I woke with a start, strange dreams having plagued my sleep. They were about a man who came into my bedroom and promised me a new life that he claimed I would enjoy and asked that I trust him. Considering he was my walking wet dream—tall, dark-haired, and handsome—I said yes to my dream man.
It was odd because it had felt so real, but I knew it wasn’t because I didn’t have a boyfriend. All I had was work and school. At least school’s out for the summer, I consoled myself as I stretched before slowly opening my eyes.
Even though it was break time for me, I had a job waiting tables at the local diner. The twelve-hour work days were back-breaking, but they paid the bills and allowed me to continue my education.
To my surprise, the room was completely dark. By this time of day, the sun should have been peeking through the cracks of my blinds.
Glancing toward my clock to see if I had overslept or even worse, woken up too early, I found an empty nightstand.
I blinked to make sure I was truly awake. When I looked again, I didn’t see my flimsy white discount store furniture. This room’s furnishings were dark brown and looked like real wood.
My breath quickened and my stomach churned as the cold dread of anxiety washed over me. Where was I?
Leaning up on my forearms, I discovered I was in a bed that wasn’t my own. It was king-sized with fresh white linens; completely different from my tiny twin-sized bed with its purple linens.
“What the hell happened last night?” I muttered, looking around trying to get a sense of where I was.
The walls were a light shade of green. A bookcase stood in the far corner and it was filled with dozens of books, but I couldn’t read their titles. Next to it was a vanity. On the other side of the room sat a matching dresser and beside it, a door that led into what I hoped was a bathroom.
A sickly warm heat spread through me as a soft ringing began in my ears. Take a deep breath, Lilly; you cannot get sick. Now would not be a good time to let my worries consume me.
Instead of focusing on my fear, I tried to remember what I had done the night before. I’d come home from work, showered, ate, read a little bit, and had fallen asleep.
Lifting the sheet, I scanned my body. I was wearing the same pajamas I put on the night before. So how the heck did I get here?
A creaking of hinges made me jump. Letting the sheet fall, I looked up. There was a second door I hadn’t noticed before. It had been closed and was now open. Light flooded into my room, but was partly blocked by a man, the same one from my dream.
Well over six feet tall, he had dark brown hair curling past his ears that showed off his eyes in a matching shade of milk chocolate. The black shirt he wore hugged him like a glove and with his arms crossed over his chest, it showed off his bulging muscles.
He was the man of my fantasies, save for one thing. He’d kidnapped me before I had even gotten his name or given consent to the kidnapping.
“Good morning, Lilly,” he greeted. His powerful well-muscled body moved with easy grace as he walked into the room and came to the side of the bed. “My name is Charles Davidson. How are you feeling?” Taking a seat on the edge of the bed, he leaned in, putting his hand flat on the mattress on the other side of my legs, effectively trapping me.
It’s okay, it’s going to be okay. I swallowed, trying to wet my parched throat. Slowly, I scooted away from him. I didn’t want to be close to this stranger.
A million questions raced through my brain, but I settled on the one that seemed the most imperative. “Where am I?”
He stared at me intently for a moment, his penetrating gaze making me wiggle underneath the covers. I didn’t like the feeling that he was x-raying me. It felt like he had stripped me bare and was watching me, waiting for me to make the first move.
In the silence, I realized that I hadn’t answered his question. “I’m feeling confused this morning and I’d like you to answer my questions… please.” Hopefully, my added please would soften him up to share the information I wanted.
He sent a half-smile my way, making my insides quiver a little.
“Thank you for answering my question. I’m sorry that you’re feeling disoriented, but it’s understandable. Most littles are when they first come here.”
Littles… that was a term used in some of the erotic books I had read. Another wave of the sickly warmth washed over me as my limbs began to tingle and nausea worse than I had ever felt set in. Not now, not now, I thought as I rubbed my stomach trying to ease it.
“To answer your question, you are at a special government facility for adult children whose parents were killed in active military duty.”
“What?” Of all the explanations for where I was, this one had never crossed my mind.
When I was seven years old, my parents had both been deployed overseas. I had stayed with my grandmother. One night, we got a call. A fire bomb had gone off under the car my folks were in. There were no survivors.
Losing both parents at such a young age was devastating. Making matters worse, shortly afterward, my grandmother died. With no other family to take me in, I ended up in foster care until I ran away.
All of these events happened over thirteen years ago. Why would the government be interested in me now? Better yet, if they cared so much that they needed to kidnap me when I was twenty years old, why couldn’t they have done it when I had actually needed them, like when my foster dad had decided to get touchy feely with me?
“I don’t understand. I’m at this government facility because my parents died while they were serving their country?”
His short response had me clenching my jaw. Deep breath, Lilly, getting annoyed won’t help matters.
“But why? I haven’t broken any laws or spoken out against the Army.”
The man’s face lit up with a huge grin revealing pearly white teeth. Could someone say bleaching tray addict?
“You’re not here because we thought you were a danger to society. You’re here so the government can give back something taken from you in your parents’ untimely deaths.”
My nostrils flared as my annoyance turned to anger. We were going around in circles with this conversation. I wanted answers!
Taking a deep breath, I pinched the bridge of my nose to try to control my frustration. Throwing a temper tantrum wouldn’t get me anywhere.
Clenching my hands on either side of me, I looked him straight in the eyes and demanded, “Tell me why I am here.”
He nodded and in a soft voice answered, “When your parents died, you were put on a list. Over the years, the government watched you struggle as a result of your parents’ death. After observing how hard of a life you’ve had, you were chosen to be placed in this special facility to give you back a small piece of what you missed out on as a child. The ability to be carefree, to laugh and play with toys and others.”
What? That was a load of bullcrap! “My life hasn’t been hard,” I spat out. “Sure, it hasn’t always been the easiest, but I take care of myself just fine. I’m a straight-A student and a hardworking employee. I might not have the best of everything, but I get by.”
People assuming I’d had it difficult because I grew up in foster care was a pet peeve of mine. Yes, it hadn’t been the ideal situation, but it had helped shape me into the person I was today. That had to count for something.
“You mean, you don’t consider losing your parents at the tender age of seven, then your grandmother four months later, and being thrust into foster homes where you lived with eleven different families until you were fourteen and then ended up living on the streets having to start work at fifteen a hard life?”
I straightened my back, hoping the extra inch of height would give me the courage to stand up to this mad man. The sheet fell to my waist, exposing my low-cut purple cotton pajama top. That didn’t bother me at the moment as I was too fired up, wanting to tell this guy how it was.
Looking him straight in the eye, I said, “Yeah, those parts sucked, but I’m twenty now and have built a good life for myself. I got my GED, I’m taking night classes at a community college and soon hope to transfer to a university to finish my degree. In the meantime, I have my own apartment and a full-time job. Everything is under control.”
All things considered, I was very lucky. I knew several girls who had been in the same spot as me and were currently paying their way through life by lying on their backs. A long time ago, I made a promise to myself that I would never allow that to happen and through a lot of hard work and a bit of luck, I was able to keep it.
His eyes gleamed like glassy volcanic rock ready to explode as his jaw ticked. He was angry.
“You’re telling me that you’re happy with everything in your life? Your waitressing job with long, crappy hours and horrible pay and then afterwards, having to go to night school? And when you get home at almost midnight and barely have enough food to feed yourself, you call that under control?”
I took a deep breath to try to calm the rising frustration that was building inside me. This guy was clearly trying to piss me off and I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of doing so.
“Sure, my life isn’t as great as what it could have been. But, it’s the best that I can do, and I’m happy with how things have turned out. It might not suit someone like you, but I’m completely content.”
His hands went up in the air as a sign of defeat. I took the moment to move away from him a bit. This way when he put his hands back down, he wouldn’t be able to trap me again.
My move didn’t go unnoticed. He followed me with his eyes before his eyebrows came together in question.
“I’m not trying to argue with you, Lilly. All I’m doing is pointing out that whether you want to admit it or not, you’ve had a challenging life and it’s the government’s fault because your parents were employed by them at the time of their deaths. If they hadn’t been, they would still be here today most likely and you would have had a wonderful upbringing. Because of that, we want to help you, in return for all that you’ve suffered these past several years.”
“Awesome. Tell them to write me a check and I’ll be on my merry way.”
The man let out a deep baritone laugh. It was almost enchanting to hear. His laugh was the type that was infectious. Despite my current predicament, I felt the corners of my mouth turning up.
“You’re funny, sweetie. You will be happy to know that you will get your check in three months.”
Just like that the humor and my smile were gone from the situation. “I was only joking. I don’t need pity money. Take me home and we’ll call it even.”
“I can’t do that, Lilly.” He reached for my hand, but I pulled it back. If he thought I would allow him to touch me, he had another think coming. I learned a long time ago that an innocent touch had the potential to turn into something more, quickly.
“If the government has been watching me my entire life, why didn’t they step in when they discovered my foster parents were abusing me or while I was living on the streets?”
Charles’ lips went into a thin line. “They didn’t step in back then because sadly, the officials who are in control of this island weren’t aware of the pain you were suffering until recently. If they had known, they would have intervened much earlier.”
This wasn’t making sense to me. I still didn’t understand why they were butting their nose into my life now.
“Why don’t you tell me exactly what’s going on.” As I made my request, that awful, warm ill feeling washed over my body again as my breathing accelerated and my insides quivered.
The man sighed before giving his explanation. “This facility is special. It’s a place where people who have been hurt deeply at a young age are brought so they can regress to whatever age they want and are assigned a mommy or daddy to take care of them. Once a participant picks an age, for a period of three months, they get to experience the childhood they never had. Then at the end of the twelve weeks, the participants are given a check for thirty thousand dollars and are taken back to where they lived.”
I stared at the stranger for a moment, as my mind went blank. The only thing I could focus on was the constant beating of my heart. It was getting louder.
He had to be kidding, or this was some sort of practical joke. This couldn’t be real.
Looking around the room, I tried to see where the cameras were hidden, unable to imagine what television show would do this. Whichever one it was, I was going to sue them for pain and suffering.
“What are you looking for, Lilly?”
“The cameras,” I replied, moving to the other side of the bed, getting off it and heading toward the bookcase. There had to be one concealed behind one of the books. I started flinging titles off the shelves, looking for a little black dot to confirm my suspicions.
“Honey, there aren’t any cameras here. You’re just making a mess.”
I turned to face the man, who was now standing by the bed. He was lying, he had to be.
“Come on, joke’s over. Where am I really?” I could feel my stomach churn again as bitter acid rose in the back of my throat. It was not a pleasant taste.
My kidnapper came close, stopping about a foot away. He bent down so we were at eye level. “Sweetie, deny it all you like, but you’re here for the next three months.”
“No, this can’t be happening.”
This was crazy. Sure, on my Kindle I had a few ageplay books. I loved those stories, but that’s all they were, stories. Ageplay didn’t exist. It was fiction.
“I’m not fibbing, Lilly. This entire island practices ageplay as a way to heal old wounds. You get to choose the age that you wish to regress to and you get to decide when you want to start your three months. If you choose, you can act as an adult for a couple of days or even a couple of weeks, to get settled here, but once you commit to your little age, you must act young for three months, and then you’ll be free to go or you may stay here if you wish.”
The room was starting to tilt ever so slightly. I was hearing what he was saying, but I couldn’t believe any of it. Ageplay… three months… It was suddenly starting to sink in that this wasn’t a joke, but was reality.
I shook my head, my brain scrambling to wrap itself around what was going on. “No. I don’t want this. I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to stay.”
Sadness blazed in his eyes. “You have to, Lilly. You cannot leave until your three months of regression are up.”
My stomach felt like it had just been delivered a death blow. The bile at the back of my throat no longer stayed there.
Rushing past my captor, I ran into the open door, which was thankfully the bathroom. Popping the toilet seat open, I let the contents of my tummy go. Unfortunately, I hadn’t eaten much the day before, so most of what came up was stomach acid.
I wanted to cry, but remembered my mother always telling me that tears would only make getting sick worse. At the moment, I didn’t really care.
“It’s okay, baby girl. Try relaxing for me,” the man cooed, rubbing my back as I continued dry heaving.
When my stomach stopped rolling, I stood up and took a hasty step back, anything to get away from his physical touch. The last thing I wanted was any comfort from him. He held his arms out as if to catch me if I fell.
With the room spinning—not a good sign—I swayed on my feet. Skin clammy, shaking, with a dull buzzing in my ears, I leaned against the wall trying to think. There had to be a way out of this place. Then inspiration suddenly struck.
“People are going to notice I’m gone. My teachers, friends, my boss.” As much as my boss drove me insane, I knew if I didn’t show up to work for a couple of days, she’d have the National Guard searching for me in no time.
“It’s the middle of May, Lilly. Your classes are done so we don’t have to worry about your teachers. Your boss has been notified of your absence and your job will be waiting for you when your time here is up. As for your best friends, Molly and Paige, they were told that you won an all-expenses paid cruise and will be gone the entire summer.”
At his explanation, it felt like my stomach was going to leave my body for good.
“Relax for me. You’re okay.”
When the last wave of nausea passed, I slowly focused on my captor once again. He had his hands on my elbows, supporting me.
I tried to shake free of his grasp, but he wouldn’t budge.
It felt like my entire body was beginning to vibrate as the world shifted.
“You look as pale as a ghost and you’re shaking horribly. I’m not letting you go, young lady.”
The steel in his tone brooked no arguments, but I had to try one more time. “Please,” I begged, a lone tear rolling down my face. He had to let me go. I didn’t belong here.
He looked like I had punched him in the gut as he bent down so we were at eye level. “I know that this is a lot to take in, but it’s for your benefit. Just look at these three months as a vacation. One where you can laugh, and color, and go to the beach, and do whatever you want that you didn’t get to do as a child.”
I took a couple of shaky deep breaths, trying beyond all hope to not get sick again. I had to focus on something else besides my captivity. If I didn’t, I’d be hunched over the toilet again.
“Why are you here?”
He smiled before tucking some of my scarlet locks behind my ear. “I’m here, Lilly, because I’m going to be your daddy for the next three months.”
Looking at the man who I had first found attractive and now knew was the one who was going to hold me hostage and treat me like a child for twelve weeks, pushed me past my breaking point.
Clenching tight from the fear of what lay ahead, my stomach ached worse and the nausea just wouldn’t go away. Big black dots clouded my vision as a loud buzzing droned in my ears. My captor’s lips were moving, but I couldn’t hear or understand what he was saying. The dark spots grew larger, joining together until I could see nothing else, and surrendering to the blackness, I passed out.