Edith was very excited for her class’s end of year trip to Splashville Water Slides. Mostly, she was happy to finally be done with sixth grade; the water slides were just a bonus. The best part was her mom had volunteered to drive them in the van since Dad had taken the week off and was able to look after Ezra. Edith didn’t love the family van, but it was still better than Bea’s mom’s little Toyota that always smelled like dog (even though they had never owned a dog) and the seat belts in the back never seemed to work properly.
“Is everybody buckled up?” Penny asked the girls, looking behind her to make sure Edith, Ruthie, Bea, and Pearl were safe. Edith could tell her mom was nervous; she rarely had to drive other kids around.
“Yep!” the four girls chimed in unison.
“Any radio requests?” Penny asked.
“Oh! Play KX105.5! It has, like, everything cool!” Bea squealed.
“Ugh, no! That station sucks! We should listen to that really cool university station!” Pearl shut down her friend.
Ruthie sighed, “No way. We barely get reception for that station and nobody even knows the FM channel it’s on. KX is fine!”
Edith said nothing. She knew all the words to the songs on KX, but didn’t want to anger Pearl, who was sitting next to her in the middle row of the van. She heard the familiar and catchy tune of Britney Spears’ “Oops I Did It Again” pumping through the speaker system. Edith suppressed the urge to sing along, looking over at surly Pearl as she made a disgusted face.
“I hate this,” Pearl muttered, shutting her eyes and pretending to sleep.
“Why don’t we play a game?” Edith suggested.
“Oh my gosh, a game?!” Bea turned around, eyes wide, “What game?!”
“Um, we could pay I Spy,” Edith quietly replied.
Pearl scoffed. “That’s for babies.”
“What about 20 questions?!” Bea asked.
“That’s worse than truth or dare,” Pearl replied.
With that, Ruthie turned around. Her all-knowing gaze silenced the other girls. “I know,” she said softly, pausing to build anticipation, “Everyone has a water bottle, right?”
The girls held up their plastic water bottles of varying sizes.
“On three we chug. First one to hit the bathroom loses. The game ends when there’s only one of us who hasn’t gone.” Ruthie smiled in a way the others hadn’t seen before. It was almost menacing.
Edith shifted in her seat. She was already internally denying that she needed to go to the bathroom. She wouldn’t be able to outlast the other girls… would she?
“One, two… three!” Ruthie shouted. The four girls chugged what was left in their water bottles and set them down in the car.
Penny smiled to herself, hearing what the girls were up to. It brought her back to her younger years, before she had kids, back when she had a bladder of steel. Penny quietly sighed, knowing that after four kids, she was not as apt at holding as she once was. She turned up the radio as all girls sang along to the Backstreet Boys.
As Edith sang along to “Everybody,” she could feel her bladder filling up at a fast and uncomfortable rate. She regretted taking part in Ruthie’s challenge. Edith pressed her thighs together, trying to keep from wiggling around. The other girls couldn’t know how horribly desperate she was already. She bit her lip and looked over at Pearl, who wasn’t squirming at all. How was everyone else so good at this game? Edith could feel the pee pressing against her urethra. If she didn’t find a bathroom soon, she was going to lose it for sure. She crossed her legs and pressed her hand against her crotch.
“You have to pee that bad already?” Pearl rolled her eyes. “Edith, this game is going to be too easy if we’re up against you.”
“I… I don’t have to go,” Edith blatantly lied, removing her hand from her crotch. She bit harder on the inside of her cheek, trying to shake the worried look off her face. Her legs started to jiggle almost uncontrollably. She placed her palms on her knees, trying to ease the shaking.
“Whatever you say,” Pearl shook her head, “Just saying, I’m totally gonna win this one.”
Edith took a deep breath and looked out the window, squeezing her legs together as she stared at the lake that bled into Splashville.
She remembered the last time they had come to Splashville as a family. Elias was old enough to go off on his own, but Edith was not. Elias flat out refused to take either of his sisters on the slides. Dad took her on some of the giant water slides, but for the most part she hung out with Mom and Esther (who was too young to remember it). This time would be much better, though. At almost twelve, Edith was ready to try every slide. Even if she lost this holding game, she was determined to have an amazing time.
“We’re almost there, girls!” Penny excitedly called to the back seat.
Edith felt a twinge in her groin and squeezed her legs tighter. She felt a few drops of pee soak into her one-piece bathing suit that she had on under her clothes. Edith felt shivers go up her spine, holding still tighter.
Ruthie turned around, “Jeez, you really have to go…”
“N-no I don’t,” Edith lied.
“Nobody sits like that when they don’t have to go,” Ruthie said, matter-of-factly.
“I swear… I just… my back hurts?” Edith replied, unsure of her own words.
“She totally has to pee,” Pearl laughed, “I can’t believe the game is almost over.”
Bea turned around. “Oh my gosh, how is your bladder so small?! Like, I don’t even need to go yet.”
Edith’s face was turning red. “I-I swear! I d-don’t have to go to the bathroom…” She pressed hard on her crotch, disproving her own statement.
“If you really need to pee, you can just go. It’s just a game, Edie,” Ruthie shrugged.
“Yeah, it just means you’re a loser who can’t go five minutes without going to the bathroom,” Pearl mocked.
“No, guys, I…” Edith crossed one leg over the other in one last ditch effort to stave off her obvious desperation.
“We’re here,” Penny announced. “We’re a ways from the park, but there’s not much parking near the entrance.
Edith swallowed hard as she saw how far away the car was from the entrance. She didn’t even know if she could walk that far without peeing herself.
“Girls, if you want to just wear your bathing suits and leave your clothes in the car, please feel free. The less we have to carry, the easier it’s going to be,” Penny told them.
The four of them slowly removed their clothes. Bea was wearing a bright pink and blue two-piece that looked a size or two too large, obviously a hand-me-down from her sister, Frankie. Pearl had on a red, sporty one-piece with black stripes going up and down the sides. Ruthie had on a bikini that was probably made for girls in their late teens, rather than someone who had just turned twelve. Ruthie suited it well, but it was way too revealing in Edith’s opinion. Edith undid her shorts, which actually helped a bit. Her bladder had more room to stretch out. Edith felt like she could hold it for a bit longer, but as she took down her shorts, she realized she had leaked into them. She quickly hid them in her backpack and covered them with her white Girl Guides shirt. The other girls couldn’t know that she had already lost. She quickly examined the crotch of her dark purple swimsuit, but no wetness was visible. As soon as she got in the water, nobody would be the wiser. Edith flung her backpack into the back and carefully got out of the van.
The other three girls ran off toward the park, but Edith was content in going slow. Her knees knocked together as she shuffled along the pavement in her flip flops.
“Sweetie, do you need to use the bathroom?” Penny asked.
Edith thought for a moment about confiding in her mother, but decided to keep up the obvious lie. “No…?”
“You look like you’re just about to burst,” Penny replied, “are you sure, Edie?”
“Mom!” Edith shot back, “I don’t need to go! Stop asking!” Edith tried her hardest to walk normally, biting her lip as she shuffled faster towards her friends.
She looked behind her, seeing her mom go back in the car for something. It was now or never. Edith squatted behind a parked car and pulled the gusset of her swimsuit aside, peeing hastily onto the hot concrete.
“Edie, where did you go?” she heard Ruthie call.
Edith wasn’t finished, but she had to stop now before Ruthie discovered her. She gasped, trying hard to stop the stream. It was an uncomfortable success as she closed off the waterways and continued to hold. She adjusted herself and came out from behind the car. “I, um, I dropped my ring, but I found it,” Edith lied to her friend. She hoped Ruthie and the others couldn’t smell pee on her. The overpowering scent of chlorine was lingering in the air, so it would be hard to distinguish.
“We’re going to get some sodas before we head into the water,” Ruthie smiled, showing her canine teeth. “You need to have one too. It’s only fair for the contest.”
Edith felt her stomach bottom out. Even though she had peed out a decent amount of liquid already, she knew she would lose for sure once the soda went through her system. Not to mention, the stream she cut off earlier was begging to continue. It hurt to walk. Edith wished she hadn’t done that. She somehow felt worse now than she did ten minutes ago. She squeezed her legs together as they waited in line at the concession stand.
It felt like eons waiting in that line, even though there were only three people ahead of the girls. Edith couldn’t help but potty dance the whole time. She could feel her control slipping.
“Four large cokes please,” Ruthie said to the bored looking teenage girl at the counter.
“That’ll be seven fifty,” the teenage girl said, “Oh, and the bathroom’s just around the corner.”
Ruthie rolled her eyes and gave the cashier exact change, all in quarters. “You can just go pee now and lose,” she said, turning to Edith, “It’s not like you get anything for winning anyway.”
“I don’t have to go!” Edith insisted, her right leg over her left and bouncing up and down.
“Okay, whatever,” Ruthie sighed.
The four of them took a table and chugged their sodas.
Pearl burped incredibly loud. Edith was surprised at the volume for how tiny Pearl was.
“You guys, I really have to pee,” Bea admitted. Edith could tell she was only in the early stages of desperation. Her legs were pressed tight together, but she didn’t look worried.
“Not me,” Edith continued to lie, bouncing both legs and holding herself secretly under the table.
“Me neither,” Pearl said, “I think I could probably hold it all day.”
Ruthie smiled again. “You think you’re gonna win, Pearl? We’ll see.” Nobody noticed that Ruthie was holding herself under the table.
“Let’s get in the water already!” Pearl suggested, “I’m bored just sitting here.”
The other girls silently agreed and followed their less-than-desperate friend to the water.
It felt warm and nice, kind of like a bath after a day playing out in the snow. Edith couldn’t help but leak out a bit more. She looked down, making sure the water wasn’t turning an incriminating colour. Elias had once told her that pools add an extra chemical to the water that changed its colour to shame people who pee in the pool. Nothing happened, but she kept holding just in case it was a volume thing. Edith stared at Ruthie’s legs, which were crossed tightly under water. It was obvious that Ruthie was in dire straits as well, but she was holding on until the bitter end. Edith felt a bit more pee leak out as she absentmindedly loosened her legs a bit.
“Ohhh my gosh,” Bea moaned, grabbing herself. “I need to go… right now!”
Edith squeezed her legs together. “There’s a bathroom next to the concession,” she told Bea.
“No… No I can make it. I’m gonna beat you…” Bea dug her hand deeper and closed her eyes.
Edith tried not to make it obvious how painful it was for her to keep holding.
“As long as you losers don’t pee in the pool. That’s super disgusting and only little kids do that,” Pearl said, still showing no signs of desperation.
Ruthie looked worried for a moment and was more obviously potty dancing by now. She wasn’t saying anything. Ruthie was the kind of girl who focused by not speaking and living completely inside her own head.
“You’re all going to lose,” Pearl snickered, “I told you I could go all day without peeing.”
Ruthie angrily glared at Pearl. “You’re probably cheating,” she sharply replied.
Pearl rolled her eyes, “I don’t even know how that’s possible.”
Ruthie shrugged and went back to her zen-like focus, shifting her weight from foot to foot in the shallows of the pool.
“Oh my gosh, oh my gosh…” Bea squeaked, “I…” she held herself very tightly and winced. “I feel sick…” she ran off towards the bathrooms.
Pearl smiled. “I can’t believe you didn’t lose, Edie.”
Edith shrugged awkwardly. “I… think I’m gonna go too.” She felt another spurt leak out of her bathing suit and dissipate into the chlorinated waters. She held herself tightly and slowly waded to the bathrooms next to the concession stand. Her legs were scrunched together, trying her hardest to hold in what she drank earlier and that giant soda. She was sure her bladder couldn’t take any more of this game. She tried to hurry to the toilets, but moving faster just made her leak. There was a tap on her shoulder.
“Edie, honey, do you need some help?” Penny asked.
“Mom, I… I have to go really, really bad…” Edith admitted, whispering out of embarrassment.
“Come with me, we’ll get you sorted. Just hold on,” Penny gave her daughter a reassuring smile. Little did Edith know, Penny had been playing the same game. Penny was just much less obvious about her level of desperation.
“Mom…” Edith worriedly whispered, digging her fingers into her crotch, “I have to pee right now!”
Penny grabbed her daughter’s arm, “Come on, Edith. Just hold on for another few seconds, we’re almost there.”
“Mommy I can’t…” Edith moaned, squeezing herself as hard as she could. A few more drops of urine dribbled out, soaking her hand, “Mommy, I’m going…”
“Edith, for heaven’s sake, you’re too old for this sort of behavior,” Penny groaned, “the bathroom is right…”
The mother and daughter stopped in their tracks, noticing a massive line for the ladies room. There were at least fifteen people in front of them. Penny gulped, suddenly remembering how desperate she was, let alone how close Edith was to wetting herself.
Edith pulled her bathing suit up tight against herself, trying to help hold the pee in. She kept dancing, trying hard to keep everything in and not succeeding at all. Her bare feet scraping against the concrete as she potty danced hopelessly.
The line wasn’t moving at all.
Penny crossed one leg over the other and worriedly looked down at her daughter, who was obviously not going to make it. She carefully knelt down and whispered, “If you want to get back in the water and go pee, nobody will know.”
Edith looked horrified, “N-no… I can make it.” She gave her mother a worried smile and held herself.
The line still didn’t move.
Penny felt a violent pang in her bladder, feeling a bit of urine dribble down her leg. She didn’t really care if anyone saw, but she kept holding on, hoping that the line would move. She squeezed her thighs together and held herself. She couldn’t let her daughter win the contest over her, a grown adult with experience! Penny adjusted her crotch and continued to squeeze.
Edith was near bursting point. It hurt to move. It hurt to stand still. Holding on was no longer an option. “Mommy…” she squeaked, “I’m… I’m not gonna make it…”
“It’s okay, honey,” Penny replied, holding herself tighter still. The crotch of her swimsuit was incredibly damp now.
Edith felt a squirt of pee drip down her leg. And then another quick spurt. She readjusted herself, but it didn’t help. The waterways were open. A full, hard stream of urine burst from the crotch of her now soaking bathing suit. Edith tried to cover herself, but she knew everyone was staring at her. She went completely red, paralyzed with fear and embarrassment.
Penny stood in the way of everyone’s gaze and let loose herself, urine splashing on the ground, soaking her feet. She sighed deeply. It felt good to let go.