Well, guess what? After a 7 month hiatus, the next chapter to this story!
Yeah, I know, I have commitment issues. That plus the fact that I have been VERY busy. You won’t believe HOW busy.
Anyway, I took some time and did some planning, so now I have a basic storyline up for this.
For reference, the previous 2 chapters:
I hope that you all will take the time to read and even perhaps enjoy this. Constructive criticism is much appreciated and flaming will be ignored.
It was dark, about 9 pm, by the time I returned to my humble little abode. My garage door whirred open at a touch to my remote, and I reversed the car in and parked it. Both the girls had slept through the entire journey back and were still happily snoring away, figuratively speaking. I reached in, carefully picked them up and brought them into the house.
Which, I realised, was still a fairly big disaster from the past few days. I carefully navigated my way through the hazardous terrain to my room and put the girls down on my bed, before tiptoeing out of the room. I turned off the lights and closed the door, before turning around and surveying the battlefield before me.
Well, I have to be honest. It was a dump. I’d seen drug addict’s homes that were neater.
Oh well. Standing around and looking won’t solve anything. I turned on m stero and sang along to the beat of Timbaland as I began locating the elusive broom and dustpan.
Two loads of laundry, one sinkful of plates and a big bag of trash later, I surveyed my -relatively- cleaner house. It was eleven-ish by then, and I had managed to restore my house to a semblance of it’s usual self. The rest would have to wait till my cleaning lady came on Wednesday to give a really thorough cleaning. I kept the cleaning equipment and went to take a shower.
I was just settling down to a beer and idly flipping through the TV channels when a sudden scream erupted from my room. I shot up, was halfway across the hall and groping for my non-existent revolver before it ended. I slammed open my room door just as a second scream began and I flicked on the lights.
Chloe was sitting up on the bed, wide-eyed and frightened, grabbing on to Claire, who was also in a similar state. Claire was crying profusely and Chloe burst into loud wails when she saw me in the doorway. I crossed the room to the bed and they launched themselves at me, gripping me tightly.
“Chloe, Claire, what happened?” My muscles were still wound up and I continued to scan the room for any dangers.
Chloe sobbed out “Where were you? I woke up and it was dark and I was scared and I couldn’t find you!” With that, she burst into a fresh storm of crying.
Damn. I forgot they were still young enough to be scared of the dark. Especially when they were left alone, in an unfamiliar place, and were still disoriented from waking up.
I began to feel really, really guilty.
I sat down on the bed and both of them attempted to climb onto my lap, resulting in a little pushing and shoving till both managed to squeeze themselves on. I hugged both of them and reassured them, apologising for leaving them alone in the dark and promising it wouldn’t happen again.
After awhile, Chloe wriggled down and began exploring the room. She poked her head under my king-sized bed, solemnly examined my cabinet doors, stared awhile at a random abstract painting that I had bought at a garage sale, poked curiously at my lava lamp, before climbing again onto my bed. She stood up, gave a little bounce, and let out a shout of surprised laughter as the springs bounced her up.
The next thing I knew, both of them were jumping up and down, bouncing all over the bed, screaming with laughter when either one fell down. Chloe attempted a mid-air somersault, which resulted in her landing on her back and Chloe to shriek peals of laughter at the absolutely stunned look on her face. I watched them bounce around from a safe distance away, smiling at their antics and their expressions of absolute delight.
I watched them for awhile, as Chloe tried to flip herself several times more. Claire, getting bored, bounced off the bed and landed in front of me with a flourish, eliciting a laugh. I picked her up and blew raspberries at her stomach, causing her to squeal and struggle in laughter.
“Uncle 'lex, uncle 'lex, did you see that?” Chloe interrupted, standing on the bed and looking at me expectantly.
“Sorry, see what?”
“My flip! See?!” And, after bouncing a few times, she jumped and executed a flip in midair. However, she misjudged her landing and flopped down on her front. She climbed up quickly and posed. “Taadaah!” she beamed.
“Good job, Chloe!” I applauded. Claire added her own claps of approval
“I’m gonna show mom! Mom! Dad!” Chloe was off the bed and running halfway to the door before her footsteps slowed. She turned and looked at me, and I could see that her eyes were turning red – never a good sign. Claire suddenly threw her arms around me and pushed her face into my shoulder.
Oh crap. Luckily for me, I had just the thing to distract them.
“Hey, girls, you two haven’t bathed yet, right?” Both girls shook their heads. “Well, would you like a bubble bath?”
“Really?!” Both of them perked up almost instantly.
“Well, why not? Tell you what, I’ll go and prepare it now, alright?”
“Can we see?” Chloe asked.
Distraction 101, passed with distinction.
“Well, sure, why not?” I put Claire down and opened the door to the adjacent bathroom, the children scampering in behind me.
My bathroom was fairly normal, if a bit nicer than most. A long tub stretched its way along a wall, with the sink located on the opposite wall with the commode, in it’s own well-ventilated glass chamber, next to it. The tub had been built as an outcrop from the wall and was larger than normal. It came equipped with jacuzzi jets, which I used often after tiring days at work.
“Wow, Uncle 'lex, you have a pool in your house!” Claire exclaimed.
Both Chloe and I laughed. “No, it’s his tub, silly,” Chloe replied. I grinned and asked them “Would you like to see my swimming pool?”
“You have a swimming pool?!” Chloe’s eyes were as wide as saucers.
“Well…no.” I grinned at her as she sighed in disappointment.
I turned on the tap and the tub began to fill. Setting a timer for 7 minutes, I ushered the children out back into the bedroom.
“Now come on, girls, I need to get you undressed before you go and bathe, ok?” I reached over to help Chloe, who pulled away from me.
“I can undress myself, Uncle Alex!” she protested
“Whatever you say,” I told her, turning to Claire, who readily lifted her arms. I pulled off her shirt and jeans, exposing her fairly wet diaper. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Chloe pull down her pants slightly and blush.
She has probably wet herself, I guessed, either while she was sleeping or because of the fright or something. I decided not to push the issue tonight and even save her some embarrassment.
“Oh right, Chloe, Claire, if either of you need to use the potty now just go in your diaper, ok? I’ll have to change you into a new one after the bath anyway.”
She was pretty clever and seized the excuse. “Ok!” She replied, sounding relieved. Chloe quickly squatted down and – I presumed – began peeing while Claire shook her head.
“I don’t need go potty any more, Uncle Alex,” she informed me.
“Ok, then both of you just stay here while I go and get your towels and clothes, alright?”
I crossed the hall into my study, where I had stashed the children’s suitcases. The suitcases were labelled in Sharon’s neat handwriting, and she had very thoughtfully packed the pyjamas right at the top, so there was no problems finding them. Each child’s toiletries were in plastic bags, right on top of a small stack of Barbie Panties, Barney and Dora panties.
Which, looking at the way things were going, probably wouldn’t see much use.
I opened the third suitcase, labelled ‘toys and others’, and dug through the stuffed animals and board games till I found a bag with some bath toys. Finally, I grabbed their diaper bag and went back to my room.
Where, as the door opened, I was assaulted by a loud wail from Claire as Chloe violently shoved her.
“Chloe!” I dropped my armload of things on the bed, strode over and lifter Chloe bodily off the ground from where she was trying to hit Claire. Claire, sobbing, stood up and ran to the other side of the bed and hid as Chloe struggled in my arms, screaming and also in tears.
“Both of you, stop it!” I ordered.
“Let me down let me down let me down!” Chloe screamed.
“Chloe Shantel Farrel! Stop that or I will spank you!” She ignored me, so I sat down, turned her over my lap and administered a hard swat to her bottom.
She screamed as I spanked her and abruptly went limp, crying. I then noticed that when I had spanked her, I had felt something squish under her pants. I also noticed the smell of poop in the air.
I pulled down Chloe’s jeans and exposed her diaper, which, besides being very wet, was obviously messy as well.
“Chloe, you just stand here and don’t move until I tell you to,” I told her, setting her on the floor. She continued to sniffle and cry, but didn’t move when I went over to Claire. Claire ran to me and buried her face into my shoulder, sobbing. I went and sat in front of Chloe, looking her sternly in the eyes.
“Now, tell me what’s going on.”
Chloe was worried as she checked her diaper after pushing Uncle Alex’s hands away. Even without looking, she knew she had wet the diaper in the bathroom when Uncle Alex had turned on the tap. It had just started coming out and she didn’t even realise it till she felt the wetness spread and her diaper bulk up between her legs. She didn’t want Uncle Alex to find out but…
“Chloe, Claire, if either of you need to use the potty now just go in your diaper, ok? I’ll have to change you into new ones after the bath anyway.” She heard Uncle Alex say.
“Ok!” she happily replied and immediately squatted down. I can just pretend to go now and tell Uncle Alex that I just wet my diaper! she thought. At which she blushed, at the thought that she was even wearing a diaper.
I’m a big girl, I don’t need a diaper she thought. I can use the toilet on my own! Not like my sister, and she glanced at Claire, who was taking a turn at looking under the bed dressed in nothing but her diaper, who’s still a baby and wets the bed…although…
She was startled out of her reverie by a loud fart that escaped from her. At the same time, she became aware of two important pieces of information.
Number One was that she had not gone to poop since yesterday.
Number Two was that she was in a position that was putting a lot of pressure on her gut, which was signalling that it urgently needed to clear it’s load soon.
Claire looked up and giggled. “Chloe, are you going poopie?” she asked.
“No!” she exclaimed, just as she let out another audible fart. Her face turned beet red as Claire laughed.
“I’m not! Stop that!” She began to stand up, but just then, another loud, wet fart erupted and her belly informed her that it was going now regardless of whether she wanted to or not.
Chloe maintained her squatting position as her diaper filled up with a load of poop. Her face, which was already red, darkened a thousand shades deeper and Claire collapsed in gales of laughter.
It was over quickly, but Chloe remained squatting. She did not like the feeling of her poopy diaper, and dreaded moving around in it. Nope, she decided, i’ll just stay like this till I can get Uncle Alex to clean me up.
She glared at Claire, who was still laughing, and snapped “What’re you laughing at, you baby? You also poopied your diaper just now, and the night before too, so there!”
Claire quickly stopped laughing at that reminder. She came over and walked around Chloe, looking at her jeans bottom and taking a sniff. She immediately stepped back holding her nose. “You stink,” she informed Chloe. “Why don’t you stand up or sit down?” she finally asked.
“Because I don’t want to!” Chloe declared. Her legs were getting cramped from squatting so long, and every little fidget she made made the load in her nappy rub against her bottom in a disgusting manner. Come on, Uncle Alex, hurry up! she silently begged.
Just then, Claire tripped over her clothing, which had been left on the floor, causing her to fall forward and bump into Chloe.
Off-balance, Chloe fell backwards, landing squarely on her rump.
“Ewww!” Chloe felt the warm lump squish and spread across her butt. Tears sprang to her eyes as she jumped up and instinctively grabbed her bum with her hands, spreading the mess further around.
“Claire!” she screamed at her younger sister, beginning to cry.
“I’m sorry Chloe, I didn’t mean to…” Claire began to apologise. However, crying furiously, Chloe shoved Claire hard, sending her sprawling on the floor, before running over and beginning to pummel her with her fists until she was lifted into the air by a firm hand around her waist.
Just then, the timer in the bathroom rang loudly. Claire still had her face in my shoulder, so I instructed Chloe to stay put while I carried Claire along to the bathroom. The water level in the tub was perfect, and so I turned the taps off and went back into the bedroom
“Ok, Chloe, first of all, I want you to apologise to your sister – No, no buts!” I warned her, cutting off a stream of protest. “I want you to apologise for hitting her and pushing her.”
“But it’s her fault!” Chloe protested, beginning to cry again.
“It was an accident, and you know that! So now apologise to Claire, or I will send you straight to bed and leave you in that same dirty diaper the entire night!”
Chloe gaped at me, stunned out of her tears.
“You heard me, girl! Now apologise!”
“I’m sorry, Claire,” she mumbled out. She sounded insincere, but at least she had apologised.
“Good. Now, Claire, I want you to apologise for accidentally pushing Chloe, ok?”
Claire lifted her face up from my shirt. “Sorry, Chloe,” she said.
“Good. Now,” I set Claire down next to Chloe. “Now both of you hug each other.”
Chloe reluctantly put her arms around Claire, but the younger girl enthusiastically gave the elder sister a big hug that was returned an instant later.
They broke off after awhile and Claire held her nose, her face scrunched up. “Uncle Alex, Chloe stinks,” she complained.
I chuckled and bent down closer to them. "Well, it’s a good thing the bubble bath is almost ready, isn’t it?
“Yay! Bubble bath!” both of them shouted almost simultaneously. They ran into the bathroom ahead of me as I dug around and found a bottle of bubble solution.
“Uncle Alex, where’s the bubbles?” Chloe complained as soon as I entered.
“Right here!” I held up the plastic bottle.
“You’re supposed to pour the bubble solution in first, Uncle Alex,” Chloe told me.
“Just watch,” I replied. I poured the solution into the water, near the centre of the tub, and the girls watched as the solution largely floated on the surface of the water.
“Still no bubbles,” Claire commented, puzzled.
Then I turned on the air jets.
Air blasted out of the holes in the tub, churning the water, mixing the soapy solution around. Bubbles erupted all over the place, piling up till it exceeded the brim of the tub. The girls shouted with excitement as the white mass seemingly magically appeared out of nowhere.
I turned the air jets off and turned to the girls. “Ok, let me get you cleaned up, Chloe, then you can go into the tub too, alright?” I said as I untaped Claire’s soggy diaper and rolled it up. I then quickly wiped her off before helping her into the tub, where she immediately began to build bubble sculptures.
“Come on, Chloe, better not stink up the toilet,” I led her out of the bathroom and got her to lie down on the changing pad. I took a deep breath and unfastened the tapes, revealing a large, flat, brown mess spread over the back of the diaper
“Phew! You’re a stinky baby, aren’t you?” I commented, eliciting a protest, as I quickly rolled the diaper up and sealed it in a plastic bag. I then got some wet wipes and thoroughly cleaned the poop off her.
“Right, done!” I helped her up to her feet and into the bathroom tub, where she whooped and began to splash around.
“Ok, 15 minutes, then I have to get you both ready for bed,” I informed them as I stepped out of the bathroom back into my bedroom.
Which was beginning to smell bad from the diapers left in it. Really bad.
I deposited the source of the bad smell in the covered bin I kept in my kitchen, taking the opportunity to set the kettle to boil for the children’s milk. I also picked up a can of lavender air freshener, which I use to liberally douse the air in my room.
Although I hate lavender, it’s better than what it smelled like before.
Having nothing else to do, I went back into the bathroom and watched the two girls at play. They were both working on a ‘bubble volcano’, which, from what I could gather, involved stacking the bubbles as high as it could go before hitting it and shouting ‘Kaboom!’
After watching them awhile, I realised there was something I was forgetting, some little thing that began to figuratively kick me in the head.
Towels? Check. Pyjamas? Check. Diapers? Check. Milk? Check. Toothbrush? Check.
I really couldn’t think of anything else, but I was damned sure that I was missing something.
Irritating feeling, this.
I finally realised what it was when Chloe dunked her head underwater and came up with her long hair plastered to the front of her face.
Oh, crap. I didn’t have a hair dryer.
The next couple of minutes was spent digging around my storeroom, looking for an elusive piece of bathroom equipment that I dimly remembered someone having given me a few Christmases ago. I finally found it behind an old microwave that I always intended to repair someday.
Looks like the repair is going to have to wait awhile longer. I opened the box, took out the hair dryer, and marched victoriously back to my bathroom, where, ignoring the pleas for “five more minutes, pleeeaaassseee,” I got Chloe and Claire washed and rinsed off.
Thirty minutes later, both of them had brushed their teeth, been diapered and dressed, with Chloe only putting up minimal resistance when I told her to lie down. They were drinking their milk, Chloe using a straw while Claire sucked on her bottle, and watching Tom and Jerry on the TV as I blow-dried Claire’s hair. I could feel her relaxing and her face began to take on a sleepy look. She pulled the nipple out of her mouth and yawned.
“Getting sleepy, dear?” I asked softly. Claire nodded and stuck the bottle back into her mouth. “Hold on awhile, alright?” I finished up blow-drying her hair and combed it back neatly. Chloe’s hair took me another 10 minutes, after which Chloe was yawning and Claire was almost asleep on the floor.
I picked up both of them and turned off the TV, carrying them back into my room and placing them gently on the bed. Claire opened her sleepy eyes and asked me “Uncle Alex, can I have my Barney?”
“Sure, i’ll get him for you, okay?”
“'kay,” she sleepily replied, yawning again.
“Help me get my bear too please,” Chloe also called out. I went to the appropriate suitcase and pulled the requested animals out, and discovered that Sharon had thoughtfully packed in several storybooks, a night-light and the girls’ pillows.
Returning to the bedroom, I got the girls settled for sleep. I lay down between them and they both snuggled up to me, making themselves comfortable against my side and looked at me expectantly.
“Have you said your prayers yet?” I asked them. Both shook their heads, and so we all bowed our heads as I prayed over them.
“In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.” we all said in unison. I opened the book that I had taken from the suitcase, Snow White and began reading.
“Once upon a time, in a faraway, magical kingdom, there lived a beautiful princess…”
15 minutes later, I closed the book and tucked in the two peacefully sleeping girls. After plugging in the night-light, I turned off the main lights and tiptoed out of the room.
“Uncle Alex?” Chloe’s sleepy voice called, halting me.
“Goodnight. I love you.”
My heart practically melted. “I love you too, Chloe. Sleep well and have pleasant dreams…” As I closed the door behind me, I saw Chloe wriggle across the bed and lie next to Claire, who turned and cuddled up to her.
My heart was in danger of being just a puddle on the floor.
Well, finally by myself again. I went back to my kitchen and pulled my can of beer out of the fridge, sat on the couch and meditated on the day’s events and tasks I had to do in the future.
I was still on compassionate leave till the end of the next week, but before that, I had to get the girls settled into new schools, arrange for a caretaker or a daycare while I was at work, set up permanent places for all their things, plus a hundred and one other things that I had to settle or change.
Talking about change. I also had to try and get Chloe to stop wetting herself and, apparently, I might even need to re-potty train Claire. Neither of which I had any idea how to do. However, other than the diapers, the first day didn’t go too badly, considering. The children had gone to sleep peacefully enough, just like all the times I had babysat both of them.
I guessed it would just take a bit more time for the truth of the matter to impact them.
Sitting there, I abruptly felt overwhelmed at the sudden responsibility thrust onto me. Two young girls, now looking to me no longer as an indulgent uncle but as a father, a mother, a parent? This was a totally new experience to me, one without established procedures, that I had to beat my own path for. If I messed up, I would affect not only my own life but also the futures of these young, trusting children.
The thought made me frightened, in a way that even staring down the barrel of a gun in the hands of a hardened drug dealer couldn’t.
Jess, Shane, if you’re watching, help me to bring up and protect your children the way you would want them to be raised. I have absolutely no idea what to expect or what to do and…I wish you were here…
I began to tear as I stared at a large photo of Shane, Jess, Don, Sharon and I on vacation with the four children, taken on the sunny beaches of California a year ago. Jess and Shane’s happy faces grinned out beside my own, all of us utterly oblivious to what the future had in store.
Damn it, Jess, little sister, I miss you, I thought. There was so much we did together…and even after I moved away we still kept so close…
Waves of wrenching pain flooded over me as I remembered all the times we had shared, now lost forever.
A part of me, the tough-guy, unfailingly logical, analytical part, highlighted that I was being overly, even dangerously emotional. That part of me, the Senior Inspector with 15 years of experience behind my back, pulled me back to a more stable state, caused me to wipe my tears away and to think about the situation in a more rational manner.
As the Chinese Sage Confucius had once said, ‘Each journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’. This sounded like good advice. I decided to begin by applying for a new school for the girls tomorrow, one not too far from my place, in a good neighborhood.
There. Now that I had decided what to do, a weight seemed to lift from my shoulders. Finishing up my can of beer, I threw it into the trash can, turned off the lights, primed the house alarm, and went to sleep with my two new daughters.
There. Took me 8 frigging hours, non-stop, to write this, and while I’m not totally happy with it yet, I decided to post it up to get some comments first.
R&R please! Tyvm!