Easter Flowers

Crisanta lowered her arms slowly, maintaining her smile as best she could while the sweat seemed to pour down her face.

“Very nice,” the coach told her, glancing up from her clipboard for what Crisanta was sure was just a little longer than she’d looked at all of the other girls. “We’ll let you know.”

Crisanta nodded politely, then jogged over to the bleachers, collapsing down next to Dorothy and Susie while the next hopeful quickly took her place. “Does she look more cheerful than me?” Crisanta asked quietly. “I think she looks more cheerful.”

“That doesn’t matter,” Dorothy assured her. “I saw her practicing yesterday; she’s not very good.”

“But the point of being a cheerleader is to be cheerful. Ow!” She glared at Susie, then turned bright red when she noticed the judge, and the girl who was about to begin her routine, were staring at her. “Sorry,” she squeaked, giving Susie a nasty look.

“You told me to pinch you if you started chewing on your lip,” Susie shrugged sheepishly.

“I didn’t mean for you to do it that hard,” Crisanta grumbled, just managing to stop herself before Susie could reach out for her arm again. She pulled the scrunchie out of her hair and stuffed it into the pocket of her shorts, which had the word Angel written across the bottom, shaking out her long, golden hair as she allowed herself to melt further back into the bleachers.

“If you’re this tired from a try-out, I don’t know how well you’re gonna do if you actually make the squad,” Dorothy whispered, pessimistic as usual.

“It’s just nerves,” Crisanta told her. “Plus, I practiced it, like, a million times. Give me a break.”

“This girl really -isn’t- very good,” Susie observed. “You were definitely better than her, anyway.”

“She does have two advantages over you, though,” Dorothy pointed out.

“But Crissy would be a lot easier for them to throw around,” Susie said somberly. “I guess it would come down to if…”

“If you’re going to talk about me like I’m not here, do it somewhere I’m not,” Crisanta growled.

“Shall we?” Dorothy teased, holding out her hand to Susie, until Crisanta knocked it aside.

“Wait until the try-outs are done, anyway,” she instructed, fighting back a yawn.

Crisanta closed her emerald green eyes, giving in to her exhaustion as well as she could in the uncomfortable seats.


The girl cringed as the hinges on her door creaked open, her bottom lip moving slowly towards her teeth as she peeked her head out into the hall, checking to see if there was light coming from under any of the other doors. There was, just a tad, from the night-light in her little sister, Camelia’s, room, but other than that, nothing.

She ducked back into her room, putting on her shoes and tying them tightly before grabbing the garbage bag. She checked the hallway one more time, to make sure nobody had woken at the sound of her door opening and sleepily flipped on their lights, then stepped out. She knew better than to try to tiptoe in those shoes, so she had to take her steps slowly, gingerly moving ever so slowly towards the front door.

She was about halfway there when she realized that she should have shut her bedroom door behind her - if anyone happened to glance into her room, it would be obvious she wasn’t there, and if they stuck their heads just a little further in, they’d be able to notice the lack of light coming from under the door of her private bathroom. Her sisters wouldn’t care enough to do anything, most likely, though they might ask her about it the next day, if they remembered. Her parents, on the other hand, might decide to investigate.

Maybe she could just say that she’d forgotten to put her garbage out in the can earlier that evening - why she had decided to do so in the middle of the night instead of waiting until that morning and hoping she beat the garbage-man might be more difficult to explain.

But what were the chances they would happen to wake up and come out into the hall, anyway? ‘They get bigger the longer you stand here debating,’ she reminded herself. And besides, if they did wake up, they’d probably hear somebody wandering through the house, so perhaps seeing that her door was open would assure them that it was just her, searching for a midnight snack or something.

She had to slow down even more once she was through the hall. It was always hard to tell just what configuration the chairs in the dining room would be in, and then once she was in the living room, she had to try to avoid any of Camelia’s toys that might have been left there when she had been sent to bed. And, of course, there were the couches and the various end and coffee tables to avoid - she was pretty sure she knew where they were, but every time she let herself get too confident, she’d end up running straight into them.

The sound of the lock on the front door clicking open seemed to echo throughout the house, far louder than she could ever remember it sounding before. ‘I should have brought my key,’ she fretted. If -that- had woken somebody up, they might come to investigate, and if they saw the door unlocked, they would be sure to change that, thus trapping her outside. But it was far too late to worry about that now, so instead she slowly pulled the front door open just enough to squeeze out of it.

Their driveway was fairly long, but it never seemed that bad, not with the hard part of her journey out of the way. She still went a bit slow, in case her dad was lying awake, listening for sounds that could be a burglar approaching, but the moon was shining, and it felt as if the whole, seemingly empty, world was hers. It all looked so big after the claustrophobia of the hallway, and the minefield of the living room path to the front door.

Her parents had done her a great service, way back when they’d bought their garbage can, by getting one that was far too big for them to ever - except sometimes at Christmas - get close to filling up. Her garbage bag always had plenty of room, and once it was in there, in blended in perfectly with all of the others, so you would never guess it had been a last minute addition.

She let herself move more quickly on the way back inside, slipping her shoes off once she had locked the front door behind her. Sometimes she thought about just leaving her shoes out by the front door all the time, like everyone else in her family seemed to, thus being able to sneak through the house in just her socks, but she was always afraid she’d have trouble getting them on in the dark. It was probably stupid of her, but she’d gotten used to it by now.

The hallway was still just as dark as it had been on the way out, so she allowed herself a sigh of relief even before she’d gotten back inside her room and flopped down on her bed, gold hair flying every which way. She smiled to herself - she’d pulled it off again - and then allowed her bladder at last to relax, filling the padding around her bottom with warmth - and now she had started on the cargo for the next trip. It was probably even more stupid of her to wear a diaper under her pajamas while she was sneaking around the house, but after her mom had seen her in the exact same outfit when she actually -was- going for a midnight snack and not seemed to notice, she’d figured it wasn’t -that- big of a risk. Her nightshirt went well past her bottom, anyway, and her pajama pants were loose enough that the diaper wouldn’t be -too- obvious, even if the top of them could be seen.

She knew she should probably change before going to sleep, but her bathroom seemed so far away, and she suddenly barely had the energy to squirm over to a position where she could reach the light switch without actually having to leave the bed before she fell asleep.


Kalina opened her eyes, her teeth clamped firmly against her bottom lip. “Can I try to tumble out of its attack radius?”

Alice raised an eyebrow. “You have ranks in Tumble?”

Kalina smiled worriedly. “I think I have one…”

“Well, you can try,” Alice shrugged.

“You do realize there’s a minus five or something for your armor, don’t you?” Sam The Boy pointed out.

Kalina glowered at him, a strand of her blonde hair choosing that moment to fall free from her ponytail and hang loosely at the side of her face. “Are you trying to get us all killed?”

“Isn’t he always?” Sam The Girl asked, also turning her attention to her male counterpart. “That -is- what he’s best at.”

“One time,” he rolled his eyes. “And it’s not like I made you guys…”

“I’d like to get some homework done tonight,” Alice interrupted, “so would you all stop distracting Kalina so she can get to failing this skill check?”

“Bite me,” Kalina glared at Alice.

“I’m sure the dragon would love to do that.”

Kalina picked up her die gently, blowing on it before giving it a good shake and then tossing it onto the table. It bounced a few times before finally coming to a rest, and, by a severe stroke of luck, on its highest number. She couldn’t quite keep herself from shouting a triumphant, “Ha!” at a now sullen Alice.

“Fine,” Alice sulked. “You summersault out of the dragon’s reach. But now it’s his turn.” She perked up at that, glancing at the battle map with an evil smirk.

“Don’t forget to roll the damage from my poison!” Sam The Boy reminded her.

“Oh, yeah…” Alice’s expression turned dour once again at the result. “…And the dragon suddenly gives out one, final roar, then falls over dead.”

“Who’s useless now?!” Sam The Boy asked, though nobody bothered to answer.

“Well, that was… anticlimactic,” Alice sighed. “But that’s probably a good place to stop for today.”

“But… But… Treasure!” Kalina sputtered.

“What makes you think he had treasure?” Alice asked mysteriously.

“Because you told us he was guarding a pile of it?”

“I guess you’ll just have to wait until next time to find out what it was,” Alice said.

“She hasn’t figured out what it is yet,” Sam The Girl sagely told the others.

“I totally have,” Alice protested. “I just have homework, and… And get out of my house!”

Sam The Boy lived in the opposite direction of everyone else, so he bid everyone farewell right away and rode his bicycle off into the sunset, but Sam The Girl rode a little ways with Kalina.

“Do you remember what we’re supposed to do for Chemistry tomorrow?” Kalina asked her.

“I think it’s pages 80 through 85,” Sam answered. “Or through 90, actually.”

“Eh, it’s probably not that important,” Kalina shrugged, thinking of all the other stuff she needed to get finished. She might have had time for five pages, but not ten.

“It’s really not that hard,” Sam told her, though Kalina was pretty sure she was lying, as usual. “Just get your sister to explain it to you.”

“She had cheerleading try-outs today,” Kalina sighed. “If I ask her about Chemistry, I’m gonna have to sit through at least an hour of her talking about that first.”

“She’s so lucky to have such a caring sister.”

“Darn skippy,” Kalina nodded, turning her bike into her driveway and waved goodbye as Sam continued on. “See you tomorrow!”

As she walked into her house, she found herself almost immediately ambushed by a tiny form, all wild, light brown, hair and green eyes and grass stained jeans. “Hi, Cammy,” Kalina smiled down at her, prying herself free. “How was your day?”

“Good!” her little sister answered with a huge grin, before toddling back into the living room. From the way she was walking, Kalina was pretty sure she could use a diaper change, but she had just gotten in - let someone else deal with it.

She had barely gotten two steps inside when she found herself face to face with her reflection, staring back at her in a rather annoyed way. “It was your turn to set the table,” it informed her.

“It’s not dinnertime yet,” Kalina shot back. “I’m getting to it.”

“Well, it’s already done now,” Crisanta sighed before wandering off into the kitchen. “Why don’t you see if Camelia needs changed?”

Kalina considered asking her sister something that probably would have gotten her in a lot of trouble, but instead she took the high road, and pretended she hadn’t heard her. She loved Crisanta, of course, but at some point she had turned into a miniature version of their mom. That sort of thing was bound to happen eventually; it was kinda sad to see it happening so soon. On the other hand, Crisanta probably found it sad that it was taking so long to happen to Kalina. When had they become so different?

Kalina shook her head wistfully, starting to head towards her room, only to trip over a large, stuffed bunny, likely having been dragged out because of the season, only to be forgotten in the middle of the floor. If she’d have set her backpack down, she probably would have been able to keep her balance. She hadn’t.

“You okay?” Camelia asked, eyes wide with worry as she waddled towards her big sister.

“I’m fine,” Kalina sighed, getting back up and then reaching down for her sister’s hand. “Come on, let’s go get you a dry diaper.”

2

“Kalina!” Crisanta snapped finally, though she quickly calmed herself a little, remembering Camelia was there as well. And noticing the other shoppers around them turning towards her helped, also. “Mom told us to stay together,” she said, lowering her voice. “We’re just here for clothes.”

“It’ll be fine,” Kalina assured her. “I’ll be back before she is.”

“That’s not the point!” Crisanta protested, but her sister was already gone, off to the video game store next door. She could be so frustrating sometimes… It was hard to believe that she was the oldest, if only by twelve minutes.

“Let’s go look at some dresses,” she told Camelia with a sigh, leading her towards the toddler’s section. Camelia followed happily, though from the tugging on her hand just a few moments earlier, she knew that Camelia would rather have gone with Kalina. She would have liked to deny it, but she couldn’t help but feel a pang of jealousy - she was the one who usually watched Camelia and took care of her when mom and dad weren’t around, not Kalina. Kalina hardly paid any attention to her at all.

“Hurry up,” Crisanta caught herself saying as she tried to pull her little sister along faster than her little legs could go. She slowed back down, though she couldn’t quite find it in herself to voice an apology.

Camelia was easy to please when it came to clothes, so Crisanta didn’t feel too bad about finding what she thought was the cutest little lavender ruffled dress to help her try on. It fit perfectly, and she liked it, so Crisanta carefully put it back onto its hanger and carried it out, making sure to take a longer route over to the older girl’s section of the store, so Camelia wouldn’t catch sight of something else she wanted to try on.

That was the sort of thing that could lead to a seemingly endless cycle, and she wanted to at least have her and Camelia’s clothes picked out by the time her mom got back. It would have been nice to get Kalina’s done, too, but, of course, Kalina’d had to run off on her own. Not that it would likely take her long to decide - she was as easy to please as Camelia, but nowhere near as interested in the whole business. She’d probably just grab the nearest thing she could see that was anywhere close to her size and be done with it.

Crisanta, on the other hand, already knew exactly what she was looking for, if she was lucky enough that it was still there from the last time they’d been to the store. As they got closer, she could see a throng of girls hanging around that area, and sucked in her breath in alarm, but was able to release it calmly when she realized they were looking at something else.

Meanwhile, her top, a light blue babydoll with flowers on the bodice and along the bottom, and butterflies fluttering over them, was safe. She wasn’t too worried about the other half of her outfit, either, since it was a pretty standard skort, white with a ruffled hem, and sure enough there were plenty left, though she did debate for a moment over which size to try, finally deciding to go bigger rather than smaller.

Then they were back to the dressing rooms, mostly just to confirm that the outfit looked good together, though she also had to make absolutely sure that it fit. She was quite confident in both of those things, but it never hurt to be completely positive.

“Well, that was easy,” Crisanta smiled down at Camelia, once she had changed back into her own clothes. Kalina was, of course, nowhere around, so they went back to the toddler’s section for a little bit. Camelia chose a couple dresses to try on, none of which were anywhere near as cute as the one Crisanta had found, and was ready to look for some more once she had tried those on.

“It’s getting kinda late,” Crisanta had to tell her, glancing at the clock on her cell. “Mom’ll be back soon.” She called Kalina, but she didn’t answer. “Probably left it at home,” Crisanta grumbled. She couldn’t very well go after her, not with an armful of clothes she hadn’t paid for. “Let’s go pick out something for Kali,” she said to Camelia. “Since she’s apparently not going to do it herself.”

She vaguely harbored the hope that she’d find her sister over there, already looking for herself; she wasn’t. She considered just getting the same thing she had gotten for herself, but in different colors; she didn’t. They weren’t big fans of matching outfits, and, luckily, their parents never had been, either.

“Do you think she’d like this?” she asked Camelia, holding up a green dress. It wasn’t too bad, really, and it would probably bring out her eyes pretty well. Camelia shrugged, but Crisanta had already made up her mind, and back they went to try it on. It wasn’t as good as Crisanta’s outfit, not by any means, but it fit, and it was good enough for someone who couldn’t be bothered to pick anything out for herself.

She checked her cell again with a sigh. “Come on, mom’ll be looking for us,” she told Camelia, opening the dressing room door.


The girl opened the door a crack, tugging at the hem of her T-shirt as she glanced out at her mother. “What is it?”

“I need you to watch Camelia for a little bit,” she answered. “I have to run over to Mrs. Shubert’s for a few minutes.”

The girl sighed. “Why can’t…”

“Because she’s busy, and because I’m asking you,” her mom said.

“Fine,” the girl rolled her eyes, starting to close her door. “I’ll be out in a minute.”

“I really need to get going,” her mom told her. “I’m sure you can do whatever you were up to just as well in the living room.”

The girl began to set her jaw, ready to tell her mom that all she was asking for was a minute of privacy. But she could tell that this wasn’t the best time to get into an argument with her mother, even if she were to ignore the fact that she had a wet diaper on under her hastily thrown on jeans.

“All right, fine,” she conceded, giving her T-shirt one more tug before glancing down to make sure the bulge wasn’t obvious. She opened her door the rest of the way and stepped out of her room, wincing slightly at the seemingly thunderous crinkling that produced.

“Thank you, honey,” her mom smiled, kissing her on the forehead. The girl followed her to the living room, taking careful steps, half expecting her mom to turn around at any second to see if Camelia had somehow gotten behind her. But she was in the living room, where she received her own kiss goodbye.

“Play!” Camelia demanded, once their mother had driven off.

“I will,” the girl promised, kneeling down next to her little sister. “I just have to go take care of something first, okay?”

But Camelia had her hand clamped around the hem of the girl’s T-shirt. “It’ll just be a minute,” the girl tried to reassure her, prying her little fingers free, but she just grabbed hold with the other hand, shaking her head. “Okay, okay,” the girl rolled her eyes. “I guess it can wait.”

Camelia let go, beaming, then shoved what looked like it might have been supposed to be a stuffed leprechaun into her hands. The girl sat down, diaper squishing damply beneath her, reminding her that her sister’s was probably in the same condition. She set the leprechaun down and grabbed Camelia instead, tickling her tummy for a few seconds before gently tugging down her pants, only to find the diaper beneath was in much better shape than her own.

She could feel herself blushing at that thought, at least until Camelia started to tickle her in return. She wasn’t particularly skilled at it, but the girl found herself laughing anyway, and once she had started, it was difficult to stop.

And that was what was going on when she noticed her sister standing across the room, watching. “What are you doing?” she asked.

“Oh… uh…” the girl mumbled, pulling free of Camelia’s grasp and sitting up, once more pulling at the hem of her T-shirt. “Just playing. I thought mom said you were…”

“I’m doing homework,” her sister said, giving her a strange look. “I just came to get some water.”

“Well, there isn’t any in here,” the girl snarked. Her sister stared at her and Camelia for several long moments, then finally turned around and left.

Camelia tried to tickle the girl again, but she was too preoccupied with staring at the place her sister had been standing. Had she noticed? Her shirt might have ridden up high enough, and her pants down low enough, that her diaper could have been visible…

The girl could just imagine her looking down at them, seeing her two sister rolling around in their diapers, just a couple of babies, leaving her as the only “grown-up” in the house. Would she be coming back to watch them both, make sure they stayed out of trouble until their mom got home, at which point she’d point out that the girl was wearing a diaper like their little sister and, thus, was surely incapable of acting any older than Camelia?

She didn’t, and, in fact, after a minute, the girl could hear her door closing, but even so, the girl got up off the floor and sat carefully down on the couch, tugging up the back of her jeans. Camelia looked upset for a moment or two, then got engrossed in one of her other toys. The girl kept considering going to get changed, but didn’t want her mom to come home and find that she’d left Camelia unsupervised.

So she sat there, as still as she was able so that her clothes would stay in their right places, as she waited impatiently for the front door to open.


Kalina pushed the game store’s door open happily, stuffing the bag of her finds into her purse. Sam The Girl, ever the bargain hunter, had told her they were having a great sale, but she hadn’t mentioned just how great it was - it was too bad she’d had to leave so soon. She noticed her cell phone flashing out at her that she had missed a call, but, seeing that it was from Crisanta’s number, didn’t bother to see if she’d left a message. She had probably just been freaking that they only had fifteen minutes left until their mom showed back up.

Kalina didn’t know why her sister was always so high strung about that sort of thing. It only took a minute or two, once she’d located the girl’s section, to find a great skirt - long, the lace at the hem probably going down about halfway down her shin, and white, with black vines curling all across it, and punctuated with red flowers - that was in her size. There was a nice, chocolate colored tank top nearby, empire waisted and trimmed with a dark pink, flowered cloth that also made up the extra-thick straps, and the sash, that went great with it.

“There you are!” she heard Crisanta’s voice call, just as she pulled the shirt off the rack. “We’ve been waiting for you!”

“I’ve got five-ish minutes,” Kalina shrugged, holding her outfit up in front of herself. “What do you think?”

Camelia smiled and nodded, but Crisanta just rolled her eyes. “I already found you a dress,” she said, holding it up. It wasn’t terrible, Kalina supposed; it just wasn’t as nice as what she’d picked out.

“Nah, I’m gonna stick with this.”

“But this will actually fit!” Crisanta protested. “You can’t just grab the first thing you see, you know - not every company’s sizes are the same!”

“Yes, I know that, -mom-,” Kalina replied. “I’m not as stupid as you think I am.”

“Well, then…”

“Then what?!” Kalina snapped, stepping towards her sister.

“It’s so good to see you two getting along so well,” their mother sighed, stepping up from behind Kalina. “What are you arguing about now?”

Not daring to let Crisanta get in the first word, Kalina held up her outfit and stammered, “We were just trying to decide which to get for me!”

“Between that and…?”

“The green dress,” Kalina nodded over towards Crisanta.

“She…” Crisanta started to say.

“But I’m pretty sure I like these better now,” Kalina said.

“Me, too,” her mom smiled. “You tried it all on, right?”

Crisanta’s face was starting to go red. “Of course…”

“Of course I did!” Kalina spoke over her. “You don’t think Crisanta would let me get away without doing that, do you?”

Camelia ran over to their mom to get picked up. “Hey, sweetie,” she cooed. “Okay, let’s go get checked out.” Crisanta shoved past Kalina, nearly knocking her over, but Kalina didn’t mind. She knew Crisanta was just jealous.

3

Crisanta tapped her pencil’s eraser on the desk once, then again, before circling the answer to the last question. That had been the hardest on the quiz, pretty much the only one that required more than just a cursory skimming of the section of the textbook they’d been assigned to read. Mr. Matson was losing his touch - that, or finally accepting that most of his students didn’t really care about the class.

She quickly looked over the questions again, making sure that the teacher hadn’t done something tricky with the phrasing in any of them. As far as she could tell, he hadn’t, so she flipped the paper over and leaned back in her chair, glancing around the room without making it look like she was searching for answers in someone else’s work.

A surge of pride hit her when she saw that, apparently, she was the first one done. Everyone else was hunched over their desks in concentration, some mumbling to themselves, some chewing nervously on their pencils. Back in elementary school, her teachers would always tell her “It isn’t a race!”, but, of course, that wasn’t actually true. They just couldn’t let all the other kids feel bad when she beat them so badly.

And, back then, Kalina was usually right behind her. Sometimes they would tie, but most of the time, her sister was just the tiniest bit slower. Now…

Crisanta turned her head towards Kalina’s chair, where her sister was obviously still at work. Crisanta could see her feet twisted back into the book rack under the seat, knees bouncing with what was either nerves or an overload of sugar, and, considering she was chewing on her bottom lip as well, the former was more likely.

She found herself smiling cruelly at her sister’s predicament for some reason she couldn’t quite fathom, though it made her feel a bit dirty once she’d managed to stop. What was wrong with her, that she got some kind of satisfaction from seeing Kalina squirm? There was a time when seeing that would have made her feel a little sick to her stomach, make her want to do anything to help.

As it turned out, however, Kalina was about to do that for herself. She raised her eyes towards the front of the class, apparently checking to make sure that the teacher’s gaze was occupied elsewhere, then turned sideways, leaning out over the aisle to sneak a glance at the test on the desk of the inattentive boy next to her.

Crisanta heard herself gasp, felt her cheeks grow red as the people around her gave her odd looks. Kalina gave her one of those as well, after hastily re-situating herself in her chair and scribbling down the answers she’d just found.

Crisanta knew she should say something to Mr. Matson, no matter how unpopular that made her with Kalina, but as she shuffled past his desk at the end of class, all she could bring herself to do was set the quiz down on the top of the growing pile and stop for long enough to get him to notice her.

“Yes?” He might have sounded annoyed, but it was hard to tell, because, as far as she could tell, he always sounded somewhat like that.

She meant to open her mouth, ready to do the right thing, but she couldn’t even get that far, as all of her muscles seemed to tense up, starting with those in her jaw. She shook her head stiffly and skittered out of the classroom, not even bothering to put on her backpack. She could still spot Kalina in the hall, walking and talking with one of her weird friends.

“Kalina!” she called, her body allowing her to speak again, as her plan changed to convincing her sister to confess rather than tattling - perhaps Mr. Matson would go easier on her that way. But she didn’t hear, or was choosing to ignore her.

Crisanta started to push through the crowd before Kalina could vanish, only to bump straight into her Art teacher, Miss Higgins. “Sorry, dear,” the woman said, but by then it was too late. Crisanta, surprised, accidently let go of the backpack she still hadn’t slung back over her shoulder, dropping it in the middle of the hall, papers scattering in every direction like a split-second blizzard.


The girl’s eyes shot up towards her door as her heart promptly froze. She sat there on the floor, legs splayed in front of her, for another few moments, until the knock came again.

“Come on!” the girl’s sister hissed from the other side. “Stop acting like a baby and talk to me!”

At another time, the girl might have laughed at the irony of that, but right then, she was too concerned with making sure that’s all it was, as she scrambled up off of the floor, diaper drooping heavily between her legs, in case her sister, for some reason, tried to look under the door. She nudged her stuffed animals under her bed with her foot, reflexively cursed when she also hit her bottle - one of Camelia’s old ones - and knocked it over. Not that it would have made any difference, even if anything’d had a chance to get out before she snatched it up and set it on her desk, since it was just water, but she couldn’t help herself.

Her sister sighed. “Fine, be that way,” she said.

“Wait!” the girl blurted out, before her sister’s footsteps moved too far from her door. “Look, it’s just… I’m just getting ready for a shower.”

There was a pause, and the girl started to wonder if perhaps her sister had just tiptoed the rest of the way to her own room. “And that stops you from talking?” came the reply, finally.

“No, it just… I mean…” the girl stuttered. “I didn’t…”

She could almost -hear- her sister roll her eyes. “Whatever,” she declared before slinking back to her own room.

‘Stupid,’ the girl berated herself. ‘Piss her off at you even more.’ She looked down at herself, shaking her head. She hadn’t even tried to patch things up with her sister after dinner, just went back to her room to, as her sister had put it, act like a baby. And now she’d just made her even more angry at her.

She felt a little like crying, and a little like sitting back down to play with her dolls and try to forget about it all, again, but her disgust at herself outweighed both. She didn’t have to be a baby every time she was alone… She shouldn’t really. It might feel nice, but there was more to life than that.

She shook her head again, staring down at the floor, where she suddenly saw that her bottle had spilled some after all. “Perfect,” she sighed, right before she noticed that the floor wasn’t the only wet thing. At first, she thought that perhaps she had somehow spilled water from her bottle onto her foot, but as she followed the trail up her leg, she realized the truth. “Gross,” she wrinkled her nose. She thought she had gotten so good at judging when her diapers could take another wetting, and when they couldn’t, but apparently, she had been mistaken.

“Crap!” she growled, waddling back to her bathroom, legs wide to try to avoid putting too much pressure on her soaked diaper. “Crapity-crap.”

Even though the door to her room was closed and locked, as always when she was going diapered behind it, she closed and locked her bathroom door as well, before opening the cabinet beneath her sink and crouched to grab the can of air freshener, and a garbage bag from the box she kept down there.

Before she could stand, she caught sight of herself in the full length mirror on the back of the bathroom door, quite the spectacle in her leaky diaper and T-shirt, squatting down like Camelia sometimes would when messing herself. She saw her cheeks redden as the parallel crossed her mind, and she started to straighten up, a little too quickly. She barely registered that she had lost her balance until she hit the floor, straight onto her wet, squishy bottom.

She stared at herself in shock for a few moments, her bottom lip beginning to quiver, until, at last, she began to laugh. “Good thing I wasn’t -really- doing that,” she giggled to herself. She -had- pooped in her diaper before, and the act itself was fun, but she always waited until she was done playing, because she didn’t like to stay in it for any longer than it took to do it, then change herself. Most of the time when she did it, she waited until she was in the bathroom, even, so she didn’t have to so much as walk across her room. The idea of actually sitting down at such a time was icky enough, but the thought of “tricking” herself into doing so over something so stupid was suddenly the funniest thing she had thought of in weeks.

Once she had stopped laughing, she took off her diaper, putting it into the garbage bag before hopping into her shower to wipe off her legs with her washcloth, which she then rinsed off in the sink and left draped there for a moment, until she could take it into her room to clean the wet spot on her floor. But first, she picked up the garbage bag and tied a couple knots in it before opening her garbage can. She sprayed inside with the air freshener - vanilla scented - then unceremoniously dropped the bagged diaper inside.


Kalina dropped her tray onto the cafeteria table with a clank, making all of her dining companions jump.

“Thanks for the heart attack,” Alice grumbled.

“Oh, calm down, old timer,” Sam The Girl teased her friend, who was roughly a year and a month older than her. “What puts you in such a good mood?” she asked Kalina, who had sunk into her seat while the other two spoke.

“Chemistry,” Sam The Boy answered for her. “Somebody didn’t study.”

“It better not have been you,” Kalina said, trying to sound somewhat jovial about it. “Matson keeps the desks in there way too far apart.”

“You should write a letter of complaint to the school board,” Sam The Boy suggested. “Tell them they’re making it too hard for you to cheat. I’m sure they’d look right into fixing that for you.”

Kalina gave him a half-smile, which was about as much as she could muster. She stared down at the food on her tray briefly before pushing the whole thing across the table.

“It really isn’t that hard if you just read it…” Sam The Girl told her, quite unhelpfully.

“Well, I would have if I’d known there was going to be a quiz!” Kalina snapped.

“I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be a pop quiz, then…” Sam The Girl said quietly, turning to her food.

“Maybe we should talk about something else,” Alice suggested. “Like, why is your sister coming over here?”

Kalina glanced at the Sams, especially confused by the fact that, as far as she knew, neither of them had sisters, or any siblings at all, that went to the same school, before realizing Alice was looking at her. She turned around, and, sure enough, Crisanta was approaching.

“Kalina, we need to talk,” she whispered, before Kalina could ask her what was up.

“Okay,” Kalina whispered back.

When she hadn’t moved after a few seconds, Crisanta jerked her head towards the hall. “Somewhere else.”

“I just sat down,” Kalina sighed. “Can’t you just talk here?”

“I don’t think it…” Crisanta did the strange double-blink thing she did when she was surprised - Kalina was pretty sure -she- didn’t do anything like that, but she had never asked anyone to confirm that for her - as she noticed Sam The Boy. “Oh,” she said simply.

“You’ve met him before,” Kalina reminded her. “And it’s not polite to stare.”

“I’m not staring,” Crisanta lied. “Fine, we can talk here, since you’re probably all in on it anyway.” She glared disapprovingly at Kalina’s friends before settling her gaze on Kalina. “You need to confess to Mr. Matson.”

If it were anyone else, Kalina would try to feign ignorance, but that was pretty pointless with Crisanta. Instead, she just said, “Go to your own table, Crissy.”

“Don’t call me that,” Crisanta frowned. “This is serious!”

“No, it isn’t,” Kalina rolled her eyes. “It’s a stupid Chemistry pop quiz. The world’s not gonna end because I cheated. We’re not all perfect little angels.”

“I never said I was perfect,” Crisanta crossed her arms, “but you should know better. I can’t…”

“Yeah, you can’t believe me,” Kalina finished for her. “I’ll make sure to think real hard about what I’ve done, and I’m sure the guilt will be punishment enough.”

Kalina saw Crisanta’s fingernails digging into the flesh of her arms. “I was going to offer to help you, if you’re having so much trouble, but…”

“Oh, please. Like you’re going to have time to tutor little old me.”

“Huh?” Crisanta’s hands relaxed, her eyes widening. “What do you mean?”

“I -mean-, you should pay more attention to the bulletin board. And you probably shouldn’t be seen talking to us anymore… I’m pretty sure cheerleaders aren’t supposed to associate with geeks.”

Crisanta’s stern expression quickly melted as she listened to her sister talk. “Really?” she managed to squeak, sounding as giddy as Kalina had heard her since they were about eight.

“Go look,” Kalina shrugged. Crisanta squealed and ran off, her lecture promptly forgotten in her excitement.

Sam The Girl’s voice was quiet, hesitant. “I don’t remember seeing her name on the list.”

“It wasn’t.”

The words hung there, over the table, for quite a while, nobody daring to comment on them. The longer the silence grew, the worse Kalina felt about what she had done, her stomach tying itself up in knots as she sat there in the quiet, occasionally glancing towards the hall to see if Crisanta would come back to the cafeteria.

Finally, Sam The Boy spoke up. “We’re not -that- geeky, are we?”

Nobody bothered to answer.

4

“Did you wash your hands?” Crisanta’s mother asked absently, setting the salad bowl down on the table before turning. “Oh, I thought you were Kalina.”

Crisanta couldn’t help but smile at that as her mother bustled back into the kitchen. There was just something about it that made her feel a little better. She walked around the table and slipped into her chair, pulling the Italian dressing a little closer to her plate so that, once everyone else had shown up, she’d have easy access to it.

Kalina approached next, quickly looking away when she noticed Crisanta was already there. That might have raised Crisanta’s mood a bit, too, if it wasn’t more likely to be out of fear that Crisanta was going to tell on her about the test than it was out of shame at herself for being a bitch.

“Mom asked if you’d washed your hands,” Crisanta said after a moment or two of silence.

“What?” Kalina glanced up, confused.

“I said, mom asked if you’d washed your hands.”

Kalina rolled her eyes. Crisanta decided not to push it any further.

Their mother brought out the salmon, set it down and started to turn towards the hall, until Camelia showed up, being carried by her daddy. “We’re not late, are we?” he asked, getting a quick kiss in reply.

“Right on time.”

Kalina fussed with the salad tongs for awhile before finally managing to use them to extract a few leaves of lettuce, which were promptly smothered in Ranch. Crisanta, pulling the salad bowl a little closer to her, gave a sideways glance towards her mom, to see if she was going to tell Kalina to have a little more salad with her dressing, but she stayed quiet.

Crisanta munched on her salad, sparing Kalina the occasional glare, and waiting. Kalina glanced over towards her every couple bites, her eyes growing progressively wider and more scared. ‘If she were smart,’ Crisanta told herself, ‘she’d just turn herself in.’

It took a few moments for her thoughts to really sink in, at which point she froze, fork halfway to the next to last piece of lettuce. She didn’t really believe Kalina was dumb, did she? Sure, she had done some stupid things, but who hadn’t?

‘You’re just feeling bitter about her little joke,’ her mind explained. ‘That’s all.’

But if that -was- all, then did that mean her desire to reveal Kalina’s cheating was coming from the same place? She’d thought about doing so before, but she didn’t know that she would have actually gone through with it - she certainly wouldn’t have waited until she had the whole family around as an audience.

“So,” the question finally came, as her dad spooned some peas out onto his plate, “what did you girls do today?”

Kalina’s gaze shot immediately over to Crisanta. She was almost certain she saw actual repentance in there, somewhere, and it made her close her mouth quickly, having hardly realized it had begun to answer.

Then she opened it again. “Oh, just the usual,” she shrugged, spearing the final lettuce leaf. “Nothing special.” She bit down, smiling a little at the look of relief that washed across Kalina’s face.


The girl bit down on her pacifier in surprise, then quickly spit it out and pushed it under her pillow as she realized what had woken her up.

“Hi!” Camelia smiled, bouncing happily on her bed. The girl looked up at her door, and saw that it was standing wide open, not closed, like she’d left it.

“What are you doing out of your crib?” the girl asked sleepily. Camelia had learned to climb out just a few weeks ago, though, as far as anyone knew, she’d only done it a couple times, not enough to get her parents to convert the crib into a toddler bed just yet, especially since she had always just stayed in her own room. At least until now.

The girl rubbed her eyes and rolled over to face her little sister. “It’s too early to play,” she told her. Camelia pouted, until the girl lifted up her blankets and said, “Come here, then.”

Camelia giggled and crawled under the blankets, cuddling up with her big sister. The girl found herself giggling, too, as they laid there together, as if they were the twins of the family. The girl could almost imagine bars growing up around her bed, not so much trapping them as protecting them, keeping out all the pain and worry of the outside world.

The girl smiled contentedly as she stared up at the walls of the imaginary crib, wishing she was brave enough to fish her pacifier back out, but not wanting to risk anyone else seeing, if they happened to pass by, and not wanting to just assume that Camelia wouldn’t find some way to mention that to someone. Continuing with that thought, she gave her pajama pants a tug from below the blankets, making sure they hadn’t ridden down too far, in case she kicked off her blankets, and her parents decided to peek in on her, since her door was already open.

The girl snuggled with Camelia, who was already starting to drift back to sleep. She felt herself yawn, then curl up a little tighter, her own eyes begging her to close them again. She complied, letting her breathing slow back down, letting her imaginary crib reconstruct itself in her mind, blocking out everything until she was just a little baby falling asleep with her sister.

Like that, it was hardly even a conscious decision to let her bladder go, feeling the warmth spread through her diaper, around her bottom, and then…

The girl sat up, desperately trying to stop wetting, but she was already done. “Not again,” she groaned quietly. She glanced back at her door, making sure nobody was watching, then threw her covers back and rolled out of bed. She quickly sat back down, seeing the wet spot on her pajamas.

Camelia gave a little wriggle, but thankfully, stayed sleeping. The girl glanced nervously from her to the hallway outside her door. Should she try to get Camelia to her own room, and changed, while in soggy pajamas herself, or should she change herself first and hope that Camelia didn’t wake up and figure out what was going on?

It took a few moments for the girl to realize how silly she was being - of course Camelia wasn’t going to figure it out, especially if she just closed her bathroom door, as she quickly tiptoed around her bed to do to her bedroom door.

She moved Camelia away from the wet spot on the bed, then decided to just take her out of her sleeper, which fortunately hadn’t gotten very wet. She’d wash it with her bedding, though, since she needed the rest of the family to think that Camelia was the source of the wet bed. She was pleased, in a strange sort of way, to see that the diaper underneath was wet, if not as much so as hers - at least she wasn’t the only one to have used her diaper this time.

She threw out her overloaded diaper, changed herself into a new set of pajamas, and a pair of panties, since she was going to be going down to the laundry room, and the basement steps tended to be loud, then tossed her wet things onto her bed before picking up Camelia and carrying her back to her own room.

Camelia stirred only once, after the girl had, somewhat jealously, put her into a fresh diaper, and was trying to get her stuffed into another sleeper. She stared up at her big sister inquisitively.

“Just go back to sleep,” the girl told her. “You just had a little accident.”

Even though she probably wasn’t going to remember it, the girl still felt kind of bad about lying to her like that, blaming her for something she hadn’t done. After all, who was she going to tell? Camelia was probably the only person she could ever imagine confiding her little secret in.

“Actually,” she started to say, feeling a tad silly. “It…” But Camelia’s eyes were closed, so the girl just shook her head, laughing quietly at herself, then put her back into her crib.


Kalina bit down into her piece of fish, settling back into her chair. “Yeah, pretty boring day,” she answered after swallowing. For the most part, that was even true - she was pretty sure most of her teachers had been just as eager as their students to get through the day so they could start their weekend.

She could still feel Crisanta watching her from across the table, taking her dainty little bites like some sort of princess. She knew she should feel grateful to her sister for not ratting her out after all, and she did, but at the same time, she couldn’t help but wonder why, and what this silence was going to end up costing her.

She didn’t notice she was glaring suspiciously at Crisanta until her sister gave her a strange look, as if trying to ask what in the world she was doing. Kalina stared down at her plate, where she was pushing a pea around with her fork. Their parents had moved on to talking about their day, but Kalina wasn’t paying any attention, nor, she suspected, was Crisanta.

At the very least, Kalina knew, she should apologize to Crisanta. She’d been planning on doing that anyway, once they had a minute alone, and she’d worked up the courage, but she supposed that it was especially important now. She wasn’t even sure what had come over her at school - maybe it was just because she was in a bad mood and Crisanta wasn’t making it any better, or maybe it was Crisanta’s know-it-all, holier-than-thou attitude.

‘Nah, probably not,’ she mused to herself, ‘I’m used to that by now; that’s what she’s always like.’ She giggled out loud; it wasn’t a nice thing to say, but that didn’t stop it from being the truth.

Crisanta gave her an odd look as she picked up her glass of water, most likely meaning to take a sip. Somehow, however, she managed to miss her mouth, instead pouring it down the front of her shirt.

Kalina’s giggling exploded as she watched Crisanta leap to her feet, trying to brush the water off of her shirt. “I’m sorry,” Crisanta squeaked, “I’ll go get a towel.”

Kalina managed to get her laughter under control after Crisanta scurried off to the kitchen, but when she came back out, she couldn’t help but say, “Maybe you should borrow Cammy’s sippy cup,” which was followed a few stray, unsolicited, chuckles.

Crisanta gave her a look that could have set the wall behind Kalina ablaze if she hadn’t been in the way. Kalina coughed and went back to her food.

“I’ll take care of it,” Crisanta told their mom before she could stand up all the way. “Just eat.”

And then, as she knelt down to dry off the floor, she bumped into the edge of the table, knocking her glass over. Kalina burst into laughter as the water rained down on her sister’s head, at least until her sister stood up and yelled, “Oh, shut up!” at her.

“Calm down,” their dad said. He probably would have gone on, if Crisanta had let him.

“Just shut up, you little cheat!” she shouted, throwing the towel across the table.

The table grew silent, Crisanta glaring and breathing heavily on one side, Kalina hardly daring to take a breath on the other.

“What does that mean, Kalina?” their mother asked finally.

She knew she should just confess, but Kalina couldn’t help but take offense at her mom’s tone. “It doesn’t mean anything!” she said instead. “Just because Crisanta says it doesn’t mean…”

“She cheated on her Chemistry test today,” Crisanta interrupted her.

Kalina swallowed, trying to sink down into her chair as her parents’ eyes turned to her. “It was just a quiz…”

“Kalina Anne,” her mother said - and nothing good ever started that way, “is that true?”

“It was just a stupid quiz!” Kalina repeated. “It’s not that big a deal.” But, of course, they weren’t going to see it that way. “Fine, whatever,” she said, throwing up her hands and standing up. “I’m grounded! Whatever!”

“Sit down,” her mother ordered. “You can be grounded after you finish eating.”

“I’m not hungry,” Kalina told her.

“Sit down!” Kalina did, reluctantly, readying herself for the lecture. She knew that she deserved it, though maybe not so much because of a stupid quiz, but that didn’t stop her from returning Crisanta’s inflammatory gaze from earlier. Crisanta, having calmed herself - perhaps a little too quickly, Kalina thought - retrieved her towel and went back to work. Kalina couldn’t see her face under the table, but she was sure that she was smiling as, over her head, their parents told Kalina how disappointed they were with her.

Easter Flowers

5

“You do know we’re too old for this, right?” Crisanta asked, adjusting the hem of her babydoll before readying her sleepy eyes for the camera’s flash.

“Well, Camelia can’t just do it by herself,” her mom told her. “Kalina, could you maybe smile a little for me?”

Kalina sighed and stopped gnawing at her bottom lip, putting on a fake, though passable, smile. She was obviously still not in the best mood - she’d been supposed to go play some game or something the day before, but, since she was grounded, she hadn’t been able to. Crisanta didn’t see how that was any big deal, but she’d decided it best not to tell Kalina that.

“If you say so,” Crisanta shrugged, beaming for the camera, curling both hands around the handle of her currently empty basket. In all reality, she didn’t mind too much, but she felt like she needed a token protest, for appearances’ sake.

Her mom glanced down at her camera, making sure the picture had turned out well. Her dad looked over her shoulder, then up at the girls. “Beautiful,” he said. “My little Easter flowers.”

Crisanta could see Kalina rolling her eyes beside her as she fiddled with her skirt, and even she had to admit it was a little corny, like it was every year, but she didn’t say anything about it. “All right, are you all ready?” their mom asked.

Crisanta and Camelia chirped, “Yep!” while Kalina mumbled something that sounded vaguely similar. Crisanta could see a few eggs already, hidden in pretty easy places like halfway beneath the sofa and behind the end table for Camelia to find, and one on top of the shade of the lamp on the end table.

“Then let the hunt begin!” their mom announced, sending the three of them scurrying off on their way. Crisanta playfully pushed her way in front of Kalina, who had also apparently noticed the bright pink plastic egg sitting on top of the lamp.

“Yeah, and -I’m- the cheater,” Kalina grumbled quietly as she passed, on her way to check behind the TV, a rather popular hiding place in the past.

“Grow up,” Crisanta whispered back, snatching up an egg from behind a stack of DVDs at the entertainment center. “I barely touched you.”

“Found one!” Camelia proclaimed proudly, bending down to pluck up egg at the couch, setting it gently inside her basket, as if it were a real egg.

“Good job,” their mom said encouragingly.

“You’d better hurry,” Crisanta teased Kalina, who was now checking the bookshelf. “We’re gonna be done before you find even one.”

Kalina spun around, but managed, with obvious difficulty, to bite back whatever she had been about to say, replacing it with, “Maybe if you’d quit bothering me.”

“Okay then,” Crisanta chirped, hurrying off to the dining room. She knew she really should probably leave Kalina alone, but there was just something about the day - maybe because it was already so nice and bright out, maybe the ears off the chocolate bunny she’d already eaten, maybe something else - that made her feel a little giddy, more like a little kid. It was hardly her fault that Kalina had decided to be grumpy.

Well, it sort of was, actually, and that thought sobered her, if only for a moment. At least Kalina had been allowed to do the Easter egg hunt anyway, despite her punishment; she could have at least been happy about that. And it really -wasn’t- Crisanta’s fault that she’d chosen not to be.

There was another call of “Found one!” that brought a smile back to Crisanta’s face, as she bounced into the dining room and continued her hunt.


The girl glanced sleepily at her clock, for a moment trying to figure out why in the world it had woken her up so early on a weekend. It took a moment or two for her brain to remember that it was Sunday, and a couple more to remind her that it was Easter.

She yawned and stretched, rolling over onto her side, facing away from the clock. She really wouldn’t mind going back to sleep, and her eyes even started to drift shut again, but now that she knew what day it was, she couldn’t fall back asleep, so, after a couple minutes, she threw back her covers and slid out of bed.

There was enough sunlight leaking through her curtains that she could see to shuffle across the room to her closet. She shed her pajamas, tossing them back in the direction of her bed, and stood there in just her diaper, staring at her new outfit, hanging there, waiting.

In the mirror on the back of the closet door, she saw the crotch of her diaper begin to sag. For some reason, though that was hardly an unusual sight, it got a giggle out of her. Maybe it was just looking at her new clothes - perhaps not “grown-up”, per se, but not little girl-ish either - while wearing only something so clearly babyish. Or maybe she wasn’t even thinking about that, but rather just about how, no matter how stupid it was, and how much she sometimes thought she should give all of it up, it was just nice.

It always felt wonderful to get out of her big girl panties and let herself sink down into the soft padding of a diaper, to sprinkle a little baby powder, then tape herself securely inside. She couldn’t recall ever feeling that kind of comfort, or anything close to it, from anything else. And that was why, she realized, she didn’t stop, even when she told herself she should, or when she was afraid that, surely, the rest of her family was going to find out.

She toddled back to her bathroom, almost detouring over to her dresser to grab a pair of panties - even though she really didn’t feel like wearing them - but decided instead, with the help of the grumbling in her tummy, to go straight in. At first, she’d thought her stomach might just be hungry, but not for long.

She closed the door behind her, grateful, not for the first time, to have a private bathroom. She couldn’t imagine having only one bathroom in the house, and having to just hope that you were the first one there, or else you’d have to wait, and wait, and hope that whoever had beaten you inside was done in time. Not that it would have been a terrible tragedy if they weren’t, since her current underclothes were designed for that sort of thing.

She started to giggle again, as memories bubbled up, of a time when she hadn’t been quite so fortunate. It had been in the early morning then, too, back when she was little, and they’d first moved into this house. She’d been all excited about having her own room, finally, even though it had seemed a little scary the first couple nights, not having her sister there with her when she woke up in the middle of the night. Having her own bathroom had been an exciting idea then, too, but earlier that night, she’d convinced herself she’d seen something moving in there, so she’d crept up to the door and, quite bravely, reached inside to lock it, then closed whatever was hiding in there inside.

Unfortunately, she’d also locked herself out, something she hadn’t considered during her bout of bravery. There was, of course, a bathroom out in the main hall, but her daddy had teased her that, since she had her own bathroom now, using any of the others in the house would require a toll fee. It was a silly thing to believe, she knew, but she’d been a little kid, and they tended to believe some rather dumb things. In the end, she’d decided she would just have to wait a bit longer to get whatever book she’d been saving her allowance up to buy, and dashed for the main bathroom. By then, however, it was too late.

She could remember desperately turning the doorknob on her bathroom over and over, as if, perhaps, on the tenth, or hundredth time, it would magically become unlocked, all the while hopping from foot to foot uncomfortably. She found herself playing along with the memory, pretending that the doorknob was stubbornly ignoring her childish pleas. She even re-made the mad dash for her bedroom door, freezing about halfway across her room with a cute little, “Uh-oh,” both hands clapping against the back of her diaper.

Of course, nowadays she was much better at holding it in, though you’d never have guessed it from looking at her. She giggled to herself, heading back to her bathroom, stomach protesting a little more loudly. She was back at the bathroom door when she heard a sudden knocking at the other door, making her nearly jump out of her skin.

“Are you awake yet?” her mom called from the other side.

“Yeah,” the girl answered after re-catching her breath, leaning against the bathroom door with her hand on her heaving chest. “I’m just about to take my shower.”

“Okay,” her mom replied. “We’re starting the egg hunt in half an hour.”

“All right,” the girl called back. She supposed she’d better stop playing around and actually get ready. She glanced over at her dresser sadly, wishing again that she didn’t have to go over there eventually. She remembered her mom being a little frustrated, though doing her best to hide it, when she’d had the accident. She distinctly recalled wondering if she was going to be put back into Pull-Ups, like had happened just a few years before when she’d lapsed on her potty training. After a week or so of expecting that, she realized it wasn’t going to happen, and she felt as if she’d really managed to get away with something.

Looking back, though, she couldn’t help but wonder if that didn’t have more to do with their parents not having any Pull-Ups to put her in, since they’d gotten rid of the last half bag or so before the move. What would her mom have done if they -did- have those extra Pull-Ups lying around? Or, even, if they’d had diapers lying around, like the girl had sitting in the very back of her closet?

“Hurry up,” she could imagine her mom saying, bursting into the girl’s room, as she would often do in those days. “We need to leave for church in…” And then she’d see the way the girl was standing, holding her hands in front of her crotch, and the redness in her cheeks, and then slowly, she’d sniff the air. “What did you do?” she’d ask accusingly.

And the girl could see herself squirming, sniffling. “It was just a little accident,” she’d try to explain.

Her mother would sigh. “I thought you were a big girl. Do big girls poop in their pants?” The girl would shake her head sadly. “But you did, didn’t you?” And she would nod. “I just don’t know what we’re going to do with you. Obviously I can’t trust you to keep your pretty new clothes clean, now can I?”

“No, you can…” the girl would protest, only to get cut off.

“I think I’m looking at some pretty convincing evidence to the contrary. It’s a good thing we kept those old diapers, huh?”

The girl would stare at her blankly for a moment, not understanding, before finally daring to ask, “Why?”

“Because I’m afraid you’re going to have to wear one to church,” would come the answer. “If you can manage to keep it dry, maybe you can go back to your big girl panties for school tomorrow.”

Back then, she would have thrown a fit, and probably just made things worse for herself. Now, though, she couldn’t help but think that the idea wasn’t too bad. After all, her new outfit would surely keep her diaper concealed. She’d never tried wearing diapers out of the house - other than to take the garbage out in the middle of the night, of course - and normally she never would, but the more she thought about it, the easier it became to convince herself that this was the perfect opportunity to change that.

She turned away from the dresser, back to the bathroom door as her bowels begged for release and, through the tiniest help from the girl, found it. She flushed a deep red as she felt the back of her diaper expanding and sagging even more. “Uh-oh,” she squeaked, before hearing someone clearing their throat behind her.

She turned around, still blushing, trying to hide the drooping back of her diaper with her hands, but she imagined her mother moving behind her again, and then again as the girl tried again to keep her shame hidden, before finally she pretended to feel a hand clamp around her arm, holding her in place, while another grabbed the waistband of her diaper and pulled it back.

“You were right there,” she imagined her mother telling her. “You couldn’t wait three more seconds?”

The girl shrugged bashfully at the imaginary berating. “It was an accident.”

The fake mother shook her head. “Well, you can just think twice if you think you’re going to be wearing anything but a diaper under those new clothes of yours. That outfit cost money, you know, and I’m not about to let you ruin it the first time you wear it.”

“Yes, mommy,” the girl pouted forlornly for as long as she could manage before turning and bouncing - somewhat slower and more carefully than usual - into her bathroom.


Kalina bounced back away from the curtain that had just shocked her, but reached out with her other hand to grab the egg that was hidden behind it. She dropped it into her basket, where it rolled over to one side quietly, lonely. Crisanta had tried to claim that they were too old for this, and Kalina tried to console herself by pretending that she agreed, and that was why she had found so few eggs.

“Hurry up,” her dad teased, “Your sisters are going to find them all.” She rolled her eyes, hoping he would take that as teenage apathy.

It was time to follow Crisanta to the dining room, she decided, looking around the living room one more time, trying to see if there were any other likely hiding places, other than the low, obvious ones that were there for Camelia. Crisanta had too much of a head start for Kalina to really expect to get more than another one or two eggs, unfortunately, and, indeed, Crisanta was glancing around the dining room, in the same way she had just examined the living room.

“Oh, you found one!” Crisanta smiled. “Great job!” Kalina knocked her hand aside before she could use it to pat Kalina’s head patronizingly. “Aww, what’s wrong? Are you sad because a toddler is doing better than you? I think she’s found four by now.”

As if on cue, Camelia’s cry of, “Found one!” once again echoed through the house.

“Make that five.”

Kalina tugged subconsciously at her skirt, her other hand tightening around the handle of her basket. “Bite me,” she said through clenched teeth.

“Aww, poor little Kali,” Crisanta cooed. “Here, why don’t you take one of my eggs? Or maybe Camelia will let you have one of hers, if you ask nicely.”

What was Crisanta’s deal? A horrible thought occurred to Kalina, and she glanced down quickly, to be sure. “Just leave me alone, -Crissy-.”

Kalina pushed past Crisanta, though she wasn’t sure why, since she it seemed like she’d already stripped the room bare of eggs. She wasn’t sure if it was intentional or not - she couldn’t remember actually deciding to do it - but Crisanta’s opinion was rather clear.

“Ow!” she cried, jerking her foot out from under Kalina’s, shoving her backwards at the same time. Kalina saw her lone egg fly out of the basket as her arms windmilled, right before she plummeted to the ground, skirt flying wildly up. She was dazed for a moment, so her desperate attempt to rearrange her skirt was delayed enough that Crisanta could very easily have seen her diaper. Luckily, Crisanta was halfway to the living room at that point, though she did stop and look back upon hearing Kalina’s landing.

“What in the world are you two doing?” their mom demanded, storming in. Kalina got to her feet quickly, holding up her skirt with one hand. She wasn’t sure if it was actually going anywhere, but it felt like it was slipping down the slick outside of her diaper, threatening to fall down and expose her secret any moment. It was quite frustrating, but she hadn’t noticed it until she was out of her room, and by then, her parents were already barking at her that she was going to make them late if she didn’t hurry up.

“Nothing,” the twins answered in unison, though neither sounded like they meant it.

“Can’t the two of you just get along for one day?” their mom sighed. “For your little sister’s sake, if not for my sanity’s?”

“Sorry, mom,” Kalina mumbled, getting a nasty look from Crisanta, who was probably just mad she hadn’t done it first. “It was nothing, really.”

“Really,” Crisanta echoed.

“If you say so,” their mom said, thoroughly unconvinced. “See that it stays that way.”

Crisanta stuck her tongue out at Kalina once their mom had turned her back on them. Kalina tried to ignore her, plucking her egg off the ground, and hastily re-tying her skirt while she was knelt down there, hoping that might help, but then came up with something to say. “That’s very mature.”

“Oh, is it?” Crisanta asked innocently. “I’m not sure how that happened - I was trying to act like you.”

6

Kalina squirmed in the pew, nearly leaping out of her skin when her mother turned disapprovingly towards her. She was sure that her mother had heard her diaper, which she was sure had gotten louder as they’d been sitting at church, but if so, she didn’t say anything about it, choosing rather to whisper, “Sit still!”

She had decided that it wasn’t worth the happiness that wearing a diaper would normally have brought her if she had to be so paranoid about the whole world finding out, and so she’d planned to change into normal underwear after breakfast. Unfortunately, there had barely been enough time afterwards for her to take off her shoes and, after a minute or two of struggling, untie her skirt before her mom had desperately knocked and told her to hurry up. She’d glanced over at her dresser desperately, until the second knock came, and she just retied the skirt and slipped her shoes back on so she could dash out to the car with the rest of her family.

She didn’t realize she had gone back to her wiggling until her mother lightly smacked her arm. “Kalina Anne,” she said quietly, “Could you at least act as well behaved as Camelia?”

“I’m sorry,” Kalina blushed quietly, glancing over at her baby sister, who was sitting quietly, only occasionally twitching her little Mary-Janed foot. Sometimes Kalina thought Camelia would grow up and actually remember how to have fun, but at that moment, she just saw her as another little sister who everyone acted like Kalina was younger than. Kalina’s attire didn’t help with that.

“I just…” Kalina started to explain.

She wasn’t sure if her mother heard her or not before she said, “Just go to the bathroom, Kalina.”

Kalina almost refused, since it wasn’t like she technically -had- to, but even if she had wanted to, she didn’t think she’d have been able to wet herself with so many people around, at least not consciously. “Yes, mommy,” she teased, sticking out her tongue as she stood and started to move down the pew.

Her mother grabbed her suddenly, fear gripping her at the same time. Had she noticed? But she merely instructed, “See if Camelia needs changed, too.”

The “too” threw Kalina off for just a moment, and then she continued. Crisanta had overheard, and had already checked Camelia and nodded. Kalina grabbed the diaper bag from the floor, then helped Camelia off the pew and held her hand as they snuck back to the bathroom. At least she had a legitimate excuse to be leaving in the middle of the sermon now, she thought.

“So, are you having a good Easter?” Kalina asked once they were in the bathroom, locked into the stall with the fold-out changing table. Camelia nodded while Kalina pushed up her dress, pulled down the cute little ruffled diaper cover.

“Maybe you had a little too much to drink this morning,” she noted, then giggled and tickled Camelia’s tummy, which, of course, started her in as well. Her diaper wasn’t leaking, luckily, but it -was- quite soaked already, though Kalina was sure they’d changed her before they left the house.

She untaped Camelia’s diaper, something she had done quite a few times, generally without thinking twice about it. They came up with a somewhat loud tearing sound, though, since Camelia’s diapers had a tape strip, none of the cover was attached. Kalina wasn’t that fortunate with her own diaper, unfortunately… And even if she was lucky enough to keep her diaper intact after untaping it, what if Camelia heard the untaping anyway? She might not think anything of it, but what if she did?

Kalina looked down at Camelia nervously as she wiped her little bottom, then exchanged her wet diaper with a dry one, throwing the old one away. She often suspected Camelia noticed more than anyone else gave her credit for, and she was learning how to speak better and better every day… She sprinkled baby powder onto her sister, each shake rattling her nerves. She hadn’t thought about actually -using- the diaper when she’d decided to wear one. She should have, of course, but when did she ever think ahead?

She taped Camelia’s diaper up, like her own was taped around her waist to stay until she got home, since she didn’t have anything to change into. She pulled up her sister’s diaper cover, then set her on the floor and opened the stall door. “I’ll just be a second,” she assured her, scooting her outside and setting the diaper bag next to her. “Stay right there.”

When she came out of the stall, diaper wet beneath her new skirt, she almost would have sworn that Camelia was looking at her differently. She did her best to ignore it as they washed their hands and headed back out for the rest of the service, but once they had sat back down, now a somewhat squishier affair, she couldn’t help glancing over at Camelia from time to time. If nothing else, she was a little jealous that, at the very least, her diaper was dry now.


Kalina slipped into the bathroom again, feeling a little jealous of whoever was behind the closed stall door, and not just because the stall with the changing table was bigger. As much as she liked diapers at home, she wasn’t a fan of being stuck in them. She had been careful not to drink much at the potluck lunch after the service, but even so, she’d found her bladder filling back up, as if to defy her.

Wetting herself around the rest of the youth group - minus Crisanta, who had told her that they should sit with their family instead of their friends, to which Kalina had retorted that she had just spent all morning with her family - was just as difficult to consider as doing it while seated right next to her mother, so she had excused herself. Really, she knew she was incredibly lucky her mother hadn’t made her sit with her family, since technically she was still grounded. She suspected Crisanta was just upset because of the same thing, wanting to see Kalina suffer as much punishment as possible.

And, actually, sitting there had been a little like punishment, though more self-inflicted than anything. As if hearing Alice talking about the game session the day before, during which Sam The Boy had apparently tried to kill a monster hiding in a huge trash pile in an enclosed room by setting that pile of trash on fire, wasn’t bad enough, Kalina was constantly worried that someone would somehow notice her diaper. She sat still as much as she could, at least until she started feeling the need to pee, not even daring to get up to grab some dessert, always nervously watching anyone who decided to do so themselves, and took the route that led them behind her. She’d almost had an accident right there at the table before she finally worked up the courage to excuse herself.

She went into the empty stall and pulled down her skirt a little, in case whoever was in the other stall was watching her for some creepy reason, and sat on the toilet. Somehow, that didn’t make what she was about to do feel any less babyish, and, in fact, almost made it more so. She peed herself slowly, not wanting to overload the diaper and end up leaking. Hopefully, whoever was in the next stall wasn’t paying -too- much attention.

The toilet was just barely tall enough that her feet didn’t quite reach the ground, so she let them swing, humming to herself, softly at first, then a little louder so that perhaps it would distract the other person in the bathroom from the fact that there was no other sound. After a few moments, a quiet voice came from the other stall.

“Is that you, Kalina?”

“Crisanta?”

“Yeah, it’s me,” Crisanta replied quietly, her voice sounding a little scratchy, almost like she’d been crying.

The “Are you okay?” never quite left Kalina’s mouth, paused by the memory of Crisanta’s actions that morning, and on Friday evening. Kalina hopped down from the toilet and pulled her skirt back up, starting towards the sink.

“Kalina, could you go get my purse?” Crisanta’s voice came from the stall.

“Huh?”

“Oh, never mind,” Crisanta sighed, her breath rattling ever so slightly. “Forget it.”

Kalina considered it. She was busy on her own, after all, checking out the back of her skirt in the mirror to make sure she hadn’t leaked yet, then tentatively pressing the skirt back against her sagging diaper and checking again. Satisfied, she went back to the fellowship hall, hoping the youth group hadn’t gone off into some new conversation in her absence.

She passed her family’s table, saw her parents talking with an older couple, Camelia sitting happily beside them. Crisanta’s purse sat by an empty seat, quiet and lonely, yet calling out to Kalina in her sister’s voice, the way it sounded when she was trying to pretend she hadn’t been crying.

‘She deserves it,’ part of her mind told her, while another tried to convince her, ‘She can’t really -need- anything from it all that badly.’ ‘And if she does,’ the first part replied, ‘all the better.’

She could hear the hand dryer running on the other side of the bathroom door when she approached again, then a mad scramble of feet. The stall door was closed again when she opened the outside door. She walked up to the stall and stood up her tiptoes, draping the purse over the top of the door. She didn’t even pull it away once she saw Crisanta’s feet on the other side of the door.

“Thank you,” Crisanta said softly.

“Whatever,” Kalina shrugged, though Crisanta obviously couldn’t see her.

She started to leave again, only to be stopped by, “Kalina?” She didn’t reply, which led to another, “Kalina?”

“Yeah?” she answered finally.

“Could you maybe do me another favor?”

Kalina rolled her eyes. “What is it?”

She could hear some motion behind the door, and then Crisanta’s new skort was hanging there, a large wet spot on it. Kalina was too shocked to even tease her, or ask what really happened. She grabbed the skort and briefly considered opening and closing the bathroom door to make Crisanta think she had taken it and left her stranded in her panties - even more briefly, she considered actually doing it. Instead, she turned the hand dryer back on and held the skort underneath.

It took a while, and she could vaguely hear Crisanta moving restlessly around her stall, though she couldn’t make out much, with the dryer going right in front of her. Finally, they were dry, and she draped them back over the door.


Crisanta felt incredibly lucky when she saw her skort being draped back over the door. If the hand dryer hadn’t still been going, she might have been too petrified to walk over to grab it, sure that her sister would hear her diaper crinkling as she moved. She felt much more secure with her skort back on, though, realistically, she doubted there was much muffling of sound going on there, except in her own mind.

She took a compact from her purse, used it to gauge when her face had turned a light enough shade of red that she felt all right opening the stall door. Kalina was still standing there, waiting. ‘Why doesn’t she leave me alone?’ she wondered, somewhat uncharitably, all things considered.

“Thanks,” she said, to be nice. Kalina gave her an odd look, continuing to stand there, in her way. “I’m fine,” she told her.

Kalina let her go over to the sink, but stayed there while she washed her hands, staring over at her. Had the sneak looked in her purse? Had she heard the diaper change over the dryer? Or had she just determined the real cause of Crisanta’s wet skirt?

“I’m fine!” Crisanta repeated, her voice cracking slightly.

“Okay,” Kalina replied gently, holding up her hands. “I believe you.” Kalina was a terrible liar.

“I spilled my water on my lap,” Crisanta told her before she could ask. That was only partially a lie, since she had, indeed, done so, but not quite on accident. She’d seen her diaper leaking and that had been the only thing she could think of to keep anyone else from noticing. Of course, she didn’t want to be seen like that, either, so she had hurried out after apologizing for her klutziness, apparently in too much of a hurry to remember to grab her purse.

“Okay,” Kalina repeated. She was standing in front of the exit now, still staring. Crisanta glanced back at the mirror over the sink, making sure that her diaper wasn’t sticking out anywhere.

“You know,” Kalina said, finally looking away from Crisanta, concentrating on her own feet instead, “I saw you.”

Crisanta quickly contained her panic, keeping her, “What?” as neutral as possible.

“Practicing for your try-out. You were -totally- better than anyone who actually got in.” She looked up at Crisanta slowly, a tiny smile playing across the corners of her mouth.

It was Crisanta’s turn to stare, unsure what to say. “Oh, what do you know about cheerleading?” is what she came up with, gently pushing past Kalina to get to the bathroom door, holding it open.

Kalina’s smile brightened as she stepped outside. “So, you spilled your water, huh? Maybe you -do- need one of Camelia’s sippy cups.”

“At least I don’t need my mommy to tell me when to go to the potty,” Crisanta shot back, well aware of the irony in her statement, and barely able to keep that from being obvious in her voice. Kalina stuck out her tongue, but they were both giggling.

“What’d you need your purse for, anyway?” Kalina asked.

“I didn’t,” Crisanta told her. “I just wanted you to get out of the bathroom so I could dry my skort. I don’t know why they don’t have a lock on the bathroom door.”

“They probably just hate you,” Kalina nodded sagely.

“Probably,” Crisanta agreed. Kalina scurried back over the the youth group’s table, while Crisanta went back to her family bashfully, full of apologies.

Epilogue

Kalina flopped onto her bed, bottom itching slightly beneath her panties. She sincerely hoped that it wasn’t diaper rash she was feeling, though to really believe that, she would have had to ignored the redness she’d seen on her bottom when she was changing.

She glanced over at the wall between her and Crisanta’s rooms, thinking. It had felt a little nice to be the reliable one, for Crisanta to be the one having to be rescued. Still, Kalina couldn’t see either of those becoming regular things, not anytime soon.

But it could happen one day - the responsible thing, anyway - and who knew what that would really be like? Maybe she would be too grown-up, too concerned with being always being in control, of herself and of everything else around her, to be able to lower herself to even thinking about wearing diapers for fun. She hopped down from her bed with a smile, heading towards the closet.

If that was going to happen, then she had better enjoy them while she could, before she turned into a time-delayed version of Crisanta. At the moment, it was almost impossible to imagine, but she decided she had better prepare, just in case. She liked to think that she was going to somehow get to be a kid forever - perhaps that was why she had started liking diapers in the first place, as a way to preserve that, while Crisanta worked so hard to grow up as much and as quickly as she could - but she knew that was impossible. How had Crisanta accepted that so easily? How had she given up all the fun of being young without a second thought? Sometimes, it was hard for her to believe just how different she and Crisanta were.


Crisanta sat cross-legged on the floor, sipping on her bottle. She knew she should get changed and go be with her parents and little sister, but it had seemed like such a shame to waste the diaper she’d changed into in the church bathroom. She was glad that she had taken her shower the night before, so it wouldn’t seem odd when she took one again in a few minutes - she didn’t mess her diaper often, but she figured Easter was a special enough occasion.

She stared at the wall between her and Kalina’s room, thinking about that incident. She had been so sure Kalina would just abandon her there, leave her in there with a leaking diaper and a soaked skort, neither of which she would have had the courage to leave the bathroom in. She could hardly bear the thought of anyone seeing her like that as she dashed away from her table, she could never have made a reappearance in it.

It was hard for Crisanta to admit, but Kalina was more mature than she gave her credit for. Of course, she was well aware of how silly that was to think, sitting there, having just intentionally pooped herself a few moments before.

There were times when she wished she was more like Kalina, so happy with the simplest things, so pure, so - usually - sweet. As horrible as it seemed, if she was being honest with herself, Crisanta wasn’t sure if she would have helped Kalina out, if things had been reversed. If Kalina had somehow gotten her grounded, and made her miss something that meant as much to her as that silly little game, Crisanta might have just left her in that bathroom to fend for herself, though, of course, she wouldn’t have had the same problem since even her silliest past-time wasn’t quite as silly as Crisanta’s. Perhaps Crisanta just got all of her immaturity out of the way in private with her diapers, while Kalina spread it out over the whole rest of her life, somehow not caring if it was in public or not. Sometimes, it was hard for her to believe just how different she and Kalina were.