[i]He spread a blanket out on the floor between the beds and pulled a pillow down from the bed. She slowly kneeled. He eased her body down onto the blanket and supported her neck as her head came to rest on the pillow. He placed the pacifier back in her mouth and covered her with the baby blanket. Leaning in to her, he kissed her forehead as she closed her eyes.
“Sleep, Princess,” he said softly. “I will be here with you all night, and I’ll be here when you wake up in the morning. Sweet dreams, Little One.”
He crawled up on the bed and looked back down at her. She was already fast asleep. There she remained for the rest of the night, finally resting peacefully under his watchful eyes.
To Be Continued…[/i]
Dawn broke. The ship was quiet, but soon the early birds were on the deck walking, jogging, and taking in the spectacular sights of the sunrise and the Atlantic Ocean.
The sun kept rising and the smell of breakfast food began to roll out of the various restaurants as well as the main dining hall. The heat of the day hadn’t arrived yet, but was on its way. The ship was just one day away from Nassau in the Bahamas.
Milly walked down the cabin hallway, and knocked on Zeke and Lily’s door. She could hear the television coming from inside the room. The sound of footsteps preceded the door opening. It was Zeke, who had a bath towel wrapped around his waist.
“Good morning, Milly,” said Zeke with a smile.
“Good Morning, Zeke,” she said, smiling back at him.
“I’m sorry. I was about to get in the shower, but come on in,” he said opening the door all the way.
“Is Lily awake?” she asked, walking in cautiously and respectfully.
“Yeah. She is. Over there on the couch,” he said. “Make yourself comfortable. I’ll be in shower.”
Zeke walked into the bathroom and closed the door. She looked over at the Lily on the couch. Lily was sitting up with her legs stretched across the couch, covered with a blanket. Her hair was wet and lying on her shoulders, drying. Behind her back were two pillows, fluffed and propping her up. She was wearing a little pink baby t-shirt. Her arms and face were recovering from sunburn and her complexion showed the strain of being sick. The divot and end of her nose were very red and sore, indicating she had been blowing her nose. The crumpled tissues on the ground around her also made this clear. In her hands was a mug with hot tea which she was sipping slowly, watching SpongeBob SquarePants. She was as adorable as could be.
Milly walked up to her slowly and knelt down beside her.
“Hello, Sweetie,” she said lovingly. “How ya feeling?”
Lily’s eyes strained in her weakened state to light up with excitement.
“Milly,” she said in a scratchy voice, as they embraced.
Milly rubbed her back very gently and eased her back onto the pillows.
“Relax yourself,” Milly said, returning to her kneeling position on the floor. “I see you’re still a little sick, too. Did you have a long night like me?”
“Oh yes,” Lily whispered. “Remind me to never drink that much wine again.”
“I completely agree,” Milly responded, as they heard the water in the shower turning on. “Is Zeke feeling okay?”
“Yes, and he was my knight in shining armor, once again last night,” she said while looking over at the bathroom door with sincerity. “I’ve gotta tell you about how he took care of me last night.”
Lily finished the tea, set the mug down and slowly pushed herself up into a better sitting position.
“We had to leave at intermission last night. I was feeling so ill, he had to carry me back to the room, and I had such a fever, it felt like my skin was on fire. I was so sick, I couldn’t even complain about how bad I felt. It would’ve taken energy to complain. So I just put my head on his shoulder, and Milly, he nursed me back to health in no time at all…Well…at least I felt a lot better soon,” Lilly recalled.
“What did he do?” Milly asked, intrigued to get the details.
“Okay…First thing he did was clean me. I had some, uh, digestive trouble,” she said, shyly.
“Oh my…” Milly replied covering her mouth with her hand.
“Yeah,” Lilly said. “If I hadn’t been so ill, I might have felt embarrassed about that, but then he bathed me…by hand. He didn’t waste time to fill the tub. He put me on the counter, had me swallow some pills and bathed me….bird-bath style.”
“My goodness,” Milly said.
“He dressed me, fed me a bottle, and held me in his arms for hours,” Lily fondly recollected.
“And that’s where you woke up this morning, I bet. In his arms,” Milly said, completing her thought.
“No, I actually woke up on the floor in my……travel crib area,” she said jokingly while pointing to the blanket on the floor between the beds.
Milly looked over at the blanket. It was loaded up with every stuffed animal and toy she brought on the trip.
“I couldn’t stay asleep for some reason,” Lily explained. “So he took me for a walk to get some air.”
“He took you out of the room? Wearing that shirt?” Milly asked with smile on her face and a disbelief in her eyes.
“No. I was actually wearing a nightie……Oh and he put my hair in pigtails. He actually brushed my hair. Milly, you have got to get your husband to brush your hair sometime. It feels so wonderful,” Lily said.
“He actually has done that before, and I agree with you. It’s such an incredible feeling,” Milly remarked. “But go on with what you were saying. You were in a nightie and pigtails and you were walking around the ship……”
“He carried me to start, and I didn’t even think about how I was dressed until we were out the door,” Lily said as she smiled and winked. “I walked back to the room myself and was finally able to sleep.”
“How have you been feeling today?” Milly asked.
“A lot better,” Lily said. “But I feel like I’ve been kicked in the stomach. I just have no energy. You know what I mean? How did you get through last night?”
“I kept getting sick. I eventually put my hair in a ponytail for the night. He had to hold my hair back so many times,” Milly said. “I was lucky to have fallen asleep and stayed asleep, but I went for a walk this morning, and got some air, too. I’m feeling a lot better now, but I don’t ever want to go through that again.”
“I second the motion,” Lily said.
“Have you eaten anything yet? Do you and Zeke want to go to breakfast with us? It might help you get over the blah feeling,” Milly asked.
“We would love to, but I can’t stand on my own. I think I just need to rest,” Lily said, returning to her mug. “And Zeke has me on a strict schedule. He’s not done nursing me back to health. I don’t think he’s ready to share me yet,” Lily said as they both laughed.
“I don’t blame him. He knows he has someone very special,” Milly said while smiling. “Is he feeding you the brat diet?”
“Yep. Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast,” Lily said grinning. “He woke me up, and uh…had to clean me again. Then he gave me a bottle of Grape Pedialyte, handfed me toast, bathed me, dressed me, and placed me on this couch. That’s been my day so far.”
“He’s really good to you,” Milly said.
“Yeah,” Lily replied, drifting off into a thought. “I really got luck with this one. I think I’ll keep him around.”
“Good decision,” Milly said laughing as Zeke emerged from the bathroom.
He stepped a pair of shorts and a shirt. Lily’s face brightened up as she saw him reach into the baby food bag, and pulled out a container of banana pudding. He walked over to her. She lifted her arms up to him. He picked up the blanket and then lifted her up, wrapping her in the blanket. He took a seat on the couch and gently repositioned her to cradle her in his arms.
Milly could see that Lily’s mind had started shifting into “baby mode” before he ever put the bib around her neck. She looked up at him with an increasing infantile glow to her demeanor. He handed her pacifier to Milly to hold. Milly smiled and held the pacifier in her hand.
“Well, let me get out of your way,” Milly said excusing herself.
“Oh, it’s quite all right,” Zeke said smiling as he put the first spoonful to Lily’s lips.
“You don’t mind?” Milly asked.
“I’m sure she told you quite a bit about this side of her,” Zeke answered. “She’s comfortable with you.”
Milly sat at the end of the couch, still holding the pacifier, and watched them. Lily was enamored with his eyes, and she gazed up at him as if the rest of the world didn’t exist. He was speaking to her in such an affectionate tone that color was starting to come back to her face. She was feeling like a baby now, from head to toe, inside and out.
“I am amazed at the effect you have on her,” Milly said to him.
“She never leaves my mind either,” Zeke said.
They began to have a discussion about Lily while she was right there in his arms, hearing ever word. This made her feel even more like a BabyGirl.
“That’s a good girl. I’m so proud of you. You’ve almost finished it all,” Zeke said turning his attention back to Lily.
He scooped the final spoonful up and placed it on her lips.
“Be a good girl for Daddy,” he said in such an inviting tone that she submissively opened her lips to take in the last spoonful.
He removed her bib, and wiped her mouth clean. Then, he moved right on to a bottle of apple juice.
“Open,” he said to her as she opened her lips again, taking in the nipple. “That’s a good girl.”
Milly was smiling in awe at the sight of these two, amorously intertwined in a bonding moment like no other. Lily closed her eyes and turned her head into his chest. He cradled her body in his arms, giving her the feeling of security that she craved. He kissed her on the forehead.
“I think your fever is gone,” he said to Lily. “Are you feeling better?”
Lily nodded her head, and looked up at him, touching her fingertips to his face. He closed his eyes and kissed her finger tips. He bottle was almost empty and in the midst of finishing it, she began to let out little burps.
“I think you’re done,” he said as he removed the nipple from her lips and sat her up into a hug.
He gently rocked her as he patted her back. She rested her head on his shoulder. Her face was full of a kind of love that a girl only feels when the very center of her heart has been affected. She burped very little, and sighed afterwards in relief.
“You two are in love,” Milly said, almost brought to tears at this point.
“When you think about her when you go to bed at night, and wake up thinking about her, and you think about her every moment in between, you know you’re in love,” Zeke said, patting Lily’s diapered bottom.
“I’m sorry to say I’ve gotta get going. I want to stay here and keep watching the two of you, but I’m meeting my husband for a late breakfast,” Milly said standing up. “Besides, it looks like someone could use a nap.”
Zeke stood up, holding Lily in his arms. Milly stroked her hair and kissed her on the cheek.
“Rest up,” Milly said. “And don’t let this guy get away from you.”
She put the pacifier in Lily’s mouth as they both smiled at each other. Milly winked at her and Lily returned the wink. Milly began to make her way for the door, but turned around to ask about lunch. She saw Zeke lowering Lily onto the bed and feeling her diapered bottom.
“Let’s us know about lunch, then,” she said to Zeke as she grinned as the cute thing they were doing now.
“I certainly will,” Zeke said. “Take care of yourself, Milly. It could have been the food that got the two of you sick. Your husband and I ate a different meal than you and Lily did.”
“You’re a good man, Zeke,” Milly said as she left the room.
Zeke smiled and looked back at Lily who had already fallen asleep. He unfastened her diaper, slid it out from underneath her, and wiped her clean. He slid her new diaper underneath her in an effort to not move her body at all. Fastening her diaper, he looked at her face and was relieved to find no traces of stress. Ever since she got sick last night, she had that look of stress. Now it was gone. He knew she was beginning to feel better.
Hours had now passed and she still hadn’t moved a finger. At last, she was getting some sleep that was restful. In her ears, she heard Sebastian the Lobster softly singing “Under the Sea”. She opened her eyes and looked up at the ceiling, still hearing the song. Her body was in such a comfortable position she didn’t want to move. So, she just laid there and enjoyed the song. Then she heard Sebastian talking to someone.
With curiosity, she lifted her head up and saw “The Little Mermaid” on the TV. Zeke saw she was awake and he crossed to her. When her eyes met his, her face lit up with love. He very gently sat her up so she could see the TV.
“I think now Ariel has some competition,” he said. “She’s no longer the only princess of the sea.”
Lily smiled, and took the pacifier out of her mouth.
“I love you, Zeke,” she said. “You make everything turn out right, and you always make me feel good about myself. You’re the Daddy I never had, until now.”
Lily’s eyes grew big as she realized what she just revealed.
“Oh? You didn’t have a good relationship with your father?” he asked, a little shocked.
“No,” she admitted, deciding to tell him the horrible truth. “He didn’t have much interest in having a daughter. He wanted a son.”
“He sounds like he didn’t pay attention at all to how wonderful you are,” Zeke said, trying to smooth the subject over.
“Well,” Lily started as her eyes well up with tears. “There were moments he found interest in me.”
She broke down into tears, covering her face with her hands. She couldn’t say another word about it, and she didn’t have to. Zeke understood what she was saying.
“Oh, Lily,” he said as he embraced her.
She wrapped her hands around him and squeezed him for dear life.
“I am so sorry,” he said with a genuine remorse. “I am so sorry. I am so very sorry.”
She cried that she couldn’t make a sound, and for the first time, Zeke didn’t know what to do to make her feel better. There really wasn’t anything he could do or say at this moment. He lifted her in his arms, and slowly carried her around the room.
“Shh Shh Shh,” he whispered, stroking her hair.
He held her head close to his chest so she would feel his heart beating and also so she wouldn’t see him crying.
“Shh Shh Shh,” he whispered as she sat up and looked into his eyes.
His cheeks were streaming with tears and she brushed them away with her fingers.
“Lily, I can’t change the past, but I’m very glad you told me,” he said.
“Do you usually cry when you’re glad?” she asked.
She was right. He had no response. Instead, he placed the pacifier on her lips, offering it to her with caution. She took it in her mouth.
“I can’t change your past, but I can…” he said, getting choked up. “I will make your future everything that…”
She touched her finger to his lips, stopping him from having to find the words to say what she already knew. She lightly drew her fingertips down his face.
At that moment, staring into each other’s eyes, they made vows to each other that couldn’t have been made with words. Through their thoughts they bonded, once again, at a level deeper than ever before.
“I think we both could use some air,” Zeke said honestly.
Lily smiled and nodded. He sat her on the edge of the bed and lifted the t-shirt off her body. He slipped a summer dress over her and kneeled at her feet, putting her sandals on.
He stood up, and held out a hand, she took it and looked down at her legs as she stood up. Her strength had returned. They made their way toward the door. Zeke opened it and gave her bottom a pat as she walked out. She glanced back at him and smiled brightly behind a pacifier she had not noticed was still in her mouth.
They made their way down the hallway and through the main dining area, arm-in-arm.
“So who is your second favorite Princess behind Cinderella?” he asked, eager to talk about something a little less emotionally involved.
“Auruh,” she mumbled behind her pacifier before she took it out of her mouth.
They both chuckled, eager to find amusement.
“Aurora,” she said again.
“But Aurora wasn’t a Princess,” Zeke reminded her.
“Yes, she was,” Lily corrected him.
“Okay, but she wasn’t born a Princess,” he said.
“Yes she was,” Lily corrected him again.
“I thought you said Aurora wasn’t born a Princess,” he said, confused. “Or was that the other one?”
“Oh my,” she began. “Okay. One more time. Ariel, Pocahontas, Snow White, Jasmine, Belle, Aurora, Cinderella, and Mulan are the Disney princesses, but they only Ariel, Pocahontas, Snow White, Aurora and Jasmine were princesses at birth. Belle and Cinderella became princesses because they married a prince. And Mulan was the one who was never a princess.”
“I think you keep changing this list on me,” he said with a smile.
“I may have,” she said with a laugh.
“So where does Princess Lily fit into the Princess list?” Zeke asked, playfully.
“That story hasn’t been written yet,” Lily said, playing right back.
“I see,” said Zeke as he touched his fist to his chin in the deep thinker pose. “Then I guess I’ll have to write it.”
“Will you read it to me?” she asked.
“As you wish, Princess,” he said. “I will begin writing it. But what kind of Princess should she be?”
“A baby,” she replied.
“A Princess who is a baby?” Zeke asked.
“Yeah,” Lily stated with confidence. “An AB Princess and the greatest wish in her heart is to meet a Prince who will take care of her and love her like a baby.”
“Alright. Princess Lily, the AB Princess,” he said. “I don’t think Disney will go for it.”
“That’s their loss,” she said.
“Alright, it’s a settled then,” Zeke decided. “Every night at the Bahamas will be one of the six chapters in the story of ‘Princess Lily, the AB Princess’. Six night for six chapters.”
“I can’t wait,” she said. “Are you really gonna write this story?”
“Yes,” he said with certainty.
“I didn’t know you could write,” she said.
“Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” Zeke stated. “It remains to be seen if I can actually write, but I’ll try.”
“I think you’ll be able to because I have gotten to know what’s in here,” she said while pointing to his heart.
“Do you know what’s in here?” he said pointing to his stomach.
“Nothing,” she said, laughing. “Let’s get lunch.”
“Milly said to get in touch with them for lunch,” Zeke explained. “Maybe they’ll be there.”
They strolled back around to the main dining hall. The scent of food filled the air as people began filing into line.
“Are you sure you’re up for this?” Zeke asked.
“Yeah. I’ll eat rice,” she said. “It’s the only part of the brat diet I haven’t had yet. And maybe a BLT or something light.”
They got their food and turned around the find a table. Off in the corner was Milly, waving her arms to get their attention and invite them over.
“Heya, Mark,” Zeke said while exchange a firm hand shake.
“How are you feeling, Sweetie?” Milly said as Lily sat down.
“Like a new person,” she said as Zeke scooted her chair in and sat down himself.
“And you’ve been graduated back to real food,” Milly said, laughing.
“Yes. Rice and a BLT,” Lily proudly smiled.
“Anybody want to some wine with lunch?” Mark asked.
“NO!!!” Milly and Lily said together.
“So, are the two of you attending tonight’s…” Mark asked.
“Shh,” Zeke said, cutting him off. “Lily doesn’t know about it, but I think she’ll want to go.”
“And I’m betting you’re not going to tell me,” Lily asked Zeke with a grin on her face.
Zeke shook his head no with a smile.
“This has been my whole trip so far,” Lily laughed as she told Mark and Milly. “I don’t know anything that we are doing.”
“That would drive me crazy not knowing,” Milly said.
“Well…It does make everything a lot more exciting,” Lily admitted while smiling fondly at Zeke. “Are you guys gonna be there tonight, whatever it is?”
“Well, yes and no,” Mark answered, playing along with Zeke’s no-telling game.
“Oh my,” Lily said while laughing. “You’re all on Zeke’s side, aren’t you? Trying to confuse me, huh?”
“What Mark means is we will be there … sort of,” Milly said with a wink.
“Okay, okay,” Lily said. “I give up.”
“See you tonight. We’re gonna get there about 6 p.m.” Molly asked as she and Mark got up to leave.
“We’ll be there,” Lily said. “Whatever it is we’re going to.”
“It’s good seeing you are doing better, Lily,” Mark said.
“Thank you. Take care,” she said playfully waving goodbye to Molly as she and Zeke started back to the cabin.
“You’re not gonna tell me what we’re doing tonight no matter how hard I try to get it out of you, are you?” Lily asked.
“Nope,” Zeke admitted. “But I will answer yes-and-no questions.”
“Okay. Will lots of people be there?” she asked as they got to the door and Zeke opened it.
“I would imagine most everyone will be there,” Zeke answered as they entered the room.
“Will they be serving food and drinks?” she asked, lifting her arms up as he removed her dress.
“Yes,” he replied while he lifted her into his arms, carried her over to the bed and placed her on it. “They’ll be serving dinner.”
“Will they have activities and prizes?” she said as she hugged her teddy bear while listening to her diaper being unfastened.
“I think so,” he answered as he slid her wet diaper away, wiped her front, and lifted her legs and bottom into the air. “But don’t quote me on that.”
“What will we be doing there exactly?” she whispered softly as she closed her eyes, feeling the coolness of the wipe on her bottom and smelling the sweet scent of powder as he rubs it on her bottom.
“Well … we will be entertained by what we see and we will entertain others just by being there ourselves,” he answered cryptically as he lowered her body down into the diaper, wrapped her in it, and fastened it around her waist.
“Are you really gonna write a story about an AB Princess, Daddy,” she asked, looking up at him with puppy dog eyes.
“I promise you I will,” he said as he lifted her into his arms and embraced her. “And you will have a very good time tonight. I promise you that as well.”
“I love you, Daddy,” she whispered sweetly, beginning to feel little from the diaper change.
“I love you too, and I have to ask you a question now,” he said.
“Okay,” she said in a girly voice. “What’s the question?”
“How are you feeling, Princess?”
“Good, Daddy. Eating lunch was a good thing. It made my tummy feel better.”
“Well, would you like to go to the pool again, or stay here and relax for now?”
“Oh, the pool, absolutely,” she said grabbing the dress off the floor and putting it back on. “Let’s go!”
“Okay. Let me get changed quickly,” he said as he went into the bathroom to get into his swim suit.
He was ready in no time and came back out of the bathroom to find Lily standing at the door with her bag, two towels, and a crossword puzzle.
“Ready?” she said. “Good. Let’s go!”
“You found some energy, didn’t you?” Zeke asked as he closed the door behind them.
“When you change me, my energy doubles,” she professed, almost skipping down the hallway. “The sun is shining. It’s a beautiful day. I’m on a dream vacation with a man I love, and a man who lives out my secrets with me. Yes, I found some energy. I’m so happy to not be sick anymore. I just wanna smell the fresh air and watch you do cannonballs off the diving board.”
They made their way through the dining hall and to the pool area. Lily set up their things at a table with an umbrella. She sat down and put on her sunglasses, pretending to do the crossword puzzle. The moment he took off his shirt and headed to poolside, she put the crossword puzzle down. Watching carefully over the top of her sunglasses to make certain he didn’t turn around, she reached into her bag and pulled out a camera.
He got up on the diving board and jumped off it, spinning in the air. Lily took a picture of him. He began to swim laps of the pool and Lily took another picture. She kept taking pictures everything he did. Then he decided to get out of the pool for a minute, and as he climbed up the ladder, she took up another picture. Zeke caught on to what she was doing and began flexing his arms. She whistled. He stood in a Captain America pose, and she took a picture. He slid up one of the legs of his swim suit, and she took a picture while howling in laughter.
He walked over to her and she handed him a towel.
“Thanks,” he said as he quickly shook his head back and forth, flicking water from his hair all over her.
She laughed, trying to shield herself from the water droplets until he stopped. His hair was sticking out in all different directions. She took a picture of him and laughed.
He sat down and closed his eyes, soaking in the sun.
“It looks like you could rest,” she said, returning to her puzzle.
“No, I’m just going to shut my eyes for a few minutes,” he replied.
And that he did. Lily worked on her crossword puzzle. A few minutes turned into a half hour, and Lily had lost track of time. She remembered what time it was when she began yawning. Knowing she needed a nap, she gently shook Zeke’s arm.
“Daddy,” she said in a whispered tone. “Can I go take a nap now?”
Zeke startled to.
“Yes,” he mumbled, trying to wake himself up. “What time is it?”
“Daytime,” she said through a giggle as she gathered their things up in her bag.
“Thank you, Princess,” he said with a smile.
They walked back to the room, hand-in-hand and she playfully bumped into his side, trying to knock him off balance. She saw herself in the reflection of the dining hall windows.
“Do you think I’m pretty?” she asked while continuing to study her reflection.
“You’re adorable,” he stated honestly.
“No. I mean am I a pretty girl?” she asked again.
“Yes. You’re a combination of beautiful and cute,” he said. “I look better just walking next to you.”
“Okay,” she laughed. “But if you could, what would you change about me?”
He reached behind her and felt her diapered bottom. She laughed aloud as he opened the door and they walked in.
“I’m talking about my body?” Lily asked. “I’m serious. I want to know what you would change.”
“Why are you asking me this?” Zeke asked while taking her dress off her.
“I want to feel pretty and sometimes I don’t,” Lily stated. “Sometimes, I don’t feel that way and I’m not sure why that is.”
“And why would I have the answer?” he asked as he slipped her nightie over her head, and prepared a bottle of Pedialyte.
“Because you have seen all of my body,” Lily pouted, beginning to get upset that he wouldn’t answer. “You’ve bathed ever inch of me many times and I wanna know.”
“You really wanna know?” he said, realizing he wasn’t going to be able to avoid this possible booby trap.
“Yes! That’s why I’m asking!” she sassed as she yawned.
He led her by the hand, sat on the couch, placed her across his lap, covered her with her baby blanket, cradled her in the fetal position, and placed the nipple of the bottle to her lips.
“Open,” he commanded.
She sheepishly opened her lips and took in the nipple, beginning to drink the Pedialyte.
“If I could change anything about you,” he began to answer her. “It would be your hair. There’s nothing wrong with how it looks, but I’d really like to see you experiment a little more with how you style it. So long as you keep your hair long. Variety would be neat to see.”
She continued nursing the Pedialyte from the bottle, never taking her eyes off of him. She reached up and touched his nose, then his lips, then drew her fingers down his face. He smiled back down at her with big, silly eyes which made her face light up with an adorable smile.
Soon, she finished the bottle, and he stood up with her in his arms. She let out a big yawn this time and rested her head on his shoulder. He walked around the room bouncing her up and down while singing the song “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz. The song had a very bouncy rhythm to it. He kept patting her back. She began mumbling out the words to the song, knowing full well that he didn’t know the correct lyrics. She kept yawning every few seconds, and finally burped a few times.
He stopped bouncing her, and started patting her diapered bottom. This gave her the baby feeling and her mind slipped back to infancy. He inserted her pacifier between her lips just before her eyes began to get heavy. For some reason she was fighting sleep. She definitely needed it at this point.
He slowed down his pace of walking and began to softly sing the song “You’re Beautiful” by James Blunt. She tried mumbling the words behind her pacifier, but no longer had the strength to resist sleep. Finally, her breathing slowed down and she slipped away into her nap.
As if he were setting a China tea set down, he placed her on the bed, put the teddy bear in her arms, and covered her. He began to back up from her, but then stopped. He reached under the pillows to find her dream bracelet, and he gently slipped it over her left wrist. Unbeknownst to him, she entered a dream right away.
Lily opened her eyes, and looked around at her new surroundings. She wasn’t in her room anymore, and it was mid-day. She stood at the front rail of the ship.
“I was worried about you, LilyGirl,” a voice said behind her. “But I’m glad you’re feeling back up to a dream.”
“Mr. Woody!” she said, kneeling and giving him a big hug.
“Yes, Yes, LilyGirl is definitely back to her old self,” he said, returning the hug. “And she met a new friend, too.”
“Oh, yeah. Milly!” she said. “She was so sweet about it all.”
Lily’s eyes lit up with a different thought.
“And Zeke says he’s gonna write me an AB Princess fairy tale!” she said with excitement.
“Yes, and at this very moment, he is sitting across the room from you writing it,” Mr. Woody said. “And you will love what he’s writing. Right now, I want to show you something.”
Mr. Woody climbed up the railing, and pointed to the sky.
“You are getting close to the land when you begin to see birds in the sky,” he said as she looked up.
The sky was, in fact, full of birds. Then he pointed straight ahead.
“Look just above the horizon. What do you see?” he said.
Lily looked straight ahead and squinted her eyes.
“Is that an island?” she asked.
“It is indeed,” Mr. Woody replied. “Over the next few hours, it is going to get a lot bigger, and all night tonight you will sail around it to the other side.”
“To where?” she asked.
“It is called Nassau,” Mr. Woody answered.
“This is amazing!” she exclaimed as she looked at the birds in the sky, the tiny island in the distance and the fish in the water.
“If you like this, you’re in for a treat tomorrow,” he said. “There’s something I want to show you when you get to the Nassau.”
“And I bet you’re not gonna tell me what it is, right?” Lily said, smirking.
“LilyGirl, this is your dream,” he said. “I will tell you where what I want to show you tomorrow, if you want to know.”
Lily smiled widely.
“No, keep it a secret. It’s more exciting if I don’t know where you’re taking me,” she answered, honestly.
“There’s something else I want to tell you while I have you,” he said, getting serious. “Six days from now, as you board back not this ship, you’re life will have changed in a manner you weren’t expecting.”
“Is it bad? If it’s bad, I’ve gotta know now,” Lily asked, getting upset. “If everything falls to pieces, I really need you to tell me.”
“Shh Shh Shh,” Mr. Woody said, trying to calm her down. “I will tell you that you will smile more brightly than you ever have before, and that tender soul, so vulnerable, will never know what hurt feels like again. Take care of yourself, LilyGirl. See you in the Bahamas.”
Mr. Woody touched his fingers to her face, and she closed her eyes. She re-opened them, slightly. She was back in her bed. The room was dark, but by the window she could see Zeke’s silhouette writing in a notebook.
She sat up and rubbed her eyes.
“Daddy?” she mumbled with a sleepy voice.
“Ah, someone woke up,” Zeke said in a quiet, but playful tone as he turned on a lamp and walked over to her. “What’s wrong?”
Lily looked upset and had a frown on her face.
“How long till I’m all better?” she asked innocently.
“Soon, BabyGirl. You’ll be all better soon,” he assured her. “Is that what’s bothering you? Do you still fell a little sick?”
“My tummy aches,” she said while frowning.
“Well, we will just have to make it feel better,” he said as he reached his arms out to her and picked her up into his arms.
He walked over and sat on the couch, putting her on his lap. He reached over for a bottle filled with Pedialyte, leaned her back and placed the nipple between her lips. She took the nipple in and drank.
“I thought you might be getting hungry so I made a bottle up while you slept,” he said.
“How did you know that?” she said, pausing from drinking.
“I didn’t,” he admitted. “But it was a good guess, wasn’t it?”
She nodded. He pulled her baby blanket in front of her face and then pulled it away, in true peek-a-boo fashion. She laughed hysterically.
“This evening we are going to do something really fun,” he said. “But before we do, there’s something really fun we’re gonna do in this room.”
She cocked her head to the side while continuing to drink, intrigued at what he was saying.
“It includes you and water and getting clean,” he said, trying to make her bath seem like more fun than usual.
She closed her eyes and smiled, resting in his arms. Her body was still warm from sleep, and she snuggled close to him.
“I started the AB Princess fairy tale,” he said as she finished the bottle.
“Really?” she asked as he set the bottle down and sat her up. “Can I read it?”
“No. No. No,” he said playfully as he picked her up and patted her back.
“whyyyyyyyy?” she burped out as he felt her wet, diapered bottom.
“I will read you each chapter as I finish it,” he stated, while removing her diaper as he held her in his arms.
He carried her straight into the bathroom where a bath full of warm water was awaiting her. The best part about this bath was that it had bubbles! She clapped her approval when she saw them. It was going to be more fun than usual after all. He lowered her into the tub and she giggled as her bottom touched the bubbles. She kept giggling as her body became engulfed with the bubbles, and then she began to feel the warm water on her skin. It felt wonderful.
She began playing in the tub as he lifted each of her legs up out of the water, one at a time. With a pink razor, he delicately shaved her legs. She stopped playing and watched what he was doing in amazement. She never dreamed in a million years that he would ever shave her legs, but he was….and now she wouldn’t have to do it herself. This bath was just getting better and better.
She gazed up at him as he began washing her body with his signature delicate touch. She never took her eyes of him until he finished.
“Now, for two minutes, I want you to blow as many bubbles as you can with this,” he said, handing her a bottle of bubble suds and a bubble wand. "Fill the room with bubbles as full as you can make it.
He exited the bathroom and she began blowing bubbles, up and out and all over the place. With a little trouble to start, she soon had the room filled with them.
Zeke returned to the bathroom, fully dressed and ready to go. He was wearing a black button-down shirt, black slacks and black shoes. He turned to the counter, and began playing it like a piano. He quickly turned around to her and sang.
“Splish Splash she was takin’ a bath, Early on a bubbly night, A rub-a-dub in a bubbly tub, Feelin’ Better everything was alright,” he sang.
He lifted her out of the tub and continued singing.
“Well, she hopped out of the tub, Put her feet on the floor, Danced herself in circles as she left the bathroom,” he continued singing.
He lifted her up in the air and put her back in the water.
“And then she, Splish Splash… Jumped back in the bath, Well how was she to know there was a party startin’ soon?” he sang.
Zeke started dancing next to the tub.
“A Party?” she asked excitedly.
“Yep,” he replied, still dancing like a moron.
“What kind of party?” she asked.
“A fun party,” he answered. “It’s a surprise. Come on.”
He wrapped a towel around her and dried her off.
“And I’m going to take you there blind-folded,” he said. “You won’t believe what it is when you see it.”
Lily looked at him with a grin, trying to read his eyes to reveal his sneakiness.
“Okay,” she said. “What should I wear?”
“I will go pick out your clothes for you,” he said. “But you will probably want to do your hair and face up.”
“Yeah,” she said smiling. “I’m not going anywhere without doing that.”
Zeke exited the room. Lily began fixing her hair.
“Which do you like better, hair up or hair down?” she asked, remembering the answer he gave her earlier about her hair.
“Up,” he called to her from the other room. “In Pigtails?”
Lily smiled at the thought.
“Yes, Daddy,” she said playfully.
She soon finished with her hair and make-up.
“Alright,” I’m done," she called to him.
He entered the bathroom, and blind-folded her. He picked her up and carried her out to the bed, placing her gently on it. Her bottom and legs were raised, the scent of powder filled the air, and her body was lowered down into a new diaper. He fastened it into place and sat her up.
“Arms up,” he said as lowered what felt like a short dress over her body.
Next he tied two ribbons over the hair band holding up her pigtails. She then felt a soft pair of socks being put on her feet.
“Ooo. They feel nice,” she stated as she heard him gathering items from the bed.
He stood her up and draped a coat over her shoulders and led her to the door. He opened it and they were on their way.
She could hear a lot of people talking in the main dining hall as they neared it.
“You certainly keep things interesting,” she said, laughing with each step.
They entered the main dining room and stopped. Suddenly, Zeke put a pacifier in her mouth. This totally surprised her and her eyes grew big behind the blind fold which he removed as he removed the coat from her shoulders.
She looked around the room, taking in the sight of everybody that was there. He eyes grew even bigger. Nothing was out of ordinary really. Everyone was eating dinner and talking. Nothing seemed unusual, except for the way they were dressed.
You see, Zeke had been very sneaky about telling her what this event was going to be. All afternoon, he continued to give her little bits of information about it, just enough so she would be distracted and not figure it out.
She turned back to him and saw that he was dressed the same way everyone else was, in a costume. His costume was, of course, Zorro. The coat around her shoulders wasn’t a coat. It was his Zorro cape which he now was fastening around his neck. He stood there wearing a black bandanna, a black mask, his black Zorro hat and black gloves, all of which matched perfectly with the black button down shirt, pants and shoes she saw him wearing.
He gave her what was in his hand, her teddy bear and her baby blanket. She took the items from him and it was then that she realized what she was wearing. That short dress was really a pink nightie which barely covered the waistline of her diaper. Those socks were really baby booties. He had dressed her as a BabyGirl!
Her face lit up with excitement and she smiled brightly behind her pacifier. She looked back at the room of people, scanning the costumes she saw. There was Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Cat Woman, Robin Hood, Indians, Medusa, Barbie, Playboy Bunnies, Guys in Cheerleader Outfits, Pirates, Devils, Angels, and countless Goblins and Ghosts. But that wasn’t all. There were celebrities in the room: Elvis Presley, Sonny and Cher, Abraham Lincoln, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and even Michael Jackson!
But Lily was the only BabyGirl there, and the people nearby were beginning to notice her out. She embraced Zeke and climbed up into his arms. Hanging from her pacifier was a string with a Winnie the Pooh clip on the end of it which he attached to her nightie.
“I wuv oo,” she mumbled behind her pacifier.
From across the room, Captain Jack Sparrow and Little Red Riding Hood (Mark and Milly) were flagging them down. Zeke carried Lilly across the room, amidst a sea of "Awwwww"s and "How adorable"s and "That’s a cute outfit"s. Every word made Lily feel like a million bucks. She was now the center of everyone’s attention and she was loving it.
They got to Mark and Milly’s table, and Zeke set her down.
“Hello there Captain Jack,” Zeke said as he shook hands with him.
“Buenos Noches, Zorro,” Mark said.
“Well didn’t you just steal the room, Little One,” Milly said smiling, giving Lily the biggest hug. “Were you surprised?”
“Completely,” she admitted with a happy grin.
“Let’s go eat!” Mark exclaimed. “I’m hungry.”
They all walked over to the buffet line, engaging in conversations with each other and those nearby, but all the focus of the room was still on Lily and her outfit. As always, when in a diaper, she didn’t walk. She waddled, and with each step her disposable diaper made that crinkling noise. Always fearful of someone hearing up to this point, she delighted in making the noise and the hugs she gave Zeke as he patted her diapered bottom. This made her feel little as it always did, but on this night, she was able to feel that way openly. It was such a thrill for her.
There were so many options to pick from on the buffet line. This time, she remembered that her eyes were bigger than her stomach. Then she saw it. The option she had been waiting to see. The dream meal for her “little” side. She just had it a day or two ago, but spaghetti was what she wanted. She made herself up a plate, giving Zeke a playful look. He winked back at her. She smiled, and they crossed back to the table.
“To set everyone’s mind at ease, they discovered some bad mayonnaise that had been used in the seafood salad we had last night,” Milly said as the four of them sat down.
“That would explain it. You and I didn’t eat any of that,” Mark said to Zeke.
“Apparently, Lily and I weren’t the only two who did,” Milly said. “Several others got sick.”
“I feel bad for them,” Lily said, taking the pacifier out of her lips.
One of the buffet attendants walked up to the table.
“Good evening. Is everyone enjoying the meal?” the attendant asked.
“Yes,” all four of them said.
“Good,” the attendant said, turning to Lily. “Ma’am, I saw you coming through the line and I had to come over here and give you something. I just couldn’t resist.”
He placed a disposable bib around her neck and fastened it.
“Thank you,” she said to him with a smile and a laugh.
“Enjoy your meal,” the attendant said as he walked away.
Lily pulled her legs up and sat on the chair Indian leg style. She paused for a second and looked at her fingers, then at her fork. Thinking better of the decision, she picked up the fork, twirled it full with spaghetti, and put it her mouth. She realized that there was too much spaghetti in her mouth. Her cheeks puffed out with the food. She slid the fork out and began munching on the spaghetti in her mouth. Pausing, she looked up at Zeke, Mark and Lily who were holding back laughter. Lily joined them in laughing, almost spewing the food out of her mouth as she snorted.
The nearby tables were taking moments to admire her in all of her cute mannerism and her outfit which still had people looking at her.
“I forgot to get a drink,” Lily mumbled with a full mouth.
“Young lady,” said Milly, playfully. “No talking with your mouth full.”
Lily smiled, thoroughly enjoying the fact that everyone else thought she was just dressed as a baby, but the three people in front of her knew otherwise. Zeke produced a bottle of Pedialyte from beneath his cape and sat it next to her. Still living all of this up, she took the bottle and drank it as she usually did with a lowered chin and puppy dog eyes.
Dinner continued on with a series of playful moment for Lily to enjoy. Then came dessert. Vanilla ice cream was Lily’s choice. She scooped it out with the same fervor for fun as the meal.
A little while later, the event coordinator began speaking through a microphone.
“Folks, may I have your attention, please,” the coordinator said. “As you begin finishing your desserts, I’m going to tell you the events of the evening. The first thing we’re going to do is have a costume judging contest. Now, we’re going to have several categories which are Ugliest, Most Heroic, Most Original, Cutest, and Best Celebrity. Now to play it fair, only put yourself in one category.”
“Heroic,” Zeke and Mark said simultaneously.
“I think I’ll try for Most Original,” Milly said laughing. “I think we know who will win the Cutest.”
One-by-one, each category was called. People lined up in the front of the room, and everyone wrote down their choice. When it came time for the cutest costumes, there were only three costume choices. First up was Barbie which got a lot of "Ooo"s from the crowd. Next up was Lily , who got the expected "Awww"s, and lastly were two guys dressed in cheerleader outfits which brought uproarious laughter.
Everyone voted for all the categories, handed in their choices, and about ten minutes later, the coordinator began speaking on the mike again.
“Folks, the votes are in,” he started. “And the winners are …Most Original goes to the Devil.”
A man stood up, dressed as the horned beast from the movie “Legend”.
“The favorite celebrity goes to…George W. Bush.”
W stood up.
“Ugliest goes to Medusa.”
The lady wearing the Medusa costume stood up, with an amazing job of make-up and a most elaborate wig made of rubber snakes.
“Most heroic goes to…Jack Sparrow.”
Mark stood and raised his hands triumphantly.
“That’s … CAPTAIN … Jack Sparrow!” Mark said, bringing laughter to the room.
“Folks, I’ve been working for this cruise line for 27 years. I’m pleased to announce the first ever unanimous decision. Every single vote for Cutest went to the little girl with the pigtails in the corner.”
Lily bounced up and down on her chair, and waved to everyone.
“Let’s give our winners a round of applause,” the coordinator said as everyone applauded. “Now, on to the dancing! The first song is by request.”
The song “Thriller” began to play. The guy in the Michael Jackson outfit stood up and went to the front of the room, and began to do the dance from the video. Lily’s eyes grew wide with excitement. She looked over to Zeke with sparkling eyes. He placed her pacifier back in her mouth and nodded his approval to her. She leapt up out of her chair and sprinted to the front of the room. Her diaper crinkled all the way and her waddled attempt at running was an adorable sight.
She lined up along side Michael Jackson and joined right in. She knew the dance by heart. Soon, Lily and Michael Jackson had the whole room up and on their feet.
Dance after dance, Lily stayed up there. Zeke, Mark and Milly joined in on certain numbers, but had to stop to rest. Lily just kept on getting’ jiggy with it.
Then a slow song came. This shot Zeke to his feet. He walked down to the front of the room. Lily was desperately looking for him. Seeing him, she waddled up to him and jumped into his arms. He embraced her for a moment, patted her diapered bottom and then set her down.
“May I have a dance with the cutest girl in the room?” he asked with Chivalry.
She nodded, and walked into his arms while clinging her arms around him, her body up against him, and her head to his chest. He could feel a tremendous amount of heat coming off her body. Her skin and hair was sweated, and she still looked as adorable as the moment she walked in the room. Her heartbeat slowed down and she began to breathe more slowly and easily. She could hear his heart beating and she swayed to the sound of it. It felt so good being enveloped by him. She closed her eyes and took in his scent. She didn’t want this moment to end, but the song eventually did.
“You wanna go get some air for a minute?” he asked her.
She shook her head yes. He led her by the hand to the door, stopping at the drink table to dip a cloth napkin in a glass of water. They left the room and walked the length of the boat down to the very front of the ship. In the fading light of dusk, she could make out the island to the right of the ship. It had gotten bigger and they were sailing around it, just as Mr. Woody said they would.
Her attention was brought back to the moment when Zeke held her close and wrapped either end of his cape completely around her body. She embraced him, burying her face in his chest again. She closed her eyes, but opened them back up quickly when she head and felt her diaper being unfastened. She looked up at him, and then back to the rest of the ship. No one was nearby and she needed to be changed.
Her wet diaper fell to the floor Zeke began wiping her clean with the wet cloth napkin.
“Reach around to the back of my belt,” he said.
She reached behind and felt a new diaper tucked into the back of his pants. Her eyes grew big with amazement. She pulled the diaper out, unfolded it herself and handed it to him. He took the diaper in his hands. Lily grabbed hold of the edges of his cape which still covered her like a private changing room. He placed the diaper between her legs and slowly drew it up into place. This sent shivers up Lily’s spine. This was a lot of fun, and she felt so little standing there getting her diaper. Zeke situated the diaper on either side of her waist and began fastening it. With a pat to her freshly diapered bottom, he was done and she was changed.
Zeke knelt down and wrapped the wet diaper in the cloth napkin. They made their way back to the party, hand-in-hand. Lily began skipping along. As they re-entered the party, Zeke discreetly tossed the cloth napkin and wet diaper in a trash can. They made their way back to the table and met Mark and Milly who were leaving.
“I think we’re gonna turn in,” said Mark, shaking Zeke’s hand.
“You were absolutely precious tonight,” Milly said, hugging Lily. “I hope you had a great time.”
“Oh, thank you. I did,” Lily said returning the embrace. “See ya tomorrow!”
“Have a good night,” Zeke said.
They walked over to the table, and Zeke picked up her bottle, still half full.
“You wanna go for one more walk?” he asked.
“Of course I would, Daddy,” she said, hugging him.
They exited the room and made their way up to the observation deck. He took his cape off, wrapped it around her and lifted her up into his arms. She assumed her favorite position, resting her on his shoulder.
“Will you every stop being so nice to me?” she asked.
“What do you mean?” he asked, confused. “Why would I ever stop being nice to you?”
“What I mean is … Will you always be my Daddy?” she asked with baby eyes as he sat on a bench and cradled her in his arms.
“Always and forever,” he replied. “Will you always be my BabyGirl?”
She nodded as he placed the nipple of the bottle between her lips. She took it in her mouth and closed her eyes, drinking from it.
“Tomorrow we arrive!” he said as he watched her take a few swallows and then fall asleep in his arms.
He cradled her gently, patting her diapered bottom.
The stars in the sky were shining brightly. There was a breath-taking beautiful view of the heavens above him, but he never took his eyes off the BabyGirl asleep in his arms. There was nothing more breath-taking or beautiful than her.
To be continued …