley looked up suddenly, as though she had only just noticed him there. She looked at the book in her hand for a long while, then placed it back on the shelf.


"I....I don't want it."


"Why not? I'm pretty sure we don't have it. It obviously means something to you. Just grab it."


"No....I .....I can't.....I don't want it." she insisted before she turned her back on him and walked away.


Zeke watched her leave, looking from her back to the book. He wasn't sure what her deal was, but something told him not to press the matter. He looked at the book again, and for reasons he didn't quite understand, he put it in his cart. "This might be useful someday."  he thought. As he reached to cashier, a forty something year old woman who beamed at him as he approached, he decided he would hold on to the book for Ashley. She had said she didn't want it, so there was no use in shoving it in her hands.


The woman smiled as he began unloading his books, her eyebrows raising almost comically as she sarted scanning them. She looked at some of his selections, then back to him.


"My my, these sure are a lot of books." she said in a condesending voice Zeke despised. "Are you going to read all these young man?"


"That would be the idea." Zeke said, noticing she had stopped scanning halfway through the order.


"You know, we have a really neat children's section. The books there might be a little easier for you to read."


"I'll pass." he said, getting more irritated.


" These look awfully....well they seem like they might be a little hard for you to read. Does your mommy and daddy know you're buying them?"


Zeke finally had enough, shooting her a cold glare and speaking in a low voice. "No, they don't know. They gave me some money and told me to go buy as many books  that I could find that I couldn't read. Can we please just move this along so I can get your damn voice out of my brain?"


The cashier looked shocked, offended, outraged. Zeke didn't care. She quietly finished the order and Zeke walked out of the bookstore with a smile.


Ch. 18

Erica/ Laura Blackburn


The rest of the day went smoothly, even thought Zeke outright refused to join them in the clothes store. Now that he had books to read, he promptly began ignoring them. Tara kept the car running and stayed with him while Erica and Ashley went shopping. They had a good time together, only buying a few cute outfits despite their money. Erica was a little surprised at the childish outfits Ashley asked for, but she didn't complain. Her friend was an extremley cute little girl after all, and the outfits really suited her. They had never been able to hang out together before and Erica was having a blast. Ever since they died, all she had been able to think about was what she had lost. Now it seemed she had gained something precious, even if she would only get to enjoy it for a short time.


"What you said earlier." Erica began slowly. "About your mom? Who took care of your brothers when she was......incapacitated?"


Ashley looked a little nervous, but answered anyway. "Actually, I did. I got a part time job when I was fifteen. Once I got out of school, my mom just totally gave up. The only time she got up was to get more booze. I took over watching the boys when I got off work and they got home from school. That's why I...... It's why I never....."


"It's why you never came over for dinner." Erica finished. She felt so bad for her friend, this whole time dealing with so much responsibility. Even after she had died, she worried about how her family would get by without her. She was such a selfless person. Not wanting to spoil the mood, or make her friend uncomfortable she wrapped an arm around her. "It's ok. I'm not really that good of a cook."


"That's not true. The pancakes were.....pretty good."


"God, you're as bad of a liar as James." Erica said as she rolled her eyes.


They finished their shopping and returned to the car. Zeke continued to read all the way home, and once they had gotten in, he mumbled something about a balcony on the second floor, and marched his way up the stairs with a book. His behavior had apparently been noticed by Tara, because she pulled her aside the moment she could. Ashley was coloring in the t.v. room, a childish activity that seemed to make her happy.


"It can't just be me, Mrs. Blackburn. The children have been acting strange lately. Maria's been more cuddly lately, and Alexander has become withdrawn to the point of isolating himself. Not to mention his language."


Erica wasn't sure what she should tell the young maid. How could she account for the children having radically different personalities? Suddenly, the answer came to her. She decided to be honest. Well, at least a little.


"The kids are just upset. Some friends of ours in Ohio were murdered yesterday. They were shot while they were at work. It's...been difficult."


Tara looked shocked. "You knew those kids? I watched the story last night when I got home. That's so terrible. I'm so sorry. I didn't know you had ever been to Ohio."


"Yes, it was years ago. We're are going to be leaving Thursday to go to the funerals. So we won't be back until Monday."


"Do you need me to drive you guys? Or look after the children?" Tara asked.


"No, Tara. We should be alright. You go out and have some fun this weekend."


Tara didn't look happy, but she nodded and began making dinner. James got home shortly before it was finished, setting his jacket down as quickly as he could, sniffing the air, wondering what smell so good. Ashley came in the room shortly after, following the smell as well. "Of course she can cook." Erica thought, a little envious.


"Wow. That smells great Tara." James said before he pulled his wife to him for a kiss. "How was your day honey?"


Erica smiled. "Very good dear. Yours?"


"It went great. You were right. I remembered everything, plus it turns out I'm pretty high up the corporate ladder. I got treated like my shit didn't stink. All in all, I had a really fun day at work."


"I'm glad dear. I have a lot to tell you about today. Ashely told me a little bit about her family situation."


"Yeah, ok. We'll catch up later. Where's Zeke?"


"He got his books today, so he's deadset on avoiding us."


They chatted a bit more, before dinner was finished and the family sat down at the dinner table. Tara went to fetch Zeke, who seemed pleased when he realized Erica hadn't cooked the food. Tara was an excellent cook and the meal, chicken with some sort of noodles, was practicall devoured by the family. Soon after dinner, Tara once again began to get the kids ready for bed. Zeke grimaced and stomped up to his room, but Ashley gave a big smile and practically skipped there. It didn't take long and soon both of them were back down to say goodnight.


Ashley gave her a big hug, then wrapped her arms around James as well.


"Goodnight mommy and daddy." She said in an adorable little voice before she skipped back to her room. Then there was only Zeke standing there, looking nervous but exhausted at the same time.


"Uh.....Goodnight guys." He stammered, giving them a small wave.


Tara wasn't having it. "Alex, give your mommy and daddy a hug goodnight. You're not too old for it yet."


The look on Zeke's face was priceless, but he slowly moved forward, giving them the most forced goodnight hug ever. Erica noticed that his entire body tensed up when she wrapped her arms around him. As one last humiliation, Erica gave him a wet kiss on his cheek, making him pull pack in horror. They barley manage to wait for him to leave before they started laughing.

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vampire4    6

To my small cadre of commenters, thank you so much for all the encouragement. I had to rush these chapters so I hope they are ok. I really wanted to update before Christmas. Thanks again guys and happy holidays.



CH. 19

Ashley/Maria Blackburn


Ashley woke up to the sound of water running in the distance. In her sleepy daze, she didn't realize what it was. Either way, the sound of water made her release more urine in her already soggy diaper. She shot up fairly quickly then, her hands clutching her crotch in a futile attempt to stop the flow. Despite how much she had wet during the night, she was surprised to find that the diaper held every drop of it. The first time she had woken up with a wet diaper, she had worked herself into a hysterical fit. Now though, after the encouragement from Zeke, she wasn't all that upset. In fact, the warm diaper was almost comfortable. It was a strange feeling, but not an unpleasant one. She looked at the clock and saw it was only 2:30 in the morning. Hugging her stuffed rabbit a little tighter, she slowly rose from her bed.


Now that she was awake, she could tell that the shower was running. As she stepped out from her room, the water abruptly stopped. A minute later Zeke emerged, looking a little shaken, but more irritated. He was back in his pajamas, but there was a noticeable absence of any bulge, meaning he hadn't managed to re-diaper himself. When he saw her standing in the hallway, he looked a little remorseful.


"Hey. Did I wake you up?" He asked.


"Yeah. The water also made something else happen too." She said in a neutral voice.


"Sorry about that." he said, knowing exactly what she meant. "I need to start showering downstairs. Anyway, the shower is yours if you want it. Night."


Ashley noticed he wasn't heading to his room, but to the balcony that he had claimed as his own earlier in the night. She wanted to say something to him, to give him some sort of comfort for his kind gesture in the face of her earlier bed wetting.


"Nightmare again?" She asked.


Instantly, he stopped, turning a cold gaze her way that pierced her even in the darkness of the hallway.


"I don't know what your talking about. Go back to sleep."


"What about you? This is the second night you've woken up in the middle of the night. You look exhausted."


"Worry about yourself Ash. I'm fine. I'm just gonna get some air before I go back to bed."


Ashley knew he was lying, but didn't push her luck. Still, as he was turning back to walk away, she asked one more question.


"Do you really regret saving that girl? It's been bothering me."


Zeke stopped, but didn't turn around. After a long silence, he sighed. "No. No I don't. I'm not really sure why I did it. I just.....I sw the gun pointed at her....and I didn't want her to get hurt. I didn't really mean to jump in front of her......I just did. But I am glad.....a little bit. I did something good, y'know?"


"You say that like you're surprised." Ashley said.


"There's a lot of shitty people in the world who like to pretend their good people. I'm not one of them. I know I'm not the best person around. I'm far from the worst though."


Ashley wasn't sure what to say. He said it so nonchalantly. "We're all in this together Zeke. Don't forget that. You don't have to deal with everything alone."


"Goodnight Ash." He said dismissively before vanishing down the hall.


Ashley stood in the darkness for a little while before she was reminded of her other problem. Her diaper was very wet, sagging almost. She knew it wouldn't hold another wetting. She needed changed, and while she thought about doing it herself, she didn't have a lot of confidence that she could do it without screwing up. So she went to Erica's room, finding her cuddled up to James, who was snoring softly. She gently shook her friend until she groggily sat up.


Instantly, her face showed concern. "Ash? What's the matter sweetheart?"


"I uummmm.......I sorta need.....I need.....ummmmm....." Ashley stuttered, too nervous to actually say the words.


"What is it Ashley? What's wrong?"


"I sorta.....need....help.... with my.....um....diaper."


Understanding finally dawned on Erica's face. She quickly wrapped Ashley up in a hug, and Ashley was so comforted by the simple gesture. As Erica scooped her up into her arms and walked out of the room, Ashley again thought how nice it was to be taken care of for a change. Once they were back in her room, Erica sat her down on the bed while she went to get some supplies. She came back a short time later with a disposable diaper, wipes, baby powder, and a changing mat. Erica knelt down and had her lay on the changing mat before lifting up her nightgown.


Ashley couldn't begin to imagine how red her face probably was, but she laid as still as she could as Erica untapped her soggy diaper and began cleaning her with baby wipes. She was so gentle and Ashley finally let out the breath she had been holding in since she first laid down.


"Lift up for me baby girl." Erica said softly, as she slid out the dirty diaper and slid a fresh one under her. Ashley didn't know why she found this so relaxing. She felt safe though. Erica wasn't judging her, sh actually seemed all to happy to help. As she poured the baby power into the diaper and tapped it up, Ashley was so relaxed she nearly fell back asleep. Erica gave the front of her diaper a little pat to indicate that she was done.


"I hope that wasn't to awkward for  you." Erica said.


"Actually, I really liked it......I mean, it wasn't embarrassing.....ummmm......You did a good job is all." Ashley stammered.


Erica gave her a big smile. "If you like, I can start diapering you at night instead of Tara. If you would prefer."


Ashley nodded quickly and Erica leaned in to give her another hug. "So, are you ready to go back to bed?"


Ashley almost said yes, but then she thought of Zeke sitting alone out on the balcony and she suddenly didn't want to be alone. She wasn't really used to sleeping on her own anyway. Her brothers were usually sneaking into her bed at night. For once, she wanted to do that.


"Ummm....do you think.....I could sleep with you tonight?" She asked, while giving her best puppy dog eyes.


Erica smiled again and picked her up. "You are so cute. Of course you can sweetie."


Ashley laid her head on Erica's shoulder, enjoying the feeling of a clean diaper and warm arms around her. She noticed that Erica had stopped at the top of the stairs, staring at the door to the balcony, where a small light was shining in. She shook her head sadly before continuing the opposite direction to her bedroom. She laid down next to James, who was still out like a light, then had Ashley lay on her other side. As Ashley felt her friend's arms wrap around her, she  took a deep breath, and fell asleep instantly.


CH. 20

James/ Edward Blackburn


The next few days were pretty much the same. Ashley had taken to sleeping in their bed at night, but James didn't mind. He was still to uncomfortable to make love to his wife in her new body anyway. Although his lower brain didn't seem to mind the idea. Zeke continued to isolate himself in his books, and the small amount of sleep he got each bight was starting to become obvious to anyone who looked at him. He was pale, his eyes had deep dark circles, and he often complained of headaches. James and Erica had both tried to talk to him only to be rebuffed. Tara had tried to force him to take a nap, and the argument between the two had to be broken up by Erica,but not before Zeke called the maid an "evil demonspawn from hell".


As for James, He really didn't have much to say. He went to work, remembering clients off the top of his head, reviewing cases, and passing his judgment. He was good at his job. Or rather, Edward was. When he got home, he spent some quality time with Erica and Ashley. He slept far better than he thought he would after ending another human beings life. He was pretty content actually. 


Then Thursday morning came. He knew their was going to be an argument because of what his wife had told him last night. Erica had a few rules she wanted to lay down before they began the drive to Ohio. He had a feeling Zeke wasn't going to take it well. Their bags had been packed and loaded into the car and they had all gathered in the living room. Erica put her hands on her hips to show she meant business.


"Ok now, I know you guys might not like this very much, but while we drive to Ohio, I want both of you to wear diapers. And before you say anything, I just want to remind you that the drive will be long, and if you fall asleep, it would be nice to not have to clean up any messes."


Zeke was, as James had predicted, appalled. "This is ridiculous. I'm not going to fall asleep." he began.


James spoke up, backing up his wife. "Zeke, you've gotten maybe ten hours of sleep in the four days. You look like shit. You look like you could fall over any minute. We all see it. This is just to be safe."


"I don't mind." Ashley said with a smile. James smiled. She was a cute little kid.


"Thanks sweetie." Erica said. "Also, since Tara isn't going to be with us, I will be diapering you at night."


"Aw, this is bullshit! No fucking way!" Zeke complained.


"I can do it, Zeke. If you'd be more comfortable with a guy helping." James offered.


"Zeke this isn't up for discussion. Stop throwing a tantrum and deal with it." Erica said firmly.


Zeke took a deep breath and, too tired to argue, nodded.


"Do you want me to do it or James?" She asked, still in a firm voice.


"You.....I guess." He mumbled before meekly walking away.


"Ash, honey why don't you head up to your room? I'll be right there." Erica said.


Ashley nodded and skipped away. James put an arm around his wife. "You handled that well. I thought Zeke would put up more of a fight."


"He's too exhausted to fight me. God, he's so stubborn. Everyone knows he's having nightmares, but he won't say a word about it."


"Ashley didn't argue at all. Is it just me, or is she enjoying being a kid again a little too much?"


Erica smiled. "She's a sweetie. She's been looking after her brothers and her drunk mother for years. She deserves a little rest. She deserves to be....happy. If that means she gets to act like a kid again, then she should be able to."


James pulled her closer. "I agree. It's just....you would have been such a wonderful mother....if things had been different."


"Me? What about you? I know you never believed me, but you would have been a great dad." she said with a sad smile.


James frowned. " I......I don't know about that. I guess it doesn't matter at this point."


James regretted bringing up this topic. His wife was now clearly depressed. She gently pushed away from his embrace with a sad smile and left to get the kids ready. He was so stupid. He knew better than to bring that up. He poured some coffee into a thermos and headed out to the car. He was driving after all.

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Cute_Kitten    320

Zeke's definately got some issues. Well, I think they all do- hence the whole "having a year to get their shit straight and get out of those bodies" but my reader's intuition is guessing Zeke is gonna have a harder time dealing with those issues. 

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Dunno. You've got Zeke's issues but also it isn't so clear what would keep James there. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

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vampire4    6

CH. 21

Ashley/ Maria Blackburn


The drive to Ohio was a quiet one. Zeke hadn't said much since his forced diapering from Erica. The length of the town car made conversation difficult with James and Erica, unless she scooted all the way to them. Ashley mostly stretched out and tried to get some sleep. Zeke slept off and on too, but never for very long. It was an uncomfortable silence and the tense atmosphere made her wish she was anywhere else.


Truthfully, they were all nervous about going back to Ohio. Not only would they get to see their friends and family again, but they would see their former bodies. The thought of looking at her own corpse was disturbing. Still, she had to go. She had to make sure her mom was going to be able to take care of her brothers. Otherwise, they would probably end up in foster care. There was a good chance that she would be an even bigger wreck. For so many years, Ashley had watched her mother drown out her sadness and loneliness with cheap whiskey. With her husband dead, she just couldn't do it anymore. Now she had lost her daughter too.


As she laid there, thinking of her mother, she felt a growing need to pee. While she could have told James to find a rest stop so she could use the restroom, she decided to stay silent. It wasn't an emergency and she was pretty comfortable. Suddenly she had an idea. She was wearing a diaper after all. What would be the harm in using it for it's intended purpose? Sure, Erica would have to change her, but diaper changes  weren't as terrible as they had been. Ashley felt safe when Erica cleaned her up. Her voice was always so comforting and kind, and she was always so gentle. Her mind made up, she tried to make herself pee, but nothing happened. She glanced over at Zeke and saw that he was dozing fitfully. She quietly sat up, trying to imagine she was sitting on a toilet instead of in a car. Finally, she managed to let a little pee loose into her diaper, her hands going to her crotch as she felt the warmth collect in the bottom. Having finally wet a little helped her to completely let go, as she flooded the diaper, feeling her entire nether region get warm. Ashley sighed, feeling incredibly relaxed as she laid back down. Part of her felt naughty for using her diaper, but she tried to put it out of her mind as she drifted into a nice sleep.


Ashley woke up as to two strong arms lifted her up. It took her a moment to realize it was James.  She wrapped her arms around the man's neck, enjoying being carried, even though she was nervous that he would notice her wet diaper. Zeke was grabbing his bags while Erica talked to a receptionist at the hotel they would be staying at.


"I can walk James." She said, trying to hide her red cheeks.


James just smiled at her. "Nah. Take it easy kiddo. You look pretty tired. You're lighter than Erica's luggage anyway."


Ashley nodded, laying her head on his shoulder. She was so embarrassed, but she really liked James carrying her. It reminded her of her own father, who was so strong, he would sometimes carry her to bed even when she reached her teenage years. Their hotel room was huge, with two connecting rooms closed off with a single door. James and Erica took one room, while Zeke and Ashley got the other. Ashley was unpacking her things, including her stuffed rabbit that she had brought, when Erica tapped her on the shoulder.


"Hey, I was just wondering if you  needed a diaper change. I mean, it's still early, so you could just shower if you wanted."


Ashley blushed a little, but wasn't afraid to tell her friend exactly what she wanted. "Do you think you could just change me into another diaper?" When Erica gave her a surprised look, she continued. "I'm still pretty groggy.....So I just want to be safe."


"Safe.....Sure sweetie. Whatever you want." Erica said with a  thoughtful smile.


Zeke and James were in the other room so it was just the two of them. As Erica laid her down on the changing mat, Ashley couldn't help but wonder why she was becoming so comfortable with wearing diapers. When she first found out, she would have rather gnawed her own arm off, but now she almost looked forward to it. What was wrong with her? Her fears melted away as Erica gently cleaned her with wipes, before sliding a fresh diaper under her. Once she was powdered and the diaper was tapped up, Erica lifted her up, and helped her pull up her skirt.


"Thanks Erica. You don't.....think I'm weird do you?" Ashley asked.


Erica just laughed. "Sweetie, I already told you, I think your diapers are adorable. I don't care if you want to wear them anytime of the day. So long as I get to keep changing your cute little butt."


Ashley smiled, still feeling a little confused, but glad that her friend didn't judge her.


"So, Are you nervous at seeing your family again?" Ashley asked.


Erica paused for a second before answering. "I....never told you this, but I don't have any family. I was an orphan. Well, a foster kid my whole life."


"Oh, I'm sorry...I didn't know."


"Don't be sorry. I loved where I grew up. I ended up at a Catholic orphanage run by two of the sweetest nuns you'd ever want to meet. Even though I went to a few different homes, I always ended up back with them. Normally by my own choice. I wasn't happy without them. They were like my parents. As I got older, I helped out with the younger kids, so that's where I picked up my mommy instinct."


Ashley was still shocked. " I had no idea. Why didn't you tell me?"


Erica smiled at her. "Really? You kept your situation a secret from me. It's not a big deal Ash. I wasn't hiding it, I just never thought to bring it up. I had a great childhood. Hell, I almost became a nun."


"Really? Why didn't you?"


"It's hard to be married to God, when you'd rather be married to someone else. James....well, he showed me a different path."


Erica let out a little laugh when she heard the shower turn on. "I told Zeke he'd need his diapees. I wish he took it as well as you do."


The rest of the night was fun, they had pizza delivered to the room, the four of them making light conversation to ease the tension of the upcoming funerals. Well, the three of them, Zeke mostly read, occasionally writing down some notes in a notebook. One time during the night, he heard her diaper crinkle, and gave her a confused look before returning to his book. They also watched a movie, with Ashley insisting on an animated one.They finally settled on Despicable Me. It was a pretty good night, and Ashley was pretty tired by the time Erica tucked her into bed.


The trouble started the next day. They were getting dressed for Zeke's funeral, not knowing that he had other plans.


"I don't know why you're all getting dressed up. I just want a ride. I'm doing this on my own. No offense." He said.


Ashley exchanged a look with James, who looked a little shocked, but not all that surprised. Erica though, looked frustrated, even a little hurt.


"Zeke, I can't believe you don't want us there. You don't need to go through this on your own. We're here to support you."


"I didn't even want to come here, but since we are here, I'm at least going about this my own way. I don't want or need you guys there."


"Even if we dropped you off, do you realize how strange a little boy at a funeral alone might seem.?"  Erica asked.


Zeke wasn't convinced. " I doubt anyone will notice. Their gonna be to busy looking at my corpse. Seriously, don't worry about it."


As they argued back and forth, Ashley noticed that Zeke was clenching and unclenching his fists, trying to find his patience. He hadn't slept very long last night, and Ashley was worried how this might end.


"I'm not going to let you do this alone! Stop being so stubborn and just admit that you need our help."


"I don't."


"Why are you so focused on pushing us away?!" Erica yelled.


James finally stepped in. "Hey. Why don't we all just calm down, ok?"


Zeke stepped toward Erica suddenly. "No! Enough of this. Despite how I may look, I'm not a child. You're not my mother. Before this I was nothing to you and the feeling was mutual."


Ashley saw Erica was trembling a little, but was helpless as Zeke continued.


"Just because you and Romeo here never bothered to have some brats of your own doesn't give you the right to--"


Suddenly a loud noise echoed in the room. Ashley stood there in shock as Zeke fell to one knee, his hand holding the right side of his face. Erica's hand was still raised in the air. She was literally shaking with anger, but everyone saw the tears in her eyes.


"You.....son of a bitch.....you don't know.....you son of a bitch." She choked out, before running into the opposite room and slamming the door.


James brought his hand to his temples. "Goddammit Zeke!" He muttered before following his wife and leaving Ashley alone with a stunned Zeke.


After a few seconds, Zeke recovered enough to stand up. For a second, he looked truly contrite, but then his eyes became hard again.


"I guess I hit a nerve." He said with a sigh, as he put his shoes on.


Ashley realized he still meant to leave. "Zeke, you can't go!"


Zeke let out a little laugh. "Sure I can. I just put one foot in front of the other. Easy."


Ashley was left alone as Zeke walked out the door.

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vampire4    6

CH. 22

Zeke/ Alexander Blackburn


Zeke walked at a brisk pace, realizing that having to walk all the way to his funeral was going to take a lot longer than he thought. The idea that he was literally going to be late for his own funeral amused him somewhat, and served to distract him from the stinging pain in his cheek. He certainly hadn't expected Erica, one of the gushiest and overly friendly people he knew to lash out at him. Even worse, he was ashamed that he had pushed her that far. He hadn't meant to.


"I'm so tired." He thought. "I just wanted her to leave me be."


As he reached the church where his funeral was being held, he managed to push the incident to the back of his mind. The church was a small one, just like the one he used to go to as a child. He never liked the fancier churches as he found them strangely tacky, but his mother did. Even though he had been an Atheist for many years. it seemed his mother was having him buried as a Catholic. She had always told him, he was simply a non-practicing Catholic, not an Atheist. In the end it didn't really matter, considering neither of them were right, but it still irked him a bit.


Once he was inside, he was a little surprised at how many people there were. Aside from his family, his small circle of close friends were there, along with various other people he knew from his life. He hadn't spoken to most of them in years, and yet here they were, crying that he was no longer in this world, despite the fact that they had never seemed all that interested in him to begin with. Zeke wondered to the side of the church, where various photos of his life were displayed. He smirked at some of the goofy faces he had made in his younger days. He saw many pictures of him with friends, smiling away like an idiot. Strange, he didn't remember smiling all that much.


Many of the people gathered here were his former friends. They had been close at one time, but eventually they moved on to other things, other people, other friends. They all seemed to fit in with different groups as they had gotten older, but Zeke had never seemed to fit in anywhere. After spending so much time alone, abandoned by those who claimed to be his friends, he had decided to make his solitude a strength. So he had intentionally stayed kept his distance from others, only rarely befriending another person. Even then, he had made a promise to himself that he wouldn't get attached to anyone else. People would come into his life and they would leave. That's how it had always been.


Yet, now so many of them were here, mourning him. Why? They had walked away from him. But now there were here, talking about what a great person he was. It made him angry. They didn't even know him! It wasn't until high school that he had made a close group of friends. They were all here now, gathered together in their grief. They were good guys, and even though they had drifted apart after high school. Zeke had expected that college life would get in the way, so their loss wasn't all that bad. They had still hung out together occasionally, when he wasn't buried in his research. Seeing them now was....difficult. 


Everywhere he turned, Zeke was surrounded by the grief and tears of people he used to know. As he drew closer to his family, he began to think he never should have come here. His ex-girlfriend, Amy was there, her eyes red from crying. Zeke hated seeing her cry. He had never been a very good boyfriend to her. He did care about her, but he was the worst person she could have fallen for. He had always been just a little too short with her, a little to callous and cold. She had tried her best, but he had always managed to push her away, and for all that she had given him, he had given her nothing but grief. Finally, she had turned her back on him.


Closer to the front he saw his grandparents, who he rarely saw more than three times a year. He loved them, but they really just hadn't had much to talk about the last few years. His mother and father were in the first pew, holding each others hands. An odd show of emotion from two people who so rarely got along. They had never married, and for that Zeke was glad. They were awful together. They had fought enough while he was a child, so the fact that they had later retained a friendly distance from one another never bothered him.


His father was a man of average height and build, whose shaved head was merely a ruse to keep people from knowing he had been going bald for years. He was gruff man, but he had always wanted the best for his son. He hated that Zeke became a history major in college. It was his opinion that his son should have studied business, and if anyone didn't accept his opinion as fact, well....he was a pretty blunt guy. Their differences in opinions had pushed them apart more than anything.


His mother. His eternally suffering mother. Always the selfless and caring one. Always grieving at the lack of it in others. She was a wonderful lady, but she was always a bit too emotional for him. After everything she had been through, he really couldn't blame her. If anything Zeke pitied her. To have a cold and distant son like him who always scoffed at her feelings, her sadness, he angst. She cried now for the boy he had been, not the man he had become.


Zeke had to stop himself from going to her now. He wanted to apologize for so much. For all the pain he had caused her, and for all the times he should've been there for her and wasn't. Suddenly the room was spinning, and Zeke had to steady himself on a pew. This was a mistake. He never should have come here. He didn't want to witness this sadness. He had thought he was stronger than this. He had resolved to sneak a peek at his body and leave when the church doors opened and he saw the last person he had wanted to see walk in. The girl from his nightmares, considerably older now, though it had been some ten years since he had last spoken to her. 


When his mother saw her, she shot up out of the pew. The two women were on a collision course for each other. Zeke's hope that his mother would kick her out was dashed however. They stared at each other for what seemed like forever, before they shared an embrace, the first one in nearly fifteen years. Zeke couldn't believe his eyes. His mother and the person he hated more than anyone were reconciling?! Zeke notice he was shaking as several emotions flooded through him. Anger, regret, and despair. He suddenly had a hard time breathing and he felt like the walls of the church were closing in on him.


"I have to get out of here." He thought desperately.


Ch. 23

Erica/ Laura Blackburn


Erica was walking in a daze. She had one goal. She wanted to find Zeke and yell at him, scream at him, and maybe hit him again. She had cried in her hotel for a few minutes as James had tried to calm her down. He reminded her that Zeke didn't know about her condition, but Erica didn't care. She wanted to make him pay. She had risen quickly, only pausing to yell at her husband not to follow her.


The day they had found out she couldn't have a child was the hardest day of her life. They had been trying for so long, they had even gotten a room all ready for the day they got the good news. But it never happened. Then the doctor told her that her ovaries didn't function like they should, and that she would never be able to have children of her own. For months she was depressed, even though James suggested adoption, she wouldn't hear it. Despite being an orphan herself, or perhaps because of it, she wanted a child of her own.


And Zeke, by throwing her kindness and concern back in her face, had brought all those memories to the forefront of her mind. So now she wanted to find him so she could hurt him the same way he had hurt her. When she finally did find him though, all thoughts of revenge went out of her mind. He had rushed past her so fast she almost missed him.


"Zeke!" She called out, trying to get his attention.


Immediately, he stopped and looked back to her. His hand her clenched into fists, and there were tears welling in his eyes.


"Why are you here?" he managed to ask, looking far less composed than she had ever seen him.


Erica took a few steps toward him. "Zeke, what happened? Are you okay?"


He looked away from her, keeping his eyes on the ground, trying to keep her from noticing his trembling.


"Why do you care?! Just go away. Leave me alone! I......I don't want you here!"


Erica took another few steps to the boy. Even though she had wanted to hurt him only five minutes before, seeing the pain on his face now had made her lose all taste for revenge. She didn't say anything, but gently laid her hand on his shoulder.


And then he broke. Before she could do anything, Zeke turned and wrapped his arms around her waist. Clinging to her as though his life depended on it. She was so shocked that she didn't know what to say, as the boys tears began to soak her shirt.


"I.....I'm sorry....about earlier.....I......I'm sorry......I just....." He moaned, barely able to speak coherently. 


Instantly, Erica wrapped him in her arms, wanting in that instant to comfort the crying boy more than anything else. When his legs gave out, she carried him over to a nearby bench and let him cry on her. Nobody walking by paid her any attention. Crying kids were a dime a dozen after all. Erica shushed him now, trying to get him to calm down, but he just kept repeating how sorry he was, how he had never meant to hurt anyone.


"Zeke....it's okay......everything is going to be okay sweetie." She managed to say finally.


"I'm so sorry Erica.....I'm so sorry." Zeke repeated.


Erica wasn't sure how long they had sat there on that bench, but when she finally felt his sobs dissipate, she tried to get him moving.


"Zeke......hey, why don't we get out of here? Lets go back to the hotel. Zeke?"


He didn't answer. The boy, physically and emotionally drained, had fallen asleep in her arms.


She stood up carefully and began the walk back to the hotel. When she returned, she ignored the confused stares of her husband and Ashley. James seemed know right away that something monumental had occurred with Zeke. As for Ashley, she just looked like she thought Erica had killed him. Erica laid the boy down on the bed before carefully removing his clothes. The others stayed out, merely observing for now. Zeke stayed asleep the whole time, even when Erica put a diaper on him and got him dressed in his pajamas. She tucked him into his bed, and gently stoked his hair. And when his hand squeezed hers, she squeezed his back.

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Diapers446    14

  More please what a grate story. I was totally lost in it. Thank you.  :thumbsup:  :smiley-baby-boy:

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This story gets better and better as it progresses, thanks so much for the great writing.  

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crazycat701    11

Just terrific. I love the emotional intensity that gives a sense of powerful realism to the concept you've created. ðŸ‘

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vampire4    6

Hey guys, thanks so much for all the comments. Just to let you know, I've decided  to do away with numbering the chapters. I really just don't see the need. Also, There will be times when I want to give a short perspective of a character without delving into a long chapter.


Ashley/ Maria Blackburn


The hotel room was totally silent in the aftermath of Erica's return. She had taken a brief moment to explain that she had found Zeke outside the funeral, trembling and very upset. Ashley jaw had dropped when she heard that he had not only apologized, but cried himself to sleep in Erica's arms. She wouldn't have believed it unless she hadn't seen the evidence. He had been asleep for a few hours, although he occasionally tossed and turned from some nightmare. Erica would stroke his hair though, and he would calm down. The fact that Erica was tenderly caring for him was a bit of a shock as well. He had pissed her off. Ashley had never seen her friend so furious.


Ashley was sitting on her bed, lost in thought when James came to her. He had his jacket in one hand, and his car keys in the other.


"Hey kiddo. What's the matter. You're pretty quiet over here." He said with a smile.


She gave him a small smile. "Yeah. I'm just.....thinking."


"Well, I don't know about you, but I've been craving Burger King all day. It's only 5. You wanna come with me?"


"Are you asking me on a date?" She asked with a smirk.


"Well....yeah. I mean I know you're out of my league, but I figured I'd give it a shot."


"Well.....sure. I'd love too."


"Ok. Let me tell Erica we're heading out."


Ashley stood in the doorway with her coat on. She was glad to be getting out of the hotel. Zeke's return had really jostled her. James made her feel safe. Erica did too, but with James, she felt the kind of safety she had felt when her father was still alive.


"Hey, I'm gonna take Ash and get some Burger King. You want us to bring you back anything?" She heard James ask his wife.


"No thanks. I'm not all that hungry. Take good care of my girl." Erica said.


"I'll be a gentleman. Love you."


"I love you."


With that they were heading to the car. James let her sit in the front seat after a bit of teasing. Ashley stared out the window, watching crowds of pedestrians pass by. Finally, she broke the silence.


"Do you think Zeke will be okay?" She asked.


"I bet so. He's pretty closed off. My grandfather was like that. Always kept his feelings to himself. One day he just snapped. He ended up trashing a Macey's department store. Still, after a few days, he was back to his normal self."


"If going to his funeral caused him to meltdown like that....someone like him.....then what's going to happen at mine tomorrow?"


James shot her a knowing look. "So that's what's been bothering you."


"Well, yeah. Zeke's so much tougher than me. Stronger. What if I can't handle it?"


"Zeke's not stronger than you. He keeps everything inside, and the result is that he cracked under stress. It takes real strength to stand up and admit you need help. That's what you've been doing. Asking Erica for help diapering you, sleeping with us so you wouldn't be alone, not being afraid to ask for what you want. You're a lot stronger than you give yourself credit for. Zeke could learn a thing or to from you."


Ashley blushed. "You're just saying that."


"I'm not. Erica and I have really admired how you've handled all of this. Besides, no matter what happens tomorrow, I promise that we'll all be there to help you through it."


Ashley didn't know how to respond. The rest of the of the drive was quiet. As they pulled in to the restaurant, she realized how hungry she really was. She began to walk across the street when she felt James grab onto her arm and yank her backward. She nearly chewed him out for hurting her arm until a car came speeding by right where she had been standing. Holding her breath, she glanced up at James, seeing the panicked look on his face. She was afraid that she was in trouble until he gave her a warm smile.


"Hey...umm.....let's be a little more careful from now on. Erica would kill me if you got killed. Plus, Mirah would be super pissed if we ended up in two new bodies."


She smiled weakly back. "Yeah. I'm really sorry."


"It's not a big deal darlin. But just for today? How about you hold my hand while we cross roads. What do you say?"


"Oh...ummm...okay, I guess. If you think it's best."


They walked hand in hand into the fast food joint and James quickly ordered for them. Ashley nearly giggled when he ordered her a kids meal. As they were sitting down to eat, Ashley had her eyes on the large play room nearby. Apparently, James noticed because he was quick to offer her an option.


"Y'know, after you eat you could go in there. If you want I mean." He said softly.


Ashley looked up sharply. "No. I couldn't.....could I? Do you think they'd mind?"


James laughed. "Uh, do I need to remind you that you sort of fit the look?"


Ashley pretended to think about it for a bit. Of course she had already made up her mind, and she had a feeling that James knew it too.



Zeke/ Alexander Blackburn


When Zeke woke up, the only thing he could think of was how hot he was. He was burning. He tried to sit up and immediately felt dizzy. He quickly felt himself pushed back down onto the bed. He was a little surprised when Erica's face came into view. 


"How did I get here?" He asked.


"I carried you." She said with a small smile. "You look thirsty. You want some water?"


"I can get it myself."


"Nonsense. I had a glass ready for you. Here." She said as she lifted his head with one hand, and let him drink from the glass with the other.


Zeke was alarmed at the pampering, but was grateful for the water anyway. Still, his eyebrows raised a bit when Erica placed her hand on his forehead.


"Yeah, I thought so. You have a small fever. I think your sleeping habits are to blame." She said.


He didn't move as she began to stroke his hair. It felt.....nice, but it freaked him out a little too. Why was she doing this? Why was she looking at him so kindly?


"Look, Erica.....about earlier. I'm sorry about what I--"


She placed a finger on his lips to silence him.


"Sweetheart. Don't you worry about it. Just worry about getting better. Do you want something to eat? We have a few things here I could make you."


"Ugh...Haven't I suffered enough?" He moaned.


Erica burst out laughing. "You're an ass, you know that?"


"Yeah. I know." He said with a smirk before turning serious again. "Why are you doing this? After what happened.....you shouldn't be looking to do me any favors. Why are you helping me?"


Erica kept smiling at him. "You needed help. Maybe you're too afraid to ask for it, but I was always taught to help people when they need it. I'm not mad at you Zeke. It's all forgiven."


Zeke gave a bitter smile. "Everything's forgiven huh? Just like that? God, if only it was that easy."


She shot him a confused look. "It is that easy Zeke. What's the point of holding grudges?"


Her words made him wince, but he tried to hide it. Without warning, felt a few tears going down his cheeks.


"Ugh...shit. What's the matter with me?" He asked.


Erica wiped off his face. "Nothing's wrong with you sweetie." She said. "There is one thing we need to fix though okay? You need to get some more rest, but before you do that we need to change your diaper. I know this might be a little awkward, but I just want you trust me and try to relax, okay?"


Zeke didn't say anything, giving only the smallest of nods. To be honest, he barely thought at all when she untapped his diaper and began cleaning him. He was really tired still, and all of this was unfamiliar to him. As Erica finished putting a fresh diaper on him, he could feel himself slipping back to sleep.


"I.....I don't deserve....your kindness." He said sleepily.


"Shhhh. That's enough. Go to sleep now." She said.


Zeke heard her begin to hum some song before the his eyelids closed once again.

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vampire4    6

James/ Edward Blackburn


As soon as she had finished eating, Ashley rushed to the play area. James sat back in his chair, watching her run around and play. She looked nervous around the other kids, but soon enough she was jumping around in the ball pit like everyone else. James couldn't say he understood her desire to indulge her childish feelings, but he really felt like it suited her. She was so carefree now, unlike before. When they had worked together she was always smiling and joking, but he had always sensed that she was burdened. He often noticed how her demeanor would sometimes change to one of anxious worry, even exhaustion. It must have been hard to have gone to school, worked, and taken care of two younger siblings. He was glad that she was able to relax and let loose a bit.


Despite his earlier encouragement, he was also nervous about the funerals. Specifically his own. He assumed his parents would be coming from New York, along with his sister, brother, and other family members. His parents were both lawyers, his sister was a big real estate agent, and his brother was a doctor. He had been the disappointment of the family. A lowly manager at a grocery store. He had gone to college for business, but despite his degree, he hadn't known what he wanted to do. His parents had wanted him to be some big shot sitting in a skyscraper. Ironically, that's what he did now. He had gotten tired of everyone telling him how his life was supposed to be.


When he turned 25, he had packed up his things, left a curt note, and headed to a small town in Ohio. A buddy had told him it had a certain charm, and he eventually learned to love it. He had an okay relationship with his family now. There had been a lot of hurt feelings and anger in the wake of his move. They had come to his wedding at least.


He was nervous to see them all again. His parents lived in a state of mutual indifference to each other. When he was a child, his father had been caught sleeping around with another woman. His mother had responded by finding a lover of her own. James always figured they never divorced because they were both really good lawyers and the court battle would have been a nightmare. There was always the possibility that they had stayed for their kids, but he doubted it. All of them were grown up now, and the two of them were still together, although they had separate rooms. They just lived day to day in a perpetual state of pettiness. James loved his parents and they were good people.....it was just difficult to remember that sometimes.


He let Ashley play for another ten minutes before he told her they needed to leave. She looked out of breath and ready to go, but still gave him a pouty look. They began the drive back to the hotel and Ashley was asleep before he had even gotten half way there. He smiled, but was nervous about the possibility of an accident.


"She must have really worn herself out." He thought.


He carried her back to the room and found Erica still by Zeke's side. Zeke was still out like a light, looking rather peaceful as his hair was stroked by Erica. SHe looked up as they entered, smiling when she saw the little girl asleep in his arms.


"Our poor kids are so sleepy today." She said with a smirk.


"Well, she ran around so much in that play area they have, I was getting tired just watching her." He said.


"Well there are diapers in her suitcase. Would you mind getting her dressed for bed and giving me a diaper for Zeke? He needs a change."


James was a little uncomfortable putting Ashley in a diaper. As easy as it was to forget, she had been an attractive young woman not that long ago. It almost seemed wrong for him to invade her privacy. He laid her on her bed and began undressing the girl, finally getting her pants off only to find a surprise waiting. Ashley was already in a diaper. It looked like it was filled to capacity, but there it was.


"He glanced over at his wife, who had come to get a diaper for Zeke, apparently tired of waiting on him. "Umm....did you know about this?"


"Oh yeah, she asked to wear one for Zeke's funeral. She figured it would be long, and she didn't want to have to get up and use the restroom. I'm surprised she still has it on." His wife responded.


James gave her a skeptical look. "Really? She didn't want to get up and use the bathroom? Are you cool with this?"


"It's not a big deal. So she likes wearing diapers. Who cares? I think they make her feel safe and comfortable. I don't mind changing her."


"I'm the one whose changing her, not you." He said sourly.


Erica glared at him. "I'm about to change Zeke. If you don't want to do it, then I will when I'm done."


James sighed. "No. I'm sorry. I'm a little stressed out with our funerals coming up. I didn't mean to be an ass."


He unfolded the new diaper, setting it aside as he untapped the wet one. After gently cleaning her up, he carefully lifted her bottom in the air as he slid the new diaper under her. Once it was on, he carried her off to bed. As he put her nightgown over her, he couldn't help but think that she was an adorable little girl, diaper and all.


"Goodnight Daddy." Ashley mumbled sleepily.


James froze, unsure of what he was feeling. Ashley was fast asleep. He knew she wasn't referring to him, but still, he hadn't ever expected to hear those words directed his way. He felt closer to her all of a sudden. She had always been Erica's friend, not necessarily his. He knelt down and gave her the stuffed rabbit she brought with her, smiling as she hugged it close to her. He felt a hand on his shoulder, and saw Erica smiling at him.


"Wow. I bet you never expected that." She said with a smirk.


James swallowed hard. "She just misses her dad. She wasn't talking to me."


"Well, look. She was all sad today and you took her out and showed her a good time. You carried her up here, got her ready for bed, and tucked her in. You did a good job being a daddy today."


James closed his eyes for a moment before nodding his head.


"Maybe......I don't know."


"Let's go to bed honey." She said.


James took one last look at the sleeping little girl, then followed his wife to their bed.

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Cute_Kitten    320

Well done. Very realistic feel- love how you handle the characters and their emotions.

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dmavn    31

Wonderful story though I will have to stop reading at work.. Making me cry..

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vampire4    6

Ashley/ Maria Blackburn


Ashley was the first person to wake up in the morning. She immediately began to get ready for the funeral. After a quick shower, she retrieved the dress that Erica had helped her pick out when they went clothes shopping. It was a lovely black dress that looked like something an adult might wear. Ashley was just glad Erica hadn't picked out a skirt for her. Erica always put her in skirts. Once she got the dress on, she began applying a small amount of make-up. A little went a long way on a little girl. Erica and James looked shocked when they saw her sitting on her bed, all dressed up and ready to go.


"Sweetie, the funeral doesn't start for six hours. What are you doing?" Erica asked.


"I want to get there early. If possible." Ashley said. Honestly, she thought Erica was simply bummed that she hadn't gotten to get her dressed like she normally did.


James gave her a sympathetic look. "Well, if it's okay with you, we're  going to go down and get something to eat. You want to come with us?"


"No. I'm not hungry." She said in a flat voice. "I just want this to be over."


"Ash, you should really eat before we leave." Erica pleaded.


Ashley didn't respond. She was lost in her own thoughts. Terrified of what she would see today. What kind of state would her mother be in? She wasn't sure how she would react if her mother was drunk. This time her mother needed to stand up and take responsibility. She had to. She noticed faintly that Erica and Ashley had left. The room was silent as she slowly got up and walked to the bed that Zeke was sleeping in. It had been nearly 12 hours and he still wasn't awake yet, nor did he show any signs of waking up anytime soon. She sat by his bed and thought about what James had told her about strength. She smirked a little at the thought that he believed she was stronger than Zeke.


It wasn't long before Erica and James were back. Erica handed her a blueberry muffin and shot her a look that that said she had better eat it. Ashley smiled at how maternal her friend was, and wondered how if she knew how much Ashley needed her. She nibbled one her muffin as the couple began getting dressed for the upcoming day. Eventually, Erica came up to her with a diaper in her hand.


"I'm guessing you didn't manage get one of these on, did you, Miss Early Riser?" Erica asked with a smile.


"Oh......ummmmm......no, but that's.....ummmm.....okay." She stuttered.


James stuck his head in the door. "Don't argue little girl. We have to leave in an hour and a half. This is gonna be a tough day. You might as well be comfortable."


Ashley could feel the blood rushing to her face. What had Erica told him?


"What? I.....don't.....I mean...."


James laid his hand on her cheek, a simple gesture that soothed her nonetheless. " It's okay." He whispered.


She nodded and Erica picked her up and laid her down on her bed, lifting her dress and taking off the underwear Ashley had put on earlier. Erica showed a surprising lack of concern for the little girl's privacy as she slid the clean diaper under her. Even more surprising to Ashley was how little it bothered her. She had come to love being diapered by Erica,  being taken care of by her.


"Zeke's still asleep." Ashley pointed out as her diaper was fastened on. "Are we going to try to wake him up, or are we just going to leave him here?"


"You had better not leave me here, you punk." A small, raspy voice said from outside the room.


The two women rushed outside, Ashley quickly pulling her dress down to cover her diaper. Zeke was standing in the hall, one hand on the wall for support. Despite all the sleep he had gotten, he still looked exhausted. Ashley also noticed his legs were wobbly.


"I'll get ready. Just.....uh.....give me a few minutes.....okay?" He said slowly.


He glanced up at Erica, but Ashley saw that he didn't want to maintain eye contact with her. Despite this, Erica wasted little time scooping him up, much to his annoyance.


"Hey, dammit. Let me down already." He complained.


"We don't have all day Zeke. Just let me help you." Erica said sternly.


Ashley was shocked that he didn't argue, although he looked like he wanted to. As they vanished into the other room, Ashley wandered to where James stood, tying his tie in front of a mirror. He smiled at her when he saw her.


"You look pretty." He said with a grin.


She blushed but smiled back. "I look like a little girl whose pretending to be a grown up."


"You're too modest. It doesn't suit you. Just take a compliment for what it is."


"Girls don't work that way. Don't you know that by now?"


James rolled his eyes. " You bet I know that. Erica is the same way. Doesn't stop me from trying."


James looked very nice in his black suit, with his hair slicked back and styled. His muscular frame added to his overall look, making him seem like either a model or a god. As he finished adjusting his tie, he turned and easily lifted her into his arms. Ashley wrapped her arms around his neck and tried to hide the fact that she was blushing.


"You ready to do this, kiddo?" He asked.


"No. But I have too. I just hope my mother isn't too much of a mess." She answered.



"I can get dressed myself lady, take a chill pill!" Zeke voice echoed from the other room.


"We would have been done by now if you weren't squirming so much. Hold still dammit!" Erica's voice shot back.


Ashley giggled a bit. "Shouldn't you go help?"


"Not a chance in hell, kiddo. Let's head down to the car. Zeke is gonna be getting killed with kindness here, so we may need to leave without them." James mocked.


Ten minutes later, the whole group was assembled in front of the car. Once again, Zeke wore a suit that mirrored his "father's", the only real difference being that he refused to wear a tie. Erica had carried him down to the car, much to his dismay and their amusement. Finally they were ready to head out. It was a fairly quiet ride, as Ashley and Zeke were the only ones sitting in the back. They were puling into the church when Zeke asked her a question.


"Do you hate your mother?" He asked quietly.


Ashley was surprised at the question, which had come out of nowhere. "Of course not." She said.


"Why not?" He asked. He was staring out the window, not at her.


"Why would I? She's my mother."


"She left you to raise your brothers for all these years while she got drunk. She should have been there for you. She betrayed you."


"It wasn't her fault." Ashley said, knowing it was a bit of a lie, and wondering why she felt the need to defend her mother. "Losing my dad was hard on her. She just.....broke.....I guess."


"It was hard for you too." He said with a cold look in his eyes. "I would hate her."


"She's a good woman Zeke."


He was quiet for a bit, then asked another question.


"How did you make yourself forgive her? You can't tell me she didn't bother you,"


Ashley wasn't all that comfortable with this line of questioning, but tried to answer anyway. "I used to get mad at her. She would cry all the time, then pass out with a bottle in her hand. I guess I got used to it. I knew I had to be strong and take care of my brothers. To be honest, I just wanted her to be happy again. She used to be such a happy person. Now......I'm......afraid of what I'll find today."


To her surprise, Zeke patted her shoulder. "Don't worry. Like you said, We're all in this together. So whatever state she's in, we'll deal with it."


"Together.....Do you promise?" Ashley asked.


"Yeah. I promise." He said with a smirk.


The service was nice enough, although Ashley was more focused on her mother. Despite her fears, her mother was sober and alert, constantly looking at her daughter's body lying in the coffin. The only time she left was to wrangle her brothers, who had started an ill-timed game of tag.


"She looks strong enough." She thought to herself. "That's no guarantee though. She could break tomorrow."


Erica had wrapped her arms around her, while James was staring at her mother with a thoughtful look. Zeke stood near the back of the church, his eyes downcast, his hands clasped in front of him. He gave her a wink when she caught his eye. Despite everything, Ashley was glad she had come. She got to see her extended family. Aunts and uncles, and others who had tried to support her mother after the loss of her husband. When it became clear she would only spend their money on booze, they had backed out, leaving Ashley on her own. She understood that it would have been very easy to hate them all, like Zeke would have. She didn't blame them though. They didn't know how to fix the problem, so they had done their best to ignore it. They weren't bad people. The had their flaws just like everyone else. Ashley understood something that she didn't think Zeke could. It was a lot easier to hate a person, rather than accept that they were just normal people who made mistakes.


All her fears about her mother vanished during the eulogy. He mother had walked to the front of the church, occasionally squeezing a hand of another mourner. She looked different. Determined. Finally, she looked out to the crowd, her eyes stopping on Ashley for a second before moving on.


"Years ago, when Joe died, I couldn't deal with it. I wouldn't. So I made one of the biggest mistakes of my life." Her mother began. "I shut myself away from everyone. I let my Ashley take care of the boys. I saw how hard she worked, day after day, but I didn't step up. I didn't feel like I could. Now she's........she's gone......" She trailed off, her eyes staring at nothing in particular. Ashley managed to catch her eyes and gave her the briefest of nods.


"I never told my daughter how proud of her I was. How proud her father would have been. I failed her when she needed me. I will not make that mistake again. I'm going to be here for my boys. That's the only promise I can make,and I hope that wherever my daughter is now.....she can forgive me."


Ashley smiled. "Well, alright mom. I knew you could do it." She thought. Ashley was no longer concerned that her mother would fall back into her old habits. After everything was said and done, Ashley was proud of her mother.


As people began to exit the church, Ashley waited until it was clear before she approached her mother. Before she could say anything, James moved in front of her, gently asking her mother for a moment of her time. Ashley was confused, then shocked as James handed a check to her mother, who looked just as surprised.


"There's enough money there to help you get back on your feet. There's enough there to put your boys through any college they would want to go to. I want you to accept this."


Ashley, Erica, and her mother looked shocked, and could only stare at James with wide eyes. Zeke raised an eyebrow, looking suspicious.


"But.....but I don't even know you. I can't take this." Her mother finally said.


"I was a friend of your daughter. From years back." James began. "She would want to know you would be okay, so please, take this. Take care of your family. More importantly, take care of yourself."


Her mother had begun to tear up. "I......I don't know what to say."


Ashley watched as James began walking to her. He knelt down and looked her in the eyes. "Hey kiddo. You ready to go?"


"Why?" Ashley managed to ask.


She saw Erica smiling with approval, but Zeke still looked unsure.


"Turns out I'm good at spending this guy's money. Don't worry about it." James replied.


Ashley took a moment to catch her breath. "Thank you." She whispered.


She moved to where her mother was still standing in shock, staring at the check in her hand. Ashley stood in front of her, until their eyes slowly met. In one swift movement, Ashley had wrapped her arms around her mother.


"I'm sorry for your loss." She whispered.


Her mother didn't say anything, just held the small girl. Ashley finally felt tears going down her face as she hugged her mother for the last time.

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vampire4    6

Erica/ Laura Blackburn


Erica stood by her husband, beaming with admiration for the kindness he had just shown. Ashley finally let go of her mother, and Zeke was already heading to the car, albeit slowly. She watched James scoop up the little girl in one smooth motion and began following him out of the church. It wasn't until they had stopped somewhere for lunch that the she brought up the topic.


"That was a really nice thing you did James. I'm proud of you." She said.


"Yes. Thank you so much. I can't even begin to tell you how much that means to me." Ashley spoke up.


James blushed. "Well, that's one less thing for Ash to worry about. I gave her enough to take care of her family for the rest of her life, if she invests some of it."


"I'm sure she'll invest in a lot more booze." Zeke grumbled.


"Zeke!" Erica exclaimed. She looked over to Ashley, who looked crushed by his words.


Zeke still wouldn't look her in the eyes. He hadn't since his funeral. He blushed a bit before he continued. "Look, I'm not trying to to be a dick here. I'm just saying what we all should be thinking."


James stood up from the table, drawing surprised looks from other customers. "Fuck you Zeke." He spat. "I did the right thing."


"If by that, you mean you've given an alcoholic enough money to buy her own brewery, then congrats. You've succeeded." Zeke replied coldly.


Erica watched helplessly as James became more and more angry. She didn't know what to do. Ashley was silent, her eyes closed.


"I was trying to do something decent. Not that you would know anything about that, would you? The only nice things you do are by accident! The last one got us all killed."


Ashley's eyes shot open. "Stop. No more."


Zeke let out a laugh. "Oh, his true feelings are shown at last. Sound's like Prince Charming doesn't quite agree with saving little girls. He'd rather give riches to drunks."


"Zeke stop it right now." Erica pleaded.


"You said from day one that saving that girl was a mistake. The only person you give a shit about is yourself. I try to do something nice, and you give me shit? Fuck you!" James yelled, ignoring the fact that he was screaming at a child in a restaurant.


"I'm pointing out that good intentions don't mean squat if poorly executed. I hope I'm not right, but I can say one thing for sure. People. Don't. Change."


"You can say that again." James replied.


"Stop it. Just stop fighting, both of you. I can't deal with this right now!" Ashley yelled, freezing both of them in place. "James. Zeke is just pointing out a possibility. It would be stupid to think that....that there isn't a chance. That doesn't change what you did. It was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me."


James remained silent, and Erica noticed he was falling into a depression. She gently reached over and squeezed his hand.


Zeke let out a sigh. "I'm sorry Ash. James. I didn't mean for it to come out so bad, but it is a concern."


James didn't even look at him, but slowly signaled for the waitress to give him the check. "Let's just go."


He quickly paid the bill and started heading out to the car. Erica noticed the sad expression on Zeke's face, and was happy that he at least tried to apologize. She placed a hand on his shoulder, giving him a small smile, then went over to Ashley.


"Not to embarrass you sweetie, but do you need a change before we leave?" She whispered.


Ashley slowly nodded. Erica smiled and picked her up. Zeke, either not knowing where they were going or not caring, got up and began the walk outside. Erica figured it would be a good chance for him and James to make up. She for one, was thrilled that she got to take care of Ashley. It was almost like having her own child, even though she knew Ashley wasn't. Still, it was fun to be able to dress her up and change her diapers. The fact that Ash got something out of it just made it better. Erica walked into the girls restroom and quickly deposited her friend on the changing station. Ashley looked a little nervous that someone might come in during her change, but Erica noticed how calm she became as the change continued. Erica couldn't help but smile as she cleaned the girl up and taped a new diaper on her.


"You ready to head out now?" She asked.


Ashley nodded, her hand reaching down and feeling the plastic of the diaper. Erica pulled her dress back down, lifted her up into her arms, and headed out to the car.


The next day didn't start out any better. She awoke to find James talking on his cell phone, nodding every once in a while.


"Yes sir. Yes, I understand. Okay, I'll see you Tuesday then." He said softly.


"James? Who was that?" She asked.


James turned to look at her. "Oh, hey. I didn't mean to wake you. That was my boss. He wants us to meet with a big new client on Wednesday morning. It looks like I have to go. Also, It's in California, so I'm flying out on Tuesday morning. Sorry babe, I can't get out of it."


"How long will you be gone?"


James sighed. "A few days at least. It's gonna be a lot of talking. Still, Tara will be able to help you out with anything you need. I'm gonna go get us some coffee okay?"


Erica kissed him goodbye, thinking how weird it would be with him gone. Since they had gotten married, they had never spent a night apart. Not one to lie around in bed all morning, she rose and walked to the bathroom. She noticed a dirty diaper in the trash that hadn't been there last night, so she figured Zeke was already up. She found him out on the balcony, reading as usual. He looked up at her as she approached before returning to his book.


"How long have you been up?" She asked him.


"I woke up at three. Couldn't go back to sleep." He replied.


"Do you want to talk to me about these nightmares you've been having?"


Zeke rolled his eyes. "I certainly don't. It's not a big deal, and I'd rather leave it that way."


Erica put her hand on his shoulder, feeling him tense at the contact. "It is a big deal. You're a kid.....well, I mean you're smaller now. You need your sleep."


"I'm fine Erica. Just leave it for now."


She knew she wouldn't get anymore out of him, but she couldn't help but reach out one more time. "Zeke. You can talk to me. These nightmares might give us a clue of what you need to get over to pass on. I could help you if you would let me."


"I know what I need to get over. I have since night one. It's easier said then done. Maybe one day I'll talk about it. Just not now."


"Okay." She sighed. "Let me know if you need anything okay?"


Zeke nodded. As she turned to leave he spoke up one more time. "Erica. Thanks. I mean it."


She smiled at him and walked back inside. She was feeling a bit lonely, so she went to where Ashley was sleeping. She hadn't slept with James and her this entire trip. Erica smiled down at the little girl, who had a death grip on the pink bunny she brought. Ashley's thumb had found it's way into her mouth, and she was sucking it gently. Erica gently lifted her nightgown, and found that her diaper was totally dry. She also noticed that the tapes were a little more loose then when she diapered her. James must have changed her before he left. He acted like he wasn't comfortable doing it, but he clearly couldn't help himself. She gently lifted the blankets and climbed in beside her. She was asleep again in a few minutes.


When she woke up, James had returned and had begun getting ready, along with Zeke. The two didn't say much to each other, but based on the coffee Zeke had nearby, Erica figured the two had buried the hatchet. She gently nudged Ashley and the two began to get ready for the final funeral. Ashley looked a little surprised when she noticed her diaper was still dry, and she blushed when Erica told her that James had already changed her earlier.


They got ready quickly enough, and soon they were heading to the funeral. Nobody could have expected what would happen once they were there. They had barely stepped in the church when James' father came storming up to them. He didn't look happy, and he was glaring right at James.


"Edward Blackburn, what the hell are you doing here?" He spat.


James was taken by surprise. So was Erica. She had no idea that Ed, James' father, knew the Blackburns.


"I...uh....just wanted to pay my respects to your son and daughter in-law." James stuttered.


"And when exactly did you meet my son, you piece of shit?"


There was a tense silence as James tried to come up with a valid excuse. "I had talent scouted him years ago. I wanted to give him a job, but he turned me down."


Ed laughed. "At least he had enough sense to stay away from you vipers. Maybe he knew what kind of people you and your company are."


"Please. I didn't come here to fight with you." James pleaded.


"You and your company are the greediest sons of bitches I've ever met. I remember every person I've defended against you. Do you even know how many people have suffered because you found a reason to deny them healthcare?"


Zeke stepped forward. "Hey, chill out old man. He's not here to argue with you."


Ed glared at the boy. "So you bring your snot nosed punk of a son here too? Let me save us some time. I want you and your family out of here in ten seconds. My son was a wonderful man. You dishonor his memory by coming here."


"You're a dick." Zeke said, staring the older man in the eyes.


James gestured for him to be quiet. "No. It's fine. If he wants us gone, then we'll leave. I just wanted to give you our condolences."


"I don't want your condolences. Just get out." Ed yelled, tears forming in his eyes. "Let my family grieve."


Erica didn't want to leave. She saw the two nuns who raised her not that far away. Sister Louise was an old woman when she was a child, now she looked absolutely ancient. It was hard to believe she used to chase after her all the time. Sister Rebecca was woman reaching middle age. She had been in her 20's when Erica was at the orphanage. She was like a mother and a sister to Erica. She wanted to embrace them, but knew that that might seem odd. It was enough to be able to see them one more time.


She saw James give one last look at his family. His mother, crying in his brother's arms. His sister, who sat nearby in shock. Finally, he turned around and began to leave. It was a quiet ride back to the hotel. Erica didn't know what she could say to make her husband feel better.


Zeke broke the silence. "So.....that was awkward. What the hell happened in there?"


James gave a small small smile. "My dad has a hatred for companies he feels are corrupt. I never figured the Blackburns were all that nice of people anyway. I wish it had been different, but at least I got to see them again."


Erica couldn't keep back a few tears as they got out of the car. Ashley squeezed her hand, and she saw Zeke give James a pat on the back, but with the difference in height it hit her husband on the butt. After an awkward look between the two, they began to head inside.


"What now?" Ashley asked.


James kept his gaze forward. "Now? Now we go home."

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