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"Good morning, baby girl! Did we sleep well?"
There was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, no one for her to turn to...
"Made a mess, did we? You just can't look after yourself, can you, little baby girl - just like your father!"
Why wouldn't she stop? Why, oh, why couldn't someone else have come in that morning? Why couldn't she just wake up from all this - ?
"Wake up. Jess, wake up!"
Jessica opened her eyes. She blinked, feeling tears sliding down her cheeks and sweat through her nightgown. The room was dark, and she wasn't lying in a crib, but in a bed. She wasn't nine years old anymore, but close to turning nineteen. And standing over her wasn't her mother, but her Aunt Claire, with a concerned look on her face.
"You okay, sweetheart?" Claire asked, wiping off the sweat on Jessica's forehead.
"You were having a nightmare."
Slowly, Jessica became aware that her heart was racing. She blinked again and felt her breath began to slow, and she was fully aware of what was going on now.
Claire drew some of her dark blond hair back from her face and slipped her arm around Jessica's shoulders.
"It's all right, dear. Do you need a change?"
"I... I don't..." Jessica felt around the bottom of her nightgown. Unfortunately, she could begin to tell that she'd filled her diaper, just like in the dream. Her face grew uncomfortably hot as she began to detect the faint odor coming from her sheets.
"I think I made a mess."
"It's okay, dear. I'll take care of it." She pulled the covers off Jessica and went to her dresser, getting out her wipes, baby powder, and a clean diaper.
The diaper change went by quickly, although Jessica normally didn't mess them like she used to. Fortunately, Claire had been doing this for her for about ten years now, so the process was one they didn't have to focus too much on. And there was none of the tension or self-consciousness that Jessica had felt when her mother did it - but she kept as far away from those thoughts as she could.
Mom was gone from her life. There was only Aunt Claire, her guardian angel.
As Claire finished taping up the diaper, she smiled down at her niece.
"It's only two in the morning. Do you want to spend the rest of the night with me?"
"Would that be all right?" Jessica asked softly.
"Just like old times," Claire replied, her smile widening.
She took Jessica by the hand and led her over to the main bedroom of their little condominium. It was, she noted, a simply larger version of her own bedroom, decorated with the same reassuring tones of blue and white, with lacy curtains and a big blue armchair in the corner. The chair in particular made her recall when she'd first come to live with Claire after her mother's abuse, when her aunt would take Jessica into her lap and very gently rock her to sleep.
As Jessica got under the covers, Claire slipped out of her robe and draped it over the chair. Then she got into bed and drew her niece into a fierce hug, followed by a kiss on the cheek.
"Sleep well, angel," Claire whispered, and soon enough, Jessica was drifting away into absolute peace.
Jessica's life, as she thought of it, did not truly begin until the day she came to live with Claire. It wasn't that her life was any different before that day, but the month before she moved in with her aunt had been one long nightmare, from which she was continually trying to wake up.
Her father had tried to be good to Jessica and faithful to her mother, but failed in both regards, settling instead for long, suspicious absences. Jessica's mother had her own issues; accusations and suspicions about her father and the girl herself would arise from out of nowhere, and there was no telling which days the mother's mood might swing from sunny and benevolent to stormy and malicious.
It was that month of living with just her mother, when her father had severed all ties with them, that continued to haunt Jessica. Memories of abuse, of being diapered and babied against her will, of constant taunts and humiliations that had shattered her self-esteem. Most of what she could recall was in fragments, images and words that would strike from the recesses of her mind, causing her to lose control of her bladder and, on occasion, her bowels.
But then Claire had in stepped in between Jessica and her mother. It was Claire who had seen the damage her elder sister had wrought upon Jessica, who had given the girl her first sign of motherly affection in weeks, and who had done her best for ten years to restore the vibrant and happy niece she'd known and loved.
Fortunately, Claire had not been alone in helping Jessica find her balance. When she had to be at work, there was always Grandma Sharon to look after Jessica, and her best friend Samantha would walk her home after school, and the school nurses would always be patient and considerate whenever she came in for a diaper change. After her fourteenth birthday, Jessica had also started seeing a therapist on Saturday mornings, Dr. Megan Faraday, who would help her slowly work out her traumas and better understand that dark episode near the end of her childhood.
There were days when Jessica felt like nothing more than a child, desperate for attention and comfort, and it was those days that she needed her Aunt Claire or Grandma Sharon the most. But Claire was the only mother she wanted - not the mother she dreamt of, but the one she'd always have when she woke up in the morning.
The evening Sarah spent with Brendan was almost too good to be true. They'd done almost everything they enjoyed - dinner at Sarah's favorite Italian restaurant, a brief dance at a nightclub, and then snuggling on the couch at Brendan's apartment as they watched Casablanca for possibly the nineteenth time. By the time they watched Ingrid Bergman get on the plane and fly away forever, Brendan and Sarah were both feeling very good and more than a little frisky.
It began innocently enough with a kiss, just on the corner of Sarah's mouth. Then the kissing turned more passionate, and soon, Brendan was lying on top of Sarah, his hands rubbing eagerly up and down her back and shoulders. She responded by reaching up to run her fingers through his hair, feeling rather thankful that he at least had enough hair to play with than all the other boys she knew.
Brendan pulled his lips away from hers just for a second, leaning toward her ear to whisper, "Do you want to go somewhere else?"
"Well," he answered with a twinkle in his eye, "if you insist..."
Suddenly, he was on his feet and sweeping Sarah off the couch. She laughed and threw her arms around his shoulders, letting him carry her down the hallway and into the tiny bedroom of his studio apartment.
As they passed toward the bed, Sarah briefly glanced at herself in the mirror over Brendan's dresser. She saw a girl of twenty-three, with long brown hair, soft blue eyes, and a body that wasn't terrible to look at, despite a faint lumpiness around the waist. Not that she was worried about her figure, at least not with Brendan around. He loved her just as she was.
Reverently, Brendan laid Sarah down on his bed. He gave her a quick smile and kissed her on the nape of her neck, brushing her hair away. Sarah arched her head back and let out a quiet moan. There was the spot where she had the most pleasure, the spot Brendan took his time to reach during their romantic evenings.
"Sarah?" he whispered from behind her neck.
"Yes?" she whispered back, letting her eyes drift shut, ready to be taken...
"There's something I want to tell you."
"Is it that you love me and always will, forever and ever?"
He laughed quietly.
"Well, yes, of course. But there's something else I really want to tell you."
Sarah could feel something in Brendan that wasn't like his usual passion. It was like a kind of inner stiffness, something in him that just wouldn't budge. But part of their relationship was built on the fact that she was good at getting under his skin and helping him work out all those inner doubts he'd accumulate, so she figured she'd help him with this one, too.
"Of course," she whispered, reaching around to stroke him on the cheek.
"You can tell me anything."
Brendan pulled back and took Sarah's hands into his own.
"We've been going out for a long time now, and you know how deeply I'm in love with you. But there's this thing I've been interested in that I've been keeping from you, and I don't want to hide it from you any longer."
"What is it?"
He glanced away.
"I, uh, like diapers."
"I have a diaper fetish."
She blinked again.
"Um, are we talking, like, Huggies or Depends?"
"I'm being serious, Sarah. Ever since I was a kid, I was fascinated with the idea of being in diapers again. As I got older, I realized that diapers were kind of a turn-on for me. So I would steal some from my little sister's room, and then eventually I would buy them from the drugstore." He shook his head helplessly.
"I can't explain it. I just feel really, really safe and secure with them... much like how I feel around you."
"I'm... flattered?" Sarah frowned.
"I'm almost afraid to ask, but does this have anything to do with... children?"
"Good God, no!" Brendan exclaimed. He put a hand to his chest and gave her a determined stare.
"I don't like kids that way. I just feel the desire to be like one."
"Oh. I guess that makes sense."
"Was this too much to tell you? I feel like this wasn't the best time."
"I really couldn't imagine when it would have been the best time to tell me." She went for a more reassuring smile.
"But I think... I'm glad you decided to tell me anyway."
"You have no idea how happy that makes me," Brendan replied, his face suddenly filled with delight. He leaned over and pecked Sarah right on the lips. She grinned and kissed him back.
"I'm sorry if this is a little rude," she said, nervously licking her bottom lip, "but are you... wearing one... right now?"
Brendan shook his head.
"No. But I can show them to you, if you like."
Sarah thought about it for a moment. On the one hand, there was something odd about the idea of a grown man in diapers. It was something taboo, something beyond the norm. But on the other hand, she was thankful it wasn't something really unfortunate, like an STD or sleeping around with other girls. And he'd been honest with her, and that took a lot more courage than Sarah had ever seen.
"Okay," she finally answered.
"Let's have a look."
A smile of relief washed over Brendan.
"Very well." He slid off the bed and went over to his closet. Sarah watched as he crouched down and pushed some things out of the way. There was a loud rustle of plastic and paper bags, and then he stood up and came out with a blue-green package of adult diapers. Emblazoned on the package was the image of a diaper and the brand name "Attends."
"That's funny." Sarah regarded the package as Brendan set it down next to her.
"I have this younger cousin, Jessica, who still wears diapers. I'm pretty sure this is the same brand she uses."
"Is that the same cousin you lived with during college?"
Sarah nodded. She had lived several miles away with her parents when she was accepted to college, and the closest living relatives in that area was her Aunt Claire and her cousin Jessica, whom Claire had adopted. Her parents had agreed to let her live with Claire and Jessica while she attended college, and of course, Jessica's need for diapers wasn't much of a secret in their home.
"She's a very sweet person," Sarah added.
"A little hard to know sometimes, but really quite decent. There was a rough spot in her life, back when she was a kid, and to make a long story short, she's been back in diapers ever since. I've even helped change her a couple of times."
Now Brendan began to look interested.
"Well, if you have all that experience... would you be interested in changing me?"
Sarah's gaze flickered over to the opened package of diapers sitting next to her.
"I, uh..." She looked over into Brendan's eyes, trying to get a read on him. There was no pressure here. If she said no, she could get away with it, and there wouldn't be any bitterness between them. It simply wasn't in his nature.
"Okay," she said.
"I'll do it."
He smiled broadly and bent down to kiss her hand.
She laughed and got off the bed.
"All right, young man. Lie down."
He obediently scooted past her onto the bed, reaching down to untie his shoes and slide them and his socks off. While Sarah was grabbing a diaper from the package and unfolding it, Brendan was already unbuckling his jeans and pulling them off. By the time she turned to face him, he was lying in front of her in his t-shirt and boxers. The very sight of him, so exposed and compliant, sent up a little flutter in her stomach.
"Do you use baby powder or wipes?" she asked, trying to remember how this all went. It had been almost a whole year since she lived with Claire and Jessica, and she had just gotten back to town for that evening.
Brendan shook his head.
"I tried them every so often, but I just go straight for the diaper and nothing else."
"Okay, then." Sarah placed the diaper next to her and reached across his legs to pull his boxers off. As she tugged them past his ankles and dropped them off the side of the bed, her boyfriend was obviously quite aroused. She was quite excited herself, but she did her best to keep control.
She took the unfolded diaper and slid it underneath him, gently prodding for him to lift his legs up. Then she pulled the front of the diaper over his abdomen, making sure to clear the source of his arousal, and pushed the front of the diaper into place while she taped it on. Brendan was breathing very quickly as Sarah finished adjusting the diaper on him and gave it a pat on the behind.
"You look adorable," she exclaimed, more to herself than to him. Her hand fell softly against his diaper, brushing against the hardness she felt inside of it.
"My little baby boy."
"How about you?" Brendan asked. His eyes were bright and his voice was full of emotion, thick with desire.
"Would you want to give it a try?"
Sarah glanced down at the diaper she'd just put him in.
"I don't know."
"You must have thought about it, changing your cousin all those times."
"Well..." Odd as it was, she had considered the possibility for the briefest of moments. A fleeting, futile fantasy, and nothing more: she'd watched her cousin being changed by their Aunt Claire, feeling only the merest flash of envy as she saw how tender and loving Claire was with her other niece, and how endearingly Jessica had gazed at her aunt. Sarah didn't have that kind of a relationship with her mother, and while she and Claire had been close, it was nowhere near the kind of intimacy her aunt enjoyed with Jessica.
"I never realized it until now," Sarah told her boyfriend, a little disbelieving of what she was saying, "but I guess I always did feel some jealousy toward her. Maybe I thought those diapers would be the thing to make me feel so special and loved like her."
"Well, I can do that for you, too." Brendan reached out and brushed his fingers over her wrist.
"If you'll let me."
Sarah leaned down, letting her hair fall past her shoulder.
"Go on. Ask me."
He moved his hand up and rubbed the nape of her neck.
"Would you like me to diaper you, Sarah?"
Her eyes slid shut.
"Yes. Yes, I would."
She felt him sit up and take her into his arms. The diaper had on was crinkling the whole time, but she didn't mind. It was a familiar sound, like when she or Claire was changing Jessica, chatting with her about life and that boy Ryan she had her eye on. She laid back on the bed, watching Brendan as he slid her pants, shoes, and socks off. He took out a diaper and unfolded it just as she had done. Sarah lifted her bottom up as her boyfriend slid the diaper under her, and then settled down on it, luxuriating for a moment on the nice cotton padding. Brendan finished the job by folding the other half of the diaper over her abdomen, making sure it was taped on just right.
Sarah looked down at the diaper now encasing her and gave it a few experimental taps. It felt so warm and gentle, like when Aunt Claire was giving her a hug. She looked up at Brendan, who was gazing at her intently.
"I didn't think it was possible," he said, "to be even more in love with you than I already was, but... I am."
Sarah grabbed his forearms and pulled him closer.
"Well, this is all your fault, you know that? Next thing you know, I'll be sleeping in cribs and getting fed in high chairs because of you."
"And you'll love every second of it if I'm the one doing all that for you."
"Yeah. I will."
Brendan gently lowered himself onto Sarah. Even through all the padding of the diapers they had on, she could feel how hard he was and it made her bite her lip with excitement. She snaked one of her hands over to his diapered bottom and began to rub it. He responded by cupping one hand behind her neck and sliding the other over her lower back, almost holding her like a baby.
It was slow at first, as Brendan started to move himself up and down, causing the front of his diaper to rub against hers. Sarah felt her pulse quicken and she clutched at the back of his diaper with one hand while using the other to pull him into a kiss. Their lips locked, unable to trap their moans as the rubbing increasing, faster and faster, the heat and the friction and the passion swirling in and out and all around them...
At the climax, they fell shuddering against each other, intertwining their arms and legs together. Sarah kissed Brendan again, sliding her tongue over hers, and sighed with unparalleled joy.
"This was the most beautiful night we've ever had," she whispered into his ear.
"And this was the best gift you could have ever given me," he whispered back.
"I love you, Sarah."
"Right back at you, Brendan."
"So you two are still going strong?" Claire looked at her niece over the rim of her coffee mug, which hid her smile.
"And my new job with Amber Prescott's going great, so it looks like I'll be out here more often."
"But that's quite a commute, driving seventeen miles every day... both ways..."
The trailing-off was her aunt's favorite tactic.
"What do you suggest, then?"
"Have you considered the possibility of moving back in with us?" Claire set her mug down and flashed another smile.
"Maybe until you find your own place?"
Sarah gave a teasing smile of her own.
"Are you taking me in just so you can kick me out again?"
"I'd have you anytime," Claire replied.
"Being kicked out is entirely up to you."
Now Sarah really had to think about it. On the one hand, she'd be a lot closer to Brandon and to her work, and there'd be plenty of quality time with Claire and Jessica. But even so, she was still trying to work out her epiphany from the previous night: that she was both fascinated with, and a little thrilled by, the idea of wearing diapers. Being around Jessica, who went though several changes during the day, would only make that interest in her a lot stronger, and Sarah was mortified about what might happen if Jessica were to ever learn about this. Her cousin had long ago accepted her incontinence, but she saw it as a condition that someone else had imposed upon her. The idea of using diapers for pleasure - let alone sexual pleasure - would probably not sit well with her.
"Well?" Claire pressed, tilting her head inquisitively.
Sarah glanced up at her.
"I..." She stopped herself and clamped down on her fears. Like it or not, this was her family, and family always came first for her, no matter how embarrassed or tense she might become around them. If the issue about her wearing and enjoying diapers came up, it would have to be dealt with. No way around it.
"I think that might be a good idea," was her final answer.
Even after so many years, it still amazed Jessica at how nonchalant her friend Samantha was with her. She wasn't at all fazed by the fact that Jessica had just wet her diaper while they were talking about the classes they were taking in college.
"Do you need a change?" It was the one question Jessica heard single every day; it came from Aunt Claire, Grandma Sharon, her cousin Sarah, and her own best friend, almost like clockwork.
"I don't think so," she told Samantha, as they were sitting on the bed in Jessica's room.
"Not right now, anyway."
Samantha nodded, then slowly began to smile.
"I have to admit... you're going to think this is silly, but I think I did so well as a babysitter all through high school because of you, Jess. All those times spent changing your diaper was a great learning experience for me."
Jessica stuck at her tongue out at her.
"Glad I could help."
"I'd - " Samantha was going to say more, but she suddenly stopped and lifted her hand to hide a smile.
Jessica frowned and was about to ask what was wrong when she felt two hands grab her from behind and pull her into a sudden hug. She squealed and kicked, but that only made the person behind her squeeze harder. Then Jessica felt a soft kiss against the back of her neck and a whisper against her ear.
"Sarah!" Jessica turned around in her cousin's arms and returned the hug. She felt like a little girl again, just like she did around Claire and her grandmother. If Claire was her surrogate mother, Sarah was like her older sister and had spent a large part of her high school years being Jessica's babysitter.
"How are you, sweetheart?" asked Sarah, brushing her fingers through Jessica's hair.
"How's school treating you?"
Jessica rolled her eyes.
"You couldn't have picked a better time. We were just talking about that."
"And I'll bet it's nothing but rainbows and gumdrops." One of the hands Sarah had on Jessica's back slid itself down, feeling around the waistband of her jeans.
"I don't mean to embarrass you in front of your friend, but I think you might need a change."
"I'm fine," Jessica insisted. She glanced at Samantha with rolled eyes.
"Really. I'm only a little wet."
Sarah responded with a knowing smile.
"If you say so." She playfully ruffled her hand through her cousin's hair and left the room.
Jessica turned back to see Samantha wearing a gentle smile on her face.
"Nothing," her friend said, slightly blushing.
"It's just... I think it's so cute the way you and your cousin are around each other. Just like sisters."
"Why does everyone keep saying that?" Jessica shook her head.
"Everyone's always comparing me to her or Aunt Claire. Why can't anyone take me for who I am?"
"As what? A girl who still wears diapers?" Samantha grinned.
Jessica was about to challenge that when she again felt a pair of hands grab her from behind. She tried to spin around, but Sarah already had her hand on Jessica's back, keeping her locked in place. The girl felt her cousin suddenly pull the waistband of her diaper up and out, pulling it away from her skin, and then something very warm and wet began to slide down. It was very settling and relaxing...
"Sarah!" Jessica cried out, as she realized what was happened.
"Did you just - ?"
"Yep," said her cousin. She held out an empty water bottle, waving it in front of Jessica teasingly.
"Looks like our baby girl just wet herself quite a bit." Sarah turned a smile over to Samantha.
"What do you think? Is it time for her to get changed?"
"I'd say!" replied Samantha, in between her ferocious giggling.
Jessica didn't resist as Sarah picked up her, but she shot her best friend a very mean glance.
"I am so going to get you back for this."
Meanwhile, Sarah carried her into Claire's room, where a fresh diaper and the rest of her changing supplies were laid out. Sarah had even thought to put down a blanket on Claire's bed, upon which she now dropped her cousin. It was short work getting off her sandals and blue jeans, exposing her rather-soaked diaper. Jessica could only lie there, pouting, as Sarah went through the age-old process of taking off the diaper, wiping her abdomen, powdering her off, and putting a clean diaper on her.
Something seemed wrong, though. While Sarah had been mischievous around her younger cousin when it came to getting her down for a diaper change, she wasn't as teasing once it was over. Sarah leaned over Jessica, smiling fondly and gently patting and sliding her hand along the front of her diaper, like the way Aunt Claire would after a long day at work.
"You seem awfully interested in... this," Jessica said, pointing at her diaper.
"I don't know what you mean," said Sarah, tilting her head.
"The way you touch it... you're fascinated with it." Jessica smiled teasingly at her.
"Maybe you're interested in trying it from my end?"
"Maybe some other time," said her cousin, bending down to kiss Jessica on the forehead.
Jessica watched her leave and went to pull her pants and sandals back on, but she still couldn't shake the feeling that something else was going on there.
Claire sat in the waiting room outside Dr. Faraday's office, where Jessica was currently in one of her therapy sessions. It was still amazing to Claire how routine this had all become: every Thursday, for the last ten years, she and Jessica had been coming here, working slowly but surely to help her through her trauma.
It had been hardest those first few years, when Jessica had been so shaken that she needed as much care and attention as an actual baby. Claire had to work, so her mother would usually look after the girl, but eventually Claire's manager allowed her to work part-time with almost the same salary so she could be more devoted to her niece. Jessica was also kept out of school for a few months, even though her abuse had taken place in the middle of the summer. When she returned to her classes, Claire had worried that she would have fallen behind, but Jessica pushed herself hard, and by December, she was one of the top students in her class.
Academically, she was brilliant, and Claire suspected that her need for diapers had some role in play, since she could focus more on studying and taking tests without having to constantly stop for a bathroom break. But her therapy was an uphill struggle. Jessica had become more introverted, and though she was becoming more stable and independent, Dr. Faraday consistently pushed her on what she saw as a "pathological attachment" to Claire, which might have also explained why Jessica still hadn't outgrown her need for diapers after ten years.
Claire had no idea what to do about it. On the one hand, she wanted Jessica to be free to live her own life, instead of constantly tying herself to the past. But on the other hand, she couldn't resist the look in her niece's eyes whenever she needed a change or was feeling sad.
Sinking back into her chair, Claire let her mind wander to one of her strongest and most painful memories. It was, she reflected, almost ten years ago to the day, when she had paid a visit to her sister Madison's house...
"Madison, what have you done to her?"
"I didn't do this to her! It's that lousy deadbeat of a man you thought was good enough to be my husband! She's just as rotten as he is! It should be him lying there - !"
The shouting was broken with the ringing slap of a hand across a face.
"Don't you ever touch this child again. Do you hear me?"
"Claire, you have no right - "
"I'm her mother - "
"Not anymore. Out! NOW!"
A door slammed, and the knob on it creaked so that it was locked. Claire stood over what she thought was her niece: a wretched child in a toddler's t-shirt and a very full diaper, sucking frantically on a pacifier, silently sobbing.
"I'm so sorry, baby," Claire whispered. She reached down and very gently lifted the child out of the crib, pressing her against her bosom and stroking her matted blond hair.
"I'm so, so sorry..."
With a startled blink, Jessica came back. She realized she was sitting in a chair in a large, wood-paneled room, staring at Dr. Megan Faraday. The other woman was older than Aunt Claire, but not quite as old as her grandmother; her frosted, dark hair was done in a simple bun, and her eyes were radiant enough that she seemed so full of life despite the creases and wrinkles in her face.
"Sorry," Jessica mumbled, glancing down.
Dr. Faraday gave a sympathetic smile.
"Were you having another flashback?"
"Is it something you feel like sharing?"
"Um, not really."
"Okay." Dr. Faraday glanced down at the notepad in her lap, then back at Jessica.
"I believe you were talking about your cousin Sarah."
"It's just that... I don't know why she was so eager to change me. It was more of a chore for us when we were living together before, like I was her poor retarded little cousin who couldn't look after herself." Unexpectedly, tears came to her eyes; those were among the words she couldn't bear to hear anymore, and she quickly brought up a hand to press the tears back.
"I just... I don't know. Maybe she wants to be a mother now and is trying to pretend with me. I know she and her boyfriend are pretty steady right now, so maybe she thinks they've got a future together."
"I know romance isn't something you've wanted to discuss much..." Dr. Faraday began, clasping her hands together.
The girl shook her head.
"No, it's not. I just want to have my own life right now, like what Sarah has. That way, I'd have the right foundation to start looking around. I mean, I'm young. I've got time."
"And perhaps give yourself time to find someone who'd accept you with your... condition?" the therapist prompted.
Jessica hesitated. Normally, she would have balked at that statement; her diapers were nothing to be ashamed of anymore. They were simply her choice of underwear and nothing more. But the idea of letting someone else being that intimate with her... well, it was one thing, Jessica supposed, that she'd had her diapers changed by women her whole life: Claire, Grandma, Sarah, Samantha, the school nurses. But what kind of guy would be willing to do that for her?
And even if he was willing - unlikely as it was - would Jessica let him?
All she could do, in the end, was shrug.
"I don't know. I just don't know."
The doctor nodded.
"Of course. Well, we have a few more minutes. Anything else you'd like to talk about?"
"Well, there was this one odd thing about the way Nurse Marcia changed me back in my junior year. I suppose you could say she was being motherly, but I don't know that I like hearing that kind of baby talk while I'm being prepped for a new diaper..."
Sarah bounced from foot to foot as she knocked on the door. Her breath was shallow with anticipation.
The door swung open, revealing Brendan in his blue jeans and gray t-shirt. His face split into a brilliant smile.
"Well, hello there, angel."
"Hey, Daddy," Sarah replied in a coquettish voice. She twirled a stand of her hair and smiled.
"Are you ready for me? 'Cause I think I might be about to wet myself..."
Brendan responded by puling her inside and sweeping her up into her arms. She looped her arms around his shoulders, holding herself up as he used his foot to knock the door shut and carried her over to the bedroom.
"I have a few surprises for you," he whispered into her ear.
"Can't wait," Sarah replied, reaching past his shoulder to unlace her shoes and drop them onto the hallway floor.
He deposited her onto her bed, same as usual. He'd already gotten out the diaper, but there were a few more things out as well: a pink pacifier on the nightstand, a bottle full of milk sitting next to it, and a snow-white teddy bear sitting on the pillow by Sarah's head.
"I've never done anything on the Adult Baby side of things," Brendan admitted, "but I was hoping to try them out with you tonight."
Sarah had been shown in the past few weeks more of the world that Brendan had belonged to - the world of Adult Babies and Diaper Lovers, people who loved to never act their own age, who even did roleplaying and took pictures, celebrating this less mature side of themselves. At first, Sarah had thought she was simply a Diaper Lover, someone who liked diapers for what they were, but she realized that she wanted a parental connection as well, and since she didn't have someone like Claire to help her out, Brendan seemed like the next best thing.
Brendan started the process by taking the pacifier and inserting it into Sarah's mouth. She sucked contentedly on it as he took off her pants and underwear, and then reached for the diaper.
Once Sarah was diapered, Brendan handed her the white teddy bear. She hugged it to her chest and smiled at him through her pacifier, feeling a sense of playfulness and security she'd never known before. It felt like the kind of wonderful evening one would read about in a romance novel, but Sarah had never read one that involved dressing up in baby clothes and a diaper.
"I think someone needs a bottle," Brendan said after a while. He helped Sarah into his lap and took the pacifier out of her mouth, replacing it with the nipple of the baby bottle he had on the nightstand. She stared up at him as she took a cautious sip, then let the milk come easily. This was beyond anything she'd have ever imagined doing with a boyfriend, and yet she loved every second of it: the attention, the paternal warmth, the endless spirit of play. Who knew such joy could come out of a bottle of milk instead of a bottle of beer?
Some time later, Sarah's eyes drifted open. She didn't remember falling asleep, but she was still in Brendan's arms, being rocked. She flashed him a smile, and he replied with a gentle caress of her cheek.
"Are you wet?" he asked softly.
Glancing down, Sarah realized that she had in fact peed herself. The bottom of her diaper felt warm and wet, and as she shifted around to get a better look, she could tell how much she'd used it by the soft yellow stain spreading through the padding.
"Looks like I'll need a change, Daddy," said Sarah in her babyish voice. She stuck her thumb in her mouth and gave a suggestive suck.
He shook his head, still smiling.
"Not now, baby girl. Because I'm pretty wet, too..." Brendan unbuckled his jeans and slid them off, revealing his own soaked diaper.
A flutter passed through Sarah. She grinned and pushed herself over onto the bed.
"Oh, I see. It's going to be one of those nights..."
Claire smiled down at Jessica, who was curled up against her on the couch. She was absently stroking her hand through her niece's hair and listening to their favorite CD over the stereo. It felt a little strange not having Sarah with them; they'd gotten used to her being around very quickly in the four weeks since she moved in.
"You need to let Sarah be on her own," Jessica murmured, nuzzling her aunt's shoulder.
"She's got her own life now."
"And you don't envy her for that?" Claire asked, teasing her fingers along the hair over Jessica's ears.
"I've never wanted to hold you back from anything. And Samantha always invites you out every weekend."
Jessica smiled up at her aunt.
"Hey, I like being here. And if I really, really felt like going out with Sammie and the others, I would."
"What if that boy Ryan asked you out?"
"Even I did like him" - Jessica stuck her tongue out at Claire - "which I don't, I'm not sure I'd say yes to that. He's a nice guy and all, but I don't know if I'm looking for someone right now."
"You can't just be like your cousin and wait for someone like Brendan to come along. I mean, you could, but it seems unlikely - "
Jessica responded by playfully trying to punch her aunt in the arm. Claire took the blow with an expression of mock horror, then followed up by grabbing Jessica on her waist with both hands and tickling her furiously onto the couch.
"Okay, stop! Stop!" Jessica grabbed at her aunt's wrists, but to no avail. The tickling relentlessly continued, which only made that tingle running down her waist all the more precarious. That tickle, she knew, would soon make it to her bladder, and then -
Jessica froze. She could feel that warm patch expanding around her butt and for the briefest of moments thought she might even be leaking.
Claire was quick to notice her reaction.
"Uh oh. Someone needs a change, I take it."
"Happens every time I laugh it seems," said Jessica, staring down forlornly at the waistband of her jeans, where she could just make out the edge of her diaper.
Her aunt rose and took her by the hand.
"Okay. Let's get you changed." When Jessica didn't respond, Claire added, "And then we can go out for ice cream."
"Yay!" Jessica replied, waving her arms like a little girl.
"I want strawberry!"
"You'll get chocolate and like it," Claire said without missing a beat, and guided her over to the bedroom.
As her aunt finished securing the tapes on her new diaper, Jessica looked up into her eyes and smiled. She loved this part after being changed, when Claire would reach down and stroke her hair and caress her face. Sometimes she would turn Jessica over and give her a shoulder-and-back massage, though this was more common when Jessica had school and tests to worry about.
But then Claire reached her hand down to pat Jessica on the front of her diaper. Her hand stroked the padding, and just as it was brushing down between her legs, her aunt gave the padding a little pinch -
- She felt the pinch on her bottom of her diaper, pushing up the mess and the wetness against her body. She squirmed, but to no avail.
"Isn't that better dear? You like this, don't you? You're Daddy's precious little girl and you like being his precious widdle baby, don't you!"
"Stop," she whimpered past the pacifier in her mouth.
Her answer was a slap across her face.
"Don't you talk back to me, little girl! You're as rotten as your father! Do you hear me?" The slaps came harder now and more frequently.
"You rotten... spoiled... little... girl...!"
Jessica - !
She became aware of someone shaking her. Jessica forced herself to blink and look up into the anxiety-stricken face of her Aunt Claire. She could feel tears running down her cheeks, matching the ones Claire was shedding.
"Aunt Claire?" Jessica whispered, sounding more like a toddler than a teenager.
"Oh, baby girl," Claire said soothingly. She pulled Jessica to her breast, hugging her tightly.
"It's okay, sweetie. It's all right. I'm here."
Jessica closed her eyes and pressed herself against her aunt.
"I'm here. I'm here. I'm here..."
Suddenly, Jessica felt like she was nine years old again, still lying in that crib with her aunt crying over her. She remembered how wonderful it felt just to be held instead of beaten, to hear someone whispering into her ear instead of shouting. Claire was more than her guardian angel. She was, in many ways, the mother Jessica never had -
No, thought Jessica. I don't need a Mommy. Claire is just my guardian. I don't need her for a Mommy. I'm a big girl now. I'm a big girl. A big girl...
"I'm a little worried about her," said Claire, sitting down on the couch in Dr. Faraday's waiting room.
"She's getting more agitated about the little things, like being changed. Or when I asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday, and she just turned to the corner and sulked."
Sarah could only shrug.
"I really don't know what to say, Aunt Claire. Jess and I have never really sat down and talked for a long time, so I can't tell you what's going on with her. All I know is that she seems to be avoiding us."
"You don't..." Claire pursed her lips into a sharp frown.
"You don't think she could be resenting us, do you?"
"The way we talk to her and act around her. I mean, we treat her very much like a baby, even though she's really just a teenage girl who happens to wear diapers."
"Well..." Sarah fought the urge to let out her secret desire to be a baby. It wasn't something she felt ready to tell her aunt, and she wasn't entirely sure that she needed to. After all, it was still something between her and Brendan, and no one else. So who did it hurt to keep it a secret?
Claire crossed her legs and sighed.
"I know. She's been through a tough time, all things considered. Maybe she needed to hold onto her childhood a little longer." She turned to Sarah with a wistful smile.
"In some ways, I regret that we couldn't have more time to play. I always thought your Mom and Dad were raising you to be an adult much too fast."
"I don't completely regret that," said Sarah, scooting closer to Claire.
"I enjoyed school for one thing, and all my friends knew they could rely on me because I was always 'the mature one.'"
"True," her aunt said, with a deeper smile, "but didn't you ever want to be a little more adventurous? You never wanted to just go out and do something wild? Like paint your shoes in odd colors or run along the beach in a wedding gown?"
"Maybe I'll get to that last one." Sarah grinned.
"Maybe, you know, at my actual wedding."
"Speaking of which, how's Brendan?"
"Fine," Sarah quickly replied.
"He's great, just... great." She looked down and prayed she wasn't blushing. This conversation was getting to be too much for her. First the insinuations about her childhood and now this? What was Claire's angle?
Fortunately, the door to the doctor's office opened and out came Jessica. She was looking a little worn-out, like she'd been crying or infuriated. Sarah ached to just run up and wrap her arms around her, like she'd had to do back when her Aunt Madison's abuse had been all too recent. But Jessica walked very stiffly and painfully, as though a hug might shatter her, so Sarah had to clamp down and keep her distance.
"How'd it go?" Claire asked, folding her hands into her lap.
Jessica let out a long, lingering sigh.
"Kinda rough, but... I think we made some progress. Dr. Faraday thinks... I should be getting out more. Doing more things with my friends instead of just hanging around with you guys all the time." She looked up at Claire and Sarah, and her tear-streaked face cracked a tiny smile.
"Not at all." Their aunt let out a reassuring smile.
"Jessica, that's fantastic. You really are making progress."
"You think so?"
"Sure we do," Sarah said, adding a smile of her own.
"Being out on your own can really do a lot for your self-confidence. I didn't think I was ready for anything until my senior year at college. Now I'm working directly for Amber Prescott and doing very well with her."
Jessica let her tiny smile widen, just a bit.
"Maybe you're right." She reached up to brush her nose with the sleeve of her blouse.
"Oh, and I guess I should mention this. Sammie's asked me to come along on a beach trip she has planned for next Friday, since it's Labor Day Weekend."
"Well, I definitely think you should go," Claire said sweetly, reaching up to draw her niece close.
"You and Sam will do well for each other."
"And you'll have someone else besides us changing you for once," Sarah added with a smirk.
Jessica would have normally offered her cousin a terrible glare at that kind of remark, but now all she did was shake her head and smile back.
It was a little after lunchtime when Sarah's boss, top publicist Amber Prescott, came by her desk. The older woman smiled as she approached.
"Hey, Sarah dear, how's that commercial script coming along?"
"Just a few more corrections," Sarah replied, glancing up at her boss. She liked the fact that, though her hair was starting to gray and lines were showing in her face, her employer carried herself with the same vitality and optimism as anyone at Sarah's age would.
"Great. Just be sure to drop it off before you leave, all right?"
"Not a problem."
Sarah waited for Amber to leave before glancing down at her skirt. She let out a quick sigh and gently poked the diaper she was wearing underneath, thankful that her boss hadn't seen, heard, or smelled anything out of the ordinary.
Last night, she and Brendan had made a pledge to each other - to wear diapers all through work, using them instead of rushing to the bathroom for pee breaks, and seeing how well they could handle their shared fetish outside the bedroom. So far, their little experiment was going well: Sarah had only used her diaper three or four times as a result of all the coffee she drank during the day, and in the mail room, Brendan had reported that he'd wet his no less than six times, though admittedly in short bursts.
It was such a thrill to be discreetly wearing a diaper. Sometimes, Sarah would forget she even had it on, but then the urge would hit, and she'd let go. It felt naughty, like she was somehow deceiving her coworkers. But how could that be? It wasn't like they spent so much of their time thinking about the kind of underwear everyone else was wearing.
Sarah took another glance around the area, which was mostly deserted as people began to pack up and go home for the three-day weekend. She let her eyes drift half-shut and let out the pressure on her bladder - the result of her fourth cup of coffee that day. A sudden river of warmth filled the seat of her diaper, filling her with both terror and joy, and not an inconsiderate amount of erotic stimulation.
By the time Sarah had left work and arrived at her Aunt Claire's house, she could tell that her diaper was soaked and desperately needed changing. Her original plan had been to call Brendan and go by his apartment for a change, but he hadn't answered his cell phone since noon. Fortunately, though, he'd sent her a discreet package full of extra diapers, along with her other "baby girl" accessories, like the pacifier, bottle, and white teddy bear - all of which she kept hidden far under her bed.
The house was empty when Sarah came in. She figured that Jessica had already left with her friends for their Labor Day trip, and Claire would be at work for another hour. With that in mind, Sarah went to her room and got out the small carton from under her bed. She took out a clean diaper, along with her pacifier, which she would wear around her neck when she went over to Brendan's.
Unfortunately, she had no wipes or baby powder in the carton, but Jessica always had plenty of that. Sarah went over to her cousin's room, though she was still holding onto the diaper she'd taken out.
She froze, however, in the middle of the living room that separated her room from Jessica's.
The front door swung open, and from it came Aunt Claire's voice: "Sarah, are you home? I saw your car in the... driveway..."
Her cheeks flashing toward crimson, Sarah turned around to see her aunt staring at her with a perplexed look on her face.
"Why are you carrying a diaper around?" Claire asked politely. She shifted the shoulder strap of her purse as though it were uncomfortable.
Sarah lowered her head.
"I, uh..." Nothing came to her except images of Jessica being changed, Claire bending over her, and Brendan smiling down at his "baby girl" - and it was then that Sarah realized that she couldn't hide this any longer. Maybe her aunt was meant to have come home early and maybe Sarah was meant to have been caught walking across the room with a diaper in hand.
After all, Jessica was learning to come out of her shell. Maybe Sarah would need to do the same.
"Aunt Claire," she said softly, "there's something you need to know."
"...So that's what I was doing when you came in," said Sarah. She folded her hands into her lap and waited.
Sitting next to her on the couch, Claire nodded.
"I think I understand."
"So... you're not mad?"
"Why would I be?"
Sarah bit down on her bottom lip.
"I don't know. I just thought you might think I was... doing something wrong... like I was making fun of Jess..."
Her aunt laid a hand over Sarah's.
"There's nothing wrong. All you had to do was talk to me about it. As long as you're being safe and sensible, what you do with your boyfriend is entirely up to you - and knowing him as I do, what makes the two of you happy makes me happy."
A smile of relief spread across Sarah's face.
Claire pulled her into a hug.
"You're welcome, sweetheart."
They stayed in that embrace for a while, as Sarah quietly savored this moment of intimacy with her aunt - an opportunity more frequently given to Jessica - but it began to dissipate when she felt Claire shift in her seat.
"Hey, sweetie? Not to embarrass you, but..." Claire pulled back to look Sarah in the eye, then nodded toward the diaper lying on the coffee table.
"Would you like some help getting changed?"
"Oh." Sarah's eyes dropped down toward her skirt, where she became acutely aware of the soaked diaper she still had on, and which was very faintly starting to smell after so many wettings.
Claire took her by the hand and reached out with the other to grab the diaper off the table.
"It's all right, dear. Come with me."
Sarah was at a loss for words, so she obediently held her aunt's hand and followed her out of the living room and down the hall to the master bedroom. She took a seat on Claire's bed, as her aunt quickly left the room, only to return a moment later with the usual changing supplies: baby wipes, talcum powder, lotion for diaper rash, and a blanket for Sarah to lie on. It was a bit unreal for Sarah as she absorbed the fact that she was now the one being prepped for a diaper change rather than Jessica, but her Aunt Claire was putting everything out like she would on any other day.
With a tight smile on her lips, Claire helped Sarah lie down on the bed and slid the blanket underneath her. She gently pushed up her niece's skirt, revealing a yellowed Attends diaper. The older woman expertly popped off the tapes and removed the diaper, which she rolled up and tossed into a small waste paper basket in the corner.
Sarah gave a little wince as Claire began to clean her abdomen with a baby wipe, but her aunt gave her a mild look.
"Sorry, dear. I promise it'll get better."
The rest of the change went smoothly after that. Claire powdered her off and rubbed a little lotion around her thighs, which were sore after being in a soggy diaper for so long. Then her aunt took the clean diaper, unfolded it, and slid under Sarah, who lifted up her rear and then settled onto it. She let a peaceful sigh as Claire finished taping up the diaper and adjusting it around her legs and waist.
"There we are," said Claire, as she leaned down to kiss Sarah on the forehead.
"Thank you so much," Sarah whispered, pulling her aunt into another hug. She closed her eyes as Claire repositioned herself, so that she was lying on the bed next to her and bringing the young woman in for a cuddle.
Giving her another kiss on her cheek, Claire lifted a hand to stroke the side of her niece's face.
"I love you, Sarah. You look absolutely adorable."
"You're just saying that."
"No, really." Claire leaned close, like she was about to share a secret.
"It makes me remember when you were still a toddler, about two years old, and how adorable you looked. Your mom used to let your hair grow out, so I always remember you being this girl with long brown hair and a lacy yellow dress with your diaper peeking out from the bottom."
"Well, I'm sorry I don't have a yellow dress to wear right now."
Claire gazed at her for a moment, or perhaps she was just lost in her own reverie. When she finally blinked, her face cleared and broke out into a deep smile. She pushed herself into a sitting position and reached down to nudge Sarah up as well.
"I've got an idea," said her aunt.
"Since Jessica's going to be gone until Monday, why don't you and I spend some quality time this weekend? And I will be more than happy to take care of you, darling." Her smile broadened.
"Even if it means changing your diapers."
Sarah blinked. Then she blinked again.
"Really? You'd really want to do that?"
"Of course!" Claire threw an arm around Sarah's shoulders.
"You're my niece, and I love you very much. You've told me all about how you want to be treated like a baby girl and I'd love nothing more than to play 'Mommy' for a whole weekend with a sweet little angel like you. What do you say?"
Sarah looked away for a moment - a short moment, but a moment nonetheless. Then she looked back at her aunt, smiled, and said, "I guess I should call Brendan and tell him there's a change in plans..."
That night was uneventful for the most part, but it was an evening that Sarah could still cherish. Claire ordered a pizza and they spent their dinner sitting at the table, drinking iced tea and chatting about old times. Sarah did her best to explain to Claire some more about why people like her and Brendan had a fascination with diapers, and Claire responded with some stories of her own about the joys and stresses of being an aunt to Sarah and Jessica after they'd been born.
As the evening wore on, Sarah grew less concerned about wetting her diaper in front of her aunt. She began to wonder why she'd even bothered to hide this from her in the first place. Claire was so accepting and nurturing, and as she'd promised, she had no qualms about changing Sarah's diaper before they went to bed.
"That's about it," said Claire, as she finished taping on the fresh diaper. She got up, but motioned for Sarah to stay on the bed.
"I just want to get a few more things for you. I won't be long."
Sarah waited as her aunt left the room, thinking about how bizarrely this evening had diverged from her original plans: no dinner with Brendan, no playing "Mommy" to him or "Daddy" for her...
When Claire came back, Sarah noticed that she was holding the delivery carton full of baby items that Brendan had bought her. Her aunt set the carton down next to her dresser and took out the baby bottle and the pacifier. Sarah didn't miss the fact that her aunt had already taken the trouble of filling the bottle with milk, and that she'd added to the carton one extra item: a lacy white undershirt, which was the most "babyish" article of clothing that Sarah owned.
"Okay, Sarah, time to play." Claire set the bottle and pacifier down, and then held the shirt up.
"Better take your clothes off first."
Sarah wasted little time in slipping out of her skirt and unbuttoning her blouse. She hesitated in removing her bra, but a simple nod from Claire was all it took for her to comply with that as well. Now she sat on the bed in just her diaper, arms folded across her chest, and for the first time, Sarah began to feel like a little girl again, sort of helpless and innocent and playful all at once.
Her aunt slipped the undershirt over her head, tugging it all the way down to the top of her diaper. Sarah poked her arms through, smoothing out her shirt and smiling as her aunt got onto the bed and gently pulled her into her lap. It was somewhat awkward, as Sarah did her best to sit on Claire's lap and snuggle against her left shoulder.
Claire held up the baby bottle and asked.
"Are you thirsty, baby?"
Sarah nodded and her aunt let her have the bottle. She began to suck eagerly on the bottle, filling her mouth, throat, and stomach with cool milk, relishing it as she lay in her aunt's warm arms. Claire, meanwhile, was fully engrossed in the spectacle of seeing her grown niece drink from a baby bottle.
"You're such a good baby girl," she whispered and cooed, leaning her head down to nuzzle her niece's cheek with her nose.
"Such a good little girl, Sarah."
As lovely as the moment was, it soon passed. Sarah finished her bottle and let out a tiny burp. Claire laughed as she set the bottle down on her nightstand and then reached for the pacifier. She stuck it into Sarah's mouth, who continued to suck on it as she'd done with the bottle and let her aunt help her off the bed.
Claire pulled the covers of the bed away and gestured for Sarah to get in. The girl obeyed, pulling some of the blankets around her as she laid down. She curled up and watched from her side of the bed as Claire walked over to the dresser and began to change out of her clothes and into her nightgown. Then she turned the bedroom lights off and got under the covers with Sarah, pulling the blankets and the heavy blue quilt over them both.
Sarah nuzzled up against her aunt, wrapping her arms around her just as Claire did the same. This was all too good to be true, and part of her was afraid that she might wake up in the morning and find it was all a dream.
But then she felt Claire kissing her on the forehead, then on the cheek and the tip of her nose, and finally against the side of her neck. The last thing Sarah heard, before she fell into a deep slumber, was her aunt whispering in her ear, "Sleep well, angel."
Samantha crinkled her nose as she glanced down at her friend on the bed.
"Sorry," Jessica sheepishly replied. She unbuttoned her jeans and slid them off, revealing the now-heavy diaper she had on.
"I know you hate dirty diapers, but I can't always keep my control, you know."
Samantha rolled her eyes and walked over to the duffel bag where Jessica kept her changing supplies. She considered it fortunate, at least, that they had the hotel room to themselves. The room next door was where the boys, Greg and Ryan, were staying, and they were probably out on the beach or getting an early start on their drinking at the little cabana by the shore.
As she changed her best friend for what seemed like the hundred and sixth time in her life, Samantha started to consider their trip. She thought about the way Jessica was starting to open up and relax, and how Greg was relentlessly making wisecracks and bad puns - most of them endless variations on "ain't it a beach." But she also considered the way Ryan acted whenever he was with Samantha and Jessica - with Jessica in particular.
"So I was talking with Ryan earlier," said Samantha, while she in the middle of wiping off the mess.
"He seems nice."
Jessica looked up at her.
"And why would you bring that up?"
"Because I think he likes you, Jess. Lift your legs up please."
"He does not!" Jessica raised her legs into the air, while Samantha applied some powder to her backside and then slid a fresh diaper under her. From behind her legs, Jessica gave her friend a sour look.
"And even if he did, I'm not interested."
"Really." Samantha fought to contain a smirk, so she kept her head down as she pulled the diaper into place and began to tape it up.
"Yes, really. He is a nice guy, but I'm not looking for any kind of a relationship right now. I just..." Jessica's expression faltered, like she wasn't sure of what she was saying. Then she shook her head and said, "I'm just not ready."
Samantha looked down at Jessica, then gave her diaper a playful swat on the rear.
"Well, you'll know if you ever pop the question on him."
"Hey, I just said I'm not looking right now. Marriage is the last thing I - "
"No, silly. I meant the question of whether or not he'd accept the fact that you have to wear diapers."
Jessica didn't respond for once. All she did was continue to lie on the bed, as her eyes shifted back and forth in deep thought. Samantha took a seat on her bed and looked out at the beach, letting her friend be with her thoughts while she gazed into the beautiful crimson glow of the setting sun.
A while later, Jessica and Samantha went down to join their friends at the cabana on the beach. Samantha and Greg immediately got into a spirited but friendly debate over the appropriate use of the word "bitch" - with Samantha arguing it was derogatory and Greg saying it was only a harmless nickname - while Jessica and Ryan sat together at the table and watched the tide come in and roll back out.
Jessica was still contemplating what Samantha had said earlier when Ryan asked her something. She blinked and turned to him with a curious expression.
"I said, what do you think? About the beach, I mean."
She answered with a tender smile of her own.
"It's beautiful. I've never seen a place like it."
"You, uh..." Ryan brushed a strand of the curly black hair off his forehead, but in a way that looked like he was trying to be casual about it.
"Sam told me you didn't like to get out much."
"I didn't." Jessica picked at one of her fingernails in an attempt to clear out some dirt she just happened to spot.
"But Sam's always fun to hang out with, and I thought it'd be nice to take a trip with her and some friends."
"Nice to know you think of me as a friend."
Jessica hesitated before replying, "Oh, of course. I think you're a nice guy and I, um..." She ducked her head, trying to hide her embarrassed smile.
"I'm sorry. I'm really bad at making small talk."
"It's okay." Ryan took another sip of his piña colada and turned a more serious expression onto Jessica.
"So what do you want to talk about?"
"I don't understand."
"Talk to me. Tell me something about you - your home life, your dreams, your childhood. Anything you care about."
Jessica stared for a moment, then realized her mouth was hanging open and closed it up tight. She cleared her throat and said, "Not to sound rude, but is this some kind of pick-up line, because I've heard a few - "
"Not at all." Ryan gestured out at the ocean, which glittered in the way that only water reflecting moonlight can.
"It's just that we have a lovely place to be, I felt like making conversation, and I thought you might enjoy talking with someone besides Sam for a change."
The word change triggered something in Jessica, like she wanted to run away, maybe back to the hotel room or even all the way back to Aunt Claire. But she took a deep breath and clamped down on that feeling. She was out here for a reason and here was Ryan, offering his full attention.
Much as Sam would like to believe, Jessica would not waste such an opportunity.
"Well," said Jessica, as cautiously as she could, "I suppose I could tell you about my past. I should warn you, though - some of it's rather unpleasant."
"By all means." Ryan glanced over his shoulder, back to where Jessica could see Greg and Samantha, who had slipped off to walk along the beach - while holding hands.
"We've nothing but time right now."
Hours later - though she couldn't be sure how many exactly - Jessica finished her life's story. She sat back on her stool at the cabana, nursing what was left of her second or third piña colada and waiting for Ryan's response.
He hadn't said much while she explained the whole saga of her childhood. The only parts that had gotten a clear reaction out of him was when she mentioned the diapers her mother had forced her to use, and the undeniable truth that she had been wearing diapers because of her incontinence for ten years. To her amazement, though, the reactions from Ryan had been ones of sympathy, as though he could feel her pain just as clearly as she did.
That thought came as both a relief and a terror to Jessica - relief in that someone else could understand her misery, and terror in that she was somehow being violated by letting someone else into knowing her past.
"You and Samantha seem to have a good relationship," Ryan finally said, gazing intently at her.
"I take it she knows all about this?"
"She's the only one of my friends who knows. I trust her with my life." She grew warm inside, and a smile blossomed on her face.
"And I know she trusts me just the same."
Ryan folded his hands under his chin, looking away for a moment. It only made Jessica fidget in her seat, as she started to feel the effects of one too many piña coladas, not to mention the fact that it was late and she really didn't feel like talking anymore.
"I think..." Ryan stopped, then broke into a sudden laugh.
"Ah, you know what? To hell with it."
Taking a deep breath, Ryan looked her straight in the eye.
"Like you said earlier, there's not much point in beating around the bush, so here goes." He reached out and took Jessica by the hand, warming it against the cool sea breeze.
"I think you are a very special person, and I'm glad to know you. I'd like to get to know you just a little better, if you get my meaning."
"Are you - ?" Jessica blinked, feeling the slightest tears forming on the edge of her vision.
"Are you saying... you like me?"
"More than that," Ryan answered, breaking into a gentle smile.
"I love you."
For a moment, Jessica couldn't breathe. She felt herself shrinking, as those three simple words wrapped around her, cutting off her air, squeezing away her life -
And then, she let herself relax. Everything was fine. More than fine, even - everything for once in her life was perfect.
Jessica gave Ryan's hand a firm squeeze, and she smiled the way Claire would smile at her after a diaper change.
"Hey, you know what? I think I love you, too."
The remnants of some unusual dream slowly faded away from Sarah's mind as she woke up on what seemed like a lovely Saturday morning. She stretched herself out and threw her arms around her Aunt Claire, who shifted in her sleep, but was probably just as close to being awake as Sarah was.
Once she became more self-aware, Sarah realized that she had a terrible pressure on her bladder. Normally, she'd have just gotten right out of bed and gone straight to the bathroom, but she didn't to leave her aunt just yet. And besides, she had her diaper on, which was still dry, so why let that go to waste?
She took a few deep breaths, relaxing her muscles one by one, until she felt her abdomen grow soft. It only took a second for her inner pressure to release itself, forming a very wet, very warm patch in the seat of her diaper.
From behind, Sarah felt Claire's arms reach around her waist.
"Mmm. Morning, sweetheart."
Sarah closed her eyes and snuggled into the embrace.
"Good morning, Mommy."
She froze, as did Claire. Very slowly, Sarah turned around to face her aunt.
"I... I'm sorry, I didn't mean - "
"No, it's - " Claire frowned, then let herself relax toward a smile.
"It's quite all right, Sarah. I have no problem being 'Mommy' if that's what makes you happy, and I can just as easily be 'Aunt Claire' if you prefer to call me that." She leaned in to give her niece a kiss on the cheek.
"Whatever makes you happy makes me happy, and don't you forget it."
"All right... Mommy." She quickly raised her hand.
"But only for this weekend. I don't want Jess hearing any of this."
"Of course not." Claire took her hand and very slowly pulled her up to a sitting position.
"This'll just be our little secret."
As her aunt went about changing her diaper, Sarah reflected how easily she was getting used to it. Part of it was due to the many times Brendan had diapered her during their nights together, but there was also the fact that she'd just gotten so used to seeing Claire change Jessica that having the same done for Sarah was felt right - albeit strange, since she was the one being changed as opposed to merely watching.
Now in a clean diaper, Sarah continued to play along as Claire's "baby girl." She let her aunt pick out her clothes and put them on her, and once Claire was dressed, Sarah obediently followed her out into the dining room and kitchen. Her aunt busied herself at the stove, making some bacon and scrambled eggs, while Sarah took a seat at the table, patiently sucking on a pacifier until breakfast was ready.
"Okay, sweetie," said Claire as she set down a large plate in front of Sarah. The eggs and bacon, the girl noticed, had all been cut up into bite-size pieces.
Claire waved for Sarah to scoot off her chair. Her aunt sat down and then pulled Sarah onto her lap, just as she had done the previous night when giving the girl her bottle. One by one, she took the pieces of breakfast and fed her niece by hand, smiling fondly as Sarah indulged herself and puckering her lips every time her "baby" ate another morsel. Claire would herself eat some of the food, but reserved more for her niece and the joy of watching her eat.
"You are," Claire said as Sarah finished her side of the meal, "so very adorable that I may just quit my job and spend all day looking after you."
"Oh, don't do that," Sarah pleaded with mock sorrow, putting her arms tight around her aunt.
"Then you wouldn't appreciate me as much."
"Mmm." Claire leaned into the hug, nuzzling Sarah's neck before giving it a kiss.
"Good point. I suppose that's why I'm so fond of Jessica whenever I come home. She always had that way of making my day a little brighter."
Sarah gripped onto her aunt's shoulders as Claire swung her up into her arms, and cradled her as she carried the girl away from the dining room and into the living room. Claire quickly deposited Sarah onto the couch, then slinked back through the dining room to tidy up.
A few minutes later, she came back in, holding the carton full of baby things that Brendan had sent over. Claire set it down at the foot of the couch, her smile widening as she took out a fluffy white teddy bear.
Sarah squealed through her pacifier as her aunt waved the stuffed animal in front of her. Claire even played around by adding growling noises and making it seem like the teddy was in fact a vicious bear trying to pounce on Sarah. The pantomime soon gave way to a tickling match, as aunt and niece tried to wrestle each other on and off the couch through playful tickles and pinches.
Inevitably, the tickling led to Sarah finding herself in a wet diaper yet again. She sighed as Claire picked her up and carried her back to the bedroom for a change, thinking that she was having a lot more fun than she'd expected.
This thought led her, inexplicably, to think about her cousin Jessica, and what she might be doing...
"Come on, Jess." Samantha playfully sprinted around her friend as they strolled along the boardwalk by the hotel.
"How was it?"
"I'm telling you, nothing happened," Jessica sullenly replied. She turned to look out at the flock of seagulls rising up from a nearby trash bin.
"At least, nothing like what you're thinking."
"All right. On a scale of one to ten - one being a hug or a handshake, ten being something like bow-chicka-bow-wow..."
Jessica shook her head.
"Again, way off the mark there." She hesitated for a moment longer, as memories came rolling back - which were pleasant, for once.
"He, uh, changed me."
Turning back, Jessica saw that Samantha had stopped in her tracks. It was nice to see, for once, that the other girl was still able to be dumbfounded, despite all her natural self-confidence. So she explained, saying, "When we were alone in the hotel room this morning... he changed my wet diaper."
"Um, eww!" Samantha grinned while crinkling her nose in disgust.
"How'd you get him to do that?"
"By asking him, silly!" Jessica playfully smacked her friend on the back.
"He was really very nice about it. He understands my needs. And the change didn't seem to bother him." A teasing smile came to her lips.
"I wonder if he's done volunteer work at a retirement home or something."
Samantha just shook her head.
"God, I can't stand those places! I mean, there's nothing wrong with being old, but they're just so sad!"
Jessica couldn't disagree. And the thought of being old suddenly made her think about Claire and Sarah, and how things were going with them. She hoped they'd gotten to do a little bonding; it had occurred to Jessica earlier on the trip just how much she'd come to dominate her aunt's life and how little time she probably got to spend with her other niece. But hopefully, things had changed between them.
"So what's the plan?" Jessica asked.
"Should we get lunch?"
"Let's try that taco place on Main Street," Samantha replied with a grin.
"I'll bet Greg will want to try it now that you do."
"You watch your mouth, little girl, or there'll be a spanking for you!"
Jessica would've shot back another retort, but then came a sudden flash -
- She was held over her mother's lap on the bathroom floor, as the smacks came down hard on her diapered bottom.
"Messy girl!" her mother taunted.
"Very messy baby girl!"
Tears came pouring out of her, followed by sobs and pleas for forgiveness.
"I guess you'll just never be clean!" her mother declared. She took the girl and ripped the diaper open, exposing the mess within. With disgust, she tossed the diaper into the trash bin and dunked the girl into the ice-cold bathwater -
With a gasp, Jessica came back to the boardwalk. She turned a fearful glance at Samantha, who stared anxiously at her friend. A few deep breaths was all it took to get her heart under control. She allowed herself to think about Ryan and his warm smile, and suddenly her fear began to evaporate, and the nightmare she'd just experienced became only a memory, growing more and more distant.
"You okay, Jess?" asked Samantha, moving to put her hand on her friend's arm.
"Just a little light-headed. We'd better get some food quick."
"Okay." Sam leaned over to kiss her on the cheek and drew Jessica over to the part of the boardwalk where they'd need to cross the street.
"Let's get going, then. And maybe we'll cut this trip a little short, all right?"
Jessica nodded again.
"Thanks for understanding, Sam."
"Anything for you, sweetheart."
"So when do you think Jess will be back?" Sarah bent down to pick up the plates from the dining room table, where she and her aunt had just finished lunch, and carried them over to the kitchen sink.
"Not sure. I think sometime around five or six." She followed with a teasing smile.
"Still plenty of time for us to have some fun before she shows up."
"Are you," Sarah asked with mock indignation, "implying that she's something of a mood-killer?"
"Well, I'd never call her that." Claire folded her arms.
"Cute as hell, maybe, but never a mood-killer."
Sarah laughed, but stopped as soon as she felt the gurgle from deep inside her stomach.
Claire frowned and got up from her seat.
"I - " Sarah cringed as the rumbling in her stomach hit her again, a little stronger than before "I think lunch, breakfast, and last night's dinner are beginning to disagree with me."
"If you're going to be sick," said Claire as she moved to take Sarah by the shoulders and guide her toward the bathroom, "then we'd better hurry."
"No," Sarah answered weakly, "not that kind of sick..."
Claire stared at her for a moment longer, then her face cleared.
"Oh. I see."
"I think I can make it to the bathroom if I - " Sarah squealed as the pressure built up inside her to an intolerable degree. She clutched at her stomach and stumbled ahead toward the bathroom, which was just down the hallway. Her legs began to cramp up, and she was almost paralyzed with fear at might happen next.
But then she felt Claire's arms slide around her shoulders, as she whispered into Sarah's ear, "If you need to let go, sweetheart, go ahead. That's what diapers are for."
"I..." Sarah shook her head.
"It'll be terrible - "
"You let me worry about that." Claire kissed her on the back of her neck, and suddenly Sarah felt very relaxed.
"Let it all out, darling."
Biting down her lip, Sarah felt her muscles lock as her bowels emptied themselves into her diaper. The feeling of all that mess bunched up against her rear, along with the sharp smell, left her feeling a bit nauseated. It didn't help that she was also standing in the middle of the hallway, messing herself, instead of doing it in a bathroom as a normal person might.
"There, there," said Claire, stroking the back of Sarah's hair.
"It's all over. Let's get you changed quick."
"I don't know," Sarah murmured, waddling and leaning on her aunt for support, "how Jessica can handle this kind of thing on a full-time basis."
"She's had ten years to get used to it," was all Claire said.
As they came into the master bedroom for yet another change, Sarah took her time lowering herself onto the bed, painfully conscious of the mess as it squished around her backside and between her legs. Propped up on her elbows, she watched as Claire got out the changing supplies and the pacifier, looking not the least bit worried. She realized that that this wasn't a crisis as far as her aunt was concerned - just another diaper to be changed - and it made Sarah feel a deep respect for the older woman, knowing how much she'd had to give up of her life for the sake of her niece Jessica and the traumas she'd endured.
Claire smiled down at Sarah as she unfastened the tapes on her diaper and pulled it open. Sarah closed her eyes and crinkled her nose once the pungent odor came out, but Claire was rolled the diaper up tightly and stuffed it into two plastic bags she'd pulled from out of the closet. She left momentarily to throw it all away and came back into the room, pausing only to brush back Sarah's hair as she reached for the baby wipes.
Once the clean-up process continued, Sarah finally began to relax. It was a relief to know how much her aunt cared and that she could overcome such a milestone. And at the same time, she felt a powerful kinship with her cousin, knowing over the course of a weekend just a little of what she'd been through for nearly a decade. It was like all the lines between the three of them were slowly drawing together, wrapping around each other to form as tight a knot as could be.
Now that Sarah was back in a clean diaper, her aunt slipped the pacifier into her mouth. With a smile, Claire took Sarah into her arms and kissed her on both cheeks.
"I love you, little girl," she cooed, which made Sarah blush and bury her face in her aunt's hair. She sighed and sucked contentedly on her pacifier, feeling so secure that she could just fall asleep right there -
A sharp wail broke the din of the bedroom, and Claire and Sarah whirled toward the direction of the sound.
In the doorway stood Jessica, screaming.
The voices of the past chased her all the way to her bedroom. No, it wasn't her bedroom as a nineteen-year-old, but as a nine-year-old. But the door slammed shut and she still couldn't keep out the voices -
"Jessica! Jessica, please let me in! Sweetheart, I'm sorry...!"
She remembered the look on her mother's face as she marched stiffly into her room and announced that her father was gone and never coming back. But the tears that the girl cried then were nothing compared to what would follow.
"You miserable brat!" her mother howled, slapping her hard.
"You're his brat! And now you're going to know what it's like to be so humiliated! You'll see!"
The girl had been made to sit in the corner and watch through tear-filled eyes as her mother demolished the pleasant little bedroom she'd known for so long. Out went the pop star posters and the slightly trendy clothes. Out went her bed and her desk.
And in came the crib and the changing table and the diapers.
She was desperate to escape, but her mother held onto her as the girl was forced down onto the changing table, stripped naked, and slapped across her bare bottom. She didn't think there could be so many tears in her, but still they kept coming.
"Lousy filthy brat," was all the woman towering over her could say.
"Such a filthy, filthy, filthy little child!"
With a crinkle of plastic and tape, the girl was back in diapers for the first time since infancy. She wailed like an infant and kicked her feet, which only earned her more slaps and muttered insults -
"Jessica, please, talk to me! Please tell you're all right in there! Please..."
The howling grew louder as the memories raced by. Her days were sharp images of wet and messy diapers, screaming matches, ice-cold water, and slaps across the face. Her nights were filled with trepidation as she tried to fall asleep and terror of what would come when she woke up. She remembered baby bottles being forced into her mouth, and mushy peas and carrots that she ate against her will. She remembered being left alone for a whole day, crying for her mother, for someone to come and help her, and the dread that filled her when her mother finally entered that night, with red-rimmed eyes of hate and despair.
She remembered only the pain and the malice. For a whole month, she'd known nothing of love.
And then -
"Jessica, darling, I'm begging you. Please, just open the door..."
She felt warm, soothing hands around her waist. They picked up her and she cried even more as she looked into the tear-stricken face of a woman she'd known from before the pain.
"I'm so sorry, baby," said the woman, her aunt, pressing the girl to her bosom.
"I'm so, so sorry..."
And then, after a long time of crying and hugging, the girl's aunt took her over to the changing table. It made the girl cringe, but her aunt whispered another apology as she very delicately removed the diaper from the girl and cleaned her up. And as she gazed up into the woman's eyes, the girl stopped caring about the pacifier in her mouth or the fresh diaper she was being changed into. All she knew was the sudden burst of love inside her heart, which hurt because it had been absent for so long. And for the first time in many weeks, she permitted herself a cautious giggle as her aunt picked up her again.
"Shh," her aunt whispered, kissing the girl on her cheek.
"It's all right. It's going to be all right. You'll come live with me and it'll be all right. I promise - "
"It'll be all right..."
Jessica blinked. She was lying on the floor in her room, having thrown off all her clothes so that she was lying in just her wet diaper. Tears had left deep marks down her cheeks and she felt empty inside, like she'd cried herself out completely.
From the door was another voice, familiar but friendly.
"Jess? Hey, Jess, are you okay? It's me, Sarah. Can we talk? Look, we just need to hear you're okay, sweetie. We love you."
Carefully, moving slowly, Jessica sat up and blinked away the last of the tears in her eyes. She rubbed the back of her hand against her nose to stop it from running, and then started to pull her clothes back on.
Once she was fully dressed, she very cautiously crossed to the door and opened it. Standing outside was her Aunt Claire and cousin Sarah, both watching her nervously. Sarah was no longer wearing just a diaper and a t-shirt, but had changed into a light blue blouse and long gray skirt, and she'd left the pacifier out of her mouth. Claire was wearing her jacket and had her purse hanging off one shoulder.
"Would it..." Jessica swallowed. Her mouth felt uncomfortably dry.
"Would it be all right if we went to see Dr. Faraday?"
Claire gave a quick sniffle, like she'd been crying as well, and took Jessica by the hand.
"Yes, of course, dear. Whatever you need." She sniffled again and glanced over at Sarah.
"We won't be long."
Sarah glanced at Jessica, her lips tight in a frown, and gingerly stepped away from the door.
"Of course. Take as long as you need."
Dr. Faraday glanced at Jessica and slowly set her notepad on the table next to her chair. She crossed her legs and focused on the young woman's face.
"What you experienced during your breakdown," said the therapist, patiently, "is something like a regression. You weren't just running back to your bedroom, were you?"
Curled up in the opposite chair, Jessica shook her head.
"I was... I just needed to be... somewhere safe."
"And that's where your strongest memory of Claire triggered."
- The safety of those arms, holding her, and the tender smile and tears on the face of the woman as she changed her and cleaned her, promising that everything would be okay again -
"Yeah," said Jessica.
"That sounds about right."
"When your aunt came, it was like you were being reborn - literally. Your old mother didn't exist after that point. Claire became your real mother from then on."
"And from what you told me about Ryan, you thought you had a new father figure in your life. Someone who wouldn't run away like your old father, who would be strong enough to keep the family together. And you were ready to tell Claire all about him and you were so happy that your family was finally coming together." Dr. Faraday leaned forward in her seat, gazing intently at her patient.
"And that's where Sarah intervened."
All Jessica could do was nod.
"She's like a sister to you, but oftentimes, the introduction of a sibling into a parent-child relationship can have adverse effects. When you saw Sarah being diapered and cared for by Claire, you felt that she was intruding on the special bond you and your aunt had."
"Yes," Jessica whispered, sounding like more of a squeal than a word.
"So what you need to do," said Dr. Faraday, smiling, "is come to terms with the reality you've built for yourself. Right now, your bond with Claire is based on getting your diaper changed and being comforted. Part of you is still that little girl being picked up by your aunt and taken to a better home. But your home isn't simply with Claire or Sarah or Ryan. It's in you. That's the place where you have to go, and no one can make that place a home for you."
Jessica nodded and slowly extended herself out from her fetal position. She gazed down at her hands, noticing how many years had passed since the days when she'd been a skinny little girl locked in a crib.
She'd come this far, and she could stand to go a little farther.
The drive home was just as tense and silent as before, but Jessica felt a little more relaxed sitting next to her aunt in the car. Claire hadn't said a word as the young woman had left Dr. Faraday's office. She'd simply put her arm around her shoulder and guided her outside. Even now, she communicated just by putting one hand on her niece's wrist, rubbing it tenderly. Jessica gripped her aunt's hand, giving it a squeeze and smiling back.
Once they got home, she followed Claire into the house, which seemed like she was entering it for the first time all over again. The smells, the furniture, the shades of blue and white paint on the walls - everything seemed new again, or perhaps it was just the way she felt about herself that changed how her life now seemed, like a person who'd been underwater coming up for one long breath of air.
"I was thinking I could get started on some dinner," said Claire, leading Jessica over to the living room couch.
"If you want to rest or just take a nap for a while, you're more than welcome to."
"Um, actually, Aunt Claire" - Jessica shifted in her seat a little - "I think I could really use a change right now."
"Of course." She took her by the hand again and led her to the bedroom, just like they'd done so many times before.
However, there was a difference in that Sarah was sitting on the bed when they came in. And Jessica didn't miss how Sarah had hastily pocketed the pacifier she'd had in her mouth, or that there was a slight bulge under the skirt she was wearing.
"Hi, Jess," Sarah said quietly, looking a little hopeful and trying hard not to look guilty.
"Sarah, I - " Jessica choked on her words, but she took a few breaths to get them out of her.
"I just want you to know... whatever you and Claire were doing when I came in... I really am okay with it."
Sarah blinked and squinted at her cousin.
"Really?" She glanced at Claire, who seemed equally surprised.
"You're not mad?"
Jessica suddenly found her fingernails more interesting than her cousin's face.
"Well, I was shocked... but I talked it out with Megan, and..." She slowly lifted her eyes to meet Sarah's.
"I can't let my issues get in the way of your happiness." She turned to her aunt.
"Or yours, Claire."
"My happiness is your happiness, dear," Claire answered, but she seemed to get what Jessica was saying by the way she reached out to pat her niece's shoulder.
Turning back to Sarah, Jessica frowned.
"I came in here for a change, but before I do that, I want to know..." Her lower lip began to tremble.
"You really like... being a baby? You like the diapers, the bottles, and everything?"
Sarah hesitated and shared a look of concern with Claire. Her eyes locked back onto Jessica and she said, "Yes, I do."
"Can I..." Jessica swallowed. This next part wasn't going to be easy.
"Could I see you like that? In your... baby side?"
Sarah glanced down at her skirt and then slowly took out the pacifier from behind her. She pursed her lips and then stuck the pacifier into her mouth, giving it a quiet suck. The woman stood up from the bed and slid off her skirt and her shoes, so that her diaper was fully exposed - and as far as anyone could tell, it was still clean.
Jessica stared at her cousin, trying to acclimate herself to this new aspect of her personality. She felt the distant horror of her memories - of seeing herself as that girl in the mirror, of being that girl wearing a diaper and sucking on a pacifier - and then she felt that tight fist of tension unclench itself, relaxing as she continued to slowly breathe. She had far more bright memories of Sarah than all the bad memories of her mother, and easily far more happier ones of Claire. And they were far too important to push away out of fear or anxiety.
"Sarah..." Jessica said quietly. She took a careful step forward and then slowly reached out to take her cousin by the arms.
"I..." She remembered those moments of joy with her cousin and her aunt, letting them fill her mind.
"I think you're adorable."
Sarah smiled widely behind her pacifier. She drew Jessica into a sudden hug that brought tears to the young woman's eyes, but she didn't let them out. Instead, she gave the hug back a little more strongly, even reaching down to gently pat the back of Sarah's diaper.
"Oh, my baby girls!" Claire exclaimed as she threw her arms around them both. She leaned forward to kiss Jessica, and then Sarah, on the cheek.
"My darling girls..."
Jessica smiled and slowly detangled herself from the hugs.
"Not that I want to spoil the moment, but I still need to be changed."
"I'll get the supplies." She smiled and turned to her other niece.
"Sarah, dear, would you like to change Jess this time?"
Sarah took the pacifier out of her mouth and beamed at her cousin as she helped her onto the bed.
"Yes, Aunt Claire. I'd love to."
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