The Mystery of Disposition

Re: The Mystery of Disposition

One of my favorite stories ever. Looking forward to the next chapter. :slight_smile:

Re: The Mystery of Disposition

I would sure love for this story to be continued, it was one of my favorites!!

Re: The Mystery of Disposition

This story is not dead, but the last few months have been busy for me. I also agreed to co-author the next chapter with another writer and that writer’s had some issues with a laptop, so all in all, just a series of issues delaying the story. There should be something posted “soon”. :slight_smile:


Re: The Mystery of Disposition

[I]Update: I feel it necessary to apologize for the incredibly long break I had to take from this story. As I mentioned in my previous post, another author approached me with interest in writing a story and so I offered the opportunity to contribute to my story with chapter 9. Unfortunately, this endeavor did not pan out, but it set my timelines back and the holidays further delayed my chapters. The good news is that I’m releasing 9.1 now so there’s no more waiting and I already have 9.2 written and awaiting review. There will likely be a 9.3 and then 10, of which I’ve also written most of it. My goal is to finish reviewing 9.2 and have that out in the next 2 weeks, followed by 9.3 the following week, and 10 some time in early April. We’ll see how my wishful thinking pans out.

In any case, I hope you all enjoy this long-awaited chapter.[/I]

Chapter 9.1

Monday morning came far too soon for Amy.

“I won’t tell you again Amy, it’s time to get up!” Meredith declared with a certain level of annoyance.

Amy tossed in bed, balled up in her covers and wished for one more minute in the cozy heap as she dreamed pleasant dreams and enjoyed the warmth between her legs. Sunday was merely a dull memory at this point, but she wasn’t ready to start a new week just yet.

Meredith left the room, expecting the poorly veiled threat would prod her daughter out of bed in short order. She wasn’t sure if she should threaten cold water or a serious punishment at this point, as it was starting to become a routine thing this summer fighting to get Amy out of bed in the morning. It would’ve been one thing if her daughter was in elementary school, but she assumed her daughter wouldn’t be such a hassle in the mornings by this age. Still, at some level, a sense of control and motherly need compelled her to continue to mother Amy to whatever level was necessary.

Meanwhile, Amy had quickly fallen into yet another slumber. This time, it wasn’t something she was consciously aware of, but yet the dream seemed barely removed from reality. In her dream, she found Molly back at her house playing with her and JJ as they built Lego castles. Molly looked younger, perhaps 8 or so, and Amy imagined she was the same age. JJ looked to be his 3-year-old self, and the disparity of ages didn’t register in Amy’s dream state.

The trio were caught up in play time until they were rudely interrupted by Amy’s mom telling them to wake…up?

“AMY!” Meredith was screaming. “We have 5 minutes to be out of this house and get over to the Chadwick’s place and you’re in BED! I swear, you’re the most irresponsible teenager I’ve ever heard of, now GET DRESSED!”

Lurching out of her dream, Amy stumbled out of bed and towards her nearby dresser. The dream clung to her mind, and in her half-awake state, she barely registered the necessary details required to get herself ready. At this moment, the fact that her mother had stormed out of her room with threats of groundings and spankings (the latter of which she realized was an empty threat, but it meant her mother was angry) was enough to get her quickly throwing on clothes and heading towards the bathroom for a quick wash of her face before heading downstairs.

It was in that moment that she registered a warm, mushy feeling between her legs. In her half-awake, half-dream state, she hadn’t even thought to consider whether or not she’d wet herself during the night, but she certainly had. Unfortunately, at this point her mother was raging and she suspected that informing her of the wet undergarment would only add to her mother’s fury, so she quickly went to her closet, grabbed a clean Goodnite, and wrapped her coat around it since carrying a childish undergarment in plain site felt horribly embarrassing. Rushing downstairs, Amy nearly ran into her mother coming around a corner.

“Amy, watch where you’re going! And why do you have that coat? It’s the middle of the summer, you don’t need that.” Meredith’s tone was dismissive as she entered the kitchen briefly and grabbed a few shopping bags from the countertop before heading back towards Amy who hadn’t moved from her position at the bottom of the stairs.

“Are you ready? I have lots of errands to run today and I’m dropping you off at the Chadwicks’ place first so let’s get going.” Her mother rushing for the door, Amy contemplated taking the coat anyway, but realizing that arguing about it would likely give away the detail she’d previously hidden, she opened the hallway closet, threw the coat and its contents inside, and hoped her mother wouldn’t check that spot before they came back home later that evening.

The ride to the Chadwicks’ was uneventful. Meredith was focused on her day’s events and Amy was merely the first item on the list. For her part, Amy was nervous while trying to figure out how to rid herself of the wetness beneath her, yet at the same time enjoying the feeling she’d recently discovered on wet mornings.

Soon, Amy found herself standing next to her mother as the doorbell was rung and sounds from inside the house grew nearer the door until a kindly woman in her early 40s opened the door, smiling at the two guests on her porch.

“Oh, good morning! So glad to see you both, come in, come in!” Betty was her normal, chatty self, but Amy really wanted to get the formal adult greeting stuff out of the way so she could go see JJ and find out what he’d been up to while she was away. She didn’t understand how two women whom she realized didn’t particularly care for each other could possibly find the time and energy to stand around pretending to enjoy conversation with each other.

While Meredith and Betty chatted away about the day’s plans and the regional happenings, without realizing it, Amy had fallen into her old habit of daydreaming while nibbling on her pinky finger and tuning out everything else around her. She thought back to a time when she wasn’t expected to take part in adult conversation and was simply told to run along and play while the adults had their boring conversations. Oddly enough, she wished nothing more was expected of her today, but somehow being a teenager meant people started thinking you were nearly ready to be a person and with it, the playing and toys were to quickly become a thing of the past. Amy’s thoughts were less complex, and focused on how she didn’t care about what was expected, only what she wanted in the moment. She wanted to be done with this conversation, and she was waiting for the first semblance of a pause to blurt out her question. She didn’t get the opportunity.

“Amy, stop sucking your finger…that’s not very lady-like!” Meredith scowled at her daughter until she removed the glistening tip from her mouth and held it together with both her hands behind her back, blushing slightly but unable to issue a rebuttal.

“Oh Amy, why don’t you go ahead and head upstairs…JJ will be so happy to see you!” Betty saved the day and gave Amy an easy out from the increasingly awkward situation her mother had placed her in.

“I’ll see you tonight honey, please call if you need anything.” Meredith’s words were basically ignored as Amy was already heading up the stairs to see her favorite 3-year-old.

As she entered the room, Amy briefly remembered the state of her Goodnite, but quickly put that out of her mind as she was excited to see JJ and the Legos scattered on the floor quickly grabbed her attention.

“Amy! Hieee!” The little boy hopped up from his toys and ran to hug Amy before she’d even had a chance to sit down with him and see his latest creations.

“Amy lookie!!” It was clear the boy was enamored with her as he quickly started babbling about all of the houses and cars he’d built since she’d last played with him.

“Whoa JJ, this is pretty cool stuff! You’re getting to be a good builder!” Amy fed his little boy ego slightly, but she was genuinely impressed at what he’d been able to build on his own. Most 5-year-olds would struggle to come up with what this kid had done in a few days since she’d last seen him. Over the next hour, they explored all of JJ’s creations and Amy offered suggestions to improve his work. She noticed a new bin of parts had been added since her last visit, which brought the sum total of his building materials to a level that started to approach her own large collection and filled her with glee at the possibilities they’d have for the rest of the day and the days to come.

Periodically while she played, Amy half-noticed the squish between her legs and wiggled slightly enjoying the feeling she’d rarely gotten the opportunity to experience outside of lingering in her bed during the morning. She caught herself several time sucking her pinky as she’d get lost in those feelings and her daydreams, but each time she’d soon be pulled back into JJ’s world of play; though her new feelings were mysteriously tempting as an escape in their own right.

Betty had seen Meredith out the door a while ago, but she’d decided to tend to laundry for a bit before checking in on the kids upstairs. After an hour or so, her motherly instincts made her wonder if Amy had eaten anything and if JJ wanted a snack with lunch time a couple of hours away, so she went to visit the playroom.

“Kids, do you want some bananas or apples?” Amy almost jumped, having not heard Betty coming and being focused on her current building task. She was hungry, but she wanted to see what JJ wanted to do first before acting like she wanted snacks.

“Umm, I like apples mama! I want some…you have apples mama?” JJ seemed eager for apples, so Amy figured on going along with it.

“Apples works for me too.” Amy added.

“Ok, apples it is, I’ll be right back!” Betty soon returned with the apples and water for the kids, a sippy for JJ and the same water bottle Amy had used the last time. The kids mopped them up in short order and went back to building their airport. Normally, Amy would’ve felt obligated to wash her hands after eating anything and going back to doing something else, but when the pang of responsibility crept into her mind, she ignored it and told herself that her hands weren’t that sticky and it was nothing to worry about since she wasn’t being held responsible as the babysitter. It wasn’t long before Betty returned, this time with a pull-up and wipes in her hand.

“Alright little man, mommy hasn’t heard a peep from you all morning about the potty so I know you must be wet by now. Let’s get you changed.” Betty deflected the obligatory whines about the potty and the importance of playing with Legos and quickly had JJ laid down next to the construction area, gently pulling off his play shorts and leaving him in an obviously wet pull-up. Amy suddenly remembered her own problem and felt her face grow warm at the prospect of Betty repeating last week’s episode, though she drew slight comfort from the fact that Betty hadn’t bothered checking JJ and had gone right to changing him. She guessed instead that Betty had come only to change JJ and that was the end of it, so she surely wouldn’t check her.

After ripping open the sides of the pull-up, Betty went about the task of cleaning her son while he squirmed slightly at the annoyance of being changed. In a moment, she pulled up a clean pair of pull-ups over him and re-dressed him in his play shorts. Amy was glad she didn’t have to worry about JJ’s changes anymore as that was her least favorite part about babysitting.

“All done honey, you can get back to your Legos now sweetheart.” Betty patted her son’s rear gently as he got back on his knees and crawled the few feet to his previous position to resume his play.

Betty gathered the wipes and the used pull-up, and was about to leave the room, when she had the thought to help Amy remember to use the potty herself today.

“Amy, have you used the potty since you got here this morning?” Betty’s choice of words could’ve been better as they alone were cause for embarrassment to any teenager, but the added fact of a wet undergarment caused Amy to blush profusely and stutter out her answer.

“N…no, I’m fine.” Having never looked up and focused on not giving herself away, Amy had done just that.

“Amy honey, why don’t you go and try. It’ll just take a minute and you can come right back, ok?” Amy didn’t know whether or not to be humiliated or slip back into the kid role she’d fallen into the last time she played with JJ. On the one hand, JJ didn’t really care if she wet herself, but she felt obligated to be a big girl in both his eyes and his mother’s. Still, at this juncture, she didn’t know what to do, so she aimlessly got up and headed to the bathroom.

Betty saw the signs and realized the girl had likely wet herself. Considering her previous visit, she wasn’t surprised, but instead felt a slight amount of frustration considering their last conversation had hinged on Amy taking care of her accidents immediately so as not to cause damage to the household furniture. She supposed it might have just happened, but Betty wanted to make sure, so she followed Amy to the bathroom. As Amy entered, but just before shutting the door, Betty stepped into the bathroom doorway slightly just enough to ask…

“Honey, please be honest with me…are you wet?” Her question was straightforward, but not malicious.

“I…I didn’t have t…time to change this morning. My mom made me get up and leave a…and I…” Amy’s eyes started to water as she realized she was explaining her essentially wet diaper to the woman whom she had until now seen as her employer. Instead, she felt like a little girl explaining herself to a watchful aunt who had just noticed the state of her young niece’s pants.

“Alright Amy, it’s ok honey, you don’t have to cry.” Betty stepped into the bathroom and took the girl in her arms, gently rubbing her back while she continued to sniffle into the larger woman’s chest. After several moments, she genuinely felt better and realized that perhaps this woman really did care for her.

“Honey, I didn’t see you bring a bag with you, so does that mean you don’t have a clean pull-up?”

“I, ummm…I tried to grab one, but I couldn’t.” Amy couldn’t think of how else to explain her morning to Betty, and while she knew that probably didn’t come out right, she wasn’t sure what else to say.

“Amy, do you remember I told you to bring a change or two with you from now on? That was part of our deal.” As she was saying the words, Betty saw Amy’s emotional state was crumbling further, and she realized that regardless of what should be, soon it would be her responsibility to get Amy taken care of and into a fresh pull-up. Any lectures on being responsible and bringing changes next time would be better saved for later.

“I…I’m sorry, I tried. I did…” The girl’s right eye started running again and her face slightly scrunched up into crying from a moment before Betty Chadwick gave her an affirming squeeze and started talking again.

“Alright honey, we’ll just have to get you taken care of. I’ll go fetch one of JJ’s pull-ups and that’ll just have to do for today. Ok?” Amy stared dumbly for a moment, then nodded and attempted to pull herself together as Betty went to fetch the pull-up.

Standing in the bathroom waiting for Betty for what seemed like an eternity, she grew bored and pulled down her capris to examine the Goodnite. It had long since lost its shape, as it hung lower on her with an obvious bulk in the section between her legs. She squeezed the bulk and felt the barely warm mush of a used diaper in her hands. Still curious about the feeling she’d been enjoying, she sat on the floor and felt the bulk between her again. Though it didn’t feel quite the same as it had before, she continued to explore the feelings of her wet Goodnite until she heard Betty approaching the bathroom. Realizing she didn’t have time to get up and pull her capris back on, she quickly stood up and acted like nothing was different.

“Ok honey, I’ve got everything for you to get all nice and clean…” Betty rambled as she entered the room. Betty didn’t have an awkward bone in her body, so looking at Amy, clad in a t-shirt, obviously wet pull-up, and pants around her ankles, Betty just went with it and assumed the girl just wanted out of the wet pull-up as quickly as possible.

“Guess you’re ready for a fresh pull-up! I’ll just leave everything here and I’m sure you’ll be changed in no time. Come see me if you need anything!” Betty laid the pull-up, wipes, and cream on the bathroom sink top and left the room, closing the door behind her.

Amy was slightly embarrassed, but more clearly happy to be done with the awkward exchange. Quickly, she was into a clean pull-up and had the items returned to JJ’s bedroom where she knew Betty had gotten them.

It was soon lunch time, and both kids were called downstairs for a meal of PBJs and milk. Amy and JJ were both quite happy about this meal and said as much to Betty, thanking her for one of their favorite lunches.

Amy waited for JJ to get cleaned up and soon they were both back upstairs for more play time in the wonderful world of Legos.

The masterplan for the airport was to include a huge food court, full service areas for the airplanes, and plenty of waiting areas for the passengers. It had taken a long time to convince JJ that airports didn’t have an indoor zoo or soccer field, but eventually JJ relented whenever Amy promised to let him build an entire airplane all by himself.

The food court was massive. It had ten different shops and each shop was large enough to hold several Lego people “customers” at once as well as holding a serving station for preparing the food. Amy was working hard trying to make everything as realistic and unique as possible and letting JJ try his hand at airplane construction was a good way to let her creative energies focus on the perfect food court.

JJ for his part was in heaven. To him, building an airplane was just about the coolest thing he could dream up to build, regardless of his lack of understanding for just what shape airplanes should be. An hour later, he had built what looked more like an eight-by-eight tower at least fifteen blocks high with a couple of pieces sticking out periodically that he referred to as “wings”. Amy only once attempted to offer suggestions, but quickly relented as she realized this was supposed to be his project and if she didn’t leave him alone she risked his encroachment on her own territory.

It was 2pm by the time JJ was satisfied with his “airplane” and on to building a second one. Amy was still tweaking this and that with her food court, but she had all of the areas laid out and aside from more tweaks she was just about finished.

Now she was getting thirsty, realizing she hadn’t had anything to drink since her snack almost four hours ago. She decided to take a break from building and went downstairs to get a drink. As she went to grab a glass from the overhead cupboard, Betty called out from the next room.

“Amy honey, please put that in your water bottle. I don’t want any spills. Thank you sweetheart.”

“But Mrs. Chadwick, I’m only getting a glass of water and I promise not to spill it.”

“Honey, please do as I ask…JJ never uses anything but his sippy for that very reason, and I don’t want a little carelessness upstairs causing messes.”

Amy relented and found the water bottle to fill as she was asked, but all the while she was struggling with seeming being assigned the same rules as Betty’s 3-year-old son. At this point, all she wanted was water, so she ignored the nagging thoughts in her head and went back upstairs to join JJ in the playroom.

By 3:00, she was satisfied with her food court and JJ was still working on his second airplane, so it was time to go deep into thought and plan out the next phase of their project. It was barely ten minutes into her planning process when some part of her started feeling the effects of the water building inside her, demanding release. Determined to finish her plan, she suppressed all distractions, telling that part of herself she could hold it a little while longer.

Re: The Mystery of Disposition

Chapter 9.2

It was 3:30 pm and Betty was just finishing up her housework for the day. The next order of business was potty time, or as it had become most of the time recently, changing time for her son. She ran back through the day’s potty schedule in her mind. Diaper change at 7 am followed by a pull-up change around 11 am. Potty time after lunch at 12:30 pm which went well, but nothing since then. She wasn’t betting on a dry pull-up, but since he hadn’t really had much to drink lately, a mother could surely hope for two potty trips before dinner.

As she headed upstairs, she remembered Amy’s trip for water and suddenly caught herself running through Amy’s potty schedule as well, as silly as that seemed to her on the one hand, the other hand felt like she almost had two potty training kids on her hands. Amy claimed she was wet when she arrived, but Betty had a hard time believing that Meredith would let Amy leave the house wet and not notice it. She realized that Amy had free access to the bathroom upstairs, so unlike JJ who needed help with the potty, Amy could’ve relieved herself any number of times. She realized that even if she gave Amy a better chance at being dry than JJ, nothing would surprise her at this point.

Entering the play room, she noticed JJ putting roof pieces on the top of a small, oddly shaped tower with little random pieces sticking out of the sides. Though she had no clue what her son was building, she was proud of him.

“Great job sweetheart, you’re doing really great! Keep building and mommy will let you build a house for her one day!” Betty grinned wide at JJ as the little boy returned the grin and bounded towards his mother for a hug. She took that opportunity to check him without much fuss.

“JJ honey, do you have to go potty? You don’t feel wet, but I bet you have to go.” Betty was enthusiastic that her son was dry, but she didn’t want to get too excited before getting him to the potty to finish the job.

“Umm, maybe mommy I dunno…you like my airplanes? Lookie mommy, I got two!” Clearly, some motherly intervention was necessary.

"JJ honey, you can show me all about these once we make a quick potty trip. You’re doing so good being dry, now let’s get our pee pees in the potty and we can get right back to playing. The little boy gave a brief obligatory whine, but it seemed the excessive praise over being dry was also having an effect. As Betty left the playroom with JJ, she glanced at Amy who was rocking back and forth slightly, her little finger barely in her mouth.

Amy was trying to concentrate on her plan, but her full bladder was starting to seriously distract her. After a few minutes, she couldn’t stand it any longer and headed for the bathroom, doing the pee pee dance the whole way. When she got to the bathroom, she realized the door was locked and both Betty and JJ were inside. She decided to knock.

“Amy, what do you need sweetheart?” Betty called, muffled from behind the bathroom door.

“I umm, really have to…ummm…go.” Amy thought it was obvious what she needed, but apparently it wasn’t.

“Oh I’m sorry honey but JJ had to go potty and he’s going poopy now so we might be a bit. Can you hold it for a little bit longer?”

“No, I reeeeeally gotta go bad, can’t I use another bathroom?” Amy had been told from the moment she started babysitting JJ weeks ago that this was the bathroom she was to use and she’d never deviated from that plan.

“Amy you can use the one in the basement. It’s down the stairs, to the right and then down the hall, third door on the left.”

That was all Amy needed to hear. She quickly ran down to the main floor, then found the basement door and the lightswitch before descending the stairs to a part of the house she’d never visited before. It was finished, but definitely less well-kept than the rest of the house and looked like a place most of the random household items were kept for storage, with a random spider web or two crossing the upper areas of the hallway indicating that the area wasn’t frequently visited. As she rounded the corner at the bottom of the steps and walked down the hallway, she realized she’d forgotten the rest of the directions beyond the part about turning left at the bottom of the stairs. What’s more, she suddenly had the feeling of being alone in a creepy part of the big house, far away from Betty and unsure where she was supposed to go.

Just as her mind was alternating between fright and telling her to just try random doors, she felt herself shudder slightly as a cobweb brushed against her face causing her to squeal and release a small amount of pee into her pull-up. Tears started running down her face, and in the blur, she tried a door which looked promising, but it led to the garage. Opening the next door, through her tears she saw what looked like a spare bedroom with storage boxes taking up most of the room and, of all things, a pile of Halloween decorations off to the side which completed the feeling Amy already had of being inside a haunted house.

Whatever determination Amy had for getting to the bathroom was gone, and all she wanted to do was get back to Betty and the familiar part of the house. Crying the whole way back upstairs, she could think of nothing else but getting away from that place.

When she finally got back upstairs, she saw the bathroom door still closed, so she went back into the playroom and tried to pretend like nothing had happened. Sitting down, she nearly jolted up at feeling the squish of a full pull-up and the nearly simultaneous realization that her bladder was no longer full. She nearly burst into a full-on sob, but then she heard the bathroom door open, causing her to try desperately to bring herself under control.

Betty heard the sniffs of Amy’s crying immediately, and she rushed to the playroom to see what was wrong. The girl was clearly distraught and had tears running all over her face. It took several minutes but she finally understood that Amy had taken the wrong turn at the bottom of the steps and gotten herself freaked out by the storage room. It was a bit silly to Betty, but she also realized that they had a large house and a young girl could get frightened in an unfamiliar part of such a large house. It was then that she spied the swollen bulk between Amy’s legs as she sat cross-legged on the floor and noticed the more concerning two slightly darker lines running between the bulk and each of her legs.

“Amy sweetheart, get up…” Betty helped Amy to her feet and it was then that she saw two dark marks on the carpet. Knowing this would freak Amy out even more thinking she might be kicked to the curb based on their last conversation, she quickly led the girl to the bathroom before she could notice the spots herself. She knew her husband wouldn’t like this, but she thought it was fixable before he could notice.

Amy got up, but she was confused and frightened. “I tried to follow your directions, I really did, I just got scared, I…I’m sorry.” Fighting to keep her emotions in check was no small task, but she seemed to be managing.

“Honey, you’re not in trouble for getting scared, but we need to get you taken care of.” Betty squeezed Amy’s hand, but let go assuming Amy would follow her without a leash. While the girl complied, she was still confused and added when they got into the hallway…

“I’m not scared anymore, I’m ok now. Where are we going?” Betty didn’t know if Amy really was so afraid that she had no idea of her wet state or if Amy was simply hoping she wouldn’t notice, so she went for the straightforward approach.

“You didn’t make it to the potty honey. And it looks like JJ’s pull-ups don’t quite handle your big girl accidents when you really have to go, so we need to change your pants too.”

Amy knew she was wet, but her fright in the basement had prevented her from processing the details of what had happened. She now realized that after opening the door to the storage room, she’d lost control and completely emptied her bladder before going back upstairs. The squish in the playroom was the result of a pull-up overflowing with her accident after holding her pee far too long. She was a mess: a big girl who didn’t go to the potty when she should have, but instead held out far too long and now wore a soaked toddler pull-up not meant to handle the flooding she had dished out. The feeling of her soaked state was even more evident as she realized what she’d done, including the increasingly uncomfortable feeling of the wet capris sticking to her upper thighs as she followed Betty to JJ’s room.

Amy’s sense of responsibility had been waning all summer, but this step with the Chadwicks’ asking her to be more of a playmate to JJ than a babysitter had been more enabling of her drift away from adult responsibility than anyone really knew. Deep down, losing her best and only real friend had wrecked her world. Her father’s continued absence from her life made her feel even more isolated, and her mother’s parenting never encouraged her to excel and look to the future for happiness. Increasingly, she looked back; back to a time when her best friend spent nearly every day with her and even to a time when her mom looked after and loved her. Back to her favorite things that had nothing to do with being responsible.

While Amy never really went through her own head that deeply, the effects were evident. She might not have been responsible for the first wet pull-up of the day, but the second was due to a pure lack of responsibility and a growing childish obsession with not leaving her playtime for a visit to the bathroom. It was even more telling that her worry at present was less about the soaking wet mess in her pants and more about whether or not she’d be asked to stop coming over to the Chadwicks.

In response to the momentary situation, she didn’t feel like arguing or explaining or engaging Betty on any level about her current state because nothing came to mind that made any sense to her, let alone to an adult. She only hoped Betty would leave her alone soon so she could change and move on from the awkward exchange and go back to playing with JJ.

“You know where everything is Amy,” Betty stated while gesturing towards JJ’s supplies as they entered the room. “Please clean up and bring me your wet pants when you’re done. I’m sorry you’ll have to go without them for a little bit, but you know I don’t have anything for you to wear and you didn’t bring a change.”

While Amy cleaned herself up, Betty went to clean the wet spots in the playroom so as not to cause more emotional drama than she could handle for one day. In some way, she felt responsible because she hadn’t let Amy use the bathroom and sent her into unfamiliar territory which ultimately proved too much for the girl. Still, Betty realized that Amy probably hadn’t gone earlier when she should have, and her lack of responsibility only furthered the older woman’s thoughts that Amy was in need of good parenting that she wasn’t getting from her mother.

Ten minutes later, Betty had cleaned the spot and Amy came back into the room to resume her play with her favorite little boy in the world. Soon the big girl and little boy both sat together on the floor, wearing t-shirts and pull-ups in their own world of Lego magic.

The rest of the afternoon was without incident. It was now 6 pm and Betty was setting out food for the three of them, having just finished cleaning and returning Amy’s clothes to her. Her husband often worked late into the evening, so it was unlikely he would enter the picture for the rest of Amy’s stay since her mom was supposed to pick her up at 7. Nonetheless, Amy felt better being fully clothed at the dinner table and truth be told Betty didn’t want Amy leaving the upstairs “kids area” in such a state either.

As the meal progressed, Amy watched JJ and realized that he was an exceptionally neat eater for his age, despite having the motor skills of a 3-year-old. He accomplished this by eating slowly, methodically even, and when he got messy anyway, there were usually calls for someone to get the “icky” off him before he could move on with life. He was certainly far better than the annoying 5-year-old named Mandy that she’d babysat a few days prior and who still got food everywhere. This realization impressed upon Amy just what a special kid JJ was. She almost felt like a proud big sister.

As Amy was helping Betty clear things into the kitchen, Meredith arrived and Amy once again fell quickly into the background as the women chatted about what seemed like nothing in particular. Amy excused herself and went to find JJ since she felt no longer needed and she knew that her mother wouldn’t be ready to leave for a little while.

Back in the kitchen, Meredith had taken a seat at the kitchen table while Betty finished with dinnertime cleanup. The older woman was internally struggling with something she rarely mulled over: what words to say to Meredith. Her gut reaction was to scold this mother for being a lackluster parent, but seeing as she suspected Meredith wouldn’t really take anything she said to heart and instead take it out on Amy with more bad parenting, she was trying to think another angle into working. Though Betty wasn’t the most intelligent of creatures and certainly spoke first on most occasions before weighing consequences, the subject of Amy had been weighing on her now for the past few hours and her desire was for the girl’s best.

The small talk continued for a short while, but soon Betty couldn’t let the aimless conversation continue on so long that she wouldn’t have a chance to say what she needed to say, so the floodgates opened, if only slightly for the first round.

“Meredith dear, I need your help with something.”

“Well Betty, I’ll certainly do what I can, what do you need?”

“This is about Amy. Please hear me out.” Meredith’s gaze took on a more skeptical look, but the slight nod indicated at least a willingness to listen to what Betty had to say.

“I don’t know if Amy told you, but I’ve asked her to wear her pull-ups while she’s here due to the accident from the last time. You know my husband is exceptionally picky about keeping the house immaculate and she did have an accident later that same day, so it seemed like a good idea.”

“I knew about the wetting obviously from our last conversation, but Amy never revealed your ‘little deal’ between you two.” Meredith sighed, obviously annoyed. “Do you really think it’s appropriate to have a teenage girl running around your house in pull-ups, Betty?”

“Meredith dear, I don’t let her out of the play area upstairs unless she’s fully clothed, so no, I don’t think that’s appropriate and I wouldn’t allow it.”

“I…really didn’t even consider that an option, so thanks but that still doesn’t address the fact that she’s still wearing pull-ups like some big baby who couldn’t learn how to use the toilet, and somehow that’s supposed to be ok. I’m sure the wetting was a one time thing anyway so I don’t approve of this, no.” Meredith, visibly annoyed, leaned back in the chair looking for a change in facial expression from the other woman, and hopefully one indicating that Betty was finally starting to realize the silliness of her teenager in pull-ups plan.

“I wish that were true Meredith, but unfortunately she had another accident today. She claims it was the same wet pair she had from last night’s bedwetting but I couldn’t believe that you’d actually let her leave the house wet, so she must have been too embarrassed to tell me what had happened.” Betty conveniently left off the second accident, as she was still feeling partially responsible and she hardly wanted to reveal those details which would put herself in a bad light. Regardless, the single morning accident was still enough to drive her point home: Amy needed pull-ups.

Meredith instantly thought back to the morning’s drama and realized that with the rush out of the house, it was completely possible that Amy was telling the truth and hadn’t changed out of her bedtime Goodnite. However, it was also clear that revealing that detail would only add to Betty’s perception of her as a bad mother, so for now she had to just roll with it. Both women were lying.

“You’ve got to be kidding me, wet pants again? I’m going to have to have a talk with that girl…” Meredith’s voice trailed off.

“I don’t think it’s her fault dear, as much as you might not understand it, I think Amy is really struggling with some things inside and sometimes it affects her in ways…like that.” Betty was weighing her next words carefully. “Have you ever thought about having her see a doctor about her…accidents?” She stopped short of suggesting a shrink, but that’s what she was thinking the whole time.

“She’s wet off and on for years during the night so that’s hardly a medical condition, Betty, but the daytime accidents are a new thing. Maybe you’re right, I’ll see if I can get her an appointment to be checked out.” The lying prevented both women from laying all the facts out on the table, and for Meredith’s part, the doctor idea was probably not going to happen.

“Well in the meantime, if you wouldn’t mind packing a few of her pull-ups just in case before you bring her over, that might be good. She didn’t bring any today even though I asked her to.”

“Yeah ok, I"ll see about it Betty.” Meredith figured placating the woman by throwing a couple pull-ups in a bag was worth it. She didn’t expect that bag would ever need refilling.

Twenty minutes later, Amy and Meredith were on their way home and Meredith chose to break the silence first.

“I heard about your accident this morning Amy, but I want to know if your story about not changing from last night is true. Don’t lie to me.” The irony was lost on Meredith.

“Uhh, you practically dragged me out of the house, so yeah, it’s true. I figured you’d freak out if I told you about my wetting on top of you being mad already.” Amy’s earlier annoyance at her mother had began to resurface and it was showing.

“You’re the one who caused this, Amy, by being irresponsible and not getting out of bed when you were called. If you did, then you wouldn’t have to worry about Betty Chadwick thinking you pee your pants in the daytime now too.”

Her mother’s lack of acknowledgement for the afternoon soaking incident made Amy realize that Betty probably hadn’t told her mother about it, but for the life of her she didn’t understand why Betty would then tell her mother about the first wet pull-up which wasn’t even her fault. She felt like everyone was out to confuse her and right now she just wanted to be done with this conversation, so she stopped talking and aimlessly stared out the window. A few minutes later, she started sucking on her pinky as she’d done earlier. Her mother didn’t notice it until she parked the car and looked over to tell Amy to stop sulking and get into the house. Instead she had another criticism.

“I’m sick of seeing your finger in your mouth like some elementary school kid. I thought I broke you of that four years ago in middle school and you’ve been doing it again. What is your deal Amy?” Her tone was firm, but genuinely confused as to this latest sign of immaturity in her daughter.

“It just feels good mom, and for the record I only gave it up because you insisted on covering my fingers with poison every time you saw me doing it.” Her thoughts went back to her 7th grade year of school when the kids would periodically tease her about sucking on her fingers, all except Molly of course. Nothing would dissuade her until her mother became fed up at the habit and coated her daughter’s fingers with a nasty-tasting liquid meant for training kids to not bite their nails or suck on their fingers.

“Do I have to go buy more?” The words were barely out of her mouth when the mental gears switched and she restated her threat. “Actually, I don’t care what you do with your fingers Amy. You’ll be the one looking ridiculous in front of your peers and anyone else you come across who knows that teenage girls shouldn’t be sucking on their fingers. So no more threats, just a warning that you’re just setting yourself up for being miserable again.”

“Fine, whatever mom. Good night.” Amy stormed upstairs and threw her stuff in a heap on the floor. After changing into her Goodnite, she crawled under the covers to avoid her mother for the rest of the evening, and wished for dreams more pleasant than her reality.

Re: The Mystery of Disposition

So glad this story was resurrected! keep it up!

Re: The Mystery of Disposition

I guess it does seem like a resurrection. That’s sad because it’s always been a current project for me, but I wasn’t aware of the level of delay certain things would cause. In any case, I hope people didn’t lose interest due to the long delay.

Also, please continue to criticize where appropriate and let me know if you enjoy the story to keep up my motivation for releasing new chapters more quickly. Thank you all.

Re: The Mystery of Disposition

[I]I thought about it and decided I don’t want to make partial chapters a thing. If I can’t write everything I want into a single chapter I’ll split it out or wait until I can write the whole thing. Can someone tell me if it’s proper on this forum to re-integrate 9.1 and 9.2 posts?

And without further distraction, here’s the next chapter![/I]

Chapter 10

Amy woke to a pitch black sky outside her bedroom and the very disoriented feeling of not knowing where she was. Then came the realization that she didn’t even remember falling asleep. She lay still for a few minutes, then finally pulled herself up to look at her alarm, reading the digits “4:28am” on the display.

“Argh, too early…” Amy groaned, wondering what to do with herself before her mother would drive her to the Chadwicks’ house. Even her early-rising mother wasn’t awake at this hour and wouldn’t be for a while.

As her brain was slowly starting to wake up, she realized that in attempting to avoid her mother, she’d gone to bed several hours before her normal bedtime, earlier even than when her mother usually prodded her to head to bed.

“Oh well,” Amy thought, “At least I didn’t have to deal with her last night.”

She slowly got out of bed and quietly went about her morning bathroom routine to wash up and get ready for the day. Generally this started with washing her face, rinsing her mouth, and then taking care of her Goodnite, followed by a shower, especially if she was wet. This morning, however, she was dry, so she settled on just brushing her hair and putting it into a ponytail. She thought back to the past few weeks and realized she was probably having up to four dry nights in a week but seemingly never more than two in a row. Though Amy liked the feeling of waking up wet, dry mornings like today were important to her and kept her from being overly concerned about the problem. Wriggling the dry garment down her legs, she paused for a moment realizing she would soon need to wear one to see JJ anyway, so she instead pulled it back up around her waist and went back to her room.

Books didn’t really catch her interest this morning, so she walked past the small bookshelf just inside her bedroom door. And while she’d begged her parents for a computer of her own, she still had to settle for the family computer downstairs, so playing games was also out. As she was exhausting her few remaining options, the random thought popped into her mind that she had Legos of her own sitting in the closet that she’d banished there almost two years ago. Before her recent play times with JJ, the teenager status quo told her that Legos weren’t something her peers did in high school. She’d even stopped playing with them around Molly by freshman year, and soon after they’d lost a bit of their magic.

However, this morning she suddenly couldn’t think of anything that sounded more fun than dragging the bins out from the back of her closet and seeing what magical structures she could create all by herself. She loved playing with JJ, but sometimes it was hard to build to her full potential because she put lots of energy into letting JJ have a part too. She reasoned that it was fine being the teacher sometimes, but she also deserved to let her creativity run wild and build cool stuff all by herself.

It was 5am before she got everything out and had enough parts set aside to start building. She always wanted an ample supply of 2s, 3s, and 4s since those were the core pieces to her structures. She also wanted to have any special components pulled aside to let her sort through the pile to help inspire her to build some particular type of structure. Taking a few minutes with the special pile, she finally settled on a hybrid pirate ship set up on land like a lighthouse. Her idea was that pirate kids could train on land, learn to man the ship and be a pirate before going out to battle on the high seas. It would be equipped with guns and everything else a brave crew in training would need to learn the ropes and soon become fearsome pirates!

During a short mental pause in her planning process, Amy realized that she’d been ignoring a dull ache in her lower abdomen ever since waking up. Having gone to bed early without anything to drink since dinner at the Chadwicks’, being dry was easier this morning, but she’d still failed to empty what had built up throughout the night. But right now wasn’t the time for silly pee breaks! Caught up in the excitement of having her Legos out for the first time in ages, Amy saw a trip to pee as an annoyance. Then a second thought brought a grin to her face as she realized her mother already half-expected her to wet while sleeping and she’d be free to enjoy the wetness between her legs for a while.

All in all, it really hadn’t taken much thought before she relaxed and went back to playing with her Legos. Soon her discomfort was replaced by relief, as she felt warmth spreading below and a smile spreading across her face. For the first time, there wasn’t any guilt or vengeful purpose behind wetting herself. She simply didn’t want to stop playing to use the toilet and any shame she might have felt was overcome by good feelings she couldn’t describe or explain. Then the hand that wasn’t sorting through her Legos decided to share a finger with her mouth, filling a juvenile, subconscious need for comfort and security.

It was shortly after 6:30am when Meredith decided to make a first attempt at waking her daughter. She expected to find the lights off and Amy unresponsive, but instead she found light shining into the hallway before she even opened Amy’s door. On doing so, she thought she caught a glimpse of Amy quickly moving her fingers away from her mouth, but Meredith chose to ignore it and find some joy in not needing to wake Amy. The Legos were somewhat unexpected, but again Meredith wanted to pick her battles.

“Morning honey, did you sleep well?” The question was genuine, especially for Meredith.

“Uhh, yeah I guess so. I peed though.” Amy admitted a little too quickly.

“Yeah well, what’s new, huh? Go shower, change, and get ready, we need to leave in the next 45 minutes.” Meredith really didn’t care at this point about the wet pull-up since they were a minor expense and not having any messes to clean up anymore was well worth it.

Amy just nodded and headed for the shower to do as she was told. She had enjoyed her morning so far and her mother didn’t seem to have anything to complain about yet. It was almost cause for a bright morning smile from the girl who almost always hated mornings.

Meredith was also happy at the complete shift in attitude from the previous night. “Maybe I should send her to bed earlier more often!” she thought, mostly kidding herself at the idea, but the thought did appeal to her as she rummaged around Amy’s closet looking for a sack or old bag to put a few Goodnites in as a means of placating Betty. It didn’t take long to find an old backpack of Amy’s from elementary school featuring the Disney princesses on the back. She also discovered that the pink bag still had a few of Amy’s dolls inside from when her and Molly used to go over each other’s houses playing with them. Meredith figured it hadn’t left the closet for at least three years, but it was perfect for what she needed. Taking out the dolls and leaving them in the closet, she filled the bag with three Goodnites, zipped it up and headed downstairs.

She made breakfast and Amy joined her shortly after it was ready. They didn’t talk much, but the conversation was at least lighthearted and didn’t get into any topics of contention. Meredith let Amy know that her dad would be coming back for almost two weeks starting the Tuesday she was at camp. That was of course not the kind of a visit Amy would hope for, but at least he’d be around the week after which meant a whole week of getting loved and spoiled by her favorite man in the world whom she hadn’t seen for over a month.

On the way to the Chadwicks’, Amy’s good mood continued, and she started asking her mom about driving.

“So mom, uhhh…when can I get my permit? I can probably get my car at the end of the summer like daddy said I could when I have money to match up with his and I want to be good at driving before I get it!” Amy grinned, thinking about not having to have her mom drive her all over the place any longer.

“Well honey, why don’t we let your dad take you over there when he’s in town. Seems like something he’d like to do with you, right?” Meredith didn’t particularly want to deal with the stress of teaching Amy to drive because she rightly assumed it would just be more cause for the two of them to bicker. She knew she’d have to eventually, but she figured David could at least get Amy started and work out the rough spots before it was her turn.

“Yeah, that sounds cool.” Amy loved her father, and she assumed he’d be the better teacher anyway seeing as he was always the calmer and more patient one with her.

“How much longer are you going to be working with Aunt Rhonda at the crafts store? I think that place is so boring.” Amy rolled her eyes, but her mother couldn’t see it.

“I don’t know, it’s good to have a little extra money and it helps keep me from being idle during the summer time. Plus your aunt is good company…when she’s working.”

Amy didn’t feel like prying further, but at least her mother was enjoying staying occupied at the shop and that left Amy to have these days with JJ and earn a little money as a bonus.

Arriving at their destination, Amy was quickly out and walking towards the front door while Meredith got the bag out of the car and headed in herself. Amy was just ringing the bell when she noticed her mom coming towards the house with her old backpack.

“Mom, what’s up with bringing my old bag?” She didn’t have much pride left with Betty or JJ, but still she was confused and slightly annoyed to see her mother carrying the childish bag with them to the door.

“I grabbed this out of your closet to hold your extra pull-ups. I don’t see you carrying anything so unless you want to tick Betty off again, I think you should thank me and not complain.” Her logic was sound and Amy just let out a huge sigh and nodded as Betty opened the door.

“Oh come in, come in! JJ will be so excited to see you Amy! Just come right in and make yourself at home dear. Meredith, would you like some coffee or tea? …” The older woman continued on as if she’d just been told that words were suddenly half price but only for the next minute.

Amy didn’t wait for permission this time. She quickly left the adults chattering at the door and ran upstairs to see what her little buddy was up to.

Meanwhile, Meredith was trying to decide if she wanted to stay for a few minutes to be nice or just tell Betty she didn’t have the time. She decided on the latter.

“You know, that’s very sweet of you Betty, but I really must be going. Can I take a raincheck?”

“Oh. Well Meredith dear, I understand and it’s totally fine. Maybe when you come to pick Amy up?” She paused, noticed the bag and continued. “Is that Amy’s…” Meredith cut her off.

“Diaper bag?” She chuckled. “I don’t know what else to call it, but don’t say that in front of her or she’ll be upset. Yes, I packed a few for her like you asked, but I’m sure she won’t need them. I told her that accident the other day was unacceptable and she needs to stop acting that way.”

“Oh dear, well I wouldn’t be so hard on the girl, she seemed to be having a really rough day after all. And you don’t have to worry about a thing, I’ll try not to embarrass the poor child if she does need a change.” Betty took the princess backpack and patted Meredith on the shoulder and saw her out the door.

“I’ll call you Betty when I know when I’ll finish up tonight. Rhonda doesn’t really have a fixed quitting time, so let me know if that’s going to be a problem at all now or in the future.” The women exchanged a few random parting words and soon Betty was back in the kitchen doing household chores and the kids were upstairs playing with their favorite toys.

Amy had been playing with JJ for nearly an hour, but lots of thoughts had been popping in and out of her head causing her to be much in her own little world. She still played with JJ, but he was frequently having to pull her back into her role as his playmate by saying her name repeatedly or poking her arm relentlessly. She loved the little guy, so she’d usually give him the attention he wanted without much frustration. But after playing with her own Legos alone only a short while ago, she’d begun to feel a bit superior to him, like a big sister who knows her little brother is just too little to understand how to really play with her toys the right way. She reasoned that she was a skilled Lego architect and so naturally JJ should see her wisdom and do things her way more than he usually did. After all, she was sixteen and almost ready to drive her own car, not just ready to build Lego cars!

But her next thought was just that: to build herself a Lego car that would be a real car. No, HER real car to drive with her daddy as soon as she learned to drive.

“Whatcha buildin’ Amy? That a boat?” JJ leaned over to look at Amy’s car which so far only had wheels, a base, and two levels of outer pieces that indeed could easily be mistaken for a boat.

“No silly, don’t you know a car when you see one? This is going to be my Sunfire, complete with a sunroof and one of those things on the back that look so cool!” Amy clearly didn’t know what a spoiler was, but since JJ didn’t either, it didn’t matter.

“Ohh! I gonna build one too, den we can both dwive!” JJ clearly didn’t get that this “car” was supposed to be a representation of a real car or that Amy was about to get her driver’s permit.

“No, I mean…nevermind JJ, you wouldn’t get it.” Amy sighed slightly and figured she’d just let him build whatever to placate his desire to be like her. He’d build some random pile of parts with wheels and she’d still build her car and imagine driving with her daddy in her brand new car.

JJ humphed slightly, but set about to build his car. After a short while, he had a roughly shaped object with wheels, a few roof tiles for wings, and a crow’s nest from some ship-building set sitting on top with a couple of Lego people inside.

Amy hadn’t even really looked at his car. She was putting the finishing touches on her creation. Considering that all she had was a random assortment of Lego parts, it really did look very close to a real Pontiac Sunfire GT. She was proud of herself and moved it around the floor with two people inside: a girl in the driver’s seat, and a guy in the passenger seat.

Betty entered the room to both children moving their “cars” around on the floor and clearly enjoying themselves. She had brought snacks and drinks for both of them and also Amy’s princesses backpack.

“Oh, those cars look like so much fun!” Both kids looked up, saw the food, and looked hungrily at the snacks. JJ was quicker to set his car aside, but soon they were both heading towards Betty at the doorway. However, Betty set food aside.

“You kids can have those in just a few minutes, but first we’re going to take a potty break to make sure we’re all empty.” Amy then noticed that Betty hadn’t dropped the backpack when she set the food aside.

“Mrs. Chadwick I don’t have to go, can I stay here while you take JJ?” Amy didn’t appreciate being lumped in with JJ and she knew that she didn’t have to go anyway. Plus she’d had a light breakfast, so the snacks looked quite delicious.

“Amy honey, after the last couple of…incidents…while you’ve been here, I think it would be good to help make sure you’re using the potty regularly. I’ve been bad about taking JJ too, so it’ll be good for everyone if we just get into a routine. I’ll go in with JJ first, and you can go in after. We’ll keep your bag with extras in the bathroom just in case you have an accident, ok?” Betty gave Amy the bright, motherly smile that she sometimes resented and often found annoying.

“But, I wouldn’t have…even had an accident! …If you would have let me use the bathroom downstairs…or the one in your room!” Amy was whining more than yelling, but her frustration and blaming Betty for her accident was clear.

“Sweetheart, those bathrooms are not for you to use. And I’m sorry, but if you wouldn’t wait so long to go, you could have waited another five minutes for JJ to finish.” Betty gave Amy a gentle squeeze to try and let her know that she wasn’t upset with her, but she still needed to tell her how it was going to be. “This is why I think it’ll be good to have everyone making regular potty trips.” And by everyone, Amy knew that only meant those in the house wearing pull-ups.

Amy huffed, rolled her eyes slightly and almost stomped her foot before thinking better of it. As Betty took JJ by the hand for his potty trip, Amy went back to the playroom and picked up her car, turning it over in her hands. Somehow the accomplishment of building a realistic car didn’t seem to matter as much after she understood that she was sitting there, waiting for her turn at the mandatory potty trip. It also served to deflate some of her feelings of superiority to JJ. After all, how could she assert herself as the one to be listened to in anything when she was a big girl who had to be told when to use the potty. Thoughts of being a big girl driving her car with her daddy were being replaced by the feelings she had after wetting herself that morning. She needed something, and just the tip of her pinky finger wouldn’t do.

Betty hadn’t expected to find Amy on the floor, thumb in her mouth and playing with her car when she got back, but she reasoned with herself that Amy was probably having a hard time dealing with her recent potty accidents and just needed some way to cope with the situation. Meredith certainly wouldn’t approve, but then again Betty didn’t approve of Meredith in many ways, so she wanted to cut Amy slack where she could. So for now, she decided to just ignore it. By the time Amy realized that everyone was back to the playroom and it was her turn, the thumb was out and the pouty look was back on her face.

As the girl got up and sulked her way out of the room, she wondered if Betty had caught her sucking her thumb. If so, she hadn’t said anything, so Amy figured she was in the clear. It wasn’t something she was intending to start up again, but recently she just couldn’t help herself. Until the age of eight or so, Amy was a frequent thumb sucker when she was stressed or trying to fall asleep. Thinking she’d slip under the radar, Amy mainly just resigned herself to her pinky and the occasional other finger into her middle school years when her mother finally declared war and used finger poison to stop the practice once and for all. But now with a difficult mother, a largely absent father, and no real friends other than a 3-year-old for company, her instincts were coming back to sooth herself the way she always had before.

Entering the bathroom, Amy lifted her skirt and pulled down her Goodnite, sitting on the toilet dutifully. Thinking about how ridiculous it was to try going when she didn’t feel the need, she was surprised when less than a minute later she felt a slow trickle escape from between her legs and splash in the pot below. Slightly surprised, she finished her business, pulled up her Goodnite, and opened the door only to see Betty standing outside waiting for her.

“Did you remember to wash your hands and flush sweetheart? I didn’t hear any water running.”

“Uh, no…sorry.” Amy turned and went back to the room to placate Betty. In truth, Amy rarely worried about washing up or flushing down a bit of pee when she was at home and she didn’t think her mother would care about such things either.

“Did you have to go then?” Betty asked as Amy was just turning the sink off.

“A little, I guess.” Amy didn’t know what the right answer was to that question, but that answer seemed like the simplest.

“Well good, I’m glad honey. When you’re having a little trouble remembering it’s always good to have a little bit of routine set for you.” Betty smiled as Amy walked by her going back to the playroom.

Amy enjoyed the snacks and the rest of her morning playing Legos with JJ. She’d gotten off her high horse a bit and once again felt like her and JJ were just building stuff together, even if she did more of the architecture work. Lunch was uneventful with the exception of yet another potty time right before the kids ate. It seemed Betty’s plan was to try and make sure the tank was empty before putting anything else inside. It didn’t quite work out for JJ as he had one of his relatively rare poopy accidents shortly after lunchtime.

Amy noticed that her playmate had made a mess in his pull-up, but even in her best babysitter moments she hated poopy changes and wasn’t very good at dealing with them. She’d only ever changed JJ out of a poopy pull-up once and she resorted to giving him a bath when she was just getting the mess everywhere. It was a secret flaw she didn’t often share on her babysitter resume but one reason why she avoided kids who weren’t potty trained. Regardless, at this moment, she just figured his mom would deal with him eventually.

But after what seemed like an hour, she noticed JJ was getting more fidgety and uncomfortable, squirming around in his mess, so she went downstairs to find Betty. She found her cooking a large pot of soup in the kitchen.

“Umm, Mrs. Chadwick?” Amy asked tentatively, somewhat worried that she’d be asked to change JJ.

“Yes dear, what do you need?”

“Well, ummm can you uhhh come change JJ? He’s poopy and he smells really bad.” Amy didn’t mean to sound selfish, but it came out sounding that way.

“Sure, do you know how to cut up carrots? You could do these for me while I handle JJ if you don’t mind…” Betty seemed slightly annoyed, but Amy wasn’t sure if it was because of Amy’s clear unwillingness to help with JJ or because her son was still struggling with his potty training. Amy didn’t know much about cooking, as her mother did all of the cooking and didn’t usually let her into the kitchen, but she figured cutting up carrots couldn’t be that difficult and maybe it would be enough for Betty to think she was too grown up for potty times.

“Oh, yeah uhhh I guess I can do that for you. Just these four carrots?” Amy asked, looking at the large bag in the sink that hadn’t been washed or peeled yet and hoping she wouldn’t have to do any of those.

“Yes, just the four cleaned ones on the cutting board. Thank you Amy.” Betty took off her apron and went upstairs to handle her messy son.

Amy took the large knife and tried to figure out if she was supposed to saw the carrots back and forth or just press down on them with the knife. She tried sawing, but the big knife was awkward and it didn’t seem to be cutting very well, so she tried the other approach. Her sudden force against the carrot sent the cut piece flying across the countertop and into the dirty side of the sink. “Ugh, this is harder than it looks.” Amy exclaimed, worried that this opportunity to show Betty how she could be grown up wouldn’t end well either.

Her next attempt was to try and stack canisters next to the cutting board to catch the flying pieces. That seemed to at least save the projectiles from becoming more disposal fodder, but it was slow going and she knew something wasn’t right about the way she was cutting this vegetable. By the time Betty got back, she’d almost finished the second carrot, but the sizes of the pieces varied wildly with the ones she started with being much wider than the ones at the end where she’d figured out how to be more precise with her cuts.

“That’s fine dear, you can go back upstairs now and I’ll finish. Thank you for your help.” Betty was examining the pieces as Amy put the knife back and rinsed her hands from carrot shards before going back upstairs. She knew Betty was probably a little disappointed in her work, but at least she managed to slice up two whole carrots in five minutes having never done it before.

Afternoon snack time was at 2:30 and as Betty entered the room, Amy was hopeful that her lack of accidents and effective use of cutlery would earn her a free pass for the third potty time of the day that she suspected was around the corner. But as soon as JJ came back from his turn, Betty called out to Amy and dashed her hopes.

“Amy honey, your turn.”

It was no use even trying to argue. Amy knew it made sense in her head, but she also saw that Betty was sticking to her plan no matter what happened. As she sat on the porcelain bowl, her padded underwear around her ankles for the third time that day, she didn’t know why she was even trying to impress or prove to Betty that she could be responsible. She’d gone all day without even a single problem and she was being treated more like JJ than ever before. What else could happen? If she were the one who’d pooped her pants, would Betty have just calmly told her to clean herself up and continued on with life? Sometimes she thought her life was just that inexplicable and out of her control.

Meredith arrived for Amy at 4pm as Rhonda’s shop was very slow and Meredith had a migraine coming on. While Amy was getting ready to leave, Meredith was updating Betty on plans for the next week.

“Yes, Amy will be out of town next week at camp, so we’ll have to see when she can come over the following week. We’ll be in touch.” Meredith and Amy walked towards the car, waved back at Betty, and drove home in silence.

Re: The Mystery of Disposition

I’ve been lurking too many stories lately that I enjoy, so let me fix that!

This story remains great! I love all the inner dialogue Amy is getting. It’s something that can often be overlooked in stories where explanations are forced into out-loud conversations. My only gripe with the latest chapters is Amy’s accelerating descent into childish habits. It feels to me she’s regressing just a liiiiittle too fast for plausibility. But don’t take that too seriously, it’s just my opinion!

As always, thanks for writing and great work!

Re: The Mystery of Disposition

update your story please. I like this one

Re: The Mystery of Disposition

This is one of my favorites. I hope you keep updating it.

Re: The Mystery of Disposition

I’d like to take a moment to apologize to everyone following my story here. It’s been a busy summer and the update I’d hoped to release in May is woefully late. In truth, I have roughly two whole chapters of content that just aren’t coming together as the appropriate next chapter. I don’t know if any other writers can relate, but it seems that when I give the story two hours then wait a couple of weeks and throw a few more hours at it, I change my mind about how things should perfectly come together. Perhaps it’ll be worth it in the end, but right now there is no next chapter ready. I was hoping August was doable, but clearly that hasn’t happened and I do apologize.

For those of you enjoying the story and posting encouraging comments, thank you! I’m glad you’re enjoying the story.

Re: The Mystery of Disposition

I finally have something I feel worthy of releasing to the community. My very sincere apologies for the massive 8 month gap in content. On the bright side, this chapter is essentially the size of 2-3 of my normal chapters, so I hope it was at least partially worth the wait. Happy New Year everyone!

Chapter 11

Neither of them felt like talking. The ride home and its ensuing mutually welcome silence gave both mother and daughter time to put the day into perspective.

“If Rhonda can’t get this drinking problem of hers under control, she’s not going to have a business left to worry about,” Meredith pondered. She never could understand her sister-in-law. Most of the time, and especially in the work setting, they got along great. But the two women had different values and it caused occasional rifts between them. Friends since high school, Rhonda was the more outgoing and popular of the two, but Meredith saw her as sometimes foolish and often shortsighted. Telling her brother Tim not to marry Rhonda when he fell for her their senior year obviously had had little effect, but still years later, Meredith looked down on Rhonda for her apparent haphazard lifestyle.

The most recent factor in their ongoing differences of opinion was the matter of alcohol. Rhonda philosophized that life was something to be enjoyed, occasionally with negative consequence. Her partying on the weekends was one thing, but recently it had spread to random weeknights, despite the fact that it occasionally had an impact on her children and her work. Meredith had now twice covered for her sister-in-law after an impromptu party the previous night left Rhonda unable to head up her business the following day. It wasn’t that Meredith didn’t enjoy a good time, but moderation and restraint were attributes she cherished far more deeply.

As Meredith pondered her sister in law, her passenger was pondering other matters. She wasn’t thinking about alcohol, partying, business woes or what to make for dinner that evening. While some of her peers were dabbling in the adult world, she was holding back the tears and fighting the urge to suck her pinky finger.

“I’m sick of trying to do what everyone else wants without getting any rewards for it,” Amy thought. She wasn’t happy about her current arrangement with the Chadwicks’ and didn’t know what to do. On the one hand, she still enjoyed her fun times with JJ, but having completely unnecessary scheduled potty times was more than she could handle. After the third trip that afternoon, despite what she saw as obvious signs of maturity from herself in helping with the food and not a single incident the entire day, she was no more seen as the teenager she was than her playmate who was obviously a baby by evidence of his poopy diaper at lunch time. Why couldn’t his mother see such an obvious difference between them? Amy tried in vain to think of what could make the woman mistakenly treat her as a child barely older than her toddler son.

Several scenarios popped into her mind. Maybe Betty didn’t want to pay Amy anymore for spending time with JJ, so she was trying to make Amy sick of the whole thing. Or maybe her husband was so obsessed with his stupid house that he came up with the idea to put Amy back in pull-ups and mandate potty trips to make sure nothing was damaged. And the last reason Amy could think of was so silly that she didn’t even think it was possible: maybe JJ was lonely and so he asked his mom to treat Amy just like him.

“We’re home Amy, get your bag and let’s go.” Meredith said plainly as she exited the car pointing to the pink bag in the back seat and headed for the house.

Neither of them said anything, going their separate ways immediately upon entering the house: Meredith to the kitchen to prepare dinner and Amy to her room. Soon the smell of garlic and seafood was wafting through the house while silence had taken hold in Amy’s bedroom.

Sitting atop her bed and staring off into space, Amy didn’t feel like doing much of anything except wallowing in her own confusion and pity. She just wanted to be a happy girl with people around her who loved and cared for her. “That’s not too much to ask…” she thought over and over. The knowledge that her mom really did love her momentarily popped up to the surface amidst her pity, but her daddy topped the list. Truthfully, even JJ seemed like a better second spot over her mother. And then there was her Aunt Trish, her mom’s best friend whom she rarely saw anymore for unknown reasons, but secretly she guessed that her mom was the reason. But those four people aside, she didn’t believe anyone else truly cared what happened to her.

Molly, the former almost-sister and best friend, was out of her life for all practical consideration aside from the occasional letter. And in the past two letters, Molly shared topics increasingly foreign to Amy. Thoughts of her old friend, however, caused her to dig through the messy pile of papers on her nightstand to find the most recent letter and pull it out to read again. A small smile spread across her face as she saw her old friend’s handwriting. Brief thoughts of better times came to her mind before she began to read.

[i]May 14, 2001

Amy! Soooo good to hear from you hun! I’m super happy your babysitting is working out and you’re going to have that awesome car you told me about! Sucks that your dad is always out of town and your mom is giving you crap, but I know getting your wheels (freedom!) will totally solve that. I’m enjoying my freedom even if my car isn’t as cool as yours will be. wink

Ohmygosh you’ll never believe the fun time I’m gonna have this weekend! There’s this girl Evelyn who like totally knows everyone here and she’s taking me to party with a bunch of college kids and she thinks I can totally pass for a college freshman!!! Can you believe it?! We’re almost out of stupid high school and I can just feel my life starting to go somewhere again after this dumb move. My parents are so busy they don’t care what I’m doing but I don’t care either cause they don’t ask me questions anymore like they used to when we started going out on weekends to the mall our freshman year. Guess they figure it’s time for me to get my feet wet and move out soon and I’m just fine with that. E (everyone just calls her that) warned me there might be people pushing mollies but I’m not gonna try one so don’t worry about me haha! I just hope that hot boy I met over at her place a few weeks ago is there…he’s sooooo cute!! I hear he’s already got a girl in his dorm that he’s like into or whatever…but you never know what can happen, right? Wish me luck!!!

Love you! XOXO

The smile had long faded. Reading the letter made her feel disconnected from Molly, and she worried that perhaps the friendship she once thought would last forever might actually be lost. She’d overheard enough of the “bad kids” at school last year talking about drugs to know that a “molly” was bad news and she wanted to be as far away from those kinds of people as possible. The irony that her friend seemingly had a drug named after her was not lost on Amy and at some unconscious level it further solidified the thoughts in her head that Molly was going down a road she didn’t want any part of. Writing her old friend back didn’t even seem like fun anymore. While her friend had always been a little less innocent than she was, the gap had widened. Amy had nothing going on in her life that a girl chasing college guys would want to hear about. It was like the Molly that Amy remembered was slowly dying.

She didn’t want to think about it anymore. Instead, she laid back on her bed, stared at the ceiling, and let random thoughts of the rest of the summer and next school year bounce around in her head.

Dinner came and went. Amy helped her mother clean up afterwards, but little was said as neither of them particularly cared to have a conversation with the other. When Meredith retired to the living room for one of her shows, Amy decided to spend the rest of her night in her room playing with Legos or whatever else she could find occupying. Her mother never bothered her the rest of the night, and it wasn’t until nearly midnight when the yawning girl finally crawled into her bed.

The alarm clock was set, but Amy never heard it. As was often the case, Meredith had to fill in for the oft-snoozed chronometer.

“Amy, it’s 7:20, we’re gonna be late, get up! I have food waiting for you downstairs, now hurry before I eat it all.” Her tone was forceful, yet laced with enough sugar that Amy understood her mother was just trying to get her moving faster. The incentives program seemed to be marginally more effective than the threats program.

After a few more lazy minutes of tossing and turning, Amy flopped out of bed, dressed in random pair of gym shorts from the floor near her bed, and headed downstairs for breakfast.

“Well it’s either a zombie, or my daughter is finally up!” Meredith was busy moving about the kitchen getting ready for the day, but Amy managed to make eye contact and head for the pile of eggs on the table.

“Thanks mom, these look great…” Amy yawned, then scooped a generous portion onto her plate and practically inhaled the food. Soon a second portion was transferred before her mom had a chance to take her own and finish off the plate.

"I’m glad you enjoyed the breakfast…I know I haven’t made eggs for you in a while, but I thought it might be nice before you went off to camp to have one of your favorites.

Amy smiled and looked back at her mother with genuine appreciation. Her daughter’s gratitude warmed Meredith on the inside: she was a good mom this morning. Last night, she’d realized her mistake of being lost in frustration with Rhonda and practically ignoring her daughter, but only after Amy went to her room. A favorite meal from mom was a staple good deed to sooth a guilty conscience.

“Well honey, please clean the table when you’re finished and get in the car as soon as you can. I don’t want to keep Betty waiting for your last day with them before camp.”

The girl raised an eyebrow and started to say something, but then thought better of it. Finishing her food, she quickly went about the tasks she’d been asked to do, all the while thinking of how she was sure the potty trips would continue today the same as yesterday, and she wasn’t sure how to change that situation. Her mother would certainly ask questions if she started complaining about going today and she didn’t want to talk about what was making her worry. The most obvious answer of just acting mature didn’t seem likely to work after the vegetable-cutting clearly hadn’t convinced Betty that Amy wasn’t a little kid anymore. Hurriedly, she ran through ideas in her head of what other things might give Betty the hint.

Of course! She’d dress the part of the cool and popular teenager, complete with a tight-fitting tank top and short shorts. She ran to her room and found what she was looking for. Normally she hated dressing like this, and in truth she owned only two outfits that fit the profile. The clothes were bought in the few short weeks while she attempted to fit in with a new group of popular girls after Molly left. While the girls didn’t exactly shun her, Amy had lost interest in being around them rather quickly and moved on.

Dropping the other pair of shorts revealed that she was about to undo everything she was trying to accomplish by showing up to the Chadwicks’ with a wet pull-up. “How’d I forget about that?” Amy thought momentarily. Quickly dismissing the thought, she quickly changed into a fresh one, pulled up the tiny shorts, and attempted to zip and button them over her pull-up. Unfortunately, the short shorts were also tight shorts and she had to suck in her tummy to get the button closed on the shorts. She didn’t remember them being quite so tight before, so she imagined the tightness must be related to the pull-up. Not seeing any other options, she decided to stick with her plan regardless of any discomfort she’d have to endure with the tight shorts.

A quick trip by the mirror confirmed what Amy was hoping: the girl who could normally pass for a 5th-grader when she wore a t-shirt and capris now looked every bit the petite high schooler dressed in these clothes. She hurried to the car where her mother was impatiently waiting.

On arrival, things went just like the previous two days. The women chatted about nothing and tolerated each other professionally for a few minutes before Amy’s mom left. Amy and JJ were getting along great as always, like the siblings each didn’t have. Lego adventures had yet to grow old for either of them and Amy continued to find new tricks to pass along to her little buddy.

As the morning waned, Betty brought the kids snacks and, to Amy’s ire, began potty time the same as the previous day. While she waited her turn, Amy sulked and stewed about the situation as she aimlessly worked on a section of furniture for their new house.

“She’s so clueless, doesn’t she realize I’m not some little girl she’s babysitting? … One that needs potty training? I mean, she didn’t say anything about how I’m dressed…does she even notice me?” Silently ranting to herself, she realized that her plan hadn’t worked and there was no backup plan. Her fate certainly appeared to be shaping up much like yesterday.

“Well I just won’t go when she tells me to! She won’t know, I’ll just go later and always tell her I didn’t have to go. Maybe then she’ll know she’s being silly.” The mental ink on Amy’s newly formed backup plan was barely dry before it was implemented.

“Amy dear, your turn!” Betty called in a semi-singsong voice. The woman’s insipid sweetness never ceased to irk Amy. Did any kids actually like this stuff? No, she suspected parents were generally clueless as to what their kids actually wanted. The evidence of this theory was abundant.

On entering the bathroom and shutting the door, Amy simply sat down on the toilet seat fully clothed and stared at the wall. That got boring quickly, so she decided to look for anything interesting to waste five minutes or so, giving Betty the impression that she was trying to go. The Reader’s Digest magazines in a basket beside her? Boring! A bucket of bath toys? Please. Her bag was propped against the wall opposite just barely out of her reach, but she slowly got up and retrieved it, thinking perhaps there was something else stashed inside other than pull-ups.

After checking a couple of empty pockets, she found one pocket with an old Barbie doll stashed inside doing the fetal pose along with some of her clothes and accessories. It wasn’t Legos, but it certainly beat the rest of her current options.

After a few minutes, Amy was getting bored. One doll wasn’t much fun and she couldn’t imagine much of a world for her inside of a bathroom. Maybe she was rusty at make believe with her dolls, or maybe she was just too old to be playing with them.

Either way, it was time to finalize her ruse. Amy made a show of closing the top lid somewhat loudly and flushing the toilet needlessly in case she was being monitored. Before opening the door, she remembered that Betty made a big deal about hand washing too, so she quickly ran some water and pretended to dry her hands before opening the door. Sure enough, Betty was waiting for her.

“All done sweetheart? Did you have to go?” Betty smiled down at the girl with apparent genuine interest in the answer.

“Uhh, no…I didn’t.” Amy almost glared with an annoyed expression, pausing only for a second before blurting out with a slightly disrespectful tone, “I told you I don’t need to do this, I’m not three!”

“I know dear, but we’re going to keep doing it for now, ok?” Betty’s look was dismissive but pleasant, a clear mother-knows-best response.

“Fine, whatever.” Amy followed up with a clearly audible huff and trudged back to the playroom.

“Teenagers are still such children, just with mouthier tantrums.” Betty thought to herself as she went back downstairs to catch up on housework.

“I’m telling you JJ…this isn’t gonna work!” Amy frowned and shook her head at the three large sections of wall that JJ was holding in his hands. The boy builder had decided to build walls one side at a time and then try to put them together at the corners afterwards, but Amy knew that would produce very flimsy structures and installing the roof would likely break the bottoms. She knew this because she remembered trying the same thing when she was a couple of years older than JJ.

“Yeah huh! You bwoked the last one 'cause you didn’t like it!” JJ frowned, but the slightly silly look behind the frown made Amy know that a quick tickle would restore them back to being buddies.

“Nuh uh, you silly boy and you know it ‘bwoke’ because you didn’t put it together right!” Amy grinned and unleashed her tickles which immediately caused the boy to squirm and burst out with childish giggles. Amy loved this part of their play time as much as whatever she was playing with him. He was fast becoming the little brother she never had and didn’t believe she ever would have at this point.

A few minutes later, she had shown him–once again–just why building walls that way wouldn’t work and he reluctantly accepted her explanation. Even if he didn’t fully understand all of what she was explaining, Amy was clearly very good at building Legos, and so after one of his necessary occasional protests to assert himself, JJ gave in to her wisdom as he usually did.

With the main part of the house completed and half of the furniture done, Amy got up to find a few more thin, flat pieces for table tops in the part bins, only to realize that she really had to pee. How had that come on so quickly? It didn’t worry her much, however, as she’d been concentrating on her building project. She really didn’t want to stop now with the furniture and roof almost done, and she figured the rest was going to be really simple and fast, so she held it and continued building for another 10 minutes.

With the final roof piece in place, Amy dashed to her feet before JJ could get out of his mouth the question of where she was going. As the bathroom door nearly slammed behind her, she hurried over to the toilet and grabbed at the top of her shorts for the button, only to realize that her super-tight shorts were making it really hard to slide the button back enough to twist it through the hole. She tried sucking her belly in, but that caused her bladder to cry out in pain so she went for the zipper. It too was stuck up inside the top of the shorts behind the tight button. Though she pinched and tried pulling at it, she couldn’t get the zipper to slide down.

But the tears didn’t come until she realized that the twists and pushes against her overfull bladder had started to push out tiny spurts of pee into the pull-up. After the fourth or fifth spurt, Amy realized she was already wetting herself and just let it happen while the sobs started to come.

A few moments later, a knock on the door caused Amy to jump slightly as she was emptying the last bit of her aching bladder. She gasped and fought a losing battle to hold back her crying, realizing that facing Betty now would surely undo all her efforts to prove herself mature. She didn’t even realize the full extent of what that wet pull-up meant: if she couldn’t get her shorts off now, it meant she’d never tried to go earlier that morning.

“Amy honey, why are you crying? Are you hurt? Tell me what’s wrong sweetheart.”

“I…I can’t. Just…” She sniffled loudly. “Leave me alone. Please, I wanna be alone!” Amy continued sniffling.

Betty quickly summed up the situation. Child in bathroom plus crying plus child is not hurt plus child has problems making it to the potty…equals child had an accident and doesn’t want the adult finding out.

“Honey, did you have an accident? It’s ok, you don’t have to cry…you can tell me.”

The sobs were joined by hiccups for a few moments, but no response was given.

“Amy, I’m coming in.” Betty opened the door just in time to see Amy reaching out towards the door to stop it, but she was too late. Tears streamed down the girl’s face, but Betty was somewhat confused when she saw that Amy was still fully clothed.

“Honey, what’s wrong…did you have an accident? It doesn’t look like you even tried to go…”

Already downtrodden and red-faced from crying, Amy just looked down at the floor and slowly nodded. How could she tell Betty what had happened? It had been her fault after all…she couldn’t pin the anger on Betty…not this time. The super-tight, skanky shorts: her idea. Not going earlier or even trying: again, her idea. Waiting around until she was ready to burst: third strike.

“I can’t…get…” She breathed back tears causing a loud sniffle and wiped her face, smearing snot and tears over her face and arm before composing herself for a moment to utter the childish phrase: “I couldn’t…get my pants down.”

Betty almost giggled audibly, but thankfully her composure and motherly instincts to take charge of the situation had kicked in before her amusement manifested itself. She needed to figure out if Amy was making this up or if there really was a problem with her shorts.

“Ok. Amy honey, let me see if I can help.” Betty was tentative only for a moment, and seeing no resistance from Amy, she bent down on one knee and tried the button herself. It was definitely tight.

“Oh dear, how did you get these shorts on this morning honey? They are much too tight. You kids these days shouldn’t wear clothes like this, it’s not comfortable nor does it look modest. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen you dress like this before, and I really do hope it was a one time thing because you look so much nicer the way you normally dress.” Betty rambled on, trying the button a couple of additional times without wanting to hurt Amy in the process.

“Can you suck in your belly for me a bit sweetheart…maybe that will help.” Amy did as instructed, this time with an empty bladder and no discomfort. The next try Betty was able to unbutton the shorts with moderate effort and pull them down, exposing a saturated pull-up.

"You’re soaked honey, you need a change before you leak. Why don’t you take care of that and see me outside once you’ve changed. Go ahead and put the shorts back on if you can since you know I don’t have anything for you to wear, and we’ll talk when you finish.

Betty closed the door and waited outside the bathroom thinking through what must have led up to this situation. Obviously, Amy never even tried to go that morning during her potty time if she couldn’t get the shorts off. Considering the attitude on display afterwards, Betty suspected that Amy believed she didn’t need to go and refused to try, despite her clearly explaining the point of potty time was trying to go even if you don’t feel the need. Betty knew what she had to do. Up until now, she’d let Amy have complete privacy and full responsibility with her potty time, but clearly she needed a little bit of supervision to do it right. She’d confirm her suspicions, but she had little doubt. When Amy emerged, Betty was clear and to the point.

“Amy, did you try to go this morning? You didn’t, did you…” Betty’s motherly glare was far too much for Amy and the girl withered before it.

“No, you didn’t. You thought you didn’t need to try because you’re too big for such things.” Amy didn’t move, but that was acknowledgement enough.

“I’ve been trying my best to treat you differently than JJ because, as you said earlier, you are not three. But when you don’t do as I ask and end up in situations like this, you are acting more like a three year old. And this isn’t the first time. So I’m going to help you a bit more until you prove to me that you can handle it like a big girl.” Amy looked up slightly with a bit of worry in her face but didn’t say anything.

“We’re going to stop the closed door policy during potty time. The door will remain open enough for me to peek in and make sure you are trying to go like a big girl. If you continue to be a little girl and refuse to try like I ask, then I’m afraid I won’t let you come over and play with JJ anymore because you will be disobeying the rules. I like you Amy and JJ adores you like a big sister. And you love him and that makes me happy. But I can’t have a child in my house ignoring my rules. It sets a bad example for JJ and disrespects me. That’s fair, isn’t it?” Betty waited several moments for a response before Amy realized one was required.

“Yeah.” Amy looked back down. It was all her fault. She had no more cause to blame anyone but herself and no more grounds for being exempted from potty time. Her best bet was to mind the rules so she could keep playing with JJ.

“Good, I’m glad that’s settled. Now, one more thing for today. If you need to go potty, come and let me know and I’ll help you get those shorts down so you can go, ok?” Amy winced inside but nodded silently.

“And please Amy, don’t dress like that anymore…it’s not becoming of you. I am only looking out for you dear.” After the second nod Betty smiled before finally adding, “Since it’s almost lunch time, we’ll count that as your second potty time. So let me handle JJ’s and we’ll go eat.”

Amy didn’t go back to the playroom. Instead, she sat in the hallway waiting for Betty and JJ to finish. As she observed mother and son, she realized that Betty really did treat Amy with significantly more maturity than JJ. With him, she went into the bathroom, checked his pull-up, gave him step-by-step instructions, sat and played with him while he tried to go, wiped him off, and finally helped him wash his hands before pulling his pants back up. It made her oddly appreciate her version of potty time and the fact that Betty had expected her to handle everything up until today. The kiddish language aside, Betty had really just asked Amy to try and use the toilet every few hours. Considering things from Betty’s perspective, Amy suddenly supposed that such a request wasn’t completely unreasonable after all. But as usual, she’d made things worse for herself by trying to get out of some small annoyance by scheming and not thinking about the consequences when things inevitably went wrong.

Lost in her sad emotional thoughts, Amy barely registered the thumb that had slipped stealthily into her mouth.

At lunch, JJ was unusually energetic and playful. Every little thing Amy said was cause for exuberant laughter. Soon Amy couldn’t keep up her sulking, self-pity with the forces of silly at work, so she gave in and joined JJ’s blissful merriment.

“JJ, what do you call a monkey with a banana?” Amy grinned.

“Uhhh…banana monkey?!” JJ grinned and giggled, realizing he probably wasn’t right but the answer was still funny to him.

“Nope, you still call him a monkey, silly.” Amy reached out her hand to poke JJ’s tummy, only to have a peanut butter and jelly-smeared smaller hand push her hand away.

“Ugh, how’d you make such a mess? You gotta eat your food, not wear it!” Amy tried handing JJ a napkin, but he just made a show of wiping his hands that looked more like rolling the paper into a ball and throwing it onto the table. Amused, Amy just shook her head and went back to finishing her food.

Though Amy had more food than JJ, she suddenly noticed that he was eating his slightly faster than her and was almost finished while she had nearly half of her second sandwich left. Not liking the prospect of being left at the table alone or being the slowest kid at the table, she decided to pick up the pace and try to finish quickly so she could claim the fastest eater title! She finished off the last few bites quickly and was about to get up from the table when she felt a hand behind her gently pressing down on her shoulder.

“Honey, please don’t eat in such a rush. It’s not ladylike to eat like a little piggie.” Betty turned to JJ and continued. “What does mommy tell you JJ about eating too fast?”

“Tummies don’t like it. They sometimes get mad and you get sick!” JJ looked back to his mom, looking for affirmation that he had remembered what she taught him about tummies.

“That’s right sweetie, we can get too full and our tummies will get so mad they might just push the food back out of our mouths and that would be…”

“Ewww mommy!” The boy giggled and made funny faces to show his displeasure at the idea of throwing up.

“Amy honey, just slow down and enjoy your food. I hope it doesn’t taste so bad that you want to just get rid of it…” Betty put on a slightly sad look that was intended to invoke a response.

“No, it’s great Mrs. Chadwick, I just, well I ummm…” Amy felt silly admitting the full reason of why she was rushing to finish so she gave a mostly true answer. “…I didn’t want everyone else to be done before me and be sitting here all by myself.”

“Well how about we all just sit at the table then until we’re all finished? Might do you both good to sit quietly for a few minutes after your meal anyway instead of rushing back to the playroom.” Betty didn’t look for a response, but Amy nodded slightly to herself and fidgeted slightly with her plate, moving it around to various spots on the placemat.

JJ was unceremoniously cleaned from head to hands while Amy sat patiently waiting. As he was being let out of his booster chair, Betty turned back to examine the other occupant at the table, before quickly adding: “Honey, you made a bit of a mess yourself so go wash up before you go back to playing. Thank you sweetheart.” Betty smiled at Amy and quickly went back to finish the cleanup.

On the way to the upstairs bathroom, Amy looked at her hands and reasoned that Betty was making a big deal out of a couple of jelly smears and a light coating of peanut butter oil over her fingers. It was pretty standard for eating that food for lunch and of course she’d wash her hands…the woman didn’t give her any credit.

However, after washing her hands and looking up into the mirror, Amy was greeted by a reflection of herself that included a tiny smudge of jelly on her nose and small deposits of peanut butter on both corners of her mouth. Mild by JJ standards, but she definitely looked like a younger girl who got a little carried away with her lunch. This revelation almost bothered her, then she realized she’d simply gotten a bit carried away with her silly contest to finish first and this was the result. A quick rinse of her face and she was good as new and heading back to the playroom.

Surveying the room, she realized it was quite messy and decided to try once more to prove her maturity by doing a bit of cleaning to impress Betty. The worst of it was the toy bin that had less toys inside than out, so she started picking up some of the toys scattered outside the bin. Just as the bin was starting to fill, however, she noticed a toy she’d never seen in the playroom before. It was a Nano Baby! She’d had several when her and Molly were in middle school, but the last one had broken over a year ago and the toy wasn’t the same without her best friend to swap babies and play together. But somehow seeing this one made all of those memories come back and she just had to play with it.

JJ re-entered the room shortly after, followed by his mommy. JJ saw Amy with the toy and immediately tried to reclaim his Lego partner.

“Amy we gotta do the big woom, come play!” Betty chuckled and left the kids to their playing.

“Oh, I’ll ummm…be there in a sec buddy just lemme see this.” Amy wasn’t intending to get sucked in, but ten minutes later JJ was pleading for now the third time in what sounded more like a whine than a request, but she gave him a similar response as the previous two.

Not twenty minutes into what should have been their next building project, Amy smelled the same sour smell that yesterday resulted in a failed attempt at proving herself to Betty. Ironically, she noticed the baby on the tiny screen in her hands had just left behind a steaming pile for her to clean up. “Babies.” Amy smiled as she pressed the button to clean up her virtual baby’s mess while subconsciously relegating JJ one rung lower in her mind. Somehow doing so made her feel more mature. She could take care of babies, virtual or real, so she clearly was a mature girl of sixteen, not the big kid who still needed a potty time and couldn’t be trusted with simple tasks! A little voice in the back of her head tried reminding her of the before-lunch realization that she’d been the one causing most of the trouble and that her best bet was to lay low and listen to Betty.

But she also knew that she could easily take care of babies. Babies…like JJ. That was it! There was just one simple, unpleasant step that she’d have to stomach to prove herself to Betty. The stinky “baby” playing with Legos not fifteen feet from her needed a change, and Amy the Mature Girl was going to handle it for Betty. Her renewed resolve at proving her maturity was immediately tested as she realized the first signs that she needed to pee. However, she reasoned that the opportunity to take care of a baby and thus prove her maturity to Betty was the priority. After that, she would take care of herself right away.

The first bit of attention she gave JJ after returning to the playroom wasn’t exactly what the boy had in mind.

“JJ buddy…you’re poopy, let’s go change your diaper.” Amy smiled her best babysitter smile and looked down at JJ preparing herself for the task at hand. However, things didn’t quite go over as she’d planned.

“Nuh uh you gotta get mommy. We play Legos now?” JJ barely missed a beat and continued to play with his toys.

“I’ll take care of you buddy, no need to bother mommy. I’ve changed you before.” Amy tried the smile again, but JJ was clearly confused and almost looked upset.

“Mommy changes me. We play Legos, Amy…” The last part of his sentence was so matter-of-fact that she finally understood that he was suggesting Amy was just like him and so she couldn’t be the one to take care of him. This revelation was frustrating, but Amy decided to try a different angle.

“Come on JJ, I used to babysit you and just because we play Legos I can still babysit you and help you with your accidents, right?” Amy was less confident in her statement, but she hoped some part of her argument would make sense to the child and she’d have what she wanted.

“You use-ta be big like mommy but we play now…and mommy takes you potty…and you have ac-idents too like me.” JJ was struggling a bit to work all of that out in one sentence, but he seemed satisfied when he got everything out and went back to his Legos. Amy’s face flushed red as she tried to ignore his statements.

“JJ that’s…I only do that because your mommy is being silly. I’m a big girl and I can change you just fine. Here, I’ll show you….” Amy left the room and returned a couple of minutes later with a new pull-up, wipes, and a changing mat. Normally, Betty preferred changing JJ in the bathroom or his room where things could be easily reached and cleaning was simple, but Amy disregarded that policy in an effort to coax JJ into a change more easily right where he was.

“Alright buddy, I got all the stuff…and I promise if you are a good boy and let me change you, I will let you pick all of the stuff we build…the whole rest of the day! Deal?” Amy grinned, knowing this would be a very hard lure for JJ to resist.

Without a word, JJ put his Legos down and fell into the familiar role of a child getting ready to have his diaper changed. Amy put the mat under him and prepared the wipes.

“That’s a good boy JJ we’ll get this done in no time and you can build everything you want!” Amy smiled…her plan was finally working.

However, as soon as she got the mat under him and started ripping the sides of the pull-up, her familiar reflex to be grossed out with the poopy diaper started to kick in. She steeled herself…this was a simple task any girl her age could do…no problem. But after the second rip and the revelation of the mess, she cringed, and turned her head aside.

JJ for his part had picked up a small section of Legos and started playing with the pieces again, obviously having had his diaper changed so many times before that he was oblivious to the process and more interested in other things in the meantime. A few moments later, he spied another part that he needed just to his right side and reached for it only to fall a few inches short.

As for Amy, she wasn’t paying attention to anything JJ was doing, but instead she would work on the diaper for a few seconds then cringe and look away before repeating the process. She momentarily noticed a bit of JJ’s mess on her right hand and paused for a few moments to clean herself before continuing.

In looking away, Amy failed to notice that JJ, in his determination to reach a Lego piece had pushed himself slightly to his right in a partial roll and in the process had pushed off with the toes of his left foot…right into the still-exposed and quite messy pull-up. Amy was almost ready to scream out in frustration, but instead JJ took care of that for her.

It only took a few moments of JJ screaming about “poopy” and “yucky” for Betty to come rushing into the room. She quickly sized up the situation and realized that Amy was doing a terrible job of changing her son and she needed to quickly take charge.

“Amy! You’ve let him make such a mess…why didn’t you come and get me?” Betty barely waited for a response before quickly going to work to clean up the messy pull-up along with the additional mess caused by her son’s misplaced foot.

“I wanted to help you…I thought…I…” Amy was almost to tears, realizing that yet another plan to prove her maturity had failed. She just stared blankly as the much more adept caregiver quickly made the mess go away.

“Honey, I told you a while ago that you don’t have to worry about taking care of JJ anymore. You should just focus on yourself and…your needs. And have lots of fun while you are here…that’s all you need to do sweetheart, ok? It’s my job to take care of the pull-ups and potty times and you don’t have to worry about any of that.” Betty smiled over her shoulder to let Amy know that she wasn’t mad at her even though she was cleaning up much more of a mess than she normally would have from a simple poopy pull-up.

Amy felt at once like she had played all her cards and lost. There was nothing else for her to do to prove her maturity. Looking down, she knew her skimpy outfit was no more than a facade. Amy couldn’t take care of a baby and she could barely keep herself straight. She decided to find something to occupy herself and went off to the toybox to find something else to play with.

Thirty minutes later, Amy’s wounded pride was healed enough to try and reintroduce herself to JJ as his playmate, after her attempt at playing babysitter had blown up in her face. JJ of course welcomed her back with a typical child’s short memory of the past and acted as if nothing had happened. It was a welcome bit of sunshine in her otherwise stormy day.

It wasn’t long before Amy realized that in all of the drama, she’d never taken care of her own potty needs. By this point, the need was growing and she was faced with yet another dilemma.

On the one hand, she could meekly go and ask Betty to help her. That definitely felt like the final nail in the coffin that would almost assuredly result in her losing whatever miniscule bit of pride she had left.

And her other option was to hold out. She hoped that either Betty would declare potty time and then Amy would just be forced to have Betty’s help rather than seek her out herself, or an even better option would be that her mother would pick her up before the need became dire and she could avoid the situation altogether.

The second plan was certainly preferable, so Amy continued playing with JJ. True to her word, she let JJ make all of the building decisions as he had done his part in letting her attempt to change him. The boy was of course issuing at least a few silly ideas which Amy grudgingly went along with, but she let her frustration go as she busied herself with her own little projects.

It had only been another thirty minutes, but the struggle to hold back the floodgates made it feel like her mother should have already arrived. Amy began fidgeting and wiggling around as they were playing, trying to find a more comfortable position for her aching abdomen.

A few minutes later as Amy crawled over to gather up a few more pieces, she felt a spurt escape into her pull-up. She stopped on all fours and clamped down for a moment before attempting to stand up. But spreading her legs slightly in an effort to stand caused even more of her pee to leak out and before she knew it, a steady, slow stream was seeping into her waiting pull-up. She knew the game was lost, so she sat back down, legs splayed in front of her as she took comfort in her stubby digit following yet another childish act.

JJ stopped and looked over at Amy, realizing that something was off. “You ok Amy?”

Amy just nodded slowly, thumb in her mouth unashamedly in front of her playmate.

“You wanna build?” JJ reached out a piece to Amy, hoping to interest her once again in playtime. Amy just shook her head and continued nursing on her thumb, completely defeated and seeking some measure of comfort.

Amy finally relented a few minutes later and returned to their building project. She’d had enough of her thumb for now and put it away for later.

As they played, any prior obligation to maturity quickly faded. Playtime began to feel like days gone by when she used to play with her friends in her playroom for hours until she was forced to come down and eat. Back then she didn’t have many responsibilities nor did anyone expect her to be mature. She missed that feeling of freedom.

Soon she felt the need to pee returning, but instead of holding it, she felt herself let go and freely wet like a toddler. It didn’t matter, she was already wet. And it felt good not worrying about holding her pee. Afterall, JJ seemingly didn’t know or didn’t care that she was wet, and when her mom picked her up soon, she’d have the chance to take care of her wet pull-up later at home.

It was 4pm when Meredith called to let Betty know that she’d be a little later than normal and wouldn’t be there to pick up Amy for another two hours. It was then that Betty realized that she’d never taken the kids to the potty in the afternoon and she hadn’t heard a peep from either of them. Though she’d changed JJ barely two hours ago, she hadn’t heard anything for more than four hours from Amy and the girl’s track record to date made Betty wonder if she wouldn’t find a wet Amy upstairs. Mentally chiding herself for forgetting, she ascended the stairs and went to the playroom.

She had barely entered the room when she saw Amy crawling over to reach for a few Lego pieces with two small and symmetrical dark crescents visible on the rear of her shorts. Instead of taking JJ to the potty, she first needed to deal with a wet little girl.

“I’m sorry kids, but I wasn’t paying attention and forgot about our afternoon potty time….” Amy busied herself with her toys and didn’t look up at Betty.

“Amy honey, why didn’t you come and get me? Your pull-up must be soaked…you’ve wet your shorts….” Betty beckoned the girl to her and, for the second time in one day, faced a downtrodden little girl in wet pants. She didn’t see a teenager…she saw a girl who was struggling with everything and trying desperately to be a teenager in all the wrong ways. She was a child in need of her help.

For her part, Amy momentarily thought to deny it, but the surprise accusation of wet shorts killed the opportunity. Instead, she opted for refusing to change until she got home. Her mother would probably find out about this either way and she didn’t want to change now and be forced to have Betty help her yet again.

“Honey let’s go to the bathroom and get you all nice and dry.” Betty reached out her hand to take Amy’s, but Amy put her hands behind her back and tightened her stance, still looking at the ground.

“I don’t want to…I’ll change at home.” Amy stated, her voice quivering ever so slightly.

“Sweetheart, I can’t let you sit around wet…you’ll get a diaper rash and you wouldn’t want that. Now let’s go change.” Betty offered her hand a second time.

“No, I don’t wanna go, you can’t make me!” Amy stomped her foot and tensed up, balling her fists slightly. Some part of her deep inside was complaining that she was acting childish, but as the rest of her already felt that way, she didn’t much care.

“Amy, listen dear…you’re being disrespectful and if I have to tell you one more time, we’ll be back to our talk earlier about how you cannot continue to come over and ignore my rules. Now let’s go.” Betty added the last few words under a stern look.

Finally Amy followed the woman to the bathroom, lagging behind as much as she could without being yelled at.

“I do say Amy, for a girl who insists she’s not three, I’m having a hard time today telling the difference.”

Amy tried to ignore the scathing comment, but Betty wasn’t finished.

“And if you were three I’d just pick you up, change your diaper, and be done with it…but I can’t very well do that to a big girl like you, now can I?”

As the girl silently shuffled to the bathroom, her thoughts briefly entertained the idea of how she would react if Betty actually carried out her half-threat and forcibly changed Amy like a toddler. There was no way she’d ever do it. But before Amy completely dismissed the idea as humiliating and impossible, a momentary flash of something welled up inside her as she recalled the image of JJ being lovingly taken care of by his mommy earlier in the day. But it was quickly shaken out as she heard Betty call her name for what must have been at least the second time.

“Amy! I’m not going to ask you again…suck in your tummy so I can get these ridiculous shorts off you.” They were standing in the bathroom with Amy dumbly staring at the wall, oblivious to Betty’s insistence that Amy get changed. The girl finally complied and moments later she felt a swift tug, followed by a zipping sound, and finally much less pressure around her belly. She let out her breath and peeked down to see a swollen pull-up sagging below her belly and damp shorts around her ankles on the floor. Slightly dazed by the situation and still not wishing to comply any more than necessary, she continued standing still and staring blankly at the wall while Betty began rummaging around in Amy’s bag.

“Oh Amy…it looks like we used the last one after your accident this morning.” Betty turned back to Amy to see the girl still trying to ignore her and the entire situation. It was better than outright defiance at least.

“Wait here, I’ll get you one of JJ’s pull-ups for now.” A dry pull-up, even a snug one, was actually sounding good about now as Amy noticed that with the tight shorts removed, the insides of her legs were damp and sticky. Waiting for Betty to return, she absently slipped her thumb into her mouth as she let herself think once again about how Betty treated JJ when he had an accident. He was loved and cared for. Amy realized she shouldn’t expect that kind of love and care because she wasn’t even this mom’s kid, but how long had it been since her own mother had treated her that way? Memories of the past, before her teen years and before her dad went away so often, seemed brighter. And even a few stray thoughts of her mom back then made her smile. No, not mom, her mommy. That was what Amy called her back then. Those close and special times with mommy. What had happened? Did all mommies stop being close and sweet when they became just “mom”? Amy didn’t know, but at once she was startled by a question from someone else’s mommy.

“Amy sweetheart, did you make sure you’re all empty?” Betty was smiling and her tone was not mocking, despite the fact that the girl’s thumb was still in her mouth. This sudden realization caused her to jerk out the thumb and blush before looking down at the floor and simply responding with a shrug. How could she know if her body had made more pee since she went the last time?

“Well honey, just in case you have any pee left, let’s take care of that so you don’t have an accident in your fresh pull-up, ok?” Amy, still half paying attention, wasn’t registering what Betty was asking her to do, but she felt stupid asking any questions so she kept looking down and fidgeted with her shirt.

For the first time since Amy’s defiance in the playroom, Betty wasn’t sure if Amy was deliberately stalling or if she genuinely was having a moment where she wasn’t able to take care of the situation. The looks she was getting were increasingly lost rather than defiant, and seeing the girl had just been nursing her thumb, Betty didn’t know if the girl was having a child’s version of a small nervous breakdown or if she was just lost in this embarrassing situation. The mommy in her needed to take control. She went back to Amy’s pink bag and fished out the doll she’d seen while looking for a pull-up.

“Oh what a pretty doll, what’s her name sweetheart?” Betty saw a slight spark in Amy’s eyes as the older woman seemed genuinely interested in her doll. “She was one of my favorites,” Amy thought as a slight smile spread on her face.

“Kayla…she’s got a couple more dresses.” Amy smiled.

“Oh that’s such a pretty name. You know, I don’t get to have any dolls around the house with no girls of my own…so it’s nice that you brought a friend with you. Would you show me how you dress her?” As Betty watched Amy finish undressing her doll, she got out the wipes and stretched open the boy’s pull-up, setting it on top of the counter for Amy. Next, she returned her attention to the girl who was almost finished re-dressing her doll.

“I’m gonna bring some more dolls next time so I can show you my nice dresses. I think my mommy put them in…urr…my mom put them in the storage.” Amy blushed as she caught herself using her mom’s old title. She knew that wasn’t right, but it just came out.

“That’s great honey. Well let’s have you try and go potty. Then I have the wipes all ready for you and a nice, dry pull-up after that. Super easy, right?” Betty smiled and gave the girl a quick hug before turning to head out the door. Amy’s vague look of confusion faded and she began following the older woman’s instructions while Betty watched through the small crack she’d left open in the doorway.

A short while later, Meredith arrived and joined Betty at the kitchen table, setting down a pair of girl’s shorts next to the tea that Betty had just offered her. Both women glanced towards the next room where cartoons played on the flashing television before they turned back to each other with Meredith quickly breaking the ice.

“Betty, I didn’t really ask for details when you said I needed to bring Amy some shorts…but surely this isn’t about another accident…” Meredith paused for a moment unsure of what to say next.

“Meredith dear, I’m afraid so. We had two wet pull-ups today, in fact, and no successful trips to the potty that I’m aware of. I’m sure Amy will say it’s all got to do with those silly shorts she wore and couldn’t get off, and I do declare them to be a problem in more ways than one. But truthfully, Amy is not taking care of her bathroom needs very well and I’ve had to help her twice.” Betty paused and was about to continue, but she didn’t have the chance.

“I can’t believe what I’m hearing. I haven’t had a conversation like this since Amy was in daycare. Are you really telling me my daughter needs help using the toilet? She certainly seems to survive at home. And if I even accept that she can’t help wetting herself, please tell me for heaven’s sake, why did I bring these shorts if she’s wearing pull-ups for her accidents?” Meredith grasped her head with both hands and leaned on the table, clearly frustrated and confused.

“She peed through her pull-up the second time. Also, she’s out of hers now, so I had to put her in one of JJ’s pull-ups. And those shorts were already much too tight and inappropriate before they got wet, so I thought Amy could wear some decent shorts home instead. I’m sorry if that inconvenienced you.” Betty added, looking slightly frustrated herself. “I am only trying to do what’s best for Amy and I thought you would understand.”

Meredith sighed. If Amy was really acting as Betty described, she couldn’t argue with the woman, but she had to see for herself. She got up from the table and quietly moved to peek in on the kids in the next room watching the TV. The scene definitely lent credibility to what Betty was saying. Amy was sitting next to JJ, legs splayed in front of her, totally engrossed in an episode of Dexter’s Lab and absently sucking on her pinky. Her pull-up was clearly visible and from the waist down she almost looked like JJ’s twin, only somewhat larger. The girl was thus far oblivious to her mother’s entry and the conversation they were having in the kitchen, so Meredith quietly returned to the table, quite confused and barely ready to accept the next salvo from Betty.

“I really love Amy and I think she makes JJ so happy, and that’s why I don’t mind a little extra work helping her out if she needs it. I do hope you realize, however, that I can’t keep paying her to come over now…if anything I’m doing more work when she’s here.” Betty waved her hand as if to dismiss the words she expected to come next and showing that she meant well in her statement.

“I don’t need you to pay me anything, so don’t get the wrong idea. I just thought you should know why I won’t be paying her any longer.” Betty paused and took a few sips of her tea.

“I…understand Betty. Yeah, no, you’re right…I can’t argue that. I just…don’t understand why she’s acting out like this. I mean, she really never does this sort of thing at home so I don’t know what her problem is.” Meredith stared blankly at the wall, seeking understanding from any possible source.

“Well how much time has she spent at home really this week dear? I would bet this is a more recent thing and if you have a doctor you trust for this sort of problem, perhaps you should have her seen?” Betty added in a caring, but suggestive tone.

“A shrink? Ugh, no, I don’t want to put her through that. I’m sure this is just a phase she’s going through. I don’t think dragging her to a therapist is the answer…at least right now. Besides, she has volleyball camp next week and she’s been dying to go for months. I’m sure she’ll snap out of it once she’s in that mode with girls her age again. I think losing her best friend and not really making new ones is really hurting her more than I even realized. I’ll just work on loving her more.” Meredith genuinely hoped the words she was telling Betty were the truth. She’d have to work on telling them to herself over the next week.

“Poor thing.” Betty smiled and reached out her hand to momentarily grasp the other woman’s hand as a sign of solidarity. Meredith took it briefly, but soon the moment grew awkward and she looked for an exit.

“Well we better be going and it sounds like their show is wrapping up anyway.” Meredith got up and went to the TV room, shorts in hand and stood by her daughter for a moment before Amy looked up, wide-eyed.

“Mom! I uhh, didn’t see you there.” Amy blushed seeing the shorts were for her and suddenly realizing how she must look to her mother.

“Go change Amy, we need to leave.” Handing the girl her new shorts, Meredith went back to the kitchen and found Betty handing her a bag with Amy’s wet shorts tied up inside.

“Figured you might like these back, but personally I’d just toss them right in the garbage. I won’t tell you how to raise your child, but I don’t like it when girls dress in such things and cheapen themselves.” Betty sounded like she could go on for a while longer about modesty and modern choice of clothes, but she refrained further complaint, much to Meredith’s relief as she took the queue to quickly change the subject.

“Betty, how is Amy even able to fit in those pull-ups JJ wears? I see they’re a bit tight on her, but I’m surprised they fit at all.”

“Well, JJ wears a 4T and he’s almost 40 lbs. I buy him the largest size pull-ups because, well, he’s a bit chubby in the tummy and the next size down just seemed snug on him so I went with the bigger size which gives him plenty of room. How much does Amy weigh exactly? She’s definitely small and especially thin for her age. Probably not too much bigger around in the waist than JJ.”

“She was 82 lbs last year at her yearly checkup and she can’t weigh much more than that now. I guess it’s because she’s so thin that they work at all…but she’s still twice his weight.”

“Were you thinking of buying her some?” Betty inquired.

“They’re probably cheaper…I might consider that if this keeps up.” Meredith sighed.

“The girl pull-ups have cute Disney characters on them, but Amy might think they’re too kiddish for her. I could pick up a small package and use them for her when she’s here if you like…and you wouldn’t have to worry about bringing more of hers from home,” Betty offered.

“Hmm, well if you don’t mind, I suppose we could try that since she’s already using JJ’s and they seem to work. How much do you need for them?” Meredith started opening her purse to look for her wallet, but Betty put her hand out.

“Let’s just call it even…considering the earlier discussion?” Seeing Amy re-enter the room, Betty cut her explanation short.

“Well honey, say goodbye and let’s go. Don’t forget to grab your wet shorts.” Making a point of calling attention to Amy’s childish act as they left, Meredith had some small hope that it might shake her daughter out of the childish phase she seemed to be suddenly going through.

On the way home, Meredith prayed that, if nothing else, volleyball camp would fix whatever issues Amy was having. Perhaps she’d even make a new friend or two in the process.

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Re: The Mystery of Disposition

Really enjoyed your update, thanks so much for continuing :slight_smile:

Re: The Mystery of Disposition

Months just seem to fly by as I’m far too busy these days to get the content out as soon as I’d like. That won’t be letting up any time soon, so please be patient and I will release the content when I can. I do apologize and at the same time I want to thank my faithful readers for your long patience between chapters. I hope this chapter delivers something that was worth the wait.

Chapter 12

Meredith sipped her tea and looked out into the barely lit horizon visible through the partially opened blinds in the kitchen. It was Sunday morning, and she was up early.

When they’d finally gotten home last night, Amy had initially started packing for the trip like she was supposed to do, but somewhere along the way she’d gotten sidetracked watching a movie. Meredith complained Amy wasn’t getting the packing done and even tried helping her daughter, but it became largely a fight between the two of them with Amy insisting that she’d finish without help and that she was more responsible and mature than her mother would ever give her credit for. So after promising she’d be up early to finish her packing the following morning, Meredith gave in to her whining and let Amy finish her movie. Still, Meredith wasn’t holding her breath that everything would be packed in the morning.

Nevertheless, the worry on Meredith’s mind this morning wasn’t her daughter’s usual teenage immaturities. Instead, she was trying to make sense of the past few weeks that made her feel she was almost living in a page from the prior decade. For one thing, it was apparent that Amy’s wetting wasn’t a fluke. If anything, it was becoming more frequent, with six wet nights in the past two weeks and now what seemed to be daytime accidents at the Chadwicks’. It was enough to make any mother worry that something might be wrong with her daughter. She’d already made a note to take Amy to the doctor the week after camp, but she also found herself curiously wondering if her teenage daughter could manage a week away from home with dry pants.

With those thoughts swirling around in her head, she enjoyed the last few sips of her tea and ventured upstairs to sort through some laundry and soon wake her daughter for what was bound to be a busy and frustrating morning getting her ready for camp and for church that morning.

“Amy honey, wake up.” Meredith called in a soft, somewhat tentative tone.

No answer.

“Amy…we need to get moving with packing and be out of the house by ten.” Meredith declared, a bit more volume to her voice which caused her daughter to stir but still not open her eyes or respond.

Looking around the room, Meredith sighed at the mess surrounding Amy’s bed. In her mind, it looked more like a messy preteen’s room between the Legos, random clothes piles, two half-packed suitcases, and an open package of Goodnites with four of the pull-ups seemingly fallen out of the bag and forgotten. Though Amy had hidden her Goodnites when she first started wearing them, she’d become nearly shameless recently, letting her mother see them laying out or even throwing wet Goodnites haphazardly into her bedroom trash for her mother to clean up later.

“Amy! It’s 7:10, get up!” Meredith was clearly not making a request.

A few stirs and mutters were finally heard before the girl half yawned out something intelligible.

“Umph, do I have to? Gimme just…10 more minutes.” Another yawn. “Please mom?” The whine in Amy’s voice never helped matters.

“Amy! You promised you’d get up without a fuss this morning and you’re doing a great job at proving yourself wrong. You’ve got barely half your packing done and we’re leaving for camp right after church, so you need to get this done right away while I make breakfast.” Meredith poked Amy and shook her shoulder slightly, hoping to get a more immediate response from her daughter.

“Amy, get up now!”

Rolling over and half-raising herself with an elbow was Amy’s first attempt at getting up, but soon she flopped back onto her pillow with a whine and moan that she soon realized wasn’t going to fly.

“I wasn’t kidding Amy…UP!” Meredith quickly took charge and yanked back her daughter’s covers, causing Amy to curl up slightly and let out a few more whines. The swollen padding between Amy’s legs was obvious to Meredith, but she wanted to ask anyway.

“Are you wet? You should go shower and get dressed first, then get to packing.”

Not even bothering to acknowledge her mother’s comments, Amy rolled off the bed and slowly staggered towards the bathroom in her t-shirt and sagging Goodnite, looking decidedly more childish than grown up.

Meredith’s eyes were instantly drawn to dark spots on the bed. There were several wet streaks and one spot nearly the size of a dinner plate. She quickly stripped the bed, placing everything into a pile near the door for taking to the laundry room. Annoyed, she barged into the bathroom just in time to see her daughter closing the shower curtain.

“Amy, did you drink a bunch of water before bed or something?” Meredith huffed.

“Uhhh…nope. Why?” Amy replied quickly as she started the water for her shower, seemingly oblivious to what was annoying her mother.

“Because your pull-ups leaked and they’ve never done that before. Now I have to wash the sheets, which was the whole point of the pull-ups in the first place. You better be telling me the truth Amy!” Meredith didn’t wait for an answer and quickly went about handling the first set of wet sheets in a couple of weeks, mumbling randomly about her frustrations as she went.

Thankfully for both of them, the rest of the morning went relatively smoothly by comparison. Breakfast was eaten nearly in silence and Amy managed to finish her packing with a little help from her mother to fit everything needed for a week of volleyball camp. About 10 minutes before they were finished packing, Meredith dropped what she thought might be the day’s next argument.

“Honey, leave out a couple of your Goodnites and pack the rest for camp. I want you to wear one for the trip in case you fall asleep and have an accident in the car.”

“Mom do I have to? What about church?” More whining ensued. At least it wasn’t the big fuss Meredith was expecting. This she could handle.

“Well honey, you can’t really put those on without getting totally undressed, and since you’ll need to wear one for the trip and we’re not coming home first, I don’t think it’ll hurt to wear one to church. I promise no one will notice it under your clothes.”

“Yeah but…” Amy felt like she had to argue, but some part of her knew that her mother probably had a point. She also thought that maybe it wasn’t a big deal since she’d been wearing them most of the week anyway at this point.

“Amy, just listen and stop complaining. I’ll be a lot more reasonable when you aren’t disobeying and whining. Let’s have a good trip, ok?”

Snapped out of her thoughts, Amy sighed, and deciding not to verbally respond, she removed two Goodnites from the package and took one with her to the bathroom. After changing, she returned to her room where her mother was zipping up the bags and preparing to carry them to the car. She quickly noticed that the second Goodnite wasn’t where she’d left it.

“Mom, what did you do with the other one?” She asked, pointing to the bed.

“It’s in my purse honey…in case you need a change.” Meredith added a little too casually.

Amy rolled her eyes, but otherwise ignored her mother’s comment.

For the first time in forever, Amy found herself actually listening during church and not being bored out of her mind. Normally she’d ignore most of the sermon, figuring it was stuff only the adults would get, but Amy surprised herself and actually understood most of what she heard. Still, she spent much of the sermon lost in thought, pondering the upcoming week.

Volleyball camp. Why wasn’t she excited to be going to volleyball camp in just a few hours? She remembered being super excited back in April when she’d gotten her mom to agree to let her attend two camps and she’d never even been to one before! This first camp in July was the one she was less interested in, but she loved volleyball and had been so excited about the chance to play for two weeks this summer. But in three short months, somehow sports camp had lost its luster. The idea of the whole thing made her feel more anxious than anything. But when she realized that sitting around playing Legos with JJ sounded like more fun, she wondered if something was wrong with her.

It wasn’t that she didn’t enjoy the idea of playing volleyball as much as any other time…it was her favorite sport after all. But somehow the whole camp experience no longer appealed to her. She took a deep breath and let a few words from the sermon bounce around in her head before the confused thoughts won out again and she fought back for clarity.

“I have to be real with myself…what’s my problem with camp this year?” Amy thought, realizing she’d avoided thinking about this topic for a while now but not really for any reason she understood.

Molly. She knew this all started with Molly because they were the ones who had been dead set on going to the other camp, Spike. Reality set in: the original overwhelming desire to attend a volleyball camp this year was just a leftover dream from last summer between her and Molly. They’d dreamed of going to a sports camp this year and imagined from the brochures how much fun it would be.

Even with Molly gone, Amy had begged her mother to attend the Spike camp back in the Spring. She remembered thinking that maybe a new friend would be waiting for her there…maybe even someone like Molly. And just like any teenager, she was excited to have the chance to get away from her mother and her life at home since the camp was too far from home for her mother to drop in.

“Why did Molly have to leave and turn into someone else?!” Amy tensed, trying to stave off the tears from falling in the middle of the church service. Even a year later, Amy felt a hole inside herself and bitterness towards Molly’s parents for taking her away on the pretense of a better-paying job. They’d ruined everything.

But now she knew that expecting a new friendship this week was silly. In reality, the university camp was more likely to have many of the same girls she went to school with. She realized her growing anxiety was likely caused by the realization that she could essentially expect a week back at high school instead of a magical week with a new friend.

“What was I thinking? I’m so stupid…” Amy sulked. Peer pressure and fitting in would be back with a vengeance. She’d barely escaped the last school year with her sanity. Drama and fake girls had never been appealing, but also goals like climbing the school social ladder, attracting boys, making good grades to get a high-paying job, or planning a fancy wedding with some prince charming were all boring or silly to her. She justified her lack of interest in standard high school things by reasoning that she was her own unique person compared to the shallow and cookie-cutter teenagers around her.

Amy had to come up with a plan for this week to stay sane. She figured it was safer to go with the same thing she’d done for the last few months of the past school year: virtually ignore other kids and just focus on what she was there to do. She’d do the drills, play the games, listen to the adults, and get the week in before admitting to her mother that she was satisfied with just one camp for the summer. She’d be out $50 from her babysitting fund, but it was a small price to pay for only dealing with a week like this once for the summer. Her plan set, the sermon slowly came back into focus for her.

“Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. I assure you: They’ve got their reward! But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” As the preacher quoted the Bible verses, Amy remembered she was supposed to be paying attention and once again she tried to take everything in.

“Hmm, guess secrets are even something God understands…and he hates fake people too!” Amy thought. Hearing the preacher quoting those verses was like justification for condemning the fake girls she couldn’t stand and for her desire to hide away and avoid socializing with her peers.

Before Amy realized it, the congregation was bowing their heads to close the service and moments later Meredith was up and rushing for the door before others could delay their travel plans with socializing. Amy hurried to keep up with her mother, feeling somewhat frustrated that their exit felt more like a hurried escape from a blazing inferno than an orderly walk back to the car after Sunday morning church. She suddenly felt that she had to pee, but she certainly wasn’t about to tell her mother that and risk dealing with any possible reactions to the delay when her mother was in this mode. She silently got into the car as they sped off for the highway.

The first few miles of the trip were complete silence with Meredith in full on travel mode and Amy annoyed that her mother always made everything into a big production. From her perspective, it would all work out and always had. But in reality, her mother always coordinated a trip down to a luggage checklist and, though Amy didn’t know it, she was seriously taking her mother for granted. Packing everything and navigating to a previously uncharted destination was, in Amy’s mind, marginally more difficult than falling out of bed, packing a few clothes, and dealing with the minor details.

After they were well on their way and Amy was getting bored of reading road signs and sucking on her pinky finger, she started to look for something to keep her mind off the pressure building below her tummy. She couldn’t bring herself to ask her mother to make a special stop off for her because she was sure Meredith would be frustrated and point out the fact that she herself didn’t need any special pit stops and both of them had eaten and drank the same food. However, 45-minutes into the trip, she was reading the same paragraph for the fifth time, being unable to concentrate with her bladder screaming for attention. She started fidgeting, but quickly stopped, realizing her mother might recognize the problem. Instead, she hatched a plan to fake falling asleep so she could say that she’d wet in her sleep and her mother couldn’t say anything about the situation.

After quickly considering the idea, it didn’t seem to have any immediate flaws, so she let herself sink slowly into the seat and begin to droop her eyelids, fighting the urge to wiggle around from the constant bladder pressure. After a couple of minutes, she figured she could pull off closing her eyes and let her aching muscles go. It surprised her that voluntarily wetting while sitting up required a bit more doing than while lying down as she’d done in the past, but after relaxing and shifting herself slightly, she felt the first trickle seep into her Goodnite and the glow of warmth begin to spread around her nether regions.

Amy felt both naughty and relieved as her bladder squeezed out the last bit of pee into the soaked Goodnite. She decided to maintain her guise of sleeping for the next 10 minutes or so, and in the meanwhile she guiltily enjoyed the warm bulk between her legs and the sweet relief of not having to go any longer.

However, it took less than 5 minutes for her mother to detect the slight odor of a fully peed diaper. Meredith sighed and looked over at her apparently sleeping daughter and decided it would be best to stop off soon for a bit of lunch and a change for Amy.

“Honey…wake up.”

Stirring only slightly, Amy wanted be seen as slowly coming out of a sleeping state as she usually did.

“Huh? Are we there?” Stretching for effect was icing on the cake.

“No but I’m pretty sure you need a change and we should get lunch before we get to the camp anyway.”

Meredith didn’t seem upset in the least about Amy’s accident, but the most surprising thing to Amy was the revelation that her mother knew it had happened. She decided to act somewhat frustrated and subdued to keep things believable.

“What? How…I don’t think I…”

“It smells like pee in here and unless I’ve started wetting my pants, I’m pretty sure you’ve got a wet pull-up under your skirt.”

Mystery solved.

“Oh, ummm…” Amy lifted her skirt exposing her soaked undergarment and squishing it around slightly, seemingly to confirm her mother’s suspicions, but in reality it was purely for effect. “Yeah, I guess I’m wet. Sorry mom, I was sleepy.”

“Well honey, I’m just glad I insisted you wear those for the trip. If I was dealing with a wet seat right now, I don’t think either of us would be happy.” Meredith added with a slightly forced smile.

Amy nodded, a bit too readily, but it wasn’t so much that Meredith gave it a second thought. She saw that her daughter understood that motherly wisdom had paid off once again.

“Now, when we stop, I want you to change yourself into the spare I brought in my purse. I’ll bring some extras for the trip back when I come to pick you up next weekend.” Meredith added.

Amy nodded, feeling a bit ashamed at how her mother was now having to stock her purse with pull-ups for her like she would a toddler’s diaper bag. But the pain of having to go was gone. And for a bonus she had a warm glow between her legs and the feeling of getting everything past her mother seemingly without an ounce of frustration. It easily confirmed in her mind that she’d made the right choice to avoid telling her mother she needed to pee and using her pull-up when she had to go. A tiny part of her said that lying was wrong, but knowing her mother, Amy had easily justified her actions and a good outcome seemed proof enough to her that her mother really didn’t care all that much about having a teenager in wet pull-ups.

The rest of the trip was uneventful, and soon mother and daughter were saying their goodbyes for the week as Meredith dropped Amy off at the check-in area.

Meredith floored the accelerator as her car climbed the long ramp to the interstate highway. The local road navigation finally over, driving became a mindless task once again and she started thinking about what had to be done this week before her husband came home. She remembered scribbling down a short list which she began fumbling around for in her purse on the seat next to her. Pulling out the list, she quickly read off the items out loud as she glanced between the list and the road.

#1 Clean the garage. #2 Buy Ant spray. #3 Clean Amy’s room. #4 Look into shrink…” Meredith paused and let out an audible groan as she read the fourth item.

Continuing her thoughts from earlier that morning, she wondered if she couldn’t just ignore everything that had happened recently and hope for the best. Amy was certainly a quirky kid who’d seemingly just had a bit of trouble now and then with bed wetting over the years. She’d been telling herself that for weeks. And though she might have made a big deal about it occasionally, as long as she wasn’t cleaning up pee, it didn’t really bother Meredith much that her teenage daughter still wet the bed. At least it wasn’t drugs or unwanted pregnancy.

But then again, she knew that recently something more was going on. Betty had spoken of Amy’s demeanor this week as being much more juvenile and there was clear evidence that she’d begun having accidents during the day. Her first thought was to make sure nothing was physically wrong with Amy’s bladder, but that wouldn’t explain the other childish things she’d been doing recently.

As much as Meredith hated the very idea of psychologists probing into people’s heads and, from her perspective, making up stuff about what caused it, she had to admit that if she didn’t have Amy checked out and something was really wrong with her, it might be harder to treat later and they might question why she didn’t bring her in sooner. She did remember that Trish spoke once of a doctor friend from church who specialized in working with children, so she quickly called Trish on her cell and got the number to call the doctor later on in the week.

Amy dragged her suitcase behind her as she moved towards the gymnasium with a huge “Welcome Volleyball Campers!” sign out front. She hadn’t had time to find her room to drop off her stuff because somehow her mom had gotten wrong information about check-in time and now Amy only had 20 minutes before the mandatory orientation began.

Entering the building, she found the table where everyone was being issued orientation booklets and a few other assorted items by last name. Packet in hand, she set out to choose a seat near the back in a section of folding chairs set up on the gym floor facing a small makeshift podium. Being slightly early allowed her to pick a seat away from the front of the room where she dreaded sitting. Placing her suitcase and backpack in front of her, she settled in and began reading through the booklet she’d received from the check-in area.

Reading about the 30-year history of the camp was interesting at first, but soon she got bored and flipped through a few sections, finally stopping on a section about conduct where her eyes were quickly drawn to the large box at the top of the page. In bold text, the title read “3-Strikes Policy”. It went on to explain that any student reprimanded by a staff member for unacceptable behavior would be put on file and after three incidents the student’s parents would be called to take them home early with all monies forfeited for the week. Amy chuckled as she never got in trouble at school, but she suspected some of the girls she knew from high school would have been expelled long ago if they had such a policy at her school. She smiled at the thought of seeing popular “bad girls” loaded into their parents’ cars bawling for breaking camp rules.

Amy closed the booklet and looked up to see that the room was finally beginning to fill up. She decided to pull out one of the books in her backpack to pass the time and make it harder for someone to try and bother her.

The orientation had been little more than reading through the booklet with important parts being covered several times. Special emphasis was given to the conduct section, which made Amy wonder if they’d had a lot of problems with unruly girls in the past. For her part, the camp director, Leslie, was very nice as she went through everything, but Amy couldn’t help feeling that they could have saved time and let everyone just read the booklet in their rooms later that night. Perhaps she was still annoyed at having to haul her stuff around, but it seemed dumb nonetheless.

As Leslie was wrapping things up, Amy turned to the final page of her orientation booklet and was surprised to find a handwritten note on a half sheet of paper stuck inside. Opening the note, she realized it was specifically addressed to her. It creeped her out a bit, but she quickly read the note anyway…


When orientation is over, please wait for the others to leave
and then meet me in the back-right corner of the auditorium.
I’ll have a black and gray backpack. This is very important
so please follow my instructions. Thank you.

Stacy Kendall
Residence Staff Nurse[/I]

“Great, this is what Mom meant by ‘special accommodations’.” Amy sighed. She hoped this woman wouldn’t be a glorified babysitter for the week.

When Leslie finally dismissed everyone, Amy pretended to organize things in her backpack rather than awkwardly sitting there while everyone else filed past. As soon as the last few girls moved past her, she got up and went to the back to find Stacy. It wasn’t hard to pick out the middle-aged woman with a dark backpack, wire-rimmed glasses, and two other girls with her. One of them was in a wheelchair.

“You must be Amy. I see that you got my note?”

Amy nodded. “You’re Stacy?”

The older women frowned slightly, but kept up her professional demeanor.

“Yes, but you may address me as Miss Kendall. I’ll be in charge of you girls for the week.” The older woman turned as if to head out of the room, but Amy continued staring at the wall behind the spot Miss Kendall previously occupied.

“Is there something else Miss Brooks?” The woman was now staring back at Amy with eyes fit only for a school teacher. They quickly called Amy to attention.

“Nn-no, no ma’am.” Amy wilted and fell into line as the small troop sauntered out towards the residence halls.

On arrival at one of the closer buildings, the girls followed Miss Kendall as she navigated the building, finally stopping at a door marked “Suite 13”. If Amy were superstitious she might have cringed for a moment, but she never thought much of such things.

Inside were rather spartan furnishings, but not one of the girls spoke a word of complaint. In fact, if the current state of silence was any indication, it seemed that neither the three girls nor their temporary guardian were much interested in getting to know each other or making small talk of any kind. Finally, after looking around the room for a few moments, the older woman broke the silence.

“Ladies, welcome to your home here at camp for the week. As you can see, this suite has three rooms, each of them with double beds, a closet, a dresser, and a small futon. Jessel and Amy, you will each get a room to yourself, while I’m sharing the room on the right with Carrie. The common area is free for use whenever you like, but please do not try and use the kitchen without my permission. I expect that you will inform me of your schedules and be back to the rooms by ten each evening…” Stacy continued on as if she were in the habit of issuing orders. Carrie, the girl in the wheelchair, seemed un-phased and even happy as the rules were being dictated, but the other two girls shared slightly bewildered looks. Soon the younger girl with coal-black hair raised her hand in a slightly mocking gesture.

“Soooo…like, nobody’s says anything for the last, like, ten minutes which is creepy enough already, but after we’re done following you around like zombies forever can’t we just chill maybe? Or…maybe you can tell us what SHE is doing here?” The girl gestured to Amy, but before Stacy could say anything the rant continued. “I know why I’m in this room and all, and the same with Carrie, but…what’s with blondie? She looks normal enough, but I’m guessing she’s a freak too?” Stacy glared angrily through her glasses at the sassy girl….she’d heard enough.

“Jessel, have some manners! AMY is your roommate for the week and you will not speak to her in that way. Now, say you’re sorry…and perhaps she’ll tell you why she’s here, but she is under no obligation to divulge that information if she does not wish to.” Stacy’s teacher stare was too much even for the feisty girl and served to quickly let the wind out of her sails. A few moments later, her look had completely changed.

“Umm, sorry…and all. Amy, I uhhh…don’t think you’re a freak really, I just…ARGH” Jessel grasped her face, slowly but tensely running her hands up through her forehead and scalp before letting out a long sigh and swinging her arms outward in a gesture of frustration.

“Look, I’m sorry! I’m a jerk, I get it. And I hate that we’re cooped up here like freaks because of ‘medical’ issues. What camp has these stupid rules? It’s sooooo unfair! Everyone will wonder why we aren’t with the other girls and there will be rumors and all of the cool girls will already be friends without us…and we’ll never get the chance to be cool and have fun this week. It just really sucks. Really…sucks.”

“Are you done Jessel?” Stacy looked on with a blank expression, as if waiting for a puppy to do its business before letting it back inside.

“Whatever.” Jessel shoved past everyone else, continuing to one of the side rooms, with her belongings in tow, soon after slamming the door. The other three stared for a moment at the closed door before Stacy excused herself to the kitchen. For a moment, Amy and Carrie shared an awkward silence before Carrie’s face suddenly brightened.

“Umm…so, yeah. I’m Carrie!” The strawberry blonde girl in the pink wheelchair smiled up to Amy and instantly she felt warm and happy inside. It was the most genuinely nice introduction she’d had with a girl her age in…a very long time. A stark contrast to the harsh greeting she’d had to Jessel, to be sure.

“Why didn’t I notice Carrie’s sweet personality for the past fifteen minutes?” Amy wondered. Without realizing it, she’d been so focused on herself and the bad parts of her camp experience thus far that she failed to notice much of anything positive. As some part of her own rudeness started to dawn on her, she quickly wanted this sweet girl to know she wasn’t like the stormy girl who’d just ran off.

“And I’m Amy…but you probably already knew that.” She smiled a bit awkwardly before continuing, trying her best to make small talk and put her frustrations behind her. “So I’m sixteen, you?”

“Fifteen. Guess you’re the oldest kid in our room 'cause Jess is only fourteen. Don’t tell her I told you, but she’s always trying to act older.” Carrie giggled.

“Oh, you two are friends?” Amy raised an eyebrow slightly, curious how these girls seemingly as different as night and day could possibly be friends.

“Well, uhh…I try to be friends with everyone.” Carrie smiled. “But yeah, we came to camp last year together so I guess we’re friends from that. She’s always nice to me, but I guess it’s hard to be mean to the girl who can’t chase you or steal your boyfriends.” Her smile faded slightly, but her upbeat demeanor remained.

“So umm, would it be…ok if I, well I was just curious if you…” Amy didn’t know how to get out the words she was thinking without sounding rude or forward, but as she stared at Carrie’s legs, the other girl clearly knew what she was trying to ask.

“Why am I in a wheelchair?” Carrie blurted out, with a smile clearly visible letting Amy know the question was clearly in-bounds.

“Uhh, yeah…if that’s ok to ask?” Amy apologetically added.

“I just like having people take me everywhere I want…it’s like having a permanent chauffeur…or at least that’s what I tell myself!” Even talking about her disability, Carrie’s bubbly spirit persisted. “Everyone’s got problems, I just figure I might as well find something fun about it.”

“Wow…how are you, like…so…ok with that? I mean, I guess you are, you like…have to be, and all, but yeah doesn’t it…hurt?” Amy’s inquisitive look led Carrie to explain a bit more.

“Yeah it’s not very comfy sitting here sometimes and I know some people who have a chair can’t feel their legs, but I can….so I get sore. And sometimes I get spasms and a couple of times I’ve had seizures, but they don’t happen much so the doctor isn’t too worried.”

“So it’s like a disease or something?” Amy asked.

“Oh sorry, it’s called CP…that stands for Cerebral Palsy. But it’s not so bad 'cause some kids have it way worse. Like some people have a really hard time talking or get twisted into funny shapes or can’t go to school and stuff. I have a mild case my parents say…I’m so thankful for that! Believe it or not, I used to walk with these brace thingies everywhere after I turned five, but a few years ago I fell down some stairs and broke one leg and really bruised up the other one, so my parents and doctor told me I needed to use the chair unless I’m home 'cause I never healed quite right and my muscles aren’t very strong.” With Amy still listening intently, Carrie continued.

“Stacy, errr, Miss Kendall…she’s taken care of me sometimes when my parents can’t…ever since I was little. I have a couple of…other problems…because of my muscles not being strong and stuff. Like, for a while when I was little the one doctor wanted to put this tube in my tummy to push food inside without swallowing, but my parents said no and they helped me learn how to eat. I still throw up sometimes, especially when I have an attack, but it doesn’t happen a whole lot, so it’s better now. But certain foods are bad. So yeah, story of my life…there you go.” The bubbly smile had faded into a slightly haggard look through the telling of her story, but the persistent spark of joy remained.

Amy stared at Carrie. She wasn’t sure what to say. On the one hand, she wanted to tell her how much she admired her for going through all of that hardship with such a positive attitude and on the other hand, she just wanted to give her a huge hug. She hesitated, slightly afraid to hurt her and a bit worried she was being too forward.

“Umm, Carrie, can I like…give you a little hug or something…cause you’re just awesome!”

Carrie beamed. “I love hugs! Never ask, just gimme!”

Amy smiled back, quickly bending down and leaning in for a gentle hug. She was quickly surprised to feel an unexpected amount of squeeze coming from the frail girl.

“Whoa, you’re stronger than I thought…I didn’t want to hurt you!” Amy smiled and gave her new friend one final squeeze before standing back up.

After a short, slightly awkward pause, Carrie blurted out, “You wanna be friends?” And as she beamed, Amy looked back with almost as big a smile.

“Yes, yes! Of course, you’re awesome, like…who could refuse you? And this has to be the fastest friendship, like, ever!” Amy beamed, hardly able to contain her own excitement. The girl who’d almost resigned herself that her only friend in the world might be three years old was suddenly elated. She’d finally found what was missing in her life…something that had eluded her for so long: true friendship.

The girls talked for a short while longer, mainly about the camp. Amy discovered that Carrie’s parents, particularly her father, were highly involved in the college where the camp was being held and Carrie had been coming for free the past three years, officially as the scorekeeper of any practice matches held during the week, but secretly she knew her parents had found an excuse to get her out of the house and with other girls her age even if she wasn’t able to play the sport with them.

Amy also learned that Carrie was homeschooled. Her mother was a former high school teacher turned part time college lecturer, and with her background she believed she could do a better job than the special ed programs in public education. However, her parents insisted that she mingle and not let her disability hold her back, so Carrie was often involved with camps, church groups, and volunteer programs. Like Amy, she also had trouble making friends, but Amy didn’t understand how anyone could dislike this girl.

As Carrie described it, most girls were fake nice to her just because of her disability. They saw her as someone to be pitied and perhaps looked after, but few actually gave her the courtesy of getting to know the girl inside. Right off, she realized Amy was different.

“Alright girls, it’s about dinner time.” Stacy’s sudden appearance and announcement cut the girls’ bonding time short, and they headed to their rooms to get a few things settled and ready for dinner. As Amy went to her room, Jessel peaked out from hers and quickly slipped into Amy’s room after her while Stacy was busy going to help Carrie get ready.

“Amy you gotta listen fast because I ain’t gettin’ that old crone on my case this year like what happened last year.” Jessel started in a hushed and serious tone. “She’s a real witch that one, and you saw her the way she treated you? Well don’t trust her and don’t get too close to Carrie. She’s sweet and all, but Stacy looks after her like she’s a little kid. You get close to her and Stacy gets jealous or thinks you’re gonna to hurt her and you’re in for a miserable week. You and me, we gotta stick together and just ignore them.” Jessel moved back to the outside door to listen for noise before looking back to Amy whose face was clearly showing annoyance.

“You got a lot of nerve telling me about Stacy being a jerk after what you said to me! You don’t tell me who I can be friends with! And why should I believe you? Carrie is the sweetest girl and I like her, so you can go back to your room and be a jerk all by yourself!” Amy hissed, glaring at the other girl and contemplating yelling for Stacy to tell her that Jessel was being mean to her, but she didn’t want to start off the week being labeled a tattletale, so she hoped Jessel would get the message instead.

“You know what, fine! I tried to be nice to you and warn you but whatever. Just whatever. I’ll be alone again, but that’s fine by me. Damn parents wouldn’t listen when I told them everyone cool goes to Spike, and I’m stuck here for the second year in a row. But you don’t care, do you? Whatever. Bye!” Jessel whirled around to leave, but Amy caught her by the arm.

“Wait, you said you wanted to go to Spike?” Amy was signed up for that camp as well in three weeks and she couldn’t help but ask…

“Yeah why do you care? Let go of my arm…” Jerking her arm away, she stared back at Amy with an expression that was far more hurt than malicious, but she was trying her best to keep up her tough exterior.

“N…nothing, I just wanted to go too…is all.” Amy lied, knowing if she told Jessel she was signed up to attend Spike as well, she’d hate her even more out of envy. Jessel’s look softened.

“Yeah? Your parents make some lame excuse up about cost and travel time too? Cause that’s what mine did even when I told them I would work and pay for the extra cost. You’d think having a teenager who wants to work would matter for something, but they just told me to save it for college because they ain’t payin for some expensive school like my brother went to.” She took a breath from her rant and let out a long sigh.

“Yeah my parents too. Well, my mom at least…my dad just went along with it.” Amy recalled the arguments of last April.

“Same. My dad travels around the world for the British government. My mom is from here but he’s from there. I think I see him maybe five times a year or so…and yeah, my mom is basically a single parent most of the time.”

“My dad works for the US military and he’s never around either…crazy coincidence…” Amy let a little smile break from her angry demeanor.

“Hey, looks like I do have something in common with you blondie.” Jessel grinned slightly and looked at the floor for a second before continuing with what seemed to be the most genuine demeanor from the girl that Amy had seen yet. “Look Amy, I’m sorry if I’ve been mean or rude or whatever. I hate this camp, I hate Witch Kendall, and I hate why I have to be in this ‘special suite’ with you. I didn’t mean to drag you into my mess. Last year she made me miserable and I hoped it wouldn’t happen again but it’s already looking like nothing will be different.” A look of hopelessness permeated her freckled face.

“So why DO you have to be in here with me? I’m not being mean, but if you want to be friends, at least tell me that.” Amy hoped she wasn’t being too bold, but at least Jessel finally seemed to have her walls down enough to have a real conversation, so this seemed like an opportunity.

“I’ll only tell if you spill your secret too. That’s fair as fair, right?”

Amy should have expected that question, but somehow her bedwetting still felt like something Jessel shouldn’t get to know about. But then, she had just asked the same question herself. It sounded better when she was doing the asking…

“Oh, well yeah…ummmm I guess that’s fair.” She gulped and sighed…then realized she was fighting the urge to suck one of her fingers. She had to tell, but this was hard!

“I…umm, I sorta have…accidents…when I sleep. But…only sometimes! And my mom overreacts and checked some bedwetter box on the camp application giving me ‘special accommodations’ which made me end up here.” She felt her cheeks growing warm and realized that she had just told someone she barely knew about something very embarrassing and personal.

“That’s it, huh? Just a bedwetter? Sheesh, just like last year. You’ve got it easy girl.” Jessel sighed. “Yeah, I wet the bed too. It sucks and all, but the worst part is why I wet the bed. I have one of the worst kinds of diabetes you can get as a kid. Some people call it ‘brittle’ but I hate that because it sounds like I’m gonna crumble if someone bumps me.” She looked for Amy’s reaction, but so far Amy was just taking everything in.

“So you have to do shots and stuff? I knew a girl at school that had to do those…” Amy added.

“It’s shots and tests and everything. And even so, I almost lost my eye once. My diabetes is so bad that if I get lazy and don’t look at my glucose every meal, I can have really bad stuff happen because it goes all out of whack so fast it makes me crazy.” Jessel made the same motion she’d made earlier rubbing her face, forehead, and then into her scalp as if to wipe the stress from her head.

“Wow, that really sucks. So you have to have a nurse monitor you all the time then?”

“No, my mom does it when I’m home and I check in at the school nurse’s office only if I am feeling the least bit light-headed or sick. But yeah, at this camp it’s the evil nurse looking after me. I don’t know why she doesn’t just put something in my shots and do me in 'cause I know she hates me too…”

“Jessel is definitely a drama queen.” Amy thought, but she decided to offer a more considerate response.

“She probably knows they’d fire her and throw her in jail if anyone found out. And what do you have against her anyway? She seems a little mean and stuff, but not like the witch you’re talking about.” Amy was clearly skeptical, but she wanted to hear what Jessel had to say.

“You weren’t here last year. When I came I was the youngest kid here but my coach told me I had potential and that I should apply so I did. I roomed with Carrie and a girl named Lori who was just like you. Well, not exactly like you, but pretty much…she wet the bed and that’s it. Witch Kendall was here too. Anyway, Lori kept to herself for the first few days and by that time I was friends with Carrie and we were up late one night talking when that witch burst into the room and told Carrie she needed to rest and not exert herself by staying up all night talking. It was barely after midnight and you’d think we were talking at 4am! Anyway, I made some wise arse remark about how Carrie could make her own decisions about when to go to bed and the witch practically dragged me to my room and told me to never come back to Carrie’s room again.” Amy looked confused and interjected.

“Wait, I thought they stayed in the same room. Wouldn’t she have been in there to begin with when y’all started talking?” Amy asked.

“Funny you should say that because I’m pretty sure that little setup is because of me. Last year Nurse Kendall slept on the couch out in the main area until that little exchange then she started sleeping on the futon in Carrie’s room. For the rest of the week, the witch would ignore me and go off and do things with Carrie and Lori and pretend I didn’t exist. She would make comments about how I was rude and a bad influence. She ain’t tellin me what to do, and I told her that and she didn’t like it so she can shove it!” Jessel’s eyes were almost bulging and her voice had raised near the end. Realizing she was likely to draw attention to herself, she quickly added: “I really was trying to warn you….don’t make the same mistake I made, just stay away from them.”

The younger girl left quickly and quietly, leaving Amy somewhat lost in her thoughts about everything that she’d just learned. But the realization that she’d never changed out of her pull-up from the trip quickly snapped her back to the moment. Once that was taken care of and hidden away in her things, she changed into other clothes for dinner and headed out to join the others.

1 Like

Re: The Mystery of Disposition

Enjoyed your update :slight_smile:

Re: The Mystery of Disposition

I’m loving your story but there are a few thing I want to know more about.I Like what’s going on with your story but let me begin please don’t take any of this in as mean I’m just curious.
So Lana as you mentioned Amy and her having the same traits and How Meredith was cheated on and is Lana Amy’s Bio-mother if so will she find out later in the story and what’s gonna happen with camp and is Molly gonna appear later in the story also?
you’ve spent a long time on ONE major part of the story with Amy acting like a little 3 year old at JJ’s house . Maybe Also was wondering more about Her friends will she have sleepover and will one find out or one having a similar problem or stuff like that in the story. It has taken a turn to the ride to Camp. I really want to see more parts of conflict and Your a great amazing write and I hope to get lots of updates fast long and soon
Enjoying it and was happy to see you posted yesterday :slight_smile: :wink:

Re: The Mystery of Disposition

Just discovered your story. Excellent writing. Great pacing. Can’t wait for more.

Re: The Mystery of Disposition

Thanks all for the encouraging words!

dl_tml: I won’t give away details for future chapters…that would be a disservice to the story and to each of you reading the story to unload details in this way. I am sorry that you don’t like the pacing, and I’ve already been considering slowly increasing the amount of time covered in the story as the chapters continue. I don’t expect to have another chapter out in the near future, but I will do my best.

Re: The Mystery of Disposition

This is a very nice story. I like the way Amy sort of ‘code-switches’ and changed her behavior based on who she is around, between her mother and the Chadwicks and now at camp.

Even so, while I like the characterization that you’ve given her, it still feels a little bit sparse. Her internal thoughts are believable, but they kind of feel like the thoughts any person would have in her situation. I guess I’m trying to say that hee thoughts and reactions to her surroundings could be a bit more authentically hers.
Perhaps being around other girls her age will showcase how she’s unique.

There are also a whole lot of things that I like here, as well. It’s really great when you have scenes from Meredith’s point of view. Her internal conflict of trying to love Amy as genuinely as she can despite knowing she is a product of infidelity is pretty compelling; I’m at the same time looking forward to and staying when she decides to tell Amy, and whether or not this revelation will cause her to regress further.

I also appreciate Amy’s thoughts on Molly. She’s seeing her friend change into someone she doesn’t really like through the letters. She definitely seems to have become a typical teen girl, and Amy is angry at her for leaving her alone to become a false person.