What kind of event are you taking me to?
I finally replied, knowing that my question would never be answered truthfully.
It’s just a ‘little’ event at that club you like!
It’s nothing big, I PROMISE!!
You’ll like it this time! I know it.
Ariana, come on!! I really want you to come.
An insistent buzzing pulled my attention away from the ceiling fan in my room to answer the message that Taylor had already replied to. I hoped that I could ignore it, but it didn’t seem like she was going to let up. Soon she would phone me if I didn’t reply quickly enough. Taylor wanted to invite me to another club event. I knew that going would be a bad idea as the last several had been incredibly risqué.
Shaking my head, I started typing a response, stopping to give attention to the twenty-five-pound cat rubbing against me.
“Binx, I’ve already fed you,” I said to the orange and white Maine coon. “You don’t need any more food.”
I considered Binx to be one of my better friends here in America. Even though my cat never learned to speak English, I was sure he could understand me. I connected on a deeper level with my cat watching TV than I did with real people. A small amount of pain sat on my chest as the oversized cat kneaded at my sweater to make himself comfortable. I was content with this position until my phone buzzed once again. Taylor had sent a mirage of question marks over a series of texts.
Taylor often made me wonder why I was still living in America. I had lived in Japan for two years, planning to stay until my brother begged me to return to take care of our dying father while he couldn’t. I longed for the Japanese springtime delicacies. I didn’t care that Japan would leave my hair a frizzy mess, it was worth it when the cherry blossoms would fall like rain. Every mild winter I had spent in Japan made me realize that Chicago’s bone-chilling winter was just around the corner with September approaching.
My phone buzzed again.
Ariana? Come onnnn!
I want a friend to come with me!!
She called me her friend, but I swear I was more of an acquaintance to her. The friend that comes when no one else wants to: the back-up friend. She often invited me out as a ruse to meet someone I might like with her, only I turned out to be a third wheel as ‘my’ date never showed.
“Binx, do you think I should go to the club with Taylor?”
Binx finally laid down and rubbed his face against mine.
“Well, it is Saturday,” I pondered, only to follow with, “But I do work tomorrow.” I didn’t like being tired, hungover, or late for classes.
I tried to come up with an excuse not to go, only to find myself talking back to Binx. “But classes aren’t until the afternoon, my materials are prepared and so long as I return at a decent time, I should be fine.” With no more excuses, I sighed. “What do you think, Binx?” He rolled off my body with little grace. He made me question whether all cats could land on their feet. “Is that you saying yes??”
With Binx no longer on my chest, I took a full breath of air and grabbed my phone, just knowing in the pit of my stomach that I was going to regret this decision.
I guess… but I really can’t stay out late, ok?
If I had better friends, I wouldn’t have had this problem. I knew the next message Taylor would send me would be filled with emojis.
Yes, Ari!!! I’ll be there in an hour. BE READY!
Immediately regretting my decision, I peeled myself off the bed and glazed over my closet, trying to choose something suitable to wear. My hands graced over the pastel pink dress. Taylor hadn’t given me instructions on what to wear like she usually would. She usually criticized me for my outfits, always telling me I looked like a child and needed to grow up.
“She’ll call me out if I wear this,” I conceded, deciding to choose the dark red dress that snapped with a button around my neck and flared at my waist.
When the dress was securely on my body, I investigated the mirror. My face looked puffy, even though it wasn’t. I turned in the mirror, looking at my figure, trying to suck my stomach in to look thinner than it already was. My hands ran across the sides of my body, my arms, and then my wrists. I let out a groan of frustration, feeling that my body was too big to look good in this dress without something to cover my legs and arms.
I appeased my insecurities with one of my beige cardigans and black tights before drifting to the bathroom to deal with the messy mane on top of my head. Somehow, I managed to tame the long black curly locks by securing half of it in a bun. I had almost finished touching up my minimal make-up when my phone began to ring.
How long had I been getting ready? Had I obsessed with myself for that long? I picked up my phone to answer, making me realize that it had been over an hour. My realization was confirmed when Taylor’s irritated voice spoke through the phone. “Where are you?”
Hurrying out of the bathroom I turned on the TV, grabbed a small handbag and laced a pair of brown ankle boots. “I’m just opening the door; I’ll be right there.”
It didn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the bar, Dance and Chill wasn’t just hosting a sports event like they normally would. I was also coming to an understanding of why Taylor may not have instructed me in what to wear because even she was dressed in the attire she usually criticized me for wearing.
Taylor’s blonde hair was sectioned off into two large pigtails with bright scrunchies. They matched the pink shirt she wore with a teddy bear. Over the top of her shirt was a denim overall skirt with brightly coloured patches. Her make-up was bright, and hanging from her neck was a pink pacifier.
As I looked around nervously, she was not the only one in this attire. Turning to look at her, I asked, “Tay…” My voice had been hesitant. “What have you brought me to?”
She didn’t answer me, she was focused on someone waving at her.
Glancing around once more I squinted to see that a man was pushing a large stroller. I was about to comment on ‘who was bringing a child to this event’ only to realize that the person inside the stroller was an adult.
“Taylor,” I said sternly, trying to get her attention. When she continued to ignore me, I grabbed her wrist firmly to make her face me. “What is this?” I demanded.
She looked at me with a quirky smile, pulling her hand away and point towards a whiteboard sign with the words “DDlg Munch” and baby shower like designs.
What the hell is a munch?
“It’s a place where people meet up,” she said simply. She made it sound like I should know what the hell she was talking about. I gave her a dissatisfied frown.
“I gathered that much. Thanks for stating the obvious—”
“Oh Ari, don’t get huffy with me! I thought you would like it; you know because it’s your kind of thing.”
My jaw dropped and my head craned to the side. I took a deep breath to stop myself from yelling. “Thing? What thing? I don’t even know what DDlg is!” She looked shocked at this. Did she honestly believe that I knew something about this? “What is it, Taylor?”
Taylor didn’t even give me a two-minute explanation of what it was. I wasn’t even given the chance to ask her more questions as we were interrupted by a male in a suit. He gave a kiss on her cheek and whispered something in her ear.
“I’ll be right there,” Taylor told the man and I wondered what I was going to get looped into. I became cautious when I realized that I probably wasn’t going to be joining her as she started to step backwards away from me.
“Hey, I just have to go say hi to some friends. Why don’t you go inside and get like a drink or something and wait for me?”
Before I could answer in protest, Taylor had dashed towards the man, locking her arms with his.
I stomped my feet in frustration, curling my hand into a fist, just like a child about to have a tantrum. Once again, I had been thrown into a situation where I was the odd one out. I glanced around to see just how much I was standing out. Most of the females outside were dressed in pink, white or blue, while the men were all in neat casual attire or suits except for a few that were also dressed in childlike clothing.
Jumping every time someone brushed against me, not knowing what to expect, I considered leaving. I even pulled out my phone to text Taylor that I was going to call an Uber. The only thing that pulled me towards the entrance of the bar was a curious feeling, deep in my stomach. Even though I was confused about everything around me, I was compelled to know just a little bit more. I decided there was no harm if I could find a booth free of people to research DDlg on my phone.
I mustered up the little courage I had and made my way inside the locally owned establishment that was separated into two areas. While Taylor would spend her time on the side of the bar that had loud music and a dance floor, I preferred to spend my time in the lounge where the music was softer, allowing for real conversations. It was also my favourite because there were fewer people, only now it was filled with people in age play related content.
“Is she wearing a diaper?” I commented under my breath as my eyes fell on a large crib on the opposite side of the room with someone my age in it. I couldn’t tell for sure and decided I didn’t want to know if she was or not.
“Nande?” I mumbled ‘why’ and a dozen other Japanese phrases, trying to navigate my way through the people around me to find the bar.
I had made it to the bar after passing another crib. Tonight, Chill had a special selection of specialty drinks that were being offered with names like “Little-One, Baby- Girl, and Peachy-Princess.”
“I think,” I paused. “I’ll try a Baby-Girl?” My voice was unsure but the bartender paid no attention and started to make the drink.
“Would you like it in a bottle or a sippy cup??” he asked, unphased by the astonishment on my face that he would even ask that.
“Can I have it in a glass?” I inquired, hoping it was an option.
“Baby girls shouldn’t have grown up glasses,” a deep voice appeared as a male brushed up next to me. Unsure of what he meant I ignored him as the bartender thankfully handed me a tall glass filled with a pink liquid and a gummy pacifier hanging off the straw. A grunt escaped from the male when I never interacted with him. I didn’t think he took it personally as another woman had rushed up to him squealing ‘daddy.’
“Thanks,” I said meekly, paying the bartender and turning around to hopefully find a place to sit. Thankfully there was a booth that was just vacated. I quickly claimed it for my own. Immediately I started to use my phone to research information on DDlg, convincing myself I would stand out less if I did.
After several minutes I had a very basic understanding of what it was, noting that a person would choose an age to act as a ‘little,’ while the partner would choose the dominant role or Daddy or Mommy. It felt like a subcategory of BDSM, however, it seemed that some relationships were completely platonic, and people just enjoyed acting little.
My body jumped and I gasped when I heard a scream from the other side of the room, pulling my attention away from my little corner to notice a female had been taken over a man’s knee with her bottom bare.
She was being spanked.
I was surprised to see it being done in public but knew that this had something to do with ‘punishments’ or ‘rule-breaking’ aspects of the relationship.
Trying to ignore the public spanking I returned to my pink concoction, deciding I would leave after I was done drinking it. Carefully I watched my surroundings to see if Taylor might show up. The more aware I became, the more I realized that I was being watched by a group of men that had recently just entered the lounge. Their ripped jeans, tattered t-shirts, tattoos, and greasy hair made me feel like I could be fitting in.
One of the men with a tattoo covering a portion of his neck caught me looking at him, causing a smirk to display across his mouth.
Cautiously I looked at my phone to break eye contact. I sent a text to Taylor to ask where she was. Hesitantly I found myself looking back up to see if the men were still where they were.
Only they weren’t.
They were approaching me.