The Monday two weeks after her night of bingeing, Jenny went into work wearing a jersey skirt that had some stretch in it (the others were really getting too hard to fasten at 155lb, with an undeniable paunch developing) and her green knit top. Midway through the morning, she stood up, and asked Carrie, the redhead at the next desk, if she wanted anything from the vending machine.
“No…” said Carrie, looking up. “Hey! You are! We all wondered if you might be pregnant and you are!”
Jenny went pink. This was the first time anyone but Luke had really acknowledged the change in her figure, and she didn't know whether to be pleased or panic totally! It was all she could do to say (almost) calmly, “What makes you think so?” as if she didn't know her skirt and top were clinging closely to her sticking-out tummy. With the last few pounds it had really started to make its presence felt; she was looking quite fat now.
Now it was Carrie's turn to go pink. “Well… when you came in Monday before last you looked… like the cat that ate the cream. You had this mysterious smile and everyone was just dying to ask you what had happened that weekend, but you're so reserved -” for which read, quiet and shy, Jenny thought “- that nobody liked to pry. We figured you would tell us if you wanted us to know… But with that outfit on you can really see your shape, and I thought… well, are you pregnant?”
“I'm in love!” said Jenny who in fact had been wishing she had a close girlfriend to tell about Luke since the day he had declared himself. “But I'm not pregnant, no.” (In fact she didn't know this for certain, but they had had safe sex.)
“Oh, God,” said Carrie, “you must think I'm really rude then, commenting on your weight. Actually I always put some on when I'm happy in love myself.” Carrie was about five to ten pounds heavier than Jenny herself, though taller with bigger hips and breasts and a narrow waist. “If I'm ever really thin you'll know I'm miserable and haven't had a date in months. So, tell me about him, then…” It was just as well that the chief editor was out of the office that day. Jenny didn't go into detail about weight stuff, but more or less told Carrie her life story and all about Luke.
“So you aren't going to see him for another four weeks?” Carrie asked.
“No… I guess that's why I've been comfort-eating a little, I really miss him,” said Jenny, who thought some sort of excuse might be politic. Unconsciously, she put a hand on her potbelly.
“He sounds like a nice guy, anyway, so I guess he won't turn and run when he sees you with a couple of extra pounds.” Jenny suppressed a grin at the thought of how many extra pounds she was carrying and how many more she might have by the time she saw him! She cast away the last of her scruples about munching at her desk. By the time she left that day, her stomach was quite full, but it didn't prevent her going for an after-work drink with Carrie and the other junior editors, then eating her usual large dinner at home, followed by a pint of Ben and Jerry's Phish Food as she finished up some work.
In this way she put on another 10 pounds over the next two weeks. At 165 pounds, Jenny had crossed the line from borderline chubby to definitely chunky. Her weight-gain had a much greater effect than it would on a taller girl. When she massaged herself with lotion, she could grab handfuls, now inches deep, of soft, soft flesh around her midriff, and she was developing a rounder bottom, love handles around her waist at the back, and cushiony plumpness above her hips at the sides. When she sat, her now ample belly had developed a crease above the navel, bulging out above and below, and she didn't need to lean forward more than a few inches before it touched her thighs; standing up, her tummy was smoothly rounded, almost a teardrop shape, sticking out by four inches or so in front of her, and peeping out from under some of her spandex tops. Her face looked fuller, going from angular to heart-shaped, and her upper arms and thighs had become considerably softer and plumper.
Most of the weight by far, however, was still in her belly, her wonderful belly. It seemed to expand daily. There were slight creases below her hips, her mound of Venus was squashy to the touch, and she rounded out from there up to a navel that looked like the hole when you push your finger into raw pizza dough; it would hide Jenny's finger beyond the first joint. Her waist had thickened and softened to 34 inches. Quite dramatic on such a short girl. She had had to buy some new jeans and work skirts again - size 14. Though she could still get into most of her size 12 stretch tops, her old blouses were just too small. Her mother had made a few comments about career women who didn't take the time to look after themselves, but Jenny determinedly didn't eat any more than the others at her grandmother's on Sundays (though it was hard to resist, the food was so delicious) and made sure that when she went round to her parents' house she arrived after dinner, so her mom wouldn't get a chance to see that her “sedentary job” wasn't the only reason for her increased girth. “You must be happy in your work, anyway,” her mom concluded. “You seem much more self-assured these days.”
When Jenny's brother Stuart asked her to play tennis with him at the weekend, she hesitated. She loved tennis, and had played on teams at high school and college, but could she still run about the way she used to, with an extra 54 pounds of fat to carry? She told Stuart she was out of training, because of her sedentary and time-consuming job.
“That's OK, Jen, none of us has as much time for exercise as we used to. You could always beat me anyway, so maybe the chances will have evened up? It'll do you good.” So she bought a new baggy T and jersey shorts - the old ones would look like bike shorts! - dug out her trainers and met Stuart at the courts after work.
She felt very apprehensive walking on to court - the people on the next one were whomping the ball all over the place just as she used to do - but she and Stuart began by warming up gently, just patting the ball to one another. Jenny's flesh bounced gently as she moved around the court. When they began to play a proper game, she became more aware of it; every time her feet hit the court a tremor ran through every bit of her fat and made it jiggle sensuously. She was also aware that for the first time she really needed a sports bra; her breasts were bouncing as never before, and so was her belly, come to that, and her thighs. It was a little more difficult to run around, not only because of the distraction of her quivering avoirdupois, but because she got short of breath more quickly. However, she still managed to beat her brother, who, tall and gangly, had much less co-ordination than she. He could mostly run to the ball, but kept hitting it out or into the net. Jenny let quite a few go past her, but the shots she did make told. Stuart was still quite pleased, though, as she hadn't “totally trashed him six-love, six-love, six-love like you usually do.” If he'd noticed Jenny's conspicuously altered figure, he didn't comment, but then he was generally both unobservant and discreet.
When she got back to her apartment, Jenny was aware of mixed feelings for the first time in ages. Her calf-muscles and glutes were aching, she was sweating heavily and she felt a little wheezy. She wanted to get fat - she loved the way her new body felt, and watching it change - but not to become unhealthy; she wondered for the first time what her new regime of cookies, potato-chips and ice cream was doing to her heart. She looked up some health sites on the internet and was startled to discover that 159 pounds on a 5'1” girl was officially obese - and she was now at 166. It was such a novelty to be even overweight that it hadn't even entered her mind. Over the next weeks, she made sure to go for a brisk walk most days, and started to eat more fruit (did chocolate-covered cherries count?) and replace butter with olive oil in her cooking - still plenty of it, though. This attention to what she was eating made her think about food all the time, and hence she ate, if anything, more often than she had done before.
She continued to fatten up. As the day came when Luke would be in town for the weekend, Jenny weighed 172, with measurements of 38-38-40 on an empty stomach. Her happy anticipation was marred slightly by anxiety, as Luke had last seen her at 138, six weeks and 34 pounds ago. In total, she had gained 59 - over half her original bodyweight of 112. Since she had found out she was no longer merely overweight, she could no longer think of herself as “chubby” or “chunky” - she was stout, she was heavy, she was FAT. The size 14 jeans were already tight as a sausage casing round her waist and hips; her stomach bulged over the waistband and she knew their days were numbered. Luke knew that Jenny hadn't been “denying herself” - it was usually among the first question he asked during his regular phone calls - and that she had been gaining, but she had been vague about how much. What if she had misinterpreted his words? Would her rounder figure repel him? In fact, she was so nervous that she actually hadn't wanted to eat at all that day.
There was no going back now. Jenny laid out various outfits on the bed, and finally dressed herself in the adjustable kilt-style miniskirt - now at its very widest fastening - and the original #1 cropped T-shirt. It now strained over her newly rounder breasts and stretched skin-tight across her padded ribs, curving upwards in a parabola that mirrored the way the skirt's waistband had to dip around her prominent potbelly lower down. The nine-inch-high gap displayed a wide expanse of plump naked flesh. Wondering if this was just too revealing, she exchanged the T-shirt for the stretchy green top, but that wouldn't cover her bulging paunch either; it didn't even come to her navel, and clung to her love-handles. She tugged it down but it rode inexorably upwards again, letting her tummy poke out cheekily. Her stomach suddenly let out a loud growl. Oh, what the hell, Jenny thought. On the grounds that if you've got it, flaunt it, she swapped the green top for the cropped T-shirt again and walked, bare belly swaying proudly, to the grocery store - where she was now a familiar face. The clerk there was convinced she was pregnant - how else could she gain so fast? - and any denial was taken as a joke, just as he had her avowal that all the food was for her on her first visit to the store. This time he gave her a couple of extra doughnuts free - “to feed those twins,” he said, reaching to pat her substantial stomach.
On her way back, her mind filled with thoughts of Luke, she was startled out of her reverie when someone asked her for the time as she passed a bus stop. Jenny stopped munching on her doughnut and saw that it was the chunky teenager whom she had seen twice before, and who was in some measure her inspiration.
Jenny hadn't seen her for six weeks, and there was now no doubt that the girl was gaining deliberately. She was now evidently well over 200 pounds - maybe 230 - and was keeping ahead of Jenny very nicely, though she was six inches taller. She was wearing a bigger size of jeans, skater-style, so loose that they hung from her considerably widened hips, and a midriff-revealing top like Jenny's, but not so tight. Her breasts were massive and her much-stretchmarked stomach had recently begun to form an apron, draping an inch or two over the waistband of the lowslung jeans. When Jenny gave her the time, she sighed.
“That means I missed my bus. The next one's not for 45 minutes. I wish I didn't have to bother with them, but Mom won't let me have the car unless…”
“Unless what?” said Jenny, sounding as sympathetic as she could.
“Unless I agree to go on a diet and start dressing the way she wants. But I'm above bribery.”
Jenny realised that her own chub-revealing outfit had made the girl see her as similar to her and likely to sympathise. She quickly introduced herself and impulsively offered the girl, whose name was Sophie (“That probably tells you a lot about my mom and the kind of daughter she wanted”) the use of her telephone to tell her mother she'd be late. Sophie accepted, and took the doughnut Jenny offered as they walked back to the apartment.
The telephone was just past the bedroom, so Sophie noticed all the clothes laid out on the bed. “You doing some laundry, or have you got a date?”
“Date, but it was hard to decide what to wear, I've put on so much weight.”
“What you've got on now looks really cute.”
“Yeah, that was what I decided,” said Jenny, and then, “If you've got it, flaunt it…”
“That's just what I feel,” said Sophie as they walked through to the kitchen. “My boyfriend loves the belly shirts I wear but they don't exactly get a rave review from my mom. She thinks I should hide myself away or else lose the blubber.”
“You should make the most of being young,” answered Jenny. “I covered up in baggy things all the time till very recently and it didn't make my life any better. I wish I'd had your confidence when I was 16.”
“Were you always big then?” asked Sophie, and then “Oh, God, I'm always so nosy. Don't answer that.”
“It's fine. No, in fact I was 125 pounds till about six weeks ago,” said Jenny bravely. “I've been gaining weight deliberately.”
“Oh wow. Me too!” Sophie burst out, bouncing up and down, which set impressive ripples going and caused her chair to creak ominously. “I'm up to 242! But I want to be much, much bigger - I wanna stretch these jeans till they burst! I was never very thin. I think 140 was my very thinnest, 'bout three years ago when I finished growing. My mom put me on diets all my life more or less, and they just don't work for me… well,” she smiled mischievously, “I always knew I wanted to be fat - I'm fascinated with seeing just how fat I can get - and I love to eat so I kept sneaking food whenever I could. As soon as I'd lost a little weight I would gain it back and then some. Now I have a summer job, so I spend all the cash I can on feeding this baby.” She patted her lavish rolls where they flowed over her waistband. “My boyfriend helps a lot; we've been together over a year. And then when I turned 16 I told my mom that I thought I was old enough to make my own decisions about it. She doesn't like it, but after next year I'll be off in college and she can't do a thing about it. Hasn't given up making catty remarks, though.”
“Is she thin?”
“Oh, no. She's always on a diet herself, I think that's what makes her so grouchy,” giggled Sophie. “Your round belly is so cute. Does your mom comment on your weight?”
“She has made a few pointed remarks. I guess that's to be expected since I've put on more than forty pounds in the last couple of months, but I'm 23, what can she do?” Jenny sat down, making her belly crease and her lower roll of fat bulge out dramatically, like an inflating inner-tube, between skirt and T-shirt while the upper one pushed the shirt up and out. She grinned. “Want another doughnut? There's ten left in here. Maybe I shouldn't eat them all myself…”
“Race you!” grinned Sophie and they fell upon the doughnuts.
Sophie's mom was coming to collect her, and possibly to check out this total stranger who had invited her daughter in off the street. By the time she arrived, about half an hour later, the doughnuts had vanished, as had four cream-filled eclairs from the refrigerator (meant for eating with Luke, but hey). The girls had exchanged e-mail addresses and phone numbers, and Jenny was clearing away the evidence of their indulgence as the entry-phone sounded and Sophie buzzed her mother in. They were both feeling a little silly from the sugar rush. Sophie gulped down some water so her mother wouldn't smell the sweetness on her breath.
Jenny opened the door to a stoutish middle-aged lady wearing a conservative skirt and blouse not unlike Jenny's work outfits. She stepped into the dim front hall and immediately started saying that she hoped Sophie hadn't been a nuisance inviting herself into Jenny's home and no doubt talking nineteen to the dozen. (Jenny thought privately that she knew where Sophie got it from…)
“Not at all, I asked her in,” said Jenny and stepped into the brightly sunlit kitchen with Sophie's mom following after. The look on Sophie's mom's face as she saw Jenny and her full round tummy properly and took in what she was wearing was a sight to see. Jenny looked as if she were Sophie's little sister! The T-shirt had perhaps ridden up a little higher during their “snack” and was framing that teardrop-shaped gut very nicely. Jenny leaned back against the counter and stuck it out, enjoying the effect she was having. This was nothing to the occasional shocked look of a colleague or a deli attendant. She knew Luke was going to be absolutely dumbstruck when he saw her tonight; she just hoped it would be in a good way.