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Chapter 1

(The opposite of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) could be described as Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG). While PTSD involves the negative effects of trauma, such as flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, PTG refers to the positive psychological change that can occur as a result of struggling with adversity. PTG may involve a greater appreciation for life, increased personal strength, improved relationships, and a deeper sense of spirituality or meaning in life.)

The impact felt like a slap in the face, although her whole body shook. Far from the darkness, or the proverbial light, Sally only saw… opaque, a sort of grey. And a powerful smell. It stung her nostrils. After that, it was mostly confusion.

She vaguely remembered her mother in panic, trying to open her own door, trying in vain to pull on the deployed airbags covering the SUV’s windows, in a futile attempt to get her bearings, and asking if she was alright.

Sally felt alright. As right as one can feel after a head-on collision with a concrete barrier, that is. She felt herself for wounds, but the most evident effect of this crash was a painful shoulder, evidently due to the seat belt. She was mostly stunned, shocked, disoriented. But she couldn’t see any blood or bones poking out.

“I’m fine, mom”, she stuttered, as she double-checked herself, confirming she had broken nothing. Except for maybe that shoulder. That stung.

The following moments were a daze for Sally, as helpful drivers made their way to the wrecked vehicle, and called out if they were all right.

Her mom was still desperately trying to open her door, but it wouldn’t open.

A concerned face suddenly appeared inches away from Sally’s face, behind the loose window airbag which had been lifted out of the way.

“You alright?”, the gruff voice sounded.

“Get us out of here”, her mother almost shrieked. “I can’t open my door”.

“Uhm, ma’am, you’ve got a concrete barrier on that side. You’d better come out this side. “You OK, miss?”, he asked, looking at Sally, who nodded.

Sirens were approaching, louder by the second. It annoyed Sally that somehow somebody decided to forget their siren on, and that seemed to be her only focus now. The siren. Eventually somebody decided it would be better to turn it off, so the emergency responders could communicate with the victims.

Amidst Sally’s protestations that she was alright, she was strapped onto a scoop stretcher, with an elaborate cervical collar, and after a while in which they took some vitals and made sure she wasn’t actually dying, they slid her into the back of an ambulance, her concerned mom got in a jump seat, and then the siren started again. And this time they didn’t turn it off.

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Chapter 2

Sally insisted she was fine. Despite the initial shock of the crash, she had mostly returned to normal, but it was difficult to tell exactly how she was, strapped in that stretcher and with a collar tightly braced and immobilizing her totally.

After a while of doctors examining her, poking, prodding, and reciting lists of tests they wanted to run, Sally felt mostly ignored as her mother did all the frantic talking and let the doctor answer once in a while with short calm sentences.

Besides her seat belt bruises and a sore shoulder, Sally was given a clean bill of health. The doctor had wanted her to stay overnight, “just in case”, but Sally would have none of that, and her mother relented, worried that a hospital stay would have caused way too much drama for her family and friends.

The doctor gave her mother some last instructions, some pills in case they were needed for the soreness – her mother also had the same bruising – and said she needed to monitor Sally for any evidence of undiagnosed trauma during the night. Waking her up a couple times in the night would do just fine.

Once her mother signed Sally’s release, she was put on a wheelchair, much to Sally’s chagrin, and wheeled out to the taxi stand.

Sally’s biggest worry, all the time in the hospital, had been her bladder. Mostly made to lie down and be still, she had been horrified at saying she needed to use the bathroom and given a bedpan, or being subject to some gross form of humiliating hospital way of using the bathroom that invalids were subject to. So, she remained silent and held her pee. But as she got closer to home, her only thought was the toilet she needed so desperately.

The traffic lights seemed to be clocked against her bladder. Sally fidgeted in her seat, and her mother glanced at her, concerned. Her mother wouldn’t be too vocal about her worries, not yet. Not in front of the taxi driver. But she was really more worried about Sally’s mental state. How would she deal with the traumatic experience of the car crash? She herself had been horrified, but she felt she could deal with it, but she was concerned about Sally. She had remained very silent, sort of introverted on the whole issue. The doctor said there might be something about that, although he was too hesitant to even mention the possibility of PTSD. But She had her concerned.

Sally extricated herself from the taxi, trying to manage the shoulder pain and general stiffness, added to the near-bursting bladder. It was starting to hurt now, but still she remained silent.

Her mother stepped aside alarmed at Sally, as she pushed through the barely open front door, thinking she wasn’t feeling well. She thought maybe she was rushing to vomit, so she followed her all the way to the bathroom.

Sally, in her urgency to use the toilet didn’t notice her mother following, and didn’t even close the door, so she quickly slid her clothes down to her ankles and let go as she sat on the toilet.

Her mother stopped at the open door, in surprise. “Oh”, she said.

Sally finally looked up, still relieving herself. “Mom! Do you mind?”, she said, holding her shirt down and trying to conserve some semblance of dignity.

“Sorry! I didn’t realize! I thought you weren’t feeling well”. With that, she closed the door and walked to the living room.

When Sally finished, she found her mother sitting on the sofa, and walked up to her. “You OK, mom?”, she asked, noticing her mother’s worried expression.

Her mother stood up and hugged Sally. Sally hugged her back, both now coming to terms as to what had occurred.

Chapter 3 - Worrying


Sally was sleeping snugly against her mother when the alarm rang. She had it on low, so not to frighten Sally. The doctor had suggested she wake up Sally a few times during the night just to make sure she hadn’t suffered any minor concussion.

She labored to get a commonsense answer from her teenage daughter even when awake, let alone in the middle of the night, yet she succeeded, and Sally rolled back to sleep.

It was nice to have Sally sleeping on her bed, as it reminded her of Sally’s pre-teen years when she would sneak in the middle of the night and slip into bed with her. Since she had wanted to keep an eye on Sally during the night, she concocted the excuse of not wanting to be alone that night. Sally readily complied, secretly happy that she would not sleep alone. The shock of the crash had not really worn off, and she needed to feel close.

Bridget, Sally’s mother, lay there sleepless going over the previous day’s events. She had been quite panicked herself, but she had managed to gear down her display of emotions in an effort not to get Sally all worked up. But Sally had seemed more… stunned, than panicked. That had made Sally docile when she insisted she be taken to the hospital to get checked out, but now she was thankful she had.

Bridget turned over unable to sleep, trying to work herself into a doze, at least.

The doctor had declared them both fine, but whispered she keep an eye on Sally for the next twenty-four hours. She should report any sudden changes, as loss of memory or dizziness at once. Bridget had even googled for information while waiting for results and asked the doctor about PTSD. The doctor wasn’t impressed at her research efforts, but only said to keep an eye on her and not to worry.

So, Bridget would keep an eye on her. Monitor her moods, food intake… She worried that Sally, being the self-sufficient teen, would feel she was being overbearing and intrusive. Even though Sally was a teenager, she did need care and attention, and she had to do this herself, no thanks to her father who had left, thankfully before Sally could even remember.

Bridget woke from dozing prompted by her alarm, and shook Sally awake, got an “I’m fine mom” groan, and figured that was good enough. This time she managed to fall asleep.

Sally laid there, not quite managing to fall asleep. The strangeness of being in her mother’s bed came back, and she lay there thinking. Grateful to hear her mother asleep – she had been worried about her mother – she relived the scenes from the accident. The eighteen-wheeler closing in, her mother’s gasp… and her hitting the breaks.

Skidding, barrier, crash.

Barrier, crash.

Crash.

She rubbed her chest. That seatbelt burn had even left a mark. Thankfully it wasn’t summer yet, she reasoned. She would have looked weird in a bikini with the bruising on her chest.

Thoughts of injury filtered in her sleepy, unguarded mind. Probably what had caused her more shock was the way the emergency workers treated her, strapping her into that contraption, immobilizing her.

The ambulance ride.

The siren. It just wouldn’t stop.

In the hospital, they poked her. And she needed to pee. Really bad. It was probably worse because she had been strapped on a board. She feared that there would be no way for her to pee. What would they have done if she had asked to pee? Make her pee right there like an invalid? Pull her jeans down and make her pee into a pot?

But they did take her clothes off, after all. But they were very professional and efficient about it. They tied a hospital gown around her neck and proceeded with the examination, poking, asking if she felt this of that, wheeling her into a room, where they slid her into a tunnel, where she was told to be still…

She had wondered what would happen if she peed on the machine. Would she break it?

That was the only funny thought she had had.

But when the doctor said something about being fine, and wanting her to stay overnight, she determinately and eloquently stated that she was better being “fine” at home than at some hospital.

The doctor had shrugged his shoulders, but still made her sit on the wheelchair to get to the taxi line.

Sally’s last thought before she fell asleep, was that she had succeeded in holding her pee until she was home, despite her mother barging in on her with her pants down.

What would tomorrow bring?

 
 
Chapter 4 – Ooo-ber

Sally was a restless sleeper. She often woke up with her bed covers rolled off and her pajamas askew, causing her to wake up in a chill. Today was no different, and as soon as situational awareness set in, she identified her mother’s bedroom, and her uncovered mother curled beside her, asleep. Sally guiltily heaved the bed covers and tucked her mother in and slid off the bed.



It was something o’clock, Bridget figured. Light was streaming in the windows, through the curtains. She realized she had slept in, and Sally was nowhere to be seen. Dread set in, as she imagined Sally suffering somewhere unseen as she lay there oblivious in her bed. Bridget jolted out of bed, and she almost crashed into Sally, who had just entered her room, holding a mug of coffee.

“Morning mom”, said Sally brightly, holding out the mug for her.

“Oh, thank you, honey”, said Bridget, in surprise. Sally had never made coffee for her, much less brought it to her in bed. “How are you feeling?”.

“Mom, I’m not an invalid, OK? I’m fine”, she stated. You could almost visualize the roll of her eyes, her mother noted. “Just a little sore, nothing bad”, she said, wincing slightly as she sat next to her mother on the bed.

Bridget reached over and pulled Sally’s pajama top down. It had a habit of rising up and exposing her back. “I should get you new pajamas, these are getting a bit tight”, she mused, sipping her coffee.

Sally shrugged. She wouldn’t mind some new ones. “So, how are you, mom?”, she asked. “You pretend you are fine and all, but you were there too”, she stated.

Belinda was taken aback, not used to being the focus of concern by her teenage daughter.

“Don’t worry about me. I’m made of stone”, she answered, ruefully.

“No, you’re not. I saw you yesterday”, she said, referring to her panic episode in the car. “And you look all worried and I feel like I am under a microscope”, Sally stated, frowning.

“Well,” said Bridget, meditatively, “it has been a bit of a dramatic episode, hasn’t it? As a mother, it is only fair that I should look out for you”.

Sally smiled. “Thanks for worrying”. She leaned over and gave her mother a cautious half-hug, careful not to spill her mother’s coffee. “You do a great job at mothering”.

It was all Bridget could do not to cry on the spot. She returned Sally’s half-hug and shrugged, “You make it easy, girl”.



Trying to find a crashed car in a big city proved easier than she expected. Just a quick search on Google got her a phone number and an address, and after fiddling with her phone she summoned an Uber which would take her to her wrecked SUV, in hopes that her personal items would still be in the vehicle.

The ride across town was silent and tense. She had carefully considered whether to take Sally with her or not, but uneasy at leaving Sally home alone after the ordeal, she concluded it would be better for them to stay together.

Bridget was horrified at the state of the car. Sally, as of lately unperturbed at the whole ordeal, managed to cover her mouth in an effort to mute her gasp.

“Looks bad, doesn’t it?” remarked the tow-truck enterprise manager. “Although, believe it or not, we’re all comforted to know you made it out in one piece”, ranted on the man, oblivious of the women’s distress. “Sorry if I stick around, safety and security, you know”, he said, as he went on to describe several other similar incidents which ended up in several forms of tragedy.

He helped them get the truck open and get access to the glove compartment and get some other items from the car. Sally’s gym bag and cell phone where thankfully retrieved, amongst other things, and they were escorted back to the office as Bridget needed to observe some minor formalities. Most other paperwork would be handled by the insurance company.



The image of the crumpled SUV permeated their minds as both mother and daughter took the silent Uber ride home. They held their clammy hands tightly onto each other, and both were relieved to be back home in their comfortable living room, searching for words that described their mental storm.

“That was, wow! Ugly”, breathed Sally, recovering from the moment.

“I’m sorry, honey. I didn’t remember it being so… crashed, I guess”.

“Don’t be sorry”, replied Sally, self-assured. “It is what it is”.

“I still can’t my get mind around what happened. One moment, changing lanes, another, just… wham! I just lost control”, almost whispered Bridget.

“It was an accident, mom. And you don’t know whose fault it was. And I don’t blame you!”, Sally said, reaching out to hug her mother.

“Thank you, sweety”, she said, hugging her daughter in turn.

“You said you’d get me new pajamas”, Sally observed, trying to change the conversation.

“We don’t have a car anymore”, said Bridget. She was not used to having to rely on Uber.

“Ooo-ber”, giggled Sally, mimicking Kirk from the Gilmore Girls.

“Ooo-ber it will have to be”, said Bridget, sighing.
 
 
 
 
Chapter 5 - Too shy to tell.

Sally and Bridget browsed the girl’s pajama selection at the mall. They were at another retail store, and Bridget had pointed out a few sensible items to Sally, but Sally seemed unconvinced. She hadn’t even tried one yet.

“Well?”, enquired Sally’s mother. “You do need pajamas”, she declared. “And I find nothing wrong with these. They would look good on you, too”, she stated, figuring Sally was concerned about looks.

But Sally’s mind was elsewhere. From the corner of her eyes, she could see some other pajamas. Pajamas for younger kids. They looked so much cuddlier. Footed pajamas. Thicker material. She would never risk waking up in a chill, in those. Pity they were too small, she mused.

Bridget carried on oblivious to Sally’s lack of interest, pointing out other options, designs, and combinations. Sally trailed back, not wanting to lose sight of the children’s section. Something about those pajamas had woken a yearning in her, she didn’t know why. Could she imagine wearing footed pajamas, like the ones made for children? Well, she figured she couldn’t decide if she would look funny or cute – or both, but she could imagine feeling comfortable, for sure.

She could understand now why all the teen pajamas looked so unappealing. They were supposed to make her look like a small adult. An adult slept peacefully, not making a mess of her bed coverings, thus not awaking uncovered and chilled to the bone.

Something since the accident had changed in Sally. Things she did and wanted to do had, until then, fueled her vision to show how grown up she was. Sweet fourteen but going on to 21. Young, but sensible. Petite, but stylish. Suddenly, she cherished her youngness. Sharing her mother’s bed had made her feel small, cuddly, cared for, loved.

As for Bridget, she could tell by now something was different with Sally. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but sensing Sally’s apathy to shopping for pajama’s, she realized Sally had been quite clingy since the accident, very introverted and quiet. Even now, as she bombarded Sally with suggestions – she even offered the most expensive pajamas to her, Sally seemed distant and unsatisfied with the choices offered. She had that look on her like when she wouldn’t tell her she had won the top student award: Too shy to tell, but eager to communicate. “Hm, I wonder what’s going on”, Bridget asked herself. Maybe it was time for a shopping break and get some comfort food into her. That should make her talk.
 
 
 
Chapter 6: Sleep Heaven

“Now tell me what’s going on”, coaxed Bridget, gently. Sally had just finished the last of her hamburger. Her fries had been the first to go, as Sally liked them piping hot. So, with just a bit of her root beer left, Belinda thought now would be a good time to chat. And then, some dessert.

“Huh?”, asked Sally, lifting her eyebrows.

“Tell me what’s going with you. You seem to be wrestling with something deep in your mind, honey. I know your look. We were looking at clothes for you, of all things, and I know a mind in turmoil, at least I know yours, when I see it”.

Bridget was silently reminding her daughter that it was OK to talk, as they had sometimes talked. Her first period, the birds and the bees, heck, even the first time she accidentally discovered masturbation, for goodness sakes. They had had great non-judgemental constructive and bond-strengthening talks. Probably this was going to be another one.

Sally blushed slightly, probably remembering such talks as well. She was a bit older now, and what was going on her mind was something she herself didn’t even understand.

“You’ll think I’ve gone crazy”, Sally said smiling ruefully, despite herself. “It’s a bit difficult to explain”, she began, trying to organize her thoughts as she talked.

Her mother waited patiently.

“Do you remember that one piece pajama I had when I was little?”, Sally piped.

Bridget was taken aback. She nodded. “Uhm, let’s see, the purple one you outgrew?”, she asked, tentatively. That fleece footed one pice pajama had been a source of contention when Sally outgrew it. “The one you didn’t want to let go”. Sally had outgrown that pajama when she was five, so she had upgraded her into a two-pice pajama.

“Yeah, I remember I never had anything as cozy as that one”, she remembered, wistfully.

“Well, that one is long gone, honey”, said Belinda, not quite understanding what her daughter meant by it.

“Yeah, I know. But I kept seeing the kid’s pajamas in the kid’s section, and suddenly all the pajamas we were looking at seemed cold and uncomfortable”. She made a face. “You must think I’m silly”, Sally concluded.

“That’s not silly. I guess we remember stuff we enjoyed as kids”, trailed Bridget, trying to find something to tell her daughter it was OK to like different things.

“But I’m not a kid anymore”, answered Sally resolutely. She shook her head. “Let’s go buy some real pajamas”. She pressed her lips and organized her tray to take it to the tray shelf.

Bridget followed, relieved Sally had apparently resolved her own insecurities without further help from her.

They returned to the previous store they had been in, and Sally was quick to choose and try out two stylish teen pajamas.

All through the process, Sally’s mother felt uneasy. Sally was always very picky and enjoyed lengthening the process of purchasing clothes. It was normal. It was ingrained in her DNA as much as it was in her own. The patterns, the colors, the materials… But this time she had mechanically chosen the pajamas, tried them on and declared she liked them, and led her mother to the cash line.

Bridget had a sudden inspiration. She fished out her cell phone and did some quick research. After a short while she put her phone back into her bag, and held both hands on Sally’s shoulder to turn her around. Sally winced at the lingering pain from the accident. “Oops, sorry, I forgot honey”, she said, and Sally turned around. “Let’s leave these pajamas where they were, I have a proposition for you”.

Sally frowned. “Like, an offer I can’t refuse?”, she asked.

Bridget led Sally out of the store, out of the shopping mall and into a taxi. “Mom, what’s going on?”, asked Sally, shocked at her mother’s behavior.

Bridget gave the taxi driver an address Sally wasn’t familiar with. As the checkered minivan pulled out of the shopping mall and into traffic, Bridget winked at her daughter. “Just wait and see”.

The address was an old strip mall in the center of town that had been reconverted into modern shops. There was an art gallery, a manga and anime figure collector’s store, and a used book store, and the one Bridget pointed out: “The Pajama Factory”, Your Sleep Heaven.

“Wow”, said Sally, peering into the shop window, as Bridget reached the card over to pay. “How did you find this?”, she asked, as they stepped out onto the chilly sidewalk.

“Google”, stated Bridget, proudly. Sally had been teaching her how she could find anything on “Google”.

They opened the door and walked in. It almost looked like a children’s clothes shop… but yet, it wasn’t. Rows of different kind of pajamas and lounge wear, some colorful, some normal. But what called Sally’s attention were the pictures of young adults or teens wearing… one piece footed pajamas. Some were even fleece, and colorful, like the ones she used to have as a kid. She was almost in shock.

“Wow, they make them for grown-ups?”, she almost whispered.

“Looks like they do”, Bridget said, taken aback herself.

“How may I help you, ladies”, said a soft male voice. “My name is Ryan”. They turned around.

The man was in his mid-thirties, keen and helpful, and he looked a bit nerdish in his steel-rimmed glasses and trimmed beard.

“Well, we don’t know yet”, answered Bridget, uneasy. “But we’re mostly curious about the kinds of pajamas you have here. Are they they real, or mostly for fun, like Halloween?”.

The man was taken aback. “Come see for yourself”, he stated, in a quick recovery.

“Let me see, we can begin with you”, he said, looking at Sally. “May I ask your name?”.

“Sally”, she said.

“Very well, Sally, which kind of pajamas are you most curious about?”, he asked, interestedly.

Sally made a face. “Well, I don’t know…”, she hesitated.

“First of all”, said Ryan, “the reason these pajamas are made is people buy them, and there is a whole industry behind this. So don’t be shy. See? These are super popular”, he said, emphasizing the last two words. He pointed to a tall rack of fleece footed pajamas, took a calculating look at Sally and fished through the rack. “How about…”, he paused as he took one of the rack. “This one. This should be your size”.

Ryan held up a bright blue footed pajama. It was patterned with yellow stars, and a half-moon shone brightly on the side of the chest. She took it, and it felt soft and comfortable. She was impressed at the quality, it definitely didn’t feel like a halloween costume.

Bridget reached out to touch it, and was satisfied it was a real pajama, but she was still taken aback at the nature of this business. “I never imagined there would be a demand for something like this”, she mused, mostly to herself.

Ryan piped in. “It’s not like everybody sees us in our pajamas, right? So if we’re going to sleep, or just relax and lounge, like reading a book or watching a movie, we might as well wear what is most comfortable, don’t you agree?”, he asked, expecting an answer.

Sally assented. Bridget though about it. “Yes, I guess it makes sense. We do that, you know, like wear our pajamas and lounge about, just us two, mind you”, she chuckled.

“True. We all do that. There is clothing that is made for comfort, and not just physical comfort. We need to deal with heart comfort, feel safe, cuddle, feel taken care of”, Ryan expanded.

Bridget was taken aback. “Man, you know how to sell pajamas”, she said, in admiration.

“Please don’t think I’m manipulating you to…”

Bridget cut him off. “No, I mean, what you said is right. You came to the heart of the matter, it makes perfect sense”.

Sally was assenting. It made perfect sense to her. She took that as a cue and asked: “So, where are the fitting rooms?”, she asked, holding her two favorite footed pajamas.
 
 
 
Chapter 7: Fuzzy

Fuzzy. That’s how she felt. Sally had been relieved to find a secure and comfortable fitting room, with a real full-size door, a proper lock, hooks, a bench, and large mirrors. Pastel colors competed the ambience, and it was the kind of place one felt at ease getting… well, naked, actually. She hesitated at first, but the pajamas looked so inviting she wanted to full experience, as she never slept with underwear on. She had already decided to buy them, with her own money if necessary. She caressed the material in her hand and slipped her feet into the pajama legs.

--

Meanwhile, Bridget was taking a tour of the shop by Ryan, their salesman, who was pointing out different pajama styles and sizes. When a shop assistant came requesting Ryan’s help for something, he left her on her own with an “I’ll be right back, feel free to roam”, and Belinda continued exploring on her own.

She continued until she spotted a corner with a sign “Sleep accessories” and turned into the isle. She did a double take, because as much as she had grown accustomed now to grown-ups wanting to wear kids’ pajamas, what she saw left her flabbergasted.

Rows of pacifiers, sippy cups… a size way too large for small children. As she went further into the isle, the structure changed, and now large plastic packages were lining the shelves. White plastic, some pastel colors, some decorated. Wait. Were they… diapers? She stood there, in shock.

Bridget turned around, and spotted Ryan walking towards her.

“Now I'm really curious about this”, she said, frowning. “Why would adults want to wear diapers?”, Bridget asked, waving her hand at the row of diapers.

Ryan smiled, knowingly. “That's a great question, Bridget. There are actually a variety of reasons why grown-ups might wear diapers, and it's more common than you might think. It ranges from medical needs to personal preferences and lifestyle choices”.

Bridget was surprised. “Medical needs? Like what?”.

Ryan spoke up, in a serious tone. “One of the main medical reasons grown-ups wear diapers is due to incontinence. This can happen because of conditions like overactive bladder, urinary incontinence, trauma or after surgeries. These conditions can make it hard to control bladder or bowel movements, so adult diapers provide necessary protection and peace of mind”.

“That makes sense”, Bridget reasoned. “I can see how that would be really helpful. But what about the “personal preferences and lifestyle choices”?, she inquired.

Ryan smiled. “Well, there's a community known as ABDL, which stands for Adult Baby Diaper Lovers. For some people in this community, wearing diapers is a way to feel comforted and secure, kind of like revisiting a simpler time in their lives. For others, it's more about personal expression or even just the physical comfort of wearing a diaper”.

Bridget gasped. “That's interesting”, she said in awe. “I didn't realize it was such a broad spectrum. But what about, like, well, I don’t want so sound judgmental. It has nothing to do with…”, she paused, trying not to say it. Ryan seemed do exude trustworthiness.

Ryan helped her. “Pedophilia? No, nothing to do with that. There's a lot of stigma around the topic. Many people rush to judgment without understanding the full context. It's important to approach this with empathy and openness. Wearing diapers isn't indicative of perversion or a mental health issue; it's a personal choice for comfort, security, or necessity”.

“I see. So, are there benefits beyond just managing, uhm… incontinence or personal comfort?”, she smiled now, more relaxed.

“Definitely”, Ryan assented. “For people with medical conditions, it can significantly reduce stress and anxiety, allowing them to lead a more active and worry-free life. For others, it can be a form of self-care or a way to cope with stress. Adult diapers today are also designed to be discreet and comfortable, which helps a lot”, he said, pointing out to the more discreet white and light green and blue diapers.

“Wow, so you’ve got footed pajamas, sippy cups, pacifiers… and diapers”, concluded Bridget.

“Yep”, quipped Ryan. “The whole deal”, he said, waving his arm around the store.

They eventually ended at the fitting room section of the store, and Ryan told her he’d be at the check-out if she needed anything. “Bridget, it's all about embracing different perspectives and supporting people, despite their different needs. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!”

--

Sally didn’t recognize the girl in the mirror. She felt as though she was walking on air. She was trying on her second pajama, and the sensation was very satisfying. The inner material seemed to be as fuzzy and warm as the outer material, and it seemed to give her body a buzz, as much as a hug. She tried several positions, turning, twisting, bending over… She feeling the one piece pajama gave her, plus the footed ends, gave her a thrill her teenage body could barely describe.

Knock-knock!

Sally almost jumped in fright but quickly collected herself. She stood in a dignified position. “Who’s there?”, she asked, uneasily.

“Me. Mom”, she heard her mother’s voice say from the other end of the door.

Sally shook the lock on the door and finally managed to get it unlocked, and she stood behind the door as she let her mother in.

Her mother drank the sight of her daughter in a footed one-piece pajama. She smiled. “You look cute”, she sentenced.

Sally smiled shyly at her mother and twirled around for her. She almost blushed at the feeling of the warm pajamas caressing her naked skin.

“Wow, Ryan wasn’t joking when he said it was for real”, Belinda said, in wonder. She spotted Sally's underwear lying on top of her folded clothes, and smirked inwardly.

“Ryan?”, asked Sally, absentminded.

“The salesman. They sure have a lot of, um, different stuff in this store”, Bridget mumbled.

“Yeah, isn’t that cool?”, said Sally, still moving around in front of the mirror.

“So, I take it you like the pajamas?”, Bridget asked Sally.

“Yes, I like both”, Sally assented.

“It looks good enough on you. I take it you tried the other one?”, asked Bridget. Sally nodded.

Bridget thought about the other items in the store, the ones Sally hadn’t seen. She wondered what Sally would think about them.

Sally’s mother left her daughter so she could get dressed again and waited outside. A plan was forming in her head.
 
 
 
Chapter 8: Dangerous sport

Sally couldn’t wait to get up to her room and find a privileged spot for her new pajamas in her expansive walk-in closet.

As the afternoon turned into evening, Sally got more and more restless, and she wondered how early would be late enough for her to justify her getting her pajamas on, and lounging on the sofa with her mom later on as they watched something on Netflix, probably a Gilmore Girls episode.

Bridget watched Sally as she browsed for a new car. Her lease agent had sent her a link with the vehicles they had on stock, but she was bored looking at cars. She forced herself to browse, as she did miss having her own car. She had just grown used to their sliver SUV, and suddenly she had to choose another one.

Sally seemed restless. She kept checking her watch. Since the new Apple Watches required movement to light up the screen, it was easy to spot Sally checking the time, so she could tell there was something on Sally’s mind. She was pensive, stealing glances at the curved staircase leading upstairs.

Bridget wondered how soon Sally would change into her pajamas, as she was curious to see how she behaved in them. Suddenly, Bridget realized Sally must be wanting to change into them, hence her restlessness.

“Sally, honey, why don’t you change into your new pajamas, and come help me choose a new car?”, Bridget called out to Sally, who was absentmindedly flipping through some teenage magazine.

Sally brightened up. “Already? Oh, OK, I guess”, she said, and happily skipped out of the room and up the stairs.

Bridget followed her with her gaze and wondered at Sally’s change into being now such an easy-going youthful girl. Was that the pajamas, or was it the whole car crash aftermath?

Sally came quickly down, feet padding on the marble staircase. She rushed into the living room, sliding the last feet on the polished hardwood floor next to her mother, letting herself fall onto the plush sofa. She was wearing the blue pajamas with the bright stars, and looked as cute as she did when she had been five. Sally sat next to her mother and cuddled next to her and looked into the laptop screen.

They chatted of this and that, and nothing at all, as they browsed through a selection of vehicles.

“They look all the same”, whined Sally, with her head on her mom’s shoulder.

Bridget enjoyed that. Sally never cuddled next to her like that, and her head on her shoulder felt wonderful.

“They look just like ours”, commented Bridget, in common sense. “Any car picks your fancy?”, asked her mother as they tried to choose one. Most were silver, grey or black, but a few were blue or green.

“I want “wed” one”, said Sally suddenly, in a fake childish voice.

Her mother chuckled. When Sally had been learning to speak, it was the first color she had named, and it had turned into a favorite: “Wed”.

“Sorry, kiddo. No red ones”, stated Bridget, playing along.

Sally felt an unexplainable thrill at her mother’s childish language.

Then Sally had an idea. “Wait, let me see if we can filter this search”. She took her mom’s laptop and slid it onto her lap.

She slid the cursor down past a series of numbers and options she didn’t really pay attention to and spotted the color section. She quickly clicked on the red dot and turned to her mom.

“ “Wed” car!”, she exclaimed, gleefully.

Her mother was taken aback. She had never imagined wanting a red SUV. She hadn’t known they even existed. And they were right here in the local dealer too.

After a while, Sally had had enough car searching, at least till she was getting her own in a couple years. But then it wouldn’t be a boring SUV. For now, she needed to pee, and she needed it bad.

As she pattered to the bathroom, a sense of uneasiness fell on her. She couldn’t explain why, it just didn’t feel right.

As she reached the toilet, she realized she had never thought about using the bathroom in these pajamas. Was she, like, supposed to take them off all the way? She pinched the tip of the zipper and visualized it going all the way down, and then, she would have to… pull off the sleeves, and then, it would all have to go down… at least down to her knees. Even in the warm floor-heating bathroom such as this one, it wouldn’t be a problem, she reasoned to herself. But the indignity of it robbed the coziness the footed pajamas had offered until then.

Sally would have debated over what to do, but the urgency for relief made her give into the awkward undressing and sitting naked on the toiled, as the footed pajamas pooled around her feet. She frowned as her bladder hissed into the toilet. She had never counted on this drawback.

==

Bridget could notice the change. They were watching Gilmore Girls on the sofa, but Sally had resorted to sitting stiffly by herself. As Bridget stole glances at Sally, she could see Sally was moody about something. “It couldn’t be her period”, she thought to herself, ruling that out. Somehow, she couldn’t bare Sally being like this. She hit the pause button.

“You OK, sweety?”, asked Bridget gently.

Her daughter turned; eyebrows raised. “What makes you think I’m not?”, she asked, slightly annoyed.

“You were sitting stiffer than a board in a carpenter's shop”, she responded with witty warmth.

That elicited a reluctant smile from Sally. She shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t know, just thinking, I guess”.

“Dangerous sport”, answered Bridget.

“Especially when it involves pajamas,” Sally added, a hint of frustration creeping into her voice.

Bridget tilted her head, her eyes sparkling with curiosity. “Pajamas? What happened? Did they suddenly become the enemy?”

Sally sighed, her shoulders slumping. “I guess you could say that. I bought these new pajamas, and they looked so cute, and felt great too. But then I realized you need to strip off completely to use the bathroom, and well, that put me off. Like very off”.

Bridget nodded sympathetically. “Ah, the perils of experimenting. You expect a cozy night in your dream pajamas, and instead, you get a chill when you need it less.”

Sally couldn’t help but chuckle. “Exactly! And now I’m stuck with these pajamas that I don’t even want to wear. They’re comfy, but make going to the bathroom so… uninviting.”

Bridget put a comforting arm around her daughter’s shoulders. “Well, we could always have a pajama destruction party. Or, you know, just return them.”

Sally looked up, her eyes brightening. “A pajama destruction party sounds oddly satisfying. But maybe I’ll just return them. Thanks, Mom.”

Bridget smiled warmly. “Anytime, sweetheart. Just remember, even the worst pajamas can’t keep you down for long.”

“They’re not the worst. They are the best, but… they let me down, I guess.”, she said, sighing.

Bridget's eyes twinkled with understanding. “So, it’s more of a pajama betrayal than a pajama disaster?”

“Exactly!” Sally laughed. “I can’t imagine not wearing them. I love them as much as I did when I was five. It’s just… the bathroom issue.”

Bridget leaned back, her face lighting up with a mischievous grin. “Well, you know, there’s a practical solution to this problem.”

Sally looked at her with a mix of hope and skepticism. “Really? What is it?”

Bridget's grin widened. “You could always wear pull-ups underneath. No need to wrestle with zippers in the middle of the night. Problem solved!”

Sally burst out laughing. “Mom! That’s so ridiculous! Can you imagine?”

Bridget joined in the laughter. “Hey, I’m just trying to be practical here! Think about it—ultimate coziness with no bathroom drama.”

Sally wiped a tear from her eye, still chuckling. “You’re hilarious. But I think I’ll pass on the pull-ups. Maybe I just need to find a new pair that’s equally cozy but more bathroom-friendly.”

Bridget nodded, a smile playing on her lips. “Good plan. And who knows, maybe you’ll start a revolutionary trend wearing pull-ups under your pajamas.”

Sally shook her head, grinning. “I’ll leave that innovation to someone else. Thanks for the laugh, Mom.”, she said, almost blushing.

“Anytime, sweetheart. Remember, life’s too short to let pajamas get you down. Especially when there’s always a funny solution waiting in the wings.”

Sally hugged her mom tightly. “You always know how to make me feel better. Thanks, Mom.”

As she pushed play and relaxed, Sally couldn’t help but feel grateful for her mom’s ability to turn a frustrating situation into a moment of laughter and love. But her mom’s suggestion, albeit comical, intrigued Sally.
 
 
 
Chapter 9: Mac and Cheese.

Sally tossed and turned, unable to sleep. The pajamas were absolutely comfortable and cozy, yet, for some stupid reason, she couldn’t get into the sleep zone. She lay on her back, slightly frustrated. “Pull-ups”, she whispered to herself.

For some reason, that thought lingered in her mind. She recalled her mother’s mild frustration during her potty-training days. She eventually got the hang of it but was a bit lazy at night. Now, she remembered how her mother cleverly incentivized her: at five, she was upgraded to 'big girl' pajamas, trading the footed ones for regular tops and bottoms. This way, she could quickly pull them down and use the toilet, just like a big girl.

So there, Sally thought. That’s why there was “something” missing. She associated her footed pajama memories with those cute Disney pull-ups. Sally frowned. “Cute?”, she thought. “Did she really think them as cute?”. She admitted they were, so she had the comfort factor plus the cuteness. She tried to imagine herself wearing one. She really couldn’t, she realized. They would be too small to fit her. They were made for children, and she was, well, a teenager.

“But”, she reasoned, “I didn’t think they made footed pajamas for grown-ups either”. She tried to picture a large pull-up. But it was all a fantasy.

She tossed and turned a bit more, and tried to figure out why she was obsessing herself over a silly joke her mother had made.

Or was it?

The mere possibility shocked her, and the adrenaline jolted her awake.

Maybe, as a mother she felt it was her duty to satisfy Sally’s insecurities after the car crash. Sally realized her mother had gone overboard finding that shop where they sold footed pajamas for grown-ups. Maybe she wanted to go all the way and make sure Sally was well taken care in that aspect. Had she been testing her? What was she supposed to think?

Sally drifted in and out of sleep, and woke up in a daze, clearly not having slept enough.

The pajamas were definitely not the problem, Sally reasoned, as she felt as physically comfortable as she had ever been. But she was feeling the need to use the toilet and was procrastinating because she knew she would have to strip her pajamas almost all the way off. After a while dozing she got out of bed and shuffled into her ensuite bathroom so she could relieve herself.

Once she was done, she figured she might as well get some breakfast. Sleep wouldn’t be coming at any rate, and it was already morning. She wiggled out of her footed pajamas, and once again, she felt her naked skin exposed to the elements. There were no elements, she told herself, and gingerly pulled on some panties, comfortable lounge pants and a thin sweater. She slipped on a rubber band tying her hair into a ponytail and walked out of her bedroom.

Sunday mornings were quiet and lazy affairs. Her mother would surely sleep till past ten, and that guaranteed Sally most of the house to herself for a little over two hours. She got some granola and yogurt, and a glass of orange juice, and took that to the TV corner in the living room, where she switched on the TV and searched Netflix for a while, till she selected a travel documentary series. She ate her breakfast in silence, feeling herself relax on the leather sofa as she glanced at the chilly December flurries floating in the air. She curled herself on the sofa, carefully setting her empty bowl and glass by the side table. She laid her head on the thickly padded sofa arm and relaxed, finally drifting into a deep sleep.

--

“When the toast has burned
And all the milk has turned
And Captain Crunch is waving farewell
When the Big One finds you
May this song remind you
That they don't serve breakfast in hell”


Sally was slow to react. The background music was familiar, but the context wasn’t. She vaguely remembered her mother using that song to wake her up in the morning a long time ago, but she wasn’t… in bed. Where was she? The sofa… she must have fallen asleep. A blanket? Her mother must have covered her. What time was it?

Her sleepy attempts to make sense of what was going on were interrupted by her mother. “Morning sweetheart”, she exclaimed, sitting on the sofa by Sally’s feet. “I thought I’d get you up while it’s still morning, it’s almost midday”, she clarified.

“Morning. I guess I fell asleep”, she murmured. “I didn’t sleep well last night”.

“Why is that? Weren’t you feeling well?”, she asked, concerned at the teenager not sleeping well. She tried not to show too much overt concern for her daughter, but she was still looking for signs of PTSD in her.

“I dunno”, Sally shrugged. “I was sleepy and all, I just couldn’t fall asleep. A lot of stuff in my mind, maybe”, she said, as last night’s meditations flared up once more.

“What kind of stuff?”, inquired her mother.

Sally clearly avoided the subject. “Nothing. What’s for lunch?”, she asked, suddenly hungry.

“Mac and cheese”.

Sally’s eyes went wide with excitement. “Really?” She absolutely loved mac and cheese, but she couldn’t remember the last time she’d had any.

Bridget was stunned. It had been more of a joke. She hadn’t planned on lunch yet, but memories of Sally’s childhood obsession inspired her to evoke the fact out loud. “Mac and cheese it is, then”, she smiled, patting Sally’s covered feet. She had a couple boxes of kraft in the pantry.

--

Sunday was a slow day, and this one was particularly slow, as the bitter winter weather was finally making itself known. Bridget and Sally couldn’t complain, since snow didn’t come that often, so when it did they wrapped themselves in blankets and drank hot chocolate, despite the generous climate control system their sprawling house.

As Sally lay curled on the sofa reading, Bridget was browsing a magazine on her iPad, but her mind was drifting towards Sally. Once again, she had encouraged Sally to slip into her footed pajamas early, to which she readily complied. The mac and cheese moment also relied on her mind, connecting instances of an infantile Sally, and she realized Sally had become a whole lot more confident and carefree since the accident. She relished cuddling and evoking childlike behavior, yet she was… grown-up about it.

A couple more things came to mind. Sally hadn’t seemed the least bit offended or put-off at her mention of pull-ups. Any teenager would have been indignant and disgusted. But she had “passed” on the offer with a laugh. Like an embarrassed laugh, she mused.

Also, there was the “wed” car. Sally seemed not to care what car they were going to get, as long as it was “wed”. Bridget smiled. That would be an easy one, she thought. “Now, let me see about those pull-ups”, she thought, smiling ruefully. She slid her finger up the screen and selected the Amazon app.
 
 
 
Chapter 10: Package

School day was always school day. Even a couple days after the accident, Sally was grateful for returning to a semblance of normality. Even with the leftover pain on her shoulder, she felt ready to take on the world.

She crawled out from bed. She had kicked her covers off during her sleep – as usual, but this time the incredible coziness of her footed pajamas had kept her warm and secure… just as they had when she was small. She glanced at herself in the mirror as she walked past on her way to the ensuite bathroom. She liked the way she looked.

In the bathroom she frowned, as once again she zipped her footed pajamas all the way down to her crotch, pushed them down from around her shoulders and slid her arms off the sleeves, rolling down the pajamas to her knees as she sat on the toilet. She was rewarded by a strong hissing, and she tried to relax on the toilet as she let business take its course. Toilet time had always been like a therapy time for her to think the day ahead, read a magazine – she mostly read magazines in the toilet – and relax her bowels and bladder. Howbeit she felt a bit cheated that the cozy pajamas didn’t offer any level of protection and comfort when she needed to be… comfortable. Once again the image of pull-ups came to mind, and she wondered why she couldn’t remember the feeling of the padding between her legs. Had it been so long ago? What would they feel like now?

She pushed such feelings away from her mind and finished her business quicker than usual. She zipped herself up and washed her hands and face in the sink. As she fished in her closet for her school uniform she heard her mom’s customary knock – “I’m up, mom” – and she laid out her panties, bra, white blouse, navy-blue V-neck sweater and navy-blue knee-length conservative school skirt. She scanned the weather report and looked out the window at the gray sky. She opted for her black tights and comfortable black shoes.

Breakfast was a quick affair, and since Sally’s mother needed to run some errands downtown, they shared an Uber and Sally got dropped off at school.

--

“Amiga!”, yelled out Katrina, Sally’s eccentric Colombian friend. Naturally tanned skinned and long dark curls glowing with happiness. “You are alive”, she exclaimed, forcing Sally into a tight embrace.

Sally, still tender from the seat belt sore winced, causing Katrina to apologize profusely. “Sorry, I didn’t remember you were hurt!”. Katrina’s attentions on Sally were creating a situation Sally had been hoping to avoid. Boys and girls started staring and asking questions, and Sally had the impression they were around her deathbed or something like that.

“I’m fine, OK?, she stated. “Just a sore shoulder due to the seat belt, nothing more”, she continued. She slid away from Katrina and sat next to her desk, as she responded classmates’ rumors: “No, she hadn’t lost consciousness; No, she hadn’t broken her collar bone; No, she hadn’t spent all weekend in the hospital”. It was bad enough when people believed rumors in general, but it was unacceptable when they were building up rumors on oneself!

Thankfully the teacher took matters into account, and called for order so the class could begin, but not before - much to Sally’s chagrin – wishing her a quick recovery from her “terrible experience”.

--

The day went on as most school days went. At lunch Sally sat with Katrina and Clara. Being more of an introvert, Clara seemed to calm Katrina down, and the two of them enjoyed grilling Sally as to the car accident, and eventually got to talking of the aftermath. Sally did her best to deviate the topic more into her mother getting a new car, than on hypothetical phycological disturbances that stem out of traumatic experiences.

Easygoing and level-headed, Sally was sort of in-between both girls. She would encourage Clara to speak out for herself and would challenge Katrina’s volatile opinions.

“So, what did you do this weekend”, asked Clara quietly, curious to know, since Sally seemed quite unfazed by the accident.

“Hm, mostly nothing, just relax and prove to my mom I didn’t have a brain hemorrhage or something of the sort”, she huffed, giggling. “She kept looking at me like I was going to faint at any moment”, she explained to the amused girls. “Oh, we did go shopping, so I did get out and stuff”.

It was Katrina’s turn to be curious. “Shopping? Where, what, anything nice?”, she asked, in her expressive manner.

Sally was suddenly hesitant. Pajamas weren’t the coolest things to talk about, least of all the ones she had bought. “Nothing, just stuff I needed, pajamas, nothing spectacular”, she said in dismissal.

“I love pajamas!”, exclaimed Katrina. “Where’d you get them? Victoria Secret?”, she asked, boastful as she was of everything worldly.

Sally grimaced. “Just warm pajamas, mostly. A place called “Pajama Factory”, or something like that”, she mumbled, unable to invent a lie, hoping to satisfy Katrina and hoping neither girl had heard about the place.

“Warm pajamas are boring”, said Katrina, dismissively.

“But they are comfortable”, stated Clara, wisely.

“Thanks, Clara”, said Sally, thankful Katrina didn’t seem interested in her pajamas, but happy to be able to defend her choice. “Comfortable and warm. No temperature control can beat comfy PJ’s when it’s freezing outside”, she assented and glanced towards the flurries visible from the large windows in the school dining room.

--

Clara caught up to Sally as she was walking out of school. “Hey, I just wanted to let you know that I love the Pajama Factory too”, she confided. “Katrina thinks she’s so cool talking about Victoria Secret, but I agree with you in that comfy pj’s are the best. Especially the footed ones”, she remarked, holding on to Sally’s arm as they walked.

Sally was pleasantly surprised. “Wow, I wouldn’t have thought you were the kind of person who liked them”, she stated. “I don’t think Katrina would think it’s cool”, she giggled.

“Katrina sleeps in panties and t-shirt”, huffed Clara. “At least that was the extent of her imagination at that sleepover you didn’t come to”, she said, rolling her eyes in mock exasperation.

“Yep, that’s her”, stated Sally. “But I am guessing you didn’t wear your footed pajamas in front of her”, said Sally, ruefully.

“No, but she thought my Stich pajamas were “dreadfully cute”, as she put it”, Clara said, smiling.

“Oh, they probably were. I love pajamas”, said Sally.

“Well, don’t miss our next sleepover”, she answered. “Maybe if we wear our footed pajamas together she won’t laugh at us as much”, said Clara, laughing. “But maybe not”, she said, hesitantly. “She’d think we’re babies”.

The girls made their way to the exit, talking about footed pajamas and other lounge wear, until Clara got into her bus and Sally made her way into hers.

No matter how private and expensive the school was, they didn’t seem to get any better busses, Sally thought to herself as she sat onto the cheap seating material. Prison busses, that’s what she called them, much to her mother’s amusement.

Soon Sally was dropped off in front of her house, and she approached the house from the walkway she saw a car she didn’t recognize parked on the driveway. “Wed car”, she said to herself, smiling. A gleaming red brand-new SUV was parked next to the garage, with no license plates, just a temporary paper registration attached to the window.

“Hey mom, I’m home!”, said Sally, pulling off her jacket and hanging it in the closet. “I saw the “wed car”!”, she yelled.

“Surprise”, Bridget said, smiling and hugging her daughter. “I went to pick it up today, come see it!”.

Both mother and daughter spent some time admiring the red SUV, but soon the cold weather drove them inside.

Sally walked into the kitchen and immediately saw the Amazon package on the table. She picked it up thinking, since it was unopened, it must be hers, even though she didn’t remember having ordered anything recently. She saw the name on it.

“Oh, it’s yours, mom”, she called out.

Her mother was right behind her. “No, it’s actually yours”.

Sally was taken aback. “What is it?”.

“Open it”, instructed Belinda. “Something you might want to give a try”.

Sally went into the stress of finding scissors or something safe to open the package. Why didn’t they have something easily at hand for Amazon packages? Finally, she found the kitchen scissors and slit the tape.

Sally was perplexed at first. Two purple packages were tucked inside the box. “Sanitary pads? But she bought her own”, she thought to herself. She frowned. She could only see the top of the packages and thought they looked like her mother’s thicker pads.

She looked up. “Are you sure this is mine”, she questioned her mother, who was looking expectantly.

“Absolutely. Take a package out”, she coaxed.

Sally shrugged. She pulled a package out. She was speechless.

“I thought you might want to try these with your new pajamas, see how they work”, her mother said, winking at Sally when she looked up frowning.

Sally’s jaw dropped slightly. “Pull-ups? Isn’t this kind of… crazy?”, she hesitated, trying to think how she was supposed to react. “Will they even fit me?”, she challenged, trying to make sense of this.

Yet, deep inside she could feel warmth, comfort, security. The “Goodnites” package felt tight in her hands, like begging to be opened. She looked at her mother, who was intently studying Sally’s reaction.

“Mom, what’s this about?”. She giggled. “Some kind of joke?”, she asked, frowning slightly.

Bridget smiled. “It can be”, she stated, in a conciliatory way. “But you can also try them out and see how they feel with your pajamas, sort of get the full experience. Comfort and security.”.

Sally made a face. “Wow, you went through all the hassle of actually buying these…”, she paused. “And, they… wow, these should fit me really well”, she concluded, pointing out at the “95-140 lbs.” XL sizing. She stared at the sleeping teenage girl on the package. “Nighttime underwear”, she read out loud. “So, I am supposed to just, like wear them, or…”, she opened her eyes wide realizing the implications. “Like, use them?”.

“Honey, it’s totally up to you. I felt torn when you were disappointed with your pajamas, so I thought I’d give you one more chance to feel great in them. Now, if you don’t like the idea, we can trash these – well, I mean, I’ll give them to charity – and forget about this, OK? I’m sorry if I overstepped, I just wanted to see you happy, that’s all”.

“I am happy”, replied Sally. “What makes you think I wasn’t”, she asked, pained.

“Nothing. You were disappointed about the pajamas, but other than that I guess I am being overly protective, especially after the accident and all…”, Bridget faltered.

Sally set the Goodnites package on the kitchen counter and stepped over to her mother, throwing her arms around her. “I love you, mom. I’m alright, really”.

Mother and daughter separated. “So, what is it going to be?”, asked Bridget, glancing at the Goodnites package.

“I’ll think about it”, said Sally, grabbing the packages and taking them up to her bedroom.
 
 
 
Chapter 11 - Empowered

Sally sat on her bed, her mind whirling with thoughts about her Goodnites. It seemed like such a strange concept for someone her age, but as she thought more about it, the idea started to make more sense.

She opened the package of Goodnites and held on to it, unsure of what to do. She had been thinking.

She imagined scenarios in her head, scenarios where wearing a Goodnite could actually be practical, besides using under her footed pajamas. Like during a long road trip with her mother when stopping for bathroom breaks wasn't always convenient. The movies were another obvious choice. Or during exams at school when she often felt so nervous she could barely concentrate.

"For students, for athletes - she thought of anxious moments at the volleyball court -, for anyone feeling overwhelmed," she mused aloud, considering the broad range of teens who could potentially benefit from Goodnites.

"But would it really work for me?" she wondered, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear as she contemplated. The thought of wearing something so different from what she was used to felt odd, yet the more she thought about it, the more it seemed like it could actually help.

"Comfort and security," she whispered, repeating the words from her mother. The idea of having that sense of security, of knowing that she had everything under control even in stressful situations, was appealing. With her new pajamas. That would make everything all right. A playful and grown-up strategy to take things easy.

Sally shifted on her bed, her thoughts moving to the practical aspects. "Routine and structure," she murmured, considering how having a set routine could help ease her anxiety. The idea of breaking down the process into smaller, manageable steps sounded comforting. Her mom knew a lot about psychology, and although far from being anxious – so she thought, Sally appreciated her mom’s counsel on everything.

"And the act of changing them..." she trailed off, thinking about how the repetitive motion could be calming. It had calmed her as a child. From soaked pull-ups to a dry one, in seconds. The idea of finding solace in something as simple as changing a pull-up felt strange yet oddly comforting.

“But I have to pee in them before I change them”, she murmured to herself. She was amazed it didn’t disgust her. She took a Goodnite out of the package and opened it up. It looked absorbent. More so than the pull-ups she remembered wearing when she was little. She assumed they would be absorbent, since they were made for teens. “That’s what they are made for”, she concluded. She imagined a big factory churning out thousands of Goodnites just for teens like her. There had to be a bunch of teens wearing Goodnites out there. She wondered who they were.

Finally, she thought about the sense of control that wearing Goodnites could provide. In a world where everything often felt chaotic and overwhelming, the idea of having control over something, even if it was as mundane as when to change a pull-up, sounded incredibly empowering.

With a determined nod, Sally made up her mind. "Maybe it's worth a try," she said to herself, feeling a sense of relief wash over her. "I might be surprised at how much it can help. Heck, why not? Why the heck not? She smiled at her own determination and threw caution to the wind. She was going explore her ‘little side” and put one on.

--

Bridget sat on the sofa, with Sally cuddled next to her. As they watched another episode of Gilmore Girls, she mulled over the decision she made to buy Sally the Goodnites. It was an unconventional choice, she admitted to herself, but as she pondered Sally's perspective, she began to see the logic in it.

She imagined the scenarios Sally had mentioned - the long road trips, the movie outings, the stressful exam days. As a mother, she understood the need for practical solutions to everyday challenges. And if Goodnites could offer Sally comfort and security during those moments, then perhaps it was indeed the right decision.

Bridget also considered Sally's need of routine and structure. She knew that Sally often struggled with anxiety, despite her outward confidence. If incorporating Goodnites into her routine could provide even a small sense of control and calmness, then it was a strategy worth exploring.

It had all started with the footed pajamas. She wondered where that would take Sally. Would it be a long rabbit hole?

But what struck Bridget the most was Sally's mention of embracing her "little side." It wasn't a concept she was entirely familiar with, but she trusted Sally's judgment. If wearing Goodnites allowed Sally to feel more at ease with herself, to find solace in something as simple as changing a pull-up, then who was she to stand in the way of that?

With a soft smile, Bridget affirmed her decision. She wanted Sally to feel empowered, to navigate adolescence with confidence and self-assurance. And if that meant embracing unconventional solutions like Goodnites, then so be it. After all, parenting was about supporting your child in whatever ways they needed, even if it meant stepping into uncharted territory.

Feeling a sense of reassurance wash over her, Bridget whispered to herself, "Yes, I do imagine Sally wearing Pull-ups, and I believe it's the right decision. She deserves to feel comfortable and secure, no matter what."

--

Sally relaxed next to her mother. She had been very nonchalant at Sally’s statement that she was wearing the Goodnites under her footed pajamas, and that she wanted to try out her “little side”, she had said, with a shy laugh. When her mother had been surprised, even slightly dubious at Sally’s decision, Sally had enumerated additional perks at wearing the disposable undergarments, including wearing them in normal settings.

Sally wiggled as she got used to the new underwear under her pajamas. She had loved the sensation of getting naked and stepping into the Goodnite, sliding it up her legs and feeling it enclose her crotch. It brought a very strong déjà vu sensation, clearly from her childhood time. Slightly bulky, though not uncomfortably so. She even looked adorable, she mused. Then, she tried her pajamas over the Goodnite. As she zipped herself up, the Goodnite disappeared, and Sally gave the first tentative steps. They didn't really make noise and they were pretty discrete. When she had finally walked down to the living room, her mother hadn’t even realized she had them on, and she even remarked them to be invisible.

But there was one thing on her mind, and it was on the purpose the Goodnites were made for. She was supposed to wet her Goodnites. There was no point in wearing her pretty Goodnites and… well, not wetting them at some point. Obviously she was fully potty trained, so she had to think how she was going to do that. She was not going to lie here with her head resting on her mother’s lap and just let go. She couldn’t imagine even being able to.
 
 
 
Chapter 12 – Triggers

Sally wasn’t the least bit sleepy when they called it a night, each going to their respective bedrooms. Her heart was in a flutter, but she was determined. Her nightly bladder was going to be emptied into her pull-up.

Sally realized that being fully dressed – albeit in her footed pajamas – wasn’t the best idea to try Goodnite for the first time. She planned to help herself as much as she could to wet herself voluntarily. Besides, what if it leaked?

She felt goosebumps as she stripped off her pajamas, and not because the bathroom was cold. The heating system kept it wonderfully cozy. Standing there in only her pink and purple Goodnite she looked at herself in the large mirror and smiled at the infantile attire. Thankfully nobody could see her, she was safe from prying eyes, enclosed in the privacy of her ensuite bathroom.

Sally wondered at other teenage girls, just like her, a turmoil of emotions, making sense of their teenage life in their secret inner sanctum, embarking in a journey of self-discovery. Like writing a mystery novel where the main character is oneself, balancing decisions and discovery, seeking to tap the expansive potential trapped within.

And yet, here she was, trying to pee in a pull-up.

She stood with her legs apart and tried to let go. When nothing happened, she bent her knees slightly, trying to relax her bladder till she finally felt a timid release spilling out into her Goodnite. Elated, she tried to relax even more, and soon a steady stream was hissing into her pull-up. Transfixed, she watched the Goodnite swell as it filled up, feeling it sag slightly.

She stood up straighter as she felt the pressure subside and stood still as she released the last trickles into the pull-up. Her heart was beating like a jackhammer, and it took her a while to regain her senses. She looked at herself in the mirror. A blushing teenager wearing nothing but a soaked Goodnite. She touched her crotch, tentatively. It felt warm, spongey. She pressed a bit harder, felling the now damp material press into her skin. She bit her lip as unknown sensations coursed through her body.

She felt around the edges looking for leaks. There were none. She took a step, and then another, slowly walking around her large bathroom. The Goodnite felt dry yet warm, bulky yet not intrusive. She stood in front of the sink and figured she might as well get ready for bed. She brushed her teeth, while she considered her image on the mirror. She looked cute, funny, yet oddly alluring. She took her time flossing and then used her mint mouthwash. All the time she felt the Goodnites secure on her waist, holding the padding between her legs. She let a leftover trickle of pee into her Goodnite, renewing the warmth between her legs, and she marveled at how easy it had suddenly become.

She realized the wet Goodnite would have to come off. She definitely wasn’t going to sleep in it. Besides, she had to take a shower. As she reached the sides of her Goodnites to pull them down like normal panties, she remembered the pull-ups she used when she was little were made to rip on the sides. She held on to the side of her Goodnite and pulled on it with her fingers. It ripped a little bit, so she pulled on it harder, and saw the Goodnite coming off in her hands. Satisfied, but pressing her legs on the Goodnite to hold it in its precarious position, she ripped the other side with more confidence, and let the soaked Goodnites fall onto the bathroom tiles. What was she supposed to do with that now?

The first option was to just throw it in the garbage bin right here in her bathroom, but that was here mostly for sanitary pads, and little bits like her dental floss. The swollen Goodnite would take most of the space and would end up stinking the place. Not to mention Dolores’ shock – the cleaning lady - when she came to clean the bathroom. No, she needed something else. She fished in her bathroom closet and retrieved a roll of plastic garbage bags, the ones that lined the bathroom garbage bin. She stuffed the Goodnite in and tied a knot on the bag. She left it by the door and stepped into the shower.

The shower was a time of relaxation and let the warm water calm her, as she lazily soaped her body and thought of what she had just experienced. “Infantile” was the first word that came to mind. “Daring”, “fun”, “exhilarating” … she was at loss for words to describe it. The physical sensations coursing through her body while using, even feeling her Goodnite were hard to describe. Even as she soaped carefully between her legs, she couldn’t help but remember warm bulk pressing her nether region.

She forced herself to stop, as the accumulated steam informed her she had been too long in the shower. She dried up, wrapped herself in a towel and went into her bedroom. She almost automatically walked to her bed, took out another Goodnite, and slid it on. It felt great to have a dry pull-up, after the one she had soaked. Now that she had experienced one, she felt a lot safer in one. She slid up her pajamas and zipped up, remembering suddenly about the discarded Goodnite in the garbage bag. She figured the garbage disposal in the garage would be best, as that would be taken out the driveway in the morning and taken away by the truck.

Walking across the large dark house was a strange experience, as she rarely ventured out of her bedroom at night. She never had to, as her bedroom had everything she needed, including ensuite bathroom, walk-in closet, a large desk with her laptop and her own TV. So, pattering in her footed pajamas across the house, down the stairs, and across the foyer, she reached the garage door. The garage was mostly dark, but the reflection of the “wed” SUV made her smile. She lingered a while taking in the form of the brand-new car. Beside it, next to the garage door was the disposal bin on wheels. She opened the cover and dropped the garbage bag into it.

“Sally? Is it you?”, asked her mother’s voice from the door, frightening her slightly.

Sally flushed red, embarrassed. “Uhm, yeah mom, I’ll be right out”, she squeaked.

“Everything all right?”, asked Bridget, turning the garage light on. “I happened to hear you coming down and wondered if you were all right”, she said, frowning.

“Everything all right, I was just throwing out some garbage”, she said, hoping a simple answer would satisfy her inquisitive mother.

“In the middle of the night?”, her mother inquired, eyebrows arched.

Sally made a face. She stepped out of the garage and her mother closed the garage door. “It was a wet pull-up, I didn’t want to stink my bathroom”, she confessed, turning redder.

Her mother paused. “Oh”, she said, surprised. “Was that… on purpose, then?”, she asked.

Sally nodded. “I wanted to try them”, she whispered.

“Oh”, her mother said again, startled at first, but composing herself. “I see, well, of course, and I take it they work?”, she asked.

Sally nodded.

“So, what do you think?”, Bridget asked, coaxing an answer from her reluctant daughter. “Do they solve the pajama problem?”

Sally nodded again. “I guess so”, she finally said. “It’s sort of strange, but it feels OK”, she conceded.

“Good girl!”, Bridget exclaimed. She patted her daughter’s bottom. “Now, get your diapered butt up to bed”, she said.

Sally flushed with pleasure at her mother’s “good girl” exclamation. She couldn’t explain why. The “diapered” reference didn’t escape her notice either. As she climbed the stairs with her mother and got into bed, she reflected on those words, as she felt herself falling asleep with a smile on her lips.
 
 
 
Chapter 13 – “Good girl”

Sally groggily slid out of bed as her bladder signaled the need for release. She had trained herself to do that as a growing child, overcoming laziness in exchange for a dry bed. The clock read four a.m., and the instant Sally stood up, she felt the Goodnites, snug under her footed pajamas. She stopped. Unsure of what to do, she pondered the sequence of events that brought her to this moment where she was wearing Goodnites under her pajamas. The point had been to not have to suffer through the inconvenience of using the bathroom in her footed pajamas.

Now that she knew the Goodnites were fine to use – the proof thereof neatly stashed in the garage garbage – she was woken up by the sudden rush of adrenaline at what she was about to do. Could she really? Sally was momentarily gripped by a feeling of indecision. But it went away. Empowered by her resolve, she sat back down onto her bed. She wanted the full experience this time. She laid down on her back and pulled the bed covers over her chest. She lay there still.

This was very different to her peeing in the Goodnite the previous evening. She had been standing up – well, mostly – and naked except for her Goodnite. Now, she was fully dressed and in bed. But she forced herself to relax, closing her eyes and imagining the sound of her bladder trickling into the toilet, continuously, until… there, as soon as the first timid burst of pee escaped into her Goodnite, the rest flowed out. Just like the previous evening.

With her heart thumping, Sally felt herself flood the Goodnite. Her pee started flooding her bottom area, and she felt it pool as it saturated for a while as she lay still and felt it being absorbed by the padding. As her bladder finished emptying she was struck by the wet bulk under her bottom, which was expanding between her legs.

It was a while until she dared to move, only to slide her hands over her pajama looking for wetness. She opened her legs and searched her crotch area, lifting her bottom and sliding her hands under there. Although her Goodnite felt precariously soaked, she couldn’t find any wetness, so she gradually relaxed and felt her heartbeat gradually recede. She felt her body relax, as she basked in the aftermath of a wonderful sensation. Pure bliss relaxed and comfortable. Ah, the convenience of not having to get up in the middle of the night!

--

Sally woke up minutes before her alarm rang. She never remembered waking up so relaxed. She soon realized why: she didn’t need to use the toilet!

She frowned, feeling an unfamiliar sensation. She incorporated herself in bed and suddenly remembered. She had wet her Goodnite. A thrill of excitement coursed through her, and she pawed her crotch, feeling the moist bulk between her legs. It was squishy, but firm. She pressed a little harder. “Hmm”, she thought. “It does feel good”, she concluded.

She got out of bed and went to wash her face in the bathroom. She gave a sleepy smile at the girl in the mirror, and washed her face with cold water, dried herself with the towel and shook some hair strands loose. The wet Goodnite hung well from her hips and wasn’t even visible due to her footed pajamas. Except for the back, she noticed. The footed pajamas sported an elastic band helping to hold the one-piece snugger to the body. The wet pull-up bulk was visible, at least for anyone who knew her butt.

--

Sally padded into the kitchen, her new pajamas adorned with the Goodnite her mom had bought her. Bridget was already bustling about, preparing breakfast with a smile that matched Sally's groggy morning expression.

"Morning, sweetie," Bridget greeted, glancing up from the frying pan. "Sleep well?"

Sally nodded, rubbing her eyes. "Yeah, surprisingly well. These pajamas are so comfy."

Bridget chuckled softly. "I'm glad you like them. And what about... you know?"

Sally blushed faintly, but there was a hint of amusement in her voice. "The pull-up? It's actually not bad. Kinda convenient."

Bridget grinned knowingly. "Told you it might be worth a try. Scrambled eggs for breakfast?"

Sally nodded, pulling out a chair at the kitchen table. "I've got that history class today, so I need something to wake me up."

Bridget nodded as she poured milk into Sally's bowl. "You'll do great. Oh, by the way, I have meetings downtown later. Want a lift to school in the new car?"

Sally's eyes lit up. “Wed” car! "Definitely! Riding in style! A lot better than the prison bus".

Bridget chuckled. "You bet. And after school, we can grab dinner together."

"Sounds like a plan," Sally replied, taking a spoonful of scrambled eggs. Then, after a moment's hesitation, she added, "Mom, thanks for suggesting the pull-ups. They're actually... kinda nice."

Bridget turned to face Sally fully, a warm smile on her face. "You're welcome, honey. I'm just glad they're working out for you."

"Yeah," Sally said thoughtfully. "It's like... I feel more relaxed, you know?"

Bridget nodded, understanding in her eyes. "I get it. Sometimes it's the little things that make a difference."

Sally nodded in agreement, appreciating her mom's support. As they continued their breakfast together, Sally couldn't help but feel grateful for her mom's thoughtful suggestions and their easy conversations, even about the most unexpected topics.

Later, as they were finishing up breakfast, Sally hesitated for a moment before speaking softly. "Mom, there's something else I should tell you."

Bridget paused, turning her attention fully to Sally. "What is it, sweetheart?"

Sally took a deep breath, feeling a touch of embarrassment. "Well, um... last night, I... I actually wet the pull-up."

Bridget's expression softened immediately, her eyes full of reassurance. "Hey, it's okay, Sally. No need to feel bad about it. That's what they're there for."

Sally nodded, animated by her mom's understanding. "I know, but I just didn't expect it. It was weird. I did it on purpose, in bed, when I woke up needing to pee. I just… went”, she said, in a daze.

Bridget reached out, squeezing Sally's hand gently. "I understand, sweetie. Don't worry about it. You're handling everything really well."

Sally managed a small smile, grateful for her mom's comforting words. "Thanks, Mom. I appreciate you always being so understanding."

Bridget smiled warmly. "That's what moms are for, right? To be here for you, no matter what."

After a moment of silence, Sally hesitated before asking tentatively, "Mom, does it... bother you that I wet the pull-up?"

Bridget shook her head gently. "Not at all, honey. You're a good girl, and that's what diapers are for—to make things easier and more comfortable for you."

Sally felt a rush of excitement at her mom's words. She was also relieved. "Okay. I just wanted to make sure."

Bridget leaned in, brushing a stray hair from Sally's face. "You don't ever have to worry about that with me, sweetheart. I'm here to support you, no matter what."

Sally nodded, feeling a weight lift off her shoulders. "Thanks, Mom. I love you."

Bridget smiled, pulling Sally into a hug. "I love you too, sweetheart”, she said, swatting Sally’s padded bottom. “Now, let's finish up here so I can get you to school on time. And don’t forget to change that wet pull-up!"

As they cleared the breakfast dishes together, Sally couldn't help but feel grateful for her mom's unwavering support and understanding, especially in moments that felt a bit awkward or challenging. Feeling reassured, Sally let go one more stream of pee into her already wet pull-up, for good measure.

--

Sally stood in front of her closet, her fingers tracing the familiar texture of her school uniform. The morning sunlight filtered through her window, casting a warm glow on the neatly hung clothes. As she began to dress, her mind wandered back to the conversation with her mom earlier.

"Good girl." The words lingered in Sally's thoughts. It wasn't the first time her mom had used that phrase, accompanied by a gentle smile or a pat on the shoulder. Sally liked it; it made her feel affirmed and cared for in a way that transcended their daily interactions.

But today, there was something else that struck her—her mom's mention of "diapers" in reference to the pull-ups. She had used the same words last night. And she said to “change” that pull-up. Like she was going to wear another one, like to school? She giggled at the thought, and dismissed it.

Sally furrowed her brow, though, puzzling over the choice of words. Pull-ups were different from diapers, weren't they? Diapers were for babies, or for people who couldn't control their bladder. Pull-ups were more discreet, designed for older kids and teens who might need a bit of extra help at night. Yet, her mom's casual use of the term "diapers" had stirred a new thought in Sally's mind. They certainly didn’t make full-on diapers her size, now?

Was her mom hinting at something deeper? Was she suggesting that using the pull-ups meant more than just convenience—that it was a way of being taken care of, of being seen as a "good girl" who could rely on her mom for comfort and support?

As Sally buttoned up her uniform shirt, she couldn't shake the feeling that there was a subtle message in her mom's words. Maybe it wasn't just about the practicality of the pull-ups but about the emotional reassurance they provided. It was a thought that both comforted and intrigued her.

Finished dressing, Sally smoothed down her skirt and took a deep breath. She glanced at herself in the mirror, thinking about the day ahead. History class, riding to school in the new SUV, and perhaps a deeper understanding of what her mom meant by being a "good girl" in unexpected ways.

With a newfound curiosity, Sally headed downstairs, eager to start her day yet also mulling over the philosophical implications of her mom's loving words.
 

Hello, I hope you have enjoyed my story so far. It is a story in progress, so I appreciate any feedback. I was posting it elsewhere, but I thought I might as well post it here too. I have gotten into a roll, so the chapters are getting longer. 

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On 6/18/2024 at 5:09 PM, Emmi said:

Loving it so far. She is a good mom.

Thank you. She seems to be more than just a good mom, giving unusual ideas to her teenage daughter. I am thinking Bridget might be attracted to the same thing herself - of course, with total propriety and in a whole different context. But yes, I think she will prove to be an excellent mom.

On 6/18/2024 at 8:47 PM, Dwinchester420 said:

Wasn't expecting to see a Newsboys song referenced, now I've been listening to old playlists

I am surprised anybody would recognize this song! It seems an appropiate song to wake up to. I might use up some imagination in creating a Sally playlist in this story!

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Chapter 14 – Pajamas and Politics

Sally, Katrina, and Clara dragged themselves into history class, each girl mentally preparing for the seemingly endless lecture ahead. Mr. Briggs, their super serious and patient teacher, was already at the front of the room, meticulously setting up his notes.

"Today, we’ll be discussing the formation of political parties in early America," Mr. Briggs began in his usual monotone voice.

Katrina slumped in her chair and whispered to Sally, "Why does he make everything sound like a bedtime story?"

Sally stifled a giggle. "Because he thinks we need help falling asleep."

Clara, always the diligent student, tried to focus but couldn’t help smiling at her friends' comments. "Shh, we have to pay attention," she whispered, though her tone lacked conviction.

Mr. Briggs turned to the class. "Who can tell me about the Federalists?"

Katrina raised her hand half-heartedly. "Um, they liked banks and stuff, right?"

Mr. Briggs sighed but nodded. "Yes, Katrina, the Federalists, led by Alexander Hamilton, believed in a strong central government and supported the creation of a national bank."

Katrina leaned over to Sally. "Hamilton would’ve been all about online banking," she whispered, causing Sally to snort.

"Okay, who can explain the beliefs of the Democratic-Republicans?" Mr. Briggs asked, his gaze sweeping the room.

Clara raised her hand, trying to muster some enthusiasm. "They wanted more power for the states and were against a strong central government... right?"

"Correct," Mr. Briggs said. "The Democratic-Republicans, led by Thomas Jefferson, believed in agrarianism and were wary of centralized power."

Sally leaned in to Clara. "Jefferson would’ve been a fan of local farmers' markets."

Clara chuckled quietly. "Totally. And probably anti-big grocery stores."

Mr. Briggs droned on about the conflicts between Hamilton and Jefferson, the girls’ attention drifting in and out. Despite their lack of interest, they dutifully answered his questions, albeit hesitantly and sometimes incorrectly. Sally’s mind drifted. She almost wished she was wearing her pull-ups. She missed having the padding between her legs. She could do with a pee, she thought, wistfully.

"Can anyone tell me a specific conflict that arose between these two parties?" Mr. Briggs asked.

Sally raised her hand slowly. "Um, didn’t they argue about... trade with France?"

Mr. Briggs frowned slightly. "Not exactly. They argued more about trade policies and foreign relations in general. The Federalists favored closer ties with Britain, while the Democratic-Republicans leaned towards France."

"Oops," Sally whispered to Katrina. "Wrong country."

"At least you tried," Katrina whispered back with a grin.

As the lecture continued, the girls whispered teasing jokes to each other to pass the time.

"Did you hear Hamilton's favorite music?" Katrina whispered. "Federalist Rock."

Clara couldn’t help but giggle at that. "And Jefferson would totally be into indie folk music."

Their quiet jokes and whispers made the dull class a bit more bearable, and Mr. Briggs, while aware of their waning interest, appreciated their efforts to stay engaged. He was patient with their mistakes and gentle in his corrections, knowing that history might not be their favorite subject but hoping to instill at least a basic understanding.

Finally, Mr. Briggs wrapped up the lecture. "For homework, please read the next chapter on the early challenges of the new government. And remember, understanding our history helps us understand our present."

As they packed up their things, Katrina sighed dramatically. "I can’t believe we survived another history class."

Clara adjusted her glasses, her eyes twinkling with amusement. "We should get a medal."

Sally laughed. "At least we have each other to get through it."

--

Walking out of the classroom, the three friends felt a renewed sense of camaraderie. They might not love history, but together, they could make even the most boring subjects bearable. And in their whispers and jokes, they found the strength to face another day of school.

Clara left for her chess practice. Sally and Katrina, on the other hand, were off to volleyball practice.

Sally and Katrina walked together, their laughter echoing through the hallway. Sally, with her quiet demeanor, found a burst of energy in Katrina’s vibrant personality. Katrina, originally from Colombia, had a way of turning every moment into an adventure, and today was no different.

"Vamos, Sally! We need to get to practice," Katrina exclaimed, her eyes sparkling with excitement.

Sally smiled, adjusting her backpack. "You’re always so eager, Katrina. What's your secret?"

"It’s the love for the game! And maybe a bit of Colombian coffee," Katrina winked. “And I get to see you naked”, she teased.

Sally groaned. She was never going to outlive her initial shock at being forced to take a shower… in front of all the team. Team rules stated showers were mandatory, and she hadn’t been aware when signing on the volleyball team. Katrina hadn’t told her either.

They made their way to the locker room, where they changed out of their school uniforms and into their team uniform, joining the rest of the team for warm-up. As they jogged around the gym, Katrina kept the mood light with jokes and stories. Sally, usually reserved, found herself laughing and sharing more than she normally would, avoiding, of course, any car crash related topics.

“Hey, guess what? My mom bought a new car!”, Sally exclaimed.

“Ooh, what did she get?”, asked Katrina.

“It's a really cool "wed"... uh, I mean, red SUV”, Sally said, in a fluster over her gaffe.

“A "wed" SUV? Is that like a wedding car?”, asked Katrina, in mock innocence.

“No, no, I meant red. It's a red SUV, okay? Stop laughing!”, Sally said, mortified.

“Alright, alright. So, when are you giving us all a ride in this fancy "wed" SUV?”

The other girls in the team giggled, at Katrina’s famous teasing.

“Ugh, you're impossible, Katrina”, Sally said, rolling her eyes.

The girls spread out as they finished jogging.

Dynamic stretches were next, and Katrina led the group with exaggerated arm circles and leg swings. “Let’s go, chicas! Feel the burn!” she cheered, earning a mix of groans and giggles from the team.

Coach Hanna called out: “Katrina, enough comedy, this is serious stuff!”

After warm-up, they split into pairs for skill development. Sally and Katrina paired up, starting with passing drills. Katrina’s powerful passes kept Sally on her toes, and Sally’s precise returns pushed Katrina to stay sharp.

"Good one, Sally!" Katrina praised after a particularly challenging pass.

"Thanks! You’re making me work for it," Sally panted, but she was smiling. She was sorry, though, not to have used the bathroom earlier. She needed a break.

Next was serving practice. Katrina demonstrated her serve with a flourish, hitting the target almost effortlessly. Sally, inspired, took her turn. Her first serve went wide, but Katrina was quick to encourage her.

"Don’t worry, amiga. Focus on your form. You’ve got this," she said, giving Sally a reassuring pat on the back.

Sally’s next serve was on point, and they high-fived. “See? Perfecto!” Katrina exclaimed.

During the 6-on-6 scrimmage, Katrina’s voice was a constant presence, calling out plays, encouraging her teammates, and making everyone feel included.

Sally, feeding off Katrina’s energy, played one of her best games, diving for digs and setting up perfect assists. She only wished she had Goodnite under her shorts, as she was bursting to pee.

After the scrimmage, they moved to defensive drills. Katrina, always fearless, threw herself into every block and dig with gusto, while Sally found her rhythm, matching Katrina’s intensity. But her bladder pressure gave her an edge of anxiety.

As practice wound down, they finished with a serve-receive drill, rotating positions and working on their communication. By the end, everyone was exhausted but satisfied with their hard work.

Sally rushed into the locker room, and shut herself in the toilet, sweet relief coursing through her body. She frowned at having waited for so long to use the bathroom.

In the locker room, the girls were still buzzing with post-practice energy. Sally and Katrina, side by side, chatted about the day as they grabbed their towels and joined the other naked girls in the showers.

“You were amazing out there, Sally,” Katrina said sincerely.

“Thanks to you, Katrina. You really know how to bring out the best in people,” Sally replied, her gratitude genuine.

They shared a shower, the hot water soothing their tired muscles. Steam filled the air, and their voices echoed softly against the tiles. Katrina hummed a tune, a popular Colombian song, and Sally listened, feeling a sense of calm and camaraderie.

“Katrina, can you teach me that song?” Sally asked, rinsing the shampoo from her hair.

“Of course! It’s a top hit in Colombia,” Katrina said, her voice proud. She began to sing louder, and Sally joined in, their voices blending in some sort of harmony. The rest of the team cheered and clapped, as the girls continued their impromptu karaoke.

In that moment, surrounded by the steam and the echoes of their song, Sally realized that volleyball practice was more than just drills and games. It was about friendship, support, and the joy of sharing experiences with someone who made everything brighter.

--

Bridget sat in her car, the soft hum of the engine the only sound breaking the silence. She looked over at the screen photo on her iPhone—a picture of her and Sally at the beach last summer, both of them smiling wide, arms wrapped around each other. It was hard to believe how much had changed since the car accident.

She glanced at her phone, seeing no messages from Sally. That was good, as she was supposed to be in class, she remembered. Sally had been so resilient after the crash. Bridget had been terrified that the experience would leave lasting scars, that Sally would struggle with fear and anxiety. But instead, Sally seemed happier, more communicative, and closer to her than ever before. It was as if the crash had awakened something positive in her.

Yet, Bridget couldn't shake her conflicting feelings. Sally had started expressing what she called her "little" side, finding comfort in things that reminded her of childhood—especially wearing footed pajamas and, most surprisingly, pull-ups. What seemed to have been more of a joke, had turned into the real deal. Bridget had found her daughter not just wearing them, but using them too. At first, it had been shocking, but then she noticed how at ease and content Sally seemed.

Bridget found herself in a constant tug-of-war between concern and acceptance. She had to admit, Sally did look adorably cute in those infantile pajamas. More importantly, Sally was happier than she'd seen her in a long time. She was more open, bold in expressing herself, and their bond had deepened in ways Bridget had never expected.

But was it okay to let this continue? Should she be encouraging Sally to explore her "little" side, or was she leading her down a path that might not be healthy in the long run? Bridget's mind buzzed with questions and worries. She wanted to support Sally in whatever made her feel safe and happy, but she also wanted to ensure she was doing the right thing as a mother.

Bridget sighed and picked up her phone, scrolling to Pamela's contact. Her psychologist friend had always been a source of wisdom and comfort, especially when it came to matters of mental health and well-being. Maybe Pamela would have the answers she was looking for.

With a determined nod, Bridget decided to text Pamela and ask if they could meet up. She needed to talk this through with someone who could provide clarity and guidance. She typed out a quick message:

"Hey Pam, can we meet for coffee? I need to talk to you about something important. It's about Sally. Thanks!"

As she hit send, Bridget felt a small wave of relief wash over her. Talking to Pamela would help her sort through her thoughts and find the best way to support Sally. She only wanted what was best for her daughter, and with a little help from her friend, she was confident she could figure out the right path forward.

--

Bridget and Pamela met at their favorite coffee shop, a cozy little place with comfy chairs and a relaxing atmosphere. Bridget was visibly anxious, and Pamela could see the worry etched on her friend's face. After ordering their drinks and settling in, Bridget took a deep breath and began to speak.

"Pam, you already know about the car accident Sally and I had. It was terrifying, and I was so worried she'd be traumatized by it. But instead, she seems... different. In a good way, I think? She's been happier, more communicative, and she's even gotten really close to me. It's like she's a new person."

Pamela's eyes widened slightly, a mix of surprise and relief. "That's wonderful, Bridget! I’m so glad you only told me after it was over… I would have been worried sick. And Sally being so calm and strong. I mean, it's great that she's not showing signs of PTSD. But you seem a bit hesitant. Is there something else on your mind?"

Bridget nodded, her fingers nervously playing with the edge of her cup. "Well, yes. It's a bit unusual. Sally's been expressing what she calls her 'little' side. She suddenly loves wearing infantile pajamas, like footed ones, and she's even taken to wearing pull-ups. And, um, using them too. I didn't know what to think at first. Is this normal?"

Pamela paused for a moment, then leaned back in her chair with a thoughtful look on her face. "Bridget, this might actually be a sign of something called Post Traumatic Growth, or PTG. It's when someone experiences positive psychological changes after dealing with a really stressful situation. It's like Sally's found a way to cope and come out stronger on the other side."

"PTG, huh? That's interesting. But the pull-ups and footed pajamas?" Bridget asked, her brow furrowing in confusion.

Pamela nodded thoughtfully. "Yes, PTG can manifest in many ways. It's a process where individuals develop new strengths, perspectives, and coping mechanisms after a traumatic event. Sally's behavior might be her way of reconnecting with a sense of safety and simplicity. Have you noticed any other changes in her behavior, like new interests or shifts in her social interactions?"

Bridget took a moment to think. "Well, she's been more open about her feelings, which is new. She's also taken up drawing and painting a lot more. Her art has a kind of childlike whimsy to it. And she seems to enjoy spending more time with me, like she's seeking more comfort and closeness."

Pamela smiled. "Those are good signs, Bridget. They suggest that Sally is finding creative and emotional outlets to process her experience. It might be helpful to consider how her new behaviors make her feel. Have you talked to her about why she likes the footed pajamas and pull-ups?"

Bridget shook her head. "Not in depth. I was worried it might embarrass her or make her feel judged. I have asked her, and she said it makes her feel safe and happy, but we didn't go much deeper than that. It’s mostly what she has volunteered"

Pamela leaned in slightly. "It might be worth exploring those feelings with her, in a gentle and non-judgmental way. Understanding her perspective can help you support her better. Sometimes, these behaviors are about regaining a sense of control and comfort. Also, have you noticed any signs of distress or anxiety in her, or is she generally more relaxed now?"

Bridget considered this. "She does seem more relaxed overall. There haven't been any nightmares or panic attacks, which I was really worried about. But sometimes, she'll get really quiet and thoughtful, like she's processing something deep inside."

Pamela nodded and reached across the table to squeeze Bridget's hand. "That introspection is part of the healing process. You're doing great, Bridget. Just keep being there for Sally, and don't hesitate to seek support for yourself too. You're both on this journey together, and it's okay to take it one step at a time."

Bridget smiled, feeling more at ease with the path ahead. "Thanks, Pam. I really needed to hear that. We'll take it one step at a time, together. Pull-ups! Who would have thought. And I sort of suggested that myself as a joke, to match her footed pajamas", she shook her head in amazement.

Pamela chuckled softly. "Everyone copes differently. Some people take up yoga, others start painting, and some find comfort in things that remind them of a simpler, safer time. If wearing footed pajamas and pull-ups makes Sally feel secure and happy, then it sounds like she's found a way to deal with her stress that's harmless and even kind of adorable."

Bridget laughed, the tension in her shoulders easing slightly. "Adorable? Well, she does look very cute in those pajamas. Even more when she’s got a Pull-up underneath. It's just so unexpected. I mean, she’s 14!"

"True, but think about it. She's gone through a really scary experience, and she's found a way to feel safe and close to you. It's a bit unconventional, sure, but it's also a sign that she's healing and growing. Maybe she’s found a quirky way to express her feelings and feel in control again," Pamela suggested.

"I guess when you put it that way, it does sound like she's handling things pretty well. And honestly, I do enjoy the extra closeness we've developed. It's like we're connecting on a whole new level," Bridget admitted, a soft smile tugging at her lips.

Pamela smiled warmly. "There you go! Embrace the new normal, Bridget. Maybe you can even join her in the pajama fun. Who knows, you might find it comforting too. Just don’t expect me to join the pajama party!", she laughed.

"Oh, I don't know if I'm ready for footed pajamas just yet, but I'll keep an open mind. Thanks, Pam. You always know how to put things in perspective," Bridget said, feeling a surge of gratitude for her friend.

"Anytime, Bridget. Remember, growth can come in the most unexpected forms. If Sally’s happy and healthy, then you’re both doing something right. And hey, at least you don't have to worry about her running out of clean pajamas!" Pamela joked, eliciting a genuine laugh from Bridget.

The weight seemed to lift from Bridget's shoulders as they continued to chat. She felt more at ease with the changes in Sally, ready to support her daughter in her unique journey of healing and growth.

After a moment of comfortable silence, Bridget sipped her coffee and contemplated Pamela's words. "Pam, how much should I let Sally wander into this rabbit hole? Should I be encouraging her, or is there a point where I need to step in and set some boundaries?"

Pamela set down her cup, her expression thoughtful yet reassuring. "Bridget, I think it's important to let Sally explore this side of herself. Encourage her to find what makes her feel safe and happy. It's much better for her to feel comfortable sharing these things with you than for her to hide them out of fear or shame. Your support can make all the difference in how she navigates this experience."

"So, you think I should just let her go with it? Even if it means wearing pull-ups and footed pajamas… maybe other stuff?" Bridget asked, her concern still evident but mingled with hope. She was thinking about the Pajama Factory, with all the “accessories” sized up for grown-ups.

"Within reason, yes. You know Sally best, and you can help guide her. If she's using these things as a way to cope and it's not harming her or anyone else, then it's a healthy form of self-expression. She'll feel more secure knowing she has your support. Just keep an open dialogue with her. Ask her how she feels and what she needs," Pamela advised gently.

Bridget nodded, feeling a bit more reassured. "I suppose you're right. I just want to make sure I'm doing the best thing for her. She's been through so much, and I don't want to make any mistakes."

"You're already doing great, Bridget. The fact that you're concerned and thinking about what's best for Sally shows how much you care. Just continue to be there for her. If her interest in these things starts to interfere with her daily life or social interactions, you can gently steer her back. But for now, let her explore in a safe and supportive environment," Pamela encouraged.

"It makes sense. I want her to feel comfortable and accepted for who she is, especially after what we've been through. I'll talk to her and make sure she knows she can come to me with anything," Bridget resolved, feeling more confident in her approach.

"Exactly. Parental nurture is so much better than leaving her to her own devices. Imagine how much harder it would be for her if she felt she had to hide her needs and preferences from you. By being open and supportive, you're giving her the best chance to grow positively from this experience," Pamela affirmed.

"Thanks, Pam. I really needed to hear that. I'll do my best to support Sally and help her navigate this. And maybe I'll even think about getting myself a pair of footed pajamas for those cold nights," Bridget said with a laugh.

Pamela laughed too, her eyes twinkling. "Now that's the spirit! You might start a new family tradition. And remember, I'm always here if you need to talk or if you have any more questions. We're all figuring this out as we go."

Feeling much lighter, Bridget smiled and reached across the table to squeeze Pamela's hand. The two friends continued their conversation, chatting and laughing, knowing that no matter what challenges came their way, they had each other's support. Bridget felt ready to embrace Sally's unique journey, confident that with love and understanding, they could navigate anything together.

--

Sally, Katrina, and Clara reunited at their favorite spot in the schoolyard after their respective activities. Sally and Katrina had just finished a grueling volleyball practice, while Clara had been immersed in a challenging chess match. The trio quickly fell into their usual rhythm of witty banter and playful teasing.

Katrina tossed her volleyball bag to the ground and stretched dramatically. "¡Ay, Dios mío! That practice was killer. I swear Coach Hanna is trying to turn us into volleyball robots."

Sally laughed, her face still flushed from the hot shower. "Tell me about it. My arms feel like jelly. But at least we survived."

Clara, ever the calm and collected one, adjusted her glasses and smiled. "I think you two did great. I could almost hear Coach Hanna yelling grom the gym."

Sally beamed. "Thanks, Clara. How was the chess match?"

Clara shrugged modestly. "Oh, you know, just another victory. I managed to corner Kyle in 20 moves."

Katrina let out a low whistle. "You're a chess wizard, Clara. Kyle's no pushover."

Clara grinned. "It's all about strategy and patience. Speaking of which, Sally, how are you feeling about the upcoming history test?"

Sally's smile faded slightly. "Honestly, I'm a bit nervous. History's never been my strong suit, and Mr. Briggs' monotone lectures don't help."

Katrina snickered. "Yeah, Mr. Briggs could make a rollercoaster ride sound boring. 'And then the rollercoaster ascended the hill at a 45-degree angle...'"

Clara chuckled. "True, but the material is interesting if you give it a chance. How about I come over and help you review?"

Sally's eyes lit up with relief. "Really? That would be amazing, Clara. I could definitely use the help."

"Of course," Clara replied warmly. "You're a great student, Sally. You're very intelligent, and you're a very good girl", she said, holding on Sally’s arm.

Sally blushed at the compliment, her cheeks turning a shade darker than her flushed post-practice face. "Thanks, Clara. That means a lot coming from you."

Katrina nodded in agreement. "Sally's the best. A good girl and a great friend."

Sally's blush deepened, and she waved her hands dismissively. "Alright, alright, enough with the flattery. Let's talk about something less embarrassing."

Katrina grinned mischievously. "Like how you tripped over your own feet during the warm-up? Or maybe the “wed” car?

Sally groaned. "Oh, come on, Katrina! I thought we agreed never to speak of that again."

Clara laughed, the sound clear and bright. "Don't worry, Sally. Everyone has their clumsy moments. Besides, it's what makes you endearing. What’s this about a “wed” car?”.

Sally grimaced. “Nothing”.

Katrina slung an arm around Sally's shoulders. "Yeah, you're our favorite klutz."

Sally rolled her eyes but couldn't suppress a smile. "You two are impossible."

As the laughter died down, Clara turned to Sally with a serious expression. "So, when should I come over? We can go over the key points from the last few chapters and maybe make some flashcards."

Sally thought for a moment. "How about tomorrow right after dinner? My mom won't mind, and we can have some snacks while we study."

"Sounds perfect," Clara agreed. "I'll bring my notes and some highlighters."

Katrina clapped her hands together. "Great! While you two brainiacs hit the books, I'll be at home, with a hot bath and a movie."

Sally laughed. "Lucky you. Only Katrina to have a big-ass TV in her bathroom. But seriously, thanks, Clara. I really appreciate the help."

Clara smiled. "Anytime, Sally. We're in this together."

With plans set and spirits high, the three friends headed home, ready to tackle whatever challenges came their way, whether it was a history test or the next volleyball match. And as Sally walked beside her friends, she felt a renewed sense of confidence, knowing she had their unwavering support.

She was looking forward to going out to dinner with her mother. She was glad she had bought the red SUV, as it was easily identifiable in the middle of all the other parent’s cars.

As the three girls chatted animatedly, a shiny new red SUV pulled up to the curb. Bridget rolled down the window, smiling warmly at the trio.

"Hey girls! How was practice?" Bridget called out.

Sally's face lit up as she waved. "Hi, Mom! Practice was tough, but fun. And guess what? Clara won her chess match in twenty moves!"

Bridget's eyes widened in admiration. "Wow, Clara! That's impressive. Congratulations!"

Clara blushed slightly, adjusting her glasses. "Thank you, Mrs. B."

Katrina pointed at the SUV, her eyes twinkling with curiosity. "So this is the famous “wed” SUV, huh? It looks amazing!"

Bridget beamed with pride. "Yep, this is it! I'm glad you like it. Do you girls need a ride home?"

Sally immediately looked at her friends, hopeful. "Do you guys want a lift?"

Clara shook her head politely. "Thanks, Mrs. Bridget, but my mom's picking me up today."

Katrina grinned and waved her hand. "Mine too. But thanks!"

Bridget nodded understandingly. "Alright then. The offer's always open. Sally, hop in. We've got some plans tonight, remember?"

Sally rolled her eyes playfully. "Yes, Mom. Clara's coming over to help me study tomorrow after dinner."

Clara nodded enthusiastically. "Yes, I'll be there. See you, Sally!"

"Bye, Sally! Bye, Mrs. Bridget!" Katrina added with a cheerful wave.

"Bye, girls!" Bridget replied, waving back as Sally climbed into the SUV.

As Bridget drove off, Sally looked out the window, smiling at her friends. "They're the best, Mom."

Bridget glanced at her daughter and smiled warmly. "They really are, Sally. You're lucky to have such great friends."

Sally nodded in agreement as they headed home, feeling grateful for her supportive friends and family.

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I think you are going overboard with the positive reinforcement—I mean, for instance, what 14-year-old would compliment another by calling her a "good girl"?—but it's still a cute piece.

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1 hour ago, kerry said:

I think you are going overboard with the positive reinforcement—I mean, for instance, what 14-year-old would compliment another by calling her a "good girl"?—but it's still a cute piece.

That’s a good question. We need to keep in mind that we’re talking about best friends, so this kind of treatment, although not really acceptable in a normal setting, is appropiate to their close relationship, friendly condescending and where such language is definitley not taboo. But thanks for the comment, I will try and not be too liberal with this kind of vocabulary amongst BFFs. Cheers!

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Really enjoying this story, I am finding that slow ‘regression’ is a favorite and the fact that this has a sort of innocence instead of forcing is great. I am curious if the mother will stay just her mom or if she will join her daughter’s little play. 

While not all stories have to do so, her friends might also join in eventually. Will be cool to see what happens when/if she starts wearing pull-ups to school. 

Can’t wait for the next installment!

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2 hours ago, AnythingWillDo said:

Really enjoying this story, I am finding that slow ‘regression’ is a favorite and the fact that this has a sort of innocence instead of forcing is great. I am curious if the mother will stay just her mom or if she will join her daughter’s little play. 

While not all stories have to do so, her friends might also join in eventually. Will be cool to see what happens when/if she starts wearing pull-ups to school. 

Can’t wait for the next installment!

Thank you! I wonder about the girls, since they are such good friends. The mother, however, should she feel the urge to indulge, it would never be to her daughter’s knowledge. That just wouldn’t stick. Maybe some kind of side story, but I’m not convinced.

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I want to say how much I am enjoying this story.  A loving mother and daughter, with a slow dive into the diaper scene, is a refreshing change from the usual evil mom/stepmom - abused child trope, where the author wastes no time setting about humiliating the kid to the max.  It's an added plus that this is written really well.  Looking forward to more.

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4 hours ago, littlebopeeper said:

I want to say how much I am enjoying this story.  A loving mother and daughter, with a slow dive into the diaper scene, is a refreshing change from the usual evil mom/stepmom - abused child trope, where the author wastes no time setting about humiliating the kid to the max.  It's an added plus that this is written really well.  Looking forward to more.

Thank you very much. As much as domination/humiliation has its attraction, it does so between consenting adults. Children need to be nurtured, fostered in their experimentarion of life. Once again, I appreciate your comment!

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22 hours ago, Jayme said:

I'm finding this story intriguing and exciting. Thank you for sharing it with us here

Thank you very much. I am glad you enjoy it!

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Chapter 15 - Secret

After the exhausting day, Bridget and Sally headed home, excited for a relaxing evening at "Il Duomo," their favorite trattoria. As they pulled into the driveway, Bridget turned to Sally with a smile. "Why don't you change into something more comfortable and a bit social, Sally? We're going to Il Duomo, after all."

Sally skipped up to her bedroom, glad to get out of her school uniform. Her mind buzzed with conflicting thoughts. The idea of wearing her Goodnites during her day to day activities had dragged on all day on her mind. Now, the thought struck her: Should she wear her Goodnites to the restaurant? After all, a 14-year-old shouldn't be wearing pull-ups. It was one thing to wear them to bed, mostly due to the footed pajamas, but wasn’t wearing pull-ups under her normal clothes a bit unusual?

She paused at her bedroom door, her hand resting on the doorknob. Maybe it was unusual. Most girls her age definitely didn’t wear pull-ups, especially not out in public. What if someone found out? She felt a pang of embarrassment at the thought. Yet, there was a thrill to the idea too, a secret excitement that made her heart race.

As she entered her room, she was momentarily surprised to find it spotless, a reminder that today was Dolores' cleaning day.

Frowning, she scanned her room, worried and embarrassed at the thought that Dolores might have seen her Goodnites packages, one of them already opened. Her heart skipped a beat when she realized the package wasn't where she'd left it, right by her bed on the floor. Panicked, she searched around until she found the Goodnites packages neatly tucked away in her walk-in closet, right beside her pajamas and sanitary pads supply. She sighed with relief and a bit of embarrassment, but decided to go ahead with her plan.

She bit her lip, standing in the closet. Wearing pull-ups to bed felt safe and comforting, almost like a part of her bedtime routine, even now. But wearing them under her regular clothes? That was a whole different story. It felt a bit naughty, daring even. And there was that curiosity she couldn’t shake. What would it feel like to wear them out, to have that secret just for herself while she was out in the world?

Sally’s thoughts raced. On one hand, it seemed silly and childish. What if someone noticed? But on the other hand, it was a secret experiment, something that made her feel unique and brave in a strange way. She was curious, and that curiosity was hard to ignore.

She took a deep breath and made up her mind. Why not? It wasn’t like anyone would see them. And it would be her little secret, something just for her to know. Plus, it added a bit of fun to the evening, a bit of mischievousness that made her smile.

With a determined nod, she kicked off her shoes and pulled off her tights and underwear, grabbing a pull-up from the package. She slipped it on, feeling the soft padding and a strange sense of comfort. Then she carefully pulled her tights back on over the pull-up. It was a bit tricky, but she managed. Finally, she found a short black dress that would cover her pull-up perfectly.

Sally looked at herself in the mirror, smoothing down her dress. It looked good, stylish even. She kept her blouse on but swapped her school crest sweater for a more fashionable one. She felt a sense of accomplishment, a secret pride in her little adventure.

As she skipped back downstairs to her mother, she felt a mix of excitement and nervousness. But mostly, she felt daring and a bit naughty, thrilled by the secret she carried with her. Ready for the evening, she smiled at Bridget. "Let's go, Mom!" she said, feeling a newfound confidence.

Bridget smiled back, not noticing anything out of place. "You look lovely, Sally. Ready for some supper?"

"Definitely!" Sally replied, her eyes sparkling with excitement. She felt a rush of excitement as they headed out, ready to enjoy the evening with her little secret safely hidden away.

As they drove off, the sun began to dip below the horizon, painting the sky with hues of orange and pink. Sally felt a sense of anticipation and joy bubbling up inside her. She loved these moments with her mother, and tonight felt like it would be extra special.

They arrived at Il Duomo, the familiar scent of garlic and fresh bread wafting through the air as they stepped inside. The cozy atmosphere and friendly staff made them feel right at home. Bridget and Sally were quickly seated at their favorite corner table, where they could watch the bustling kitchen and enjoy the warmth of the wood-fired oven.

Sally felt a mix of excitement and contentment. The evening promised good food, great company, and the comforting knowledge that she could be herself around her mother, even with her little secrets. She glanced at Bridget, who was looking over the menu with a smile.

"What do you feel like having tonight, Sally?" Bridget asked, glancing up.

"Maybe the “Risotto ai funghi porcini”," Sally replied, her stomach growling at the thought.

"Excellent choice," Bridget said with a grin, fondly remembering when Sally’s version of Italian cousine was Mac and Cheese. "And perhaps we can share a tiramisu for dessert?"

Sally nodded enthusiastically, feeling a wave of happiness wash over her. As they chatted and laughed, the worries of the day melted away, replaced by the joy of being together and the anticipation of the delicious meal to come.

For Sally, the evening was perfect. She felt safe and loved, surrounded by the familiar comforts of her favorite restaurant and the unwavering support of her mother. And as they enjoyed their meal, she couldn't help but feel grateful for the special bond they shared, one that made even the most ordinary days feel extraordinary.

"So, how was school today?" Bridget asked as she took a sip of her San Pellegrino.

Sally smiled, playing with the edge of her napkin. "It was good. We had a pretty intense volleyball practice, and Clara won her chess match in twenty moves. And, of course, Mr. Briggs droned on about the formation of political parties again."

Bridget chuckled. "Mr. Briggs and his monotone lectures. Well, at least you have Clara and Katrina to keep things interesting."

Sally nodded enthusiastically. "Definitely. They make even the most boring classes bearable."

After placing their orders, the conversation drifted to Bridget's work. "The fundraising event for the charity is coming along nicely," Bridget said. "As a project manager, I have to make sure everything runs smoothly. Lots of planning and organizing."

"That sounds like a lot of work," Sally replied, genuinely impressed. "But I know you're great at it, Mom."

Bridget smiled warmly. "Thanks, sweetheart. Speaking of planning, we need to talk about our home plans for the week. What do you think we should have for dinner tomorrow?"

Sally thought for a moment, tapping her chin playfully. "How about tacos? We haven't had those in a while. And I love it when we make them together."

Bridget's eyes twinkled. "Tacos it is! I love our taco nights too. I'll make sure to get all the ingredients. Maybe we can try making a new salsa recipe?"

Sally's face lit up with excitement. "That sounds awesome! Maybe we could add some pineapple to the salsa? I read about it online, and it seems like a fun twist."

"Great idea! Pineapple it is," Bridget agreed, making a mental note. "We also need to pick up some groceries. Do you need anything specific?"

"Maybe some more of that yogurt I like," Sally suggested. "The one with the fruit on the bottom. And we're almost out of cereal. Oh, and can we get those mini muffins for breakfast? They're so good."

Bridget nodded, pulling out her phone to jot down the items. "Got it. Yogurt, cereal, and mini muffins. Anything else you can think of?"

Sally paused, thinking. "Hmm, maybe some more fruit? I've been loving those mandarin oranges you got last time."

"Sure thing," Bridget said, adding mandarin oranges to the list. "And speaking of tasks, don't forget to do your laundry this weekend. You know how important it is to stay on top of it, especially with your pull-ups."

Sally nodded, seeming comfortable with the topic. "I know, Mom. I'll make sure to wash everything properly. But it’s not like they cause extra laundry. But I actually don't mind doing laundry. It's kind of relaxing."

Bridget raised an eyebrow playfully. "Relaxing, huh? Maybe you can take over all the laundry duties then."

Sally laughed, shaking her head. "Nice try, Mom. I said it's kind of relaxing, not that I want to do it all the time."

Bridget chuckled. "Fair enough. But seriously, it's important to stay on top of it. You know how quickly things can pile up."

"Yeah, I do," Sally agreed. "Especially with my volleyball practice clothes. They get pretty sweaty."

Bridget nodded, her expression thoughtful. "You work so hard at practice. I'm really proud of you, Sally. Balancing school, sports, and everything else isn't easy."

Sally smiled, feeling a warm glow of pride. "Thanks, Mom. It helps to have your support. And, well, the pull-ups make things a bit easier too", Slly said, looking down.

Bridget took a deep breath, looking at her daughter with a mix of pride and curiosity. "Sally, are you comfortable with the pull-ups arrangement? I want to make sure you're okay with everything."

Sally hesitated for a moment, her heart racing as she contemplated whether to share her secret. Finally, she leaned in, lowering her voice slightly. "Actually, Mom, I'm wearing a Goodnite right now."

Bridget's eyes widened slightly in surprise, her mind processing this unexpected revelation. She quickly composed herself, her expression softening with understanding. "Really? How do you feel about that?"

Sally shrugged, a small smile playing on her lips. "Honestly, it's practical. It makes me feel secure. I find I get so anxious about needing to use the toilet, but this might help."

Bridget nodded thoughtfully, her mind racing with reflections. She remembered all the times Sally had rushed home from school, her face flushed with embarrassment, frantically searching for the bathroom. The times when Sally had been too afraid to ask for a bathroom pass during class, leading to anxious moments and close calls. Seeing her daughter now, more confident and open, Bridget felt a wave of relief.

"I can see how that would make a big difference," Bridget said, her voice gentle. "I'm glad it helps you feel more comfortable. Do you think you would find it practical for other situations, like school?"

Sally looked down at her hands, fiddling with the edge of her napkin. "Yeah, I think so," she said slowly, as if measuring each word. "It might make things easier, and I won’t have to worry as much. Plus, it's kind of nice having that little secret, something that helps me feel more in control”, she said, giving a timid smile.

Bridget watched her daughter closely, noticing the mix of emotions playing across her face. She could see the flicker of vulnerability in Sally's eyes, mingled with a newfound curiosity. Bridget felt a deep sense of pride, recognizing the courage it took for Sally to share something so personal.

"I realize now how stressed you must be about needing the bathroom at school," Bridget said softly. "It must be such a relief not to have that constant worry hanging over you."

Sally nodded, her eyes meeting her mother's. "I guess so, Mom. I dread it, sometimes. I'll be sitting in class, trying to concentrate, but all I can think about sometimes is whether I'll make it to the bathroom in time. The Goodnites just... take that fear away, I think."

Bridget reached across the table, gently squeezing Sally's hand. "I'm so glad to hear that, honey. You deserve to feel safe and secure. So you don’t think you’ll feel uncomfortable or embarrassed about wearing them?"

Sally thought for a moment, her brow furrowing slightly. "Not really," she admitted. "At first, I worry about what people would think if they found out. But then I realize that no one can tell. It's just my little secret. And it makes me feel better, so why should I be ashamed?"

Bridget's heart swelled with admiration. "That's a wonderful perspective, Sally. It's so important to do what makes you feel comfortable and confident, regardless of what others might think. I'm really proud of you for finding a way to cope with your anxiety."

Sally smiled, her eyes shining with gratitude. "Thanks, Mom. It means a lot to hear you say that."

 

Chissà se tu mi penserai

Se con gli amici parlerai

Per non soffrire più per me

Ma non è facile lo sai

 

A scuola non ne posso più

E i pomeriggi senza te

Studiare è inutile, tutte le idee si affollano su te

Non è possibile dividere la vita di noi due

Ti prego aspettami amore mio

Ma illuderti non so!

 

Mother and daughter enjoyed the Italian music on the background for a while they waited for their food. But inevitably conversation ensued about mundane subjects.

They paused as their waiter arrived with their food, the delicious aroma filling the air. As they began to eat, the conversation continued, weaving through various topics. They talked about school projects, upcoming volleyball matches, and plans for the weekend. The easy flow of their discussion made the trattoria feel even more like a safe haven, a place where they could share anything and everything.

Bridget took a moment to reflect on how far Sally had come. The pull-ups, initially a source of concern and confusion, had become a symbol of Sally's resilience and ability to adapt. Bridget realized that her daughter was navigating her journey in her own unique way, and it was her role to support and encourage that growth.

As they enjoyed their meal, Bridget decided to address one last question that was nagging her. She wanted to ensure Sally knew there were no topics too sensitive or embarrassing to discuss.

"Sally, can I ask you something a bit more personal?" Bridget said gently, setting down her fork.

Sally looked up, curiosity and a hint of nervousness in her eyes. "Sure, Mom. What is it?"

"Have you, um, used your Goodnite tonight? Are you wet?" Bridget asked, her tone careful and kind, but to the point.

Sally's cheeks turned a deeper shade of red, and she hesitated before answering. "No, I haven't. Not yet, anyways", she said, giving a sly smile.

Bridget nodded, relief and understanding washing over her. "That's perfectly okay, Sally. I'm just glad you're feeling more comfortable and secure."

Sally looked down at her plate, her voice barely above a whisper. "Thanks for being so cool about it, Mom. It really helps."

Bridget reached over and squeezed Sally's hand again. "Of course, sweetheart. We're a team, and we can talk about anything. I'm here for you, no matter what."

The rest of the evening was filled with laughter, delicious food, and the comforting knowledge that no matter what challenges came their way, they could always face them together. For Bridget, the night reaffirmed the deep bond she shared with her daughter. For Sally, it was a reminder that she was loved and accepted just as she was, Goodnites and all.

Sally couldn’t help but wet her Goodnite as they waited for the valet to drive their car up to the door. She was becoming more at ease with the process. As they left Il Duomo, the stars twinkling above, both felt a renewed sense of connection and gratitude, ready to face whatever the future held. Sally basked in the pleasure of a wet Goodnite while seated in the comfortable leather seat in her mother’s “wed” SUV.

--

When Bridget and Sally arrived home, the garage door closed behind them with a quiet hum. They stepped out of the car, and Bridget suggested, "How about we spend the rest of the evening watching TV in my room? We can catch up on that series we've been meaning to watch."

Sally's face lit up. "I'd love that, Mom! But you know, I might end up falling asleep on your bed."

Bridget chuckled, wrapping an arm around Sally's shoulders as they walked inside. "I don't mind if we share a bed. It's been a while since we had a mother-daughter sleepover."

Sally smiled, feeling a warm sense of comfort wash over her. However, her smile quickly faded as Bridget continued, "But before we settle in, you should change out of your wet pull-up."

Sally stopped in her tracks, her eyes wide with shock. "How did you know I was wet?"

Bridget gave her a knowing look, a gentle smile playing on her lips. "Sally, I'm your mother. I noticed while we were waiting for the car outside the restaurant. It was pretty obvious, especially with the way you walked. You were waddling a bit."

Sally's cheeks flushed a deep red, embarrassment flooding her. "I'm so sorry, Mom. I didn't mean to wet myself. Well, I did, but I thought you wouldn’t notice"

Bridget's smile remained warm and reassuring. "Honey, it's okay. That's what 'diapers' are for, remember? There's no need to be embarrassed."

Sally looked down at her feet, feeling a mix of emotions. "I'm going to go put a new one on."

Bridget nodded, "Good girl."

As Sally headed to her room, she felt another rush of excitement at her mother's compliment. There was something oddly comforting and thrilling about the whole situation. Plus, the “diaper” word again.

She quickly undressed, found a fresh pull-up and changed out of the wet one, feeling much better once she was clean and dry. She opted for pulling on just a t-shirt on, since she new her mom was so accepting about her attire of choice. Besides, she liked to keep the thermostat up in her room.

Returning to her mother's room, she found Bridget already in bed, the TV remote in hand and a cozy blanket spread out. "All set?" Bridget asked, patting the space beside her. “I see you’re in extra-comfortable mode tonight”, she said, winking.

Sally nodded, climbing into bed next to her mother. "All set. It’s always warm in your room", explaining her attire.

“You look adorable”, her mother said reassuringly.

They snuggled up under the blanket, the soft glow of the TV filling the room as they started their show. Sally felt a deep sense of contentment and security. The embarrassment from earlier had faded, replaced by the warmth of her mother's understanding and support. It felt wonderfully strange to be sitting on her mother’s bed in a t-shirt and Goodnite.

As the evening wore on, they laughed and chatted, enjoying the simple pleasure of each other's company. Sally felt grateful for the close bond she shared with her mother, knowing that no matter what, Bridget would always be there for her.

Eventually, as the show continued to play, Sally's eyelids grew heavy. She yawned and snuggled closer to her mother, feeling safe and loved. Bridget wrapped an arm around her, giving her a gentle squeeze.

"Goodnight, Sally," Bridget whispered.

"Goodnight, Mom," Sally murmured back, her voice drowsy.

With that, she drifted off to sleep, the comforting sounds of the TV and the warmth of their shared bed enveloping them. It was a perfect end to a wonderful evening, and Sally knew that with her mother's love and support, she could face anything the future held.

Sally’s last conscious act was to release her bladder once again, letting the Goodnite expand between her legs, inducing her into a sweet heavy sleep.

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9 hours ago, mushy bottom said:

Really enjoying this story.  Love the slow pace, and the up close look at a loving relationship between mother and daughter.

Thank you! That is exactly what I want to convey. I appreciate the comment.

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Chapter 16 - Acceptance

Mustang Sally, uh, uh
Guess you better slow your Mustang down
Oh, Lord, what I say now
Mustang Sally, now baby, oh Lord
Guess you better slow your Mustang down, huh, oh yeah

You've been running all over the town now
Oh, I guess I'll have to put your flat feet on the ground, huh
What I said now

 

Listen, all you wanna do is ride around Sally (ride, Sally, ride) uh
All you wanna do is ride around Sally (ride, Sally, ride) uh
All you wanna do is ride around Sally (ride, Sally, ride) uh
All you wanna do is ride around Sally (ride, Sally, ride)
One of these early mornings (whoo!), you gonna be wiping your weeping eyes, huh
What I said now

 

The music lingered in the background. “Bare legs”, was Sally’s first thought, realizing she had slept with only her Goodnites on, besides a t-shirt. “Mom’s bed”. She turned over, surveying the empty bed. The smell. “Fried eggs”, she mused. That, and her mom’s music, were enough to get her out of bed in a good mood.

The moment her feet hit the floor another thought hit her. “Wet Goodnite”. She froze. Wet? A shot of adrenaline went through her like a bolt of lightning. She suddenly calmed down, as she vaguely remembered voluntarily wetting herself voluntarily before falling asleep.

Sally hesitated. “Maybe I should clean up and change into something before going downstairs”, she thought. But with her mom calling out “Sally, breakfast’s ready!” loud and clear over the music and across the expansive house, made her decide she’d better tell her mom she was up, and she was going to change. Instead of shouting back, just as her mom had done, she resolved to go herself and let her know.

By the time Sally reached the kitchen, another song was blaring from the Bluetooth speaker. Her mom was fond of her “Sally Playlist”.

 

“Oh well, Sally's folks were poor but she helped all she could
Sally was a good ole girl
Hardest working girl in the neighborhood
Sally was a good ole girl”.

 

“Hey mom”, said Sally timidly, clad in her wet Goodnite and t-shirt. “I need to change, first…”. Her mom didn’t let her finish.

“Morning, sunshine”, she said, pausing the music. “Right on time, eggs are just out”. She blew her daughter a kiss as she balanced the laden plates and set them on the kitchen table, then she kissed her daughter on the forehead. “Sit”, she said.

“Uhm, can I go change, first?, Sally asked.

“No, not if you want cold eggs”, Bridget said, dismissively. “Don’t worry about your attire, honey”.

“But… I’m wet”, Sally tried to explain.

“I know, I checked your diaper while you were sleeping”, Bridget said, nonchalantly. “Sweety, it’s up to you”, Bridget said, holding her daughter on the arm. “But I have a feeling you need to get used to wearing a wet diaper”, she sentenced, looking her in the eye and winking. “So, get comfortable”.

Sally sat meekly on the chair. Her mother checked her diaper while she was sleeping? She couldn’t explain why, but it made her feel all warm and fuzzy. The Goodnite was OK, it didn’t feel wet or anything, just… bloated, slightly sagging. But she had to admit, she was hungry, and the eggs smelled wonderful.

--

For school, Sally decided to forego her pull-ups and opted for her bikini-style panties instead. She still had reservations of wearing her pull-ups to school. She felt a rush of grown-up confidence as she put her panties on, enjoying the sleekness and the feeling of being more like the other girls her age. With a renewed sense of determination, she headed to school.

--

In the School hallway, she met up with Katrina and Clara. Clara beamed at her. "Remember, I'm coming over after dinner for study session."

Katrina couldn't resist a tease. "You two and your study sessions. Nerds unite!"

Sally laughed, feeling light and carefree. "Hey, it's not my fault we have a history test coming up. Besides, you could join us, you know."

Katrina feigned horror. "And miss my precious TV time? No, thanks!", she said, boasting of her natural learning ability.

The girls made her way to Sally’s favorite class—math. Today, they were focusing on numbers and equations with their teacher, Ms. Allison. Sally was excited; math was her strong suit, and she loved the challenge. Katrina moaned, just because she liked to moan.

Ms. Allison started the lesson with a lively explanation of algebraic expressions. "All right, class. Today, we're going to dive into solving quadratic equations. Can anyone tell me what the quadratic formula is?"

Sally's hand shot up, and she recited confidently, "The quadratic formula is x equals negative b plus or minus the square root of b squared minus 4ac, all over 2a."

Ms. Allison smiled. "Exactly, Sally. Now, let's apply that formula to solve this equation: x squared plus 6x minus 7 equals zero."

Sally eagerly worked through the problem, her pencil flying across the paper. She enjoyed the process of isolating the variables and simplifying the expressions. Math was like a puzzle to her, each equation a piece that needed to be placed correctly.

Halfway through the class, Sally felt a familiar pressure in her bladder. She ignored it at first, focusing on the equations and enjoying the sense of accomplishment as she solved each one. But as time went on, the pressure grew more intense, making it harder to concentrate. She crossed her legs and squirmed in her seat, glancing at the clock, willing the class to end.

Finally, she couldn't take it anymore. She raised her hand, her voice betraying her urgency. "Ms. Allison, may I please go to the bathroom?"

Ms. Allison nodded, giving her a sympathetic look. "Of course, Sally. Hurry back."

Sally practically bolted out of the classroom, her heart pounding. She made a beeline for the nearest bathroom, her desperation growing with every step. She reached the door, almost bursting with relief, and quickly dashed into a stall. Just in time, she managed to lift her skirt, pull down her tights and panties and sit, feeling an immense wave of relief wash over her.

As she sat there, catching her breath, she couldn't help but think about her Goodnites. Despite the comfort and confidence her panties gave her, she missed the security of the Goodnites. They would have prevented this mad dash and the near accident. She sighed, realizing the trade-off she had made.

After finishing up, she washed her hands and returned to class, her cheeks still flushed with the excitement and embarrassment of the experience. Back in her seat, she rejoined the lesson, but her mind kept wandering back to the incident.

At the end of the day, as she rode the school bus home, she reflected on the day's events. She enjoyed the grown-up feeling her panties gave her, but she also missed the practicality and security of her Goodnites. And the padding too, she reflected, as she felt the hard school bus seats. “Prison bus”, she mumbled to herself.

--

Sally arrived home from school, the front door closing with a soft thud behind her. She dropped her backpack by the entrance and sighed, feeling the weight of the day pressing down on her. She made her way to the den next to the living room, where her mom was working on her laptop.

"Hey, Mom," Sally greeted, her voice strained.

Bridget looked up from her screen, concern immediately flashing in her eyes. "Hey, sweetheart. How was your day?"

Sally shrugged, trying to appear nonchalant. "Normal," she replied, though her tone lacked any real conviction. "Remember, Clara's coming over later to help me study."

Bridget's eyebrows knitted together as she studied her daughter's tense posture. "Are you okay, Sally? You seem a bit stressed."

Sally waved her hand dismissively. "I'm fine. Just tired, I guess."

Bridget wasn't convinced. She knew her daughter well enough to sense when something was bothering her. "Is there anything specific that’s making you upset?” She raised her an eyebrow. “A wet pull-up, maybe?".

Sally shook her head quickly. "No, Mom. I'm not wearing one. I decided not to wear one to school today."

Bridget's concern deepened. "Why not, honey?"

"Just because," Sally said, shaking her shoulders in a half-hearted shrug. "I have homework to do," she added, turning to leave the room.

As she walked away, Bridget's mind raced. Was Sally just acting like a normal, snappy teenager experiencing PMS, or was there something more to her stress? She shook her head. Her period wasn’t due, yet. Maybe it was the fact that she hadn't worn a pull-up under her school uniform, and now she wished she had, but wouldn't admit it.

Bridget sighed, watching her daughter retreat upstairs to her room. She knew better than to press the issue right now. Instead, she resolved to give Sally some space and revisit the conversation later, when her daughter might be more open to talking.

--

Sally closed the door to her room and threw herself onto her bed, feeling the familiar tension in her shoulders. She hated feeling this way, but she couldn't help it. The anxiety of nearly wetting herself during math class had stuck with her all day, and she regretted not wearing a Goodnite to school.

But admitting that to her mom? That was a different story. She didn't want to seem like she couldn't handle herself, like she was too dependent on the security of the pull-ups. Why didn’t she trust her mom? Her mom had showed nothing but understanding and acceptance, even last night, when she had wet herself on the way home from the restaurant. She sighed deeply, staring up at the ceiling, frowning.

She wished she could talk to her mom about it, but something held her back. Maybe it was pride, or fear of seeming childish. She was a teenager, after all! Whatever it was, it kept her from opening up completely. For now, she would focus on her homework and wait till after dinner for Clara to arrive. Maybe a distraction would help ease her mind.

Back in the den, Bridget returned to her work, but her thoughts remained on Sally. She couldn't shake the feeling that her daughter was struggling with more than just school stress. Bridget made a mental note to check in with her later.

--

Sally toyed with the package of Goodnites on her bed, tempted to put one on, but decided not to, since it might distract her from her homework. She pulled off her school uniform and slid on some comfortable lounge pants and her favorite hoodie. She made a mental note to give the bedroom a once-over before Clara came, as she figured she had plenty of time.

But unbeknownst to Sally, Clara was already on her way to her house.

It was still early when the doorbell rang. Bridget, surprised but happy to see Clara, let her in.

"Clara! You’re early," Bridget exclaimed, opening the door wider. "Come in."

Clara smiled, stepping inside. "Hi, Mrs. Johnson. I got home and realized nobody was there. My mom must have thought I was coming straight here, so she went out to run some errands. Dad’s away on a business trip"

"Well, you’re always welcome here. You can have dinner with us. Sally’s upstairs in her room. You can go right up," Bridget said warmly.

"Thanks!" Clara replied, heading up the stairs.

Meanwhile, Sally was in her ensuite bathroom, completely unaware of Clara’s early arrival. She had expected Clara to come after dinner, so she hadn’t tidied her room. The open package of pull-ups was still visibly on her bed, a sight that would definitely require an explanation.

Sally froze when she heard Clara's cheerful voice from her bedroom. "Sally, it’s me! I came early. Hope you don’t mind!"

Panic surged through Sally. Sitting on the toilet with her pants around her ankles, she was totally unable to do anything about it. Clara was here, right now, and she could definitely see the Goodnites package on the bed. She hoped – she knew -  Clara would eventually understand, but the situation was mortifying. How was she going to explain this? She trusted Clara fully, yet the embarrassment of the situation was overwhelming.

"Sally?" Clara called again, a hint of curiosity in her voice. "Are you in the bathroom? I can wait."

"Uh, yeah!" Sally called back, her voice shaking slightly. "Just a minute!"

Her mind raced. She couldn’t just leave Clara waiting out there, but she wasn’t ready to face her either. She desperately needed an angle, some way to make this less awkward. She thought about how Clara had been open about her love for footed pajamas, just as Sally had been. Maybe there was a way to use that to ease into the topic.

But no matter how she spun it, footed pajamas seemed quirky and cute, while Goodnites felt embarrassing and childish. She groaned inwardly, wishing she had a better plan.

In the bedroom, Clara noticed the Goodnites on the bed. Her curiosity piqued, but she didn’t feel judgmental, just puzzled. She wondered why Sally had them out like this. She realized, suddenly, that her coming early wasn’t to her friend’s advantage.

Finally, Sally gathered her courage and got up from the toilet, flushed it and pulled her pants up. She opened the bathroom door, stepping out with a forced smile. "Hey, Clara. Didn’t expect you so early."

Clara smiled back and gave her friend a quick hug. Her eyes flicking to the bed and then back to Sally, apologetically. "Yeah, my mom wasn’t home, so I came here. Hope that’s okay. Your mom said I could stay for dinner".

"Of course, does she know how much you eat?" Sally chuckled, trying to sound casual. She saw Clara glance at the pull-ups again, and she felt her cheeks burning. "Uh, about those…"

Clara raised an eyebrow but kept her expression kind. "Are you a bedwetter? Nocturnal enuresis, I’ve heard about it. It’s really not a big deal, you know. Lots of teenagers deal with nocturnal enuresis. I read that about 1 in 50 teenagers still wet the bed occasionally. There’s a whole industry making diapers for teens, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of."

Sally's face turned a deeper shade of red. "They’re not for bedwetting. I mean, not exactly. And they’re pull-ups, not diapers."

Clara gave her a knowing, condescending but friendly smile. "Sally, they really are the same thing. Pull-ups, diapers, they serve the same purpose. And honestly, if they help you stay dry, who cares?"

Sally sighed, feeling a mix of relief and embarrassment. "I guess you’re right. It’s just… sometimes they make me feel more secure, especially after the car accident and all. It’s hard to explain."

Clara’s face softened with understanding. "Hey, I get it. Everyone has their own way of coping. Remember when I told you I like wearing footed pajamas? It’s kind of the same thing, right? We all need our comforts."

Sally felt a wave of relief. "Thanks, Clara. I was worried you’d think it was weird."

Clara laughed gently. "Sally, we’re friends. We all have our quirks. Yours just happens to be more practical than mine. Plus, those footed pajamas I wear are pretty childish too, if you think about it. At least you found a way not to chill your tits off when you’re using the toilet.

Sally giggled at Clara’s forwardness, feeling the tension melt away. "Yeah, I guess you’re right. I have to admit, that’s what got me into wearing pull-ups. I didn’t feel I was enjoying my new pajamas. Thanks for understanding."

"Anytime," Clara said, plopping down on the bed beside the Goodnites’ package. "Now, let’s get started on that history before I get distracted by your amazing taste in underwear."

Sally laughed, joining her friend on the bed. The situation had turned out better than she’d feared, and she felt grateful for Clara’s unwavering support. As they delved into their studies, Sally knew she had a friend she could truly count on, quirks and all.

Sally sat on her bed, her mind racing even as she tried to focus on the history notes spread out before her. Clara's reaction to the pull-ups had been unexpectedly positive, not awkward at all, a weight lifted off her shoulders. But now that the initial relief had faded, new worries began to creep in.

Clara knowing about the pull-ups was a significant step, but where would that lead? Would it be the start of a slippery slope, going further down the rabbit hole? Sally wondered what would happen if someone else found out. She trusted Clara, and she was almost certain Katrina would be supportive as well. Katrina was wild and free-spirited, always embracing the unconventional. But how would this new development affect their friendships?

As Sally pondered these questions, her thoughts drifted back to the accident. The trauma had left a deep mark on her psyche, and the pull-ups had become a coping mechanism, a way to regain a sense of control and security. She had learned about Posttraumatic Growth (PTG), a phenomenon where individuals experience positive psychological changes following a traumatic event. Was this her way of experiencing PTG? Or was it just PTSD and she just didn’t like the sound of it?

The pull-ups, while initially embarrassing, had provided her with a sense of comfort and safety that she desperately needed. They had helped her manage the lingering fears and anxieties that the accident had instilled in her. She had been so worried about developing PTSD, but perhaps this was her unique way of coping, of growing stronger and more resilient.

Sally glanced at Clara, who was engrossed in reading the history paper. She admired her friend's ability to accept her quirks without judgment. Clara had assured her that it was okay to have unique coping mechanisms, and that everyone dealt with their issues in different ways. Clara's mention of the statistics about bedwetting had also been surprisingly comforting. It reminded her that she wasn't alone, that there were others like her who needed similar comforts.

She thought about the practicality of the Goodnites. They had saved her from some moments of anxiety and near-accidents already. They provided a safety net that allowed her to navigate her day with more confidence. The security they offered was undeniable, and she found herself enjoying that sense of assurance, even if it came with a bit of embarrassment.

Sally sighed, a small smile playing on her lips. She didn't know where this journey would take her, but she was ready to embrace it. She had learned that coping mechanisms, no matter how unconventional, were valid and necessary for healing. She was determined to find a balance between her need for security and her desire for independence.

As she continued to check her history notes, Sally felt a newfound sense of acceptance and understanding. She was grateful for Clara's support and looked forward to seeing how Katrina would react. She knew that no matter what, she had people who cared about her and would stand by her side.

She took a deep breath, feeling the familiar crinkle of the Goodnites package on the bed, as Clara brushed it with her arm. It was a reminder of her journey; of the progress she had made since the accident. She wasn't sure what the future held, but she was confident that she could face it with courage and resilience.

For now, she would focus on her studies, on her friendships, and on her own growth. She was determined to navigate this new chapter of her life with an open mind and a hopeful heart. And with friends like Clara by her side, she knew she could handle whatever came her way.

--

As the evening wore on, Sally and Clara continued their study session, their conversation occasionally drifting back to lighter topics and shared jokes. Despite the earlier tension, the atmosphere in the room was now one of warmth and camaraderie. Dinner had been a pleasant affair and the three had had an easy conversation, enjoying Bridget’s culinary talents.

"Remember Mr. Briggs' lecture on the formation of political parties?" Clara asked, a playful glint in her eye. "I swear, he could make a rollercoaster sound boring”. They both chuckled at the old joke.

Sally was grateful for the focus in subject. "Oh, absolutely. How about the fact that Hamilton would be all about online banking today."

Clara giggled. "And Jefferson would totally be a farmers' market enthusiast." That isn’t here in your notes.

Sally nodded, feeling in sync with Clara. "It's amazing how different their visions were, yet both had such a lasting impact on our government."

Clara smiled, impressed. "You always find a way to make history interesting, Sally. Maybe you should be the one giving the lectures."

Sally blushed slightly. "Thanks, Clara. I guess I just like connecting the dots between the past and the present and apply what we can learn. My forte is math".

The conversation flowed easily, and Sally felt herself relaxing more with each passing moment. Clara's acceptance and understanding had lifted a significant burden from her shoulders. She realized that she didn't have to navigate her journey alone. She had friends who supported her, quirks and all.

As the clock ticked closer to bedtime, Sally felt a sense of peace she hadn't experienced in a while. She knew there would be challenges ahead, but she also knew she had the strength to face them. The Goodnites were a part of her coping strategy, but they didn't define her. They were just one of many tools she had to navigate her path toward healing and growth. She hadn’t even put the Goodnites away, leaving them on the bed as a testimonial to their mutual trust.

"Thanks for coming over early, Clara," Sally said softly as they began to pack up their books. "It means a lot to me."

Clara smiled warmly. "Anytime, Sally. We're in this together."

Bridget knocked gently on the door and peeked in. "How's it going in here, girls?"

Sally smiled up at her mom. "We're just finishing up, Mom. Clara's been a huge help."

Bridget stepped into the room, startled at seeing the Goodnites package visible on the bed. She displayed a playful glint in her eye. "Well, since you two are having such a good time, how about Clara stays for a sleepover?"

Clara's eyes lit up. "I'd love that!" She turned to Sally with a mischievous grin. "But I'll stay only if Sally wears her Goodnites."

Sally's cheeks flushed a bit. "Deal. But only if you wear a footed pajama with me."

Clara chuckled and held up her hands. "Fair enough! But just to be clear, though, I'm not wearing Goodnites under it", she stated, defensively.

Bridget watched the exchange with a mixture of amusement and relief. She was glad Clara knew about the pull-ups and even more pleased to see how supportive she was. "Sounds like a plan then. I'll drive you both to school in the morning. Clara, give me your clothes so I can put them in the washer. They’ll be clean in the morning”.

"Thanks, Mrs. B," Clara said, grinning. "This is going to be fun."

Sally felt a warm sense of gratitude as she looked at her mom and her friend. "Yeah, thanks, Mom. And thanks, Clara."

"Anytime," Clara replied, giving Sally a friendly nudge. "Now let's get ready for our sleepover."

The girls quickly transformed Sally's room into a cozy sleepover haven. Sally pulled out her favorite pair of footed pajamas and handed them to Clara.

Sally, accustomed to being naked around other girls, didn’t realize at first Clara’s reluctance to undress in front of her. But she realized Clara made an effort to be nonchalant about it, in acceptance to sharing Sally’s secret, and watched as Clara discreetly turned around to strip off her school uniform.

Clara slipped into the soft fabric, laughing as she admired the whimsical design.

"These are so comfy, even with no panties on" Clara giggled, twirling around. "I might just have to think about wearing them like this at home", she stated, since she needed to wash her underwear as well.

Sally grinned as she shyly put on her Goodnites in front of Clara - who pretended not to be really looking - and her own footed pajamas. "I told you they're great. Now we match!"

Bridget popped her head back in, smiling at the sight of the girls in their matching pajamas. "You two look adorable. Do you need anything before I head to bed?", she asked, taking Clara’s bundle of clothes.

"We're good, thanks," Sally replied, feeling a deep sense of contentment.

"Goodnight then. Sleep tight, and don't stay up too late," Bridget said, giving them a wink before leaving the room.

Clara yawned and snuggled on one side of Sally’s Queen-size bed. "This has been a great day, Sally. Thanks for having me over."

"Thanks for being here," Sally replied, her voice soft with emotion. "I'm really glad you're my friend."

"Me too," Clara said, smiling. "Now, let's get some sleep. We've got school tomorrow."

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22 minutes ago, FreezMilo said:

Ehm... who is Belinda? Were you referring to Bridget?

Sorry, writer's mistake. Already fixed, thanks for the heads-up! Name is Bridget!

6 hours ago, mushy bottom said:

Belinda?

Sorry, and thanks for the heads-up! It is Bridget, I just edited the corrections. 

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 Chapter 17 – War and Peace

"Thanks for the ride, Mrs. B!" Clara called out as she closed the car door.

"Have a great day, girls!" Bridget replied, smiling warmly as she drove off.

Sally and Clara walked side by side, their backpacks slung over their shoulders. They were chatting casually as they made their way to class.

"Do you think Katrina’s already in the classroom?" Sally asked, glancing at the time on her phone.

"Probably," Clara replied. "She’s always early. But you know, it’s a good thing it wasn’t Katrina who found your Goodnites. She would’ve teased you mercilessly."

Sally’s eyes widened in horror. "That’s not true! Katrina is a loyal friend. She might tease about silly things, but she never judges, and she definitely wouldn’t share my secrets."

Clara shrugged, a skeptical look on her face. "I don’t know, Sally. Katrina can be pretty ruthless with her jokes."

Sally shook her head, feeling a surge of protectiveness towards Katrina. "Katrina can be a bit much with her teasing, but she’s never done anything to make me feel bad about myself. She’s always been there for me when it counts."

Clara sighed, looking a bit distant. "I get that you two are close, especially with volleyball and all, but I’ve seen her be pretty harsh with others. I just don’t think she’d handle this the right way."

Sally felt a pang of frustration. "Clara, you don’t understand. Katrina isn’t really like that. Besides, Katrina and I have a different kind of friendship. We spend so much time together; she knows me better than most people. Yes, she jokes around, but she wouldn’t betray me."

Clara raised an eyebrow. "So, you’re saying you trust her more than me?"

Sally was taken aback. "No, that’s not what I’m saying. I trust both of you. It’s just… different. You and I have a more serious, thoughtful friendship, and with Katrina, it’s more playful. But both are important to me. I didn’t even know how you would react. Although I knew you wouldn’t tease me, I sort of expected you to… pity me, think less of me. But you didn’t, you were super cool about it."

Clara almost hugged Sally. She looked thoughtful for a moment, with a tear in her eye. "Maybe I’m just being overprotective. I don’t want anyone to hurt you, Sally. I guess I worry that Katrina might not take this seriously."

Sally sighed, feeling torn. "I appreciate that you care, Clara. Really, I do. But I need to believe that Katrina would be supportive. I don’t want to think that my friend would let me down when it matters."

Just then, they heard a voice behind them. "Hey, did I just hear my name?", said a voice, jovially.

Both girls turned to see Katrina, who had apparently been following them. Her expression was curious and expectant. She hadn’t heard about the pull-ups, but she had caught the tail end of their conversation mentioning her.

Sally and Clara exchanged a quick, worried glance, but neither of them spoke.

Katrina stepped closer, her eyes narrowing slightly. "What’s going on? Why are you talking about me behind my back?"

Sally bit her lip, trying to find the right words. "Katrina, nothing, just...". Sally was too sincere to tell a lie, but she didn’t want to say what they had been talking about.

Katrina crossed her arms, clearly not satisfied with the vague response. "Then what is it? Why won’t you tell me?"

Clara looked away, her face tense. "It’s just... something private. It’s not about you, really."

Katrina’s expression hardened. "It sure sounds like it is. It’s clearly about me, so why are you whispering and acting all secretive?"

Sally felt a wave of guilt wash over her. She hated seeing Katrina upset, but she couldn’t bring herself to explain. "Katrina, please believe me. It’s not something we can talk about right now”, she said, on a pained expression.

Katrina looked from Sally to Clara, then back again. "Fine. Keep your secrets. But it feels pretty crappy to be left out, “amigas”". She made a point to emphasize the last word.

The three girls walked in silence to their classroom, the tension between them palpable. Sally’s mind raced, trying to think of a way to mend the rift that had suddenly formed between them. She knew Katrina was hurt and felt excluded, but the thought of revealing her embarrassing secret was too much to bear.

As they entered the classroom, they found their seats without a word. Katrina sat down; her face set in a stony expression. Clara glanced at Sally and saw the mixture of guilt and frustration in her eyes.

The bell rang, and their teacher began the lesson, but the usual camaraderie between the three friends was missing. They spent the day in silence, each girl lost in her own thoughts. Clara questioned Katrina’s trustworthiness, Sally defended her friend’s loyalty but was too scared to divulge her secret, and Katrina felt the sting of exclusion and suspicion.

The tension lingered throughout the day, casting a shadow over their usual lighthearted interactions. As the school day drew to a close, the silence between them remained, a stark contrast to their usual chatter and laughter.

Sally knew that something had to be done to resolve the situation, but she wasn’t sure how to bridge the gap that had formed. She hoped that with time, they could find a way to restore their friendship and trust, but for now, the path ahead seemed uncertain and fraught with challenges.

All because of her Goodnites.

--

Sally pushed open the front door, her backpack slung over one shoulder. The familiar scent of home filled her nostrils—cooking spices, fresh laundry, and the faint floral notes of her mother’s favorite air freshener. The house was quiet except for the gentle hum of appliances and her mother working in the kitchen. She closed the door softly, trying not to disturb the peace.

 

“Sally, how was school today?” Bridget asked, glancing up from chopping vegetables.

Sally shrugged, dropping her backpack by the door and slipping off her shoes. “It was fine, Mom. Just a normal day.”

Bridget wiped her hands on a dish towel and walked over to Sally, giving her a one arm hug. “That’s good to hear. How did the sleepover with Clara go? You two seemed to get along better than I would have imagined.”

Sally forced a smile. “Yeah, it was great. We basically talked, but we were tired, I guess. School nights don’t make the best sleepovers.”

Bridget nodded, studying her daughter’s face carefully. “Clara’s a good friend. She’s always been there for you.”

Sally nodded, her smile wavering. “Yeah, she is.”

Bridget took a deep breath, deciding to broach the subject gently. “Sally, can we talk for a minute about something important?”

Sally stiffened, her heart rate quickening. “Sure, Mom. What’s up?”

Bridget guided her to the living room, where they both sat down on the couch. “I wanted to talk about your pull-ups. I noticed that Clara knows about them, and I’m curious how she found out”, Bridget stated, in her direct fashion.

Sally’s face turned red, and she looked away, avoiding her mother’s gaze. “I don’t really want to talk about it, Mom.”

Bridget reached out and gently touched Sally’s arm. “I understand it’s a sensitive topic, but it’s important that we discuss it. Clara seems very supportive, and that’s a good thing. But I need to know how she found out. It’s just to help you, sweetheart.”

Sally’s eyes filled with tears, but she shook her head. “I don’t want to talk about it…”, her voice broke.

Bridget sighed softly. “I know this is hard for you, but we need to talk about it. Clara’s friendship is commendable, and I think it’s great that she supports you. But I also want to know how you’re feeling about wearing the pull-ups. Did you wear one to school today?”

Sally’s shoulders slumped, and she started to tremble. “Mom, please…”

Bridget continued gently, “How are you finding the experience of wearing them, Sally? Are they helping you feel more secure?”

That was when Sally broke down. The dam of emotions she had been holding back burst, and she began to cry. “No, Mom, it’s not helping! It’s making everything worse!”, she cried.

Bridget was taken aback, her heart aching for her daughter. “Sally, what’s wrong? Talk to me.”

Through her tears, Sally began to pour out her feelings. “Of course it’s not going well! You found out I was peeing myself at the restaurant and waddling afterwards. Just by looking! Clara found out by accident when she came over early. And even Dolores knows because she saw them in my room while cleaning. I know Katrina will have to know sooner or later! Everyone is finding out, Mom, and I feel so humiliated!”.

Sally cried, unable to speak any more.

Bridget’s eyes filled with tears as she listened to her daughter’s pain. “Oh, sweetheart, I’m so sorry you’re feeling this way.”

Sally continued, her voice trembling with frustration and desperation. “I thought the pull-ups would help me feel better, but now I feel even more insecure. I’m so scared that more people will find out. I feel like an inadequate teenager, like I’m failing at everything. I thought I could find solace in my pull-ups, but now I don’t know what to do. I’m desperate, Mom. I feel like curling up in my bed and never coming out. I just want to fall asleep and forget everything.”

Bridget pulled Sally into a tight embrace, letting her cry, rocking her gently. “Sally, it’s okay. You’re not inadequate. You’re a wonderful, strong, and brave girl. We’ll figure this out together. You don’t have to go through this alone.”

Sally sobbed into her mother’s shoulder, her body shaking with the force of her emotions. Her hiccups prevented her from talking correctly. “I don’t know…  what to do, Mom. I don’t know… how to make this better.”

Bridget stroked Sally’s hair, her own tears falling freely. “We’ll find a way, Sally. We’ll get through this. We’ll talk and come up with a plan that works for you. You’re not alone in this, I promise.”

“Talk? How?”, said Sally, not understanding.

“Let’s talk to somebody who knows about things like this. I think I can find a counselor who can give us some insight into this”, her mother said, measuring her words.

“Counselor? Like, a therapist?”, she asked curiously, behind her tears.

Bridged chuckled softly. “A psychologist. A shrink. Call it what you want. But we need to get some proper answers form somebody who knows.”

Sally clung to her mother, her sobs gradually subsiding. “I just want to feel normal, Mom. I don’t want to be scared all the time.”

Bridget kissed the top of her daughter’s head. “I know, sweetheart. We’ll find a way to help you feel safe and secure. We’ll talk to a therapist and see what she suggests. You’re not alone in this, Sally. I’m here for you, every step of the way.”

As they sat together on the couch, Bridget felt a renewed sense of determination. She would do whatever it took to help Sally navigate this difficult time. She would talk to Pamela and find someone who could help them and find a solution that would give Sally the security and confidence she needed.

Sally felt a glimmer of hope. Now she only wished she could restore the tensions between her, Katrina and Clara.

--

In the school driveway, Katrina sat in the back seat of the black Suburban waiting for Sally and Clara to arrive. Katrina’s thoughts were focused solely on her friends. She didn’t like the tension and the distance that had grown between them, and it was time to resolve it. If they had something against her, she wanted them to say it in her face.

As Sally and Clara approached, Katrina waved them over with a diplomatic attitude. "Hey, you two. Thanks for coming."

Sally smiled back, feeling a mix of nerves and relief. She was grateful for the chance to make things right. "Thanks for inviting us, Katrina."

Clara nodded, still wary but willing to give the meeting a chance. "Yeah, thanks."

“Vamos a casa, Maja”, said Katrina. “Oh, this is Maja, she’s my bodyguard, so don’t try anything funny”, she boasted.

That seemed to break the tension. The girls laughed at Katrina’s characterization of her dad’s driver as a bodyguard.

“En serio, Katrina?”, called out Maja. “I didn’t know I was your bodyguard. I didn’t get a raise, you know. So be careful, somebody bad can get you”, she said in her heavily accented English, winking at the rearview mirror, while chewing gum

At the mansion, Katrina led them through the grand foyer and up the sweeping staircase to her room. Her room was spacious and elegantly decorated, but she had made sure it was comfortable and welcoming. She gestured for them to sit on the plush rug in the center of the room.

"Alright, amigas, let’s get straight to it," Katrina said, sitting down with them. "We need to talk about what’s been going on. I hate feeling this distance between us."

Sally took a deep breath, her confidence bolstered by her recent conversation with her mother. "You’re right, Katrina. We do need to talk. There’s something I need to tell you, and it’s really important. Well maybe not, but you’ll be the judge"

Katrina nodded; her expression serious but open. "Go ahead, Sally. I’m listening."

Sally glanced at Clara, who gave her a reassuring nod. "Okay. The reason Clara and I have been so secretive is because… well, I’ve been wearing pull-ups. It started after the car accident. They help me feel secure, but it’s been really hard to talk about."

Katrina’s eyes widened slightly, but she quickly composed herself. "Pull-ups? Like, diapers?"

Sally nodded, her cheeks flushing. "Yeah. And Clara found out by accident. She was worried you’d tease me, but I know you wouldn’t. I just didn’t know how to bring it up."

Katrina’s expression softened, and she started to laugh, not out of mockery but out of sheer relief and amusement. "Oh my gosh, Sally! You were worried about that? You know I would never judge you for something like that. I love you even more for being brave enough to share this with me. Besides, I bet you look cute in diapers!"

Sally blushed, but smiled, glad to see Katrina being herself.

Clara, watching Katrina’s reaction carefully, felt a wave of relief. "You’re not upset or anything?"

Katrina shook her head, still smiling. "Not at all. Sally, if pull-ups make you feel better, then who cares? We all have our things. And Clara, I get why you were worried, but you should’ve trusted me like Sally did."

Sally felt tears of relief welling up in her eyes. "Thank you, Katrina. I’m so glad you understand."

Katrina pulled both girls into a hug. "Of course I understand. We’re friends, right? And friends support each other, no matter what."

Clara joined the hug, her skepticism melting away. "I’m sorry I didn’t trust you, Katrina. I just wanted to protect Sally."

Katrina squeezed them tighter. "I know, Clara. And I love you for that. But next time, let’s talk things out, okay? We’re stronger together. Besides, if I wanted to make fun of Sally I could do it any day, you should see the way she plays volleyball!”.

The three girls sat back, the tension that had lingered for so long finally dissolving. Katrina’s room, with its elegant furnishings and cozy atmosphere, felt like a safe haven for their friendship to heal and grow.

Katrina grinned at them, her eyes twinkling with mischief. "Now that we’ve got that out of the way, how about we celebrate our renewed friendship with some snacks? I have a stash of goodies in the kitchen."

Sally and Clara laughed, the weight of the past few weeks lifting off their shoulders. "That sounds perfect," Sally said, feeling a newfound sense of optimism.

Katrina turned to Sally and whispered: “Are you wearing them now?”

“What?”, asked Sally, perplexed. “Oh, the pull-ups! No”, she rolled her eyes. I don’t wear them all the time.

“When do you wear them?”, demanded Katrina, a bit louder this time.

“Like, with my pajamas and stuff”, Sally said, vaguely.

Clara interrupted from the doorway. “Hey, are you coming or what?”, she demanded, frowning.

“Claro”, responded Katrina, promptly.

As they headed to the kitchen, arm in arm, Sally couldn’t help but feel grateful for the support of her friends, even counting in Katrina’s forwardness, which was inoffensive. The darkness that had clouded her mind was lifting.

In the grand kitchen of the mansion, the girls raided the pantry, giggling and joking as they filled their arms with snacks. They returned to Katrina’s room, where they spent the afternoon talking, laughing, and rebuilding the trust that had been momentarily lost.

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