“I still don’t see why we couldn’t just take a plane?” Tamsin looked out of the window at the melting snow and slushy puddles covering the endless flat fields. “I mean, we could be sitting on a balcony, having drinks in the warm evening breeze. Instead, we’re driving through flat, boring, featureless, snowy, boring fields.”
“You said boring twice.” Stefan sipped his coffee and put his travel mug back in the cup-holder on the inside of the door.
“I know. That’s how boring they are. And the perfectly straight roads as well? Everything’s looked the same for hours now. It’s like we haven’t moved at all. Are you sure we’re not going in circles?”
“God Tammy, sometimes you really sound like a five-year-old. ‘Are we there yet? Are we there yet?’”
“Yeah, well, who goes on a cross-country road trip in February?”
“Come on. We’ve been stuck inside for two years. It’ll be good to just see new faces. Besides, you’ve seen the videos of people going apeshit on planes.”
“Statistically speaking, those morons are rare. And we would see plenty of new faces in New Orleans. Especially if we had several extra days that we didn’t have to spend driving there all the way from Mississauga. I think you just like to drive.”
“Remind me again, how does scissors beat rock? Are they some kind of unbreakable super-scissors?”
Tamsin grunted and turned to look out the window again. “And you call me childish.”
Another minute or so passed, then Stefan put a hand on Tamsin’s knee and slowly slid it up her thigh. “It’s only two days babe,” he said conciliatorily . “We’ll still have plenty of time before the Mardi Gras parades.” He tugged Tamsin’s t-shirt out of the waistband of her pants and slipped his hand under it. “Are you that eager to flash your boobs for beads?”
Tamsin smacked Stefan’s wrist. “Eyes on the road Tit Boy.”
"Ooh, that’s definitely my new superhero name.
Tamsin gave an exasperated sigh and rolled her eyes. She reached for the GPS and pinched the map to zoom out. The map stayed the same. A single, perfectly straight road. She checked the directions. The next item on the list was a left turn in 62 miles.
“Please tell me you’re not planning on driving through the night.”
Stefan shook his head. “Nah. I pulled an all-nighter last night so I’m already dead tired. I figure the next motel we see, we’ll stop for the night. That sound OK with you?”
“Yeah,” Tamsin said, somewhat mollified at the prospect of any change from the non-changing scenery outside the window. She wanted to lie down. She wanted a bathroom that didn’t look like a crime scene or had a hubcap hanging from the key. And most of all, she wanted decent wifi or mobile coverage so she could watch a movie or two.
She pulled out her phone and opened the map, zooming out and scrolling south. “Looks like there’s a small town coming up in fifteen miles or so. Normal.”
“Of course it’s normal. America isn’t some kind of post-apocalyptical wasteland. There are little towns everywhere.”
“No, I meant it’s called Normal. Normal, Indiana.”
“That’s a bit redundant. Isn’t Indiana like… the blandest of the states. I think I read somewhere that there are places that have legally banned hot sauce.”
“Can you imagine their Mardi Gras parades?” Tamsin grinned.
“I’m trying not to.”
A little later, they passed the green sign marking the Normal city limits and Tamsin chuckled.
“What’s so funny?” Stefan asked as he slowed down to the posted speed limit.
“Somebody had spraypainted ‘Ab’ in front of the name on the sign.”
“Abnormal? That sounds like a more fun place.”
Tamsin sighed. “Yeah.”
After another couple of minutes a flickering sign appeared from behind a couple of trees. If it hadn’t been for the dusk, they probably wouldn’t even have noticed it.
“Motel!” Tamsin exclaimed.
“I see it,” Stefan said and slowed down. He turned smoothly in to the parking lot in front of the motel.
Tamsin opened the door, shivering as the cold wind hit her. She grabbed her jacket from the back seat and quickly put it on. Then she stretched, working out the kinks in her back.
“You wanna get us a room while I get the bags out of the car?” Stefan was still sitting in the driver’s seat with the door open.
“Sure.” Tamsin grabbed her little overnight backpack and headed for the front desk, weaving between the slushy puddles.
There was nobody behind the counter in the reception, but the little bell that jingled cheerfully as Tamsin entered prompted somebody in the back room to call out. “Just a moment…”
A girl that couldn’t possibly be more than sixteen emerged only seconds later. She was dressed like a stereotypical goth girl, which clashed with her cheerful expression and the big, pink, playboy-style bunny ears on her hair band.
“Yeah?” the girl asked.
“We’d like a room. One night.”
The girl jiggled the mouse next to the computer and typed in a password. “Okay? Double bed or two singles?”
The girl nodded and tapped another couple of keys. “That’ll be fifty dollars. Would you like the extra hospitality package?”
“We pick up breakfast for you from the diner down the road and bring it to your room at the time of your choosing. Well, between seven and ten that is. Plus there’s some complimentary snacks and soft drinks. No alcohol though. We’re not allowed to give that away. It’s only twenty extra bucks.”
Tamsin thought about it for a few moments. It would be nice to actually have breakfast in bed before going back on the road. “Sure,” she said.
The girl started looking through a stack of papers, pulling out a laminated menu and handing it to Tamsin. “Great, you just figure out which breakfasts you want and I’ll handle the rest.” She returned her attention to the computer. “Name?”
“Um, Tamsin Haze,” Tamsin said absent-mindedly as she studied the menu.
“OK.” The girl typed some more. “I’m Isabel by the way. I’m going to need a credit card for the safety deposit.”
Tamsin looked up. “Are you even old enough to be handling this sort of thing?” she asked, a little hesitant about handing over her credit card to a kid.
Isabel gave an exasperated sigh. “For crying out loud. Why does everybody think I’m just a kid? I’m twenty-two for god’s sake.”
Tamsin stared back. Disbelief obvious on her face.
“What?!? Wanna see my license or something?”
“Nonononono.” Tamsin held up her hands. “I believe you.”
“Good, 'cause it’s really annoying. It’s not my fault I have a babyface.” She took a breath to calm herself down.
Tamsin found her credit card and handed it to Isabel. She entered whatever details she needed into the computer and handed the card back to Tamsin.
“OK, breakfast. Anything tickle your fancy?”
Tamsin looked back at the menu. “I think maybe just the scrambled eggs and sausages.”
“Good choice. They’re delicious. And your boyfriend?”
“Stefan’s a sucker for oatmeal. With bacon.”
“Interesting combination. And when did you want it?”
“Eight, I guess. We want to get started early tomorrow.”
Isabel nodded and wrote it all down on a post-it note. Then she stuck it to the side of the screen. “You’re in room number 10. That’s up the stairs and all the way at the end.” She handed Tamsin a key. “And if there’s anything else, just dial 9 on the phone.”
“Thanks.” Tamsin grabbed her backpack and went outside where she found Stefan having a cigarette.
“I thought you said you quit.”
“I have,” he said defensively. “Mostly. But sometimes I still need one.”
Tamsin sighed. “You’re just a big bundle of bad habits, aren’t you?”
“And that’s why you love me.”
“Come on. They put us in number 10. Upstairs.” Tamsin picked up one of the bags and headed for the stairs. Stefan stubbed out the cigarette and followed her.
The room was pretty much the same as any other motel room Tamsin had ever seen. There were two beds on one side of the room, and on the opposite side was a small table with a couple of chairs and a low dresser with a small TV on top. There was a door at the back of the room that Tamsin assumed was the bathroom.
She put the bag down. “I’m going to take a shower. If you find the mini-fridge, the snacks and drinks are free.”
“Well, they’re ‘complimentary’. Oh, and they’re bringing us breakfast tomorrow morning.”
“Seriously? Niiiiice.” Stefan grabbed the TV remote, sat down on the bed and began flipping through the channels.
The bathroom was larger than Tamsin expected and remarkably clean. She quickly undressed and used the toilet before hopping in the shower. After a day stuck in the car, the cascade of hot water felt glorious. Tamsin could almost feel the stress melt away. She just stood there, letting the water pound against her skull, listening to the white noise it caused.
Eventually she was brought out of her reverie by Stefan knocking on the bathroom door. “Hey, leave a little hot water for me.”
Tamsin turned off the water and grabbed one of the big towels on the shelf next to the shower. They were softer and fluffier than she expected. She quickly dried her short hair before wrapping it around herself.
“All done,” she announced as she opened the door. Stefan rushed past her and closed the door. She heard the toilet lid hit the cistern, followed by a groan and a disgustingly loud, wet farting sound.
I guess showering wasn’t the most important thing for him either.
“You okay baby?” she asked the closed door.
“Gas station hot dog.”
Tamsin found some clean underwear in her bag and put it on before stepping into a pair of sweatpants and pulling a t-shirt over her head. The TV flashed some kind of news programme intro, so Tamsin turned up the volume and sat down on the edge of the bed to see if anything important had happened while they were on the road.
The news weren’t exactly new, so Tamsin turned off the TV after a couple of minutes. She lay back on the bed and stared at the ceiling. It was just as boring and uniform as the fields they had driven through the last couple of hours.
“Stefan? I’m gonna go see if I can find something a little healthier than those little motel bags of mixed nuts. Do you want anything?”
The groan that came from the bathroom told Tamsin all she needed to know. “I’ll see if I can find you some Imodium or something, all right?”
Tamsin changed out of sweatpants and put on some jeans before grabbing her jacket, phone and car keys. She pulled the zipper all the way up to ward off the cold wind as she walked down the stairs to the front desk.
Isabel was still sitting behind the front desk playing something on her phone when Tamsin came through the door. She tapped the screen and looked up at her.
“Is there something wrong with the room?” she asked.
Tamsin shook her head. “Nah; the room is fine. I was just wondering if there’s a drugstore or something that’s still open anywhere nearby. The only one I could find on Google maps looks like it closed three years ago.”
“Yeah. For some reason they don’t update things here. Don’t know why.” Isabel thought for a moment. “There’s one maybe a mile or so down the road.” She looked at the clock on the wall. “I don’t think they close for another hour or so.”
“Thanks.” Tamsin turned to leave, then turned back again. “One more thing: What’s with the ‘Ab-normal’?”
“What do you mean?”
“On the sign at the city limits. Somebody put an ‘Ab’ in front of the name.”
“Ooooh, that. It’s a long story.”
“Yeah. Back in '18 we had a bunch of religious whackos who managed to get themselves elected to the city council. Things got kind of… let’s just say ‘uptight’, for a while. But it’s better now.”
“Sooo, not such a long story after all.”
Isabel shrugged. “I guess not.”
“By the way, the liquor store on Google maps. Is that still open?”
“The Hughes one? Yeah. Just don’t let them trick you into trying their micro-brewed rye beer. It tastes like fermented socks.”
“Thanks for the warning,” Tamsin said and walked outside again. The cold wind felt like it was blowing up the bottom of her jacket and she shivered as she zig-zagged between slushy puddles on her way to the car. Once inside, she started the engine and turned up the heat. The warm bloom of the seat warmers made Tamsin smile. It had always been one of her favourite things about cars in general. She couldn’t understand why manufacturers didn’t make seat-back heaters as well. Or armchairs with built-in seat warmers. After all, you should be allowed to have a nice warm chair in your living room and not just in your car. She tilted her head back and closed her eyes, just enjoying the hot air and the warm seat for a few moments. Then she slowly drove out of the parking lot and down the road.
The drive to the drugstore struck Tamsin as a little strange. The streets were eerily empty. She had heard that a lot of smaller towns had had problems with young people leaving for the bigger cities, but driving through Normal was like being in a post-apocalyptic film; except there was less garbage and debris. And fewer mutant zombies. At least she hoped there weren’t any.
“Well, my trusty Pip-boy,” Tamsin said to no-one in particular. “Any deathclaws around? Super-mutants? Fascists in power-armour?” She glanced at the GPS which didn’t show any flashing red dots indicating danger. “I guess not.”
Almost every second building Tamsin passed had ‘for sale’ or ‘closed’ signs in the windows, so when she saw the cheerily lit windows of the drugstore the contrast was rather jarring. Tamsin pulled over and parked at the curb. She sat still for a few moments, steeling herself before opening the door and getting out.
There was Christmas music playing on the speakers inside the almost empty drugstore. A lady that looked like she was pushing a hundred was wandering aimlessly up and down one of the aisles, and sitting behind the cash register was a middle-aged man that was so fat he was literally lemon-shaped. He was wearing a Christmas sweater the size of a tent and had a shock of white hair that would have made Einstein proud. When he noticed Tamsin he put down the comic book he was reading and smiled broadly.
“Can I help you?” he asked in a comically squeaky voice that seemed so out of place that Tamsin almost began giggling. He almost sounded like he’d been breathing helium.
“Yeah, where’s the Imodium?” Tamsin looked around.
“Over there, in the corner.” The man pointed.
Tamsin found the pills and went back to the register. She couldn’t see any snacks that looked particularly tempting, but she grabbed a couple of granola bars from a display on the counter.
“Anything else?” the man squeaked.
Tamsin was tempted to ask if he had any helium, but decided to be nice, and shook her head.
“No. That’s all. Unless you have any postcards with the town name on or something like that.”
Tamsin shrugged. Then she looked up at the loudspeaker playing Jingle Bells. “You must really like Christmas,” she remarked casually.
“Yeah I guess. It’s not actually Christmas though. It’s the waiting for Christmas. I just love the feeling of something wonderful being just barely out of reach.”
“Hmm. Holiday-edging,” Tamsin muttered to herself and nodded.
“Huh? What was that?” the man asked.
“Oh nothing. Just thinking out loud. Bad habit.” Tamsin paid and turned to leave. “Merry not-yet-Christmas.”
The man chuckled and nodded. “I guess that’s one way of saying it.”
Tamsin’s next stop was the liquor store where she looked around their measly selection before ending up buying a bottle of Bacardi and a couple of cans of Coke.
Booze in hand, Tamsin headed back to the car. The temperature was plummeting and wind was picking up. The jacket was not helping much. It was meant for a different Ana; Louisi, not Indi. Tamsin turned the heaters up to max the moment she was in the car and sat there shivering as the air slowly warmed up and her butt was thawed out. She was used to the winters being cold, but this wind was chilling her to the bone.
When Tamsin pulled in to the parking lot of the motel, she saw Isabel waving at her from the front office. She parked as close as she could and hurried inside.
“Damn! Is it always this cold?” Tamsin said as she closed the door and tried to find the warm air from the heater.
“More or less. Anyway, we forgot to restock the fridge in your room.” Isabel held out a plastic bag. “I figured I shouldn’t just go up there, just in case. I’ve walked in on enough people doing stuff in… well, elsewhere. I don’t need it here.”
“Okay.” Tamsin tried to sound nonchalant. She put the rum and Coke and her other supplies in the bag without looking inside. “Thanks.” Tamsin paused for a moment before opening the door. “By the way, where is that empty fridge.”
Isabel chuckled. “They did kind of hide it, didn’t they. It’s in the night stand between the beds.”
“All part of the service,” Isabel said cheerily. “Have a good night.”
Tamsin jogged up the stairs to the room. When she opened the door, she was met by a blast of warm air. Stefan was sitting crosslegged on the bed, wrapped in the duvet and watching TV.
“Feeling better?” Tamsin put the plastic bag down on the bed and began removing its contents. There were some small bags of mixed nuts, crisps and candy, a couple of bottles of water and a four or five cans of various soft drinks. Tamsin found a can of ginger ale and handed it to Stefan who grimaced when he saw what it was.
“I think I read somewhere that ginger helps against an upset stomach.”
“Yeah, but it tastes like a wet mop.”
“Oh stop being such a baby and take your medicine.” Tamsin handed him the Imodium.
Stefan popped one of the pills in his mouth and washed it down with some water. “At least they’re not suppositories.”
“Um, they were.”
Stefan’s eyes widened.
“Hah! I got you!”
“No you didn’t,” Stefan protested.
“Oh yes I did. I got you.” Tamsin grinned and took a sip of water. She kicked off her shoes and sat down on the bed. “Do you have any room under there?” she tugged at the duvet. Stefan lifted the edge. Just then, there was a hollow, gurgling sound. Stefan jumped off the bed and sprinted to the bathroom.
“Do you want a drink? I’m making Cuba Libres. Without the lime, I’m afraid.”
“Why not,” came the weak reply through the door. “It’s not like my stomach can get any worse.” There was a groan and a farting sound. Tamsin tried to not hear it. If Stefan was going to keep making those sounds, she was going to need those drinks.
A couple of hours, and about two thirds of the bottle of rum later, Tamsin was lying on the bed staring at the ceiling. The flickering lights from the motel sign and weird patterns as it filtered through the crack between the curtains. Stefan was lying on his stomach, yet still managing to snore.
“How come you’re drunker than me?” Tamsin slurred. “I drank…” she studied the bottle, “waaaay more than you.”
Tamsin waited for Stefan to respond. When he didn’t, she continued. “Tha’ss ‘cause you’re a fuckin’ lightweight.” She nodded to the empty room for emphasis. “And I,” she paused as she laboured to sit up, nearly rolling off the bed in the process, “I have a liver of steel.”
Sitting up made Tamsin feel a rapidly growing pressure on her bladder. “Don’ go 'nywhere,” she mumbled to Stefan and rose. She walked unsteadily to the bathroom.
The plastic seat felt ice cold against Tamsin’s thighs and she shivered. She wondered why they didn’t have seat warmers for toilet seats, like they did for car seats.
When she bent down to pull up her sweatpants, Tamsin almost fell over. Although that was because the floor was no longer level and seemed to be moving ever so slowly. After several attempts to tie the drawstring, she gave up and let the pants fall to the floor again. Then she carefully stepped out of them She didn’t need them anyway. The bed was nice and warm.
Tamsin stumbled back to bed and crawled onto it. The duvet was still warm, so she wrapped herself in it and closed her eyes. It really was a very comfy bed and she didn’t want to leave it. She looked over at the TV. The sound was off, but it was showing what looked like a mother reading bedtime stories to a toddler. Tamsin yawned. She gave the bottle of rum another look.
“D’you mind if I have some more?” Tamsin whispered. Again, Stefan’s only reply was a soft snore.
“Tha’s what I thought.” Tamsin looked around for her glass, but couldn’t see it, so she just fumbled the cap off and took a healthy swig. When the subsequent coughing fit ended, she wheezed: “OK, no drinking rum neat.” She took a mouthful of Coke and added a sip of rum before swallowing. “Ahh. Much better,” she concluded. The ad on the TV was over and they continued some old, black-and-white horror movie featuring what looked like a vampire in a flimsy nightgown. Tamsin wanted to turn it off, but couldn’t be bothered to look for the remote. She was just so sleepy. And the pillow was so soft. And everything was just warm and fuzzy. She had another mouth-mixed drink.
Tamsin was woken by an icy draught. She opened her eyes. Everything was still pleasantly fuzzy. The TV was showing middle-of-the-night infomercials. Tamsin turned over to see where the draught was coming from. The door was open and the vampire from the horror movie was standing in the open doorway. Mist was rolling in around her legs to cover the floor. She sort of floated forward across the room, the door closing silently behind her. When she came closer, Tamsin realised it wasn’t a B-movie bloodsucker, but Isabel from the front desk.
Tamsin tried to sit up, but she was all tangled up in the duvet.
“Shh,” Isabel said and pressed a finger to Tamsin’s lips. “It’s all right. You called me.”
“I did?” Tamsin couldn’t remember doing that.
“Yeah.” Isabel brushed Tamsin’s hair out of her eyes. “You didn’t make a lot of sense, but you said you wanted a cuddle and a story.”
“And a cuddle?”
“Mm-hmm.” Isabel nodded.
“Why’d I do tha’?” Tamsin asked.
Isabel sat down next to her. She seemed a lot larger now than when she had been sitting behind the front desk. “I don’t know. You sounded pretty drunk.”
Tamsin giggled. “I think I’m still pretty drunk.”
“I think so too.”
Tamsin wriggled closer to Isabel. “You’re so nice and soft,” she mumbled.
“Aww, thank you. And you’re an adorable little baby.”
“And is mommy going to tell her baby a story?”
“Of course she is. But first we have to make sure that little Baby Tammy is ready for bedtime, don’t we?”
“That’s a good girl.” Isabel stroked Tamsin’s hair. “Did you brush your teeth?” she asked.
“Mm-hmm,” Tamsin lied.
“And did you go pee-pee?”
Tamsin smiled at the absurdity of the situation. “Yeah.”
“And you put on your jammies?”
“Really? I don’t think so. Let’s see.” Isabel peeled the duvet off Tamsin, exposing her t-shirt and panties.
“Big-girl panties?” Isabel ran a hand over the thin silky fabric struggling not to creep up Tamsin’s butt crack. “Big girls don’t need bedtime stories.”
“Aww.” Tamsin pouted.
“Maybe mommy’s little girl should stop playing dress-up and get into her little-girl jammies?”
“And then story-time?”
Tamsin rolled over on her back while Isabel knelt next to her legs. Then she wriggled her hips to slide the panties off. Isabel helped get them all the way down her legs. Then Isabel grabbed Tamsin’s legs and lifted them onto her shoulder, lifting her hips off the mattress. There was a crinkling sound and Tamsin tried to see what Isabel was doing, but her legs were in the way. Isabel slid Tamsin’s legs off her shoulder, lowering her butt again. Instead of feeling the soft cotton sheets against her butt, there was something that felt a little like stiff tissue paper. Isabel spread Tamsin’s legs and pulled something up between them. That’s when she realised what it was.
“A diaper?” Tamsin began wiggling to get away from the papery touch of the diaper against her crotch.
“Shh,” Isabel said. She put a hand on Tamsin’s hip. “It’s OK. I know how little girls have accidents sometimes.”
“But…but…” Tamsin was struggling to form the right words.
“And we wouldn’t want to ruin the nice hotel bed, now would we?”
“Would we?” Isabel asked and pressed down on Tamsin’s hip.
“No,” Tamsin admitted meekly.
“Good. Now lie still so you don’t wake him up.” Isabel nodded towards Stefan who was still sleeping soundly only feet away.
“This is so weird,” Tamsin whispered.
Isabel taped the diaper in place. “It’s not weird. A lot of little girls have accidents,” she said reassuringly, patting the smooth plastic. “There. Much better. Don’t you agree?”
“I guess,” Tamsin said, running her hand over the diaper. It felt strange to be wearing something this thick. She couldn’t even feel her hand through it.
Isabel sat down at the head of the bed and spread the duvet out across her lap. “OK Tammy. Snuggle up.”
Tamsin crawled onto Isabel’s lap and allowed herself to be wrapped up in the duvet. Isabel wrapped her arms around her and held her close.
“You ready for your story?” Isabel asked.
“Yeah.” Tamsin almost felt like she should be sucking her thumb, but both her arms were trapped in her tightly wrapped cocoon. Everything just felt so perfect and warm and soft and fuzzy.
“Once upon a time,” Isabel began," there was a little town. Waaaaay out in the middle of nowhere. The people living in the town were good people. Most of them were, anyway. They tried let people do what they wanted and not make a big fuss about things. But then, one day, some very mean men decided that they wanted to run the little town. And they wanted to decide what everybody else was allowed to do and say and think."
“Tha’s no’ very nice,” Tamsin mumbled from inside the duvet.
“No it wasn’t,” Isabel agreed. “The meanies tricked a lot of the people in the town into letting them be in charge. At first they weren’t so bad. Sure, they said some mean things, but most people didn’t take them very seriously. But then they made a rule that said that nobody was allowed to do things differently from them. And if somebody broke that rule, they were sent to a special house-”
“Like a prison?” Tamsin interrupted.
“No, not exactly a prison. More like a special hospital. Anyway, at first there were only a few people that were sent away. But every now and then, the meanies would make a new rule, and a few more people were sent away. And then a few more. And a few more.”
“Oh no,” Tamsin whispered.
Isabel brushed Tamsin’s hair away from her forehead. “Don’t worry. It gets better.”
“I promise. So, this special hospital. The doctors there weren’t very nice either, but with every new rule, there were more and more people there. And one day, in the middle of winter, maybe a week before Christmas, the people in the hospital realised something. There were so many of them in there that there were more of them than there were people left outside. There was a big fight, and they locked the mean doctors and the other meanies who had been running the town in the special hospital. And then they went back to their homes in the town and lived their lives without those big meanies bossing them around and telling them how to live their own lives.”
“And they lived happily ever after?” Tamsin asked and yawned.
“Yeah, they did. And they all promised each other not to let the meanies make the rules again.”
Tamsin began wriggling, trying to get out of the duvet wrapped around her.
“What is it Tammy?” Isabel asked. “Tell mommy what’s the matter.”
“I… I have to go to the bathroom.”
Isabel looked around at the empty cans and water bottles. “I’m not surprised. You’ve drunk a lot.” She picked up the almost empty bottle of rum. “And not just little-girl drinks either.”
“Yeah. I’m drunk,” Tamsin said, almost sounding proud of it.
“Well, you just let it go. Mommy will change you afterwards.”
“Whaddaya mean?” Tamsin was having a little trouble processing what Isabel said.
“There’s no need to get up. You just go ahead and pee your diaper. Mommy will change it later.”
“Are you serious?” Tamsin tried to sit up, but failed.
“Of course sweetie. Why else did you think you’re wearing diapers?”
“But… You said they were in case of accidents.”
“Yes and don’t you think little baby Tammy is about to have an accident?”
“I’m not a baby,” Tamsin protested.
“Sure you are. You’re my little, diapered baby girl.” Isabel pulled Tamsin up so she was sitting on her lap rather than lying on it. The movement and new position increased the pressure on Tamsin’s bladder and she gasped as a spurt of urine escaped her.
“What is it?”
“I… I peed,” Tamsin said and looked away in embarrassment.
“It’s OK,” Isabel reassured her and slowly ran her fingers through Tamsin’s hair. “Just let it all out. Mommy’s here.”
“I can’t,” Tamsin said and shook her head. But that little leak had only been the first pebble in the avalanche. Within seconds the pressure was unbearable again, and another spurt escaped, only to be immediately absorbed by the diaper.
“This is so gross,” Tamsin complained.
“Shh-shh-shh. It’s perfectly normal, and mommy doesn’t think any less of her precious baby. Just let it all out.” Isabel began to slowly rock Tamsin back and forth. The third little leak turned out to be not so little.
“I didn’t know your lap had a seat warmer.” Tamsin giggled.
“So it’s not so gross any more?”
“It’s like a big, wet glove. But kind of nice.” Tamsin snuggled closer to Isabel. Then she closed her eyes and let out one last little trickle.
“I did it again,” Tamsin whispered mischievously.
“That’s a good girl,” Isabel said and kissed Tamsin’s forehead. “You just get some sleep. Mommy’s here for you.”
“Tha’s good, 'cause I think I’m sleepy.” Tamsin’s eyelids just felt so heavy. And the duvet was so warm and comfy. And Isabel smelled so good.
The morning light streaming in through the window combined with a pounding headache woke Tamsin up. She peered out from under her duvet and instantly regretted it after a faceful of sunshine. Gradually, the rest of her brain came online. She had to pee. Badly.
Not a problem. That’s why I have a diap-
Tamsin suddenly realised she was not wearing a diaper. In fact, she was only wearing a t-shirt. Her bladder pressure overrode her headache and she rolled out of bed and ran to the bathroom. As she sat there, feeling sorry for herself, she bent down to pick up the sweat pants and panties that was lying in a heap on the floor.
“No more rum on an empty stomach,” Tamsin said to herself. “The fun dreams aren’t worth the headache.”
Ten minutes and a shower later, Tamsin emerged from the bathroom to get her toothbrush and the ibuprofen from her bags. Stefan was still face-down on the bed. Tamsin nudged him awake
“Five more minutes mom,” Stefan mumbled and buried his head under the pillow.
“Come on Stefan, time to get up.”
“It’s that late already?” Stefan sat up and yawned. "God, that’s the best night’s sleep I’ve had in ages.
When Tamsin re-emerged from the bathroom with her hair dried and the fuzz removed from her teeth, she found Stefan sitting on the edge of the bed, balancing a tray on his lap and eating oatmeal from a takeout container.
“Mm-hmm. The girl at the front desk just dropped it off.” He bit into a piece of bacon. “Oh that’s good bacon.”
Tamsin checked out the other container. Thankfully the scrambled eggs and fried sausages were the perfect combination of bland and greasy to make Tamsin feel better.
“Sorry I passed out so early, but I was just completely beat last night.” Stefan pointed to the empty cans and bottles. “Looks like you have a bit to drink.”
“Yeah.” Tamsin took another mouthful. “Hung over.”
“Sleep well?” Stefan held out a strip of bacon. “You just have to try this bacon?”
Tamsin shook her head. “I’m good. I think I passed out in the middle of some cheesy, old horror movie.” Tamsin stopped eating for a moment. “I had the weirdest dream.”
“Oh?” Stefan tried to look cool and just raise an eyebrow, but he just looked like he was having a stroke.
“I don’t wanna talk about it.”
“Oooo. That good, huh?” Stefan grinned suggestively.
“No. That weird.”
“Fine, fine.” Stefan held up his hands.
They finished the rest of the breakfast and Tamsin packed their bags while Stefan took a shower.
“So we’ll be there by tonight then?” Tamsin asked through the bathroom door.
“If everything goes according to plan, yeah.”
“Good. I want a warm balcony, spicy food and drinks with little paper umbrellas in them.”
“That’s the plan,” Stefan assured her as he turned off the shower.
Tamsin checked the map on her phone. According to Google maps, they should be in New Orleans around half past ten. Knowing Stefan’s driving, they could probably knock an hour off that estimate; or add two hours if he got caught speeding.
Ten minutes later they were ready to leave. Tamsin pulled the zipper of her jacket all the way up to her chin as they opened the door.
“What about the trays?” Stefan asked as he picked up the bags.
“I don’t know. I guess I can drop them off along with the key.” Tamsin grabbed the breakfast trays before locking the door behind them.
Tamsin headed for the front desk while Stefan went to load their bags into the car. She found Isabel half asleep in her chair and cleared her throat to wake her up.
“Oh hi,” she said and stretched. “I must have dozed off. Was the breakfast OK.”
“It was great. Thanks for bringing it up.” Tamsin put the trays on the counter along with the key. “So, do I need to sign anything?”
Isabel shook her head. “Nah. You prepaid, so unless you’ve broken anything or something like that, you’re good.” Isabel took the trays and put them on the desk behind her. “So, where to next?”
“Oh, that sounds like a fun trip.”
Tamsin nodded. “That’s the plan.”
“I hear they have like an Anne Rice tour or something. I’d love to check that out one day.” Isabel shrugged. “Anyway, if you come through here again on the way back, feel free to drop by again.”
“With a breakfast option like this, we just might,” Tamsin said and turned to leave.
“And maybe mommy will help you eat your breakfast in the morning.”
“What?!?” Tamsin whirled around.
“Huh?” Isabel looked up from the computer.
“Did you say something?”
“Me? No.” Isabel shook her head.
“Okay,” Tamsin said hesitantly and turned to leave again.
She went back out into the cold and headed for the car As she got in, Stefan was just finishing entering the address of their hotel in New Orleans in the GPS. He started the engine and grinned.
“Warm breezes, umbrella drinks and Mardi Gras, here we come!” he called out.
As they left the parking lot, Tamsin saw Isabel watching them. She could have sworn there was just the faintest hint of a mischievous smile on her lips. She reached over and turned on the seat warmer. The bloom of warmth under her butt made her smile too.