The Race (Chapter 6- 5/09)

Note: Originally the first chapter of this story was posted under a different account with a different title. I no longer have access to that account or the email address corresponding to that account, so I’m reposting here.

I have about eight chapters of this story done currently (or about 31 pages and 14K words) and will (hopefully) write it to completion. It’s an idea that’s bounced around in my head for quite some time, so I hope y’all find it interesting.

This is my first time writing a story (or doing any real writing in quite some time) so I’m sure that my writing will have some grammar and spelling issues. Please feel free to point them out!

Thus far in I’ve also elected to keep my characters flat in some ways- the first several chapters focus more on a whirlwind of events than on backstory for the characters. This is intentional at this point because I want the reader to learn about some things as the characters do. If people have suggestions about how to better to do this (or that this is simply a terrible idea and I should change it) I welcome that criticism!

[HR][/HR]

Prologue

Veronica stared up at the man. He was significantly taller than her and had gentle blue eyes. She maintained eye contact, but her attention couldn’t have been further away. Meeting people was boring, and soon enough this man would also be out of her life forever. She could feel Julie looking at her, but she had little concern for the opinion of the well-intentioned social worker. Veronica’s real concern was with a programming puzzle she had been grappling with for the last half hour or so. Usually she could solve such puzzles in five or ten minutes, but this one was less trivial than she had originally thought and she was starting to feel disappointed in herself. She had just started to find the intuition behind the problem when Julie shook shoulder, destroying her concentration.

Veronica glared up at her. She hated being touched, and Julie knew that. “Don’t touch me!” she snarled.

Julie snatched her hand away and smiled, obviously trying very hard to be patient. “Paul and I need to know that you agree,” she said with just a hint of hesitation. Paul was an experienced foster parent, but Julie was very worried about pairing him with Veronica. Paul usually took on sob stories, teenagers that were emotionally damaged and required a great deal of attention. Teenagers like that were hard to place, and Julie didn’t want him to take Veronica and then refuse to take any more children. That had already happened a couple times. Most of the children Paul fostered had behavioral issues, but none like Veronica. No one knew exactly what her story was, but as far as Julie could tell she was just mean.

Veronica looked at Julie and nodded her head, whatever it was it was fine with her. She knew the drill well. The last family she had been paired with had lasted exactly 68 hours and 26 minutes, and it was her personal goal to get this one under 48 hours.

Julie turned her attention back to Paul while Veronica turned her attention back to the programming puzzle. Files were exchanged and best wishes were made. Julie shook hands with Paul and wished him well. Veronica noted the time on her watch. 10:37 AM.

[HR][/HR]
The First Hour- 10:37 AM

Paul smiled at the girl and headed for the door of the social work center. It was only the very beginning of summer, but the heat warmed the inside of the building and Paul couldn’t wait to get back into the SUV with air conditioning. Veronica followed him, cooperating for now. Paul already suspected that that wouldn’t last. Though Julie had given him a fresh copy of her file, Paul had already read her file several times and doubted that it would contain any substantial changes.

Veronica had simply shown up in Austin one day with absolutely no history. She had lived on the street for perhaps six months before it was discovered that she was only twelve years old. After that she was placed in the foster care system and had torn through homes ever since. Her longest placement had been only a short two months, and each stay had further shortened since then. She was now sixteen and Julie struggled to find a family to take her for more than a few days. She had no educational history and had scored just high enough to avoid being classified as mentally handicapped when she was administered an IQ test. Several families had tried to get her on track educationally, but thus far she had failed every class she had ever been enrolled in and been expelled from many of the schools in the area.

Paul planned to homeschool her and then perhaps teach her a skill. He didn’t know how much progress he could realistically hope to make, but anything that gave her even a little bit of a chance in the world would help.

Paul opened the passenger side door to his vehicle for Veronica and stepped around to put her single suitcase in the trunk. Veronica looked around the car, using it as a way to size Paul up. The interior was nice and clean. The leather seats looked well cared for and the car as a whole looked fairly new. Veronica figured that Paul was probably wealthy. She had stayed with wealthy families before. They were the easiest to break. They all had this perfect picture of a perfect little family and wanted her to be a little angel. She thought briefly about the Carlsons, one of the more recent wealthy families she had stayed with. She had the father’s very expensive watch hidden in a crayon pouch in her suitcase. Stealing it had been a great deal of fun and a smile spread across her face just thinking about it.

“Veronica, please put on your seatbelt.” Veronica didn’t register that Paul was talking to her at first. Unsure if he was being ignored or not, Paul repeated the request. Shaken out of her thoughts, Veronica sat for a moment, considering the request. Getting a family to refuse to take her before even leaving the parking lot would’ve been quite the accomplishment. But it seemed too soon for the first battle. Lose the battle win the war was a great sentiment, but Veronica just preferred to win in general. She quietly complied.

Paul nodded his head and started the car. Veronica drifted back into her thoughts, hoping that Paul would have the sense to leave her alone. He didn’t. “So Veronica, where are you from?” Veronica looked at him, suppressing the urge to roll her eyes.

“Uh, I don’t really know,” she offered. Paul nodded his head again and sped up, preparing to merge onto the expressway. “What do you like to do in your free time?” Paul had an entire list of prewritten questions that he asked almost every girl on their way home. It was a good day if he got even one honest answer.

She paused for a second, recalling the list of preapproved teenager activities that she was supposed to list. “I uh, like music. And makeup.”

“What do you like to eat?”

“I guess I like all the normal stuff,” Veronica offered, wanting Paul to take a hint. She didn’t like small talk, and she still hadn’t solved the programming problem she had been previously thinking about.

“Oh, do you watch any TV or movies?”

“The normal stuff I guess.” At that point Veronica decided the conversation was over and went back to thinking about her programming problem. She thought she might be able to simplify it to the point where she could solve it rather quickly.

Paul continued talking to her, asking her standard questions. Veronica did her best to spit out acceptable responses to all of his inquiries, but eventually she grew annoyed. “Isn’t all of this in my file?”

“Sure. But I think it’s better to hear from you.” Paul took on a mock serious look. “You never can trust those people to get all the details right.”

“Just read the file.” Paul’s eyebrows rose at her quick response. He settled on not asking her further questions until they got home. Unfortunately he thought that might be awhile. Paul was only a 20-minute drive from the adoption center, but that was in the best-case scenario. Traffic was bad and didn’t look like it was going to let up any time soon. He glanced briefly at Veronica and memories of his own sister filled his mind. He quickly pushed them away and thought instead about work. He usually took a couple months off each time he began fostering a new child. Typically he worried during this time, but Pauline, his second in command and one of his best friends, had more than proved that she was capable of running the office for a few short months. The business would be fine while he was away. It had been the last six times, and it would be this time as well.

Paul looked back to Veronica. There was absolutely no physical resemblance between her and his sister. Georgia had been tall, with darker skin and thick, curly hair. Veronica was short, perhaps only 4’10”, and had brown, straight hair. Yet the resemblance between them was uncanny. Paul tried to place it but just couldn’t. It was almost as if they had the same aura.

Veronica noticed Paul’s glances at her but said nothing. She figured he was hoping she would be bothered by the silence and try to strike up a conversation. She smirked, amused by how very wrong he was. If he noticed her smirk, he didn’t let on. She had solved her programming puzzle and had decided that she wanted her next challenge to be of the mathematical variety. A difficult integral would suffice, and she went about coming up with one in her head.

The car ride remained silent. Paul was unwilling to make another attempt at conversation just yet and Veronica had absolutely no desire to do so. The silence was uninterrupted until they arrived home.

Veronica surveyed the battlefield as they drove up. The neighborhood was nice, probably upper class. That didn’t provide any new information. Paul lived a great deal in to the subdivision and Veronica felt that the number of turns taken to get to the home was bordering on ridiculous. His lawn was well kept and the house was large. Two stories. She’d probably have her own room, which she preferred. She mentally prepared herself to walk in to the house and be greeted by his wife and no doubt incredibly obnoxious children. As they entered through the garage the house was silent.

“What, are you not married?” she asked, coming off slightly harsher than she had meant to.

“No,” Paul answered. “I never have been. It’s just the two of us. Well, and Annie and Susie,” he hesitantly finished.

“Annie and Susie,” Veronica thought. “So he does have kids.” She quickly discovered that she was wrong as an overexcited black lab bounded in to the room.

“This is Annie,” Paul explained, reaching down to scratch the dog’s ears. “Susie is the cat and she tends to be a little less excitable,” he said with a chuckle. The dog wagged her tail and sat down at Paul’s feet.

Paul carefully stepped over her and headed for the kitchen. The dog eagerly followed, as did Veronica, though with significantly less enthusiasm.

“I’ll show you around the house, but it’s almost noon, time for lunch!”

Veronica glanced down at her watch. 11:37. 47 more hours.

Re: The Race

The Second Hour: 11:37 am

Paul began to move around the kitchen, seeming to get ready to cook. Veronica watched him, not sure what she was expected to do. All of her belongings were still in the car and that seemed extremely intentional.

“Why don’t you have a seat at the table? I’m making spaghetti and it should be ready very soon. Does that sound good?” Paul asked, gesturing toward the large oak table.

Veronica sat down and begrudgingly said “Yeah, sure, sounds nice.”

Paul went about cooking. Spaghetti was so easy that it was essentially automatic. He asked Veronica questions from time to time, hoping she might actually answer one of them.

Veronica initially made an effort to provide reasonable responses, but that didn’t last long. Annie had made her way back in to the room and seemed determined to be friends with Veronica. The dog was tall and easily weighed over 50 pounds. Her fur was straight black and pretty short, and she had a curious and friendly look in her eyes. She walked over to Veronica and sniffed around her. Veronica watched the dog carefully- she wasn’t trusting of anything that might bite her.

Seeming to decide that Veronica was safe, Annie placed her head on Veronica’s lap. Veronica jumped backward, startled, and nearly fell out of her chair. Paul swung around at the noise and saw a very happy looking dog and a very distraught looking teenager.

Paul fought back the urge to laugh, though apparently not very effectively as Veronica glared at him. “Annie is harmless, don’t look so stressed!”

Veronica gave the dog another dirty look and went back to staring at the wall and thinking about calculus. She already hated this place.

Paul finished making the spaghetti and served it up on nice glass plates. The plates were, in Veronica’s opinion, silly. They were decorated with bright, festive orange and red flowers. What use was anything beyond a simple white?

Lunch was every bit as exasperating as both Paul and Veronica had assumed it would be. Paul was exasperated by Veronica’s refusal to answer questions and Veronica was exasperated by Paul’s insistence on asking questions. Lunch was mercifully short and Paul cleared the dishes, declaring a stale mate of the first meal.

As Paul cleared the dishes Veronica reviewed her initial plan. She figured that Paul would be easy to break. He seemed nice and very reasonable, which also made him laughably weak. She would start off by running away if she could. Running away wasn’t something that she typically did. Most families who had access to her records weren’t eager to leave her by herself in a situation where she could leave the house undetected. Keys weren’t generally left lying around and much to her annoyance lock picking tools were hard to come by. Paul seemed like he might be just stupid enough though.

Next on Paul’s agenda was apparently setting up her room. Paul took her to the garage and fetched her things from the car. He led her upstairs and showed her to her new bedroom. The bedroom was spacious. The ten-foot ceilings emphasized the height of the floor to ceiling windows, which cast a gentle light over a queen size bed. The room was very nice, but that didn’t impress Veronica. A family meant limitations and a lack of freedom and no bedroom was worth that. She preferred to be on her own on the streets than to risk family connections.

Paul left her suitcase at the edge of the bed and took a seat at the desk chair. “I’ll leave you to unpack in a minute, but before I do I want to discuss some of the house rules.”

“Have you ever done writing with the where, what, when, how, and who strategy?”

Veronica rolled her eyes but didn’t respond. The strategy he spoke of was supposed to help elementary school students write better stories. Not exactly her cup of tea, or her IQ level.

Paul continued anyway. “My house rules are similar. I always need to know where you are. If you leave the house I need to know what you’re doing, when you’ll be back, how you’re getting there, how you’re paying, and who you’re with.”

Veronica nodded.

Paul took that as understanding and continued. “I always have a right to ask how you acquired the things that you have, where they are, and what you intend to do with them.”

“In general I expect you to behave in a way that is respectful to yourself and others. I will show you that same respect unless you show me that you cannot be expected to behave in that manner. That being said, actions have consequences, and if you behave inappropriately there will be consequences. Understood?”

Veronica nodded.

“I need verbal affirmation this time.”

Veronica let out a hesitant “Uh huh.”

Given her educational history Paul found it curious that she knew the words “verbal” and “affirmation” but didn’t push. Paul left her to unpack and headed downstairs to his own bedroom.

He repeated the spiel about mutual respect to every child that he took care of. He didn’t expect it to make any different to Veronica, but he felt that it was important that she have the opportunity to prove that she could behave before treating her like she couldn’t be trusted. Sometimes treating a child with respect for the first time in their life was all that was necessary to turn around a tendency toward poor decisions. He doubted it, but he lost nothing in trying.

That didn’t mean that he wasn’t cautious. Sensors and cameras tracked all the doors in and out of the house so that Paul could monitor when they opened and closed. This was partially to deter burglars and partially to keep rebellious and difficult teenagers in check.

Paul pulled up camera feeds and sensor data so that he could track it over the next 30 or so minutes. Veronica typically ran away. He expected her to try something similar here. There wasn’t anything unique about running away. Most of the girls tried it at some point or another. Paul would typically wait until about two minutes after they left the house and then go get in the car. They were never hard to find from there. Since he had given them a speech on rules usually less than 24 hours previously it wasn’t hard to make a case for punishment, usually grounding. Paul wanted them to feel like he was smart enough to out smart them- not something he thought would be a problem with Veronica.

Veronica sat down on the bed for a couple minutes and then began unpacking. She pulled her backpack out of her suitcase. The backpack was old and rather torn up, but it served her purposes well. She shoved one change of clothes in the backpack as well as her computer. She wouldn’t need much more. The goal in running away wasn’t to get away. Runaways were almost always caught. The goal was to wait until she was caught and then either play on the sympathies of the person who caught her or show her “parents” that she didn’t have to accept whatever asinine punishment they came up with. This stripped them of confidence and power. Grounding was the most common punishment and a simple “No” was all it took to shake most “parents” of their confidence. If they took the items by force, she would simply steal them back or steal their versions of the items. It was simple, low energy, and effective. She was confident that it would serve her here as well. She glanced at her phone and set a timer for ten minutes. She wanted Paul to settle in to whatever he was doing before she took off.

Re: The Race

The Third Hour: 12:47 PM

Veronica’s phone buzzed as her alarm went off. She turned off the alarm and headed for her room door. She left quietly, moving quickly. She was down the stairs and almost out the front door when Annie appeared, apparently very happy to see her. Veronica suppressed the urge to yelp and headed for the door. The dog followed her, beating her there.

Veronica faced off with the dog, annoyed. Why did Paul have to have a pet? Annie wagged her tail and looked at Veronica, clearly happy. Petrified of being bitten but preferring a dog bite to failure Veronica dashed around the dog, stepping on her paw and causing her to yelp. Sure that Paul had heard that, Veronica hurried out the door, slamming it on her way out, and bolted down the street.

Paul watched her leave through the camera and headed toward the garage. He whistled for Annie on his way out and the dog jumped in the car, ready to go. If Veronica hid in a bush Annie would make it easier to find her.

Veronica was still close enough to the house when Paul left that she could hear the garage door open. She continued running but knew that she couldn’t outrun a car, so she headed for and hopped over a fence that was maybe three houses down. As her luck would have it there was an old man standing in the back yard at the time.

She looked at him, sizing him up. “Hi sir, I’m sorry to jump into your yard like this! I’m running from a man who’s keeping me captive, he wants to hurt me!”

The old man looked concerned. “We should probably call the police then!”

Veronica nodded her head, breathing heavily. The man pulled out a cellphone and dialed. Paul picked up on the other end.

“Hello, I have a young lady here who is claiming that she is running from a man who is holding her captive! I’m at 2281 Magnolia Street, the red house toward the end of the block.”

“Hi Bill, thanks for letting me know. I’ll be there right away.”

“Alright, thank you officer. Come on into the backyard when you get here.”

Bill hung up and went to sit next to Veronica, who had settled down in the grass. He already knew her name, but asked for it anyway. Paul went around and showed all of the neighbors a picture of new foster children before they came home with him. It wasn’t uncommon for the girls to cause trouble, especially at first, and Paul didn’t want anyone to be caught by surprise. This also helped him keep his charges out of trouble with the law since the neighbors could call him instead of the police. They were all very understanding for at least the first couple months. Bill had had children himself and greatly admired Paul’s dedication to the children he brought home, but he didn’t understand his insistence on bringing home teenagers who were struggling so badly. Bill was grateful that the girls had someone like Paul so he didn’t push the issue.

Paul showed up a couple minutes later and came in through the gate, Annie in tow. Veronica gasped when she saw him and drew closer to Bill.

“That’s the man that’s abusing me!” she screamed. “Don’t let him take me, please don’t let him take me!”

Bill smiled a little and whispered to Veronica “I know Paul sweetie. I know that you’re his new foster child. If you were my child you would have a firm spanking waiting for you when you got home. You should probably go quickly and quietly.”

Paul had covered the rest of the distance between them and the gate by this time and looked down at Veronica. To her surprise, his expression was a mixture of disappointment and annoyance rather than angry.

Veronica got up to run away again but Paul caught her wrist and pulled her to him. “That was quite the stunt. It’s time to go home.”

Veronica looked between the two of them and realized that they’d tricked her. She tried to recall the last time that that had happened and she couldn’t. She felt her face twist and glared at Bill. Her fists balled up and she could feel herself flush, angry at the deception. Overwhelmed by frustration Veronica went for what she knew was not generally very effective- a temper tantrum. She stomped her foot and began to cry and yell, calling Paul a plethora of names and yelling at how unfair everything was.

Paul pulled at her wrist, trying to get her to leave Bill’s yard. This only served to frustrate her more and she began kicking and hitting at Paul. Surprised by the hand coming rapidly for his face, Paul let go of her other wrist and Veronica threw herself on the ground in an all out tantrum.

Paul gave Bill an apologetic look and settled down next to him in the grass. There was about as much point to fighting a temper tantrum as there was to arguing with the wind. He would have to wait it out. Bill returned a sympathetic look and went into the house to get lemonade. He was familiar with children’s temper tantrums, though his children had outgrown that stage long before they were Veronica’s age.

Paul watched Veronica kick and scream. Toddlers usually cry themselves out quickly, but teens have significantly more endurance. Veronica watched Paul as she had her tantrum. He wasn’t reacting to her. It was all so unfair. No one ever outsmarted her. She was the smartest person she knew. How dare Bill lie to her?

She decided to express this as Bill came back out with the beverages. “How sniff dare *sniff you lie sniff to me!”

Bill looked at the screaming girl but left it alone. She was Paul’s child and he didn’t want to interfere. He handed Paul a glass and the two sat down to talk and wait it out.

“Don’t worry, I resisted the urge to lace yours,” Bill said with a wink.

Paul laughed. “At the rate this is going that might not have been a bad idea.”

Bill offered a friendly smile. “Rough day?”

“We’re only on hour three.”

Bill took a sip of his lemonade and Veronica continued screaming. “They all grow out of the terrible twos,” he said with mock reassurance in his voice.

Paul offered a faint smile and Veronica cried out against the comment. The irony of her protesting being called two whilst throwing a temper tantrum wasn’t lost on her, but the frustration of being outsmarted made her far too emotional to care.

Bill’s comment wasn’t entirely off base. He sometimes had Paul and his girls over for barbecue and after some time they all did eventually outgrow their terrible twos.

“She doesn’t have very good emotional control yet, eh?” Bill offered. Paul nodded. Veronica didn’t seem to know how to handle her frustration. This reminded Paul a little of Emma, one of the other girls that he had taken care of. She had been abused as a child and had never learned to properly identify and cope with her emotions. Even the slightest bit of frustration or sadness would lead to her kicking and screaming on the ground for half an hour. At first Paul had tried to talk to her during her tantrums and tell her that she was feeling frustrated or sad. This never worked so Paul had learned to talk to her about her tantrums after she had reached a relatively calm state. He had also learned that there was little purpose to punishing tantrums that were based on emotional state. Veronica didn’t have the emotional maturity to respond another way- she was doing the best that she could.

Bill and Paul watched Veronica and talked about work and Bill’s summer plans. Bill planned to visit Alaska later in the summer and was excited for the hiking opportunities. Veronica continued to cry and pound her fists on the ground for another twenty or thirty minutes before she started to calm down.

At that point Paul and Bill both stood up. Paul stood over her and asked “Are you ready to go home now?”

Veronica looked up at him, her frustration turning to pure rage. “Fuck you!”

Paul raised his eyebrows and nodded his head. He turned back to Bill and they talked about hiking out on one of the glaciers. Paul, an outdoors enthusiast, made a recommendation for an excellent pair of hiking boots for ice.

Veronica, even angrier at being ignored, decided to make another run for the fence. Before she could get two steps forward Paul had grabbed her wrist. Holding on to both wrists this time, Paul repeated his question. “Are you ready to go home now?”

Veronica cried out in fury and attempted to pull free of Paul’s grasp. Paul picked her up in one fluid motion, placing her firmly on his hip and keeping a hand on her back. “Are you ready to go home?” he asked for the third time. Veronica glared at him and didn’t respond to his question. “Put me down!”

Paul nodded at Bill. “Thanks for the lemonade, I think that we’re going to get going now. We should get together before you leave for Alaska!”

Bill nodded his head in agreement. “I’ll walk you to the car.”

Paul whistled for Annie again. Put off by the yelling Annie had been exploring the flowerbeds. She came bounding back over and headed for the car.

Paul unlocked the car and started to walk out of the gate. Veronica once again tried to hit Paul in the face. Annoyed with the constant attacks, Paul kept one hand under her for support and used his other hand to hold both of her hands behind her back.

He and Bill walked at a leisurely pace. When they got to the car Bill opened the door for the back seat and Paul situated Veronica, setting her down and fastening her seatbelt.

Still angry at being picked up Veronica waited until Paul had fastened her in and shut the door. Paul opened the passenger side door to let Annie in and then walked around to his own side. As he did so Veronica undid her seat belt and pulled at the door, only to discover that Paul had child locks on. Bill smiled at her through the window and waved. Paul got in and made the 300-foot journey back to the house.

Re: The Race

Very nice start: I like the way this introduces the characters as well as the characters themselves. Smarter-than-anyone-knows but emotionally immature Veronica is a fine character, and Paul seems to be easily the first “parent” she’s ever met who can find a way to control her. Bill’s name changes to Bob for a while in there; otherwise no major issues.

Re: The Race

Augh, thanks for the catch and the feedback! Bill is now Bill all the way through (I think).

Re: The Race

Your writing ability makes me want to fall into this story but I won’t just yet. I hope that you can complete this story because your command of the language is spot on.

Re: The Race

You have start the story good :slight_smile: .

Re: The Race

So far looking to be one of the best new stories this year. An old premise but the characters are interesting enough to carry it.

Re: The Race

[QUOTE=Samu;68379]Note: Originally the first chapter of this story was posted under a different account with a different title. I no longer have access to that account or the email address corresponding to that account, so I’m reposting here.
[/QUOTE]

It’ll be a couple days before I can fix it, but if you use the Contact Us link in the page footer and send me a message with your old username and the email address on that account I can merge your old account and this new one for you. :slight_smile:

Re: The Race

Thank you all for the kind words! Those are some high expectations and I hope that I’m able to meet them. This story is one that I’ve played over and over in my head. I feel like I know the characters really well, so if I’m not doing a good enough job of introducing them to you (or something happens that seems super out of character) please point it out! I’m also worried that I might be moving too fast or introducing ABDL elements too quickly, so hopefully this chapter doesn’t seem too typical or lose reader attention.

The Fourth Hour: 1:47 PM

When they got back to the house Paul got Veronica out of the car and put her back on his hip without a word. Veronica’s protests of this fell on deaf ears as Paul carried her to the house. She tried to escape his grasp without avail, having to settle for a couple good kicks to his legs. Paul let Annie out into the backyard, not wanting to be disturbed. He carried Veronica to his office and key locked the door. He put the key in his pocket and set Veronica down on the couch.

The office itself was nice in a minimalistic way. The couch was oversized, clearly intended to be comfortable rather than visually appealing. Across from the couch was a large desk with two computer monitors. There were no pictures on the desk- not of an ex-girlfriend or even of the dog. Curtains covered the windows opposite of the large glass doors.

Through all of Veronica’s protests and anger Paul was yet to say a word. She sat on the brown leather couch and crossed her arms. Paul sat in the oversized desk chair and turned it around to face Veronica.

Both sat in silence, sizing up the other. Paul thought about the attempt at running away and the tantrum that he had just witnessed. While Veronica had very poor emotional control he was starting to wonder if she might be smarter than she let on. She had been very fast to lie to and try to manipulate Bill.

Meanwhile Veronica was planning the best strategy she could use to manipulate Paul. He intended to punish her- there was little doubt about that. She figured that refusing to accept his punishment would still throw him off his game. But he hadn’t responded as she had expected so far. Throwing a tantrum had never been part of the plan, but Paul hadn’t tried to stop her tantrum or remove her from the situation. She was embarrassed that her plan had gone so poorly. She hadn’t managed to manipulate Bill. She had lost, and pretty badly. She felt heat rise in her cheeks and she knew that she was blushing. She wasn’t sure if it was due to anger or embarrassment.

Paul noticed her blush and broke the silence. “How do you feel?”

Veronica was taken aback by the question. What did her feelings have to do with this? “Not sorry, if that’s what you’re going for.” The venom in Veronica’s voice made it perfectly clear that she didn’t intend to have this conversation.

“It isn’t. Do you feel frustrated? Tired? Sad?”

“I feel…” Veronica looked off as if pondering, “As though I’m not actually required to answer that question…”

Paul shrugged. “I suppose that you aren’t. Does that mean that you’re feeling nonresponsive?” Veronica was surprised to see that he was grinning. Had he just tried to make a joke?

She rolled her eyes. “Well how do you feel? Angry? Frustrated? Like a total idiot?”

“I feel very disappointed in you. I trusted you to behave like an adult and you didn’t.”

“Adults can leave whenever they want,” Veronica offered.

“The house rules stipulate that if you leave the house I must know where you are going, when you’ll be back, who you’re with… Adults are true to their word and you didn’t tell me any of those things. You agreed to follow the rules or face consequences. That was a very clear violation of the rules and there will therefore be consequences.”

Veronica rolled her eyes.

“Do you have anything to say for yourself before I tell you what they will be?”

“Can I put ten bucks on it being an essay about feelings?” Veronica offered sarcastically.

Paul looked unimpressed. “You’re grounded for the next three days. In this case grounded means no computer or phone access. Because you attempted to run away you will also have to stay in the same room with me for at least the rest of today. If you’re doing well tomorrow we will reconsider this part of the punishment. You may use the bathroom, sleep, and change clothes by yourself, but only with permission. And since you mentioned it an essay about feelings also doesn’t sound like a bad idea.” Paul looked at Veronica and waited for a response.

“I won’t give you my computer or my phone. They’re not yours and you can’t take them. So you can just forget about it, mkay?”

Paul smiled a little bit. “Your computer is in your backpack at Bill’s house. You seem to have forgotten it after your little episode distracted you. I’ll just have Bill hang on to it for the next couple days. As for your phone, I would like you to give it to me now.”

Veronica felt a little bit of panic as she realized that she had indeed left her computer at Bill’s. She could steal Paul’s laptop later. It would be fine. The phone on the other hand… “I won’t give you my phone- fuck you.”

With that Veronica took her phone out of her pocket and shoved it into her pants. She gave Paul a “come and get it” smile.

Paul nodded his head understandingly. “Why won’t you give me your phone? You agreed to follow the rules or accept the consequences, didn’t you?”

“That sounds like another question that I don’t have to answer.”

Paul sighed and felt himself roll his eyes. He knew that he shouldn’t react- reaction would feed her rebellion, but he wasn’t good at suppressing eye rolls. Veronica wasn’t going to let go easily. This was a new situation. The girls usually fought, but they didn’t usually fight quite in this way. Paul recalled the IQ she supposedly had.

“Ok. I would like you to take a little bit of time to rethink your decision. Why don’t you head to the corner?”

Veronica looked confused. Paul was quick to clarify. “Since you won’t answer my questions I figure that you need some more time to think about your argument. I’m happy to entertain anything you have to say, but it’s hard to have a conversation when one party is silent. Go stand with your nose in the corner. I’ll tell you when to come back.”

Veronica couldn’t even remember the last time that she’d been put in the corner. Her response was simply laughter. “I’m not a toddler. You can’t make me stand in the corner and I won’t do so.” This was the best that he could come up with? She was almost disappointed.

With another understanding nod Paul picked Veronica up by the armpits and moved her over to the corner. Veronica yelped in surprise and immediately turned back around. “I said no. I won’t and you can’t make me.” She stomped her foot and smiled defiantly.

Paul gave another one of his infuriating nods. “If you can’t handle time out you’ll have to do time in instead. So turn back around, or don’t,” Paul said with an indifferent shrug. Paul didn’t ever threaten anything that he wouldn’t actually do, but he had never actually done time in before. It fell under the “read about it online” category.

Veronica had no idea what time in was nor did she really care. All that mattered was that she was pretty sure she was winning. Paul turned her so that she was facing the wall and Veronica promptly turned to face him again.

“I know that many parents count when a child is having trouble making decisions, but I don’t intend to give you four more seconds to continue misbehaving. Now or never.”

“I’ve already made a decision, so that doesn’t seem like it would be particularly effective anyway.” Paul almost laughed. Veronica’s rhetoric made him feel like he was at high school debate tournament with added eye rolling. She was formal and witty. Arguing with her could have been pleasant had the situation been different. The memory of debate brought up a pang of sadness as he thought of his sister Georgia again. Veronica seemed to have recovered her emotional control and it was hard to believe that thirty minutes ago this incredibly sarcastic teen had been lying on the ground in an all out tantrum.

“Have it your way.” Paul picked Veronica up and walked back to his desk chair. Veronica tried to hit him but Paul caught her arm before she could. Paul sat down and lowered her onto his lap so that she was facing him with her legs dangling off of the sides of the chair. “Do you know what you’re supposed to be thinking about?”

“Fuck you!”

“You need a more creative insult. You’re supposed to be thinking about why you are going to have to give up your phone. For time in you will sit on my lap facing me and rest your chin or head on my shoulder, like this.” Paul pushed on Veronica’s back so that she was leaning forward into him. She wasn’t tall enough that her chin reached his shoulder, particularly at this angle, so she was forced to rest her head on his chest.

Upset by the position, Veronica immediately moved back to sitting upright and kicked her legs. Because her legs were off to the sides of the chair this did essentially nothing. Paul pushed firmly on her back and kept his hand there, forcing her to stay in the time in position.

Veronica let out a muffled cry and cursed. Paul reassuringly patted her back, using his free hand to manipulate the computer mouse on his desk. He quietly read computer articles, ignoring Veronica’s curses and protests and occasionally gently patting her back.

Veronica eventually resigned herself to wait until Paul gave up on this stupid game. She went back to her math problem from this morning. She derived another integral and came up with a thought experiment. What would happen if the number two were removed from the numerical system? It wasn’t possible to remove the concept of two of course, but if the entire universe changed it could be. She tried to come up with a universe in which the number and concept of two didn’t exist.

Most people didn’t have any appreciation for nonsensical thoughts, but Veronica did. Thinking for the sake of thinking was where ideas came from after all.

After about ten minutes Paul pulled Veronica back into a sitting up position. “Have you thought about giving up your phone?” After a dismissive shrug Paul pushed Veronica back into time in. “Ok, we’ll check in again in a bit.”

Paul read some news articles, but he was mostly thinking about Veronica. He wondered if what he was doing would work or if it would only make her more resentful of him. He also knew that he was quite possibly in for a long haul. Veronica was stubborn and determined, and though he knew he couldn’t go through her he wasn’t actually convinced that waiting her out would work any better. He waited for another grueling ten minutes.

Veronica took the opportunity to plan her next move. She wasn’t sure how long Paul would try to wait out this silly game and she wasn’t really eager to find out. Thought experiments were interesting but she had a practical problem to handle. She knew she could out stubborn him, but what was the point? She brainstormed about another idea when her bladder provided one for her. She needed to pee. She could go to the bathroom and then barricade herself in there. To make her point she began to squirm and press her legs together as best she could. She took one of her hands and put it on her crotch to hold herself. She wanted Paul to think that she was about to have an accident. He surely wouldn’t be ok with being urinated all over.

Paul noticed the display with some interest. At first he thought that she was growing uncomfortable, but after she started to hold herself he got the point. Veronica had gone from nothing to seemingly absolutely desperate in about thirty seconds, so Paul knew that she wasn’t actually on the verge of a real accident. He didn’t know what her plan was or if she would actually pee on him out of spite, but he resigned himself to find out. She continued to squirm, bounce, and hold herself for another couple minutes before the second ten-minute phase was up.

“Veronica, have you thought about giving up your phone?”

“I need to go to the bathroom!”

“Ok, but you have to answer my question first. Have you thought about giving up your phone?”

“It’s really bad!”

Paul watched as she clutched her crotch even tighter. “So you’ve decided to give up your phone then! ”

Veronica said nothing and simply stayed in the time in position, holding her crotch and wiggling as much as she could.

Paul rolled his eyes. Veronica couldn’t see it, but he already knew that this was a game. Infuriated by his lack of response Veronica decided to teach him a lesson that would get him to never try stupid time in again. If he was going to play games so could she. And she was convinced that she was a far better player than him. She played far better than everyone after all.

She continued to squirm and hold on to her crotch while also trying to relax enough to have an accident. It turned out that this wasn’t nearly as easy as she had thought it would be. Years of potty training don’t give up so easily, especially when you’re trying to look like you’re holding it in.

Ten more minutes of nothing went by before Paul asked her again if she had thought about giving up her phone. She said absolutely nothing this time. She was committed to her plan.

Paul wondered if she actually did need to pee. She was squirming more. After another ten or so minutes Veronica was actually starting to get a little more desperate. She pushed forward into Paul’s body so there was pressure on her bladder and tried to relax her muscles. She felt a little bit of pee escape and pushed down to try to keep it going. It was not nearly as smooth as she had expected, and at first the pee came out in spurts and little bursts. Paul noticed this and recognized that Veronica was trying to have an accident. It was everything in him not to laugh. He knew that he probably should be angry but the ridiculousness of the situation just wouldn’t allow it. What did she possibly hope to gain?

Veronica finally got a steady stream going and emptied some of the contents of her bladder into her pants and onto Paul’s lap. She had hoped to get him completely soaked but after the initial steady stream her bladder wouldn’t cooperate.

Paul had waited until she was done to gently pull her back so she was facing him. “It looks like somebody had a potty accident!”

“You made me!” Veronica exclaimed. She hadn’t picked up on Paul’s realization that this was a fake accident and she did her very best to look completely devastated.

Paul gave her a confused look. “All you had to do was tell me that you had reconsidered your phone, you chose to ignore me instead. I didn’t make you do anything.”

Veronica looked surprised. She had expected him to feel guilty about making her pee in her pants.

Paul picked her up and held her in front of him. The front of her jeans was soaked in urine, as were the legs of his. “So have you rethought the phone?”

Veronica was shocked. This wasn’t at all going according to plan.

“It looks like it got wet sweetie,” Paul noted, pointing to her wet crotch that no doubt meant that her phone was also wet. Veronica had forgotten about that in her hurry to get revenge. She blushed a deep red at this realization and immediately pulled it out of her pants. It was indeed wet with urine. She pushed the home button and nothing happened.

Feeling utterly defeated she felt tears drip down her cheeks. Paul held her close and patted her back. Her gentle sobs filled the room and Paul walked quietly toward the door, humming as he went.

Re: The Race

I’m not sure if you’re moving too fast from a pacing perspective (which probably means you aren’t) but the situations and how they were handled felt very in-character.

Re: The Race

The Fifth Hour: 2:47 PM

Veronica continued to sob. Paul unlocked the door to the study and headed up the stairs. He grabbed clean pants and a clean shirt for Veronica. He then headed back down to his own bedroom and grabbed clean clothes for himself as well.

As they walked into the bathroom Veronica was astounded by the size. There was an entire separate room just for the shower and another room yet for the toilet.

Paul set Veronica down in the shower room. He put her clothes on a bench in the room. Momentarily distracted by the bathroom, Veronica had stopped crying. “Go ahead and take a shower. I’ll be waiting outside when you’re dressed. Paul closed the door for the shower room and settled down on a bench opposite of the sink.

He heard the shower start and pulled out his own phone, flipping through the same technology news that he had just read. He was fortunate to have placed it on the desk prior to the beginning of time in, or it also probably would have suffered water damage. He sighed deeply. Veronica was exhausting. She wasn’t large for her age but she also wasn’t a toddler- his back was starting to hurt and he was pretty sure that his legs were going to bruise from being kicked.

Veronica stood in the warm water contemplating the events of the last few hours. She felt the warm water rush over her back. Showers had always been a safe place for her to think. Paul was difficult to deal with and didn’t respond the way that she wanted. He was treating her like a little kid and it was absolutely ridiculous. She was sixteen. That’s way too old to sit on his lap. And grounding her? Let alone making her pee her pants!

Waves of emotion washed over Veronica. She was disappointed and frustrated about her phone. She was angry about time in. She was annoyed with herself that her plan to run away hadn’t been successful. The emotions felt like far too much to the teenager who thought she always had her life together. Things always went according to plan and Paul was ruining everything. The realization that she didn’t have her own shampoo with her and she would be forced to pick something random from the pile in the shower only caused her mood to slip further. She felt a tear run down her cheek as she randomly selected a pink bottle. Had she been feeling less emotional she might have questioned the number of bottles of shampoo and soap that were obviously for females, but she didn’t.

Paul was surprised when he heard the shower turn off at how quickly Veronica had finished. She took quite awhile to get dressed. Paul was guessing that this was due to the pull-up that she had just discovered in her clothing pile. The pull-up was leftover from when Paul had cared for Emma, who had had a bedwetting problem. Paul knew that Veronica also had issues with bed wetting, likely due to nightmares. Putting her in a pull-up now might result in less of a fight later, but it was sure going to make now more difficult. Emma had never worn pull-ups during the day, but Paul was hoping that the XL version intended for preteen bedwetters that had worked so well for Emma would work for Veronica too. As a result of being nighttime wear the pull-up was quite thick and would be obvious under the jeans that he had given Veronica.

He wasn’t sure if there would be more or less of a fight with Veronica than there had been with Emma. Emma had fought the pull-ups tooth and nail. Paul had ended up buying a package of diapers and threatening to put Emma in them if she had not complied with the pull-ups. Emma had worn a diaper for a single night, but waking wet and in a diaper had been far too much for the girl and she had cooperated with the pull-ups after that. Paul still had the diapers though and was ready to threaten them if necessary.

He thought that the pull-ups could actually be a good thing for Veronica. Many of the girls chose a first big fight. This was usually a power play- something they could control that he couldn’t. Emma had chosen food and fasted for two days. Nicole had refused to speak for a week. Veronica had apparently chosen bladder control. That was fine with Paul. All things considered it was easy to manage and fairly harmless. He was a big believer in cause and effect and this was a prefect opportunity to apply that. He wanted to make a big enough deal of it that his point was clear but not such a big deal as to crush her spirit. He needed to prove to her that he could both control her if she acted up and care for her needs. If having her pants become her potty for a little while accomplished that Paul was just fine with it.

Veronica rifled through the clothing pile in search of underwear. She wondered if Paul had been stupid enough to forget them. At the very bottom of the pile she found the pull-up, a pink and purple monstrosity. She wasn’t a child. And the accident hadn’t been her fault. Well, mostly anyway. There was absolutely no way she was wearing a pull-up. There was no situation in which that was ever acceptable or necessary. She contemplated her options for a second and decided that her best option was to directly confront Paul. Surely he had common decency.

She stormed out of the bathroom dressed in only a towel and holding the pull-up in her hand.

“I thought you were getting dressed?” Paul offered, pretending not to notice the offending pull-up.

“I am not a child and I will not wear a-” Veronica stopped and searched for the word she wanted. “This!” She gestured to the pull-up. Her midsentence halt had made her sound much less sure of herself than she was.

Paul raised his eyebrows. “You did just have a potty accident didn’t you? You wet your pants.”

“But it wasn’t my fault. You were keeping me there!”

Paul tilted his head sympathetically. “Veronica, you had a potty accident. You need to wear a pull-up. If you can go until bedtime without going pee pee in your pull-up you won’t have to wear a pull-up tomorrow. But until then you will wear a pull-up.”

Veronica cringed at the use of the words pull-up and pee pee. She wasn’t four.

Paul pretended to interpret her cringing as concern that she would have another accident. “Don’t worry- I’ll try to remind you to go to the potty!” That couldn’t have been truer. Paul had already set a recurring 15-minute alarm.

“I. Am. Not. Wearing. A. Pull-up. I am too old for pull-ups!”

“But you’re not too old for potty accidents?”

“That was your fault!”

“Veronica, every action has a consequence. Sometimes those consequences are negative, sometimes they are positive. In this house the consequence for wetting your pants is wearing a pull-up, regardless of the circumstances. Now why don’t you go get dressed?”

“I am not wearing a pull-up! Why don’t you listen to me?”

Paul sighed. “The consequence for refusing to wear a pull-up that you need is having me put you in a diaper. You can either go put that pull-up on now or I can go get a diaper.”

“You won’t diaper me.”

Paul picked her up and put her on his hip once again, doing his best not to undo her towel. He carried her to his closet and pulled a pack of diapers out of his dresser. “Now, what color diaper would you like? Green, yellow, or purple?”

Veronica stared at the package of diapers. She wasn’t sure how to get out of this one. She most certainly did not want to be diapered. She pushed at Paul’s arms but couldn’t physically break free. She could wait until the diaper was on and then rip it off but that would probably just result in another stupid time in.

“Let’s make a deal,” she offered.

Paul sat down on the bed with Veronica on his lap. “A deal?”

“Yeah… uh… I don’t wear a pull-up or a diaper and I’ll…”

Paul laughed. “I don’t negotiate with terrorists. You have two options: Either you go put on your pull-up or I put you in a diaper. Which would you like?”

Veronica thought for a second. “You putting me in a pull-up makes me feel disrespected.”

Paul shifted Veronica on his lap. “I’m sorry that you feel disrespected. I don’t want you to feel like I don’t respect you, but I also want to make sure that you have everything you need. If you have accidents you need pull-ups.”

Veronica glared at Paul. “It was your fault that I had an accident.”

“We’ve already been over this.” Paul knew that he should be patient but that didn’t do much to increase his patience at that moment.

“I gave you a choice- you can go put on your pull-up or I can put you in a diaper.”

Veronica huffed and crossed her arms over her chest. She was being so reasonable. She had even tried this Paul’s way, with feelings! She had a couple options now. She could fight Paul on the diapering. She could wait until she had the pull-up on and sneak it off. She could do the unthinkable- and just keep a pull-up dry for a couple hours. That should be easy… but there was no way she was consenting to that.

“Ok…” she whispered.

“Ok?” Paul queried.

“Ok, I’ll wear it…”

“You’ll wear what?”

“I’ll wear the… thing…”

“What thing is that sweetheart?”

“I’ll wear the pull-up…”

Veronica felt tears form in her eyes and fall down her face. She had a plan but she still couldn’t help but feeling like she had just lost. Again. Paul took her back to the bathroom and handed her the pull-up. She went to get dressed.

Veronica came out a couple minutes later in the clothing that Paul had provided for her. The clothing was simple- a pair of jeans and a plain t-shirt.

“Alright, let me see it,” Paul said. He already knew she didn’t have it on.

“See what?”

“Your pull-up. You were very hesitant to wear it and I need to make sure that you have it on. But I’ll tell you what- if you don’t have it on and you go put it on right now I will forget that you didn’t put it on to start with. If I have to check and find out that you don’t have it on I will have to diaper you.”

She didn’t have it on of course. She walked back into the shower room and made a point of slamming the door. How had he known?

Veronica took her clothes off and looked at the pull-up again. It had a brand name on the back that she didn’t recognize. It was definitely the right size for her though. She wondered why Paul even had the damn thing. Was this all part of some sick plan? She closed her eyes and pulled it over her hips. It didn’t feel at all like underwear. It felt much thicker. She looked down at her waist and immediately looked back up- she looked like a toddler.

She came back out and Paul repeated his request.

“It’s on now, I promise…”

Not satisfied Paul walked over the teen and checked her pull-up. Veronica yelped. “Don’t do that!”

Paul sighed. “I’m sorry, but I had to make sure that you actually had your pull-up in case you pee your pants again sweetie.”

Veronica blushed a deep red and turned her back to Paul. Paul smiled slightly and guided Veronica by the hand to the bench he had just been sitting on.

“I am going to take a shower. The bathroom door is locked. You are to stay right here and I will be back in a few minutes. Do you need to go potty before I get in the shower?”

Veronica’s eyes grew several times their regular size at that question. The truth was that she did still need to pee. She had only emptied about half of her bladder in her “accident.” But she would never in a million years admit that to Paul. She quickly shook her head.

“No what sweetie?”

“No, I don’t need to use the restroom.”

“Ok, have you gone pee pee in your pull up?”

Paul didn’t think that Veronica’s eyes could get any bigger and yet they did. She rapidly shook her head. Paul looked at her expectantly, but Veronica just stared at him.

Paul reached down and checked her pull-up again. Veronica smacked his hand. “Stop it!” she screamed.

“If you don’t want me to check your pull-up, you have to answer me when I ask if you’ve had a potty accident. Now, have you gone pee pee in your pull up?”

“No, my pull-up is uh… dry…”

Paul nodded, “Ok, good.”

Paul got in the shower, content with how things were shaping up so far.

Veronica was far less content and pondered her next move. All of the emotions from the shower were still there, but they were eclipsed by her anger at the situation. How dare Paul treat her like a toddler? Or suggest diapering her? How old did he think she was?

He should be glad that she wasn’t two. Maybe she should even act two for a little bit. Throw some glasses. Break some shit. Make him more grateful. She continued to simmer for another couple minutes when Paul got out of the shower. It was only once he was dressed and walking toward her that she realized that she hadn’t even tried the door. Or thought to use the restroom.

Re: The Race (Chapter 5- 4/14)

Good work! Please more!

Re: The Race (Chapter 5- 4/14)

Sorry for the slower update- life has been busy recently! This chapter isn’t quite what I had hoped it would be, but I hope y’all enjoy it anyway.

The Sixth Hour: 3:47 PM

“Alright, ready to go?” Paul asked. Veronica simply nodded in response.

“It’s almost four, how about a snack before dinner?” Another nod.

“Before we go, do you need to go potty?”

“No, I don’t… uh… need to…” Veronica said, eyes trained on the floor. She could feel the heat rise in her cheeks and knew she was blushing. She didn’t want to give Paul the satisfaction.

“Ok, have you gone pee pee in your pull-up?”

“No… it’s… dry…” Veronica already hated this interaction and she had a feeling that she would be hearing a lot more of it.

“Alright, let’s go have a snack then!” Paul normally didn’t eat or encourage eating snacks, but after all of the crying and kicking he felt like the energy boost might be important.

Paul walked toward the kitchen, allowing Veronica to follow him rather than carrying her this time. She followed along, trying to keep up with Paul’s steps.

The snack was granola and apple juice served on the stupid colorful plates again. Veronica thought that granola was possibly the most boring snack ever but refrained from voicing her opinion. Now that she had calmed down a bit she did want to know why Paul had diapers and pull-ups so readily available. “So do you foster lots of kids?”

The surprise was evident across Paul’s face- he didn’t expect Veronica to ask questions since she was so against answering them. “I’ve fostered lots of children yes, but only ever one at a time.”

“How old are the children you usually foster?”

“Usually about your age, between 14 and 17.”

“16 and 17 year olds aren’t children,” Veronica said with a slight huff.

“Legally they are. Sometimes I foster younger children as well, all the way down to infants, but those fosters are usually shorter term.”

The notion of 16 and 17 year olds being children seemed completely ridiculous to Veronica. Paul thought she was a child? She glanced down at her waist. If he didn’t think she was a child he wouldn’t have put her in a stupid pull-up. She picked up her apple juice, intentionally dumping some on her shirt.

Paul raised his eyebrows. “Do you need a cup with a lid on it?” He was half joking, half not. Veronica scowled at him all the same.

“I might if I were three. Isn’t it nice that I’m not?”

Paul didn’t respond. He did have cups with lids- they were nice for drinking things outside on hot days. He also had a couple of Sippy cups and bottles from experience fostering younger children.

Veronica seemed annoyed that she didn’t get a response. “Sometimes toddlers just throw things across the room. Isn’t that annoying?”

Paul just stared at her, not quite believing what he was hearing. “Veronica, you are not a toddler.”

“Perhaps I shouldn’t have to wear pull-ups then,” Veronica offered with a sickly sweet grin. She picked up the glass and threw it across the room. It shattered against the wall and apple juice sprayed across the room.

Paul took a deep breath and picked Veronica up out of her chair. He carried her to the living room off of the kitchen and sat her down on his lap, facing him.

“Veronica, you are wearing a pull-up because you had an accident, not because you are a toddler. But actions have consequences. If you’ve decided that you want a Sippy cup instead of a regular glass I am more than happy to provide one. I will do so for the rest of today and we’ll see how you’re feeling tomorrow.”

Veronica simply stared back at him. Paul moved on and asked her if she needed to go to the bathroom or was wet and then led her by the hand back to the kitchen. He took a Sippy cup out of the cabinet and made a point of putting it on the counter. He had to get up on his toes to reach it- he didn’t foster younger children all that often. He cleaned up the dishes from their snack and the juice and glass off the floor and then the two of them walked back to his study.

Paul needed to do some business work, which meant that he needed Veronica to be busy. “Veronica, would you like to color?”

“I thought I wasn’t a toddler.”

“You’ll like this coloring, I promise.” Paul reached for the top shelf of a bookcase and grabbed a coloring book entitled “Go Fuck Yourself, I’m Coloring.”

He handed it to Veronica and thought that he almost saw her smile. Paul wasn’t bothered by curse words- some of the girls that he took in had literally been through hell and he saw no point in forcing them to use nice words.

The book amused Veronica but she was trying not to let it show too much. She hadn’t colored in a very long time and found that she actually kind of enjoyed it. She pondered her plan in the mean time. Paul had said that she wasn’t a toddler, yet she was still in a pull-up being asked if she’d peed her pants.

That was sort of her fault- well not really; it had been Paul who had made her stay still. If he had let her go to the bathroom she wouldn’t have had an accident. But she still didn’t need the pull-up.

Veronica finished off a coloring page by shading the B in Bullshit bright red. She decided she didn’t really want to color another page and looked around the office. She gravitated toward a bookshelf. Paul seemed distracted. She grabbed the first book she saw, labeled “Multivariable Calculus and Differential Equations.”

Paul was paying more attention than she thought and noticed the book choice, but didn’t say anything. He wanted to see what she intended to do with a multivariable calculus book.

Foster parents almost never had any interesting textbooks. She figured that she could memorize a couple problems out of the back and put it back before Paul missed it. She sat back down and looked through the book. Her dive to the back of the book- the problem section- was not unnoticed by Paul.

“Do you like math?” Paul asked suddenly from behind her. Veronica jumped nearly a foot into the air.

“I uh… umm… I like looking at the uh graphs of uh multivariable functions because they’re um 3D and the pictures are really pretty!”

“Oh?” Veronica realized that she’d said too much.

“Or uh at least I assume that they’re multivariable because the book says that they are and the other ones are differential equation graphs so I only look at the pretty…” Veronica trailed off mid-sentence, realizing that she’d just said too much again and made it worse.

“I see, so do you prefer continuous or discrete graphs for your viewing pleasure then?”

“I don’t know what those words mean,” Veronica responded, though she already knew that the game was up.

Paul’s face darkened. “That’s a stupid thing to lie about.”

Veronica wanted to fall through the floor right then and there. There was one particularly strong rule with foster parents. Never ever never let them know that you’re actually not an idiot.

She tilted her head down, wondering how on Earth she had gotten here. She was sitting on the sofa of some rich guy’s study wearing a pull-up and a shirt with some apple juice on it being asked intermittently if she’d wet herself and now being questioned about calculus. Those things didn’t compute at all.

She shoved the book back at Paul and stared at the floor. She’d been stupid. Stupid and careless since she’d got there. She had underestimated Paul. She’d thought he would be weak and easy to break and so she’d been careless. And now she was losing. Not just the battles, but the war as well. Her goal was to make Paul hate her and to return to the adoption agency and all she’d done was land herself in a pull-up like a toddler who was potty training. She was the most difficult child any of these families had ever seen. She was the one who convinced parents they weren’t cut out for fostering. How had the mighty fallen so low? Usually stupidity helped her, protected her, and made her less predictable. But if she had to be smart there was no reason she couldn’t be hell with brains. She looked at the clock. It was 4:35. She had catching up to do.

Paul watched Veronica. The game was up. He knew it and he knew she knew it. He didn’t know why she would play dumb, but maybe if she were called on it she would finally start to cooperate.

Veronica looked at Paul. He was staring at her, apparently still expecting an answer to his assertion that this was stupid. “It’s none of your business. No part of my life is any of your business. You are not my parent, you are not in charge of me, you are not responsible for me, and you will NEVER care about me!” Veronica’s voice sped up throughout the sentence and even she was surprised at its venom. The part about him not caring about her hadn’t been planned but it had definitely been effective.

Paul’s face softened. His eyes fell to the ground and his shoulders slouched. Veronica almost felt bad for him. Almost. It was time for hell. Real, true, honest hell. Paul had put her in a pull-up, Paul had put her in time out, Paul had taken her phone and her computer, and Paul needed to pay. Veronica could feel her blood pressure rising and almost literally saw red. This situation was ridiculous and entirely too much. She forced herself to take a deep breath. She would need that fury, but not now. She had already lost her temper too many times today. She needed a controlled, tempered variety of hell. If she lost control he won. He had already proven that. But she could keep control. She was sure of it.

Paul watched her face harden and then soften again. Her words had hurt him. He knew they shouldn’t have and that kids, especially the kind of kids he took in, did things like this. She didn’t mean what she’d said but it hurt anyway. He was trying. He didn’t feel like he had done anything that was unfair. But perhaps more than anything he was confused. If she was intelligent enough to grasp multivariable calculus then she had surely chosen to do poorly in school. She must have known that lying to Bill would eventually end in her return to his household and a punishment, so why did she do it? Was her game simply to make her foster parents as miserable as she possibly could? Paul looked at her. There was an obvious bulge to the front of her jeans, showing off that she was wearing either pull-ups or a diaper. She had dribbled apple juice all over her shirt. She’d thrown a temper tantrum and pounded her fists on the grass for half an hour.

What had been real and what was simply a show? The accident had been fake. Spilling juice on herself had been fake. Had the temper tantrum been fake? If hell was her goal he was in for a rough next couple hours.

He pondered what the best course of action was. He could either encourage her behavior and correspondingly punish her for it or he could try to stop her behavior before it really got started. He wondered if that was even possible. He wondered what level of hell she had previously been through to create cuts so deep that she would rather cause others pain than try to be part of a familial unit. His phone buzzed, reminding him to ask her about the state of her pull-up.

“Veronica, have you wet your pull-up?” His voice shook slightly. Veronica heard this and smiled. She was winning again. She crossed her arms defiantly. “That’s none of your business either.”

Paul looked unimpressed. “You’re smart enough to know that it’s in your interest to answer the question.”

“I’m smart enough to know that I don’t have to answer any of your fucking questions.”

Paul gave her another unimpressed look and reached over and checked her pull-up himself. Veronica reached out and smacked him clear across the face. The noise resounded across the room. Paul reached out and grabbed her arm, pulling her across the couch so that she was directly next to him. “I am responding to your actions, Veronica. You have made the decisions that have gotten you to this point. I seriously suggest that you rethink your decision-making policy. I don’t usually spank, but if anyone on the face of this Earth has ever deserved a spanking it’s you.”

Veronica glared at him. He could see the same fury in her eyes that had been present during her tantrum, but this time it was controlled. She was aware of what she was doing.

“You couldn’t spank me if you tried. And you won’t spank me because I’m far too old to spank.”

Paul patted her well-protected crotch. “Then I suggest that you settle down.”

With that Paul returned to his computer and left Veronica with the calculus book and her thoughts. Paul didn’t usually spank. He didn’t like to hit, but every so often one of the girls didn’t give him another choice. Their safety and well-being was his top priority and he needed to do everything that he could to protect that. As was particularly true with Veronica, the girls were sometimes not nearly as grown up as they thought, and sometimes an infantile punishment made that point. Veronica was already going through a host of infantile punishments though. Maybe one of those would stick.

After Paul left Veronica sat and sulked. He would actually spank her. She knew that. No one had ever tried spanking her. Veronica had a pretty high pain tolerance, but that would also be extremely embarrassing. She’d already wet herself in front of this guy though, so how bad could it possibly be? She flipped through the calculus book again and thought about her options. Veronica felt her bladder twinge. The apple juice from snack time combined with her already half full bladder was coming back for her. She rolled her eyes. There was no way in hell she was telling Paul that she needed to pee.

Re: The Race (Chapter 6- 5/09)

Veronica’s decision-making is totally out of whack.

Re: The Race (Chapter 6- 5/09)

I forgot about this one but I’m glad I found it again. I love stories where the caretaker and the little play these endless mind games.

Re: The Race (Chapter 6- 5/09)

I was just wandering since it hasent been a while since somebody update will it eventually be updated

Re: The Race (Chapter 6- 5/09)

Samu, I have found your story intriguing and have re read it several times. It seems like Paul is in for a fight to show Veronica that he truly does care, while Veronica tries to prove that Paul is in over his head with her. I eagerly anticipate your next chapter should you decide to post it.

Well this story was interesting. I was really enjoying the battle between her and Paul. I wanted to see if she would be more composed in her strategy to break Paul down. So far it seems like though she is smart, she seems to be impulsive and all her actions are manipulated by her emotions. It would be lovely if you found the interest to finish this story. I’m happy you were able to write what you have though.

​​​​​​Thankies for posting :slight_smile: