THE NEXT DAY I got a message from Meg on her phone that she’d be changing her number, but Megan was letting her still have a phone to talk to her friends. I wanted to go see her, but Megan insisted on waiting a week while she was busy trying to make her apartment appropriately Little Proofed in case LPS decided to come check on the new adoption. The woman’s assault had actually made it onto the local news that night, and it turned out she was a pretty prominent figure on the local school board. I decided she might unfortunately have had a reason to be concerned there!
I spent the next few days worrying a little, but I honestly figured that was the best thing that could have happened for Meg… And when it came down to it, that’s what she had wanted to have happen. Late Sunday night Addy made it back to town, and we went for dinner before going to her place for the night.
“How was your trip?” I asked her.
She shrugged but looked really upset, “If I wanted to be in my family’s business, I guess it was good… I just really don’t want to join in on any of it.”
“What do they want you to do?”
“Well since I’ve had my awesome tutor that got me through all of my advanced chem and bio classes, Mom wants me to run their actual lab division.”
“Like all of the experiments?” I asked nervously.
“So, like you’d be involved in all of the trials…?”
She sighed, but nodded, “Yeah, unfortunately.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Stall… Grad school and getting my doctorate should let me push it off four to five more years…”
“Good question,” she told me with a sigh. “It’s too bad that they don’t actually protect Littles.”
“Could you make that change?” I asked curiously.
“If my Mom and Dad died… well I’d have thirty percent of the shares since Danica gets the other thirty percent. I guess if she voted along with me, we could make those changes, but otherwise the forty-percent owned by shareholders would have a bigger influence.”
“And for profit’s sake…”
“Profit’s sake means continuing as they do now…” She sighed, “It sucks! How was your weekend? Do anything with Meg and Stacy?”
Luckily, she didn’t consider either of them to be competition to be jealous of, and in fact seemed more than okay with our friendships. “I did… I went to the mall with Stacy and Meg to do some Christmas shopping.”
“Find anything good?”
“A few things,” I said with a smile that turned dark, “Need to go back though, our trip was interrupted when someone spiked Meg’s food…”
I told her the story from beginning to end. “She is probably better off with her than anyone else. I didn’t think she’d last long past graduation.”
I nodded at that, and we soon found ourselves occupying our time in the bedroom making up for the lost time of the weekend!
MY FINALS WERE done on Friday, but I wasn’t driving home until Sunday since no one would be home there anyway. My dad had gone out of town for a company trip, and wouldn’t be back until then. Addy still had a final that day, so I decided to see if Megan minded if I came to check on Meg. “Hey Megan, this is Cameron.” I said when she picked up the phone.
“Hi Cameron, how’d your finals go?”
“Should be good, I’ll have to wait until probably tomorrow or Monday before grades are posted,” I told her. “I’m staying in town an extra couple days still and wondered if maybe I could come see Meg?”
“I’m sure she would love to see you,” she told me. “If you want to come over now, you can join us for lunch before you go back?”
“Sounds great!” I told her.
With that I headed for my car and input Megan’s address. I wasn’t as worried for Meg as I was Beth, but I did want to make sure Megan hadn’t gone off the deep end. Her apartment complex was on the other side of town from the university, but I still made it pretty quickly - even with my vehicle that insisted on always going the exact speed limit!
I pulled into a parking space by the building that was hers, and made my way up the stairs to her second-floor apartment. I knocked and waited.
A moment later I heard the deadbolt turn, and watched the handle open. “Hey Cameron!” Megan said, “Come on in!”
It wasn’t a huge apartment, but looked cozy enough. A baby swing sat in one corner, a walker behind the kitchen table, and a playpen sat as far out of the way on one side as they could get it in the combined living room.
“Hey Cameron!” Meg said to me as she came up and gave me a hug.
Breaking apart from her, I took in her appearance. She was wearing a pair of sweatpants that didn’t look much different than she wore before – might have even been one of her old pairs – with a shirt tucked inside of them. There was obviously the bulge of a slightly wet diaper, and her hair was tied into two cute pigtails with large bows, but other than that she didn’t look any different than she did the last time I saw her. “You doing okay?” I asked her.
She nodded, “My mommy is the greatest one of all time!”
Megan smacked her head, “I don’t know what I was thinking! My sisters are the ones who are supposed to be called Mommy!”
I laughed, “Sorry, but thank you for saving her.”
She smiled, “Well… honestly in the moment when I saw that woman rip her from your hand, I didn’t see any choice at all! I guess I just have to get used to having a little rugrat running around here.”
“Everything went okay with the actual adoption?” I asked looking back and forth between both of them.
“Mostly… Thank God that Stacy was able to warn me about what they would do to me back there…”
“It was bad?”
“Not for me, because I kept my mouth shut and made sure I didn’t cry…”
“You saw someone who didn’t?”
She nodded, “Lots of them… But I made it through and now I have a chip in my arm that says I belong to Megan now.”
“And she’s not even given me any trouble!” Megan laughed, “Other than our names being too similar! I’m not letting her steal my name after all, so she’s going to be known as Meggy now among our family.”
I smirked at that, “Well it’s better than getting some sort of dog's name…”
“I know… I’ve seen some of my friends do that…” Megan said.
I spent the next couple of hours learning about the forced shopping trip with Amanda and their mom, who was now ‘Grandma’ to Meg. She’d also filled me in on a visit they’d had with her real parents, who seemed relieved that she at least had a good ‘mommy’ compared to all of the rest. From what I learned she was basically just wearing diapers all the time, sitting in high chairs and strollers, and sleeping in a crib… Other than that Megan was treating her like she was still the college friend that she was.
Unfortunately, Emerson considered losing her ID to have been a violation of the student Code of Conduct, so her adoption had resulted in her dismissal from the university. Meg theoretically could transfer credits somewhere if she and Megan wanted to, but I think she’d just decided it was game over for her education at that point. “I was about to fail at least two of my classes anyway…” she admitted.
They’d apparently managed to beat an epic video game the previous week together on team mode, since Megan was now on mandatory maternity leave for six weeks from her company.
“So, you’re just getting to laze around here and make Megan take care of you, huh?” I laughed while Megan was making lunch for us all.
“Well… it also comes with the mandatory requirements too…” she told me.
“I have to use my diapers for everything…”
“No potty for number two like Stacy, huh?”
She shook her head, “No, just in case someone comes around… That part hasn’t been fun honestly. I mean I’ve had a number of poopy pull-ups and diapers since I came to Emerson, but…”
I nodded, “Not a pleasant feeling…”
“How do you know?” Megan asked, reappearing.
“Remember I just managed to get past the line. I was a Little to the school district all the way until the last few weeks of school my senior year. Thanks to some poisoning at my school, all of us – including some Bigs actually - ended up in diapers when I was thirteen… Dad wasn’t a fan, and did his best to get me cleared out of whatever chemical someone had given us all as quickly as we could. There were quite a few poopy diapers until we got it under control,” I blushed.
“That sucks,” Meg said.
“None of that now,” Megan said. “No potty-mouth babies here!” She giggled but I suspected she kind of meant it.
“Sorry,” Meg said.
“What other requirements?” I asked a moment later when Megan went to check on the stove.
“Well… I have to drink out of bottles – no sippy cups, and take a nap each day… and sleep in the crib.”
“Other than that?”
“Other than that Mommy is even letting her still use her computer, her phone, watch TV, and see her friends and family!” Megan said as she came and picked her up. She tickled her side a bit as she plopped her into the highchair. I noticed that her diaper definitely squished as she did so. “Guess we need to change you as soon as we finish lunch, huh?” Megan told her.
Lunch was grilled cheese and soup, something I could easily be okay with. She let Meg feed herself with a spoon and the sandwich cut up an extra time beyond ours was. At the end she said, “Guess I should have put a bib on you?”
I looked at Meg and sure enough there were a lot of stains from the soup, along with crumbs from the sandwich. “Oopsie,” she smiled.
“Well, I need to get this one changed and put in something clean for her nap.” Megan said to me in what was a clear dismissal after we had finished eating.
“Yeah, I need to get back to campus, I’m working on a gift for Addy…”
She smiled, “Meggy mentioned what you bought her the other day.”
“I’d almost forgotten about it with everything else by the time I made it home!”
“Good luck!” She told me.
“Thanks!” I told her.
I’d been going back and forth for the entire week on whether or not I wanted to do it… but in the face of seeing yet another friend lose their freedom… I’d decided you only live once!
I was working for the chemistry department as a tutor and lab assistant this year, so I had a key to the freshman chemistry lab. That lab fortunately was closed down with no one using it since freshman chemistry lab finals were all paper based. I was able to get in there and began working on setting up some tubing in a large clear tank, and then inserted the chemicals into both parts of the setup. I prepared it to activate with a simple bump of the device, and left to get Addy for dinner.
A couple hours later we went out to a nice restaurant near campus that we could walk to. I chose it because we would have to pass by the chem labs on our way back to my dorm, where she parked her car. She was smiling and happy that she’d finished her final exams that day, and we planned to spend the next day together. On the way back from dinner I said, “I forgot something in the lab yesterday, mind if I stop by really quick?”
She gave me an odd look, but said, “Sure.”
Since she had no need for a job, she didn’t do anything extra for the department like I did. Because of that she didn’t normally go into the buildings outside of her classes and lab times. Fortunately, my key worked twenty-four hours a day - even with it being nine o’clock at night with all exams finished.
The building was truly like a ghost town as we walked the halls and went up the stairs to the freshman chemistry lab where we had first introduced ourselves to each other.
“Hard to believe this is where it began,” she said as I opened the door.
“Let me get the light… it’s on the other side of here for some reason,” I said and intentionally bumped my device.
All of the sudden the inside of the tank lit up with the glow of a chemical reaction from inside the tubing I had carefully formed into words. I heard her gasp as she saw it, and turned around to open up the box in my hand.
“Addison Elizabeth Harris, you are the love of my life. I knew from the day I met you four years ago I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you… Will you marry me?”
My whole body and soul looked into her eyes and waited for her response.