Liza had just had her eleventh birthday during her family’s annual road trip to Los Angeles. Her parents had treated her and her younger, identical twin sisters to some weird, fancy hot dog restaurant. Liza ate too much and ended up throwing her dinner back up as they drove across the state line. It was a total bummer. Her sisters, who were both eight, kept mimicking her puking all over the back seat and giggling until they stopped for dinner.
“Do you think we should just let Liza stay in the car? What if she pukes up all her food again?” asked Casey, who was the more outspoken of the two.
Cora, who was two minutes younger, giggled.
“Girls, that’s enough,” their father said, “I’m tired of hearing about it.”
Liza sighed. She was worried about throwing up again. The car still smelled like puked up hotdogs and they were only half way to LA. Maybe if she only ate a little bit this time… She scuffed her shoes and followed the family into another family dining establishment.
“Hurry up Liza! Me and Cora have to go pee!” Casey shouted.
Liza picked up the pace a bit. The younger of the twins was definitely in dire need of a bathroom and, as usual, Casey was being Cora’s voice.
“I really have to go,” Cora whispered to her twin, tears welling up in her eyes.
“It’s fine. You can make it,” Casey smiled.
Cora whimpered, pressing on her crotch.
“Cora, sweetie, you need to tell us before it’s too late,” their mother calmly explained, “We’ve told you so many times that you can’t just rely on Casey to tell us what you need.”
Cora crossed her legs tightly as they stood at the lectern, waiting for the hostess. It seemed like an eternity, and she was ready to burst. She could see the bathroom in the distance, and it only made her bladder more desperate. Cora adjusted her stance, trying not to look worried. Her underwear were already a little damp. She had almost lost control in the car earlier, but thankfully she was good at holding it by now. Cora didn’t like to disrupt things.
Casey put a hand gently on her twin sister’s back as if to tell Cora everything would be okay.
“Mummy, we both really have to go pee,” Casey whined, pretending to be as desperate as her sister. “It’s an emergency.”
Their mother sighed deeply. “Just come find us when you’re done.”
Cora grabbed herself and tried to hurry behind her sister. “Casey, slow down!” she moaned, “I’m gonna pee!” She could feel another stream escape and dampen the seat of her jean shorts. Cora held tighter.
“Come on, Cora!” Casey shouted, pushing open the door to the ladies’ room, revealing only one working stall that was already occupied.
“Oh no!” Cora sobbed.
“It’s okay,” Casey replied, “You can hold it for just a little longer…”
Cora felt another stream escape. “I… I have to go pee right now…!”
“Just hold it for a little longer.”
Cora shook her head. “I can’t hold it anymore!”
Casey saw the growing damp spot on her sister’s shorts. She knocked on the door of the stall, “Please hurry up! My sister is gonna pee her pants!”
There was no reply. Casey knocked harder and the door swung open, to reveal nobody. It had just been stuck.
Cora felt another rush of pee escape, but she couldn’t hold on anymore. She felt the hot pee drenching her underwear and trickling down her legs as she quickly made her way to the bathroom. She took down her wet shorts and underwear and finished going. Her face was bright red and she was shaking with embarrassment.
“It’s okay Cora,” Casey said.
“I… I thought I could make it…” Cora sniffled. “Now what am I gonna do? Mummy is gonna be so mad!” A river of tears streamed down her blushing cheeks.
“I have an idea,” Casey said.
The twins headed back to the table, Casey’s hoodie was draped over her jean shorts that matched her sister’s.
“Did you make it to the bathroom, honey?” Mum asked a red-faced Cora.
Cora nodded and looked down at her shoes, which had a couple of still wet drops on them from her accident.
“Mummy, there was only one toilet so I let Cora go because she had to go so bad… but I waited too long and I peed my pants!” Casey lied, lifting up the sweater to reveal her wet jean shorts.
Cora kept quiet. Casey never had accidents. It seemed like she never had to go to the bathroom at all.
Mum looked suspicious. “I thought you didn’t even have to go, Casey. And furthermore, why did you two switch shorts in the bathroom before going?”
Casey had forgotten about the custom embroidered pockets on each pair of jeans.
Mum looked directly at Cora, who would never tell a lie. “Coraline. Did you have an accident and get your sister to cover for you?”
“Mummy, don’t yell at her! It was my idea!” Casey shouted.
“Cassandra, I’ve heard enough.”
Cora was shaking in her seat. “I… I had an accident,” she mumbled.
Liza, who was sitting next to her, held her sister’s hand.
“Coraline, you know that we will stop whenever you need us to, right? You don’t have to suffer in discomfort. Just please tell us when you need to go to the bathroom.”
Cora sunk down in her seat, feeling so embarrassed. She tried to keep her emotions under control, but she began to tremble and cry.
“Coraline, you’re getting too old for this sort of behaviour. You can’t let Casey be your voice for the rest of your life or you’ll end up crying your eyes out at dinner every night.” The three girls could tell that their mother was at the end of her rope, “And Cora, you can’t keep having accidents like this when you know full well how to avoid them!”
“I’m so sorry Mummy!” Cora blubbered. She tried to wipe away the tears, but they wouldn’t stop. She felt like she couldn’t breathe.
Liza put her arm around Cora, who was still shaking and sobbing.
“Mummy, you’re being really mean,” Casey piped up, crossing her arms, “It was just an accident!”
“Cassandra, please. An accident is once in a while; your sister has wet her pants almost every day for this whole trip!”
“Mum, you’re embarrassing her! This is why she’s afraid to ask for the toilet – she’s scared you’ll lay into her like this!” Liza pleaded.
“I’m not hungry,” Cora decided, pushing away her untouched plate of chicken strips, “Can I go sit in the car?”
Their mother nodded solemnly.
“I’m finished,” Liza said, her plate nearly as untouched as Cora’s, “I’ll go with her.”
Casey looked at her two sisters, then back at her plate. For once, she was silent and she kept eating.
“I’m sorry about what Mum said,” Liza told her sister, “I think she’s just having a rough week.”
“She’s always mean,” Cora replied, “I don’t mean to have accidents… I just, sometimes, I don’t need to go until the last minute…”
“It’s okay. It’s not your fault. And don’t let Casey tell you when you can go to the bathroom.”
Cora fell silent. Did Liza know?
“She’s really intense about getting her way…” Liza explained, “But you don’t have to do what she says.”
“I… I don’t…” Cora whispered.