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Views: 1550 Created: 2009.11.21 Updated: 2009.11.21

Zeke and Lily - Making a Memory

Chapter 8

He picked up the warm wash cloth soaking in the washbowl and began to bathe her with it. Very softly and extremely gently he washed her body from head to toe as she slept and never stirred. It was such a wonderfully caressing feeling she didn’t want to wake up if it was a dream.

Zeke paused from time to time to watch the sunset behind the horizon. He reflected on the day they just had together and he thought of what the future might bring. He knew he would soon have to ask her a question he had been holding off on asking her. The time to open his heart up to her was almost upon them. He held her in his arms for several hours as he pondered how to make a memory in a single moment of time.

To Be Continued …

Continuing …

Lily felt her body being wrapped in the blanket she was resting on and lifted. She stirred slowly out of her sleep, whimpering slightly at the move.

“Shh, shh, shh,” Zeke’s voice calmly whispered. “It’s okay.”

She slowly awoke in his arms as he swaddled her entire body in the blanket and carried her out onto the balcony to watch the sunrise. There was a light scent of salt water that misted the early morning air and the gentle breeze felt refreshing as it danced across her cheeks.

He took a seat and cradled her body close to him. She thought of how she really wasn’t a morning person at all … unless she was with him. This kind of pampering was something she enjoyed waking up to. Turning her head towards the horizon, she awaited sunrise. Traces of dawn light had long since arrived, but the big, bright fella in the sky had made his appearance yet.

Zeke touched the nipple of a baby bottle to her lips.

“Open,” he softly commanded.

She did so, taking the bottle in her mouth and beginning to drink from it, but she kept her eyes to the horizon, wanting to see the first glimpse of the rising sun. Patiently she waited and before long, it appeared. Within minutes the sky lit up and life began to stir. Light down across the water of the busy ocean and soon her body warmed while beaming golden rays reached the balcony and beyond.

She watched as the birds above, once silhouetted in darkness, began to soar across the sky. Early morning beach walkers left tiny trails of footprints in the wet sand. Die-hard early morning surfers appeared and rode the 7 a.m. high tide waves that kept crashing into the shore.

Lily closed her eyes while continuing to drink from bottle. Zeke reached his hand inside the blanket and onto her diapered bottom. Instinctively, she leaned back and arched herself up while slightly parting her thighs to make her morning diaper check easier for him. His concern for her health grew as he discovered she still hadn’t pooped in her diaper. It had been more than a day since she had done so. There had to be something wrong with her, yet her skin colored looked fine and she didn’t complain about discomfort. Still Zeke worried.

She finished bottle and let out a sigh. She would sometimes wake with a sour stomach and her morning bottle always cured her. Zeke leaned against his chest and rocked her gently while patting her back.

“Are you feeling okay, BabyGirl?” he asked as he wiped the milk dribble from her lips and chin.

“Yes, Daddy,” she whispered quietly. “I feel wonderful.”

Soon thereafter, she let out a stream of tiny, feminine burps.

“There ya go,” he said as she giggled, bringing her hands up out the blanket to rub her eyes.

He sat her up, returned her pacifier to her mouth, and embraced her. She broke her arms out of the blanket and wrapped them around his neck as he stood up, and carried her into room. Taking the blanket off her and placing it on the bed, he carried her into the bathroom. He took her wet diaper off and lowered her into a waiting tub of warm bath water. Her toes went in first and the feeling of that warm water on her skin was incredible and yet another reason to wake up in his care. Slowly her body entered the bath until at last; he brought her head to rest on a towel on the back edge of the tub. She lay there for a moment ready to fall asleep again.

He washed her body by hand, from her feet to her diaper area to her back to her neck. Then he washed her hair with deliberate slowness as he firmly, yet still gently kneaded his fingertips into her scalp, massaging her head. He kept her in a sitting position as he tilted her head back and gradually streamed several pitchers of warm water on her hair.

She was in a state of euphoria when he finally lifted her out of the tub, and wrapped her in a towel. He sat her on the edge of the tub and placed her on his knee as he dried her body. He placed the towel over her head and patted the water out of her hair, a trick to drying long hair without tangling it up that she had taught him. He placed the towel over her shoulders and lifted her up into his arms once again. They both paused and looked at their reflection in the mirror behind the sink and counter. A sweet smile formed behind her pacifier and across her face as she lowered her head onto his chest and batted her eyelashes. He held her closely, feeling the warmth of her body and the fresh scent the shampoo had left in her beautiful, damped locks of hair.

Out into the bedroom they went, and Zeke lowered her body from his chest to a seated position on the bed. She raised her hands to the sky as he lowered a yellow baby-t over her head and shoulders. With one hand behind her back and the other behind her head, he eased her body down flat to the bed. He stood up and grabbed her diaper bag, searching through it for what he needed at the moment. Lily bent her legs inward as she looked up at the dream catcher for a moment and then to Zeke who was unfolding a diaper and placing it on the bed.

She felt consumed, all of the sudden, with a rush of shyness. Getting her wet diaper changed had one particular affect on her senses, but being diapered after she had been in the shower or after she had just had adult clothing removed, touched her in an even more profound way. This time she would take the full journey in her mind from being “big” to being “little”.

She stretched her limbs out, not in nervousness, but because she knew how wonderful it made her feel to be caressed into a little state of mind. Zeke’s hands repositioned her torso straightly on the bed as he placed himself next to her. She felt her legs being drawn together and bent at the knees. Her tummy became filled with those “butterflies” for which she so dearly ached. Her heart began racing with a sensation termed as nothing less than ‘pampered’.

Holding her knees together, he raised her bottom off the bed. She could hear the rustling of the disposable diaper being situated underneath her. With the feel of powder on her bottom, her transformation from “big” to “little” had begun. His hand securely held her bottom half in the air. She felt so small in his grasp.

Every single nerve-ending throbbed within her and pulsed to life, from the hairs on the top of her head to the tips of her fingers to the soles of her feet. He lowered her bottom onto the diaper and rested her legs on the bed, parting them to fold the front of her diaper up and into place around her waist. Her shoulders shrunk up and her chin lowered as she regressed in thought, awaiting his instructions and his reassurance she was loved. The feeling of being “little” had shied away and the feeling of being his “baby” had taken its place.

Zeke began to fasten her diaper into place as she drew her knees together and herself up into a ball. The look on her face made clear her fragile and infantile state of mind and being. He leaned forward and kissed her very softly on the forehead. She closed her eyes and lightly touched her fingertips to his face. He took a moment to rub noses with her. She giggled behind her pacifier at the sensation it created.

Then he kissed her on the nose, on the left cheek, on the right cheek, on the chin, on the neck and around to the back of her neck. She scrunched up her shoulders and tossed back and forth, giggling behind her pacifier again. He kissed her belly as she ran her fingers through his hair. Then he gave her belly a “raspberry” as she collapsed her body around his head trying to get him to stop, half-heartedly of course.

She sat up and hugged him as he drew all of her wet hair behind her shoulders, allowing it to dangle freely down her back. He began to brush the locks on her head until her hair was smooth without any kinks or rats in it. The brush through her tresses was a heavenly sensation on her scalp. She closed her eyes and rested her head on his shoulder, wishing this current encounter with his caressing touch would never end.

He put the brush down and began running his fingers through her hair, realizing the pleasurable effect it had on her. He slowly drew her hair back into a ponytail, but just a few strands at a time so he was able to continue to massaging her scalp and senses. At last with all of her hair in his hand, he tied it up into a ponytail with a yellow ribbon, making an effort to match the color of her baby-t.

As she remained sprawled out on his chest, he slid a pair of white bib-overall shorts up her legs and into place, taking the opportunity to fasten the bib straps over her shoulders when he sat her up. Her sandals went on her feet, and she stood up, finally ready to go.

“Come,” he said, taking her by the hand, helping her off the bed, and heading to the door.

They went to the hotel breakfast downstairs. Lily got a plate of fruit, and Zeke got sausage and bacon.

“Where would you like to go this morning?” he asked while turning his coffee into muddy waters with cream and sugar.

“I really liked the zoo,” she said with a mouthful of grapes and watermelon chunks. “Are there any other zoos?”

“Not anywhere nearby,” Zeke answered. “But there is an activity museum. I know it isn’t a zoo, but what about going there?”

“That sounds like fun!” she said. “What kind of museum is it exactly?”

“It’s a science museum, I think,” he answered. “But it’s the kind of museum where you get to do things.”

Lily contemplated the trip for a few minutes.

“So it’s more than plants and trees?” she finally asked.

“I guarantee it,” he replied while finishing his plate and coffee.

As they finished breakfast, she got up, grabbed his hand, and off they went. Outside of the hotel she flagged a cab, eager to get to this neat sounding museum. As the cab approached, another thought came to her mind. Before getting in the cab, she stopped and looked back at Zeke.

“I have a complete second outfit for you in the bag,” he said, answering the question she never had to ask. “You’ll be … covered … this time.”

They climbed into the cab, and were on their way. It was kind of silly to have taken the cab to the museum since it was only about five blocks away. On the way there, Zeke took her sandals off, knowing that she wouldn’t be able to do some of the activities in open-toed shoes. He put white ankle socks on her feet and had just gotten the both sneakers on her feet when they pulled up to the museum.

Lily gazed up at the front of the building and opened the cab door quickly, sprinting to the entrance. Zeke paid the driver and bolted out of the cab and after. He caught her at the doors to the museum and made her sit on a nearby bench until he tied her shoelaces. Now they were ready. So they entered.

The lobby in the front was quite impressive and it had staircases going up in all different directions. Each set of staircases led to a different exhibit. Zeke went to the counter and bought two passes. Lily stood there in the middle of the foyer and paused a moment to take in everything she saw around her. There were kids scurrying everywhere, up one set of stairs in a hurry and down another just as quickly. Though there was a lot of activity, there was a lot of noise.

“What would you like to do first?” Zeke asked, taking her hand and leading her up the first set of stairs.

“All of it,” she said, amazed by this place.

“All right,” he said, laughing. “Let’s start with this one.”

At the top of the stairs was an entrance to an exhibit entitled ‘Forming an Island’. They walked in and got into the back of a short line of people.

“What the line for,” Lily asked, stretching up on the tips of her toes to see to the front.

“It must be some sort of a ride,” he said as the moved forward with the line.

Ahead of them was a simple track. The walls of this room were covered with a mural that stretched from the floor to the ceiling. From left to right, it depicted the ocean deep, volcanoes, the surface of the ocean, ground, vegetation and a simple village of people.

Suddenly, a trolley rolled down the track to a halt in front of them. The passengers aboard stood up and exited as Zeke and Lily filed into the trolley seats with the rest of the line. Off they rolled.

“Welcome aboard the Bahamas Express. I’m Pete, your guide for this journey. I hope you came with an appetite for adventure and discovery. We will be exploring the wondrous phenomenon of how an island is formed. So sit back and relax. There will be no test afterwards,” said an automated voice that came over the speakers of the trolley.

The first room they rolled into had displays on either side of the track, showing a simple uninhabited island lush with trees and grass and electronically animated animals. Lily stared at the displays with a dropped jaw, mesmerized by them.

“Islands like the Bahamas are major tourist attractions that welcome lots of people from all over the world every year. They’re full of resorts, beaches, shops, restaurants, hotels, streets, and vehicles, but they once looked like these displays … very basic with no people nor technology, just animals and vegetation,” said the voice on the speakers, pausing from the narrative for a moment to allow everyone to look around the room before continuing.

“But how did the island form to begin with? To find the answer, we have to look deep in the ocean,” the voice continued as the trolley rolled into the next room.

On either side of the track as well as above them on the ceiling was a massive underwater display. The room made everyone feel like they were at the bottom of the ocean.

“An island begins its life here on the floor of the ocean with the help of an erupting volcano much like the one you see to your left. Lava erupts from the volcano and settles to the ocean floor as the ocean water cools it until it turns hard like rock,” the voice continued as the trolley rolled into the next room. “Here you see lava beginning to pile up on top of old lava that has cooled and hardened. Lava keeps building up like this until it reaches the surface of the ocean.”

Lily was straining to look over the side of the trolley at the display. So Zeke picked her up and placed her on his lap. He held on to her as she leaned over the side of the railing for a better view. Zeke reached up inside her shorts and stuck his finger over the elastic edging of her diaper to feel inside. Her diaper was only a little damp, but she still hadn’t pooped.

As he checked her diaper, she was overcome, once more, with that same babyish feeling that ignited the nerve endings in her body earlier in the day. She curled up in a ball on his lap and gripped her stomach as the “butterflies” took over inside her. It was a feeling she couldn’t describe herself but always invited when it arrived.

“No poop yet,” she whispered to Zeke in a little tone. “I’m trying to, but I feel fine.”

“I know,” he whispered back. “But it still concerns me.”

The ride continued on, explaining that hardened lava reaching the surface of the ocean eventually grows big enough to catch seeds from the air or birds and when the volcano below stops erupting, those seeds take root and grow into vegetation.

The ride ended and they exited, moving straight towards the next exhibit entitled ‘Ride the Tides’. On the way, Lily spotted a family bathroom and looked back to Zeke for instructions.

“You only sprinkled a little. You’ll be fine for now,” Zeke said. “Unless you want to be changed.”

“Nope,” she said as she took his hand and dashed to the tide exhibit.

They ran up to a railing surrounding an enormous bowl-shaped area that resembled a skateboard park or an Olympic half pipe course. This area was painted blue like water and down in the center were kids sitting on little carpet squares which had handles. They had arrived just as the previous group had finished. So they didn’t get to see how the ride operated.

“Do you wanna try it?” Zeke asked Lily.

“Yeah!” she answered enthusiastically as she sat down on the floor and stuck her legs straight out so he could take her sneakers off.

“We’re gonna have to hurry to get you in there,” he said, quickly untying her sneakers and taking them off.

She hopped up and ran to the entrance.

“Walk,” he called out to her, causing her to stop running.

Zeke held onto her sneakers and returned to the railing. His smile widened as he watched her get into line for a carpet square. She was trying to contain her excitement, only slightly bouncing up and down. The line seemed to be taking forever to move and she leaned to the side to see what the delay was about at the front. Finally, they started moving.

Everyone got a carpet square and they were directed to line up on the edge, sit down on their carpet square, grab hold of the handles, and slid down into the center of the bowl area. They all did as instructed and were sitting on their carpets in the middle when the song ‘Wipeout’ began playing.

A split second later, a powerful set of fans turned on and they were all blown back up to the edge they had just slid down from. Then another set of fans turned on behind them and blew them back down into the center and up to the edge of the other side.

To and fro they went as the two sets of fans kept taking turns blowing them back and forth. Lily’s face lit up with a smile that seemed to keep growing with each passing second. Her laughter rang out. This was something she had never experienced and didn’t expect to get to do.

She was having the time of her life. Though the ride ended shortly thereafter, her laughter and the smile on her face remained as she ran back up to Zeke and jumped into his arms. He carried her down to a bench by the next exhibit and sat her down to put her sneakers back on.

“That was amazing!” she said, trying to regain some composure. “You should try it!”

“Not me. Nooooo way,” he replied, tying her shoelaces. “I have the weakest stomach in the world. That ride would’ve wrecked me in a matter of moments, but I will go on the next one with you. It doesn’t look at painful.”

They walked up to the next exhibit entitled: “Follow the River Path”. This one didn’t have a line at all as everyone was taking a second and third turn on the tide ride. So they walked right up to the operator who handed Zeke a two-person carpet pieces with handles and told them to sit on it in front of the tube.

Zeke sat down on the carpet and stretched his legs out. Lily sat down on his lap and the operator gave them a push. Away they went down a dark tube that dumped them onto a moving floor, painted blue like water. On either side of them were nature scenes. Soon after that, they slipped down another slide that leveled off but twisted and turned from side to side which kept them moving fast. Around them were mountains.

It felt very much like an Olympic bobsled ride as they weaved past more scenes of forests, canyons, and valleys before they finally leveled off onto another moving floor which slowly drew them closer to the big finish.

Ahead they could see an enormous slide, the biggest one yet, that ended with them landing in a play area of plastic balls. Lily screamed out laughter as they went down it. Plastic balls went flying everywhere as they “splashed” down in the play area and rolled away from the center. Lily was recovering from laughing as she crawled over near the exit. Zeke picked up the carpet and tried to stand up, only to slip on the plastic balls and fall back down. This sent Lily into another spell of hysterical laughter as she lay down on the plastic balls and thrashed from side to side while holding her stomach.

Finally making it to the exit, Zeke got out of the ball area and tossed the carpet to the side. While still laughing at himself, he extended a hand to help her out.

She stood up in the ball bin, but her bib overall shorts didn’t stand up with her as the buckles had come unfastened. With her overall shorts at her ankles, she stood there in a baby-t shirt and diaper, but only for a moment as Zeke came rushing over to her rescue. The look of sudden recognition on her face told how she innocently had no idea her shorts had fallen down until that moment. He scooped her up and set her down outside the ball area, quickly refastening her bib buckles.

Seeing the cafeteria ahead, Zeke made a suggestion.

“Let’s get some lunch,” he said. “That seems safe.”

So they got lunch at the museum. Zeke had chicken fingers, and Lily had a garden salad. They found a table and sat down.

“What’s your favorite salad dressing?” he asked.

“Italian. Zesty Italian,” she said.

“How about your favorite condiment?” he asked, while holding up a chicken finger with ketchup on it. “Ketchup, mustard, sweet-n-sour sauce or barbecue sauce?”

“Barbecue,” she answered quickly. “Because it’s the best one to lick off your fingers! But salad is a lot of fun to eat, too.”

“Why?”

“Because everything is tossed together, but I can still separate it all.”

“And why would you wanna do that?”

“So I can eat the lettuce first, then the cheese, then the tomatoes, then the carrots, then the crunchy bread chunks, and then I can eat the bacon bits in the dressing….It’s more fun that way.”

She slid her tray away, and with that she yawned.

“Should we come back another time and see the rest of the museum?” Zeke asked.

“Maybe one more before we have to go?” she asked with hope.

Zeke smiled at the look in her eyes. How could he deny such a request? She was tired, but didn’t want to leave for fear of missing out on something. Exiting the cafeteria, they walked into a room with a huge 3-D map of the Bahamas sitting on a table. Lily approached it fascinated with the detail. She ran her fingers across it, tracing every little edge.

From out of nowhere, a knot formed in her stomach. It doubled her over for a second before she stood back up, fighting the pain. She looked behind her. Zeke was reading a plaque hanging on the wall. She turned back around to the map, placed both hands on the edge of it and closed her eyes as the pain increased. With no alternative, she hobbled over to Zeke.

“Zeke?” she said, holding back tears.

“Lily!” he said, panicked. “What wrong?”

“I don’t know,” she answered. “Can we go?”

“Absolutely,” he replied, helping her to a standing position and moving quickly to the exit.

“I’m sorry,” she said, beginning to cry.

“It’s okay. There’s no need to be sorry,” he said softly as they exited the museum.

The one time they needed a cab quickly there were none to be found. Without wasting a second, he lifted her up on his back and began walking to the hotel. Lily wrapped her legs around his waist and her arms around his neck. Her face was as white as a ghost and she rested her head on his shoulder. The heat of the day was beating down upon her. Zeke moved with great intention to get back to the hotel room. Several cabs passed by, but were all heading in the wrong direction. He pressed on.

The sound of the door being unlocked startled Lily awake. They had made it back and not a moment too soon. Zeke eased her down onto the bed, unfastened her bib buckles, slid her bib overall shorts off her legs, and removed her yellow baby-t shirt. He let her ponytail out and put her hair back up into two pigtails to keep it off her neck. She was overheated and her body was hot to the touch. He grabbed a washcloth from the bathroom, dampened it with cold water, folded it and placed it on her forehead.

She stared up at the ceiling and dream catcher as he unfastened her diaper for a change that wouldn’t be as enjoyable as usual. She still hadn’t pooped and she felt physically drained. His gentle caressing hands performed their magic as always, but she was too weak to relish it.

He fastened her new diaper into place and gently sat her up, supporting her head and back. She was limp as he lifted her into his arms and she began to whimper her displeasure in having been moved.

“Shh, shh, shh. Be a good girl for Daddy,” he softly whispered as he carried her over to the couch, sat down and cradled her.

She began to fuss as he placed the damp washcloth over his shoulder and rested her head on it.

“I know you don’t feel well. Daddy’s gonna take care of that right now,” he reassured her as he made up her bottle. “No rocking. No cradling. Just a bottle.”

He placed the bottle to her lips and she continued fussing as she took the nipple of the bottle into her mouth. She began drinking, thought every mouthful she swallowed required all the energy she had.

“You must be feeling bad,” he said. “You hardly ever fuss.”

This was the quietest and quickest bottle feeding Zeke could recall which may have been a good thing. The quieter she was, the less energy she used. The quicker she finished the bottle, the quicker he could get her to bed and to sleep.

He looked across the room and realized the colossal task of laundry he would have to do as she slept. This undertaking actually made him happy because it was at that moment he realized this girl in his arms was the most important decision he had ever made in his life. He would do anything for her. He vowed to himself to ask her the question he had been holding off on asking before this vacation ended.

He startled back out of his thoughts as she gurgled the remainder of the bottle. As if he were moving fragile glass, he sat her up. She spit up on the washcloth and began crying faintly.

“It’s okay,” he said, leaning her against his chest and delicately patting her back. “Let it out. The sooner you burp, the sooner nap time begins.”

She began sniveling at the thought of being made to take a nap. She whimpered once, but was cut off by her burp. This only made her more upset, and she mustered up the strength to start balling.

“Shh, shh, shh,” he said sweetly as he wiped her mouth and stood up to carry her to the bed. “You’re tired. You’re not feeling well, and you’re fussy … It’s time for a nap.”

He placed a pacifier in her mouth as she continued her tantrum. Lowering her gently onto the bed, he looked her straight in her tear-stained eyes and said one word.

“Now,” he stated quietly, but sternly.

She instantly stopped fussing and behaved. She closed her eyes and before he was done tucking her in, she fell asleep and began dreaming …

Lily opened her eyes. It was the middle of the afternoon. Time had passed, but she wasn’t sure how much. She felt a lot better. Zeke was right about her needing a nap. She sat up and shared a smile with Mr. Woody who was seated at the foot of the bed.

“Hello, Mr. Woody,” she said cheerfully.

“Hello, LilyGirl,” he replied with a wink. “Shine, but don’t rise!”

“Why not?” she asked.

“Since you’re not feeling well, I thought we’d go to a very, very special place,” he said while walking up the bed and sitting next to her.

“Where?” she asked.

“Under the covers!” he said while crawling under the bed sheet and running around in a circle under them.

Lily lifted up the sheet and poked her head in, laughing at him.

“Why are we going under the covers?” she asked.

“Because I want to tell you something. Come on, LilyGirl,” he said while grabbing her hands and pulling her under.

“Okay. What do you want to tell me?” she asked as she sat Indian-leg style and faced him.

“You still look like you’ve got a fever,” he said as he reached up and touched her on the forehead.

Her fever broke that instant. She could feel her body sweat with relief.

“How did you do that?” she asked, enjoying the relief it brought her.

“I can’t tell you,” he said.

“Why? Is it a secret?” she asked.

“Exactly! Let’s make this place under the covers our secret, too,” he said.

“Okay,” she said, playing along.

“LilyGirl, have you figured out what the cavern we were in the other day represents? We were the only two people to ever go in it,” he said.

“Would that make the cavern our secret?” she asked.

“Right you are again … But I really liked that cavern, and I want to tell others so they can enjoy it,” he said. “Do you see what I’m telling you?”

“No,” she said, confused.

“There’s a secret you’re not telling your fella guy,” Mr. Woody said. “You’re not feeling well, are you LilyGirl?”

“No, but I don’t wanna say anything to Zeke,” she admitted. “I all ready got sick on the cruise and missed out on a day to have fun with him. I don’t want him to know I’m sick.”

“LilyGirl, he knows about your fever and rumbled tummy from today. He wants nothing more than for you to feel better,” Mr. Woody replied. “I have a funny feeling you’ll have a lot more time to spend with him in the future than what you realize.”

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“You haven’t told him about your other sickness yet, have you?” he asked. “Why are you keeping it a secret from him?”

“If I tell him about that, he’ll want nothing more to do with me.”

“He wants everything to do with you. He doesn’t want to live without you.”

“Mr. Woody, I might die because of what’s wrong me. How fair is it for me to meet him and have him fall in love with me only to force him to cry over my grave?”

“You’ve all ready met him. He’s all ready fallen in love with you, and that is all that is for certain. LilyGirl, the day you stop doubting him is the day you will begin to live, not die. Leave the things you can’t control to God. The love of a soul mate is able to overcome a lot more than you realize. His love will heal you, but before that can happen, you must stop doubting it. Secrets are what keep souls from bonding. You must ask yourself this question: Do you wish to keep your sickness to yourself, or do you wish to live? The cure is out there, waiting for you to accept it. Fate had a plan when it drew you and your fella guy together. You simply need to embrace what has been given to you.”

Why does it have to be so difficult?”

“LilyGirl, it couldn’t be simpler.”

Mr. Woody touched her forehead, she closed her eyes and her dream ended.

Time passed and when next she opened her eyes, she found herself lying on her tummy on the bed. Words couldn’t even express how much better she felt. Whatever made her feel so sick had passed through her system. She lifted her head up off the pillow and looked around the room, tucking her hair behind her ears.

She once again felt the tips of her hair. Then she felt the rest of her hair. It was damp and her pigtails had been untied. The nightie she had gone to sleep in was gone as well. Now she was dressed in the pink t-shirt with butterflies that Zeke had bought her from Abercrombie & Fitch® store she drug him into at the Park City Mall back in Lancaster. On the bed next to her was their laundry, clean and folded.

She flipped over onto her back and stretched her arms and legs. A smile came to her face as she pieced together what must have happened as she dreamt. Her hair was wet and her clothing was changed because Zeke must have given her a bath while she slept. This would also explain why her diaper was dry since she almost always wet herself in her sleep. First he bathed her. Then he put her in a new diaper and that pink t-shirt.

She sat up and looked at the laundry, realizing that she would have to refold all of it. When Zeke folded laundry, he always left creases and wrinkles in the clothing. This pile of clothing was no exception and she giggled behind her pacifier at his attempt. This caught Zeke’s attention who had been seated on the couch writing in the green notebook.

She sat up as he walked over to her. She reached out to him with a smile that brightened her face. He smiled back, lifting her into his arms. The embrace continued as he carried her out onto the balcony and set down on a chair, putting her on his lap and a tray in front of her. She was definitely feeling better.

She lifted the lid off the tray to find a bowl of chicken noodle soup, steaming and ready to be eaten. She picked up the spoon and began eating the soup while watching the late afternoon waves roll in off the ocean. It was a warm day and the beach was packed with people. She tried to count the number of beach umbrellas that filled the area right in front of their hotel, but kept losing her count. The surfers were still at it, never allowing a wave to get by.

Lily watched all of this with a wandering mind as she kept eating the soup.

“Can we go to the boardwalk tonight?” she asked.

“Tonight? I don’t know. You were really sick earlier,” he said. “Maybe we oughta stay in tonight to let you rest.”

She looked back and him with pleading eyes.

“Please, Daddy?” she said with a lowered chin as she lightly bit her bottom lip and gave him the biggest, saddest puppy dog eyes in the world.

“You were so weak when I brought you back from the museum I was considering taking you to the hospital,” he said as she curled up against his chest lowered his head. “The boardwalk will always be there tomorrow.”

“I know,” she softly admitted. “But tonight will only happen once and … well, you’re the Aerosmith fan. Can you guess why I wanna go tonight?”

“Because you don’t wanna miss a thing,” he said as he brushed the hair out of her eyes.

“I promise you that I’ll tell you the very moment I start to feel sick again, and we can come back right away,” she said, pleading her case.

“What’s at the boardwalk that makes you wanna go there so badly tonight?” he asked.

“A ferris wheel. I saw it advertised on the commercials during SpongeBob®,” she answered. “I wanna go to the very top of the ferris wheel so I can see everything for miles and miles, all at once.”

“Let me think about this for a minute,” he said, leaning her back and cradling her as he placed the nipple of her baby bottle to her lips. “Open. That’s a good girl.”

She nestled her body up against him, submissively drank from her bottle and never took her eyes off him. He gently rocked her body, taking the time to ensure she didn’t need to be changed before he patted her diapered bottom.

She could all ready tell that he was trying to comfort her for the bad news. Her eyes began to well up with tears as she awaited his denial of her request. Earlier in the day, she had been fussy about taking a nap. Certain that she had made the day more difficult for him; she closed her eyes and continued to drink from her baby bottle.

Her mind began to wander back to every moment of this vacation so far. While the happy memories filled up an endless list, her thoughts focused in on the trouble she had caused when she threw a fit about having lost her dream bracelet or getting sick on the boat. She thought about what Zeke went through to get the Cinderella musical tickets only to have missed the second act because he had to take care of her.

She finished her bottle, but hadn’t finished with her self-imposed guilt trip. He sat her up and leaned her against his chest as he stood up. She wrapped her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist. He walked back into the room, lightly bouncing her up and down as he patted her back.

Finally, she burped and he returned her pacifier to her lips. She rested her head on his shoulder as he continued walking around the room. Closing her eyes, she began to accept the decision he had made, but not yet voiced. Still a glimmer of hope danced through her thoughts.

He walked back out onto the balcony and began patting her diapered bottom again as he rocked her back and forth.

“And you will tell me the very moment you feel sick again?” he asked.

She sat up, and with a bright smile coming from behind her pacifier, she enthusiastically nodded.

“Then I guess we had better get you something to wear,” he said as she nearly strangled him with her hug around his neck.

She all but leapt out of his arms, ran over to the folded laundry on the bed and sorted through it. Touching her fingertip to her lip, she contemplated her other options. She walked over to the dresser and began inventorying the clothing in the drawers. After having gone through every possible outfit, she finally settled on the first one she picked up from the folded pile. It was the white summer dress with the convenient pocket in the front she had worn before.

She picked the dress up, handed it to Zeke, crawled up onto the bed, and sat on her knees proudly. She was very happy and content with her selection. She tried to keep a straight face, but eventually broke out into laughter.

“Are you sure this is the one you want to wear?” Zeke asked, grinning from ear to ear.

She nodded and raised her arms up as he took her pink t-shirt off and slipped the summer dress over her head. The light material made it perfect for warmer weather. It was flouncy and allowed air to move around her.

Zeke turned on the TV to catch the NFL highlights of the day as he sat next to her on the bed and brushed her hair out. Lily closed her eyes and sat there. A slight breeze blew through the room and she rocked back and forth with it, enjoying her hair being brushed once again.

She got off the bed, slipped into her sandals. Lily took the pacifier out of her mouth, placing it in the pocket of her dress as they exited the room, headed for the elevator.

They got on the elevator and stepped to the back as more people got in front of them. It was one of those crowded, dead quiet elevator trips where no one made a sound. Zeke reached over and poked Lily in the ribs. She poked him back. He reached over and began tickling her side. She held back the sound of laughter as she fought off his hand. She reached over to tickle his side and suddenly let out a “Yipe!” because Zeke had reached up her dress and pinched the back of her right thigh.

Everyone looked back at her. She apologized and covered her mouth to prevent laughing. She looked over at Zeke who was trying to suppress laughter as well. She buried her face in his chest as they both continued trying to keep quiet.

The elevator doors finally opened into the lobby and everyone filed out. Zeke and Lily tailed behind a little. She was very red-faced at this moment and they both were still fighting back laughter. Out on the street, Zeke hailed a cab and they took it to the boardwalk, though it was just five blocks away, but Zeke figured it didn’t make sense to tire her out on the way there.

The cab pulled up to a curb, and they got out. The boardwalk was so full of life it took Lily by surprise. There were tons of people everywhere. Amusement rides were operating. The lights of the boardwalk brightened the nighttime sky above it, and off in the near distance, Zeke heard something that sparked his interest.

“Do you hear that?” he asked.

“What?” she asked back.

“An arcade. Come on,” he said, taking her hand and weaving through the sea of people onto the boardwalk.

He made a direct line right for the arcades, and went straight to the air hockey table.

“Do you want to play me in a game?” he asked her.

“I don’t think you want to play me in air hockey,” she said while folding her hands behind her back and shyly looking at the floor, trying to fight off a grin.

“Sure I do. Come on,” he said.

“I really don’t think you want to do that,” she said, making her words playfully clear to him.

“How bad could you be?” he asked. “Come on. It’s only a game. We don’t even need to keep score.”

Lily sighed and slowly walked to one end of the table, picking up the air hockey paddle as if she had never held one before. Zeke put quarters in the side, the game turned on, and he slid the puck down to her.

“I’ll even give you the puck to start,” he said.

“Okay,” she responded nonchalantly, before setting the puck down and scoring on him with her first shot.

All Zeke saw was a white streak that blasted across the table at a blinding speed. He shook his head, picked up the puck from the slot beneath him and fired back. She blocked it with the greatest of ease and scored on him again.

She scored on him five more times and won the game 7-0. Zeke never had a prayer or chance of winning.

“All right,” he said, becoming competitive. “Let’s play again. I’m ready now. I guarantee that won’t happen one more time.”

He was correct about that guarantee. In fact, it happened six more times. Zeke never scored a goal on her. She was unstoppable. This tiny little girl just kept beat him over and over. A crowd had formed around them to watch Zeke get his tail end handed to him again and again by this little girl with a magic twinkle of satisfaction in her eyes.

Smartly, he conceded and they exited the arcade. They got in line at the bumper cars, but Lily thought better of being bumped that much. She feared it would make her sick. So she waited outside the bumper rink as Zeke got into a car, and had one heck of a time getting out of a car jam that trapped most everybody for a while. Before too long, they were free again and slamming into one another.

A somewhat scary situation ended the ride early as a little 3-year-old girl ran out onto the race track. There was a scream from the girl’s mother who had taken her eyes off her daughter for a split second. Zeke leapt from his car and dashed after the little sweetheart. He grabbed her just in time and jumped up onto the fence to prevent being hit. He held the little girl tightly in his arms until the cars stopped moving. After that, it seemed like a good time to stop.

Everyone exited the ride a little shaken, but not in the usual way. The mother came running over to Zeke crying. She yanked the child out of his arms, and ran off. There was a hush that fell over the nearby crowd that had gathered. Zeke joined the rest of the riders exiting, and received a round of applause. Lily ran over to him and embraced him.

“That was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen!” Lily said to Zeke as they walked away and started down the boardwalk. “If that little girl had been hurt, my heart would’ve been broken.”

“That was really terrifying,” he said, still trying to calm himself down. “All I heard was that woman screaming, but there was so much noise from the bumpers cars that nobody could hear her on the other side.”

“She could’ve at least said thank you,” Lily remarked with a slight pout to her voice.

“Yeah, but I’m sure that really traumatic for her,” he said.

“That’s no excuse in my book,” she said with a frown on her face.

“Do you wanna get some fries?” he asked, quickly changing the subject.

“Yeah!” she replied.

“Can your stomach handle that?” he asked.

“I’m a girl, Daddy. I’m only going to eat a few of yours anyway,” she said with a grin, knowing full-well what his reply would be.

“Uh-huh,” he said in a playful tone. “I remember you said that three weeks ago when we went to see …”

“…the Lancaster Barnstormers play at Clipper Magazine Stadium back home,” she said in an equally playful tone, completing his thought. “But I do recall buying you more………and also helping you eat them, too.”

She laughed out loud.

“That’s my job!” she said.

“And you do it well,” he replied while stepping up to the counter and ordering boardwalk fries and an extra large lemonade for her this time.

They sat on a bench overlooking the beach. It wasn’t time for the sun to set, but it would be soon.

“You know what we ought to do? We ought to get on the ferris wheel to watch the sunset,” he said. “That’s the ride you wanted to get on.”

Yeah. That would be incredible to see. I hadn’t even thought about that,” she said as she paused before asking him a tough question. “Have you ever had anyone in your life die young?” she asked.

“My father died of Pancreatic Cancer five years ago. It’s the same disease that killed Patrick Swayze,” he replied.

“Oh my. I’m sorry. I hope I didn’t upset you,” she said with concern.

“It’s okay. You learn to get used to it after a while,” he said.

“That’s the cancer that works quickly, isn’t it?” she asked.

“Yes. Usually six months or so,” he answered. “But Dad lasted four years.”

“He was strong,” she said as she finished her lemonade.

They got up, and began strolling back up the boardwalk towards the ferris wheel. Lily looked ahead at it, and her eyes kept getting bigger as they drew nearer to it. It just seemed to keep growing. She looked down at the boards beneath her feet and started skipping every other one as they walked along. She was a little apprehensive about continuing to ask about his father, but she was driving towards a point that she would have to make soon.

The line to get on the ferris wheel was a mile long. Lily mustered up the courage to continue asking him questions.

“Were you angry with your father getting sick?” she asked.

“No,” he replied. “I wish he would have known he was sick.”

“He didn’t know?” she asked.

“Not until it was too late to save him,” he said. “If he had known, he could’ve done something about it, but he never had that chance.”

His words formed a lump in her throat. Now she felt even more apprehensive to tell him about her illness. She quickly changed the subject again as the line kept moving them closer to the wheel.

At long last, it was their turn. They sat in the seat and away they went. The wheel just slowly spun them around for a while, and incrementally they stopped as new people were added.

Lily looked over to the beach and saw some sort of sand sculpture contest going on. Just that suddenly, the wheel started spinning again. She prevented herself from looking as far as the eye could see until they got to the top. She bravely held on to the railing while smashing her body up against his. She had a fear of heights, too, but didn’t want that to stop her.

“It helps if you don’t look down,” Zeke said, knowing very well what her fearful behavior was about.

With each pass of the wheel, they inched closer to being at the top spot when it stopped. Zeke looked up the boardwalk and could see the hotel. The view was getting better and better.

The wheel took them in a circle again, and they came to rest on the top spot. Lily got up out of her seat and sat on Zeke’s lap. She curled up in his arms and rested her head on his chest as she gazed at the rippling sun splashed surface of the ocean. She could see for miles in either direction and straight out to the horizon where the sun was beginning to set.

The golden rays of the sun’s exodus warmed ever surface they touched, including Lily’s face. Zeke looked down at her and was taken in by her sight. Curled up on his lap and clenching his shirt was an absolutely adorable girl. Zeke reached into her front pocket, pulled out her pacifier and inserted it into her pink lips. She took it in without hesitation. He lifted the back of her dress and felt her diapered bottom. He drew his finger up along the elastic edging to the front until he could feel the inside of her diaper. She was a little damp, but the lemonade she drank still hadn’t made her wet enough to need a change.

Lily had instantly been overtaken with the “baby feeling”. She knew it would only be for a limited time that she could feel this way. After all, they were still in public, but for the time being, they were all alone on the top of the ferris wheel. The sky above them was endless and the stars shown down more brightly than everything but the moon. She smiled just brightly behind her pacifier as to challenge the stars and moon. Her world and her mind were very small at the moment. She could feel every part of her body being overwhelmed with an emotion so strong she now believed she wanted to marry him.

As they descended down for the last time, Lily sat back on the seat and put her pacifier away as she wiped her tear of elation away. She had regained composure by the time they got off the wheel, and they both proceeded directly onto the beach to look at the sand sculptures, now lit by artificial light but still amazing sights to behold.

One sculpture was a tribute to Michael Jackson. One was a rather elaborate mermaid. Another was a sand castle actually big enough to walk inside. They walked passed each one slowly. Then continued up the beach to the hotel. It was so close and such a nice night to walk. Lily took her sandals off and began to work up to courage to tell him the truth about her illness.

“Daddy, what would you say if I told you I was sick?” she asked with a trembling heart.

“Then I’d say it’s time to get you ready for bed,” he said picking her up into his arms.

She wrapped her arms around his neck, her legs around his waist and rested her head on his shoulder. He put her pacifier in her mouth. She didn’t have to courage to tell him that he misunderstood her question. She decided to wait until another time to tell him of her life-threatening illness. She was too scared at what his reaction would be to try again now.

“So,” Zeke started off. “Having met Malcolm and feeling as if she just fell in love, Princess Lily made her way back to her nursery in the castle where he father and mother, the King and Queen of Infantilum, were waiting for her. Lily entered her nursery and immediately walked over to sit on her daddy’s lap on the rocking chair. He informed her that they had found a wonderful husband for her and she would be marrying him at the end of the week,” Zeke said, as he reached the back entrance of their hotel by the swimming pool.

“Who was is?” Lily mumbled behind her pacifier as they entered the hotel.

Zeke went straight to the elevator, and pressed their floor number. The doors closed.

“It was Prince Mortimer of Humdrum who was rude and horrible,” he said. “Prince Mortimer used to be one of Lily’s playmates when she was a little girl. He used to burn her hair, put frogs inside her diaper, trash her nursery, and throw her pacifiers into the cow pastures. And now, Lily was going to have to spend the rest of her life with him.”

Zeke exited the elevator onto their floor and walked down the hallway to their room while checking her diaper. It was definitely time to change her now. Lily cringed at the “baby feeling” as it washed over her once again. She was being carried like a little girl through the hotel and now just had her dress flipped up and her diaper checked. Butterflies were fluttering inside her tummy.

He unlocked the door and carried her over to the bed, gently easing her down on to it. Her dress came up over her head and off. Her placed her on her back and began to unfasten her diaper. She stared at the ceiling and dream catcher, overwhelmed and ready to explode with “the baby feeling” as he continued the fairy tale story.

“Lily burst into tears, jumped off her Daddy’s lap and ran out of the nursery. Her crying could be heard echoing throughout the castle as she ran down the hall,” Zeke said as he removed her wet diaper, lifted her bottom and legs in the air and began to wipe her skin clean.

She was relishing the feeling and scent of the powder he was sprinkling on her bottom and front areas. As he lowered her legs and bottom back down onto her new diaper, her eyes were closed as she took in the experience. He could tell she wasn’t listening to the story, but he continued tell it anyway.

“Lily ran out of the castle, into the stable and into Malcolm’s arms. He was very concerned and it took him several minutes to calm her down before she could tell him what had happened,” he said as he fastened her diaper into place, slipped a nightie over her shoulders, wrapped her in a baby blanket and carried her onto the balcony. “Malcolm’s eyes welled up and without a moment’s notice, he jumped up onto the back of her horse, Paddington, lifted her up onto the horse and off they went to a secret hiding place in the woods…..To be continued.”

He sat in a chair, cradled her on his lap, and placed the nipple of her nighttime bottle to her lips.

“Why do you put up with me?” she asked, looking up at him with a sense of longing to hear the right words said to her.

“Because I love you,” he said, gazing back down at her.

He placed the nipple of her nighttime bottle to her lips.

“Open,” he whispered.

She sweetly parted her lips and took the nipple in her mouth. She closed her eyes and began drinking from it as she rested her head on his chest. And there they remained for the rest of the night.

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Dragonflies369 3 years ago