The November weather was cold and blustery the day that Lee came to stay with the Carters. The sky and the temperature of the air seemed to match her cold, slate-gray eyes. They were eyes that had seen much more in their 11 years than most would see in a lifetime - more than any one SHOULD see in a lifetime.
The girl to whom the eyes belonged stood listlessly on the door step, while the Social Services counselor talked to Mrs. Carter - Lynn, she told Lee she could call her. She had one bag - all the possessions she had left in the world - slung over one shoulder, and was trying hard to put on the aire of a tough girl - which had been essential in some places she had been, but was absolutely not needed here.
“You’ll stay here now,” the counselor said, causing Lee to roll her eyes. Why did some people think they had to explain everything to kids of all ages as though they were all five year olds? She was quite aware she would stay here now. The counselor bit her lip, looked like she wanted to add something, then stopped herself and strolled back to her car, leaving Lee there. Her eyes had said it all though - her eyes said, “Don’t mess THIS one up.”
Lee looked at Lynn - her new foster parent - with her totally devil-may-care expression, refusing to show any interest in this new situation. Lynn reacted with cheerfulness, ushering the girl ( “come inside, you must be freezing, dear” ) into the house as though she hadn’t noticed the girl’s obvious act.
“Blind,” thought Lee. “Blind to anything she doesn’t like, just like most adults. Even worse, they choose to be blind to it.”
Lynn wasn’t blind or stupid, she had seen and recognized Lee’s attempts to appear not to care about anything. This was not unusual, not unexpected, and certainly not anything she couldn’t handle.
Lee laid on the bed Lynn had indicated was hers, staring about the room in distaste. There was another bed - her new foster sister’s (whom she had yet to meet since she was at Cheerleading practice) - and the whole room was done in shades of pink - blech. It looked like a six year old’s room, in Lee’s opinion.
Six years old - sort of how she felt Lynn was treating her now. She had kept up and endless chatter about the family and house while showing Lee where to put her stuff, most of which Lee had voluntarily missed. Then she had called her “Leanne” - NOBODY called her “Leanne”. “It’s LEE,” she stressed, slightly satisfied at the flash of annoyance that crossed Lynn’s eyes. Lynn had left her alone after that, “to unpack,” and as that hadn’t taken long she was now stretched out waiting to see what completely boring thing was going to happen to her next.
“Well hi! I’m Quinn!” Oh god. Lee stared at this new intruder - all 4’10" of her. Dressed in a scarlet and white cheerleading uniform, her blonde hair tied back, and a huge artificial smile on her face. A perky, popular cheerleader - her new foster sister. This was going to be worse than she thought.
Quinn woke to the sound of soft crying. The early morning light was casting shadows around the room, and she looked over to see LEE of all people crying. This was not the “tough girl” image Lee had tried to exhibit all last night.
Lee was sitting up in the bed, peering under her blankets. “What’s wrong?” Quinn asked.
Lee jumped, startled, then quickly lay back down and pulled the blanket up to her chin. “Nothing,” she asserted angrily, gripping the edge of the blanket so hard her knuckles turned white.
Quinn thought she knew. She used to do the same thing until she was seven - so, it appeared Miss Tough had a little problem. Quinn had to choke back a giggle. It was, after all, no less than she deserved, after the way she acted last night. Immediately after thinking that, though, Quinn felt bad. She hadn’t been through anything like Lee had been, and if Lee thought she had to act that way to everyone - push them away so no one could hurt her - it was up to her and her family to help her understand that she didn’t.
Quinn got up and padded across the floor to Lee’s bed. She took the covers and gently pulled them from Lee’s grasp (it was easier than she thought it would be), and pulled them down to reveal a large wet spot on the bed. “Let’s get this cleaned up,” she soothed.
Lee looked at her in surprise. “You’re not going to laugh at me?” she asked.
“Why would I do that?” Quinn asked, ignoring the guilt from the fact that she HAD been about to do just that. “It’s not funny when something bad happens to someone.” Lee got out of bed, her pajama bottoms sagging, looking very embarrassed, and Quinn helped her strip the bed.
“Better get those off too,” she said, pointing to Lee’s pajamas. “I’ll toss them in the wash with the sheets.” Lee hesitated. “No use having modesty,” Quinn told her. “You’ll have to strip and change for gym class in school anyway, and far more than just me will be there.” Lee stripped off the wet pajamas and panties and put them on top of the bundle of sheets.
“Wait!” she hissed, stopping Quinn as she picked up the bedding and headed for the door. “Your Mom will see!”
“So?” Quinn wasn’t concerned about that, she figured Mom would find out anyway and help Lee out.
“No! Please don’t tell her!” Lee looked scared.
“But… she can help you, Lee,” she said.
“Nuh uh! I’ll get in trouble,” Lee said. “Can’t you help me, Quinn? Isn’t that what sisters are for?” she pushed.
Now Quinn felt trapped. She wanted to help Lee - wanted her to like her. Maybe, with time, she could get Lee to tell Lynn on her own. “Well - ok - does this happen a lot then?” she asked.
Lee nodded. “Almost every night.” She blushed, then her eyes got wide again. “Please don’t tell anyone!”
“Ok, ok,” Quinn comforted. “Don’t worry - it will be our secret. Tell you what. We both will sneak out, and if Mom is up, you distract her while I get these down into the wash.” They both snuck out, and went all the way to the basement without incident, a Lynn wasn’t even out of bed yet. Lee wondered why Social Services hadn’t warned her mother about Lee’s problem. They had had someone with that problem before, and had been told - Lynn had put a plastic sheet on the bed.
Quinn set the washing machine. “Chances are good that she’ll never see this,” she told Lee. "She’ll be in a hurry to get to work today, and we’ll be home before she is, so it will be enough time to dry them and make the bed.
“Won’t she notice the stripped bed?” Lee pointed out?
“Nahh - she won’t go in there til this evening,” Quinn told her, “If at all.” Lee looked relieved, and Quinn congratulated herself on her handling of this little crisis. Obviously she was growing up.
When the girls got home from school, they checked to make sure the mattress was dry (Quinn had scrubbed it with carpet cleaner that morning), then dried the bedding quickly and finally, made the bed. With a half hour to spare, everything was good as new.
Until the next morning, when Lee woke up wet again.
And so the cycle repeated itself the rest of the week. Quinn was missing sleep because of getting up early to help Lee, and as a result her cheers were lacking. Lee looked like she was in a constant state of worry about being caught. “Look,” Quinn said as they made the bed one afternoon. “If you aren’t going to tell Mom, then maybe you should consider some way of… protecting the bed.” She held her breath, hoping Lee wouldn’t kill her.
“Protecting?” Lee asked, reaching for something in her dresser drawer. “What do you mean?”
“Well….” Quinn took a breath. “Well, I know that I would much rather wear a diaper than wake up in a wet bed all the time.”
“Oh…” Lee fiddled with something in the dresser again, too embarrassed to look Quinn in the eye. “Well, I don’t think that will be necessary.” She gave Quinn a very mysterious smile after that.
Quinn decided that Lee was definitely weird, but more than that, she decided she was going to have to tell her Mom about the bedwetting. If Lee wouldn’t wear protection, they’d need a cover to protect the mattress, and Lynn would find out anyway. She decided she would do it the next afternoon, once she got home from practice.
As soon as Quinn got home, she perceived that something wasn’t quite right. Lee and Lynn were waiting for her in the living room. “Quinn, we need to have a talk,” Lynn told her.
“I’m sorry, Quinn,” Lee blurted out. “I had to tell her!”
“Tell her what?” Quinn asked. Then she realized - and was relieved because that meant she wouldn’t have to betray Lee after all. “Ohhh - well, that’s ok,” she said. “It’s good that you told. We needed to do something about it, and…”
“Quinn, why didn’t you tell me you were having a problem?” Lynn interrupted.
“Wha? Me??” Quinn looked confused. “But, I’m not the one who was wetting the bed - it was Lee!” She said.
“Quinn Marie Carter! I am shocked at you, trying to blame Lee for your problem!” Lynn reprimanded. Quinn looked to Lee for help, only to see Lee wearing a sad and betrayed expression.
“But…” she started.
“Before you get yourself in more trouble, you come with me,” Lynn commanded, taking her hand and dragging her up the stairs to her bedroom. Quinn felt like a child, being led like this.
In the bedroom, she received a shock. The bed was stripped - but it was HER bed. The mattresses looked the same on either bed, and the mattress with the stain had been moved to her bed. Her pajamas - freshly laundered - lay at the foot of the bed.
“I just can’t believe this,” Lynn was saying. “First you con Lee into helping you, then you hide it from me. Why? You’ll make Lee think I am some kind of monster that she can’t talk to. Then when she can’t take it anymore, you try to blame everything on her. You should be ashamed of yourself!”
Quinn was speechless. “I…” She looked at Lee and saw a flash in her eyes - something that looked like victory. She decided staying quiet was the best choice right now.
Her mother made her stay in the bedroom all evening as punishment - and a promise that the next several evenings - through the weekend - would be the same. “Cheer up, ‘SIS’,” Lee said. “We can get to know each other better.”
“You little brat!” Quinn seethed as soon as her mother was out of earshot. “You set this up. You did this to me on purpose!” Lee just snickered in response.
But Quinn’s worst was yet to come. That evening as she was getting into bed, Lynn entered with a paper bag. “Quinn, I don’t want any arguing about this,” she said resolutely. “I already know that you think this is the best way to deal with this kind of problem.” She pulled a package from the bag, and Quinn saw it said “Attends Youth Incontinence Briefs.” Further exploration of the bag showed a graphic design of the product - most definitely a large diaper.
“What? No, I don’t want to wear those!” she said, panicked.
Lynn sighed. “And now, you are lying AGAIN to me. Lee didn’t think you’d tell me yourself…”
She lifted a small recorder and pressed the play button. Quinn heard her own voice from the previous afternoon… “I know that I would much rather wear a diaper than wake up in a wet bed all the time.”
“Any more lying from you, Quinn, and I will not hesitate to spank you,” Lynn warned. Quinn stayed quiet now, knowing she had been well framed.
Lee watched with glee from the other bed as Princess Popular got her butt powdered like a baby, and put back in diapers by her mother. She had learned she had an interest in watching this several homes ago, when she watched her little seven year old foster sister get diapered for bed every night. A little exploration got her kicked out when she was caught putting the same little girl in diapers all day long. More exploration later got her kicked out of another home, when she had experimented with wearing diapers herself. That one had been a real shame, since she found she really didn’t like wearing them herself - her favorite thing was watching someone else get forced into a diaper. Now, she was just honing her skill to get in the perfect environment - and this may just be it.
Quinn was fighting mixed feelings. On one hand she was so mad at Lee for setting her up she couldn’t see straight. On another she was so terribly embarrassed at being diapered like a baby! And on yet another level, she was physically enjoying the softness and snugness that was now surrounding her.
Someday, she might have to thank Lee for doing this to her. Right after she got revenge.