Classified: A New Life

Seems like I can ease off my earlier reservations–at least a little bit.

Emory very much acts the age range she was assigned. It’s a little odd though, as pretty much all of her physical and mental changes must have happened at exactly the moment she got the letter. It seems almost impossible for someone with her decision making ability to have maintained as long as she has without someone asking her directly if she’s a little. And as well, since we never got to see any of how things were before, it’s odd that she hasn’t noted a drastic change.

Of course, those are just current observations. The chrysalis thing is as yet not fully explained, and I’m sure there are other factors to be revealed.

But the characters and their interactions are more than cute enough to make up for any questions or doubts I still have. You could a whole lot worse for suspension of disbelief and I’d still read it simply because it’s a cute and wholesome story and these are fun characters.

Carry on.

Well, I’m glad I’ve been able to portray Emory as the age range she’s supposed to be thus far! I could always do a flashback scene to try and explain how she was before–people definitely asked if she was a Little, she just lied about it.

I’m a little confused about what you mean as far as Emory not noticing a drastic change though, could you explain that part a bit more?

And is there anything specific about chyrsalis that you’d like to see explained in more detail?

I’m really glad you are enjoying the characters and story so far! Thanks so much for the feedback!

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I don’t think it was the letter I think it was the drugs Melody had her take to clam her down that started it. Added to the shock she was feeling as well as the fear and disappointment. It did come on drastically but that didn’t bother me.

Giving a flashback saying she knew she was a Little but lied would take away from her first reaction to her test results. Maybe she thought she might be a Little or was scared she was might be better but I don’t think the story needs it. In my opinion.

Maybe if you want to add a character who meets with Em and Mel as an adult and is worried about his/her upcoming test that Mel and Em explain the process to him/her that might solve any problem. That’s up to you.

As for me you don’t need to. At least not yet. The joy of reading is finding out stuff gradually not all at once or right from the start.

Can’t wait to hear more.

I’ve done this already though. Perhaps I wasn’t clear in my writing, but I was trying to emphasize the fact that Emory was upset that she hadn’t been able to fool the CLASS exam like she had fooled her personality tests in school.

She even mentions this to Melody in their discussion about her trying to avoid taking the CLASS exam:

I’m not sure if that helps or not though.

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Yeah that helps. I do remember that now. It might have been early in the morning or late at night when I first started so I probably forgot.

Chapter IX: Day 18; Morning

Emory wakes up in her car seat.

It’s a little jarring, since she’d gone to sleep in her crib, and she’s dressed in comfortable gray sweats and a loose sweatshirt. Her cheeks heat up a little bit at the realization that she must’ve slept through her morning diaper change and getting dressed; she hadn’t thought playing on the playground after story time would tire her out so much.

Opening her eyes, she discovers that it’s a beautiful day outside. The sun is shining, and the fields on either side of the road are full of grazing cows, sheep, and other livestock. Even as a child, Emory had never really spent much time out of the city, apart from a disastrous camping trip with her father one summer. So it’s nice to be able to see a different side of like and breathe the fresh–or maybe not-so-fresh–country air.

“It smells like poop.” Emory realizes, pinching her nose.

“Are you sure that’s not you, little one?” Melody teases from the driver’s seat, taking a sip of her coffee.

Emory pouts. “No!” she says indignantly.

“You’re not sure?” Melody continues, smiling at her in the rearview mirror. Maybe we’d better find a rest stop and make sure…”

Emory huffs. “Mellie, don’t be a butt…I just waked up…”

“You just woke up? Yeah, I know, sweetheart, I’m only teasing you. I know it isn’t you, I changed you about an hour or so ago and you slept through the whole thing.”

“I did?” Emory wonders.

“Yep. You were out like a light. Anyway, it’s the time of year for farmers to be spreading fertilizer on their fields so their crops can grow. That’s why it smells bad.” Melody explains.

“Oh.” Emory replies, looking back out the window at the grazing animals. She wonders idly if the sheep are as fluffy and soft as they look.

“Good morning, by the way, I was just about to wake you up to ask what you wanted for breakfast. We’ve still got a while left to go before we get to my parents house. We can either stop at a nice, sit-down place so you can stretch your legs for a bit, or we can go to a drive-thru so we can make better time. What do you think?” Melody says.

Emory yawns and stretches, thinking. “I wanna get out and stretch.” She says. She isn’t sure how long they’ve been driving for, but her legs are stiff from sitting, so at least a few hours must have gone by.

“Okay. I’m kinda hungry for pancakes, and there’s a restaurant in the shopping center up here. We can get you some swim diapers and some water wings while we’re there too. My parents have a big pond that I used to swim in as a kid, so I can still teach you if you want.”

“Yeah!” Emory says, wiggling excitedly. “I’d really like that Mellie!”

“I thought so. Do you want your bottle for now? It’ll be about an hour until we stop.” Melody asks. “I’m not going to make you wear your harness while we’re at my parents’ house, and I won’t feed you unless you want me to, even though you still have two more days until your punishment is over. You’ve been very good for the whole week, so I’m going to ease up a bit, but expect you to be on your absolute best behavior while we’re here.”

“Yes, Mellie. I’ll be good. And I would like my bottle please.” Emory says, glad that Melody’d thought to bring them. Even though it’s sort of embarrassing to admit, she’d probably be upset about not having it.

Melody passes her bottle back to her, though it’s filled with water and not milk like it usually is.

Emory’s thirsty enough that she doesn’t care, and quickly sucks it down. She leans back in her car seat, looking at the animals as they pass by for a few minutes before speaking up.

“Do you think the sheeps are as soft as they look?” She wonders.

“We can find out if you want. My parents live near a nature preserve that has all kinds of animals, and it’s got a petting zoo!” Melody explains.

“I’ve never been to a petting zoo before.” Emory says honestly.

“Well now we have to go! You’ll love it!” Melody replies.

Emory smiles. “I’d like that.”

They drive in silence for a bit before Emory speaks up again:

“Do you have my phone? I’m kinda bored…” she says. Since her Classification, she’s limited in what her phone will allow her to do without setting off its Parental Controls, but there are still plenty of games and things she can do to pass the time while they drive.

“Here.” Melody says, passing it back to her. “I don’t want you playing on it for too long though, you’ll make yourself carsick. And I’d like you to try to nap for a while after breakfast, we should be getting there a little after lunchtime, and I want you to have energy to do stuff when we get there."

“Aww,” Emory huffs. “I don’t want a nap…It’s so different here and I wanna be awake to see it.”

“There will be plenty of time for that after your nap, little one. You’ll have two whole days to walk around and see the sights. And, it’ll be a lot more fun if you’re not cranky. We wouldn’t want to interrupt all that fun for a time-out would we?”

Emory shakes her head, conceding defeat. And then a thought occurs to her: “What are your parents’ names? What should I call them?”

“Well, their names are Jack and Jill, but you should probably ask them what they’d like to be called. I don’t think my mom will go for ‘Mrs. Melody’s Mom’.” Melody explains.

“Oh, like the nursery rhyme?” Emory wonders.

Melody smiles. “Exactly. I’ve always thought it was kinda funny how that worked out.”

Emory grins. “That is pretty neat…Can I have some more water please?”

Melody passes her another bottle. “Yes, but no more for a bit after this. We still have a little ways to go before we stop, and I don’t want you springing a leak before we stop.” She says.

Emory wiggles a bit as she sucks on her bottle. Now that she’s paying attention to it, she can tell that she’s definitely wet, but she wonders how Melody can tell that from the front seat. “How did you know I was wet without checking me?”

Melody chuckles. “I hate to break it to you munchkin, but your sweatpants aren’t exactly great at hiding your diaper. Plus, I’ve changed enough of your diapers by now that I can tell by looking if you’re wet or not.”

Emory’s cheeks heat up a bit, though she figures she shouldn’t really be that surprised. “Oh.” She says, and goes back to sucking on her bottle and looking out the window, her phone forgotten in her lap.

~CNL~

They make better time than Melody’d thought they would, though they do arrive after lunch.

Her parents’ house is a large one-level with a wraparound porch, a beautiful flower garden, and several trees around the property. The paint is sun-weathered, but it adds a nice, lived-in vibe to the home. The garden is decorated with various old-fashioned props, like a small plow and a wooden wagon wheel.

Melody’s parents are on the porch, clearly waiting for them. Her father is tall and muscular with jet black hair that’s starting to go a bit gray at the temples. Her mother is a bit taller than Melody, with dark brown hair, brown eyes and a kind, open face.

“They’re going to love you,” Melody says as she parks the car. “I know you’re nervous and that’s okay, but I promise, they’re really nice. They’re very excited to meet you.”

“I’m excited too,” Emory says, latching onto Melody once she’s been unbuckled. “I just get nervous…”

Melody kisses Emory’s temple and bounces her gently. “I know you do. But it’ll be just fine, you’ll see. They’re both Caregivers too, so you’ll have lots of people watching out for you while we’re here.”

Emory nods, but is too nervous to say anything else.

The two of them make their way over to where Melody’s parents are standing, and Melody puts Emory down so she can hug her folks.

“It’s good to see you both.” She says. “I’m sorry I haven’t been able to visit as much this year, work has been crazy and with everything going on recently, I didn’t have time until now.”

“That’s alright, I know how that can be. We’re just glad you made it safely.” Jack says.

Both of her parents look toward Emory, who, up until this point had been trying to hide behind Melody to the best of her ability.
“And who’s this little cutie?” Asks Jill in a gentle voice.

Emory gathers her courage and manages to squeak out a greeting. “Hi. I’m Emory. It’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Melody’s Mom.”

Jill laughs. “You have wonderful manners, sweetie. It’s very nice to meet you too! But you can just call me Nana, if you want, or Jill.”

“Okay, Nana!” Emory grins. Inwardly, she’s a little hesitant, because Melody still hasn’t committed to being her Caregiver officially, and it makes her nervous to get attached to people that she might not see again. However, Jill is too informal and uncomfortable, so she decides to stick with Nana.

Nana gives Emory a big hug and a kiss on the cheek.

Emory smiles and blushes a little before moving to greet Melody’s dad.

“Hi,” She says. “I’m Emory. It’s nice to meet you too, Mr. Melody’s Dad.”

Jack chuckles. “You don’t have to be so formal, squirt. Just call me Pop.”

Emory smiles. “Okay, Pop.”

Pop reaches down to lift Emory up, and then tosses her into the air.

Emory lets out a squeal of surprise, and then giggles as he catches her on the way back down.

“Again, again!” She cries, jumping up and down, and Pop obliges her.

“Wow! Mellie! Mellie, did you see how high I went? I could almost touch the sky!” Emory babbles excitedly.

Melody smiles at her. “I did, sweetheart, you were definitely super high up!”

Nana looks over at Emory. “Would you like to go on a walk with me while Melody and Jack get unpacked?”

Emory looks at Melody. “Can I? Please?”

Melody nods. “But stay close to Nana, okay? Don’t wander off, I mean it.”

Emory’s hands drift to her bottom at the memory of what had happened the last time she’d ‘wandered off’. “Yes, Mellie, I’ll be good. I promise.”

“Good girl. Have fun, and I’ll see you when you get back, okay?” Melody says, pausing to kiss Emory’s forehead.

Nana reaches for Emory’s hand, and she takes it before setting off down the path that leads away from the house. As they head toward the back of the house, Emory can see the pond that Melody had spoken of down the hill from them. The path they’re on winds around the pond and heads into the forest beyond.

“Do you think we’ll see any deers, Nana?” Emory wonders. She’s surprisingly comfortable with Nana, despite having only met her moments ago.

Emory had never met her grandparents on either side of the family. Her parents hadn’t meant to conceive a child so late in their lives, and both sets of grandparents had already died before she was born. Maybe that’s why she feels so comfortable, if Melody decides to become her Caregiver, then that’s basically what Nana and Pop will be to her. She allows herself to be optimistic as she heads down the path.

“Maybe later on today.” Nana says, her voice warm. “There are lots that live around here, but they usually don’t come out until it starts getting dark.” she explains.

“Oh. I’ve never really been away from the city, so this is all new to me.” Emory confesses as they begin to walk around the pond. “Mellie said she’ll teach me how to swim while we’re here! She even got me swim diapers and water wings, so we’re ready!” Emory tells Nana excitedly.

“That sounds like lots of fun, honey. We even have some inflatable pool toys you can use when you get more comfortable in the water. The middle of the pond is the deepest part, and the water will be over your head. So, until you learn how to swim really well, I don’t want you to go into that part of the pond, okay? And even after you can swim, you are never, ever to come down here and swim without a grown-up.”

Emory nods solemnly. “Yes Nana.” she says.

As they near the woods, Nana pulls her off the path and over toward a copse of tress, pointing at something.

“Do you know what that is, sweetheart?” She asks, pointing to a shiny, three-leaved plant.

Emory shakes her head. “No, I’ve never seen it before.”

“That’s poison ivy.” Nana explains. “It will make you very itchy if it touches you, so make sure to stay away from it.”

“How will I know where it is? It’s kinda hard to see…”

“There’s a little rhyme to help you remember. It goes: ‘Leaves of three, stay away from me!’” Nana tells her. “Not all plants with three leaves are poison, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

“Okay, Nana. I’ll be careful. Mellie says that blueberries grow here?”

Nana nods. “That’s where we’re going. I thought you might like to pick some. They’re safe to eat, and you can have some now, but we should probably wash the rest when we get home before we eat them.”

“Yay! I think there’s an empty snack container in there that we can put them in.” Emory points out helpfully, with a big smile.

Nana fishes out the container, and together they head into the woods. It’s a short walk to the blueberry patch. She squats down next to one of the plants, pointing it out to Emory. “Do you see these pink ones?” she asks, pointing to the small not-quite-ripe fruits.

Emory nods. “Uh-huh!”

“These ones aren’t quite ripe yet, so we’ll have to come back another time to get them. These purple ones are almost ripe, and you can eat them if you want, but they’ll be really tart. And these dark blue ones, are just right.” Nana explains, pointing out each example in turn.

“Okay.” Emory says “Can we start?” She’s been looking forward to this moment pretty much since Melody told her about the blueberries, and she can barely contain her excitement.

Nana smiles at her. “Of course we can!”

The two of them pick blueberries together until the container is full, though Emory does more eating than picking, her face and fingers smeared with the purple juice from the fruit.

Emory squats down to examine a caterpillar wiggling its way across the leaves and sticks out a finger. The small creature crawls onto it, exploring. She smiles.

“Nana, look!”

“Did you find a caterpillar, sweetheart? Be careful with him, he’s just a baby.” Nana replies, smiling back at her.

Emory allows the small furry animal to crawl around on her for a few minutes, and it crawls up onto her shoulder, perching there contentedly.

Her stomach rumbles ominously, and she immediately regrets eating so much for breakfast, though she had been really hungry at the time. Tears spring to her eyes in response. Even though Nana has been super nice to her, it’s still embarrassing to think about pooping in front of her.

“It’s alright,” Nana says, rubbing her back like she knows exactly what’s going on. “You don’t have to be embarrassed. That’s what Little ones do, sweetheart, it’s not a big deal.

Emory sniffles as her stomach cramps painfully–the reassurance doesn’t exactly make her feel any less embarrassed, but it’s nice to know that Nana isn’t judging her. The mess is firm and difficult to expel, and Emory loses her fight to keep from crying.

“Oh, sweetheart,” Nana says gently, reaching out to take Emory’s hand. “Does it hurt?”

Emory just nods, her face red from effort and from embarrassment. It is nice to hold Nana’s hand though, even though she’d thought it’d be horribly embarrassing. It mostly just feels comforting though.

“It’s okay, I’m right here, little one. We’ll get you some medicine back at the house so it doesn’t hurt so much the next time you have to go, alright?”

“Okay,” Emory replies miserably. It takes her several minutes to finish doing her business, but Nana holds her hand and says comforting things to her the whole time. By now she’s gotten used to messy diapers, and doesn’t mind waiting for a change, especially if she’s doing something fun. But now, she’s mortified to discover that this mess is just as bad–if not worse–than the one she’d made at the zoo almost a week ago. She knows that Nana isn’t upset with her, but it’s still embarrassing to have made such a big mess in front of a new person.

“Are you all done, Emmy?” Nana asks.

Emory nods. “I think so…” She says as she stands up, making a face when she realizes how full her diaper is.

“Good job!” Nana says, smiling at her, and it feels strange to be praised for making a mess in her pants. “Can you walk, or do you want me to carry you back?”

It’d be nice to be carried, but Emory worries that she’s too heavy for Nana and hesitates. She takes an experimental step and frowns a little; it’s going to take her a really long time to get back if she has to walk like that…

“Umm…”

“Come here, sweetie.” Nana says, and checks her diaper, even though she knows the mess must be obvious. Nana pats her bottom gently before scooping her up. “I’m not so old that you’re too heavy for me, and I don’t want you to leak from trying to walk with such a big mess in your diaper.” Nana says in a kind, but matter-of-fact tone.

“Okay,” Emory concedes, surprised at how easily Nana had lifted her up.

“ It’s about time to head back anyway, it will be time for dinner soon, and you need a bath. How on earth did you get so covered in blueberry juice?” Nana wonders.

Emory shrugs. “I dunno, Nana.” she says.

“We’ll have to leave your little friend outside, Emmy. He can’t come inside with us.” Nana says gently, removing the caterpillar from her shoulder and releasing it into the flowerbed.

“Bye, Curtis! Be safe!” Emory says, waving as the caterpillar crawls slowly away, disappearing beneath the plants. Nana puts her down, and she waddles inside after her.

“We’re back!” Nana calls out.

Melody comes out to meet them, giving them each a hug.

“Did you have a good time?” Melody asks.

“We had a blast.” Nana answers for her. “Emmy even made a nice present for me.”

Emory can feel her ears turning red at that statement.

Melody reaches out and gently turns Emory around to check her diaper for herself. “Wow,” is all she says. “Do you feel better now, baby?”

Emory nods.

“I can change her, if you want.” Nana says, and Emory squirms.

Nana has been super nice to her ever since she arrived, but she isn’t sure she’s ready for that yet…

“I’ve got it this time,” Melody says. “But thank you.” She scoops Emory up and gives her a kiss on the nose.

Emory giggles. “Hi, Mellie! I misseded you!”

Melody pats her bottom gently as she heads toward what Emory assumes is the bathroom. “I missed you too, baby. Let’s go and get you cleaned up.”

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I enjoyed the new chapter. Gotta have a visit to the grandparents.

I’m curious about how much control Emory has over herself. You mention every time she poops her to her diaper that she feels her tummy rumble. So she knows when she is messing. How about her bladder? How much sensation does that give her?
Is it possible to potty train an L2?

Thanks and I can’t wait till the next chapter

She doesn’t get much warning for either thing. Being aware of it happening and getting a warning signal that allows for adequate time to get to a toilet are very different things. L-2s Can’t be potty-trained.

Sorry I guess my memory sucks

No worries, there’s been a lot that’s happened since that. It’s nice to have someone who is so engaged with the story :slight_smile:

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Thanks it’s defiantly worth a reread. I’ve been lurking mostly until recently. Decided to start posting. Still getting my thoughts straight on a story. I might start with something small.

I guess the sudden change to having accidents at that moment, or the sudden change to being almost completely unable to control her emotions. For someone college age to have been keeping ahead in her studies, and to apparently not have any previous issues with accidents, it kind of gives the impression that she’s certainly competent in both physical and mental ability.

As for the chrysalis, unless I’ve misread, that’s the body’s change toward being little or caregiver.

Given that she didn’t really pay attention to that in school, plenty of the changes should come as a shock. And upon being told that by Melody, a lot of what comes after should be less of a surprise and more of a discovery. Now, assuming her mental age is accurate to her classification–which I’ve certainly felt that it has been so far–that would, yes, explain why she is wavers from surprise to acceptance without a lot of introspective. (And that may be the clincher for me specifically, as I’m given to a lot of introspection and contemplation and all that.)

A simple enough example would be her bowel control. She goes from assumed perfectly normal, to barely over a minute warning, and by the time she has her first messy diaper, she doesn’t even once think about even trying to make it to the toilet. Likewise this with other aspects of her life, she hasn’t seemed to look back at all, not once thinking “man I sure miss using the toilet” or “I used to buy my own food, set my own schedule.” She certainly doesn’t come across as an extrovert, so I’d expect more introverted tendencies. To an extent, it’s as if she doesn’t even remember things prior to the big change. Now again, as stated above, her new mental age could–and largely does–explain all this away. But it does leave less to glean about who she used to be, and without that comparison, perhaps some of the changes carry a little less weight to them. I don’t know…

I guess what I’m saying is that the more I think about it, I think you’re right, and you’ve done it right, but… perhaps it’s a little difficult to get a grasp for where she is mentally given how quick she goes from maintaining, planning, competence, and continence, to breaking down, impulsive, incapable, and incontinent. Perhaps a longer introduction to who she used to be would’ve more firmly established her as what you intended for me to get. She may have seen it coming, hoped against it, tried to avoid it, struggled with the onset, but all that comes hard and fast as she’s thrown right into the thick of it.

Now again. I don’t think, and wouldn’t want a direct explanation. It could well be that this is a character who is very much not me and thus harder for me to get. It may take me until a second read-through or further chapters before some of it sinks in. This wouldn’t be the first time I’ve reached incorrect conclusions about characters–I may well have come into this looking for something that this story just isn’t intended to be. By all means, don’t take my word as law. This is just the best I can come up with for explaining what I’m thinking, feeling, and may be not getting.

Everything that I’ve not mentioned has been going swimmingly. As said before, this is very cute and loving. Emory’s actions and behaviors going forward very much fit with her mental age. All the other characters are rock-solid, Melody, for one, doing very well as a caregiver without being tropey for this subject matter. And the world is well-realized, and only getting better as the story continues. So for everything not mentioned above this paragraph, consider it a success. That’d be pretty much the whole thing, though, which is true.

Anyway, I think I’m getting to the point of rambling.
Do carry on.

The fact she’s been fighting the Little classification, and intentionally avoided learning about it would actually explain some of this. If you’re that focused on fighting something, when the something eventually happens, there’s a good chance it’s going to break you. I mean, hell you’ve seen me talk about a real case of something like that happening in the chat often enough. Danni ended up in the situation she’s in because, like Emory, she fought reality until reality finally caught up with her. It broke her mentally, and it took months of intense therapy to remotely put her back together.

From what we’ve seen of Emory’s behavior, it sounds a lot like how Danni describes what it was like at first when her two halves started integrating. Some stuff she had no trouble accepting, other stuff, it took a long time to even acknowledge it, let alone accept it.

Thank you all for all the insightful comments and support so far. This particular story will be coming to an end soon, but I’d like to do more in this universe if there is interest. Thanks for reading!

#####

Chapter X: Day 20; Morning

Remember to keep your fingers together, it’ll be easier to pull yourself along that way.” Melody explains. She takes a few steps back from Emory in the waist-deep water. “And remember, if you start to get tired, all you have to do is put your feet down and stand up.”

Emory dog-paddles experimentally for a moment before standing up again. The dog-paddling part is easy, but: “Aren’t I supposed to kick too, Mellie?” she wonders.

Melody nods. “Yes, but don’t worry too much if you’re still having trouble with that part. We’ll work on the kicking later. It’ll be a lot harder to learn if you’re trying to remember everything at once while trying to swim. Do you think you can paddle from one side of the pond to the other?”

Emory shrugs, the distance doesn’t look that far, and the water isn’t so deep that she’s afraid of going under. “I’ll try!” She says, though when she reaches the other side of the pond, the distance is much greater than she’d originally thought. Still, she’s resolved to try it anyway, swimming has been lots of fun so far, even though it’s much harder than Melody had made it look at first. She manages to make it about halfway before her arms are too tired to continue and she has to stand.

Melody still cheers for her though, even though she hadn’t been able to complete the whole distance. “You did great, sweetheart!” Melody says, wading over to Emory to give her a big hug. “I think it’s time to take a break though, your lips are starting to turn blue.”

“But I wanna keep going!” Emory protests, but Melody scoops her up and heads back to the dock where their towels are.

“I know you do, little one. But we’ll have some time to practice later, and blue lips mean it’s time to get out and get warm. Besides, I’m sure Nana and Pop are done making breakfast by now.” Melody says, wrapping Emory in a warm, fluffy towel.

Emory had had a bottle after waking up earlier than she normally would, and Nana and Pop had still been sleeping, so Melody had brought her out for a swimming lesson.

“I’m hungry, and I know you must be too, after all that swimming.” Melody continues, carrying Emory toward the house. “We need to get you into normal clothes so we can eat breakfast.”

“It would be silly to eat in our bathing suits…” Emory acknowledges. Her stomach growls noisily.

“And, your tummy agrees that it’s breakfast time anyway.”

Emory realizes how cold she’d actually been once they’re inside, shivering as Melody brings her to her room.

Nana and Pop had set up a whole nursery for her, and it makes her happy to have a familiar place to sleep at night. And, it’s especially nice, since it must also mean that they expect her to visit again…

Melody, makes quick work of getting her dressed in a pink shirt that matches her socks and a pair of black overalls. Before long, they’re sitting around the breakfast table with Nana and Pop. The eggs, bacon, sausage, and potatoes they have for breakfast are more than enough to satisfy Emory’s hunger.

Emory sort of misses having Melody feed her, but she isn’t about to ask for that here. And, Melody had given her her morning bottle, so she’d gotten at least some of that particular brand of quality time with her. There are few things that make her feel closer to Melody than being given a bottle or being fed, except for maybe diaper changes.
Even she is surprised at how attached to Melody she’s become; they’ve always been close, but this is different somehow. It’s more intimate, a more intense kind of bond, and it scares her to think about being without it, especially now that she’s met Nana and Pop.

“I thought we could go to the petting zoo today.” Melody says, as everyone begins to slow down in their eating. It breaks Emory out of her thoughts before she can get too worked up, and she’s grateful for that.

And, excited about the petting zoo. “Yay! I wanna go!” Emory adds.

“The weather is supposed to be nice today.” Pop says thoughtfully. “Although I did promise to help Nana with some things,” he says, and winks at Melody. “The wildlife park has plenty to do besides the petting zoo. There’s even a little tour you can go on and feed the animals if you want.”

Emory looks between them, confused, but doesn’t say anything.

“Alright, that sounds like a plan.” Melody says with a smile. “Do you think you’ll be finished with your stuff in time for us to meet back here for lunch?”

Nana looks at Pop, and then nods. “That should work. The wildlife park opens soon though, you might want to get a move on if you want to get there before it gets busy.”

Melody looks at Emory. “Are you all done with your breakfast, sweetheart?”

Emory nods. “Yep. I’m full. It was very good, Nana and Pop, thank you!”

“You’re very welcome cutie.” Nana says with a big smile, and Emory feels warm inside.

Melody takes a moment to clean Emory’s face, and then they both give Nana and Pop goodbye hugs.

“Are you ready to go, little one?” Melody asks, lifting Emory onto her hip.

“Yeah!” Emory smiles and waves to Nana and Pop on their way out the door. “See you soon!” she calls out. “Do you think they’ll have sheeps there, Mellie?” she wonders as Melody buckles her into her car seat.

“I don’t know, Emmy. We’ll have to find out when we get there.” Melody answers.

Emory grins to herself as Melody starts the car, imagining all the different kinds of animals she might see there.

~CNL~

The petting zoo is quite the lively place

There aren’t many people in the petting zoo, but there are plenty of animals. There are goats, sheep, and piglets that all have free roam of a large, fenced-in area.

They’ve gotten a sleeve of gross-tasting crackers to feed to the animals—Emory samples a bite Melody isn’t looking, and immediately regrets it; they taste like an old sock.

One of the baby goats—Melody says they’re called ‘kids’ which is kind of neat—wanders over and butts against her leg; it’s not hard, just a nudge. It repeats the process and bleats at her, which is a little startling, and then it starts chewing on her shoelaces.

“Hey!” Emory says. She likes these shoes, especially since Melody bought them for her, and she doesn’t want them to be eaten by a goat…

“That’s not food, silly,” Emory chides the animal, reaching down to scratch its head gently. She feeds it one of the crackers, and it really seems to like the morsel, even though Emory still thinks they’re gross. However, a new problem arises when the kid starts licking her hand.

Emory makes a face. “Eww,”

“What’s the matter sweetheart?” Melody wonders, kneeling down beside her to pet the small animal.

“It’s licking me,” Emory explains. “It tickles, but I don’t wanna be covered in goat spit for the rest of the day…”

Melody chuckles. “Well, it’s getting hot, and you probably taste pretty salty from sweating; I bet that’s why he’s licking you.”

“Yuck…”

“It’s alright, little one, we’ll make sure to wash our hands really well when we’re done here, okay?”

Emory nods. She feels a little comforted by that, and moves on to feed other animals, but the goat—Milton, she’s decided to name him—won’t quit following her around, butting against her leg and bleating whenever she feeds other animals.

“Milton, you have’ta share. You already eated four crackers, and the rest of your friends didn’t get any. It’s not nice to be a hog.”

Milton bleats again and butts her leg, with a little more force than before.

Emory puts her hands on her hips. “No, Milton, you’ve had enough.”

“Emmy,” Melody’s voice comes from behind her.“He’s just a baby, he doesn’t know any better. You can’t reason with him.”

Emory sighs, turning away from Milton to pet one of the sheep wandering by. The sheep’s fleece is rougher than she’d expected, but the texture is interesting. She feeds it one of the crackers, and it continues on its way, meandering through the fenced-in area.

While she’s distracted, Milton pulls the sleeve of crackers out of her grasp, spilling them all over the ground.

“Oh, no!” Emory exclaims, she’s really been looking forward to feeding the other animals.

Some of the nearby animals come running to eat what has fallen on the ground, and Emory takes the opportunity to pet some of them. They are all soft and cute, but some of them really need a bath…

Emory yawns enormously.

“Okay, little one, I think it’s time for a little rest break.” Melody says gently, scooping Emory up and taking her out of the petting zoo, to the big hand-washing station outside.

“What? No…” Emory whines, as she stares back toward the petting zoo.

“Yes, munchkin. You’re exhausted, and we got up very early this morning. We’re going to go home, where it’s nice and cool, and you’re going to have a little nap before we eat lunch with Nana and Pop.” Melody says, guiding Emory’s hands to the soap.

Emory scrubs her hands under the spray of cold water, washing away the crumbs and slimy animal saliva before drying them on a paper towel. She really is kind of tired, but there’s so much to see still, and it isn’t fair that she has to sleep when she hasn’t even gotten to see the wolves yet, or go on the safari…

It doesn’t help that she’s kind of hot and sticky from being outside, even though Melody had dressed her appropriately for the weather, she hadn’t expected it to be so hot outside.

Melody picks her up again, heading back toward the parking lot. Truth be told, the wildlife park is more expansive than Emory had expected, nearly as big as the zoo they’d visited, though it doesn’t have any exotic animals like tigers. She’s still enjoying herself though, and is disappointed at having to take a nap before getting to see everything.

“Shh…” Melody whispers, patting her bottom. “It’s alright, little one, I’ve got you. Don’t cry.”

Emory is about to protest, when she feels the telltale wetness on her cheeks.

Melody buckles her into her car seat and gives her a bottle full of water.

Emory drinks it down greedily; she hadn’t realized how thirsty she is in all the excitement. Her quenched thirst and the cool air blowing over her from the A/C put her right to sleep.

~CNL~

Emory wakes up in the crib at Nana and Pop’s house.

It had already been set up that way when they had arrived, and she’s gotten so used to sleeping in one at home that she hadn’t bothered to ask Melody to put the side down.

She’s had such a nice time here with Nana and Pop, between the swimming lessons, the hikes through the forest and picking all the wild berries that grow in it. It makes her sad to think about having to leave later today, and she’s crying a bit before she has time to think about it.

The door to the nursery creaks open, and Melody poke her head in, presumably to check on her.

“Emmy,” she says softly. “Sweetheart, are you awake?”

Emory sniffles. “Yes, Mellie, I’m up.”

Melody comes over and lifts her out of the crib. “Why are you crying, honey? Did you have a bad dream or something? Do you not feel good?” Melody feels Emory’s forehead with the back of her free hand. “You don’t feel warm…”

“I feel okay. And I didn’t have any scary dreams. I just…I don’t wanna leave Nana and Pop’s house yet. I’m having lots of fun here.” Emory confesses.

“Yeah,” Melody agrees. “It’s been nice to get away for a little while, hasn’t it? But, we’ll visit again soon. And, I have a surprise for you.” she continues in a sing-song voice.

Emory perks up at hearing this, “You do?” she wonders.

“Yep. And we’ll go see what it is as soon as we get you changed out of this soggy diaper.” Melody confirms as she lays Emory down on the changing table.

Emory’s sadness evaporates, replaced by excitement and curiosity. She’s eager to find out what the surprise might be, and it’s hard not to squirm with all this extra energy.

Thankfully, Melody doesn’t take a long time to change her diaper, and she lifts Emory back onto her hip before she can get too antsy.

“What is is, Mellie?” Emory wonders.

“If I told you that, it wouldn’t be a surprise, now would it.” Melody teases, kissing her on the nose. “I need you to close your eyes though, okay? I’ll tell you when you can open them again.”

“Okay…” Emory smiles in anticipation. Her eyes are only closed for a short time before Melody tells her she can open them.

When she does, they’ve arrived in the kitchen, and the table is full of all kinds of snack foods. There’s a big bowl full of fruit salad, made from all the berries they’d picked over the past two days, and there’s even a cake.

“Surprise!” Nana and Pop shout in unison, blowing on those little party favors that make noise.

Emory blinks. “Mellie? What’s all this for? It’s not my birthday…”

“It’s not?” Melody says, feigning surprise. “Well I guess we’d better go and see what the cake says then, hmm?” She brings Emory over to the table, and it’s only then that she can make out the lettering on the cake. It says:

Welcome to the Family, Emmy!

It’s decorated with candy confetti and balloons are drawn in the icing.

Emory’s eyes well up with tears, and she looks at Melody. “Does this mean…” she trails off, choking up with emotion.

Melody wipes her tears away gently and smiles at her. “Yes, baby. If it’s still something you want, I want to officially become your Caregiver.”

Emory nods furiously, too overwhelmed to speak. “Yes!” She says once she finds her voice again. “Oh, my gosh yes, of course!” She wraps her arms around Melody, squeezing for all she’s worth.

“I love you very much, Emmy. Thank you for giving me the time I needed to make sure I’m the best fit for you. You mean the world to me.” Melody says softly, in a watery voice. She holds Emory close, patting her bottom.

“I love you too!” Emory replies, snuggling up to Melody. It feels so wonderful to be chosen. To know that despite how much her life has changed recently, that she still has people who care about her and want to be part of her life. For the first time since her Classification, she’s excited about the future; with Melody by her side, she can take on the world.

“Mama?” Emory says quietly, trying out the word for the first time. It feels right, like putting the last piece of a super-hard puzzle into place and seeing the beautiful picture it makes.

“Yes, baby girl?” Melody replies, nuzzling Emory’s nose.

“Can we have cake now?”

6 Likes

Sorry to hear you’ll be ending this story soon. I’d be very interested in reading a squeal to this story or another from this universe.

ohmygoditshappening!! i’m loving this story more and more. i’ll be very sad to see it end, but what a ride it will have been! if and when you have time and inspiration, and of course the will, to do more with these characters and/or this world, pwease do!

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Well, this is the end of the road, everyone! Thank you all for your support and comments, and please do let me know what you though of the story. Also, if you’re interested in seeing more from this universe, please let me know! Thanks so much for reading!

######

Epilogue: Day 183; Afternoon

“Emmy!”

Even now, after all this time, Kori’s exuberant greetings still manage to take Emory by surprise. Thankfully, this time, the floor is carpeted, so being knocked onto her butt isn’t quite as jarring. Still, the oof that escapes her on impact isn’t exactly voluntary.

“Be careful, Kori.” Melody says gently. “No roughhousing inside, remember. We don’t want any boo-boos like last time.”

“Okay, Melody, ‘m sorry. I just got a little excited.” Kori responds contritely, smiling up at Melody before helping Emory up from the floor. Her cheeks are a rosy red, probably because it’s so cold outside, but maybe also because she’s a bit embarrassed. “Are you okay?”

Emory nods. “Mhmm. Hi Kori!”

“How’s my other favorite fluffbutt?” Izzy steps through the door, dressed in a puffy blue winter coat. She’s carrying Kori’s diaper bag and a small, wrapped box. She puts both items off to one side to give Emory a hug.

Emory giggles and returns the embrace. “Hi Izzy! What’s the present for?” She wonders.

“It’s for Melody.” Izzy explains, presenting Melody with the gift.

“Oh?” Melody says, and she sounds surprised. “What’s this?”

“Uh…Kori and I are really sorry about your coffee table. It really was an accident.” Izzy says, frowning and looking at the floor.

Melody laughs. “It’s okay, Izzy.” She lowers her voice and whispers: “It was ugly, anyway.”

Emory tugs on Melody’s shirt, squirming with barely-contained energy. She’s been waiting for Kori and Izzy to arrive all day , and now she can finally go outside and play in the snow. They’ve gotten a lot of snow over the past few days, and it’s almost up to her knees.

“Mama, can we go outside now?”

Melody laughs. “Yes, sweetheart, but only into the backyard. I don’t want you playing near the road. Let’s go and change your diaper, and then we can get you dressed to go outside.” She says, lifting Emory onto her hip and kissing her nose.

Izzy’s phone vibrates loudly, and she fishes it out of her pocket. “Mommy says she’s sorry she couldn’t come in and say hello, but she’ll be by to pick us up at three-thirty.”

Melody shrugs. “It’s no big deal. I hear you’re expecting a baby brother or sister pretty soon, that’s pretty exciting!”

“Mhmm!” Kori chimes in. “I want a baby sister!”

Izzy smiles. “It doesn’t really matter to me…I just want to be a good big sister.”

“I know you will be.” Melody says. “You already do so good with the littler ones at storytime, you’re a natural. I’ve gotta go and change Emmy’s butt, but you two make yourself at home. There are some snacks on the table and the TV is set up to play cartoons. Remember, the soap is lemon- scented , not lemon- flavored .”

Kori just blushes. “I know…” she looked over at Izzy. “Can I have a cookie?”

Izzy shrugs. “Sure. But, just one for now, alright?”

“Aww…”

Emory doesn’t hear the rest of the conversation, because Melody has already carried her away. She snuggles up to Melody, smiling to herself.

“Guess what, Mama?” She says as Melody lays her down on the changing table.

“What, baby?” Melody says as she goes to work getting Emory changed.

“I love you!” Emory says with a big smile.

Melody smiles back down at her. “I love you too, sweetheart.”

~CNL~

Emory is huddled around the TV with Kori, trying to coax feeling back into her fingers and toes. The hot-chocolate she’s been sipping on is helping though.
Izzy is napping on the couch behind them, tired out from all the playing.

“Can I talk to you about something?” Kori pipes up, leaning against her.

“Sure,” Emory says quietly. “What’s up?”

“So, you remember how I told you I wrote WonderQuest ?”

“Yeah! I still can’t believe I met you in real life…” Emory says.

“Well, I’m in talks with a few different production houses to try a cartoon version. The thing is, I need a creative director to help me make it happen. You’ve got your graphic design degree now, and you’re a huge fan, so I thought you might be interested…” Kori says.

“What? Really? You’re offering me a job?” Emory wonders, surprised. She’s almost tempted to pinch herself to be sure she isn’t dreaming.

“If you want it, sure. I remember you said something a while ago about wanting to be able to do some things for yourself, even though you’re a little. You can do all your work from home, that way you’ve still got time for naps and diaper changes and stuff. And, they’ll be willing to give us a longer production schedule so that we don’t get overwhelmed by the workload. What do you think?” Kori explains.

“Yes! I’d love to help you out! I’d need to talk to Melody about it first, just so she knows what’s going on, but I know she’ll be fine with it.” Emory gushes, giving Kori a huge hug.

“Are you guys getting sleepy?” Melody asks quietly, kneeling down next to them as she comes back into the room. “It’s almost time for a nap, little ones.”

Emory rubs her eyes. “A little. We’re talking business!”

“Oh? Business doing what?” Melody wonders.

“I offered her a job. I need a creative director, someone with Emory’s skills for a cartoon I’m working on. I don’t have anything concrete yet, there are a lot of different people who are interested. But, as soon as there’s a definite ‘yes’ and we can get started, then we can talk about it more.”

“As long as they’re going to accommodate your needs as a Little, I have no problem with it.” Melody says, looking at Emory.

“Kori says it shouldn’t be a problem. Besides, isn’t it illegal to dis-crim-in-ate because someone’s a Little?” Emory wonders, struggling with the word.

“Yes, it is, but that doesn’t mean people won’t try to make you do more work than you can handle. I definitely support you doing this if it’s something that you want to do, but I want to sit in on negotiations to make sure everything is done the way it should be. Is that possible?” Melody explains, looking over at Kori.

Kori nods. “My mommy said the same thing. If a company-” She pauses to yawn mid-sentence. “Gives us grief about that, then we’ll just find someone else to work with. Like I said, we have options.”

“Okay, just keep me posted. I think it’s wonderful that so many people are enjoying your work, and I’m sure the show will be just as popular as the books.” Melody says, smiling at Kori. “Speaking of ‘business’, both of you need fresh diapers before naptime. Let’s go and get you changed, and then we’ll have some quiet time.”

Neither Kori nor Emory complains about needing to get changed; Emory knows it won’t do any good, and besides it’s no fun being in a wet diaper that’s also cold .

Kori falls asleep on the changing table, but thankfully, Emory’s crib is big enough for both of them to share.

“See?” Melody says softly, kissing Emory’s tummy when she’s finished changing her. “Being a Little doesn’t mean you won’t be able to do anything for yourself. Getting a job offer like that is a pretty big deal, and you got it all by yourself. I’m so proud of you, Emmy!”

Emory smiles. “Thank you Mama. Thank you for believing in me and thank you for taking such good care of me. It makes me so happy to be your Little.”

Melody wipes away a happy tear. “You make me very happy too, little one. I love you more than anything in the whole wide world.”

“Mama?” Emory begins, hesitantly. “Can I have milk before naptime?”

Melody smiles. “Yes baby. I thought you might want some.”

This too, has become routine. It’d taken a little while for Melody to be able to produce milk, but it’s one of Emory’s favorite things to do with Melody. Nothing makes her feel closer to her or more loved than getting to nurse, and she can’t get enough of it.

Melody sits down in the rocking chair that sits in the corner of the nursery opposite the door. She reaches down and picks up a blanket to cover up for modesty, before adjusting her clothing so Emory can latch on.

Emory latches on carefully, sucking tentatively. The milk is warm, which she still isn’t quite used to, but it’s still good, she thinks.

“Easy, baby,” Melody says, and pats her bottom. “Not too fast.”

Emory keeps suckling anyway, at least until her tummy ties in a knot.

“What’s wrong, sweetheart?” Melody asks as she slows down.

“Tummy hurts.” Emory admits.

Melody kisses her forehead. “Is that all? Come here,” she lifts Emory so she’s leaning over her shoulder and gives her back a few firm pats.

Emory startles herself by burping rather loudly; she immediately hides her face in Melody’s neck. Her face is hot with embarrassment, but she can’t help giggling a bit anyway.

Melody laughs gently. “My goodness! Is that better, little one?”

Emory nods, too busy giggling to speak. And then she says:

“I’m still hungry, Mama.”

Melody settles Emory in her arms again, and gently guides her mouth to her nipple once more.

Emory latched on again and relaxed against Melody, safe and content. Despite her misgivings about her Classification at first, her life has become brighter and richer than she could have ever imagined. As her tummy fills with milk, and her eyes become heavier, she thinks that this is probably the happiest she’s ever been in her whole life.

“I love you Mama,” Emory says, barely alert enough to speak.

“I love you too, baby girl.” Melody says, gently easing Emory’s pacifier into her mouth in place of her nipple. “All the way to the moon and back.”

The End

7 Likes

Great chapter. I hope it isn’t the last. If it is I hope you write a sequel or something similar.

I guess you wrapped things up. Emory has accepted her new status, has a new family and a new job.

I do still have some questions? I was hoping you’d cover the difference between the classifications.

thankyouthankyouthankyou!!

You had a bit of a formatting issue at the end of the last chapter. I fixed it for you. :slight_smile:

1 Like