Independence Day

Independence Day

“Mom, please!” Felicity whined, trying to pull away from her mother’s hand desperately.

“Felicity, you remember what happened last year,” her mom told her firmly, her grip only tightening. “I’m not going to let you humiliate me like that again!”

She did remember, though she’d graciously almost forgotten until earlier that week, when they’d gone out shopping… Even then, she’d hoped it was just a joke, not something that they’d actually go through with. Surely, the rest of their family had forgotten, too… But, that morning, her mother had been in her room with them, and now she was wearing them, under a much too short old dress, and her mom had what was unmistakably a diaper bag slung over her shoulder…

“I-It won’t happen again!” Felicity promised, just as she had last year, as she stood next to the blanket with the huge puddle, pants drenched, as her relatives suggested that, next year, she do just what was happening now. It hadn’t even really happened then…

Well, it had… It was hard to deny that, really, but it hadn’t been her fault! Not that anyone had believed her when she’d told them that, especially when her cousin, Val, had marched back out of the house in fresh, perfectly dry shorts, after Felicity had told them all the truth, that Val had snuck away from the family get-together to do some kind of drugs or something, and that was why she’d been so startled at the loud fireworks that she’d wet herself as she sat on the blanket the two of them had been sharing.

Val was the only other person in the family around Felicity’s age, so she wound up spending most of her time with the girl at family parties, whether she liked it or not. The girl had always been bigger than her, prettier, more mature… She was actually a few months younger than Felicity, but when they were younger, Felicity had always looked up to her for doing things she’d never be brave enough to try. As they got older, Felicity had realized she was also kind of a bully, especially to her timid, older cousin. That was really what had eventually convinced Felicity to agree to pretend she’d been the one to pee herself while Val snuck back into her house to change…

She hadn’t been pleased to find that Felicity had backed out after some teasing and tried telling the truth… Not that she’d gotten anywhere with her claims, despite them being true. After all, Val had forced her to wet herself before leaving, so the evidence was pretty clear. And Felicity had only gotten more upset when the actual culprit joined in on making fun of her, which everyone seemed to take as a tantrum, and further proof of her immaturity… Even so, Val had promised her she was going to make her regret turning on her.

Felicity was already regretting getting involved at all, as she toddled her way to the car, heart thumping in her chest as she sat, leaving even more of her diaper visible to anybody who might look through the window on the long drive to her aunt, uncle, and cousin’s house out in the country… She was not looking forward to what else Val might have in mind for her…

IndependenceDay1

Read more

Red, White and Blue

Red, White and Blue

Celeste could feel her employees staring at her as she strode into the gazebo, but she didn’t care. She was sure they hadn’t expected her to come – they’d only invited her because she’d caught them talking about it behind her back and demanded to know what they were whispering about. After that, they hadn’t really had any choice.

“It’s an Independence Day party,” Bonnie had told her timidly. “Well, my parents are really the ones throwing it, but they told me I should invite everyone from work, so…” The girl stared down at her feet, cheeks turning red.

“Then I’m sure you were just about to come to my office and ask me to come, weren’t you?” Celeste grinned as the girl nodded, knowing quite well that wasn’t the case. She relished the chance to make her workers squirm, to show them who was boss. She had to, really… She was a rather small woman, and quite young to have gotten as far as she had already. If she didn’t show them that she meant business, they’d think they could walk all over her.

“You don’t have to bring anything,” Bonnie said. “You just have to make sure to wear red, white and blue.” Her cheeks darkened a shade. “That’s just my parents’ rule.”

Celeste had snorted at that, rolling her eyes. “All right, sure.”

She hadn’t really planned to go, not at first. She’d been invited to a few little parties her employees threw, almost always as a transparent attempt to get on her good side. Still, as the days had ticked past toward the holiday weekend, she began to reconsider. She didn’t have any other plans for that day, and productivity was always down the day after a three day weekend. If she went to the party, maybe they’d keep their celebrations to a minimum, and thus be better equipped the next day to get right back to work as usual. That was how she justified it, anyway. She knew they had plenty of gatherings without her, and even if she had no interest in going to them, it still hurt a little not to even be invited. So if her showing up ruined their fun, even just a little, well, that was what they deserved for all those other times.

She’d considered wearing one of her business suits, like the one she wore to the office every day, but eventually decided that might be taking things a bit too far. Besides, it was too hot to deal with that without the help of air conditioning. Instead, she threw on a yellow sundress, making sure to pick one that wasn’t one of the colors she was “supposed” to wear, slipping a pair of black strappy heeled sandals on. As she looked at herself in the mirror, she worried it was too casual, but she supposed it would do.

She was quite surprised at the house the directions Bonnie had sent her led to. It was further from the city than she’d expected, quite isolated from the other neighbors, and quite massive. It had two floors, with a massive porch across the whole front, supported by a row of ornate columns, and, she found as she began to walk around it, a gazebo, attached to the main house by a covered walkway. It looked like, and she supposed it probably was technically, a plantation house, the kind she’d only ever seen in old movies. She had to admit, when she’d heard Bonnie was inviting people to a party at her parents’ house, she’d nearly snickered at the idea of a grown woman doing that, rather than throwing her own, but if this was what their house looked like, she couldn’t blame her.

Most of her employees were gathered in the gazebo, though a few were a couple yards away, playing horse-shoes. There was a pair of small children, one of whom she identified as belonging to Sarah from the one time she had brought the little wretch in, claiming not to have been able to find a babysitter, playing in a sandbox a short distance in the opposite direction. In a small spur of the walkway sat a large grill, being tended to by an older man she assumed was Bonnie’s father, and a woman who must have been her mother was holding court in the gazebo.

To Celeste’s surprise, everyone was, indeed, wearing red, white and blue. Not just a little flag pin, either; they’d gone all out. A small part of her felt worried that she’d ignored the instructions, that she was going to stand out so much, but the rest of her was proud of herself. She wasn’t a mindless sheep like her workers – that was why she was their boss, after all, and not the other way around. It was only right that she look distinctive.

She began to make her way towards the gazebo, only to run into Bonnie, coming out of the house in a pair of white shorts and a red shirt, blue flip-flops on her feet, carrying an armful of hamburger and hot dog buns. Her face turned a little pale as she saw Celeste, and Celeste, for her part, couldn’t help but smile at that, feeling a bit of a charge run down her spine at ┬ájust how scared this woman, who was probably right around her own age, maybe a little older, was of her.

“What’s wrong?” she asked, trying not to sound like she was mocking the girl too much. “You did invite me, didn’t you?”

“W-Well, yes,” Bonnie fumbled. Celeste grinned, drinking up the girl’s fear. “And I’m glad you came, really.”

“Oh, I can tell,” Celeste nodded. Bonnie turned a little paler at this, to Celeste’s glee. It was just so much fun watching her squirm. She always had been one of the biggest pushovers in the office.

“It’s just that… I did tell you about the dress code, right?” Bonnie bit her bottom lip anxiously.

“Yes, you did,” Celeste said, “but this is a party, not work! We’re all grown-ups here,” she wasn’t counting the children, since she barely took note of them, “We don’t need dress codes, now do we?”

“I don’t mind,” Bonnie was quick to note, “but it was my parents’ idea, and they like things done their way. I-I could go get you something from my room. I think we’re about the same size, so…”

“No need,” Celeste waved her off, starting back toward the gazebo. “I’m sure your parents will understand.”

“Well, okay…” Bonnie shrugged, a small grin of her own that Celeste missed, having her back to her by then, crossing her face. “If that’s what you want.”

Celeste marched up the path to the gazebo, walking up to Bonnie’s mother, basking in the glow of everyone’s attention. She hesitated for only a moment when she saw how tall the woman was, and how she towered over her. “You have a lovely home here,” she told her, holding out her hand. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, I’m…”

“Excuse me, young lady, but I’m talking here,” the woman brushed her off. “It’s very rude to interrupt like that.”

Celeste’s eyes went wide at the scolding, and the fact that the lady hadn’t so much as looked at her before delivering it, just assuming that she was addressing a child. She saw some of her employees snicker as they watched her being rebuked. That just wouldn’t do.

“I’m sorry,” she said as sweetly, and sincerely, as she could manage. “It’s just that I’m Bonnie’s boss, so I thought I would introduce myself, and…”

“Young lady, I warned you once. Now, please be quiet until I’m done talking.”

Celeste’s eyes nearly popped out of her head, completely shocked at the way she was being treated. How dare she?! She set her jaw, preparing to launch into a tirade to quiet her tittering workers, when Bonnie’s mother finished off her story, earning a round of hearty chuckles, then, at last, turned to her.

“Children should be seen and not heard,” she started off with, which only made Celeste more livid. “But I suppose it isn’t your fault your parents didn’t teach you that. What do you need, dear? The sandbox is right over there, and the bathroom is inside and… What are you wearing?” She shook her head, seemingly only then noticing Celeste’s attire. “Bonnie, you told me you announced the dress code for the party to everyone.”

“I did!” Bonnie squeaked, dropping the buns off at the grill with her father and scurrying up to the gazebo. The other workers chipped in, confirming that she had.

“Did you not have anything the right color, dear? I’m sure Bonnie wouldn’t mind sharing her clothes with one of her friends, would you?”

“I offered to let her,” Bonnie said innocently, “but she didn’t want to.”

Celeste had had enough of being talked over, and about. “I am not a child, and I am not her ‘friend’,” she told Bonnie’s mother, “I am her boss, and a grown woman, and I will wear whatever I please.”

“She’s a willful little thing, isn’t she?” Bonnie’s mother laughed, getting everyone else started. Celeste’s eyes lit up with anger as she stared around the gazebo at her employees, stomping one foot to try to bring them back under her control. “I’ll give you one more chance, young lady. Let Bonnie help you pick out something more appropriate for the holiday, or I’ll give you the one that you so clearly deserve.”

“Excuse me? Are you threatening me?” Celeste drew herself up to her full height, though next to Bonnie’s mother, that wasn’t particularly impressive. “Are you going to kick me out because I’m wearing yellow?”

“Of course not! Kicking you out wouldn’t teach you anything, dear. Honey, could you help me out here?” Her husband turned the heat on the grill down and walked up to his wife. She was tall, but he was even taller – Celeste had to admit that she felt rather childish standing in front of them. “This naughty child is dressed improperly, and refuses to listen. Could you help me with the red part of her new outfit?”

“Yes, honey,” he smiled at her obediently, kissing her forehead. “Bonnie, go watch the grill for me, sweetie.” Bonnie trotted back over there, though she spent more time watching what was going on with Celeste than doing what she had been told to.

Bonnie’s mother pulled an empty chair from the perimeter of the gazebo, setting it down beside her husband, who took off his grilling apron and handed it to her before suddenly grabbing Celeste’s wrist. “What are you doing?” Celeste demanded, feeling herself being pulled toward him. She tried to plant her feet, but the heels made it difficult to do much of anything other than go along without running the risk of falling and twisting her ankle.

He didn’t answer her. He just sat down, then dragged her over his lap. She gasped, purse falling to the gazebo floor as her hands flew behind her to try to push her skirt back down over her bottom, humiliated that she had just flashed half her employees. She could hear the other half moving around, trying to get a better look. She tried to turn to see them, but Bonnie mother knelt down and grabbed her chin between her fingers. “Clearly your mother didn’t believe in spanking,” she said, the word eliciting a gasp and a fruitless squirm from the prone Celeste, “and that’s why you turned into such a rude, disrespectful young woman. Well, we do believe in it, and you’re in our house now.”

With that, Celeste’s hands were brushed away from the hem of her dress, which was then flipped up onto her lower back, fully revealing her black-pantied ass to the world. Then, to her ever-deepening horror, she felt his hand in the waistband of those, pulling them down, away from her pale, round bottom. “No!” she squealed. Had her face not already been as red as it could be, she might have blushed at how childish her tone was, something she tried to correct as she went on. “You can’t do this! I am an adult, and you… Oww!”

Her back arched as the first smack struck, sending a wave of pain through her body. “N-No,” she sniffled, starting to wriggle on the man’s lap as the initial shock of the impact wore off. His hand exploded across her rear again, this time on the opposite cheek, and she cried out again, feeling tears start to fill her eyes. Clearly, despite what she thought, they could do it. “Please, stop…” she begged quietly.

She saw Bonnie’s mother nod as she said it, and suddenly his hand was everywhere, spanking what seemed like every inch of her exposed bottom. Sometimes the strikes were quick, sometimes they were slower, but harder. She never knew where the next would come from, whether it would hit her butt or her thighs, she just knew that it would hurt. She tried, for a moment or two, to maintain her composure, to not show her employees how much it was getting to her, knowing the sight of her lying there, rear turning red and swollen, was bad enough. Before long, however, she was bawling, legs kicking, giving them all a show that was going to be hell to live down.

She didn’t see it – her eyes were too bleary from her tears to see much of anything – but she was sure there was a signal from Bonnie’s mother to stop, and, at last, the sound of her own flesh being paddled ceased, leaving just her own blubbering. She went limp, hanging over the man’s lap. She felt his hand resting on her warm, aching bottom, knowing it was still out on the open, but too exhausted to even try to lower her skirt. There didn’t seem a whole lot of use in that anymore, anyway.

“All right, enough,” Bonnie’s mother said after a few minutes, and she felt herself being lifted up and down on her feet, panties falling to her ankles. Her knees started to buckle – though she knew it couldn’t have been more than five or ten minutes, she felt as if she’d been lying down for hours now – but she managed to keep herself upright, and, at last, was able to pull down her dress, although her fingers brushed against the skin of her thighs as she did so, and she could tell the redness extended down even further. “You know, for claiming to be such a big girl, you sure started crying awfully quick,” she commented, “and it’s taking you a long time to quit. Straighten up, young lady! Your punishment is over, and no amount of boo-hooing is going to stop it!”

“I-I’m sorry!” Celeste stammered. “I’ll go change, I promise, I…”

“Yes, we are going to go change you, but a little girl like you can’t do it on her own. Come on.” Celeste’s wrist was grabbed again, and she hurried after the woman as she was guided back to the house, walking as fast as her heels, and the panties stretched out between her ankles, would allow. On the way, they picked up Bonnie, who looked much happier than Celeste had ever seen her before. When they got to the kitchen, Bonnie’s mother let go of Celeste, ordered Bonnie to undress her, and then vanished off into the depths of the house.

“You’ve really stepped in it this time,” Bonnie gloated, pushing Celeste down onto a hard wooden chair, smiling as she saw the woman wince when her spanked bottom hit it. “I can’t even remember the last time I got a spanking that rough.”

“Y-You can’t do this to me,” Celeste sniffled, watching helplessly as Bonnie pulled off her sandals and panties, setting them aside. “I’m your boss, you can’t…”

“I’m not,” Bonnie replied. “My mama is. I have no control over what she does.” She gave an exaggerated shrug. “Although I maybe might have mentioned what a horrible bitch you were to her a time or two. But it isn’t my fault what she decided to do with that. Now lift your arms.”

Celeste shook her head defiantly, standing up. “I won’t! I’m not putting up with this anymore! I’m going to get my purse, and then I’m getting the hell out of here!”

She started to stomp off toward the door, only to be stopped when Bonnie spoke up. “You can do that,” she said pleasantly. “I hope you do, really. Because as soon as daddy sees you out there without mama, you’ll get a spanking that makes the one you just got look like a walk in the park.” Celeste heard herself give a whimper at that, turning back to see that Bonnie looked completely serious about it. “Now sit your red little bottom down, and lift your arms.”

Celeste trudged back over to the chair and gingerly sat down on it. “I don’t have a separate bra on,” she said quietly.

“You don’t have anything we haven’t seen,” Bonnie informed her. “Lift.”

Seeing no other choice, Celeste raised her arms, blushing and shivering even before her dress was pulled up over her head, leaving her sitting in a strange house, naked as a jaybird, freshly spanked and timidly waiting to see what was going to happen next. How could this have happened to her?

Bonnie’s mother returned, her arms full of supplies, which she laid out on the floor, ending with a pink plastic mat that was spread out and then patted. Celeste was standing almost before she even thought about it. “I had a feeling she wouldn’t keep herself clean,” Bonnie’s mother said to Bonnie. “Come on, stop gawking. Lie down.” Celeste obeyed, lying down on the mat, feeling the plastic clinging to her sweaty skin uncomfortably. Bonnie’s mother pushed her legs apart, leaving her completely exposed, and then reached for a can of shaving gel.

“What’s that?” Celeste asked timidly.

Instead of answering right away, the woman sprayed the blue gel into her hand, then began rubbing it with the fingertips of her other hand before scooping some up and massaging it into Celeste’s groin. Celeste’s face glowed nearly as red as her other cheeks as she felt this stranger touching her there, one of her most intimate areas, going about her work as if there was nothing unusual about it. “A good little girl,” she spoke up once she had lathered up all of Celeste’s pubic hair to her satisfaction and wiped her hand on a towel she had brought, “keeps herself nice and clean down there. There’s no need for all that hair, now is there?”

Celeste gulped as she watched the woman pick up a razor. “Please, no,” she sniffled. “I’ll be nicer to your daughter, I promise. I’ll get her a promotion, I…”

She felt the razor glide across her skin, leaving a bare patch behind. Bonnie knelt down beside her mother, setting down a bowl of water, which the woman dipped the razor into, rinsing it off before moving on. “That might have been fine at one time,” she said, running the blade over the next section of doomed hair, “before I met you. You’re nothing but an overgrown child. The only reason anyone does what you say is because they’re afraid of getting caught in the path of one of your temper tantrums. Well, I’ve already raised a child, and I know just how to deal with them. Take Bonnie here. I was like your mother once, afraid of spanking, or any kind of discipline, not wanting to hurt my little angel. And then, one day, I got a call from the police telling me she’d been arrested on a drug charge. I wasn’t able to see it until then, but suddenly I realized I had been raising a spoiled little brat. Looking back, it was obvious she’d always been that way, and I just kept myself from seeing it, because if I had, then I’d have tried to punish her for it, and I was too scared to do that.”

She set down the razor, its work done. Celeste’s chin began to quiver as she stared down at herself, watching as the woman dipped a washcloth in the water and ran it over her smooth skin, revealing just how perfectly bald she’d been made down there. “So I knew that, to fix her, I’d have to start from the beginning. She resisted at first, but after a while even she was able to see that it was for the best. She’s a good girl now, aren’t you, Bonnie?” Bonnie nodded as she picked up the basin of water and took it back over to the sink. “The only reason she’s even working for you is that I didn’t want her to take all she had for granted. I assumed her boss would be someone she could look up to, somebody trustworthy and mature… Well, when I’m done with you, you will be.”

She reached over for another towel from the stack she’d brought down. The one she’d wiped her hand on had been a faded blue, but these were all bright white, and far fluffier. “And now,” Bonnie’s mother announced, “for the white of your new outfit.”

Celeste was confused by this for a moment, enough time for Bonnie’s mother to lift her bottom and slide the towel underneath, which was just what she needed to come to the sudden, sickening realization of what those towels really were. “No!” she shook her head. “No, this is crazy! You’re crazy! I won’t let you do it! Get away from me, you bitch!” She scrambled backwards, skittering across the floor in horror, away from the soft fabric she’d felt her sore bottom sinking into.

Bonnie’s mother calmly stood up and strode over to her, catching up without even looking as if she was in any rush. She picked up the girl and carried her, squirming, to the nearest chair. “Bring me the spoon,” she told Bonnie. That stopped Celeste instantly.

“I’m sorry,” she pled. “I’ll be good!”

“I know you will,” Bonnie’s mother said, sitting down and forcing the girl over her lap anyway. She only spanked her five times, but Celeste was howling by the second, and all the fight had gone out of her by the end. Still crying, she was taken back to the changing pad and positioned over the diaper, which was joined by another, and another, until all of the “towels” were resting beneath her, making her feel as if she were lying on a pillow. Even knowing the horrible truth about what they were, she still had to admit the cushioning was nice on her aching bottom.

Next came a tub of Vaseline, which was liberally applied. Celeste had thought she was beyond the ability to be humiliated, but she still felt herself blushing as the substance was rubbed into her skin. Unlike with the shaving gel, Bonnie’s mother had no problem applying the Vaseline to Celeste’s most private parts. There was nothing sexual about it, yet it was still embarrassing, feeling herself being touched there by another woman. Once a thick layer of the substance had been applied, it was followed up with a liberal dose of baby powder, surely enough to leave her smelling of it for hours.

Then, at last, Celeste felt the fabric being pulled up between her legs, layer after layer piled up over her bald crotch, then fastened tight around her waist and pinned into place. And just when she thought it couldn’t get any worse, Bonnie’s mother produced a pair of white rubber pants, working them over the girl’s ankles and up her legs, stretching them over the bulk of her diaper, sealing her lubricated privates and red tush into their hot new home.

Celeste’s legs naturally splayed outward, leaving her diaper completely visible between them, as she was pulled into a sitting position. She could only sit there, stunned, while Bonnie set about cleaning up the supplies. “Now you just need your blue, and your outfit will be complete,” Bonnie’s mother said. “I was just going to let you wear one of Bonnie’s blue shirts, but considering what you called me, I think I have something better.” She walked to the sink, where Celeste could see a set of shelves jutting from the cupboards on either side. There were carvings laid out on the shelves, mostly different sorts of birds, but a cat as well, and a bear… And the one that Bonnie’s mother picked up.

It looked for all the world like a regular pacifier, except that the bulb was quite full, and clearly not made of silicone or rubber. It was the same material as the rest of the pacifier, which was a pale blue, a color that eerily matched that of the bar of soap sitting beside the sink. Celeste pouted, but didn’t have the strength to protest it any more than that. In fact, when she was ordered to open her mouth, she did so right away, nose wrinkling as the soap filled her mouth.

“If she’s not going to wear my shirt, what is she going to wear?” Bonnie asked.

“Well, she was so insistent that she should be allowed to wear yellow,” her mother answered, leaning down and picking up Celeste’s fallen dress, “I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to indulge her this one thing.” She smiled as she crossed the kitchen, opening a drawer to take out a pair of scissors. Behind the soapy pacifier, Celeste mumbled unhappily, serving only to dampen the intruder in her mouth and create a nice batch of suds. That was a designer dress! She’d spent hundreds of dollars on that!

And, with a few snips, it was ruined. When it was pulled over her head, it barely covered the waistband of her diapers. Even at full length, she doubted it could have completely masked their bulk, but now her diapers ballooned out beneath it, almost entirely visible to anyone and everyone.

Celeste was pulled to her feet and led back outside. Her legs would have been weak anyway, having to face her employees after they’d seen her spanked, but now, with the diapers, she could hardly even waddle, though that suited her just fine, as it delayed the inevitable moment when they all saw her, and any of the power she might still hold over them vanished. The rubber pants squeaked and squelched beneath her, an audible reminder of something she couldn’t have forgotten about even if she tried.

When she finally made it outside, however, she wasn’t led to the gazebo. She doubted it did much good in terms of hiding her state from the gathered crowd, as she could hear them talking, surely about her. Instead, she was led across the lawn, over to the sandbox, where she was forced down onto her diapered bum in one corner.

“Food’s ready!” Bonnie’s father called nonchalantly.

“Oh, good! We timed that perfectly!” his wife exclaimed happily. “Now, everyone eat up!” She turned to the other kids in the sandbox, who were staring at Celeste, wide-eyed. “Come on, let’s go get you something to eat,” she told them sweetly. “There’s just a few more hours until the fireworks start! Won’t that be fun?” The kids seemed to think so, nodding and bouncing at the thought. “It’s too bad the poor baby here won’t get to see them. She’ll be tucked away in her crib by then. She’s too young to stay up that late… But maybe someday. Now, come on!” She led the kids off toward the gazebo, leaving Celeste and Bonnie all alone.

“I bet you’re getting pretty warm in there, aren’t you?” Bonnie asked. “Oh, no need to answer, I know. As hot as it is out here… You’re going to be swimming in your own sweat. And you’re going to have to pee eventually, and that’s only going to make it worse. I’m sure you’ll be just dying to go to bed, if just to get into the air conditioning. Well, just between us – we’re sisters now, you know – mama’s got a little ritual she does with babies before bedtime. If you don’t mess yourself before then – and trust me, your first day, you won’t, you just aren’t going to be able to talk yourself into it until you feel the consequences for not first hand – you’re going to get a nice, big, soapy enema. Just think of all that water rushing into here,” she poked Celeste’s tummy, “and then, while you’re stuck in your crib, and we’re out watching fireworks, it’ll all come out here.” She patted Celeste’s diaper with that, grinning as she saw the tears in her boss’s eyes.

“I’m pretty sure mama trusts me enough to be a babysitter now,” she said. “So I bet I’ll get to drive you to work tomorrow. Mama might let you wear training pants, but even if she does, you’re not going to be allowed to go to the bathroom without me taking you. And I plan on being very, very busy from now on. That’s what you like, isn’t it? Productivity?” She reached out, wiping the tears running down Celeste’s cheek, and then the soapy water making its way down her chin, drying her hand on the girl’s ruined dress. “Well, I just wanted to give you something to think about while you sat out here, waiting for bedtime. Don’t worry, it won’t be too long now.”

As she walked away, Celeste angrily pounded her fist into the sand below her, frustrated at what she’d gotten herself into, helpless to do anything to stop it. She hit it again, with her other fist, then, before she knew it, found herself in the middle of a full-fledged tantrum, kicking and screaming against her pacifier, tears pouring from her eyes. She half expected to get in trouble, but instead, nobody seemed to notice. When she stopped, glancing over at the gazebo, she saw her employees, their kids, and her new daddy and mama, all eating peacefully, hardly sparing a single glance in her direction. Her employees knew she had no power, that she wasn’t worth paying any attention to anymore; her parents were sure she’d had enough punishment for one day, and she wouldn’t even think of trying anything more daring than a fit of impotent rage.

And the worst part about it was that they were right.

The End