It was about the time the other kids started to show up that the bloated feeling in my tummy began to transform into something else, something more sinister, as if I wasn't already nervous enough being around them again, still in diapers, now needing them. Not that they would know that, but just the thought of it was enough to make me feel more insecure. As did the thought that, sometime that day, I'd have to ask Ms. Shelly to let me use the bathroom, probably in front of the whole class. Even if I were to line up at one of the designated potty break times, I'm sure that, given the state of my bladder, she'd demand an explanation. After all, I can't imagine she'd give up such an easy chance to humiliate me.
My best chance would have been to ask before the rest of the class started to get there, or to wait until they left, assuming that my nanny was one of the last ones to show up to collect me. But I was too late for the first, and the more time passed, as I fidgeted in my seat, only half paying attention to what Ms. Shelly was saying at the head of the class, the more I knew the second wasn't really an option. After all, it had been two days since I'd done... that. Even without the oatmeal and prunes, I'd be fighting a losing battle.
"Holly!" I looked up quickly at the sound of the name, surprised to find Ms. Shelly standing in front of my table.
"Y-Yes?" I asked, glancing around at the other kids, who were alternately giggling and aghast at how little attention I'd been paying.
"Did you bring your assignment?" I stared at her blankly until she clarified, "You were supposed to bring in five leaves that had changed color and fallen off trees near your house."
"I... I didn't..." I fumbled, trying to remember if I could recall hearing that the day before during my extensive time out or not.
"Everyone else did it," Ms. Shelly pointed out, and, indeed, I could see leaves spread out over all the tables. Ms. Shelly bent down a little closer to me. "Did you not know how many five is, sweetie? It's an easy one, isn't it class?"
The kids all nodded and murmured their agreement, with Susie raising her hand and waiting to be called on before chirping, "It's how many fingers you have on each hand!" I glared over at her, and, more importantly, Carla sitting beside her, who I was still convinced had stolen the bathroom key the day before, likely under Susie's orders.
"That's right!" Ms. Shelly confirmed. "So you just needed one leaf for each finger!"
"I know how much five is," I grumbled sourly.
"Really?" Ms. Shelly asked. "How about you show us?" I looked up at her, confused. "Come on," she said, getting me up off my chair and leading me to the chalkboard, putting a piece of chalk into my left hand. "Write out the numbers up to five for us."
"Okay..." I started to switch the chalk to my right hand, only for her to put it back, giving me a stern look. I felt silly enough having to do something so simple, and being treated like I could possibly have a problem with it, but obviously that wasn't enough for her. I almost considered not playing her game and giving up, except that I doubted the kids would realize that's what I was doing. Instead, they'd just assume I really couldn't count to five. I knew I shouldn't care what they thought, but, like it or not, they were my classmates, and after Susie's comment that I smelled like her baby sister, and me having to spend most of the day before in time out, I had a feeling they already didn't think much of me.
Despite my best efforts, my left-handed one still came out rather shaky, and the rest of the numbers were no better, though still recognizable. I even felt a little proud of myself, at least until Ms. Shelly gushed, "Good job, Holly!" and clapped for me, getting the whole class to join in, as if it were a real achievement. I started to head back to my seat, only to feel Ms. Shelly's hand close around my wrist, pulling me back. She smiled at me for a moment before asking, just slightly quieter, "Before you sit, do you need a change?"
I was too dumbfounded to reply, hardly able to believe what she'd done, right in front of everyone. I was sure I could hear the other kids chattering about it behind me, even before she took my silence as an opportunity to lift my skirt and slip a finger into the leg of my saggy diaper. If I hadn't been so shocked, I probably would have been crying by the time she turned me around to face the class again, but as it was, my face was just a deep, dark red.
"Class, I told you yesterday Holly here was special. Who remembers that?" They all did, of course. I wanted nothing more than to go back to my seat - other than, perhaps, to get out of there and go back to my real life - but she stood behind me, her hands firmly holding me in place by my shoulders. "Well, little Holly here is what's known as incontinent. Do any of you know what that means?" They didn't, though my cheeks started burning even hotter as I squirmed, waiting for her to reveal the definition. "It's a pretty big word, isn't it? Susie, your little sister is incontinent, too. Does that help?"
Susie perked up at being mentioned, then began to chew her bottom lip as she thought about the question. "She sleeps a lot?" she ventured a guess.
"That's a good try - babies do that, too! But that's not quite it. Does anyone else know?" When they didn't, and she felt like she'd drained every bit of tension she could from the situation, she continued. "It means she isn't potty trained yet. So she has to wear diapers, because she hasn't learned to use the potty like you guys. But it isn't her fault, so I don't want anyone to tease her about it. You can help me keep an eye on her, though... She just can't tell when she has to go potty, and her diapers can only hold so much, so if it looks like she's leaking, make sure to tell me, okay?"
I wanted to die as they all nodded. I had a whole classroom full of toddlers, barely out of diapers themselves, babysitting me, and I couldn't even deny that I needed it, even if that wasn't my fault. I could hardly find my voice to squeak out, "Th-Thank you for looking out for me," when Ms. Shelly urged me to. Mere days ago, I'd been in charge of bringing a mall back to life - now I wasn't even in charge of keeping my pants dry.
"Well, it turns out Holly needs a change right now, so I'm going to take care of that while the rest of you line up for a potty break." She took my hand and led me to the bathroom, unlocking the door and watching me stumble inside numbly.
"You are an evil little bitch," I hissed at her once the door was closed, hot tears stinging the corners of my eyes. "How dare you?!"
"I'm just teaching my kids," she claimed innocently, scooping me up and putting me on the changing table, quickly strapping me down before her voice turned hard. "And don't you ever speak to me like that again. I will wash your mouth out with soap, little lady, and then I'll tell your nanny about it, and I bet you she'll do the same. That is, if she doesn't spank your red little bottom instead, because she clearly has no problem doing that." I blushed as she pulled open the tapes of my diaper, giving her an ample, unimpeded glimpse of the evidence of just that. "Or maybe she'll do both. I'd sure be curious to find out. What about you?" I shook my head quickly. "Too bad," she sighed, starting to clean me up.
It was only when she got out my next diaper that I was able to think past the humiliation of my situation to the opportunity I had. I'd expected a spectacle when I asked to be allowed into the bathroom, but here it was. "Umm... Ms. Shelly?" I asked meekly. "Can I... umm... go to the bathroom?"
"Oh, I think you already did," Ms. Shelly teased, switching out my used diaper for the fresh one and holding the old one up. "Yeah, you did just fine at that without my permission, didn't you?"
My face flushed a little darker as I saw how much I'd saturated the diaper since getting to the school. Clearly there was a reason my nanny had filled my diaper bag to the brim with diapers, though I was sure it would be nearly as bad if they didn't force me to drink so much. But I guess that was the point.
"Please," I begged. "I need to go, please just let me..."
"What are you talking about, Laura?" Ms. Shelly asked, setting to work powdering my bottom. "You're already going. Don't you feel that little drip, drip into your nice, thick diaper?"
In all honesty, without the diaper pulled up around me, I couldn't. I had no idea if she was telling the truth or just needling me. That thought rekindled my anger with my nanny, though I had to force that back down as she began to pull the diaper up between my legs, where, I noted unhappily, it was indeed a little damp already. "No, please!" I wailed.
"What?" She held the diaper up against my belly, but didn't start to tape it yet as she looked down at me. "What is it, Laura?"
Her use of my real name made it all the harder to admit it, but I knew the alternative would be much worse. "I... uh... I hafta... I don't just need to pee," I finally managed to blurt out.
"Oh, so that's what you mean," she said, in a tone that made it clear she'd known full well all the time what I'd been talking about. "Why don't you ask me properly?"
"Can I please go to the bathroom, Ms. Shelly?" I asked.
"Nope," she shook her head, making my stomach fall for a moment before she clarified with, "I'll give you two more chances to get it right."
I bit my bottom lip, staring up at her, trying to decipher what she was looking for. Specificity, maybe? She'd wanted it a moment ago. "Please... I hafta go poopy... Can I use the bathroom?"
She shook her head again. "Try it one more time, Laura."
I took a shaky breath, working through it in my mind. Clearly, she wanted me to be as babyish as possible. What else could I say? "I hafta go poopy, please, can I go potty?"
I felt supremely silly, hearing those words come out of my mouth, but for a moment I thought it was all worth it as she said, "Sure." Then it all came crashing down as I heard her pull free the tape, tugging the diaper tight around me and planting it right in the center of the front panel, rubbing it into the plastic to make sure it stuck. "You can go potty in your diapers, little Laura, because that's the only bathroom you have now. I might have let you use the potty if you'd apologized for saying such a mean thing about me, and if you'd known that the word you should have been using was 'may', not 'can'. I shouldn't have expected a little baby like you to know that, but surely even you should know you have to say sorry."
"I'm sorry!" I squeaked, feeling her rubbing the other tapes closed, sealing me into my fate. The idea of actually using my diaper for that was enough to make me feel a little queasy - wetting them was bad enough, even when I'd had control over it - but knowing she was making me do so for something so simple just made it worse. "I'm really sorry!"
"I'm sure you are now," she said, finishing with the last tape and starting to unstrap me, "but you already used your three chances. Now you'd better pray you keep from making a stinky diaper until your nanny comes to pick you up, little Laura, because that's the only chance you have of not having to go in your pants. And if you do it here, I'm going to tell her all about how I saw you squirming and asked over and over if you needed to go, but you just kept telling me no. Almost like that's what you wanted. And you know she'll believe me over a lying little brat like you."
"You wouldn't!" I gasped. "That's not fair!"
"Just keep your diaper clean and you won't have to find out," she told me, lifting me into a sitting position on the changing table as she got the bottle of pills out and shook out another four, handing me only one as she filled a cup of water. "Now take your medicine."