A game of pretend goes horribly wrong.
“Can we haf’ a tea pardy Bea, pl-ease?” said Candy, tugging on my arm.
I turned to look down at her and smirked. “Well, okay, but after lunch.” Truth be told, it didn’t sound like a chore. Most 23 year olds probably wouldn’t be that interested in tea parties, but during the months I babysat Candice, I started to actually enjoy playing with her. I knew that she must have been very lonely living with her mother in the middle of nowhere, so I initially started playing her games out of sympathy. She would play along with all the games that I proposed, but it always felt like she was just simulating enjoyment—like she was the one humoring me. But something would change when I would agree to play by her rules. All her games were based in pretend; she would use all the toys at her disposal to create fun, funny and sometimes even dramatic or tragic tales—and, more often than not, I found myself lost in the stories she would weave with her dolls and stuffed animals, so much so that I would need to be reminded of reality when Ms. Ive came home. The complexity of some of her narratives would always wow me after the fact, regardless of their source.
My contemplation was cut short when I felt her grip under my elbow again.
She pouted. “But if we do d’at we won’ haf any room for tea!”
I gave a fake sigh. “Okay, fine. I won’t make much, so we will have plenty of room for tea. Are you happy now?”
Candy grinned. “Yay! I’ll ge’ i’ all sedup!” she smiled as scurried out of the kitchen and up the stairs.
I smiled as I watched her run and heard the pitter-patter of her feet on the stairs. I went back to preparing lunch, chopping the tomatoes and slicing the ham for our sandwich. It wasn’t anything too fancy, but all the famous chefs say that good food is all about good ingredients, and I guess Candice’s mother stuck by that rule too.
I opened the cupboard to look for the bread loaf, but I frowned when I read realized that there were only three regular slices and a heel left. I took them all out, placing the tailings on my plate and the good pieces on Candice’s. I squirted a grill of mustard on each piece, placed some tomatoes and spinach, and followed it with some cheese and ham. I folded up the sandwiches and sliced the one without the heel. I held the knife above mine, deeply contemplating whether or not I wanted to slice my own. I scoffed once I realized how much thought I was putting into a sandwich, and smiled at the fact that my life was mundane enough to only be worrying about how I wanted lunch prepared, even as simple as the lunch was. In the end, I decided to cut the sandwich just like Candice’s.
I delivered the sandwiches to the table, and walked to the bottom of the stairs. “Lunch is ready!”
I heard rustling and saw Candy walk out the door, having changed her apparel. It was blue dress, one that I recognized from a previous session of dress-up. Candy nearly tumbled her way down, going as fast as she could.
“Woah there!” I called out, ready to catch her.
She made it to the bottom without incident, and I followed her to the kitchen table.
She took her seat in front of her food, and looked absolutely gleeful as she mauled it. I took my seat, calmly grabbing my own, and watched her. I felt like I was constantly amazed by that girl; she was the fastest learner I had watched as my, albeit short, career as a babysitter, and she knew way more words and facts about the world than I did at her age. While I was watching her, I was marveling at her palette in particular. Most of the children I sat before would balk in disgust at such a spartan, unsweetened meal; they would throw a tantrum if they encountered anything besides mac n’ cheese or a PB&J. I know that I for one was a far more picky eater at her age.
At first, I would just prepare for her the usual “little kid food”, having enough negative experiences with spoiled children to know that they didn’t like being taken out of their comfort zones. But every time I did, she would always asked if I would share whatever I happened to be having, and so one day I just decided to ask her what she wanted. She just said “I like y’ur food, Bea” and so I shrugged, granting her wish ever since.
In almost no time at all, Candy was done, and looked at me expectantly. I rolled my eyes as I was pulled back to reality. I scarfed down the rest of my portion and grabbed our plates to throw them in the trash.
As I walked back over to the table, Candy shot up and grabbed my hand with both of hers, pulling me to and up the stairs and finally into her playroom. The room was well loved; there were playthings littering every corner, from crayons to dominoes to dolls to whatever. In the center of the room was a low, round table encircled by three stuffed animals wearing doll clothes: a Zebra wearing a comedic, green tutu; an Otter wearing a denim skirt and vest over a plain, dark shirt, and a tiger wearing baggy, dark clothes. We headed in the direction of the closet to the right of the table where a large, disorganized pile of clothes lie. “We godda get you a nice dress! You can’d go to a tea pardy wif’out a fancy dress!”
I rolled my eyes. I didn’t hate dress-up—far from it—but finding costume pieces that would work with the theme and setting was always a hassle. I followed her over to the closet where she kept her hoard. It felt like it was constantly growing every time I came into to play with Candy, which was quite frequently, I realized.
She bent over, scouring the pile, looking this way and that, the ruffles on her petticoat sending her dress into the sky. I giggled. “Not very lady-like of you with you showing off your underwear like that.” But then I realized something: she was wearing one of her old pull-ups from her potty training days. I blushed when I noticed it, wanting to avert my gaze away.
“What?” she asked indignantly, standing up with her arms to her hips.
“Uh, Candy, why are you wearing a—” I almost manged to finish, my cheeks still flushed.
“A diaper?” she asked dismissively, cutting me off. She sighed. “I guess I need do dell you d’is before we go,” she said, letting her hands fall down to her sides.
I had a feeling I knew what she was going to say. It was rather extreme, but I knew that some parents would put their children in training pants again if they had too many accidents. I was still shocked, as I hadn’t expected that from Ms. Ive. Still, I wondered why she had neglected to write a note. It didn’t matter, though, because I could tell that Candy was sad, and I wanted to try and make her feel a little better. “It’s oka—” I started.
She just walked over me in the conversation. “Da ding is, Emmy had a bad docdor.”
I just continued to look at her, thinking about what she was saying. Emily? That doesn’t sound good…, I continued, the image of Emily, her stuffed tiger, popped into mind. Candice had given all her characters such deep personality, that sometimes I forgot I was thinking about toys. I tried reminding myself, and it worked for a moment. “Oh?” I asked, trying my hardest to merely feign interest instead of becoming engrossed.
Candy nodded. “She had a bad docdor for some surgy, and now she’s in-condimend. But like I said the docdor was bad and der was a problem which made her in-condinend.”
I was briefly taken aback. Incontinent? Where did she learn that word? I thought, before remembering the show about healthcare disasters I was watching weeks ago after she had went to sleep. But apparently she hadn’t been sleeping. And then I was pulled back in.
“Emmy hasn’d been ou’ in a long time because she’s embarsed she hasta wear diapers now. So me an Zoe and Claire d’ough’ d’at we could cheer her up if we wore diapers 'oo.”
“I haven’t seen Emmy in a while… why didn’t you tell me where she was? Now I feel bad,” I replied sincerely, already lost in the fantasy again.
“Its ok. Me 'n Zoe didn’d know where she was eit’er, but she ‘old us wha’ happned, and den Zoe said we should haf a tea pardy to cheer her up.”
“That makes sense. Emmy loves tea parties.” Truth be told, I didn’t like Emily very much; she always had something snarky to say when it came to me. But I didn’t want her to have a botched surgery. Fate was cruel, sometimes. When I realized I was starting to slip again, I needed to remind myself, just toys.
“Ya, so we godda—Oh no!” she exclaimed, making me nervous. “Da pardy is soon. We can’d be la’e, dat would make Emmy feel efen worse!”
I frowned. Even though Emily and I weren’t close by any measure, I didn’t want kick her while she was down by rudely missing our outing. I watched as Candy rummaged through the pile, but a piece of fabric caught my eye. It was a pink sleeve, which, ordinarily, considering I was in a thrift shop—I mean, the playroom of a little girl, wouldn’t have been too consequential. However, I could tell this item was much larger than many of the others.
All of the items were from the bargain bin at the local clothing store. Ms. Ive would usually wait till the end of the month and take out the “scraps” at the bottom for cheap; it working in her favor, because most of them were ugly children’s clothes, and occasionally—as in, once every year in November—Halloween costumes of all shapes and sizes. It wasn’t even close to Halloween, though, so I wondered how this one slipped through the cracks.
I pulled it out, and to both the shock of me and Candy, the dress was big. I smiled, thinking about how wonderful it would be if it fit me. No more stretched petticoats for me, but an actual dress!
“Twy i’ on!” Candy egged me on.
I obliged, quickly slipping off my top and bringing the dress over my head. I was amazed: it fit like a glove. And not poorly fitted glove, either. I could feel myself really filling it out; even my bosom was properly situated without any effort on my part, much to my elation. I looked at myself in the mirror, and I was absolutely giddy. The dress was a medium shade of pink, which suited my light complexion. It had nice looking floral embroidery along the sides and front, and towards the midsection, larges ruffles started emanating out over the in-lined petticoat. It was remarkably similar to Candice’s indigo dress, sans the embroidery, and our colors complemented each other well. I look so pretty! I thought, smiling. I twirled and giggled, letting the hem of the dress float up.
“Wow, Bea, you look so good!” She confirmed, giving me a genuine but quick compliment, before going back to rummage in pile.
I looked around. At some point, we had arrived at the back of a near empty thrift shop. A massive pile of clothes sat under a sign near the ceiling, reading “All stack items free.” The change of scenery had happened some time ago, but, as usual, I was lost in the fervor of whatever I was doing at the time: in that case searching for my dress.
All too quickly, she pulled out a large, colorful rounded rectangle consisting of shiny, fluffy material. I didn’t think anything of it, until she pushed it into my hands. I blushed, recognizing it as a disposable diaper. I was brought back to the reality of the playroom as it entered my grasp. The item was making me go through mental gymnastics, trying to figure out what was going on; the size made it absolutely clear it was big enough to fit someone like me, but the cutesy designs made it absolutely clear that it was for someone much younger.
I was temporarily stunned, until Candy snatched it out of my hand, growing impatient. “Here, I’ll ge’ you s’ar’ed,” she said, unfolding it. “We don’ haf’ a lodd’a time, so you godd’a put i’ fas’, cuz Zoe 'n Emmy ‘n Claire are wai’in’.”
I nodded, remembering how good of friends me and Zoe were. I was happy to see her again, so I got to work, sliding my pants down my legs. Wearing diapers was beyond embarrassing, so I knew how Emily felt. If Candy thought that it would help her, then I would try to show my support, even if we were found ourselves at odds on occasion. But there was no way I was really going to wear the diaper like an infant, I reasoned. I could just put it over my panties, and Emily wouldn’t know the difference; it seemed like a bit of a stretch to debase myself that much for her.
I placed the diaper between my thighs, and began to wrap it up around me.
“Y’ur no’ gonna take off y’ur unda’wea’?” Candy asked skeptically.
“Of course not, I’m not a baby,” I replied, slightly offended by the question.
“I know, bu’ Emmy isn’ one too,” She answered back reasonably.
I frowned. “But I really don’t want to… It’s so embarrassing!” I raised my voice in concern.
“Shh!” Candy hushed me quietly. “You don’ wan’ someone to hear you. How do you f’ink Emmy wou’d fee’wul?”
“But…” I protested. Meanwhile, without noticing, the thrift store came back into focus as my mind was being convinced of the pretend.
She rolled her eyes as if I was a belligerent child. “Fine. I won’ make you. Bu’ do i’ quick, cuz we need’a go.”
“Yay,” I whispered upon victory. I went to finish taping up the diaper, but the plumage around my groin and butt made it difficult. After only one failed attempt, however, I managed to stick the tapes and adjusted the garment. It was surprisingly snug and comfy, and it created a nice soft, warm halo that felt entirely different from the form-fitting panties that I could easily forget were there.
I looked in the mirror to the left of the mound of clothes, reveling in my new attire as I pinched the hem of my dress. The diaper had, as I stated before, extremely juvenile designs of rainbows, butterflies, birds and flowers; maybe there were more on the back, but I was too lazy to look. My emotions toward it were complex to say the least. The dress was pretty and mature-enough in isolation, but the infantile aspects were amplified by my current set of underwear; I looked like a toddler attending an imaginary tea party, in short, and while my pride was marred, a part of my strange brain found the getup unusually endearing.
I realized later that the diapers were diapers for adults designed to look they were for babies. Ms. Ive had been sent them as a gift from one of her cousins as a baby shower gift several years ago, and neither me nor Ms. Ive could tell if it was supposed to be a very strange joke or a very strange mistake. Either way, Ms. Ive had just kept them around in the dark corner of the playroom closet, unsure of who she could award them to and her guilt preventing her from discarding them altogether.
My mood suddenly soured as I had a brief moment of lucidity. I dropped the my skirt, feeling especially self conscious about the fact that I was a 23 year old woman attending a pretend tea party in a diaper. I’m doing this for Candice, I tried reassuring myself.
“You done? We need’a go!” Candy said grabbing my hand. “Zoe n’ Claire are already d’ere!”
I was brought back into the moment, and time seemed to slow down as we walked over to the small table not 10 feet away. As I slipped more into the role of Bea, Candice’s friend, the table was occluded by the walls of the second hand store. We passed the bored looking dog cashier as we exited, and the aforementioned table came into view again, looking more and more like one table among many on a street outside an upscale cafe in some bustling city. Oh no, I can’t be late and do that to Zoe. I worried. You know, there’s no way I would do this for Emmy alone, no matter how much I like tea. She can be such a jerk… my mind wandered as I was dragged along to the luncheon. But she’s going to be hard-pressed to find anything mean to say today. Look who’s got the nice dress now! I smirked, imagining the frown on her face when she was unable to snark.
“Hi eferyone, we’re here!” Candice said gleefully to the round table.
All our friends were there, including Zoe and Claire and of course Emmy. They all greeted us individually, complimenting our dresses as we sat down. I sat between to Zoe and Claire, and Candy sat across from me, between Claire and Emmy.
“You guys look great. Wow, Bea, that dress works so well on you. I can’t believe I’ve never seen it before,” said Zoe the Zebra. She was wearing a fluffy, green tutu, and you could easily distinguish her diaper under the burly cone.
I responded, flattered. “Thanks, Zoe. You look really good too! And yeah, I just got this dress with Candy,” I said, eagerly pointing towards the girl sitting across from me.
Claire the Otter looked to me, and also gave me some words of encouragement. “Dang, girl, you look great. Clothes really do make the woman!” Then she turned to Candy, offering her a review as well. “And you’re as stunning as ever, Candy. I think it’s pretty clear who picked out Bea’s dress.”
We sat in silence, sipping our teas—evidently the waiter had gotten there before us—until Candy noticed something was amiss. “Hey, Emmy. How are you? Is somed’in’ on y’ur mind?” she asked sincerely.
Emmy was silently looking down for a moment until she turned her head up and saw us expectantly waiting for an answer. Everyone looked concerned except me; I didn’t want it admit to, but my negative image of Emmy was seeping into my demeanor. Emily the Tiger spoke, trying to ease the other girl’s fears. “Yeah, I’m doing okay. Sorry girls, I’m just… thinking.”
I furrowed my brow in concern. Normally Emmy was brash, pessimistic, and slightly toxic; I like to think I was an upbeat person, and so our personalities would clash, and it would often end in petty quips before our mutual friends would change the topic. Just like last month at the ice rink: Emmy made such a nasty, simple comment about my skating that I was about to flip. It was such a stupid joke, but she said it with such vitriol that it just pushed me over the edge. I had just fallen on my butt, and she decided to say “Have a nice trip, see you next fall.” It was possibly the dumbest joke I had ever heard, but I nearly busted a fuse. “What is your problem?!” I shouted at her. It didn’t take long before Zoe and Candy broke up the fight. I never forgot that day and I might not for quite some time.
Still, this new mood of Emmy’s made me uneasy. She looked so much different from her usual, self-assured and smug self. All I could do was feel bad; after all, I wasn’t one for schadenfreude.
“Oh, I see what they were saying… That dress looks… really good, Beatrice,” Emmy piped out, utterly defeated sounding.
I blushed profusely. Something about being reluctantly but sincerely complemented by your enemy was very unconformable.
Everyone else smiled, Claire returning to the conversation she was having with herself before me and Candy arrived. “So as I was telling them,” she said, pointing to Zoe and Emmy, the latter still looking deeply perturbed, “There is this seriously cute ox at work… but he’s totally oblivious!” she said, throwing her hands up. “I don’t know how I can get him to notice me. I tried lifting my tail when he walks by, leaning up against the wall—OH! I have to tell you this hilarious story. So I was leaning up against the wall of a cubicle, and I thought they were supposed to make those things sturdy, you know?”
I nodded, grabbing a spoonful of sugar and mixing it into my tea, finally idly sipping the sweetened drink, just enjoying listening to Claire ramble on about nothing. It seemed like everyone else, even Emmy with her faint smile, was doing the same.
“So, the thing completely broke! I mean, it was bad! It was one of those corner offices, so, for some reason, that made it even worse! The poor guy in there screamed bloody freakin’ murder when his thing landed on him!” Claire laughed heartily, lightly pounding the table with her paws
We all smiled and sipped our tea.
I was about to add to the conversation, but Candy spoke up, cutting me off for the umpteenth time that day. She asked Zoe about her boyfriend, but I zoned out, a little annoyed. I shifted in my seat, rolling my eyes, but my cheeks flared up when I both felt and heard my very crinkly diaper. I wish Candy had told me about this earlier, so I could of gotten a different diaper. I saddened at my next thought. I can’t even imagine how Emmy feels right now. It felt nice to not be ridiculed by Emmy, but the state she was in felt wrong.
“…don’t want to think about that right now,” Zoe retorted. “Sorry, but I’m over him and his stupid sister. If he’s defending her over that, then what kind of other stuff is he doing behind my back? I mean, okay, a shirt is totally whatever. I don’t care. A bra? That’s kind of iffy. But underwear? And he just let her put it back without washing?” Zoe widened her eyes in question for emphasis.
“I dunno, maybe d’ats normal w’ere d’ey grews up. Mommy say’s d’at some people are okay wid’ sharing undies, bu’ no’ her!” Candy offered, trying to play devil’s advocate.
Zoe sighed. “But he should know that I’m not. Right? I’m not crazy to think that if you’ve been dating someone for a year, they should know your bounds when it comes to stuff like that.”
I huffed, having been caught up in the conversation enough. “I think your right, Zoe, that’s gross.”
“Thank you!” Zoe said with exasperation.
“Oh my gosh, that reminds of the time I dated a guy with giant ear gauges, and I mean these things were—” Claire started before being cutoff from another voice behind me.
I turned around, and I saw that it was waiter dressed in all black. I could make out his name tag, it reading “Bearrington”. He had black, beady eyes that weren’t actually very intimidating with his cream colored fur.
“Would you ladies care for some cake?” he asked politely.
I thought on it. I decided that I liked cake. “Yes please,” I said, raising my hand slightly.
“That’s one order,” he said, turning to Candy next.
“Yes please!” she said with enthusiasm.
He turned to Emmy next. “No thank you,” she eeped out, a blush forming on her cheeks. I was downtrodden at the sight. The Emmy I knew would have made some half-hearted flirt with a bear even as average looking as our waiter.
“I’ll have some, hot stuff,” Claire piped up, smirking.
“No thanks,” Zoe waved her hoof.
The waiter bowed slightly, before swapping our tea kettle and walking away.
We each refilled our cups, sipped them, and sat in silence.
Claire furrowed her brow, obviously troubled by something. “Emmy, you don’t need to look so gloomy, girl.”
Emmy looked over to her, her gloominess not yet washed away.
“Look,” Claire continued, “We’re all wearing too!” Claire said, lifting her skirt and revealing her diaper. I was glad I wasn’t the only one with a real baby diaper on, and seeing Claire proudly display her utterly childish pink, yellow, green and white diaper made me feel slightly better about my own similarly padded bottom. I also wondered if Claire had her panties on under her diaper too, a thought which I blushed at, hoping the other girls wouldn’t notice.
“Yeah,” Zoe chimed in. “Seriously. You don’t need to feel embarrassed. We’re all in this together.” She merely pointing her hoof at her tutu, her diaper clearly visible plain as day. Out of us with bladder control, hers was the most adult, being just plain white. Still, how she could wear such an outfit without dying of shame was beyond me. But her courage was infectious, and it continued to bolster my own.
Next came Candy, who lifted up her dress before she even talked, displaying her relatively mature pull-up compared to me and Claire’s baby diapers. I pouted a little a the injustice, but again felt a boost of confidence and a smile creep up. “Mhm. Wha’ d’ey said.”
It was my turn next, and everyone looked expectantly at me, even Emmy, who was remarkably gentle with her expression. And so, proudly, smirking from my friends’ confidence, I lifted the hem of my dress, making extra sure the petticoat wasn’t blocking Emmy’s view. My smirk turned into a grin as Emmy blushed and looked away. “C’mon Emmy, it’s no big deal!” I told her.
“I…” Emmy faltered. She paused, mulling over her words while we all patiently waited. “Look, I appreciate, it but it’s different, because you girls don’t…” she paused again, swallowing a lump in her throat, “…need them… like me.” Emmy looked like she was about to cry.
Candy grabbed her paw. “I’‘s okay, Emmy. We will be y’ur friends no madda’ wha’,” Candy comforted her, smiling.
Emmy choked back some sobs, unevenly breathing. “Thank you…” she said, turning to look at everyone around the table, including me, “Thank you all. You girls mean the world to me, even if I don’t always show it.”
Some moments later, our cake came. “My apologies for the delay, we were all out and had to bake some!”
We all wished him well, except Claire, who just tried to flirt with him. Us three with the food pounded it down, while Zoe and Emmy watched intently.
Half way through my slice, I heard Emmy pipe up. “Bea?”
I looked up to her. “Y’ah?” I answered, cake spilling out my mouth and onto the table cloth. Everyone besides me and Emmy giggled.
“Bea, I just want to say, I’m sorry. I’m a bad friend,” she said with a straight face.
A lump formed in my throat listening to her. I could tell she herself was on the verge of tears.
“All this stuff happened, and… I just don’t want to lose any friends. And I’m so grateful to you that you’ve never cut me off, even now when I’m…” she sniffled, pausing. But this time everyone else was silent, watching with saddened gazes. “Well, you know what I mean. So I just want to say I’m sorry for always being a jerk. The truth is, I was always jealous of you. I have to try so hard to pull off anything, and you do it like it’s nothing. The truth is—” she gasped, tears starting to pool in her eyes, and Candy latched onto her paw again in support, “—I’ve been a terrible tiger, and you’ve never been anything but nice. And now I’m…”
“You don’t have to say anymore, I understand,” I said after swallowing my cake. “I’m sorry too. I never wanted anything bad to happen to you.” I frowned.
“Thank you,” Emmy said through some more choked breaths. “I love you girls so much.”
I continued eating my cake, enjoying the newfound understanding while feeling sorrier than ever for Emmy. I didn’t care if she was just faking it, because I wanted to believe in her.
Claire was discussing something mundane again, and the other girls were nodding along, clearly just enjoying the sound of her voice. But I started to feel a more pressing matter, and I really didn’t want to emulate Emmy in that particular case, as much as I was warming up to her. “I have to use the bathroom,” I said so everyone at the table could hear me. I instantly regretted it, seeing Emmy’s lip quiver. I averted her gaze, and stood up quickly. “Excuse me,” I walked away from the table, and off the street, into the cafe, my diaper reminding me of itself the whole way. I reached the bathroom at the back of the restaurant, but frowned when I found the door wouldn’t budge. Guess I need to wait, I thought to myself.
“Oh, Bea!” I heard Candy call out to me.
“Huh?” I asked, turning to her.
“Bea… I f’ink you really hur’ Emmy’s feelin’s,” she said, disappointed.
“I… I’m sorry,” I said with my expression falling.
“I know. Bu’ I know how to make i’ up to Emmy easy,” she said with a optimistic smile.
“How?!” I berated her unintentionally. I felt terrible about how I just snubbed the reformed big cat, and I was ready to do just about anything to undo my mistake.
“No shou’in’!” Candy scolded me.
I shrugged my shoulders in shame. “Sorry. But how?”
“Well, dat’s easy. You jus’ godda use y’ur diaper.”
“Huh? Why?” I questioned, my mind not quite ready for the logical leap required.
“Because, Emmy said da’ i’‘s diff’rent cuz we don’ need our diapers, bu’ if you don’ go to d’e poddy, d’en you can’ make i’ to d’e poddy n’ so you need y’ur diaper.”
“Oh,” I said, her explanation straightforward enough for my overactive imagination. “But why do I have have to be the one?”
“Cuz no one else has godda go!” she giggled.
“Oh,” I said, giggling with her. In the land of imagination, where physical laws are flouted and social norms aren’t normal, her terse explanation seemed to make sense. In my already muddy state of mind, I was content with the simplicity of the solution; after all, who would even remember me in such a big city? I knew my friends wouldn’t really care; they didn’t mind Emmy’s condition, after all. The already lessened embarrassment was even further trivialized by the fact that I was helping out Emmy, who had but moments before made her heartfelt confession to me. And so, for Candy, I had but one question. “How do I go?”
“You jus’ go like a poddy bu’ in d’e air.”
“Oh. Okay,” I said, squatting down, feeling the tension in my diaper, and something beneath that I had forgotten about. But I looked around the cafe, and I saw a few too many people watching. “But there are so many people…” I protested weakly.
“Jus’ imagine d’ey aren’ d’ere!” she offered in a patronizing tone.
“Okay…” I said, closing my eyes, still in the squatting position.
Even though, sitting at the table, I felt as if I was about to have an accident, trying to go in the middle of the cafe was harder than I expected. I could constantly feel something creeping up from the back, but it didn’t feel like it was particularly close to exiting. From the front, however, I started to see results. After about a minute of coaxing my bladder, it happened. It was just a trickle, but it eventually grew into a torrent as my padding soaked it up, yellowing and various designs on the front washing out. I sighed in relief, and the feeling a freshly soaked diaper wasn’t as bad as I as was expecting. It was certainly worth it if it would make Emmy happy.
I wasn’t content with a wet diaper, however. There was still another matter I needed to attend do. Not getting results fast enough, I began to push, trying to hide my struggle in the process. It was slow coming, but at some point it just fell out, coming faster than I expected. I gasped at the lumpy feeling in my diaper, blushing. I knew there was still more, however, and I continued my pushing. Feeling like I didn’t have enough room in my diaper, I decided to go back into a standing position. In quick succession, the rest of my mess was pushed into my diaper, leaving lumps in the already soaked padding that I, again, didn’t mind as much as I thought I would. Feeling relieved and calm, I looked at Candy, who had been waiting there patiently, a smile plastered on her face. “I don’t have to go anymore…”
For a brief moment, everyone in the establishment looked at me curiously. I noticed their gazes, blushed, and began walking towards the exit. Having left the commotion behind, I headed back towards our table, Candy following me.
“…And so that was that!” I heard the tail end of Zoe’s conversation.
I sat down in my seat, my mess spreading around my soiled diaper, causing me to blush profusely.
It was only a moment before someone commented on it, that someone being an otter. “Pee-ew! What is that smell?”
I blushed harder than I thought possible.
Candy piped up. “Well, Bea cou’dn’’ make i’ to d’e poddy. So she hadda use her diaper. She s’ill needs d’em sometimes.”
Emmy perked up, looking over to me with a blush of her own, somehow visible behind the her orange fur on her cheeks. I didn’t return her gaze; I simply shuffled in my mess, wanting to get my mind off it.
“Ah, well, good thing she was wearing protection! Otherwise she would have made a big mess somewhere,” Zoe helpfully added. It sounded like something that a parent would tell a bed wetter, and I was reminded of her occupation as a daycare attendant.
I poked at my cake, trying to take my mind off how I used the garment around my waist like a toddler. “I’m not a baby, jeez,” I said flustered.
“Well, of course you’re not! Just look at how you fill out that dress. Besides, adults have accidents sometimes. It’s not like you’re gonna loose friends over it,” Claire said, shooting an encouraging wink at Emmy.
Emmy looked over to me, her cheeks turning scarlet as the same happened to mine. Our gazes met, and I saw her mouth “Thank you.” I gave a flat smirk.
“Well, what were we talking about?” Claire asked before continuing to give her long winded tirade. We all smiled, listening intently. Even Emmy’s spirits were up.
I slowly forgot about my mess, finishing my cake, and and pouring myself some tea.
It was pleasant, sitting there in the warm sun, animals and people walking by on the street of all shapes and sizes, the buildings around us soaring into the skies. Every now and then I would be reminded of my diaper, but I would quickly forget about it after listening to my friends, and seeing Emmy genuinely happy without bringing anyone else down.
But then I saw Candy’s face light up, before shouting, “Mommy!”
“Huh,” I said, trying to figure out who “Mommy” was supposed to be. Zoe always had mom vibes about her, even though she had no kids. I guess it was just the way that she would listen to you no matter what, and would always try to offer a gentle touch. She was sweet like that. Being a daycare worker probably helped a tiny bit, too.
But to complicate matters, Candy wasn’t looking at Zoe. She was looking at me. Or rather, she was looking behind me. So I turned around. My face lit up when I realized who it was.
“Ms. Ive!” I shouted as well.
Wait, I was suddenly brought back to reality as I furrowed my brow. Ms. Ive?
“Hi, girls,” the woman of the house said to both of us. The land of pretend faded away, I was left back in the playroom. I didn’t feel like I was transported, but I suddenly started to recognize things for what they were. The cake and tea were air. Emmy wasn’t a tiger, she was a stuffed animal. Candy wasn’t a confident woman, she was 5. And I was 23, and—
“Oh my, what’s that smell?” Ms. Ive asked, her face contorting in disgust.
I suddenly became extremely aware of the ruined panties and diaper around my bottom.
“E-excuse m-me,” I said, my voice struggling to escape my throat. I quickly stood up and speedwalked past Ms. Ive.
“Huh?” she asked, still confused.
“Emmy was feelin’ bad cuz she’s in condend, ‘n Bea made a’ acciden’ to cheer Emmy up!”
“Bea did what?” I heard as I approached the bathroom. Ms. Ive wasn’t angry, just confused, but as every step shifted the mess more and more, it brought me closer to the verge of tears. I got to the door in question, and tried the handle, but it wouldn’t budge. I kept trying and trying, shaking the handle this way and that, but nothing would work. I gave the door a few tugs and shoves, my breathing growing more and more ragged as a I struggled desperately to fight back my waterworks. I was just trying to hold off until I could ball my eyes out in the privacy of the bathroom, before being inevitably kicked out of the house.
I grew desperate. I put my shoulder to the door, again wiggling the lever up and down, desperate to get it open. But it was no use. I couldn’t muster nearly enough force, especially in my fragile state, to get it to budge. I broke. The first tear reached my lip, and from that moment I was unable to hold back. Tears streaming down my face, I fell to the floor, laying against the door. My knees accidentally propped up my dress, putting my shame on full display.
“Bea, honey, what’s wrong?” I heard in front of me.
I tried excusing myself as best I could. Which, at that moment, was just empty sobs. Not that it would have been any easier if I was more coherent; in fact, the sobbing was better in a way, because it let me pretend like I might have had a valid reason without having to do any of the leg work.
“Bea, please, I’m worried about you,” Ms. Ive called again.
I continued crying, not sure what to say.
“Did you have an accident?” I heard her ask.
Still not looking at her, I nodded, my breathing still sputtering profusely, my tear ducts still overproducing.
“Were you wearing a diaper?” she asked next.
“Oh. That’s…” she stopped, not knowing what it was. “Are you trying to clean up?”
I nodded again, my sobbing amplifying.
I felt her arms wrap around me, and I heard her whisper. “It’s alright…” she cooed. “You know, I got that dress for you. I knew how much you liked playing dress-up with Candice, and I just couldn’t resist. I have to say, it looks great on you.”
I almost smiled, but my frown was too powerful.
“Come on, let’s get you all sorted out. That door is jammed, remember?” I felt her fingers wrap around mine, and she pulled me up. “Lets go to the bathroom downstairs. Okay?”
I nodded, feeling small. I saw Candy in the playroom doorway, and she looked up to us with a concerned gaze. “Is Bea okay, Mommy?”
“She is, honey. She just had an accident and she’s scared because girls her size don’t have many accidents,” Ms. Ive said, squeezing my hand. “But it’s okay, because ‘not many’ doesn’t mean ‘none’, which she will figure out once we can get the waterworks stopped.”
I looked away, ashamed, still sniffling. She continued to hold my hand tight and lead me down the stairs, eventually arriving at the bathroom. She opened the door and led me inside and sat me down on the toilet seat. She let go of my hand, and walked to the doorway.
“I’m going to leave you to clean up here, alright? Tell me if you need anything. There should be wipes under the sink, and you can take a shower if you feel like it.”
Once she left and closed the door, I wasn’t event sure to begin with my cleanup process. My crying had mostly subsided, but my breaths were still uneven and my cheeks salty. I just sat for several pregnant minutes, thinking deeply, trying to calm down further.
I eventually decided to start with my dress. Ms. Ive telling me she got it for me made me strangely happy. Thinking back on Ms. Ive brightened my mood and allowed me to start working, and I slipped the dress off over my head.
Then I was faced with my diaper. I knew that my panties were completely soiled, and I quickly decided that it was not worth salvaging them. I ripped open the tapes on the diaper, but I was left with another dilemma. Most of my mess was still trapped in my panties; the best way around this, I found, was to use a pair of scissors from the cabinet. I snipped the sides of the thinner underwear, and they fell directly into the open diaper.
Then I needed to actually clean up my behind. Setting my thoroughly soiled diaper on the ground, I grabbed the wipes from under the cabinet, and began the time consuming task of wiping. Each used fabric I deposited into the old diaper, and once I felt clean, I spread my legs, examining my work. Finally, I wrapped up everything into a ball.
It didn’t take long to identify the next challenge. I had no more underwear. I blushed, and I knocked on the door, hoping Ms. Ive would be of some use.
“Yes? Bea?” I heard from the other side.
“Uhm…” I muttered quietly.
“What’s that hon?”
“OH!” she exclaimed, chortling. “You don’t have any underwear. I’ll go fetch some.”
I heard her walk away and return several minutes later. “Sorry, Bea, but I couldn’t find your underwear. And you know how I feel about sharing it. So I’m giving you this, because this is all I have.” She opened the door a crack, and pushed something inside, quickly setting it on the counter and closing the door again.
I blushed, noticing it was another one of the adult diapers. “But…” I protested.
“It’s fine, Bea. I’ve already seen you in a diaper.”
“I-I know, but…”
“It’s either that or stay in there forever,” she said sternly, quickly correcting to a more gentle tone, “But you can’t do that, because me and Candy will need to use it eventually. So put that on, put on your dress, and let’s have a talk about what happened. I’m not mad, Bea, I just want to make sure there’s nothing wrong. Okay? You’re a good babysitter, the best I’ve had, and I don’t want to ruin that. So lets talk, yeah?”
“O-okay…” I said as I started to unfold the diaper with shaky hands. I got it ready for taping by placing it between my legs like before and pulling it up, feeling it over my bare skin for the first time. The feeling I had gotten from my diaper while I was pretending were embarrassingly real, and I couldn’t help but to admit that being wrapped in a soft diaper wasn’t awful. Still, I wanted to deny, and I tried my best.
After my next diaper was taped up, I went back to my dress. Much like before, it slipped on with ease and grace.
Not quite ready to go, I steeled my nerves and exited the bathroom.
In the living room I saw her sitting on the couch patiently, waiting for me. Noticing me, she patted down the seat next to her, and I roboticly obliged. My cheeks were scarlet as I waddled and crinkled the whole way, finally sitting down with an audible crunch.
Ms. Ive just giggled at me. “That dress looks so cute on you, it’s hard to describe. And your diaper certainly helps increase the cuteness factor,” she said, before quickly amending, “In a weird, way, I mean.”
I couldn’t speak, only blush.
“Okay, now, I want you to explain exactly what happened. Please don’t change any details, no matter how silly or even crazy you think they sound. Okay? I mean it one hundred percent. There is absolutely zero judgement here, trust me, and I’m willing to believe more than you can imagine.”
“O-okay,” I said, taking a deep breath. I began to explain how Candice just wanted a simple tea party, and how I liked her tea parties, but that this one was different because everyone was supposed to wear a diaper for her stuffed tiger Emmy, and how I went along with it because it all felt so real—how every time we play pretend, it feels so real, and how I lose myself almost every time, to the point where I will forget about the real world—and how Emmy was being nice since her botched operation, and how I wanted to cheer her up since we became friends, and what Emmy said, and what that meant I needed to do to cheer her up. And that was it, the story of how I messed my diaper and cried into my charge’s mother’s arms.
She looked forward for a long while, staring at the wall. I didn’t know what she was thinking about, and I only hoped that she wasn’t going to try and have me committed to a mental hospital or fire me. I just clutched the hem of my dress, shifting uneasily in my diaper.
“So, Bea, there’s something I need to tell you. Well… yeah, something I need to tell you,” Ms. Ive said, breathing in hard, “I don’t think it’s just you,” she said quickly, “I think it’s… my daughter.”
"Let me explain. A little over a year ago, I started noticing something was… off while I was playing with my daughter. I would be forgetting stuff. I mean, I would get so engrossed in playing with her that I would… start to hallucinate, I guess. Nothing bad, in fact, it was all good and fun, and I chalked it up to just getting engrossed in her little games, because she’s my precious daughter. But then… it got bad. I started missing stuff because I was playing with her; stuff like dates and appointments. But that didn’t bother me, because, again, it was my daughter and I could just reschedule appointments.
“But then… her stuffed animals started talking to me. At first I could tell that either I or Candice were just talking in a silly voice, but then… I couldn’t tell anymore—and some of her characters were so… real. At that point, I still wasn’t that scared. But then I… Then, well, for my job, I had a night shift one day, and around lunch time, my daughter wanted to play a game. I was confident I would be able to break away from it, but I got… lost. And I mean it: I was on cloud nine. I welly and truly thought that I was in a jungle, going for a hike. Everything felt real, and I swear I could even taste the trail mix I ‘had’ on me. It sounds like what you were talking about, right?”
"So, that wasn’t what startled me the most; when I finally snapped out of it, it was because I heard the TV turn on. One of us must have accidentally stepped on the remote or something, but that managed to bring me back to my senses. But when I looked at the clock, I noticed that my shift was already halfway over. It was thankfully remote work, so I was able to explain it away by saying there were connection issues, and luckily they believed me because of my record. But that was was my wake up call.
“So I went to a psychiatrist. They said that perhaps playing with my daughter was triggering it. How, they didn’t know. But it was. As soon as I stopped playing with her, I never had those weird visions again. I was still in her life as much as possible, but I couldn’t play her games, because I knew what it did to me. But I needed to get a babysitter, because I was starting to drive all over the place from work. You know how it is. I hired a babysitter. She was nice, but then, out of the blue, week later, she quit. She didn’t say why, she just said she had other stuff to do. And so I hired another one, and it was the same thing: mysteriously quitting a week later. I would keep having sitters come, and longest one I had before you was just 2 weeks. Do you see what I’m trying to say?”
I just silently looked at the wall in front of us, letting her talk.
She sighed. “What I’m trying to say is that, I think they quit because the same thing happened to them as us, and it freaked them out,” she paused, “Does it freak you out?”
I was about to speak, but my breath caught in my mouth, and I reformulated my words. This woman had already seen me at my lowest, and was still as caring as ever. Lying to her was the wrong choice. “No,” I said.
“How… how does it make you feel?”
“I… I like playing with her. It’s always fun… and Zoe is such a—” I stopped, not wanting to sound more crazy. “Ah, I mean…”
“It’s okay, no judgement here. I have my own stories too,” she smiled, squeezing my hand.
“…Zoe is a nice zebra. There, I said it,” I said, determined.
“I’ve never met her, but I have met Claire. Is she still around?”
“Oh yeah! Claire is hilarious.”
“I know she is. That was the first toy I got for Candy, too. Can you believe that?”
“I didn’t know that. What about Emmy, did you know her?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
We sat in silence for some time. I looked down at my lap, and shifted my bottom, blushing at the feeling of my diaper pushing apart my legs.
Ms. Ive still had some questions, however. “So, if you liked it, why were you crying?”
“I was scared you were going to fire me for acting like a child, and I was embarrassed about what I had done.”
“Well, okay, that should have been obvious,” Ms. Ive smiled, “To me, I mean. But there’s no need to worry. I know what it’s like, to go… there. Sometimes you’re just… not all there, and things that wouldn’t make sense normally suddenly do.”
I looked her in the eyes. “Thank you, that means a lot.”
“Of course. But I need to know, when did this start happening for you?”
I mulled it over, seriously considering the question. For me, my decent into “imagination land” as I began calling it was also gradual, as I didn’t start playing her games right away. I had an epiphany at that moment, and concluded that that the other babysitters must have had it happen to them immediately, and that was what freaked them out so bad. I certainly felt that if the first time I met Candy I ended up wearing and using a diaper because a stuffed animal told me to, I would have probably left too. But I realized there was a pivotal moment: the first time that I had felt like I was no longer in the house. “It happened… about a month after I started here. I was playing with Candy and Zoe, and at some point I was just… on a ship. It almost felt like a dream, thinking back on it. Like, one moment I was in the playroom having a fun conversation with Zoe, and then I found myself in a room on a cruise ship, and Zoe was sitting next to me, and Candy too, and we were just talking about life, and Zoe was saying that she was going to try traveling, and… well, yeah. The first time it really happened was about a month ago.”
Ms. Ive pursed her lips. “And how often does this happen? How do you keep getting out of it?”
Blood rushed to my face, turning me into a tomato. “Basically daily.”
“You mean every time you come here?” she looked at me, smirking.
“Yeah…” I shied away.
“Well how do you get out? What does it?” she asked.
“It’s when you come home, really.” I explained shyly, remembering Ms. Ive standing it the doorway from earlier. I was blushing so much I started to sweat, and I started to notice my padding becoming damper. It wasn’t unpleasant, but it was a slight reminder of the close encounter I had with trauma.
“Aren’t you ever worried that you won’t be able to… come back?” she asked, slowly grabbing my hand out of worry.
I furrowed my brow. I had never even thought of the possibility of being stuck in imagination land. I didn’t know whether or not that was because it didn’t scare me, or I was stupid. But Ms. Ive was expecting an answer. “I never thought about it… I mean, it doesn’t sound that bad…” I contemplated out loud.
“I see… Even if you’re stuck wearing a diaper?” she squeezed my hand.
“I-I don’t know,” I answered without confidence, shifting in my diaper.
“Well… alright then,” she said, ambiguously sighing, “As long as you’re okay with it all, I would love to keep you on as my babysitter. I think Candice would love it too.”
“Thank you,” I said, turning to her, trying to emphasize with my expression how much it meant to me.
“Of course,” she offered, drawing me in for a hug and running the small of my back. We embraced each other for nearly 30 seconds, and I didn’t want to stop by the end. But eventually she let go, and we were left in an peaceful silence. Noticing the time, Ms. Ive spoke up. “By the way, it’s well past your quitting time, so you’re free to go.”
My face lit up in realization. “Oh!” I said, getting up from my seat and reminding myself of my padded bottom.
“You should try and find your clothes. I couldn’t find them earlier, sorry about that.”
I nodded, remembering that my clothes were still in the closet in the playroom.
I walked up the stairs, lightly enjoying the feeling of thickness between my legs. It was a foreign feeling, but far from a bad one.
I entered the room to find Candy still sitting at her table, her animal friends having been moved to the corner of the room. It looked like she was still in her dress, and she was writing on a piece of paper.
I said nothing as I walked over to the clothes pile, but Candy could hear me crinkling. She turned around and got up out of chair, her face contorted in concern. “I’m sorry, Bea!” she consoled.
I looked over to her, my turning cheeks scarlet. “Don’t worry about it…”
“Bu’ you were crying…” she lamented.
“I-it’s okay, your mom helped me and we got everything sorted out,” I explained, hoping to sooth her.
“Well… okay. Bu’ will you efer be back?” she asked, he voice wavering.
I smiled brightly. “Yep. Tomorrow morning, just like usual.”
Her face lit up in enthusiasm. “Yay!” she said. “Are you looking for y’ur clof’es?”
“Yeah…” I said, my hand in the pile.
“I’ll help!” she said, starting to dig through. It was worth while, too, because in short time she found my shorts, and soon after I found my shirt.
I thanked her and walked out of the room, heading to the bathroom to get changed.
Ms. Ive spotted me on my way down, and called out to me. “Oh, by the way, I meant what I said about that dress. I got it for you. You can take it home, or you can leave it here. It’s yours.”
I gave a toothy grin. “Thank you!” I said, nearly skipping the rest of the way to the bathroom.
Once I got in the bathroom, I shut the door and slipped off my dress. I was left in my bra and diaper that’s when I encountered my dilemma. I sighed. If I put on my shorts without underwear, it would be unbearably uncomfortable. If I wore the dress without underwear, I ran the risk of flashing someone. Neither one of those options sounded appealing, so I decided to keep the diaper on. There was still a potential issue with the dress, however, as, it was possible to show people my diaper, which, while not as illegal and lewd sounding, was still plenty embarrassing. So, I decided, shorts over diaper it was. I first put on my shirt, and then soon after I pulled up my shorts. I was surprised to find that the shorts weren’t too tight over the diaper, and was also surprised how non-obvious it was; the contours of the garment weren’t visible at all contrary to my fears. I lifted my shirt to see the top of my underwear peaking out, however, and I dropped it, blushing. Finally, squeezing my thighs together one last time, I exited the room, dress in hand.
“Well, I’m going now. Thank you for the dress!” I said on my way out the door.
I closed the door behind me and walked over to my modest vehicle. I opened the car door and threw my new dress inside, before sitting down hard and hearing the characteristic crinkle. I slammed my door, and went to start the car. I ended up grabbing air, so I patted down my shorts and found what I was looking for in my right pocket. I put the key into the ignition, and turned.
The engine seemed to sputter more than usual, but I didn’t think anything of it until I had been turning the key for ten seconds without any progress. I sighed, and tried again. It clacked and clugged some more, but it still ended in the same disappointing static engine. That time I scoffed, trying yet again to get it to start, in vain. I must have tried the key fifteen times, praying that I would still have a working car. But after all those failed attempts, I gave up, utterly defeated.
I had no clue what I was supposed to do. I had never faced an automotive issue where I couldn’t bring my car to the shop, and I started to get anxious; my heart raced and my skin dampened, which wasn’t helping the state of my new, more absorbent underwear. I put my head on the steering wheel in exasperation, but I startled myself when my forehead pressed on the horn. The shock added to my anxiety, and my mouth felt dry as my throat started to ache. The day was taking it’s toll on me, and I only wanted to cry again, but my tears were perpetually on the verge of coming out.
I tightly shut my eyes to get them to water, but it wasn’t happening. As it was, I was giving dry sobs, trying my hardest to keep my throat from becoming too irritated.
I heard the front door close, and I saw the silhouette of a woman I presumed to be Ms. Ives step out onto the small patio. She walked over the car in her usual “business-y” fashion, and even in the quickly vanishing light of the dusk, her frown was plain to see. She leaned down to stick her head in my window. I reached over to the crank, slowly bringing down the pane.
She spoke first. “Beatrice? Is everything alright? Why are you still here?” she asked without a hint of resentment.
“My car won’t start,” I raspily replied.
“Oh dear. Is the battery dead?”
“No. At least I don’t think so. I mean, the radio and stuff still works. And it wasn’t making that clicking sound that happens when it is dead.”
“Oh…” she said, furrowing her brow. “Would you like to try doing a jump start? I don’t think it will work but it might be worth a shot.”
“Sure, I guess…” I sighed. I got out of the car, and helped Ms. Ive find her own jumper cables. We hooked up the cars and tried a few times, but it became clear it wasn’t going to work. Eventually, we put the cables away and went back into the house. At that point, I was mentally exhausted, and just wanted to lie down and reset.
We both sat down on the couch, and I was so frazzled that I didn’t even notice my bottom sink into my padding. I looked at the blue carpet in front of me with a perfect poker face. No one could tell what I was thinking or how I was feeling, not even myself.
Ms. Ive broke the silence, however. “So, what are we going to do?” she asked me.
I didn’t respond, just trying to think.
She answered for me. “I can drive you home, but that’s a bit out of the way for me. By the time I get back, it will already be Candice’s bedtime, and that’s assuming we don’t eat dinner. But I can still do it if you really really need to,” she tried offering. “Oh, but there’s another problem, because I won’t be able to pick you up in the morning.”
I huffed. “I can try ride sharing.”
“Oh, yeah! See how much it is.”
I pulled my phone out of my pocket, noticing it was low-battery. I rolled my eyes and continued to the app. I punched in my address, and waited for a response. It took a much longer time than I expected to calculate, and I eagerly waited. Eventually the loading ceased, but I was left dumbfounded. “What?” I said out loud.
“What is it?” Ms. Ive asked, trying to peek at the phone.
“There’s no way this is right. This is way too much!” I protested to my app, as if it was listening. “It’s $45 dollars! That’s over half of what I make in a day. What the heck?” I cried, falling back into the sofa, letting the hand holding the phone drop to my side.
“Oh boy…” Ms. Ive said. She scrunched her face in consideration. “What are we going to do about this, now?” she thought some more, looking off to the top right corner. “Well, what did you need from your house?”
“What do you mean?” I asked, confused.
“I mean—well, Bea—I mean, maybe you can just stay here until the weekend, if you don’t need anything from home. There’s a spare bed in the that closet-area that I could clear off for you, if you’re interested, and I can lend you some of my old clothes if you’d like,” she explained, slightly awkwardly.
“I…” I trailed, off, starting to give it thought. I went over all the things that I would want from home. My clothes, my toothbrush, and my phone charger. I knew she had a phone charger for me, because I often used her spare during the day. She also said she could lend me some clothes, and I knew we were a similar size and that she had fine tastes, so I wasn’t worried about wearing ill-fitting rags. Rather inconveniently, I neglected the fact that she wouldn’t be able to lend me underwear bottoms for anyone over the age of two. Regardless, in my forgetful state, that only left one concern. “What about a toothbrush?”
“Oh, we have plenty of extras from the dentist. So are you alright with it?” she asked, her voice dripping with hope.
“I guess so!” I threw my hands up slightly, just wanting to be done with it.
“Great,” Ms. Ive said merrily, trying to brighten the mood. “It really won’t be any trouble. How about we figure out what to do about your car after dinner. Do you—” she stopped herself, quickly putting her hand to her mouth, before bringing it down and continuing, “Ah I was just about to ask about your car, but I just said we’ll deal with that after dinner, didn’t I?” she smirked.
I gave a weak but sincere smile.
Ms. Ive stood up. “You want to help me with dinner?” she asked.
I nodded, not wanting to offend her.
“Alright. Let’s get started then.” I followed her into the kitchen and stood by the sink, waiting for instruction. Ms. Ive reached into the cabinets, grabbed two cans, and handed them to me. I set them down on the counter, noticing they were cans of coconut milk, and she continued to the fridge, pulling out a head of broccoli. She grabbed a cutting board from a cabinet beneath the countertop and a bowl from the cupboard. I noticed her smile grow as she worked, but unfortunately it wasn’t as infectious I’d wanted it to be. I flashed back to the sound of Ms. Ive asking “What’s that smell?” and the feeling of my messy diaper on the small, wooden chair in the playroom, and then finally to my then-current padded predicament. My cheeks heat up, and I tried my hardest to banish the thoughts, and luckily Ms. Ive had something for me. “Could you break apart the broccoli into smaller bits? You can place all the pieces into this bowl. And then you can open these cans.”
“Okie-dokie,” I said as I went to wash my hands before ripping branches off the broccoli. I started and the base, meticulously refining the branches until they were pleasantly bite sized.
Meanwhile, Ms. Ive pulled out another cutting board and a knife, as well as two chicken breasts from the fridge. She opened the package and drained the juice in the sink and then went to work. “I saw a packet of peanut sauce mix at the store, and I thought it sounded interesting. So that’s what we’re having,” she said contently.
“Peanut sauce?” I asked, having never heard of it. Growing up in a small town had it’s perks, but worldliness was not one of them.
“Yeah, it’s Thai, I think. Candy always says she wants to try new foods, and you know how I like indulging her,” Ms. Ive shook her head playfully, “I’ve never met another kid who says she wants to try new foods. I have no clue where she got it from…”
I smiled back. “Yeah, I tried to make her ‘kids’ food when I first started, but she always looked so bored with it. You must have been feeding her caviar as a baby!” I laughed jovially, forgetting my woes for a moment.
“You know, that’s the strangest part. I never did anything crazy. One day, she just got tired of mac ‘n cheese. Actually, about a year ago, I heard, ‘I neva wanna see mac n’ cheese again, i’‘s so boring!’” Ms. Ive imitated, “Really, I feel like she’s so adventurous despite my parenting.”
I giggled again. I felt like I could hear Candy say those exact words. Still, I too was baffled by how mature Candy could be. “Maybe she got it from her father…?” I asked bashfully.
Ms. Ive’s mood seemed to sour, and I winced at the obviously sore topic. “Who the hell knows?” she asked with vitriol, uncharacteristically cursing. “Sorry,” she added, seeing my concern.
“N-no,” I stuttered, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have…” I trailed off, hoping to find the right word in time.
Ms. Ive dismissed it immediately. “No, it’s really okay. You couldn’t have known about… him,” Ms. Ive sighed.
I silently continued my work on the broccoli, trying my hardest not to upset Ms. Ive anymore. Seeing her like this and knowing it was my fault made me feel like trash, especially when she was kind and gentle in my darkest hour. Eventually, I finished, and all that was left in my hands was a large chunk of stem. I set the bowl of heads and the stems aside, and dug into the nearest drawer, looking for the canopener. I found it a moment later and began the tedious task of opening the cans.
Rather serendipitously, me and Ms. Ive finished our tasks at the same time. She scraped off the diced chicken into the waiting pan, washed her hands, and finished by me. She inspected the broccoli, and gave my hair a playful ruffle. “Good job,” she praised.
I smiled, enjoying the affection. But as a grown woman, I naturally had to protest the doting. “Hey,” I tried to chide.
Ms. Ive smiled back, and grabbed the bowl before twirling around and setting it by the cooking chicken. I continued to watch her work, and it made me happy to see her back to her normal, jovial self after I soured her mood. I wondered, though, how a working mother, who almost never seemed take a break, could stay so upbeat, energetic, and all around pleasant all the time. I was sure that she must of had her moments, but even when I was being a pain, she seemed to always be understanding in way I just couldn’t wrap my head around. When I had my accident, she wasn’t even the slightest bit angry. She was understanding and soothing, in a way that I didn’t think I could ever be. I could almost guarantee that if I had been her, I would’ve been very upset with my babysitter for having acted so childishly. I wanted to know, so I asked. “Ms. Ive?”
She turned around, shooting her star speckled smile in my direction. “Yes?”
“How… How can you be so calm all the time?”
“What do you mean?”
I blushed. “W-when you came home earlier… and you saw me…” I paused, searching for the right phrasing, “If I were you, I think I would have been more… upset.”
Ms. Ive gave a slight frown, considering her answer. “Well… there are two parts to it, I suppose…” she seemed to shy away at then end.
“Well, I already told you earlier that I know that your mind can be a little… wacky.”
She smirked, trying to stifle her giggle. “Well, to be honest, I thought you were really cute, in a weird way.”
“W-what?” I paled.
“Well…” she rolled her eyes, redirecting her gaze, “When you were crying, you looked like… You looked scared. You looked fragile and innocent,” she said, giving a small smirk, “And I just had an urge to comfort you, because I knew you didn’t hurt anyone, and that you were the one hurting, and that you needed comfort.”
I bit my lip, trying to parse her analysis. “But cute?” I asked, realizing she had avoided the question.
“Oh…” she sighed, “Well, okay, I’ll say it. You looked like a little kid in that diaper.”
Blood rushed to my face, but I was so used to the feeling that I was more upset that I was losing precious water to all the sweating I was doing than anything. “D-didn’t you think it was gross, though?”
Ms. Ive appeared particularly thoughtful, and took a few extra seconds to respond. “No, not really. I’ve seen nastier stuff, and you being obviously upset about the whole ordeal made me not worry about that so much. If you were enjoying it, maybe I would have been a little more weirded out,” she giggled, poking me lightly.
I smiled in response, playfully retracting at her touch.
“Oh, looks like the sauce is almost done,” Ms. Ive said, turning to the stove. She melodramatically brought her palm to her forehead, exclaiming, “Oh jeez, I’m such dunce. I forgot the rice! Bea, will you get a pot out?”
I nodded, and rustled around in the pots and pans cabinet, looking for a proper pot. I ended up setting for a sauce pan.
Ms. Ive took the pan and poured some rice in, giving an educated guess as to how much she would need. She then turned on the faucet, and when she was satisfied with the water level, she placed the pot on the stove and turned on the burner. I had no reason to doubt her, never having cooked rice myself.
The rest of the time was filled with waiting, and we just silently enjoyed each other’s company. I would sneak a quick glance at Ms. Ive just to observe the curious woman. I still didn’t completely understand why she was so caring and laid back, but I was thankful. I felt relieved to know that she was willing to put up with my moment of ineptitude, and didn’t even seem particularly skeptical of my abilities.
Eventually, the rice was boiled and I was instructed to get plates out for everyone. The meal was served, the table was set, and Candice was summoned to the dining room slash kitchen. She was happily surprised when she saw me, and it was at that moment that I realized that we hadn’t told her the news. “Bea’s s’ill here?”
Ms. Ive spoke for me. “Yep. Her car isn’t working, so she’s going to stay here until the weekend.”
“Yay!” Candy exclaimed.
I smiled at her enthusiasm, already starting to forget my woes.
We all sat down at the table, and my crinkling behind decided to immediately sour my mood again. I sighed and stuck my fork into a chunk of chicken, the fact that I had been diapered for half the day with everyone knowing sinking in. Again, while having a boss as caring as Ms. Ive was certainly a blessing, that didn’t help the infantilization I felt.
Still, the dinner was pleasant for the most part. Listening to Candy hastily scarf down the food in front of her while mother gently scolded her brought a smile face. In no time it seemed to be over, and Ms. Ive gathered everyone’s plates. I told her I would do the dishes tomorrow, and she gave me a thankful affirmation.
After dinner, me and Ms. Ive discussed what to do about my car. We decided that a tow was going to be the best option, because she could call her friend for a favor. Then, over the weekend, she would take me to my apartment to grab whatever I needed and I would stay at her house until my car was fixed. It was an arrangement I definitely didn’t mind, because she wasn’t charging me for food. After our conversation, she went upstairs to clear out the closet enough for me to sleep. Eventually, she came back down, proclaiming that the space was ready for habitation.
I decided I needed to sleep early. The room was directly across from playroom and right next to the bathroom. It was a windowless storage room, but I didn’t mind as that kept it plenty dark. High stacks of boxes flanked a pathway to the bed which had obviously just been made up for me. The sheets and blankets were a hodgepodge, but it looked plenty comfy, so I didn’t complain. Sitting on the bed was plain white night shirt with sleeves ending halfway down the forearm and a fluffy collars, as well as a pair of fuzzy, plaid pajama pants. I could only assume they were for me, so I discarded my top and my shorts, getting ready to redress for bed. I went for the shirt first, crisscrossing my arms and pulling it over my torso.
I then grabbed the pants, pulling them over my diaper. It was at that moment that I realized what I was missing from home; it wasn’t my phone charger, my shirts, or my toothbrush. It was my underwear. I didn’t even bother Ms. Ive about it; I knew she wasn’t going to have any other undergarments for me. I also suspected that she wouldn’t appreciate my wearing her pants without any kind of underwear, knowing how particular she was about that kind of thing. I could only seem myself in diapers for at least the next two days if I were to stay there, and I sunk at the thought. Sighing, I sat down my new bed, my diaper crinkling, taunting me. I wanted to tell it “I know!” but I didn’t want to appear any more crazy than I already had when I claimed a stuffed animal told me to fill my pants.
I pulled up the cover, welcoming sleep.