Hello everyone, it’s been a while, and I’d like to try my hand at writing again. I know this particular concept isn’t exactly original, but I wanted to do something that doesn’t take place in the Diaper Dimension. This story ignores the Covid-19 pandemic, since I started writing it a long time ago before all that happened. I hope you enjoy what I have so far anyway!
Prologue: Day 7,118
Name: Emory Mason DOB: 21/07/2002 CIN: D14R5721 Citizen Lifestyle Assignment Sorting and Sectioning (CLASS) Result: Little
Emory stares at the letter in disbelief.
She feels numb.
She’s always been good at hiding it, making the profilers say whatever she wants them to say. It’s not hard, the questions are pretty straightforward, the answers easy to manipulate.
Or at least, they had been, until now.
Her eyes burn, tears welling up, making the letter impossible to read–not that it matters now anyway. She’d been a fool to think she could manipulate the results of the most comprehensive, and thorough personality test ever conceived.
Although, she thinks, there was more to this test than the basic questionnaire she’d filled out every year at school. Those had been simple things, designed to help the teacher understand their class. The actual CLASS exam had been a different beast altogether. There’d been bloodwork, physical ability tests, cognitive assessments…much more than she’d been expecting.
She’s always done well in school, and although she’s no athlete; she’s too small and underweight to really be able to participate in sports, she likes to think she’s in good shape.
But in the end, it’s the bloodwork that has given her away, her body has betrayed her in ways she hadn’t anticipated–enzymes and hormone levels can’t be fabricated, not without drugs, and a positive drug test before Classification is an immediate prison sentence.
“No…” Emory whispers quietly. Her life is ending. All her careful answers to the questionnaires, all the effort she’d put into studying and getting good grades to get into a good university…all wasted.
Her parents will disown her–they’ve made no secret of their hatred for Littles, they see them as inferior, a drain on the resources of society. All her friends are either Neutrals or Caregivers, but all the Caregivers are spoken for, and none of the Neutrals are at a point in their life where they can foster her until she finds a permanent placement. The only other Caregiver she knows is her roommate, Melody, but Melody’s never said anything about having a little, so that might not be an option either–she might not even want one…
Emory might be able to continue her university education, but not without a Caregiver to sponsor her, and she certainly won’t be able to live unsupervised, like the adult she’s so desperately worked to become.
“No!” She howls, and crumbles the letter into a tiny ball.
Not that it matters, not really, every Federal, State, and Local agency already has her classification on file–the letter is really just a formality. She’s had her phone on silent, delaying the inevitable as long as possible until now, but she can’t hide from the results anymore.
That realization is like a sucker punch, knocking the breath from her lungs and tying her stomach into an anxious, aching knot.
She flops bonelessly onto the sofa, hugs a pillow to her chest, and sobs. The weight of her despair is crushing, the ache of her dreams being shattered winds around her chest like a band, squeezing the life out of her.
Emory fumbles for her phone, crying and shaking so badly that she can barely dial the number she needs.
“Hey, Emmy, I just got done at work, is everything okay?”
Emory sucks in a shaky breath, forcing herself to control her breathing so she can speak.
“Mellie, you gotta come home…” she chokes out, hiccupping.
“Em, you sound really upset, what happened?” Melody’s voice is unbelievably tender and gentle, and the bands around Emory’s chest loosen a little.
“I got my results today…”
“Oh? Were they not what you expected?”
“I’m…I’m a Little…” Emory manages to explain, before bursting into tears again. She’s said it out loud now, so it’s real, and definitive and inescapable.
“Okay. It’s gonna be okay, Emmy, I promise. I need you to listen to me very carefully though, alright?”
Emory nods, then realizes that Melody can’t actually see her. “Mhmm.”
“I put an Emergency Littles Kit in the medicine cabinet. It comes in a bright blue box with a white ribbon on the front, like a Christmas present. I need you to get it for me and open it okay? I’ll be right here with you the whole time.”
“O-okay…” Emory forces herself to get up and go to the bathroom; her legs feel like they’re made of lead. She opens the medicine cabinet and takes out the box. Inside the box are four round candies that look kind of like lifesavers, one each of green, yellow, purple, and a clear one. There’s a chart on the inside of the lid, with the color of the candies and a corresponding string of letters and numbers, but it’s indecipherable to Emory.
“I’ve got it Melody…” Emory sniffles, sitting down on the closed toilet lid.
“Good. You’re doing such a wonderful job Emmy. I need you to taste the candies and tell me which one you like best. If you don’t like one, you can just spit it out into the garbage, okay?”
“Okay. Here goes…” Emory says, swallowing nervously. The green and yellow candies taste horrible, and she spits them out immediately. The purple candy tastes incredible, and she feels a little less awful after eating it, though she does wish there were more of them. The clear candy is completely bland–not as bad as the first two, but she spits it out anyway. “I’m all done. I really like the purple one, but the green and yellow ones were nasty. The clear one didn’t really taste like anything.”
“Alright. I’m going to be home in five minutes. I want you to go into the living room and turn on Super Squad; you like that show, right?”
“Yeah…” Emory frowns. She’d never really thought anything of her interest in the childish TV show until now, and it irritates her that she’d been so oblivious.
“Good. Just try to relax and wait for me to get back, alright? I have to go so I can drive.”
“Okay…I’ll see you when you get back, I guess. Drive safe.”
“I will. See you soon.” Melody replies, and then she hangs up.
A fresh wave of tears rolls down Emory’s cheeks at the silence, and she shuffles out to the living room to follow Melody’s instructions.
She curls up on the couch dejectedly with her pillow, trying to focus on the cheerful music and whimsical nature of the cartoon, but it doesn’t really help all that much–she’s too busy catastrophizing, imagining all the ways her life is about to be upended. She feels so incredibly alone and vulnerable, and the only thing she can do is watch TV and cry about it.
After what feels like a lot longer than five minutes, Melody is kneeling down in front of Emory.
“Oh, sweetheart…you’ve had a rough day, haven’t you?” Melody says, in the same gentle, lilting voice she’d used on the phone. Her face is kind and understanding, her brown eyes warm and inviting. She’s put her hair up today, in a messy bun. Her hair is a slightly darker shade of brown than Emory’s. She opens her arms for a hug, and Emory lunges into her arms, bursting into tears all over again.
“Mellie…What am I gonna do?” Emory presses her face into Melody’s chest. She’s probably getting Melody’s shirt all snotty, but Melody only holds onto her tighter. She smells like baby powder and vanilla, and her embrace is warm and safe. At least for now, Emory doesn’t feel quite so terrible.
“Shhh, honey.” Melody reaches underneath Emory’s shirt to rub her back. The skin-to-skin contact is soothing, and it helps to ground Emory amidst the swirl of emotion she’s feeling. “One thing at a time. I know this must be pretty scary for you, but I promise, it’s gonna be okay. First, we’re gonna cuddle here for a little bit until you’re calmer. Then, we’re gonna get you in a nice warm bath, and then we’re going to go to the store for some things, okay. We’re not gonna worry about anything else for right now.”
Emory wants to protest, to say that of course she’s worried about literally everything else, but she doesn’t. Melody seems so sure that things will work out, so in control of a situation that’s completely unfamiliar to her, it seems foolish to argue.
Melody rocks them for a bit, continuing to rub Emory’s back.
The fact that Melody is so much bigger than her had always bothered Emory, because she’d wanted to be seen as an equal, which was hard to accomplish with Melody being so much taller than her.
But now, it’s not so bad, since Melody can easily hold her. As much as she wants to deny it, Melody’s affections really are helping to calm her down.
Melody stands and carries Emory into the kitchen, before sitting her down on the counter and filling up a glass with water.
“Here,” Melody says gently. “You must be thirsty.”
Emory nods and drains the glass; she hadn’t realized that she was thirsty until Melody’d mentioned it, and she drinks a second glass, then half of a third for good measure. “Thanks. I guess I was really thirsty.”
“You’re welcome. You said you liked the purple candy?” Melody asks as she puts the used glass into the sink next to Emory.
Emory nods, smiling a little at the memory of the taste. “It was really good! There was a chart on the inside of the lid, but I don’t know what the codes mean.” She reaches out to hold onto Melody’s shirt, keeping her close. Even the little bit of distance between them now seems like too much, like the world might just swallow her up in her newfound helplessness.
Melody smiles gently and presses a kiss to Emory’s forehead. “That’s because those codes aren’t for you to worry about honey. Those are for me, so I know what to put into the kiosk at the Little’s Supply store–it will generate a shopping list for us to make sure we don’t miss anything. The candy should help you to feel a little more relaxed for the rest of the day.”
“Oh.” Emory frowns as an awful thought occurs to her. “Will you take me to an assignment center? I know I won’t be allowed to live on my own, and I’m not sure if you even wanted a Little or not, so…”
Melody raises an eyebrow, and Emory suddenly feels chastised and small. “Didn’t I just say that we’re not gonna worry about all that right now?”
Emory looks at her lap, eyes welling up with tears all over again. “Yeah. Sorry.”
Melody smiles and lifts Emory onto her hip. “It’s okay, sweetheart. And no, I’m not going to take you to an assignment center, those places are horrible. I don’t have a Little, because I haven’t really bonded with anyone in that way yet. Taking on a Little is kind of a big deal, you know, it’s a big commitment and a lot of responsibility. Caregivers are required to do lots of stuff to make sure Littles are taken care of, and if things don’t go well, we can end up in a lot of trouble.”
“Really? I didn’t know that…”
“Yeah. Mostly it’s just to make sure that Littles aren’t taken advantage of or abused. If someone takes on a Little, then they’re required to provide for them, just like you would for a child. There are things to help with all that of course–the government gives out a pretty hefty stipend to make sure people have enough money to get what they need, but it doesn’t always get used for the things it should be. Some Caregivers are only after status, and they’ll use the money on themselves and neglect their Little in the process.”
“Oh.” Emory nibbles her thumb absently. “That seems pretty scary.”
“Not really. It’s just something you’ve gotta take seriously. Sometimes Littles and Caregivers will have to part ways like if the Caregiver gets sick and can’t be responsible for the Little anymore. But outside of really serious stuff like that, it’s very difficult to separate from someone once you’ve made that commitment, at least legally speaking.”
“Is that why you don’t have a Little yet?” Emory wonders.
“Partly. I don’t want to let anyone down, you know? I mean, I know I can handle it, it’s just a lot to think about before making a decision. And, not all Caregivers are the kind who want Littles. Some people just like to help others in need–a lot of firefighters and police and stuff are Caregiver types. And, not all Littles need to have a Caregiver around all the time–it really depends on the person.”
“Wow. That is a lot to think about.” Emory plays with Melody’s hair thoughtfully.
“But don’t worry. Right now, I’m going to take care of you.” Melody heads back into the living room and then sits down on the couch with Emory in her lap. Do you mind if I read your letter? I’m gonna need some info from it for when we go to LS later on.”
“Sure.” Emory uncrumples it as best she can and hands it over. “Does it say anything bad? I don’t really understand the technical stuff.”
Melody is quiet for a moment while she reads, pausing occasionally to take notes on her phone, and then she smiles at Emory. “No, it doesn’t. It basically just says that you’ll be required to have supervision at all times. It also says that you’ll need diapers if I’m reading the section on bloodwork correctly–the rest of that stuff at the end is just info for the machine at the store.”
Emory frowns and folds her arms. “How is having to wear diapers not a bad thing? What if I don’t want to be supervised all the time?”
“The supervision is for your safety, and as far as the diapers go, you might not need them right away, but it’s indicated in your letter. You don’t want to be having accidents all the time do you?”
Emory frowns. “No…but I’ve never really had a big problem with that.”
“That’s part of why getting Classified is so important. You wouldn’t want that to be a surprise, would you?”
“I guess not. But I haven’t had any accidents for a long time. I don’t see why it would just suddenly become a problem now.”
“It’s different from person to person. Some Littles have accidents all their lives, and some only start having them after classification. The genetic markers in your bloodwork that identify you as a Little all activate at different speeds for different people. You might not be having problems now, but they’re coming, and it’s better to be prepared, right?”
“Yeah…I don’t want to be a Little though.”
“I’m sorry sweetheart. But there’s nothing that can be done about it. Just like you can’t help how tall you are or what color eyes you have. It’s not a terrible thing though, I promise.”
“It’s not fair.” Emory points out.
“I know. But that’s the way it is. Thank you for letting me read your letter. I know it’s a big adjustment, but I really think you’ll be happier once everything isn’t so new and different to what you’re used to. And I’m gonna be here to help you too.”
“Thanks…Won’t you be in trouble at your job though? If you’re here with me?” Emory wonders.
“No. There are all kinds of legal protections for Caregivers who live with someone who gets classified as a Little. They don’t last forever, but there’s nothing to worry about yet. I don’t actually need to go into the office anyway, it’s just nice to get out of the house sometimes.”
Emory lets out a breath she hadn’t realized she was holding and rests against Melody’s chest. Her future is still very uncertain, but knowing that Melody will be with her makes it a little less terrifying.
“You’re very welcome, munchkin. Now, what do you say we get you into a nice, warm bath, and then we’ll get ready to go to the store. Sound good?”
Emory nods, nibbling on the thumb of her free hand. “Yeah.” And then, before she can stop herself she says: “Will you stay? I don’t wanna be alone right now…”
Melody scoops her up and settles her on her hip. “I’ll be right here with you the whole time. I know this must be really overwhelming for you. Just relax and let me handle everything okay? We’ll talk more about what to do next in the morning; right now we’re just going to try and relax. You just do what feels natural to you, okay, I’m not going to judge you or tease you.”
Emory slips her thumb into her mouth experimentally, cheeks heating up in embarrassment, but Melody doesn’t seem fazed in the slightest. She feels a few soothing pats against her bottom, and she just relaxes into Melody, feeling safer than she has in a long time. She’s conflicted–she knows she should be mortified, appalled at herself even. But, all the same, she…isn’t.
Emory’s life has been turned upside down in an instant, and if Melody is volunteering to navigate this crazy situation for her, maybe it’s best to just let her. And besides, maybe knowing her…tendencies as a Little will be helpful in the future.
“Do you want bubbles in your bath tonight, Emmy?” Melody asks, setting Emory down on the floor so she can begin filling the tub.
“Yes please.” Emory says around her thumb, taking hold of Melody’s shirt again. She squirms, the tiles are cold against her feet, and her bladder has begun signaling that it’s probably time to start heading for the toilet. It throbs painfully, and Emory can feel her eyes welling up with tears all over again. “Mellie, I gotta-”
And that’s as far as she gets before her bladder throbs again, and then she’s wetting herself, liquid splashing down the inside of her thighs and dripping onto the floor beneath her. She just stands there, wet and pathetic and horrified by what she’s just done.
Sure, she’s had her share of close calls, but she hasn’t actually had an accident like this since she was a little kid.
“It’s okay, sweetheart. Accidents happen, it’s not a big deal.” Melody pulls Emory into a hug despite her wet clothes, and Emory is eternally grateful for the comfort.
Melody’s statement doesn’t feel very true to Emory, but it’s easier not to be so upset about it since Melody isn’t bothered by it.
“Okay, Emmy, I need you to put your hands on my shoulders so you don’t fall, alright? I’m gonna help you get out of these wet clothes.” Melody’s voice is soothing and gentle as she helps Emory to get undressed.
Emory’s beginning to feel like she’ll never stop crying at this rate. “I can-I can do it myself…” She hiccups and tries in vain to stop the flow of tears.
“Shhh, babe, it’s okay.” Melody soothes. “I know you can. But, I’ve got it this time, okay? Emmy, please, just let me help you.”
Emory doesn’t really feel embarrassed at being naked in front of Melody; it’s not the first time it’s happened, and anyway, she mostly just hopes she doesn’t pee on the floor again. The air in the bathroom is cool against her skin, and she shivers, hugging herself for warmth.
“Come here,” Melody says softly, gathering Emory to her. She presses a kiss to Emory’s temple. “How are you feeling right now?”
“Lost. Scared. Angry. Confused…Sad…It’s a lot. I had my whole life planned out, a good career, a nice apartment on the ritzy side of town…But it doesn’t matter now.”
“Just because you’re a Little, doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. Sure, you might not be able to live on your own or do certain jobs, but there’s plenty of stuff out there for you if you want it.”
“But-” Emory begins to protest some more, but Melody interrupts by taking her by the shoulders and giving her a serious look.
“Shh. No more ‘buts’. I know you probably have tons of questions, and I will answer all of them, tomorrow, after you’ve had a good night’s sleep. This is how things are now, and you can either spend your energy worrying over how things are going to be, or you can try to be open about the experience and take things as they come. I promise you, I won’t let anything bad happen to you okay? So try to relax. I’ve got you.” Melody presses a kiss to Emory’s forehead, probably to emphasize her point.
Emory nods. “Okay.”
“Is this a good temperature for the water?” Melody asks, as she adds the bubble bath solution to the tub.
Emory tests the water, and is pleasantly surprised to find that it’s just the right temperature. It usually takes her a bit of fiddling to get the water how she likes it, and Melody has nailed it on the first try. It’s a small thing, but it makes it a little easier to put her trust in Melody to look after her.
“It’s just right,” Emory says with a smile.
“Good,” Melody answers, smiling back at her before lifting her into the tub. “Do you want to wash on your own this time?”
It’s a simple question with monumental implications. Emory sucks on her thumb absently, thinking. The warm water has eased her stress levels a bit more, and she’s beginning to realize how worn-out she feels. She thinks back to what Melody’d said earlier, about experiencing this new reality and taking things as they come, and she makes her decision.
“Could you do it please?” Emory says around her thumb.
“Sure thing! You just sit back and relax. Thank you for trusting me little one, it means a lot to me.” Melody says, and reaches for the soap and washcloth.
Part of Emory is irritated at the new nickname. But, if she’s being honest with herself, it makes her feel warm inside, and it’s not really all that embarrassing either. The cognitive dissonance is exhausting and it’s giving her a headache. She doesn’t have the energy to keep protesting and behaving like pre-Classification Emory would. So, she decides to just let Melody take charge for the night.
Melody is very gentle when she scrubs Emory down, but not so gentle that it’s inefficient, and she even takes extra special care to avoid getting soap in Emory’s eyes. When she’s finished, she pulls the plug on the drain and wraps Emory in a big, fluffy towel before picking her up again.
“Thank you Mellie. That was…really nice.” Emory says honestly.
“You’re welcome sweetie. Now, let’s get you dressed, and we’ll head over to the Littles Supply. Do you want to get ice cream when we’re finished there?”
Emory nods. Ice cream sounds like the perfect comfort food after a day like today. Melody brings her to her room instead of going to Emory’s and lays her down on the bed.
“Stay still, okay munchkin? I’ll just be a sec.” Melody rummages around in her closet for a moment before getting a moderately-sized blue bag with the same ribbon on it as the ELK from the top shelf.
She takes out a plain white diaper, powder, and some lotion, as well as a pastel purple onesie with a snap crotch.
Emory fidgets, uncertain. She’s a little embarrassed, but she’s also very curious about how it’s going to feel to be in a diaper for the first time since she was a baby.
“This will only take a minute, sweetheart. Try not to wiggle around too much, okay?”
Emory nods and slips her thumb into her mouth again. “‘Kay.” She says softly.
Melody puts lotion on her entire body, not just her diaper area, which she hadn’t been expecting. It’s hard not to squirm, since Melody seems to have a knack for finding all of her ticklish spots, but she does her best. The lotion has a very pleasant smell though, so she doesn’t mind. Melody doesn’t even ask Emory to do anything during the diapering portion of the process, she just lifts Emory by the ankles before sliding the diaper under her. She dusts Emory with powder before pulling the diaper up between her legs and securing it snugly with the tapes.
The smell of baby powder and lotion in combination is incredibly relaxing, and it takes Emory a moment to realize that Melody is talking to her.
“Are you okay?”
Emory nods, giving an experimental wiggle. The diaper isn’t uncomfortable, but it’s definitely going to take some getting used to. Still, it’s not nearly as bad as she’d been afraid it would be.
“Mhmm.” She answers. “It actually feels kinda nice…”
“Oh? Well, I’m glad to hear that!” Melody says, before helping Emory to sit up. “Arms up, please.”
Emory complies so Melody can dress her in the onesie, which feels strange, but like the diaper, it isn’t uncomfortable either. She smiles at the realization, maybe this won’t be so bad after all.
Melody reaches into the bag and takes out a black pair of overalls and an oversized purple hair bow and helps Emory dress before tying her hair back in a ponytail. She takes a few items out of the bag and sets them aside–apparently there were different sizes of everything in, and they’d only needed what Emory was wearing.
Emory looks at the pile and is kind of embarrassed to realize that the only size missing from the pile is ‘extra small’ and she hadn’t thought that she was that tiny…
Melody helps Emory stand and guides her in front of the mirror.
“All done, what do you think?” Melody wonders.
Emory blinks at her reflection, her own blue eyes staring back at her. Her lighter brown hair is tied back with the oversized bow that Melody had taken from the bag, and she realizes that she looks like a toddler, only a bit bigger. She’s a little embarrassed to notice that the overalls also have snaps in the crotch, but other than that, it’s a pretty normal-looking outfit. She’d even go so far as to say it’s cute…And, as an added bonus, the diaper isn’t obvious at all, it’s the snaps in the crotch that give that away.
“I like it. It’s comfier than I thought It would be, but walking around in a diaper feels a little weird.” Emory confesses, turning to look up at Melody.
“I’m glad you like it. The bag didn’t leave me with many options, but you’ll have a chance to pick some things out at the LS. They make some pretty cute stuff, but it’s okay if you prefer the plainer side of the spectrum.”
Emory shrugs. “I’m not sure what I’d like best…I’ll have to see what they’ve got.” She feels a little nervous at the prospect of going out in public as a Little for the first time, and without really thinking about it, she lifts her arms toward Melody, hoping to be picked up. It’s only after she’s lifted into Melody’s arms that it dawns on her what she’d just done.
“Alright, little one, let’s get a move on. I’d like to get you to bed at a reasonable time tonight, and we have lots to do.”
Part of Emory bristles at the thought of being given a bedtime, but she ignores it and says:
Melody smiles and kisses Emory’s temple–Emory doesn’t think she’ll ever get tired of being shown affection like that, and she snuggles a little closer to Melody without really meaning too.
Melody pats Emory’s bottom; it’s something she’s done many times before, but it’s somehow more comforting now, and it makes it easy to put aside her fears of going out.
“Don’t worry,” Melody says as she heads for the door. “I’ve got you.”
The Littles Supply store isn’t very busy when they arrive. Or, at least it doesn’t seem that way, as Emory spends most of her time looking at the ground. She still hasn’t gotten used to walking in a diaper, and she’s almost sure she looks a little awkward. She just holds Melody’s hand and tries to keep pace with her much longer stride.
“Well hello there!” Someone says. “Aren’t you just the cutest little thing?”
Emory can feel her face heating up a little and she makes herself look up to see who’s speaking to her.
There’s a lady sitting in a chair by the entrance with red hair, blue eyes, and a bright smile who’s waving at her. She’s got on a name tag that says ‘Beth’, with the Littles Supply logo on it.
Emory moves a bit so she’s mostly behind Melody. The employee’s greeting doesn’t scare her, not exactly, it’s just that she feels kind of exposed, and she isn’t quite sure that she’s ready to be seen like this by people other than Melody.
“Hi…” Emory answers, very quietly, giving the employee a small wave.
“Aww, someone’s a little shy today. That’s okay. Would you like a lollipop or a sticker?”
Emory shuffles forward a bit to see her choices, before looking back at Melody to make sure this is okay with her.
Melody smiles at her and gestures at her to continue. “Go on sweetheart, it’s alright. Pick anything you like.”
“You can have one of each if you’d like.” Beth whispers, like she’s letting Emory in on some big secret.
Emory gasps a little in surprise without really meaning to. “Wow…” After a moment of deliberation she chooses a purple lollipop and a sticker that says ‘Superstar’ with a golden star wearing sunglasses.
“Thank you.” Emory says in a small voice, and then goes back to Melody, taking her hand immediately. She hands the sticker to Melody once they’re inside the store.
“Oh, is this for me?” Melody wonders.
Emory nods. “Mhmm. I just wanted to say thanks for taking care of me. I’m really glad you’re my friend.” She feels like she’s said too much, but it’s too late to take it back now.
“Aww, thank you sweetie.” Melody says, and puts the sticker on her shirt. She stops in front of the carts, some of which are much bigger than the usual-sized ones and looks at Emory. “Do you want to ride in the cart? You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”
“Yes please.” Emory says, she’s already feeling kind of drained from the day, and the less walking she has to do, the better.
Melody lifts her gently into the cart. “If you want to get out to look at stuff, just let me know, okay?”
Their next stop is the kiosk that Melody had talked about earlier. It’s kind of unassuming, just a big screen with a keyboard under it and a little printer beside it that has a sign above it that says: ‘First Time? Start Here’.
Melody pauses to consult her notes, types a few things into the machine, and after a moment, the printer whirs to life and spits out a ribbon of paper.
“Okay, we’ve got our list. Are you ready to get started?” Melody asks.
“Alright then, Off we go!” Melody says cheerfully.
The store is a lot like the other big-box retailers in town, but it sells exclusively stuff for Littles, everything from clothing to those giant inflatable bouncy castles.
Their first stop is the section Emory had been dreading the most, the diaper aisle. There are tons of options to pick from, and although she’d rather not even be in this section, she knows that it won’t do any good to complain about it. She looks around at the packages and finds herself drawn to the ones with animal designs and some of the ones with spaceships and stars.
“I like those.” Emory says, pointing to them.
Melody takes a box of each of them and puts them into the cart. “Those are pretty cute.” Melody says. “We can have more delivered to the house in bulk, so we’re not gonna get a bunch right now. Do you see any other kinds you like?”
Emory points out a few more that also get put into the cart.
They head to the next aisle, one that has pacifiers, bottles and formula on one side, and various comfort items like blankets on the other.
“You don’t need to have formula, don’t worry.” Melody says before Emory can ask. “But you are going to need a cup with some kind of no-spill lid. Do you want to pick some, or do you want me to just go by the designs on your diapers?”
Emory shrugs, blushing a little at ‘your diapers’. It’s true, but it’s still kind of embarrassing to hear it out loud. “You can pick. I think I’d probably take forever, and I’m kind of tired.”
“Okay. If you see anything you like just shout.” Melody says, and begins sifting through items and putting them in the cart.
Emory lets her eyes wander before they land on a bottle with zoo animals that comes with a matching set of pacifiers and a very soft blanket. “Can I have that? Please?” It’s embarrassing to ask for it, but she really wants it, so she swallows her pride.
Melody adds it to their rapidly filling cart. “Of course you can. Thank you for using such good manners, sweetheart.” She tosses in a few other pacifiers and clips for good measure.
Emory smiles at the praise.
They turn the corner into the next aisle, one that has carseats, some of which are just upscaled versions of seats for toddlers.
“Wow…They’re huge!” Emory points out.
“Yep. They’re meant to replace the actual seat in the car. We’ll just get a ticket and take it up front, and they’ll install it overnight. There’s a shuttle that will take us home, and we can come back in the morning for the car. If you were a little bigger, we could probably just get away with replacing the seatbelt with a harness, and you could still sit up front. but I think the full-size carseat is the would be the safest option for you. Do you wanna try some of them out and see which ones you like?”
Emory feels a bit sad at the realization that her days of sitting up front are over, but nods.
All of the seats are comfortable, but she settles on a black one with light blue cushioning. It’s got a cupholder, a built-in charging port for her phone and it even reclines. It’s a little on the pricier side though, and that makes her think of something else.
“Um, Mellie? How am I gonna pay for all this stuff?”
“When you got classified as a Little, there was an account set up in your name that’s tied to the ID on your letter. You’ll get a card for it later, but until you get a Caregiver, the government stipend for Little care will go into that account. All we have to do is put in that ID number at the register, and everything will be taken care of. Didn’t you read any of the info things they gave you at Classification?”
Emory shakes her head. “Only the ones for Neutrals and Caregivers. I was so sure I wasn’t gonna end up as a Little that I didn’t bother with those.” She realizes as she says it that that lack of foresight is exactly the kind of thing one would expect from a Little. It seems so obvious now…
“That’s okay. We can talk more about all that later. We’re almost done, we just need to get you a crib, a changing table, and some clothes. Unless you want to look at some toys first? I know you’ve got your computer at home and the Playstation, but I thought you might want to do some other things sometimes too.”
“I have to sleep in a crib too?” Emory frowns. It doesn’t sound all that bad, but she feels like she should protest on principle.
“Yes, babe. Don’t worry, you’ll still be able to get out in case of emergency, and I’ll put a monitor in your room in case you need something.” Mallory explains. “I can’t really have you up and roaming around the house if I’m not awake to watch you, at least until we Little-proof things.”
Emory huffs. “I’m not gonna go around sticking forks in light sockets or eating the dishwasher soap thingies, Mellie.”
“I know, but you aren’t really in Littlespace right now either. Once you get more comfortable with things, I think you might be surprised. Besides, you can keep your TV and stuff so if you wake up before me, you won’t have to sit in there and be bored.”
Emory just pouts.
“Do you want to look at toys after we’re done picking out your crib and changing table?”
Emory smiles. Even before she’d gotten Classified, she’d enjoyed walking through the toy section just to look around, even if she’d only ever gotten her stuffed bear, Rufus, from there. “Okay!”
It doesn’t take them long to order their furniture, but Emory lets Melody handle that part. She does hope that the people coming to install it don’t take a long time to do so though; she’s uncomfortable enough with all this without a bunch of strange people in her house…
Emory stays close to Melody at first when they get to the toy section, since none of the toys for the really little Littles are very interesting. The shape-sorting toy seems like it would get boring pretty fast. She does like the blocks though, and gets a pretty big assortment of those. The aisle with all the Legos is the most exciting though, since she’d always loved playing with them as a child, and it’s really cool to see how complex some of the things she could build are now. She spends more time than she probably should browsing, and when she looks up to ask Melody if she can get a few things, she realizes that Melody is…gone.
Inwardly, Emory knows that Melody wouldn’t abandon her, but she can’t stop herself from panicking. She manages to stave it off momentarily by remembering that she can just call Melody and ask where she is. But, when she pats herself down, looking for her phone, she remembers that it’s still on the floor at home.
The gravity of being alone hits her like a freight train; now that she’s a Little, she doesn’t have many options for getting back home by herself. Without her phone, she can’t use a ride-sharing service to get home, if she’s even allowed to do that now, and she knows for a fact that buses won’t take unattended Littles either. She might even get taken to an Assignment Center.
Her breathing picks up, and her vision blurs as she bursts into tears, her heart jackhammering away inside her chest. Before she can really start crying, someone’s pulling her into a tight hug–she knows it’s Melody by the smell of her perfume.
“Oh, sweetheart, what’s wrong? Why all these tears, hmm?”
Emory just cries, unable to pull herself together quickly enough to respond right away. She just holds on tighter to Melody.
“Can you tell Mellie what’s wrong, little one? I can’t help you if I don’t know what the problem is.”
“I c-couldn’t see you. An’ I got scared…” Emory chokes out.
“I’m sorry little love, I thought you heard me when I said I was going to the next aisle over for a minute. You know I’d never leave you here all by yourself, right? Never ever.”
That makes Emory feel a little better, and she feels kind of silly for getting so worked up over such a little thing. “I know…’M sorry I freaked out like that…”
“You don’t ever have to be sorry for having feelings, Emmy. It’s perfectly okay to cry if you’re scared. Did you find anything you’d like?”
Emory nods and gives Melody a watery smile before moving to show her what she’d been looking at. After picking out a few things, they move on to the clothing section.
Their trip through the clothing section is by far the longest part of their visit to the store. Emory gets out to help Melody pick out some things–she gravitates toward the plainer, pastel colors, but Melody is definitely a fan of the more overtly cute stuff with designs and little sayings on it. Thankfully, she doesn’t pick out anything too outlandish.
And that’s when it happens.
Emory’s trailing behind Melody a bit, pausing to look at things, but always making sure that she can see Melody, when her bladder throbs. She suddenly regrets her decision to drink so much water earlier and she knows immediately that she doesn’t have long to get to a toilet. And, with the extra steps to undress because of the overalls, onesie, and diaper, she isn’t even really sure that she can. She squirms a bit and opens her mouth to let Melody know what’s going on, when her bladder fails entirely with a painful spasm, and she wets her diaper.
She stands there awkwardly, brow furrowing at the unfamiliar sensation. She’d had to go even more than she’d realized, and she ends up rooted to the spot, hoping she can finish before Melody notices what’s happening, as unlikely as that is. The feeling of wetting her diaper isn’t bad, but it’s foreign to her, not to mention embarrassing. She’s glad to be wearing it though, since no one knows what’s happened except her, and maybe–probably–Melody. At least she hasn’t left a puddle on the floor…
Emory looks up to see Melody in front of her, arms open for a hug, like she knows exactly what just happened. Emory doesn’t waste any time taking advantage of the offer.
“‘M sorry…” Emory says quietly, fighting back tears for the umpteenth time that day.
“You don’t have anything to be sorry for, Emmy” Melody soothes quietly, rubbing Emory’s back. “That’s what your diaper is for. It’s better than leaving a mess, right?”
Melody reaches down to pat Emory’s bottom. “Your diaper can hold a lot more than that, but I understand if you want to get changed now. We’ve got a little time before the shuttle gets here to take us home, and they already set up delivery for your diapers, so we don’t need to do that. We can hurry and go to get ice cream after we pay, or I can change your diaper, but we might not have time for ice cream after that.”
“But you said we could…” Emory feels her eyes welling up with tears at the thought of missing out on ice cream. She rubs them gently with her fists, trying to stop herself from crying again, and sort of surprises herself when she yawns.
“Oh, little one, you’re so tired…I know I did. Can you wait to get changed until we get home?”
Emory nods. A wet diaper doesn’t feel great, but it’s not terribly uncomfortable either. And besides, it’s worth enduring if it means she gets ice cream. “I can wait…”
“Okay.” Melody says and fishes a tissue out of her purse. She holds it up to Emory’s nose. “Blow, sweetheart.” she says, and Emory does.
Emory’s thumb drifts toward her mouth, but Melody stops her. “Oh no, Emmy, don’t do that, it’s icky. We’ve been touching lots of stuff that other people have handled, and I don’t want you to get sick. Do you want to try a pacifier instead?”
Emory thinks about it for a moment, and then nods. No one has teased her or mocked her since she arrived at the store, so maybe she’s worried over nothing.
Melody hunts through her bag for a moment before finding one, it’s the same shade of purple as Emory’s shirt… She takes out a clip for the pacifier and clips it to Emory’s shirt for her. “There you go, sweetheart.”
Emory gives it an experimental suck, and realizes two things: First, that it’s faintly vanilla flavored, and secondly that it’s way better than sucking her thumb. She suckles on it happily and smiles at Melody.
Melody chuckles. “You’re too cute. You’re very welcome Emmy. Do you want to walk, or ride in the cart to go back up front?”
“I can walk,” Emory says, afraid she’ll fall asleep if she sits in the cart, and she doesn’t want to miss out on her opportunity for ice cream.
“That’s fine. Hold my hand though, I don’t want you to get lost.” Melody says.
“I’m not gonna get lost…” Emory protests.
“Emmy, you almost got lost earlier because you weren’t paying attention. We’re not gonna do that again, okay? I know this is all very new to you, but I need you to listen to me.”
“I can do it myself!” Emory responds, too loudly, and stomps her foot without really meaning to. She’s exhausted and out-of-sorts, and it’s so hard to keep a lid on her emotions when everything is so new and overwhelming.
“Excuse me? That’s not a very nice way to talk to someone, Emmy.” Melody says, raising an eyebrow, and taking Emory by the shoulders. “I’m just trying to keep you safe. I know you can do it yourself, but I don’t think that’s a very good choice right now, do you?”
Emory harrumphs and turns around to face away from Melody, too upset with everything to speak. She’s mad at herself for not being able to control her emotions better, mad at Melody for not letting her prove that she’s capable of doing things on her own, and mad at the Classification test for doing this to her.
“I’m mad!” she says, like it isn’t already obvious.
“That’s okay.” Melody says, and her calm, gentle voice is somehow even more irritating–a reminder of how grown-up and in-control she is, everything that Emory isn’t. “You’re allowed to be mad. Do you need a minute to calm down so we can talk?”
Emory folds her arms and flops down onto her butt without answering. She’s grateful for her diaper, since sitting down so hard would definitely have hurt otherwise. She feels Melody’s lips against the top of her head.
“Okay.” Melody says. “I’ll be right here when you’re ready to use your words.”
Emory’s crying again before she can stop herself. She knows she’s made a mistake, but everything is so different and wrong and it’s hard to know what to do. She gets up and turns around to face Melody, sobbing and reaching for her.
“Oh, honey…” Melody’s voice is almost a coo as she lifts Emory into her arms. “We’ve had a stressful day, haven’t we, little one?” She wonders, but she doesn’t seem to expect an answer from Emory.
Emory presses her face into Melody’s chest. “‘M sorry!” she bawls.
“It’s okay sweetheart, everything is forgiven. But do you understand why I want you to hold my hand?”
Emory nods. “So I don’t get lost and scared again.”
“That’s right. I don’t like seeing you so upset. Do you know what makes me feel better when I’m sad?” Melody asks.
“Cuddles?” Emory ventures.
“Yes, do you know what else cheers me up?”
“Ice cream. Would you like to have some after we pay?”
Emory nods. “Yes please.”
“I think that can be arranged,” Melody says, and smiles at her before setting her down in the cart. “Let’s go pay for our things.”
With their cart piled high with loot, they head for the registers at the front.
Emory falls asleep before they get there, dreaming of ice cream.