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When Anna woke up the next morning she found she had sprawled across the bed in the night. She slowly raised her head as the smell of cooking filled her nostrils. The memories of the previous day had her letting her head drop back into the pillows. She didn’t want to face the day or her husband. Everything felt like it was going to be very awkward. It couldn’t be put off forever though and Anna forced herself to get up and dressed. Her diaper was wet but they were thick enough to be able to survive for a little while yet.
Anna walked out of the bedroom and slowly made her way to the living room. The smell of eggs and bacon grew stronger as she walked into the main area of the apartment. Ryan’s blanket was now laying half on the floor and he was in the kitchen.
“Ah, good morning.” Ryan said as he looked over his shoulder and saw Anna watching him and rubbing the sleep out of her eyes.
“Hi…” Anna replied cautiously.
“If you want to sit down breakfast will be ready in a couple of minutes.” Ryan said.
Anna walked over and sat down. To say this situation was unusual would be an understatement, she didn’t remember ever seeing a man cooking for a woman before. Three minutes later Ryan walked over to the table with two plates of food, he then went back to the kitchen and returned shortly afterwards with a couple of glasses of orange juice.
“Tuck in.” Ryan said with a smile as soon as he had sat down.
The food was good but Anna couldn’t help but think about the elephant in the room. Ryan wasn’t talking about what had happened and she started to wonder if it hadn’t been some crazy dream. Maybe he had realised he was making a mistake and wasn’t going to talk about it again. She wasn’t sure if she should bring the conversation up herself or not.
As breakfast continued Anna was increasingly preoccupied with the thought she had fallen asleep with and woken up still thinking. She looked at her husband as he avoiding her gaze and wondered if she should say something. It would test his commitment to whether he was being honest the previous evening. If he didn’t like the idea though… Well, it didn’t bear thinking about.
“Ryan…” Anna said eventually as she put down her knife and fork. The greasy food was already churning inside her belly, “About last night…”
Ryan seemed to freeze and he nervously licked his lips. Anna watched him carefully for any sign that might say that she was making a mistake in bringing up the previous day but he didn’t say anything. For several long seconds silence hung in the air. Anna kind of wanted Ryan to take up the conversation but he didn’t, instead he waited for Anna to finish her point.
“Did you mean what you said?” Anna asked. Her heart felt like it was about to beat out of her chest. She was so nervous he would say he was joking or something despite how unlikely that seemed.
“Every word.” Ryan replied almost immediately.
“Good.” Anna replied. She tried to act with a degree of confidence she didn’t really feel. She hated not feeling in control and right now she was barely in control of her own emotions yet alone the situation she was in, “Then there is something you could do for me.”
“Oh?” Ryan asked. He seemed genuinely interested, perhaps it was a chance for him to prove his words weren’t empty.
Anna suddenly found herself tongue-tied. She knew what she wanted to ask for and yet it felt so humiliating to request something that she should’ve been allowed to do as a toddler. It wasn’t something any adult should have to ask for.
“I want… I want to be potty trained.” Anna requested.
Anna swallowed nervously. Normally asking for something like this from a man was a quick route to being punished, it wasn’t a woman’s place to ask for such things. Potty training was entirely at the discretion of the husband. If he wanted to do it he could though there were plenty of cases where the men never bothered and left their wives diaper dependent forever.
“OK.” Ryan replied. He smiled, “Just let me know what I can do to help.”
Anna had almost been expecting Ryan to explode at her in anger. She wouldn’t have been surprised if he had leapt to his feet, screamed that she had failed his test and that she was going to be sent away. Instead he was just chuckling innocently at Anna’s bemused reaction.
“I don’t want you to be scared of me.” Ryan said as he put down his cutlery, “Look, I know you didn’t choose this marriage or, really, anything in your life but that doesn’t mean we can’t at least try to make it work. I promise no matter what happens I will never intentionally hurt you.”
“R-Right…” Anna said. She was suddenly feeling a little choked up. She didn’t know what Ryan could do to help, it wasn’t like she had done any research. She had a small amount of control but whether it was just the stress of recent events or not even that seemed to have slipped.
“I do have one request.” Ryan said as he gathered up the plates, “We have to keep this arrangement between us. If anyone else found out it would be a disaster… for both of us.”
“Of course.” Anna replied with a nod.
“Good.” Ryan took a deep breath, “It’s good to clear the air. I need to head out to the library to get some books for some assignments. You’ll be alright by yourself?”
Anna nodded. Ryan walked away towards the bedroom, he had been wearing yesterday’s clothes still, clearly he hadn’t wanted to go in and disturb Anna whilst she was sleeping. Anna remained where she was until Ryan came back the other way fully dressed and with a backpack over his shoulder.
“I’ll be back in a few hours.” Ryan said as he went past.
Anna watched him go in silence. When the front door closed behind him Anna let out a long breath she hadn’t been aware she was holding. Her muscles had been tense but now she let them relax as she stood up. She belatedly realised she hadn’t had her wet diaper changed, something that often happened after breakfast. It took a moment for her to realise she could and should change herself. Not having to tip-toe around that idea was novel.
Something else that often happened after breakfast was her need to go number two. She leaned forwards slightly and pushed without thinking, she only stopped herself at the last possible moment. She thought about everything that had been said and quickly tensed up again, she stood up and quickly walked to the bathroom. This was a habit she would have to break.
As Anna looked at the toilet she felt her heart race. She couldn’t remember the last time she had used one, it would’ve been all the way back before her parents died. There was no time to waste though, she pulled the tapes off her diaper and let it fall to the ground. She turned around and sat on the toilet. It felt strange and she had the childish thought that she might not be using it right.
Anna used the toilet like any adult should and cleaned herself up. As she stood up she threw her hands in the air in triumph. This was something she had wished for since she had gone to live with the Abbott family. She couldn’t exactly believe she had really done it. It finally started to properly sink in that Ryan was going to give her the chances she had desperately wanted. It felt almost dangerous to hope that things would be alright from here on out but she couldn’t help herself. She wanted to run from rooftop to rooftop shouting that she had just used the toilet!
Anna couldn’t stop smiling as she left the room. She went straight to the master bedroom again and taped a new diaper around her waist. Whilst she was more than happy to use the toilet she had to be sensible, going from half a lifetime of diaper usage to the toilet would take a little getting used to and she desperately wanted to prove to her husband that she was worthy of this chance. Once she was dressed she went into the living room and turned on the television. For the first time she didn’t feel like she had to do chores.
Not quite knowing what to do with her free time Anna stayed in front of the television until the front door opened and Ryan stepped back inside. He smiled and nodded towards Anna and for the first time when Anna smiled back it was genuine. Ryan put a plastic bag down on the armchair and went down the hallway.
“Erm, Anna?” Ryan’s voice called from somewhere out of sight.
“Yes?” Anna replied.
“I’m delighted you used the toilet…” Ryan’s voice was getting closer until he peeked his head around the corner, “But could you remember to flush next time?”
Anna covered her mouth in embarrassment. She should’ve known she’d forgotten something. Ryan was grinning at her as she quickly nodded her head. She could feel heat rising in her face as she turned away. She listened as Ryan walked back to the bathroom, the toilet flushed and then he returned to the living room. Somehow this felt more humiliating then the messy diapers he had changed.
“I’m so sorry!” Anna blurted out as soon as she saw him.
“It’s fine.” Ryan replied with a chuckle, “You’ll get used to it. Little hiccups are to be expected.”
Anna was still feeling very embarrassed but she couldn’t stop from smiling regardless. She didn’t really know what to do with herself and so she looked at Ryan who moved the bag and sat down on the chair. He reached into the bag and started pulling out books to put on the table.
“I got something for you.” Ryan said as he reached for the last book in the bag.
Anna watched as Ryan pulled out one last book and tossed it on to the seat next to her. Anna picked it up and turned it around to look at the cover, she immediately felt herself becoming a little embarrassed again. “The Comprehensive Guide to Potty Training” promised that it was the best one-stop place for potty training a baby.
“I didn’t know whether to get a book for potty training babies or women.” Ryan said. He looked a little nervous, “I hope it’s alright. I know you’re not a baby or anything I just thought you-”
“It’s great.” Anna interrupted as she put the book down, “I’m sure it will be… helpful.”
Anna did something next that she never though she would do a couple of weeks ago. She stood up and walked around to the chair Ryan was sitting on and leaned down to give him a hug. When she let go and stood up again Ryan remained quiet. Anna took her book and headed through to the bedroom. The only thing stopping her from jumping for joy was the soaked state of her diaper. It was a timely reminder that potty training wasn’t an overnight process.