That was exactly what I got. It felt like an eternity before the kids even came back in, making me extra fidgety as I listened to them filing into the door, sure they were all staring at me, and that they knew about my diaper, and the state of it, sure they could smell the scent of urine overpowering the sweet baby powder odor that had enveloped me.
I wasn't particularly interested in the rest of the lesson, but I had hoped that, once she'd shown me that she could punish me in front of the kids, she'd get tired of it and let me sit down. But, no, she was dedicated to her original sentence, leaving me standing there, staring at the blank walls. If it had seemed like a long time waiting for their excursion outside to end, it was nothing compared to waiting for the end of class. Even with something to listen to, just knowing that there was a whole room full of eyes that could see me made me infinitely more self conscious, especially when I had to relieve my aching bladder again.
For a minute or two, I debated asking permission to use the bathroom this time. Surely, with the other kids there, she wouldn't be so cruel as to deny me, and yet the idea of actually asking that while in front of them was even more humiliating than simply letting my diaper get a little bit wetter. I was afraid it might leak, but it managed to hold it all, briefly growing warm again before returning to the cold, clammy, squishy mass that I'd grown used to having between my legs.
My legs were growing quite tired by the time the kids' parents started showing up to pick up their little tykes. The sound of more people passing by, seeing me like this, made my heart thump loudly, and left me glad they couldn't see my face. After what had happened with Ms. Shelly recognizing me, I was less sure I wanted anyone else to do so. I didn't think I'd offended anyone else as much as I had her, but then, I hadn't thought she would take it so personally, either. After all, it was just a job interview... She had to have known there was a chance she wasn't going to get it.
The sound of children chattering behind me grew quieter and quieter, until, finally, it died out, and, at last, Ms. Shelly tapped my shoulder. "I think that's enough," she told me. I turned, feeling rather sheepish as I looked up at her. For her part, she looked quite pleased with herself, having shown me just who was in charge. Standing there in a soaked diaper, I wasn't about to dispute her claim.
"Thank you," I mumbled, toddling over to one of the tables and sitting at the chair, wrinkling my nose as the plastic pressed the well-used padding up against my backside.
"You look tired," she teased. "Maybe you should have taken your nap like a good girl, huh?"
I glanced around the room, seeing that her assistant was gone, too, leaving us alone. "Will you please take me home?" I begged. "I can pay you when I get there, I swear..." She didn't need to know I didn't have the key to get in, but once I was at the apartment I was sure I'd think of something. "And I'm sorry I didn't hire you, but... I mean, I'll see what I can do. I've already filled that spot, but maybe I can find something else, or..." I'd filled every open spot, but if it got me out of this mess, I'd fire someone for her.
"We're not going anywhere yet," she told me. "I still have a little work to finish up, so you're just going to sit right there and be quiet, aren't you?"
"Yes, Ms. Shelly," I nodded quickly.
"And you know what? Why don't you color me a picture?" She went to one of the shelves and grabbed a coloring book and a box of crayons, shoving them across the table at me.
I stared down at the pink, sparkly covered book, emblazoned with Hannah Montana, and hesitated. Even when I really was a kid, I'd never been much into coloring. "I don't..." I started.
"Let me rephrase that," Ms. Shelly said. "You're going to color me a picture. The whole thing, no half-assing it. And only when you're done are we going to leave." She didn't wait for an answer, just walking over to her desk and sitting down, shuffling papers for a moment or two before settling down and watching me.
'Just one more thing,' I told myself through gritted teeth, flipping through the book to the first uncolored page and opening the crayons. 'Then she'll be done and I'll go home.' And, whether I was a fan myself, coloring wasn't all that bad, though doing it in a wet diaper certainly didn't make me feel mature. I bent forward over the table as I started to get engrossed in my work, simply trying to get it done, even standing up on one leg, resting the other on the chair, as I leaned over to reach the top of the page, not realizing how childish I must look until I heard the clicking of a fake camera shutter, the kind I'd heard on cell phones before.
I turned, blushing, and Ms. Shelly smiled at me. "My sister just wanted to know how you were doing," she said, "and you know a picture speaks a thousand words. This one might be worth two... I can even see your little diaper peeking out." She chuckled as my cheeks darkened. "Look at you... It's hard to believe you aren't really just one of my students." She stood up and walked over to my table again, looking down at my handiwork. "It's hard to believe that wasn't made by one of my students," she continued, making me blush all the deeper. It had been a long time, and I was in a hurry, so, yes, I'd had some trouble staying in the lines. "That looks like it belongs on the fridge of some toddler's proud mommy," she informed me, carefully ripping it out and handing it to me. "Shall we go?"
I nodded, not trusting myself to speak. I followed her out to her car, letting her put me in. By the time she got in herself, I was feeling strong enough to timidly tell her how to get to my apartment, telling myself, as I sat there clutching my coloring, bottom sore and starting to itch, that I'd made it. I just had to confront Holly, but as long as I kept control of myself, it would be fine. I wanted to scream at her, to threaten to turn her over to the nanny, but it was a much better idea to stay calm and tell her all was forgiven, just as long as she let me in. She could even stay with me for a while, if she didn't mind sleeping on the couch, until she figured out what to do next.
And then Ms. Shelly pulled into the high school's parking lot.
My stomach dropped. I thought I was going to throw up as she got out, opening my door and practically dragging me out, grasping my hand tightly. "Now," she told me, "where is she?" When I just stared at her in blank horror, she clarified, "This woman who's making you do this. Where is she?" When I still didn't answer, she shook her head with a sigh. "Do you want me to go up to every car in this parking lot and ask the people inside if you belong to them?"
"Please take me home," I sniffled.
"That's what I'm trying to do," she said, starting to sound exasperated. "This woman seems to be doing you a lot of good. Now, are you going to tell me where she is or not?"
As it turned out, she didn't need to worry, as, a few moments later, before I could answer, I saw her storming towards us. "What are you doing, young lady?!" she demanded, glaring down at me. "I have been worried sick! I went in to get your things from the nurse, and nobody knew where you were!"
"I'm afraid that's my fault," Ms. Shelly spoke up apologetically. "I realize it was wrong of me, but this little terror caused a lot of trouble for my younger sister and her friends, so I offered to take her off their hands and try to teach her a lesson."
"And who," the nanny asked coldly, sizing Ms. Shelly up in a way I'd only seen her look at me, "are you?"
"I'm Shelly Lipton," she answered, impressively uncowed. "I work at the Mt. Pleasant Nursery School. And, I have to say, I don't envy your job. She's quite the handful."
"That she is," the nanny agreed.
"I sincerely apologize for not notifying you," Ms. Shelly said, "but once I realized what was really going on, the brat refused to tell me how to get ahold of you so I could have you pick her up, and I couldn't leave my class, you know..."
"She was that much trouble?" The nanny raised an eyebrow at me.
"Well, I didn't mind keeping her," Ms. Shelly explained, "but, well..." Without warning, she reached down and flipped up the skirt of my dress, fully exposing my diaper to the whole parking lot. "I didn't have any spare diapers in her size."
"Two accidents in one day?" I shrank under the nanny's glare.
"It wasn't an accident!" I squeaked, trying to defend myself.
To my surprise, Ms. Shelly jumped to my aid. "That's right!" she said. I smiled faintly, glad that, despite everything, she wasn't completely out to get me. My smile quickly faded as she continued. "She just wouldn't go to the bathroom, no matter how many times I asked her. She threw a tantrum when I tried to make her come back here, too... That's why we're late. Like I said, I'm very sorry about this. If I'd known..."
"No, don't worry about it," the nanny brushed her off. "I'm sorry for the way she behaved. I thought I'd give her a chance at high school, but it sounds like she's not even ready for your school."
"Oh, no, she fit in there quite well," Ms. Shelly countered. "Maybe a little brattier than some, but I'm used to that. In fact, I thought I'd make you an offer..."
"No!" I wailed, frantically trying to pull away from the scheming young woman. "This isn't true! She made me use my diaper! And she made me...!"
"You are in more than enough trouble as it is, young lady," the nanny informed me, grabbing me away from Ms. Shelly. "Now, if you can't be quiet while the grown-ups are talking, you can wait in my car." She turned back to Ms. Shelly. "I'm sorry, dear... I'll be back in just a moment."
"Oh, no problem," Ms. Shelly told her, grinning at me. "I'll see you later, Holly." It was a promise, one that left me stunned, afraid. I had a feeling I knew just what her little proposal to the nanny was going to be, and I didn't like it one bit.
"No!" I wailed, flailing, uselessly trying to get away from the nanny. "No, no! Don't!" I might as well have not been doing anything, as she easily wrestled me to, and then into, her car, buckling me into the back seat and then going to the driver's side to lower the windows a bit and engage the child locks.
Before she returned to Ms. Shelly, she looked at my tear-stained face and shook her head. "I have never been this disappointed with a patient before," she informed me. "You have a very long way to go, young lady. I think you'd better get used to that diaper. Using it like that instead of going to the potty just proves you're nowhere near being the big girl you claim to be. Well, if you want to go in your pants like a baby, that's what you'll do... But I promise, you aren't going to enjoy it."
And then she was gone, leaving me crying and doing my best to declare my innocence, all of it falling on deaf ears as she walked away, off to discuss my fate, a conversation I clearly had no say in anymore.