The burning. Oh God, the burning.
Bethany had to physically restrain herself from scratching at her crotch as she walked hand in hand with her boyfriend through the throngs of people that were inevitably present at any mall on a Saturday morning. It was absolute torture – sure, it had hurt while the waxing was actually being done, but this was so much worse. Now that her pubic area had been left to settle for a little while, the pain had well and truly set in. It was as if there were hot coals lining the inside of her underwear, scorching her unspeakables mercilessly. She couldn’t even rub the area in a vain attempt to ease the pain, even if doing so would stop the stinging; there were people around!
Adam was very obviously aware of her condition; she could see him watching her suffering out of the corner of his eye. She could see the corners of his mouth upturned in the slightest hint of a smile; it was an almost imperceptible expression, yet it was still infuriating. If she didn’t owe him for getting them out of the vicinity of Mr Smith, she would have hit him. Mutual suffering sounded nothing short of fantastic at that point in time.
“Are you enjoying yourself?” she said miserably. She was beyond the point of being angry now – no, she was all angered out for the day.
Any attempt he may have been making to hide his amusement, small and vain as it may have been, crumbled instantly. He began to chuckle to himself.
“Stop it!” she exclaimed sadly.
He pulled her close and hugged her with one arm as they walked on, still chuckling to himself. “I’m sorry,” he began in a voice that was much too cheerful to actually be apologetic, “But you’re adorable when you’re in agonising pain.” He squeezed his girlfriend against his body a little tighter, leaning over to kiss her cheek.
Bethany elected not to answer. With a pout, she simply kept her eyes glued to the floor. She wasn’t giving him the satisfaction.
“I’ve heard horror stories about waxings like that, you know. To be honest, I’m a little surprised you’re still walking.”
An attempt at normal conversation! Was he feeling guilty? “Well it wasn’t particularly fun,” she grumbled, shrugging free of his one-armed hug. She wasn’t in the mood for being teased, playful as it may be. “It’s worse now than it was while it was being done. I’m dying.”
“And was it worth the pain in the end?”
She didn’t really want to continue a conversation about her pubes of all things, but she found herself pausing to think about it in spite of herself. “The pain was worth it,” she eventually she said. “The rest of it, not so much. Just because I look like a kid down there doesn’t mean I need to be treated like one. That was a joke.”
Adam laughed to himself again. “You’ll have to show me sometime,” he said playfully, and without warning, nudged her ribs affectionately. It elicited an indignant yelp of protest from his victim. “I’ve waited so long!”
“You have,” she admitted wearily, wincing and rubbing where he had jabbed her. It hadn’t hurt, but it was still too tender a spot to be poked unexpectedly. Could he stop with the waxing topic now?
Adam’s voice slowly trailed off to nothingness, and he abruptly stopped right there in the middle of the walkway. Taken off guard, Bethany turned to see what the problem was, only to find him staring off into the distance at something thoughtfully.
She followed his gaze. They were in the food court now, and for a moment it was hard to discern what he was looking at. It was an enormous, rectangular room at the very heart of the mall; the walls here were lined with an incredible assortment of shops, ranging from specialised Asian delicacies to the stereotypical McDonalds and KFC outlets, the latter of which earned a distasteful stare from Bethany (she wasn’t a fan, in any sense of the word. Greasy, cheap trash. Calling it ‘food’ was being overly generous). The middle of the room was a cluttered, complex labyrinth of tables and seats and bins and serviette dispensers and all manner of dining equipment, all of which served as a joint eating area for all the shops combined. Naturally, everything was suffocated beneath the presence of hundreds upon hundreds of hungry, noisy consumers.
There was a lot of eye candy to wade through, and as such it took Bethany a minute to find why her boyfriend had stopped. The answer was incredibly underwhelming. On the far side of the room hung a small, illuminated sign over the entrance to what appeared to be a small hallway, set between two shops too far away to be identified. The silhouette of a man graced the top half of the sign and the silhouette of a lady mirrored this on the bottom. Suspended just beneath that was another, smaller sign with the illustration of a baby.
He was pre-occupied with the sight of a bathroom, of all things.
“Adam, what – ”
Once again, she was cut short, this time as her boyfriend spun her around to face him, a hand on each of her shoulders so she couldn’t turn away from him. A devilish grin graced his face as he looked her dead in the eye, and she instantly felt her gut sink. There was no way this was going to be good.
“You’re going to show me, right now, just how good a job they did between your legs.”
Not good at all, in fact.
Bethany just stared. He couldn’t be serious.
So help me, Adam, if you make me strip naked in a public bathroom you will regret the day you ever met me.
“Adam, you can’t be – ”
She got no further. Without waiting to hear her protest, he grabbed her by the arm and began pulling her through the crowds towards that damned sign. After a yelp of surprise, it was all Bethany could do to not collide with the startled shoppers who watched, wide eyed, as her boyfriend dragged her along in his wake without the slightest care in the world for the people they disturbed in the process.
It wasn’t far, but by the time they reach their destination Bethany was blushing bright red.
What a scene, she whispered to herself, mortified. She had been forced to mutter a rushed and embarrassed apology to the owners of no less than three shopping trolleys, all of which Adam had pranced in front of and cut off most likely without even noticing, before she was pulled too far away to do even that much. Adam had not stopped at all – on the contrary, in fact. The bastard was laughing. She couldn’t see his face, but even over the din of a thousand frenzied shoppers she could hear just how much he was enjoying this as he frantically pulled her onward. He actually found her mortification funny.
What. A. Fucking. Scene.
They momentarily reached the sign, and without missing a beat the couple then hurried down the hallway, the one at the front evidently quite pleased with himself and the one at the back awkwardly staggering and cursing whilst being dragged along. On the right wall were three doors, spaced evenly along the corridor. Men’s, women’s, disabled.
Adam finally paused at this point and Bethany took the opportunity to regain her composure and yank her hand out of harm’s way.
“Adam, there is absolutely no way you’re making me show you this now,” she gasped, struggling to breathe and talk simultaneously after such strenuous athletics. Yet another perk of being fat, she bitterly thought to herself. “Can’t it wait?”
A woman exited the lady’s toilets, giving the pair a curious look before going on her way. Bethany blushed. This was absolutely ridiculous.
Adam watched the lady make her way down the hallway as Bethany resumed her attempt to talk him out of it. “It’s not decent, and on top of that, you’re going to hold up the room for someone that might actually need it. If you had any shred of decency, you’d wait till we were back at my place. We can skip lunch if you want and get right into it, if we absolutely have to.”
He finally made eye contact with his girlfriend. Bethany stared right back.
“I mean,” she continued hopefully. “I know you don’t have a shred of decency. But…maybe just this one time?”
“And I never pretended to have one, either,” he shot back. “Now, the coast is clear. Quick!”
She instantly tried to step away, but it was too late. Before she knew it, her wrist was once again in his hand and she was being dragged into the disabled toilets.
It was a cramped, unwelcoming room, as one might expect from a public toilet. There was the porcelain throne itself set in the back left corner, directly opposite a sink and a mirror, while on the right wall there was a showering system. The floor was tiled and, admittedly, immaculate for such a facility.
With that said, though, it could have resembled the throne room of the Queen’s palace and it still wouldn’t have inspired Bethany to strip down and show off her goods yet again.
Wasting no time whatsoever, Adam locked the door and turned back to face her, a look of unadulterated excitement plastered on his face.
To the rest of the world, this situation might have borderline resembled sexual assault, but it was really just a matter of Adam being Adam. He was a very excitable, almost childish kind of person for the most part, and that was really all any of this amounted to. Right now, he was just like a kid with his newest toy, and come hell or high water, he wanted to play with it. For a moment, she almost felt bad for him.
“Adam, I’m not doing this.”
“Come on, live a little,” he said with a grin. “It’ll be over and done with in ten seconds. I just want you to show me what it looks like, then we can go eat. No funny business!”
“Do I need to strip you down myself?” he offered playfully. “Because I will, you know.”
“Oh, I know you will,” Bethany growled. She knew it well, in fact – it had happened more than a few times in the past. “You’re a fucking pervert. Have I ever told you that before?”
She had. Plenty of times.
“Never,” he instead answered with a laugh. “Am I doing it for you, then?”
Bethany sighed. She loved Adam. She really did. They had been together long enough that being naked around each other was absolutely nothing of note – really, this was nothing of note. He had seen her junk plenty of times. However, in this instance, it was the principle that frustrated her. She wasn’t doing something like this in a public bathroom, of all the fucking places.
She opened her mouth to tell him exactly that. She was going to tell him that the next time he wanted to fuck, he could go mess around with an old sock. She was over this pubic hair nonsense and was so ready to forget about it for a while, and he was going to know that!
But as she opened her mouth to begin her tirade…disaster struck.
She had to pee.
The urge struck out of absolutely nowhere, and not only that, it struck hard. A second ago, the thought wouldn’t have even entered her mind – now, she was on the verge of an accident of epic proportions. Despite having no warning or build up whatsoever, she was literally on the brink of wetting her pants.
What the actual fuck.
She gasped out loud and staggered over to the toilet.
“Um. Are you ok?” Adam asked, taken aback by the suddenness of her movement. The playfulness in his voice faltered.
The two of them had done some truly weird things together in bed, but peeing while her boyfriend watched on was above and beyond any of them.
“Adam, if you love me,” she said weakly as she desperately fumbled to remove her bag. It came off without any hassle, and she instantly grabbed the hem of her skirt, ready to pull it free complete with her underwear. “You will go shove your nose against the wall until I tell you otherwise. Got it?”
He just stared, his mouth half-open in a manner that would have been comical under any other circumstance.
“Now!” she shrieked.
He returned to his senses and with a slight blush rising to his cheeks, quickly turned away and silently made his over to the shower. Apparently the tiling on the walls was suddenly the most fascinating thing he had ever seen.
The instant she was sure his back was to her and was going to stay that way for the foreseeable future, she dropped everything she wore below to the waist to the floor, threw herself onto the seat, and gave her deceptively over-burdened bladder the mercy it craved.
For the next minute, the only sound was that of water on porcelain. Cheeks burning, Bethany could do nothing but sit there and wallow in abject mortification. Where in the hell had that come from? She couldn’t remember having ever had the urge to pee come on so quickly, let alone as strong as it had.
Just think, too - what would have happened if Adam hadn’t dragged you in here?
I’d really rather not.
The shame deepened as she sat there, looking down between her legs and watching the proceedings. As if this morning hadn’t been enough trauma for a lifetime. How was it even possible to go through two, totally separate experiences that were so horrifically humiliating within the space of half an hour?
This isn’t happening. It can’t be.
But it was.
To his credit, Adam never turned around once whilst she did her business. Nor did he say a word. For that, she was as grateful as she was embarrassed – he knew to shut his mouth when he had to, and she was happy to give him that much credit. Regardless, she never took her eyes off his back, petrified he’d turn around and see her in such a compromised position. The sound of her stream echoed painfully loud throughout the otherwise deafening silence of the room.
At last (and after a far greater amount of time than she thought was possible for a person to pee), she was done. She had the toilet paper ready to go – the instant she was done, she was wiping herself down as if her life depended on it. The damage was already done, of course. She was never going to be able to look her boyfriend in the eye again, and no matter how fast she finished up, that was a thing. On the verge of tears, she finished her clean up and hurried to her feet, grabbing her bag and pulling her skirt and underwear back up around her waist at last.
“You’re good,” she forced out, eyes downcast in shame. Her voice choked a little.
The next thing she knew, he was hugging her. He was behind her and he was hugging her.
“It’s ok,” he said softly. “Come on. It’s ok.”
“I didn’t even realise I had to go,” she whimpered. “I’m so sorry. I’m so, so...”
Her voice trailed off as he rocked her in his arms. Bitterly, she marvelled at how rapidly the mood in this dingy bathroom had changed.
What the fuck was that, she mentally berated herself. You’re twenty three, for the love of God, and you almost pissed yourself in front of your boyfriend. What the hell is wrong with you?
It was an accident, she meekly answered the zealous voice in her head. In fact, it wasn’t even that. It was almost an accident. I made it, didn’t I?
I s’pose, was the disgruntled answer, although not without a moment’s hesitation. It continued quickly. And I guess that did come totally out of the blue. Fucking weird, that was.
Having won the argument with her self-consciousness, Bethany turned her attention to the tears which threatened to spill all over herself and her boyfriend. She normally prided herself in being a very calm, collected individual, but right then, she had simply gone through too much that day. It was overwhelming. For a minute, she wasn’t sure she’d be able to control herself, but she eventually won the fight. The worst that was going to happen was a few sniffles.
Now to win back her boyfriend!
Attempting to make light of the situation, she forced a wet, uncomfortable laugh. It sounded more like a snort. “Just think,” she started. “If you were actually as perverted as you claim to be, you might have watched me do that and have got to see what we came in here!”
For once, Adam didn’t laugh with her. He simply pulled away so he could study her face. “Are you ok?” he asked hesitantly. She could see the worry there and immediately felt guilty. She had scared him. Stupid time to make jokes, she chided herself. “I don’t care how weird that was. Are you ok?”
She smiled weakly. “Just had to pee,” she said. “I’m fine.”
He paused, as if unsure whether to continue, then added in an embarrassed, jumbled rush, “You did make it, yeah?”
Now it was his turn to blush. “You...you didn’t look confident yourself!” he stammered awkwardly. His face was bright red, and right then Bethany realised she wasn’t at any threat of losing him. He wasn’t even laughing, let alone teasing her; he was as embarrassed as she was. She felt a sudden rush of affection to him – sure, he could be an asshole at times, but all the while, he did care. “If you need a change of clothes, we can...well, I don’t know, but I’m sure we - ”
“Adam, shush. My clothes are fine,” she interrupted softly, then leaned forward and pecked him gently on the lips with her own. “Everything’s fine. Really.”
He paused for a moment, studied her face for a moment longer than that...and then, to her undying gratitude, he dropped the subject. “Ok, good,” he began. “Now...let’s never speak of this again. Ok?”
“Deal,” she said quickly. That sounded perfectly.
“Deal,” he repeated, and with the faintest trace of a smile, took her hand in his own and playfully shook it. “I’ll check out the goods afterwards then, on that note.”
“Soon as we’re home, it’s all yours,” Bethany agreed. Thank God. It was over. “We can have a little fun while we’re at it too, if you like.” She wiggled her chest suggestively at him. In that moment, reminding him that she was an adult with boobs that other adults liked to play with seemed like a reasonable course of action.
Adam finally laughed proper, and she felt a smile break out over her face. Maybe this wasn’t such a big deal after all. “I look forward to it,” he said with a wink. He grabbed her hand, and for the first time that day, held it like a normal person would. “On that note...shall we get some lunch then?”
She nodded. Anything to take her mind off the fact she had nearly made a puddle at her boyfriend’s feet would be fantastic right now. Their relationship might not be in trouble because of it, but that was still a thing that had nearly happened.
Pulling her along by the hand much gentler than he had on the way in, he led his girlfriend over to the door and let the two of them back out into the larger shopping complex. Still unable to believe how quickly her day had gone to shit, Bethany self-consciously looked over her shoulder as they made their way out to see if anyone had noticed them leave. Of course, the door had been closed and no one could have possibly seen anything incriminating, but maybe they could have heard something. She hadn’t been particularly quiet when she told Adam to shove his nose in the corner.
Thankfully, there was no one around.
As they made their way back out into the food court, Bethany quickly realised she may have jumped the gun when she told Adam that she was ok. With each step down the hallway, she became more and more aware of a headache subtly brewing in the depths of her skull, a pain which was gradually (but very noticeably) becoming more and more pronounced. On top of that, she was starting to feel slightly dizzy – not enough to incapacitate her, but enough to make her feel queasy. Just like her traumatised bladder before, it came out of nowhere and immediately made its presence known.
I must be coming down with something, she thought to herself. Maybe something in the wax didn’t agree with me? She didn’t know even if know that was a real thing that could happen, but something was obviously amiss. That at least seemed to make sense. Gritting her teeth together, she did her best to remain outwardly calm and composed. She’d made more than enough of a spectacle today. No more. She wasn’t going to go crying to her boyfriend about feeling unwell too after everything else that had transpired.
They reached the end of the corridor and once again entered the dining area. “What do you want?” Adam asked, and they stopped just outside the hallway to look around the room. “We’re not short on choices.”
Bethany looked around. For a moment, her gaze settled on one of the Asian food stores on the other side of the room – that sounded good. She could go for some Chinese food right now. A little beef and black bean stir fry would be glorious, in fact. However, as she opened her mouth to tell Adam exactly that, an enormous, golden sign caught her attention and she felt her heart miss a beat out of a sudden rush of sheer excitement.
The Golden Arches.
Mc. Fucking. Donalds.
It was literally right next door to the Chinese store, and for a reason she couldn’t explain, she suddenly realised she wanted McDonalds more than absolutely anything in the world.
“Maccas,” she blurted out before she could stop herself. She eyed the restaurant hungrily from across the room.
“Really?” the surprise was evident in Adam’s voice. He turned to face her, fixing her with a quizzical look. “Since when have you wanted anything to do with McDonalds?”
“Never,” she answered quickly. Normally, she’d balk at the thought of letting her tongue touch anything that came out of a place like McDonalds, but the sudden craving she had for it was undeniable. She didn’t understand it, but...well, it was what it was. “I mean...since I don’t know. But can we?”
Adam opened his mouth to answer, and of course there was no way he was going to deny her something as inconsequential as this, but she was too excited to wait. “Can we please?” she insisted, jumping up and down on the spot. She knew as she was doing it that she was being ridiculous, but for some reason, it seemed like the right thing to do. Who knew? Maybe Adam was really, really against her having it for some reason! “Canwecanwecanwecanwecanwe?”
He gave her a slightly puzzled look. “Um. Sure,” he replied.
She couldn’t hold back a squeal of elation.
Adam laughed uncertainly, watching her carefully. “Are you sure you’re ok?” he asked, a little confused by her enthusiasm.
She smiled broadly. “Definitely,” she said happily. “Comeoncomeoncomeoncomeon!” She began to drag him through the crowds to the eye of her desire.
Maccas. How long had it been since she had last had Maccas? Thinking back as she dragged her boyfriend through the crowds, she realised it would quite literally have been years. Why was that? She felt like it must be because she hated such greasy food, but on the other hand…did she really? For a moment, she was confused. That wasn’t true. There was absolutely nothing better than a happy meal on an empty stomach. Why had she avoided McDonalds like the plague for so long on?
How could she possibly hate McDonalds? They had toys!
Her headache throbbed menacingly.
She made it halfway across the room before realising she was acting like an absolute idiot.
Abruptly returning to her senses, she realised she was racing to McDonalds with a stupid, vacant grin on her face whilst pulling her boyfriend along, just like a little kid who had seen a flashy toy and needed their parents’ wallet. Looking over her shoulder, she saw Adam eyeing her with a look that was half bemusement and half concern, entirely unsure as to what to make of all of this.
She didn’t blame him. What was she doing?
Toys? She was thought to herself in disbelief. Happy meal? What?
Something in her head twinged sharply and she physically cringed. Her headache was getting worse.
“Sorry,” she muttered, suddenly embarrassed. “I don’t know why I did that.”
After a moment’s hesitation, Adam chuckled in that same half-laughing, half-worried manner yet again. “It’s cool,” he said. “I just wish you got this excited when we’re in bed!”
She stuck her tongue out at him and continued pulling him through the crowds in the general direction of McDonalds, this time in a manner more like what one would expect from an adult.
They reached their destination without any more trouble and found their place at the back of the queue. Being midday on a Saturday, the line naturally snaked away from the front counter and down the walkway a short distance, and as such it took a minute more for the line to move far enough along for them to see the end of their journey. Behind the counter, underpaid, pimply teenagers raced around frantically in what was probably a vain attempt to keep the machine going and the queue moving. All the while, a short Asian lady that was presumably the manager shrieked orders and directions at them over the background noise of the court. As the couple drew closer, step by step, Bethany found herself watching the situation and felt pang of sympathy for everyone involved.
It really must be a terrible place to be employed, she thought to herself. Look at them! They’re not even -
Her internal monologue was abruptly cut short as she saw one of the girls behind the counter lean across and give the little boy she was serving something small, blue and wrapped in plastic, complete with a winning smile for his mother. She felt her breath catch in her throat at the sight, and suddenly anything and everything else she had been thinking about this wonderful, wonderful place was instantly replaced by ecstatic, vibrant joy.
She was seconds away from getting her own toy, just like that little boy...who really wasn’t so little, when she thought about it. He must have been three or four.
Hell. To. The. Yes.
It better not be blue, though, she thought excitedly. She was a girl. Blue was for boys!
She began to bounce on the spot again. She’d never felt so alive before in all her twenty-three years! This was what it meant to live, damn it! Maybe if Adam was feeling really, really nice, they could come back next week and get the next toy as well – they cycled different toys in and out every week or so, after all. Everyone knew that. Maybe she could get them ALL. That would be cool!
She bit back a squeal of excitement, her joy physically manifesting in a fit of uncontrollable fidgeting. She couldn’t help it, even if she wanted to; she was just that thrilled with the events that were about to unfold.
At that moment, her euphoria was abruptly interrupted, though. They were second from the front when her phone began to ring. She had been an enormous fan of Bon Jovi for as long as she could remember, and her ringtone always showcased one of her favourites. She rotated a number of different songs in and out with relative frequency, but today it was the chorus of Who Says You Can’t Go Home. As the couple took a step forward to the front of the line, the voice of Jon Bon Jovi himself suddenly began to blare without inhibition, albeit muted, from within the clutter of her bag.
Behind her, Adam sighed in exasperation. “Great timing,” he said, eyeing the distance between themselves and the counter. “Do you wanna tell me what you want? I’ll get it for you while you answer it.”
Bethany muttered an obscenity to herself, suddenly irritated – how dare Jon Bon Jovi interrupt her now, of all times? She was about to get a toy (a GIRL’S toy, to be specific!), now was not the time for rock! “They can ring back,” she answered. There were more pressing matters at hand; she was so, so close to getting her toy! It could wait till she was sitting down with both that and her happy meal.
“It’s alright, it’s alright, it’s alright...who says you can’t go home?”
She giggled a little to herself and began to sway a little to the beat. It wasn’t a conscious thing she felt moved to do; rather, she felt compelled to do it, and she didn’t really see a reason to oppose it. She was never the most graceful dancer (something she blamed entirely on her weight), but if she had have seen herself then, she would have regretted it even moreso than normal. It was quite literally the most undignified sway anyone could possibly produce, doubled with some awkward flailing of her arms. As it was, though, she didn’t care. The thought that there were hundreds and hundreds of people around to watch never even crossed her mind – it was a damn good song, and she was going to enjoy it, even if it did come at the expense of whoever was ringing.
Adam just looked on, becoming more and more worried by the second. Something was very clearly off with his girlfriend.
“Can I help anyone?” an adolescent voice called. They were up.
Subsequently, whoever was calling her threw in the towel a moment later.
“Beth, let’s go,” Adam prompted nervously. He prodded her ribs from behind. “Let’s get some food. Stop with the...whatever this is.”
“Mmmmmkaaaaaaaaaaaaay,” she offered with a slight giggle, drawing the ‘word’ out dramatically before bounding across to the counter ahead of her boyfriend. Adam trailed along a step behind, still not sure what to make of Bethany’s newfound enthusiasm for...well, everything.
“What can I get for you today?” the gangly teenager across from her asked without the slightest hint that he really wanted to get anything for her today, tomorrow or pretty much ever. His hat was slightly askew and his face was red from the exertion of running around to fetch food and drinks, but he seemed collected enough as he spoke. He dully stared at Bethany from across the counter without even the faintest hint of interest on his face.
YOU WILL BE MINE, BELOVED PLASTIC THINGY.
She didn’t even know what range of toys they had at the moment. That didn’t change the fact she wanted it more than anything else in the world right now.
“Happy meal!” she exclaimed brightly. “WITH A TOY!”
The teenager raised an eyebrow. “Uh. Sure,” he shrugged. “Was that with the nuggets or a cheeseburger?”
That made her think.
The cheeseburger did sound awfully big. Maybe the nuggets would be more appropriate for a little girl like her?
She looked over her shoulder to Adam for advice.
He was watching her, but his face was stony. It was very obvious that no advice was forthcoming.
“Nuggets,” she said hesitantly, turning back around to the front. Did she make the right choice?
“And will that be with a boy’s toy or a girl’s?”
“GIRL’S!” she shrieked, her heart soaring with excitement. This was it!
The teenager simply stared for a second, then slowly began to laugh.
Had Bethany been paying more attention, she may have noticed a few things. She may have noticed the fact that she had the manager’s undivided attention, who was watching to see if she needed to step in and help her employee. She may have seen Adam cringe. She may have even seen a couple of people in the line behind her smirk a little to themselves. Unfortunately, she wasn’t paying that much attention – she was totally engrossed in the pink unicorn that momentarily slid across the counter towards her, still wrapped in its protective plastic bag. She began to giggle uncontrollably to herself, snatching it from the cashier and waving it around in front of her face. It was pink with a blue, glittery mane, and it was the physical embodiment of everything right in this messed up world.
“That’s hilarious,” the teenager said in amused disbelief, almost to himself, watching Bethany’s antics as if it was the most fascinating thing in the world. He eventually turned his attention to Adam. “Just. Hilarious. How about you? Can I get you anything?”
“Shut up,” Adam growled in response. He gently nudged Bethany aside so he could get to the counter. “She’s not well, how dare you laugh at her. Do I need to get your manager?”
He glared at the boy for a second, whose mirth had instantly evaporated at being reprimanded so bluntly by a customer before adding, “And that’s it, thanks. How much do I owe you?”
He might not have been particularly harsh, but it had been enough. Before anyone could so much a blink, the manager in question was at the teen’s side.
“Is there a problem, sir?” she asked. Her voice was shrill and grating, and even though she was distracted with her new bestest friend, Bethany winced at the sound and returned her attention to the situation at hand. The lady in question was short, squat and had an uncanny resemblance to a toad. She took an immediate dislike to her, and her imagination instantly morphed the lady’s cap into a pointed witch’s hat and her pinstriped uniform into a long, black robe. She could practically see the warts and boils on the tip of this beast’s nose. The Wicked Witch of the Mall.
“None at all,” Adam answered coolly. He watched the cashier with the slightest hint of amusement, who had shrunk away behind his boss at the first sign of confrontation, before turning back to the manager. “You’ll have to excuse my girlfriend, she gets...excited very easily. How much do I owe you?”
“For just the happy meal? Four dollars,” she said in a voice just as smooth as her customer’s. She watched him carefully, still more than ready for an argument if it came to it.
“No problem.” Adam dug his wallet out of his pocket, producing a few coins and placing them in her hand. “Thank you.”
The woman gave him one last, suspicious look, followed by a curious glance at Bethany, before hurrying away once again to start putting their meal together. A tense silence descended as they waited for their food. Bethany took the opportunity to admire the toy she held in her hand, grinning widely at the mere fact that she was holding it and IT WAS HERS AT LAST!
A brief minute passed, then manager returned with a small, brown bag, practically throwing it across the counter to her customers and stalking off without a second glance. Unable to stop herself, Bethany stuck her tongue out at the lady’s retreating figure. Witch.
It’s important to remember that, in the end, good always triumphs over evil, she thought brightly to herself with a slight giggle.
Muttering darkly, Adam snatched the bag off the counter and began to walk off with long, aggravated strides. Surprised, it was all Bethany could do to hurry after him, although not without waving goodbye to the amused cashier before she did so.
They walked a short distance away before stopping, moving out of the way of the crowds along the wall. “Beth, what the hell?” Adam demanded. He glared at her. “What was that?”
“What was what?” she answered innocently, and to her credit, she did feel entirely innocent. What did she have to feel guilty about? She’d been very mature and very polite when she got her toy and her food from the nice cashier. She hadn’t done anything wrong. Regardless, she felt a hint of doubt. Adam did look very mad...
Adam spluttered a little. “What was what?” he repeated in disbelief. “The manager was about to call security.”
“Huh?” She didn’t understand.
Adam stared for a second, then changed his tact.
“Bethany, please,” he began. The slightest, fearful tremor had crept into his voice. “I don’t know why you’re acting like this, but you’re beginning to scare me. Just tell me, are you sure, absolutely positively, undoubtedly sure, that you’re ok?”
“Mmhmm,” she answered, relieved that apparently she wasn’t in trouble. Why wouldn’t she be ok, anyway?
With an agitated grunt, Adam spun around to observe the crowds, not pressing the issue any further at that point. Bethany watched as he scanned the room for somewhere to sit down.
“Come on, let’s find somewhere for you to eat,” he muttered. Grabbing Bethany’s hand, he led her away from their secluded spot and back into the process of weaving in and out of far too many people to count, beginning the epic quest to find a table.
The phone began to ring again as they walked. It distracted Bethany from her thoughts, and her irritation deepened. Spam was no terrible, whether it was in her emails or on her phone.
What do they want? Bethany thought to herself, annoyed. After everything that had happened this morning, she just wanted to be left alone with her boyfriend to enjoy her food and her toy. She deserved a little alone time, for the love of God. She swung her bag around to her front, reaching in and fumbling around for the phone. Years of practice made her adept at opening it blindly, and as such she keyed in her passcode without even pulling it out of the bag and hung up. Whoever was harassing her was going to wait till she was ready, and she wasn’t interested in hearing fifty thousand “it’s alright!”s while that happened.
Before long, their quest came to an end. The table was on the very edge of the central dining area, halfway across the room from McDonalds, and a minute later they were comfortably seated and ready to eat. Bethany placed her bag on the floor beneath her, hung her jacket over the back of her seat, and then immediately turned her attention to the toy. Ignoring the food entirely, she ripped the plastic wrapping to shreds and violently pulled the unicorn free of its suffocating prison.
“Why do you even want that thing?” Adam asked flatly, watching her sigh contentedly and admire the tiny figurine.
“It’s a toy!” Happier than she could ever remember being, she began to make the toy ‘walk’ along the edge of the table. It really would be cool to have more than one – there was only so much you could do with a single toy, after all. She’d definitely have to pose the question to Adam later. Maybe she could even collect them ALL? That would be like...like...a gazillion times more fun than having just a few would be.
“I can see that. That’s not what I asked.”
If you can see it’s a toy, can’t you also see how awesome it is?
She giggled to herself, placing her baby down on the corner of the table so she could start eating. Ignoring Adam’s second question (mainly because she realised she wasn’t entirely sure herself, other than the fact it was amazing and incredible and fantastic), she opened the bag with her food, laying it all out in front of her and digging into the chips. She never took her eyes off the unicorn all the while – really, why would she?
You shall be called Sunshine and you will be my sunshine, she thought to the glittery pony. Man, she was clever. It was like that song: you are my sunshine, my only sunshine...get it? Get it? Sunshine kept you alive, and that was exactly what this pony did for her! She was so awesome with wordplay, and at that moment she realised she was in the wrong profession. Why was she not aspiring to be a comedian?
After a moment’s hesitation out of total uncertainty whether to comment or not, Adam opted to simply shrug and pulled out his phone, apparently content to check his Facebook and web surf while she ate. Bethany didn’t notice how little he took his eyes off her throughout.
They sat there in silence for a short while, both going about their own things without really interacting with the other, before Bethany realised she had a problem. It hadn’t been so obvious while they were up and about and moving around, but as she sat there and picked at her chips and her six McNuggets, admiring the sparkliest pony she’d ever seen, she realised that her headache was fast approaching migraine territory. Whereas before the storm had been lurking just out of sight across the horizon line, it was at the point now where it had swelled to epic proportions and was now a raging tempest that engulfed her poor, under-prepared vessel. The pain was becoming worse and worse with each passing second, and now it was positively throbbing. After a particularly painful twinge, she cringed and moaned a little, putting down her handful of chips.
“Daddyyyyyyyyyy, my head - ”
At that moment, the world began to spin. She gasped and fell back in her seat, a much louder moan than before escaping her lips involuntarily.
It had two effects on her.
Firstly, it abruptly jolted her back to reality. Just like that, she realised that she was sitting there with a plastic unicorn and a happy meal. Shocked embarrassment bloomed without further adieu.
Secondly, the motion of falling backwards made her bladder twinge uncomfortably, and she realised she needed to pee again. Apparently, that was somehow possible after voiding gallons and gallons of pee from it not even half an hour ago.
Wait, what? Suddenly, Bethany realised what she had been doing and how she had been acting for the last twenty minutes. She had totally zoned out and had gone into autopilot...and had somehow fucked up being an adult in the process, apparently. What just happened?
She looked down at the nuggets and the unicorn in front of her.
What am I doing?
She began to fidget in her seat, and totally against her will, her hands darted down between her legs, pressing against her crotch to stop herself from wetting her skirt.
Hey, whoa there. Stop. STOP. Hands off genitals!
“Excuse me?” Adam’s tone was sharp.
“Wha?” the question didn’t come out quite as she intended, but she attributed it to surprise. She quickly looked up, blushing as she realised her boyfriend could clearly see her failing at potty training...again.
“What did you just call me?” Adam asked in disbelief. He’d put down the phone and was drumming his fingers on the table. His eyes narrowed as he saw where her hands were. “And what are you doing with your hands?”
I don’t even know myself, to be totally honest, Bethany thought to herself nervously. She tried to yank her hands away, but they refused to co-operate. She needed to pee, and apparently her body knew what the best precaution for that was.
Enough! No more little kid bullshit!
She was a big girl, after all.
“Doin’ nothin’,” she answered innocently. “Just playin’.”
What? No. Nononononononono.
The worlds tumbled out of mouth carelessly and completely contrary to what she wanted to actually say, complete with a childish lisp.
Why am I acting like this? She screamed internally. Stop it. Stop it now!
But she didn’t. She just pressed her hands into her crotch even harder, starting to whine a little too.
The pain in her head stabbed at her brain over and over and over with all the prowess of a rusty knife...
...and then suddenly, everything stopped.
She was starting to bounce in her seat out of sheer desperation when at last her gaze fell upon her unicorn again, and just like that...everything was ok. It was like flicking a light on or off; she practically heard the ‘click’ as the switch was made. Just like that, her internal screams died away and turned into innocent, childish confusion. Why was she berating herself again? Was something wrong? Her headache abruptly vanished. Her vision cleared. Just like that, everything was ok, and nothing mattered beyond the lump of plastic clenched lovingly in her hand and the agony in her bladder. Had she been thinking clearer, she would have realised the bladder situation was identical to how it had happened earlier: no warning whatsoever until it was much, much too late.
In other words, entirely unnatural.
“Ok, Beth, you’re officially scaring me,” Adam was begging. “Please. Why are you acting like this?”
She had been distracted with her own confused thoughts, and his voice dragged her attention back to the external world. She had to ask him why he was worried. Why was he scared? Was her unicorn scaring him? She wasn’t sure, and she didn’t understand how something as cute as her toy could scare someone...but nothing else seemed to make sense. What else was there that could be an issue?
Her bladder twinged violently, and any thought of her Daddy being afraid evaporated. There was a much more pressing issue she needed to attend to.
“Daddy!” she squealed. “I need to potty!” In her haste to force her hand back across her crotch, she dropped her unicorn. For the first and last time of its life, Sunshine the unicorn took the sky and flew...for about three seconds. Following those three seconds, it hit the floor noiselessly and bounced away. Beth shrieked as it vanished from site under the table next to them.
“Beth?” Adam was talking, but she wasn’t paying attention. Her baby was gone! His voice seemed to be coming from far, far away, as if through a haze. “Beth, talk.....to.........me.”
But she couldn’t. She was distracted with the loss of her best friend, and unfortunately, that particular fact raised more issues than just being unable to talk to Adam. Her concentration slipped, and in that moment, the floodgates broke open, ending the battle almost as soon as it had begun. She had pottied not long ago and hadn’t drank anything since, but somehow, that didn’t seem to be a factor in all of this. Before she could so much as jump to her feet and run to the potty, Daddy or no Daddy, there was a sudden spurt of warmth in her panties, followed by a trickling sensation that quickly spread down her thighs, her legs, and even into her shoes and socks. She gasped out loud, and instantly tried to shrink down into her seat, away from her Daddy’s sight. She couldn’t see it, but she knew exactly what she’d just down.
She’d just pottied in her pants.
Twenty minutes ago, she would have been mortified; after all, what twenty-three year old spontaneously wets their pants? However, that was twenty minutes ago, and twenty-three year old Bethany was decidedly less twenty-three now. As such, her only reaction was dull, muted shame that she had failed to hold it before her Daddy could rush her to the potty. She’d let him down. Tears began to burn at her eyes.
What was her Daddy going to say to all of this? She was meant to be a big girl, and she hadn’t even made it out of the seat, let alone all the way to the potty. She looked across the table guiltily, praying that he’d be understanding, even if he had seemed very mad with her before.
Accidents happen, after all.
Especially to little girls like her.
Continued in Part 3: Who Says You Can't Go Home?
Continued in Part 3: Who Says You Can't Go Home?